The Vegetarian Menace

One for the Pea-Brain Diet

Got an email from reader Katherine Strange, proprietor of SF Bay Area's Evolution Catering. I haven't tried the menu, yet, but that's only because I have the time and inclination to cook for myself most of the time. If that's a problem for you, or an occasional problem, you're near to San Francisco and want to eat right, ring up Kat and get some nice food.

A vegetarian wasn't too happy about the menu offerings.

Kat, It would be interesting if you included some pure vegetarian meals (beans, grains and veggies) if you really want to be an “Evolutionary” caterer.  Research shows that only a vegetarian diet is really sustainable for the planet, and is still the healthiest way to eat that there is.   I ‘d be interested if you decide to continue to evolve....

Then, a kind reply got an even more insistent response.

...And their organs only needed to survive for 20-30 years.  Life span extended with the evolution of agriculture, as did the need for the kidneys and heart to last longer.  High protein diets are very hard on the kidneys, causing high rates of kidney stones, which can lead to kidney failure.  Not to mention the fat and cholesterol issues.

And then there is the health of the planet to think about. The carbon footprint of a pound of beef is huge compared to a pound of grain.

So my question to you is, how do you see our planet and people evolving to feed the huge amounts of people that populate the earth and will populate it in the next 20 years?

I love that you are making food for families.  But your claim to Evolution, I believe, is flawed.  We have evolved away from the hunter to the urban dweller and billions of people on the earth.  Our diet needs have  evolved and need to continue to do so to make it all sustainable.

It is truly tiresome to keep dealing with the same myths, ignorance, and lies. How many times have you heard the "impacted red meat" mantra? I still see it all the time from the vegetarian menace.

Next, you have ignoramuses claiming we evolved as herbivores, ignoring reams and reams of anthropological evidence proving that not only did our ancestors eat a lot of meat, but in cases such as the Neanderthal, were very nearly totally carnivorous. Instead, you get moron liars-for-a-cause, like Kathy FrestonShattering The Meat Myth: Humans Are Natural Vegetarians. Get a load of this idiocy from that article, and the quote by Richard Leakey, of all people:

There is no more authoritative source on anthropological issues than paleontologist Dr. Richard Leakey, who explains what anyone who has taken an introductory physiology course might have discerned intuitively--that humans are herbivores. Leakey notes that "[y]ou can't tear flesh by hand, you can't tear hide by hand.... We wouldn't have been able to deal with food source that required those large canines" (although we have teeth that are called "canines," they bear little resemblance to the canines of carnivores).

In fact, our hands are perfect for grabbing and picking fruits and vegetables. Similarly, like the intestines of other herbivores, ours are very long (carnivores have short intestines so they can quickly get rid of all that rotting flesh they eat). We don't have sharp claws to seize and hold down prey. And most of us (hopefully) lack the instinct that would drive us to chase and then kill animals and devour their raw carcasses.

Really, I am very hard pressed to recall anything I've recently read that's so ignorant, fanciful and wishful. Leakey: if you really said that then you, as a scientist, should be ashamed of yourself. Surely you know that our ancestors have been using tools on the order of 2.5 milion years.

Moreover, vegetarianism itself is largely myth, by which I mean that there are few, if any, true vegetarian mammals in nature. They eat bugs, worms, spiders. And even chimps are known to masterfully hunt down small monkeys, rip 'em apart, and eat them.

See, this is what happens -- you veg-morons -- when you cloister youselves in your little echo chambers. I have yet to show this to a vegetarian who wasn't dumbfounded. But what should I expect, when these are the very same people who will look at a carton of eggs and feel joy that it reads: "100% vegetarian diet." That means it's a 100% unnatural diet. Free ranging chickens, just like all birds, eat bugs & worms. ...Lot's of them, and the difference in nutrition of the yolk can be on the order of 300% or more, and it's directly a function of the non-pea-brained diet...

And then there's the enviro-crap, which is just original-sin religion in disguise. You're a guilty sinner (destroying the planet), you must repent (eat unfulfilling food). and atone (sacrifice your values and desires to the diktats of "authorities"). Same con, different day.

Now, The American Dietetic Association gives the green light for vegan diets for infants, and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) -- a vegan/vegetarian activist group like CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest) that's too dishonest and manipulative to imply their true agenda in their own name -- are recommending same.

I have one nagging little juxtaposition: plug both "meat-eater baby deaths" and "vegan baby deaths" into Google, browse the links that come up, and come to some sense about the matter.

Comments

  1. I'd agree with her on one point – we can't seem to feed the first world on crappy grain fed meats, how the hell are we gonna get enough tasty organic grass fed (read: good for you) meat to feed *everyone* ?

  2. Richard,

    Great article. My girlfriend's sister is an ovo-lacto vegetarian for the reasons of the "economic cost of meat," which is to say more people can eat if she doesn't eat meat. She doesn't force these views on anyone, which I appreciate.

    That said, do you have links or info about the supposed cost swap she's referring to?

  3. Yea, it falls under the category of personal values when not forced. unfortunately, so very many of them are about force. They want to "save the world."
    As to the cost questions, Dr. Monica Hughes has done work on that and has some blog posts:
    http://www.fa-rm.org/blog/index.html
    I've emailed her and perhaps she'll weight in.

