Grains, Vegetarians, Vegans and Nutritional Density

Yesterday I posted about how well it's going with the book and its 2nd Edition. Here's an excerpt from Chapter 3 on grains, vegetarianism, veganism and a bunch of nutritional comparisons. This is first draft stuff, so it has yet to go to the editor or proofreading. Those who read the first edition will notice this section as being tremendously expanded.

~~~

Even when not considering the problems with grains in terms of gluten, and other lectins, be aware that they are not very nutritious.

Listen, everyone, and listen closely: if you eat grains as a significant part of your diet, you are getting CRAP nutrition as compared to a Paleo-like diet. It's simply a fact, the "healthy-whole" fraud notwithstanding. And if that’s not enough to convince you, then ask yourself why virtually all grain products have the word "fortified" stamped on the package. Good nutritional sources need never be "fortified."

How about a visual representation? What if we compared the nutrition in an average loaf of bread (about 1,400 calories) to say, the same number of calories of beef liver and salmon?

Bread

Screen Shot 2011 09 26 at 2 43 09 PM
 

Beef Liver

Screen Shot 2011 09 26 at 2 43 28 PM
 

Salmon

Screen Shot 2011 09 26 at 2 45 13 PM
 

Don’t look just at the height of the bars, but at the numbers at the top of the bars. A bar at the top means “off the scale.” Examining the numbers gives you an idea of how proportionally off the scale each nutrient is relative to the same nutrient in ”fortified” bread. For most micronutrients, a Paleo diet outstrips a standard, grain-based diet by 100–300% in terms of nutritional content. The livers of all animals and fish are nature’s true “multi-vitamin.” For a more thorough look, see my post at Free the Animal that incorporates these images.

Let’s run the actual numbers above, comparing 1,400 calories of bread to the same amount of beef liver for the 21 different nutrients listed. On average, for bread—adding up all the numbers at the tops of the bars— you get average nutrition across the 21 nutrients of 85% (1,777 / 21). That is, if you eat the entire loaf in a day, you’re still 15% under the government’s established recommendations.

Now let’s have some fun with the liver: 2,640%! No, that’s not a typo: Two Thousand Six-Hundred Forty Percent! (55,403 / 21), almost 25 times as much nutrition as the bread. Think of that the next time you hear nonsense about “superfoods”—and it’s always some silly berry, or leaf, or something else that while decent, never holds a candle to animal foods in terms of nutrition. When is that last time you heard of any animal food being referred to as a superfood in any mainstream outlet? Probably never. That’s how backwards everything is and just another example of what you’re up against.

Want another example? How about raw oysters on the half shell, which I happen to love. Thing is, it’ll be tough for you to get 1,400 calories worth. In fact, 24 raw oysters, a large serving indeed, has only 230 calories, 1/6th of that 1,400 calorie loaf of “fortified” bread. But guess what? in that 230 calories you’ll find 400% of the USRDA for those same 21 nutrients in our comparison. So, one-sixth the caloric energy, almost five times the nutrition!

So how about if we compare a relatively nutritious plant food to bread? Potatoes are just such a thing. Sweet potatoes are slightly more nutritious than plain white potatoes, so let’s use those. Another thing about potatoes in general is that they’re gluten free, unlike bread, but—depending on the variety—can have 10—13% protein and it’s a quality amino acid profile; whereas, the tiny protein in bread is virtually all gluten, a big problem for increasing numbers of people. One large sweet potato (excluding any garnishes like butter and not eating the skin) will provide you with 200 calories, one-seventh of that loaf of bread. But the nutrition over those 21 nutrients is 25% of your USRDA. Yes, one potato per day gets you 25% of your nutrition. If you were to eat seven of them—in order to match the caloric energy of the bread—you’d get 175% of your USRDA, or exactly two times the “nutrition” in the loaf of bread. ...For centuries, potatoes have been considered a poor man’s food, yet their nutritional density is such that eating only half of an average male’s daily caloric requirements gets you twice your recommended allowance in vitamin and mineral nutrition! Bread is the true poor man’s food.

[...]

What About Vegetarianism and Veganism?

First, it's important to draw a clear distinction between vegetarianism and veganism: vegetarians traditionally consume nutritionally-dense animal nutrition in the form of eggs and dairy. Vegans do not. Nutritionally, this makes a world of difference. Either you consume animal products or you don’t, and that’s the real distinction to understand.

Some vegetarian societies, such as India, have thrived for millenia, but there has never been any such thing as a vegan society. A fruit-based, raw vegan diet that excludes all animal nutrition is only theoretically possible in narrow, niche environments, such as a rain forest. I say "theoretical," because even supposed primate herbivores are omnivorous. They eat bugs, worms, grubs and termites, and sometimes turn to actual predation and eating of other primates.

You’re already familiar with the nutritional comparison of bread versus animal nutrition and even potatoes. But how about fruit? While fruit is indeed a Paleo food, is it suitable as your only food? Some people think so. So let’s see.