  4. Regarding cows and their carbon footprints…there was an article in the news recently (I read it in the Oregonian – the article comes up when I search, but doesn't actually load) stating that when cows are fed a more natural diet they produce less methane. Seems that cows run better when they eat their natural diet. Kind of like humans.

  5. I wonder what the carbon foot-print of a diabetic with heart disease is, as compared to a healthy person with low insulin levels is. This isn't a criticism of diabetics, but my point is that by eating a high carb "eco-friendly" diet, you set yourself up to require tons of medication down the road. Think of all the syringes, testers, pills, bolus machines, and etc. and etc. that would virtually be non-existent (and therefor occupying no landfill space) if we all ate a paleo diet and freed ourselves are a large percentage of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

    "But the vegan diet is healthy." Of course it is … oh wait, no it isn't. Especially when most vegetarians eschew meat in favor of highly processed carbohydrates.

    The medical establishment uses incalculable resources, produces incalculable waist, and serves as a drain on government and taxpayer dollars in many ways. Of course we need medicine, but if everyone was healthier because they ate well, the negatives associated with it would be so much less …

    Not to mention that by eating paleo, I feel we drastically reduce the paper/plastic waist associated with food packaging. I pack my lunches, don't eat junk food, and as a result, I think I produce about a quarter of the garbage I used to. I'm not an environmentalist really, but I can feel good about that.

    what do you guys think?

  6. Reachwest says:

    You get 'em Richard. Great comments – I totally agree – this vegan absurdity is something I have little patience for.

  7. Good points, Bryce.
    Of course, environmental impact isn't the reason most of us eat this way, but for how we feel and health. But, producing less trash is a side-effect that I consider a small bonus that just makes sense.

  8. Exactly! I eat this way because I know it's how I'm supposed to, it's fulfilling in every way, and it makes me feel great.

    However, when challenged by an eco-vegan, it's nice to be able to say "well actually my diet is more ecofriendly than yours is … tool."

    Well maybe not that last part.

    -Bryce

  9. It's likely true that the domestication of grains allowed for civilization and cities above 500k in population (before grains, cities could not grow larger because the surrounding land could not support further calories). A brilliant talk about this is given by Ronald Wright (Richard, I KNOW you'd love this audiobook).
    http://www.amazon.com/Short-History-Progress-Massey-Lecture/dp/0660193302/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1247273641&sr=1-1

    So, I see grains as a necessary stepping stone to civilization and technical progress. BUT, while grains are required for the growth of humanity, as an *individual* I am NOT willing to sacrifice myself, given that I have a viable choice. There will be plenty of people willing to eat cheap carbs (grains and processed foods) and keep the wheels of progress rolling forward, while I'll eat healthy meats, fats and carbs at their expense.

    So, I'm not so worried about changing the world's opinion on eating paleo — only those I care about (family and friends). When everyone catches on, then we really are in trouble, because it will be very hard to replace all of those cheap grain calories with healthy paleo foods — at least within a few decades.

    IMO, the vegetarians are doing us a favor (at their own expense in terms of health), and cannot hurt me as long as I have a choice in what foods I buy.

    • Question. What, exactly, was so necessary about developing civilization and technical progress? What exactly have we gained, that wasn’t a compensation for the damage we caused ourselves in developing agriculture and population-crowding?

      I get into this discussion with people sometimes and they’ll say something like, “Well, try living without modern medicine.” Had we stayed in the Paleolithic there’d be precious little modern medicine I would actually need. Or, “we’d be savages and butcher one another”–what, we don’t do that now?

      This is just one of those unexamined assumptions that I poke at from time to time.

    • To Scott, Where would you like to vacation to for your honeymoon? What is your best season? Well, I’m guessing the Carribean and the summer. Our bodies like warm weather. In the winter my omnivore dog does not mind 8 degree temps and he goes out naked. If I ran outside naked for 1 hour in that weather I would die. It seams that all of God’s creatures are best suited for certain weather. I believe man’s paridise is the rainforest. Fresh produce all year round. Free food everywhere, no clothes nessasary, and a great tan all the time. My ancesters came from Poland and I can say my Grandma made great sourkrout. I did not know untill I was 12 that it was pickled cabbage. In the winter in Poland if one did not store grain, wheat, etc…. pickle fruit and veggies, kill an animal, or make some cheese, or eat eggs, he would go hungry, because the gardens and fruit trees are not very productive 6 months out of the year. Through alot of research and disapline I eat mostly fruits and veggies and never felt better. I believe that eating grains, like eating dead animals will be a thing of the past, so do not worry about vegetarians hurting you. Community and home gardens are booming, and everyone will be able to eat fresh fruit and veggies all year round do to greenhouses and andvancements in hydroponics. A fairly recent article in National geographics about male chimps trading meat for sex came about due to there community moving because the weather, and their fruit source dried up. Okanowa and Costa rica people live to be the longest. They eat mostly fruits and veggies. You are already a vegatarin for the animals you eat are. You are eating what they ate plus feces. Feces is any waste products from cells including blood which partly consists of veins, not to mention uric acid. The Meat and Dairy companies and the fda say meat is great. Do you think they are ethical? The Ama did massive studies in the 40’s proving meat and dairy are bad for you, but did not tell anybody, just like they were the last ones to say smoking was bad, because they were the number 1 shareholders of tobbacco. Still today over 75% of mds do not teach nutrition, which I think is sad and outragous, because the schools they go to like to make money selling synthetic drugs. The bottom line is that there is a direct correlation to the amount of meat consumed and the amount of drugs and alcohol, legal and illegal are used. One poison to counterbalance another poison. Eat fruit or kill animals, you decide. P.S. I bet you could not catch a boar nor kill a cow by hand. If you did, what a pain in the butt to rip open the flesh without fangs. Then make a fire and cook it. I would rather climb a pineapple tree. Ps.s. an ape and orangatang will kick any of our asses and to boot the strongest land animals do not eat formented milk (cheese) or pigs or cows, or any other dead animals they are rhinos, hippoes, and Elephants. Lions and tigers, have a short lifespan and not fun to be around. Sean 3rd generation Chiropractor and vegetarian and shortly Fruiatarian. Thankyou.

      • Wow – maybe you need to learn to spell.

      • “You are already a vegatarin for the animals you eat are.”

        Therefore, by that logic, you are a carnivore, as the plant based life you eat, needs dead animals.

      • garth whelan says:

        apes and orangutans are stronger because they have more favorable muscle leverage, simple physics. On the other hand they sacrifice speed for strength. Humans with the simplest of tools can probably kill most animals that we eat regularly. When in shape we can run down almost any animal (born to run). I have no problems with your lifestyle, just your claims, but it is good to here someone disagree with us once in a while. It keeps the ego in control. Just another point, primates who eat nothing but leaves are fat as ****, they need more digestive track to ferment/digest leaves. This does not apply to humans who eat tubers and fruit as well. Humans need even less to get energy from meat. Personally humans should eat meat, but if you feel fine, you probably are fine.

  10. Great post

  11. Make sure you see Monica's comment on the issue.

  12. Make sure you see Monica's comment on the issue.

  13. Excellent post!

  14. That's correct. India and China are good examples of what happens to population when people choose grains and vegetables over meat. The average noncontracepting hunter-gatherer woman ahs only 4 to 5 live births over her lifetime; the average noncontracepting agriculturalist woman has 12 live births over her lifetime. The difference is due to higher body fat levels in the grain eaters. It illustrates that when we left our natural niche as top carnivores, we created the problem — overpopulation — that the vegetarians think we can solve by making more food (grain) available. Wrong again — food availability drives population growth in all species, so converting everyone to vegetarian diets would only result in the whole world looking like India or China.

    • Don, are you saying we should eat bad so we can’t thrive? I feel sorry for your kids. Mine are thriving on fruits and veggies, not meat nor grains. Any pilot will tell you we have plenty of space for many more “healthy” people. Can you say community greenhouses in every city? India and China are doing pretty good. Their middle class is booming, and they loan to us. Einstien, Thomas Edison, and Ghandi were veggies, you think they were dumb? No, what is dumb is feeding children bad food so they become weak and can not reproduce anymore.

  15. "And then there's the enviro-crap, which is just original-sin religion in disguise. You're a guilty sinner (destroying the planet), you must repent (eat unfulfilling food). and atone (sacrifice your values and desires to the diktats of "authorities"). Same con, different day".

    ~Richard, can i steal this quote and paraphrase it for my soon to be resumed, long neglected blog?

  16. Do your best, man. 

    –Richard Nikoleyhttp://www.freetheanimal.com- Sent from my iPhone

  17. Anand Srivastava says:

    This is not true.

    Dr. Weston A Price has written about a woman who gave birth to 26 children in her life, till this passage was written. She was part of the Eskimos or Inuit tribes.

    More children are created in times of peace, and plenty of food, and lower education. When you list India and China as creating more children, please note that people in both countries are low in education. Chinese cannot be called Vegetarians. But they will have less meat because of less money. In India, the community increasing their population the fastest is Muslims not exactly vegetarians.

    In both countries population growth is due to low education, and vegetarianism due to less money.

    Traditional HG groups needed to move a lot, which reduced their ability to carry a lot of children. I still can't believe that they really had very few children. Although most would have died due to several ailments.

    • No, you find the most sick children in overcrowded conditions, and most forager tribes existed before the advent of cities and were in conditions of less crowding and therefore less disease transmission. The field of paleopathology, while fairly new, is busily cataloging evidence of who was sick and how sick they were. Overwhelmingly it’s the farmers who had disease issues. The foragers left over after the Neolithic gradually succumbed when farmers encroached into their territory.

  18. Hi Richard et al,

    Even if we wanted to assume the argument that we couldn't feed everyone
    a true, meat based, human diet in the next decade or two was a urgent reason to go vegetarian… like developing renewable energy sources (vs relying on petro fuels), no one expects that to be fully realized in our lifetimes.. it's a long-view multi-generational accomplishment.

    In the meantime, we don't have to wait for the Government to come up to speed and fix the current food supply system.
    The folks who understand how far off course humanity has gone nutritionally, are in a position to have the healthiest and most vibrant life they can have.. and also share that knowledge with their friends and loved ones.