The blog post in question was the result of a live Internet debate I had with a raw fruitarian vegan in April of 2011, with 1,000 people listening in on phone lines and many others streaming live over the internet. During that debate, I issued a challenge to vegans: compare a meal of just fruit to a meal of just beef liver, nutritionally. One vegan took up the challenge and this was the result: Nutrition Density Challenge: Fruit vs. Beef Liver. The comparison took place in two parts. The first part sought to find out how much raw fruit (various, mixed) would be required to roughly equal the vitamin and mineral profile for only 4 ounces of beef liver. The answer is that it took 5 pounds and 850 calories of fruit to roughly equal the nutrition of 4 ounces and 150 calories of beef liver!

But who eats only 150 calories for breakfast? What happens if, in addition to the liver, we add a sweet potato, some eggs, and a little fruit, in order to get up to equivalent 850 calorie meals?

The charts below represent the overall nutrition over 21 nutrients with the vegan, raw fruit meal on top and the omnivorous meal on bottom.

850 Calorie Comparison
850 Calorie Comparison

Again, look at the numbers at the tops of the bars that are off the chart in order to judge the real relative comparison. As with our other nutritional comparisons, here’s how these meals stack up:

  • 850 Cal Mixed Raw Fruit: 127% USRDA (4 of 21 nutrients over 100%)
  • 850 Cal Omivorous Meal: 440% USRDA (12 of 21 nutrients over 100%)

Yes, indeed, in the fruit meal there are only 4 of the 21 nutrients that provide 100% or more of the RDA, but 3 of those 4, just barely (vitamin C being the only one off the scale). So in essence, a single nutrient at 1,500% of the RDA skews the whole analysis pretty badly. If we were to take vitamin C out of the equation and just average the other 20 nutrients, the fruit meal provides only 57% of the RDA. As you can see, however, we do not have nearly this same problem with the omnivorous meal, because 12 of the 21 nutrients are over 100% and of those, 5 are off the scale. Just removing vitamin C as we did in the fruit meal changes nothing at all, because the general nutrition is excellent and widespread.

This is a very, very sad reality for vegans.

Vegans are experimenting with their lives to a profound degree, far beyond just tweaking a variable or two. Rather than eliminating the most egregious neolithic agents, like wheat, sugar and high-omega-6 industrial oils, they eliminate everything our ancestors ate going back more than 4 million years. The vegan diet requires the massive destruction of habitat for “fields of grain,” modern processing techniques, and delivery to markets far far away. Vegans hardly live in the pristine natural paradise they try to sell you on.

Veganism in general, and raw veganism in particular, is a recent human phenomenon that constitutes a mass nutritional experiment with its basis more in ideology, feeling, and myth than in biology, physiology, and nutrition. Vegans begin, as do many Western religions, with their own version of the doctrine of Original Sin.

They try to make you believe that you're guilty by nature. You love the taste and smell of grilling animal flesh, and that makes you a bad person. Vegans sacrifice their desire to eat flesh in favor of "higher ideals"—as if there was any ideal higher than to live the life of a human animal on Earth as nature has suited.

Those listening to the “experts” or buying into fundamentalist vegan ideals are getting fatter and sicker. If you forget what you’ve learned from the ADA and mainstream nutritionists, self-experiment with the lifestyle you were born to live, and follow your instincts to eat real food, the pounds will start melting away and your health will improve immensely.

Additional Resources

  • The Bible of the vegetarian and vegan zealots is, of course, The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell. For an exhaustive series of critiques of the book using Campbell’s methods to statistically analyze the Actual China Study Monograph data, see Raw Food SOS, blogged by statistics geek Denise Minger.
  • Want more proof that a diet with any significant grain content is nutritionally inferior, and woefully so? See this post at Free the Animal comparing an average day’s nutrition for a SAD eater with that of a Paleo eater.

See also:

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Comments

  1. Richard, I recall reading somewhere that Indian and other vegetarian/vegan populations were, indeed, consuming animals in the form of insects or, if near the ocean and using seaweed in their diets, micro-crustaceans. Once food hygiene and inspection became the norm for all harvests, the nutritional value of vegetarian diets plummeted, because the bugs and bacteria or crustaceans they were eating were no longer present on their food and hence in their diets. It was an intriguing idea and one of the things that made me do some deeper thinking about a vegan diet.

    I also think it is important to make some points about bioavailability. We all know, by now, that just because grains contain certain vitamins and minerals, we are not necessarily capable of absorbing and using them in our bodies due to the indigestible qualities of these plant foods. Same for the iron in spinach, and the calcium in milk (an occasion where the bioavailability of calcium is greater from plant sources than animal sources). The nutrient profile of foods is only half of the story; how our bodies are capable of extracting and using that mine of resources is the other half that is not stressed enough in the lay literature on the subject of diets.

  2. Richard – you absolutely need to adjust the scales to show the full measurements. This will give a proper comparison and visually will make the point MUCH clearer with no explanation necessary. “tip jar”

    • Yeah exactly what I was thinking. The whole point of a graph is so you don’t have to reason out the numbers you can just look at it.

    • Yea, I’ve thought of this, mark, which would be easy enough in the graph function of a spreadsheet program. Problem is, if you look at the numbers, in order to fit it into a reasonable sized graphic for a book, it would be like comparing the distance to the moon in some cases with the height of The Empire State.