    As a side note, while in the course of many interviews making the film (In Search of the Perfect Human Diet), it's become clear that the low-carb/paleo/neanderthin awareness is a very personal experience for people, and doesn't breed a strong desire to 'save or change the world' like the vegan/vegetarians have- they have coalesced into an actual "movement" with organizations and public leaders that have a heart felt and driven mission to educate both the government and the masses to what they believe are the facts and the 'truth' of the matter.

    We do have individuals such as yourself Richard (Jimmy Moore and others)…, bloggers, podcasters, who endeavor to make a difference by attracting interested audiences, yet for the most part I think we end up preaching to the choir.
    There is no one with any global respect in our community, or celebrity, standing up to try and organize a movement. We get upset when the regular media bashes our point of view, and somehow expect new research that decides in our favor to take hold and change their minds- as if they'll finally 'get it' and see the light. (an lose most of their advertising dollars)

    Like Barry Sears said to me in our interview for the film- "There are three things in life which are very visceral: religion, politics, and nutrition. They are all based on belief systems and none of them respond well to challenge. Essentially they say ‘don’t confuse me with the facts because in my heart I know I’m right.’

    If it really matters to us that our personal experiences and discoveries finally get the kind of attention we seem to crave. Sure would be nice if we'd all rally together into a media savvy organization? Maybe "Peoples Committee for Responsible Media" (PCRM) ?… although I think we could do better than that ;)

    • Mr. Hunt, The meat and dairy, ama, and drug co.’s had their hayday and spoke out everywhere, and still do, till the end. The end of their demise. They spend 10’s of billions a year on advertising. I bet you could not kill a cow by hand, skin him and eat him raw. Go to any classroom around the world and throw fruits at the kids, and see how happy they get. Do the same with organs, and I think you will have a different story. Do the same thing to a true Carnivore (lion) and you get the opposite reaction. No one likes to see murder, even a tiger killing a rabbit.

      • Sean, you live in fantasy land. Brainwashed by vegan emotions. There are many places in the world where kids love organs. You can watch this shit of youtube for crying out loud.

        Most of the dribble you’ve commented on this site is horribly blind to reality. Apes and boars can kick out asses? Then why are they not at the top of the food chain? Your hands are fangs argument is just elementary. Why do we need fangs magical lighting speed to eat animals, when our brains have given the gift of tools & technique? Don’t over-think evolution. You can see changes in just a few decades.

        I’m currently very happy as a high-fruit Vegonly. I refuse to call myself a vegan, because I do not want to associate myself with their close mindedness. I have not touched an animal product going on 4 months now, and almost none in 7. Hold whatever morals you want. Being a vegetarian for ethical reasons is one thing, to be a vegetarian for athletic performance reasons is another…. Maybe meat is unhealthy? But to think veganism is the “natural human diet” falls hardly short of brain dead.

  19. Thanks, CJ.
    BTW, how is the film coming along? Any idea of the release date?

  20. Hi Richard,

    Very good initial rough edit.
    In fact, we have so much great material from the subject matter expert interviews, we are talking with PBS about expanding to a 4 part series.

    Otherwise, still in process of approaching companies and requesting referrals to finish raising completion funds of 120k. In the grand scheme of things, not much (already about twice that invested), but I do need help finding those last dollars. Probably have to come via an individual contribution or investment (or individuals) who want to see this information out there asap – in as most health/nutrition businesses want to steer clear of any potential upset in the media, true or not. If someone steps forward with underwriting, in addition to available tax benefits, we can also make a contribution from each DVD sale to their favorite charity/non-profit in perpetuity.

    If we have the funds within the next 60 days, the film (or series) will be ready on DVD for Christmas/New Years. When PBS would show it depends on their 2010 scheduling.

    It's an interesting path raising completion finds for a documentary like this that shows human nutritional evolution and the newest scientific radio-isotopic proof of what humans really ate before agriculture.. i.e., you would be amazed at the major foundations who have staffs leaning towards vegetarianism (even veg. Dr's as advisors), or major health food chains, who, interestingly enough were started by, and are still run by, vegetarians/vegans. Or popular influencers like Michael Pollen (In Defense of Food) who "proposes a new (and very old) answer to the question of what we should eat that comes down to seven simple but liberating words: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

    It'll be nice when we can show audiences the real story.
    Sincerely,
    CJ

  21. Richard,

    My girlfriend used to be a vegetarian and felt weak over time. What is crazy is that vegetarians site health as one of their reasons for not eating meat, but they typically don't appear healthy to me.

    Mark Sisson did a guest post on my site "Why We Need Meat" and he explained it brilliantly:

    http://fitnessblackbook.com/diet-tips/why-we-need-meat/

    Anyway…great post!

    Rusty

  22. Hey Richard, thanks for the link love. Yes, I've written about such points in various posts. Here are a few, hope the comment is not rejected as spam due to lots of links:

    http://www.fa-rm.org/blog/2009/04/feasibility-of-pastured-animal.html

    http://www.fa-rm.org/blog/2008/12/diet-for-unhealthy-planet.html

    http://www.fa-rm.org/blog/2009/03/cow-tax-and-petas-dishonesty.html

    http://www.fa-rm.org/blog/2009/03/more-on-meat-and-sustainability-and.html

    http://www.fa-rm.org/blog/2009/03/thoughts-on-environmental-effects-of.html

    http://www.fa-rm.org/blog/2009/06/science-vs-dogma.html

    stork, I agree that you probably need a tad more land to produce the same number of animals using solely pasture based methods. And yes, only about 10% of plant biomass will be converted to biomass in the next trophic level. However, lets remember that lots of the world's land is simply not suited for cultivation but is good rangeland. (Where I live at 8400 feet is a great example. I would work very hard to cultivate anything up here, but I could raise a flock of 10 hens no problem producing very nutritious eggs from hens that would go nuts on my weeds and bugs). Also let's remember that people on low carbohydrate, real food diets typically reduce their caloric intake and, as mentioned by a commenter above, don't develop the health problems that grain and legume eaters do. I eat around 1500 calories a day, never more than 1800. Could I do that on a grain-based diet? Yeah, but I'd starve myself, both from a hunger standpoint and nutritionally. I used to eat over 2000 calories on a frankencrap diet. Now, what about "carbon footprints"? Well, if you care about that (I don't), consider my posts above.

    about productivity… well, there's New Zealand, whose pasture-based animal farms have ever increased in productivity and are doing it on less and less land over the past 20 years as they've eliminated government subsidies. The US doesn't have the same climate but I suspect we could put in place similar methods here based on the likes of farms like Joel Salatin's.

    In short, I don't believe there are good publications that address the issue of making sure that all the "costs" are analyzed. I don't really trust the science in this area as it's funded by the likes of Monsanto and carried out by academics who are basically brainwashed into believing the global warming eco-bullshit.

    I am not an environmentalist (can you tell?) but I do have a fairly strong "green" streak from an education in ecology and evolution. The thing is, I care about REAL environmental issues (like pollution) that actually ARE issues and make sense… not pseudo-problems dreamed up as a tool to control others. Wherever the truth of the productivity of earth lies, we could simply let the free market figure it out. It's already been proven in this arena to do it oh so well.

    That said, I can sympathize with the moral side of the vegetarian argument when it comes to how animals in the United States are raised. Therefore, I can certainly understand why someone would want to be a lacto ovo vegetarian. (Veganism has never made a whole lot of sense to me.) I think the way we raise animals for food in this country is shameful and unnecessary. But I think it's even more shameful that so many people think this is an economic necessity. Like so many other myths, it's simply not. true.

    After much thought about such matters over the past decade, I do concur with Richard, though, that most of it oh so much "green" crapola, curiously foisted on us by the strange bedfellows of "back to nature" hippie types and megacorporations who profit off the misery of others by originating and spreading the propaganda that only plants can feed all these people, while the latter known damn well most of their plant products go to feed cattle, not people (i.e. Monsanto). And while knowing a lot about evolution (at least the plant scientists working at Monsanto do) they are totally ignorant of the evolutionary context of human diet, which is key.

    In short, the whole thing is a type of religion that seeks to enslave others, have them sacrifice their values to an imaginary deity (Gaia) whose existence will forever remain unproven. But it can deceive so many because it is cloaked with an air of science behind the word "hypothesis", as someone who came up with the idea of Gaia once had a hypothesis that became a theory (Lyn Margulis — check out "endosymbiont theory"). And you know how people love arguments from authority…

    • As someone who has considered the Gaia hypothesis, I also know where it came from. An old hippie and an atmospheric scientist published different versions of it three years apart in the 1970s. The latter was one James Lovelock, who worked with Lyn Margulis. For some reason I can’t fathom, he remains unknown to the mainstream. I don’t agree with all the conclusions he’s drawn from his own hypothesis, but the basic idea makes sense to me.

      To oversimplify, Lovelock posited that the biosphere and atmosphere interact in such a way as to resemble the workings of a huge organism–that, in a sense, the Earth is living. If one holds to evolutionary theory, and if one considers that we’ve already found good evidence that living things become symbiotic on a cellular level (for instance, mitochondria are thought to descend from bacteria that developed a symbiotic relationship with a larger cell!), it’s not hard to extrapolate that to the entire biosphere.

      Depending on one’s views about global warming, where Lovelock goes with the hypothesis may or may not be kind of silly (I’m on the fence about that, myself), but the basic idea is nothing to get offended about. It’s not a goddess or a separate being, he just used the name because it invoked a metaphor that might get people’s attention.

      Interestingly, the aforementioned old hippie and his friends went on to conclude that human beings are “children of Gaia,” but I don’t think we’re children of the earth any more than our kidneys would be our own offspring.

      Sorry if this comes off as silly and woo-woo, I just thought I would add to the discussion.

  23. The fertility rates of grain eaters are higher than meat eaters (http://mathildasanthropologyblog.wordpress.com/2008/05/07/), so progression toward all of humanity consuming a proper paleo diet would, probably in a generation, balance itself. I am absolutely not one of the population-reductionists, but this is a natural consequence.

    • I suspect it’s the being domesticated farmers bit and not the grain-eating bit that makes grain-eaters more fertile. Because in the final tally, reproductive systems are eventually damaged and offspring are not as healthy and viable as those of wilder meat eaters.

      The wild tribes spaced their children farther apart not because they couldn’t have kids but because, well, try being a Paleolithic mother with no horse, no cart, no stroller, no nothing and trying to carry two children under the age of four if your tribe has to move to new hunting grounds. At least some of them would have had crude baby slings, but that only goes so far.

  24. Attrus says:

    Really good article. I personally use a high protein diet as my work is quite physically demanding and the protein keeps my muscles happy. Most of the vegetarians I know are not nazis. Some, however, are quite strange. They tend to believe all manner of fairy tales…my favourite being the one about climate change and how carbon dioxide, the very thing that breathes life into their food supply, is a pollutant. The by-product of plant life is oxygen…which we need. Symbiosis. Strange people.

    I think they may actually not be so different as they like to pretend…I mean, they don't think…like so many others, they prefer to let someone else do the thinking and they're perfectly happy to regurgitate.

    • I have met some strange meat eaters as well, actually the worst are prisoners in america. Americans eat the most meat per capita, and the most jailed. Most people who care about our planet, are not concerned about the warming, it’s the polution coming out of factories, vehicles, and construction of buildings causing plants to die, and cancer to spread. Methane gas from cows and pigs is not to good for the ozone, just ask the scientists in Argintina. You are addicted to Meat and if you weaned off it too quickley you will get weaker for a while until all the uric acid get’s out of your body. If you keep up your diet your arteries will shrink and you will have many problems with E.D. The big fairy tale is the protien myth. It does not take protien to make protien like the ethical meat and drug industries what you to think. Muscles need vitamines, minerals and oxygen to thrive not rotting carcus.

  25. You know what? I don’t give a crap whether a primal diet is sustainable for this planet’s present population levels. Maybe that sounds nasty, but that’s the way it is. I care about myself, my family, and my friends on a personal level.

    Big picture…yeah…it would be great if everyone was in perfect health. You know what? It isn’t going to happen. It isn’t like the majority of people would get on board with primal eating even if the government and their own personal doctors recommended it. Let’s get real. People overeat, they drink too much, they smoke, they abuse drugs, they don’t exercise. What makes anyone think that the average person will do anything differently?

    • I think there are too many of us simply because there are. We grew too much grain, now we’ve got too many people. I also think the problem will correct itself in time, whether through disease or some other means, and we won’t be able to do anything about it otherwise unless we want to watch people starve, which most of us don’t.

      So I don’t fret about it. I care, but I can’t do anything about someone on the other side of the world and I can’t trust that a do-gooder charity is going to do good work in my name in that regard. So I only worry about me and mine. That’s all I can do.

      If people would mind their own damn business first and worry about others only when they’ve got the surplus time, energy, and resources to drive it, they would actually wind up doing a lot more good in the world. Part of the problem with activists is they make that their career, so they have no incentive to actually solve the problem they’re crusading about because it’s their bread and butter. What would a paid activist against world hunger do if world hunger were resolved? More than unhealthy habits, people are largely unwilling to change career tracks in mid-life, even though they’re more than capable of doing so.

    • never say never as people eat better they feel better and do not need drugs to feel better Better to eat fresh fruits and veggies then pay people to kill animals. It isn’t going to happen? People also said if man were meant to fly he would have wings.

      • Actually, Sean, many of us much prefer to kill our own meat ourselves… To paraphrase Ted Nugent, the fact that some of us go so far as to say “Ew” when confronted with a little blood and guts just goes to show how unnatural and neurotic our culture is. The proper reaction to blood and guts is “Hooray! We eat tonight!”

        If humans were meant to eat nothing but plants we’d have bigger molars, no canines, eyes on the side of our head, longer intestines, and more stomachs.

  26. While I agree with this post and am certainly NOT a vegetarian, I just have to point out that it IS possible to thrive on a healthy plant-based diet, despite all the lovely personal anecdotes you all have provided. For a guide on how to do so, just go take a look at Dr. John Berardi's Plant-based Diet Guide, part of his Precision Nutrition manual.

    To the poster who said their girlfriend was really weak when she was vegetarian.. well yeah, she probably wasn't eating enough protein or calories for that matter. Is it possible to eat enough protein as a vegan without eating too much? Yes.. it's just very expensive to eat seitan, vegan protein powders, and all that other processed fancy bullshit all the time. One could try to derive all their protein requirements from legumes, but their dietary carbs & calories would likely go through the roof.

    Also, not all vegans or veggies are destined to a future of diabetes and heart disease. Unfortunately, these kinds of knowledgeable vegans/veggies seem to be the minority… and like many of you have said, most of them eat like crap and spout bullshit.

    • Why? We love meat.


      Richard Nikoley
      http://www.freetheanimal.com
      - Sent from my iPhone

      • Exactly, Richard! There are cases of “don’t confuse me with the facts because in my heart I know I’m right” all over this place, and I just wanted to point out that this “vegan/vegetarian = intrinsically unhealthy” idea that is pervading here is not the truth many of you are making it out to be. And I cited my reference :)

      • I would say that a vegetarian or vegan diet is intrinsically _unnatural_, and that's the solid truth. We are not herbivores.

        So, can one then make a healthy diet nonetheless? Perhaps, with a lot of effort. I'll bet most don't, particularly for those whose focus is moral or political, not health. People who focus on health do better regardless of dietary composition primarily because they avoid eating lots of junk.

        That said, the same effort put towards a natural diet that includes animal and/or fish protein is likely to fare better, given similar effort.

    • actually 2 3rd’s of worlds population is veg. They don’t eat crap and spout bullshit like you say. They gave us most of the tasty foods, Mexican, Thai, Etheopion, Italian, middle eastern, etc.. very tasty foods, they could not afford the “rich mans food, meat” That protien thing is a myth the meat co’s pushed for decades and the ama agrees with them because they sell drugs, not teaching people about diet. The trick is the slow transition to fruits and veggies. As you become cleaner your body will reject the fowl smell fo rotting animals.

  27. I don’t know how we can feed the world. I know the countries that are starving just want a full belly once in a while and the countries of the west that are obese really need to eat a whole lot less and the right type of food. When food is big business we have big problems.
    Less is more- population control would do the world some good. Less war, less pollution, less demands onthe land. Of course the Catholic Church will freak out…. see it is a good idea.

  28. gallier2 says:

    pjnoir said
    > population control would do the world some good.

    Start by yourself, kill yourself or at least sterilize yourself. I hate it when people want to downsize others. This said I think the problem is the other way round. We have a population explosion because of the false nutrition beliefs of agriculturalism.

  29. While it is true that neanderthal’s diet consisted almost entirely of meat, humans were omnivorous, eating a variety of small animals, plants and fish [1]. We are hunter-gatherers not just hunters. Neanderthals went extinct about 40k years ago and human lived on – we have almost no DNA in common with our carnivorous cousins [2] except for a common ancestor some 700k years ago when the species diverged. Therefore you can’t really infer anything about optimal human diet based on neanderthal diet.

    [1] http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2009/08/comparison-of-neanerthal-and-modern.html
    [2] http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2009/03/quantifying-extent-of-possible.html

  30. strange, its seems you do the very thing that you claim all vegans do, preach. Your little anictdote could easily be turned on your own views. the truth is that if right now we all turned to hunter-gatherers right now, the biosphere would be distroyed.

    • “the truth is that if right now we all turned to hunter-gatherers right now, the biosphere would be distroyed.”

      The truth is that’s not going to happen. In the meantime, I’m eating as my nature demands.

      Really, I see this lame “argument” all the time: “everybody can’t eat like that.” So that means those who can & do should sacrifice health and well being? Nonsense.

  31. Great post. I suspect that 1982 Richard Leakey quote from the journal Nature (which unfortunately requires payment for access) was taken out of context, based on other later Leakey quotes that zealous vegetarians will never tell you about, such as the following from People of the Lake (1988 edition):

    pp. 83-84: “Hominids started making stone tools to a purposeful and organized pattern at least 2.5 million years ago, and probably earlier. ….

    We can only guess how our ancestors used these tools in their daily lives: they would have to slice meat occasionally, perhaps using the small or bladelike flakes….”

    page 99: “Anyone who has experienced life in a hunter-gatherer camp knows that meat is much less of a simple [much more special and valued] body fuel than is plant food. When a man brings meat, whether it is a small springhare slung casually over a shoulder, or a large meaty limb sliced from a big antelope, ripples of excitement rapidly spread throughout the whole camp: the bigger the prize, the greater the excitement.”

  32. <>
    Dear Sir,
    You give an extremely negative emotional response to a misperception of scientific principles. As a paleo diet follower, you could appreciate the importance of the ancient past, I would think. Consider that over 100s of millions of years, plants died and were buried under the ground over time. Through heat and pressure their carbon structures transformed into fossil fuels. Now we take them out of the ground and burn them, thus releasing all the carbon that had been sequestered under ground. This is a simple fact.

    Another simple chemical fact is that carbon dioxide’s bonds between carbon and oxygen traps infrared radiation. Any child can do a simple experiment with two aquariums, one full of carbon dioxide-enriched air, the other with normal air. (We do this in my classroom.) Shine a light on them both and watch the temperature rise in the CO2 enriched air. It’s simple physics. Not mysterious original sin or a political scam. The fact that human activities are releasing carbon into the atomosphere, and that increased carbon increases temperatures on the planet, is straightforward physical science.
    I respect your views on diet, I just hope you might tone down the needlessly hostile rhetoric against the scientific community.
    -a physical science teacher

    • Physical science teacher bla bla bla. I know more about it than you.

      Next, shithead, you get immediately on my very bad side when you spout simple examples I’ve known about forever, not quoting what I actually said, all as a dishonest and disingenuous implication that I don’t understand or am unaware of simple science.

      So go fuck yourself. “Teacher.” Got it?

      Now here’s a lesson for you, so perhaps you can stop feeding your students stupid bullshit politicized garbage masquerading as “science.” The chief sources of Co2 in the atmosphere are:

      1 Animal and plant respiration, by which oxygen and nutrients are converted into CO2 and energy, and plant photosynthesis by which CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and stored as carbon in plant biomass;

      2 Ocean-atmosphere exchange, in which the oceans absorb and release CO2 at the sea surface; and

      3 Volcanic eruptions, which release carbon from rocks deep in the Earth’s crust (this source is very small). [Note: that's from the EPA; funny the "very small" bit. Yep, relatively speaking but what they don't mention is that volcanic activity dwarfs human contribution.]

      Human contribution to TOTAL atmospheric Co2 is about 3%. Three. Percent.

      Moreover, 95% of the greenhouse effect is accounted for by water vapor in the atmosphere. And 99.99% of atmospheric water vapor is natural in origin. In total, natural AND anthropogenic Co2 account for about 3.5% of the total greenhouse effect, so that man’s total contribution to the greenhouse effect is on the order of 0.1%. That’s 0.001. See here for a decent primer if you can wrap your unscientific, brainwashed mind around it.

      http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/greenhouse_data.html

      And what about Natural Co2?

      “500 million years ago CO2 levels were likely 10 times higher than now.[14] Indeed higher CO2 concentrations are thought to have prevailed throughout most of the Phanerozoic eon, with concentrations four to six times current concentrations during the Mesozoic era, and ten to fifteen times current concentrations during the early Palaeozoic era until the middle of the Devonian period, about 400 Ma.[15][16][17] The spread of land plants is thought to have reduced CO2 concentrations during the late Devonian, and plant activities as both sources and sinks of CO2 have since been important in providing stabilising feedbacks.[18] Earlier still, a 200-million year period of intermittent, widespread glaciation extending close to the equator (Snowball Earth) appears to have been ended suddenly, about 550 Ma, by a colossal volcanic outgassing which raised the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere abruptly to 12%, about 350 times modern levels, causing extreme greenhouse conditions and carbonate deposition as limestone at the rate of about 1 mm per day.[19] This episode marked the close of the Precambrian eon, and was succeeded by the generally warmer conditions of the Phanerozoic, during which multicellular animal and plant life evolved. No volcanic carbon dioxide emission of comparable scale has occurred since. In the modern era, emissions to the atmosphere from volcanoes are only about 1% of emissions from human sources.[19][20]”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_gas

      I could go on an on.

      Now get out of my sight and continue on your path of being an “official science teacher” for the Church of the State.

  33. So your logic is that, since human CO2 contributions are a small percentage of the overall greenhouse effect, that the current human-induced rise in atmospheric CO2 cannot possibly account for the climate changes that we are experiencing? It’s ONLY 3% after all and ONLY 0.1% of the total greenhouse affect.

    If you had any understanding of the scientific principles which you vehemently spout, you would know that a system can have tight tolerances and small changes can affect the equilibrium dramatically. Don’t believe me? Try adding arsenic to your diet at 0.1% of your food consumption. It’s ONLY on the order of 0.1%. That’s 0.001. Seriously, try it.

    Irrefutable fact: The climate IS changing. Now we can sit around spouting pseudo-science and poor logic to claim that humans did or did not cause the problem. You can’t outright discount ‘natural’ climate patterns or the human contribution to greenhouse gases. And ultimately the extent to which humans contributed to climate change doesn’t matter – we will have to adapt to the climate regardless.

  34. “If you had any understanding of….”

    Wrong way to deal with me.

    “Try adding arsenic to your diet at 0.1% of your food consumption. It’s ONLY on the order of 0.1%. That’s 0.001. Seriously, try it.”

    How about a _pertinent_ example? This right off the bat tells me I’m dealing with the equivalent of a true believer, like the Shiite Baptists I grew up with, always coming up with irrelevant, non-sequitur examples & anecdotes.

    Co2 is highly _essential_ to all plant & animal life on planet Earth. And, duh, but even water is toxic at extreme levels of intake.

    “The climate IS changing.”

    The climate has _ALWAYS_ changed. This is nothing new. You’re confusing an association (emergence of industrial man) with cause. Typical scientific illiteracy.

    Jesus but I’m impatient with those who think their infinitesimally minuscule slice of existence on Earth in the scope of all is of supreme importance to mother nature. Even funnier and stupider: those willing to give up their own life agenda in sacrifice to the mystical cause. You poor duped and pathetic soul. But hey, it’s your life. Be a perfectly useful idiot idiot if you like. Not my thing, though

    Go take it up with your fellow church congregants, Matthew.

    If by chance you can see your way through to actually entertain some skepticism, here.

    http://www.climate-skeptic.com/
    http://climateaudit.org/
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/

    And don’t bother. I have checked in with “RealClimate” for many years. That combined with the relentless media scaremongering and I’m well acquainted with the general catechism.

  35. I think health and fitness has less to do with whether one eats meat or not and more to do with lifestyle choices, i.e. moderation, exercise and so on. I became a vegan in 1980 for ten years and during that time, climbed (rock and ice), white-water canoed, skied six or more marathons of 50 to 65 kms, scuba-dived and during that time never got sick. I began to occasionally eat fish in the 90s because I traveled so much. Over the past few years, I’ve even been known to eat chicken.

    I now live in the arctic and at the age of 65 I might even try this paleo thing. I suspect, however, that unless one exercises, abstains from smoking, reduces the amount of booze and cuts back on junk food, it doesn’t matter what diet one follows. A lousy life style will get a person sick and likely die young. But there aren’t any guarantees either way.

    To quote from an earlier post by CJ Hunt: “There are three things in life which are very visceral: religion, politics, and nutrition.” From what I’ve read on the posts, the hyperbole and bad manners demonstrated would certainly bear this out. Even though you have contributed to this Richard, good for you for providing the forum.