      But I’ll give it a look.

      • That’s the point – compare it to the moon!! You spend too much time trying to explain the graph limits – no what I mean?

      • Just change the scale.

      • OK, I went and did it, bread vs liver. It’s just not meaningful because the vertical axis scales to 30,000 and most of the other values are less than 100. So, it’s basically a graph showing vitamin A, B12 and Copper and you need a magnifying glass to see anything else, even expanded full screen on my Apple 27″ cinema display.

        I think the 850 cal fruit vs omnivorous meal might be better.

      • It’s usually done with a logarithmic graph, but of course that makes less obvious the huge differences to the average person, which is sort of the point in the first place.

      • Indeed, Sean. I’d often look at the logarithmic graphs for stock charts back in the trading days.

        I’d forgotten about that. I’ll play a bit more.

      • Richard, mark and john have a good point, but I agree in practice it doesn’t work well except for the 850 cal meals.
        There’s a compromise that allows better visual than One scale for this situation, where the difference between samples’ scales isn’t very continuous (lots of things in the hundreds for one sample, lots of things in the thousands for another) :
        You can just Break the scale in two, up to say 300, then hash lines for the break, then start-up in the thousands – this gets you a better visual contrast without losing all information at the low numbers (though I’d suggest only go to 10k, leaving just one nutrient ‘off-scale’). Can play with it until get most satisfying visual effect, or, you know, just email it to me in any spreadsheet program, I’ll fool-around with it, I’m working from home for a few days.

      • Oh yeah, I agree with Sean, logarithmic might do it too, not as big contrast as linear scale but at least Some visual contrast and again not losing all info at the low end (but you Will lose some this way).

      • Marie:

        Cool.

        I’ll email you the data sets later today. Thanks.

      • You can just Break the scale in two, up to say 300, then hash lines for the break, then start-up in the thousands – this gets you a better visual contrast without losing all information at the low numbers (though I’d suggest only go to 10k, leaving just one nutrient ‘off-scale’).

        Yeah, this would probably have the best visual impact, you crowdsourcing bastard.

      • “….you crowdsourcing bastard.”

        Still hopelessly searching for a grain of wisdom after all these years.

      • Richard, If your blog was successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great commenter somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable blog that you have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in fiber optic cable and routers. If you’ve got a blog — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the blogs could make money off the Internet.

        I hope you feel suitably humbled.

      • Indeed.

        And you know why? Arrogance, assholiness, and general fuck-you-ness never built or did anything.

        Everything we have, we owe to humility.

      • Excuse me while I do a spit-take. (grin)

      • Repeat after me, Richard, “Government roads create wealth not vice versa.” See how easy that was. This was just your first lesson in humility.

      • But of course, Sean.
        However, don’t forget selfish self-interest.
        I, for example, am just angling for an invite to his sea-side paradise when he finally decides to retreat there – I spear-fish the octopi, you guys do all the rest, eh? ;)

      • Except I can’t stand octopus. And they aren’t very conducive to spear-fishing anyway. But I’ll take anything you or any other anointed commentor manages to catch with a spear or any other device.

      • Well, you are right, technically it is not really spear-fishing, it is spear-hunting – one must dive, and hold breath for several minutes – I am good at this, much practice (and note, I am trying hard not to speak with a French accent here, keeping your previous sensibility in mind ;))

      • Michael P (@PizSez) says:

        For the graphs: use a logarithmic scale?

      • Michael P (@PizSez) says:

        Oh, never mind.

      • Yea, scientist PhD marie isn’t commenting right now because she’s got squirrels on running mills doing that very thing as we speak.

      • Squirrels enjoying the exercise :), linear double-scale with break is winning-out at the moment, some progress with graphics, check your mail…

      • Bushrat says:

        Actually, just use more graphs. Show the first graph to scale with some things so tiny it can’t be seen then show a second zoomed in graph where some things are off the charts but you can see all the smaller things now.

        Or, do charts of each individual nutriet with all the foods you can get it in lined up side by side.

  3. Lilana says:

    “as if there was any ideal higher than to live the life of a human animal on Earth as nature has suited.”

    THANK YOU. This general concept has been my motto for quite some time. How about Occupy The Forest?? Better than getting pepper sprayed, and you’re off the grid, to boot!

  4. What I don’t get is kale. Someone mentions kale and people are jumping over each other to express how much they love it. Yet a whole cup of it has only 33 calories:

    http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2461/2

    So say you need 2500 calories a day to break even. That’s 75 cups of kale. I don’t think I want to spend much time around someone who eats 75 cups of kale a day, the farting alone would be intolerable.

    • rob, didn’t you get the memo? we’re all supposed to be devolving back to primates, spending every waking hour chewing and digesting fiber.

      Plus, all those plants have PHYTOCHEMICALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      ….As if the morons using that word all the time have a fucking clue what it means. What it means is that phytochemical is the word we use when we really don’t have any clue what it is or what it does.

      • And Kale just tastes so God Damn yummy doesn’t it – almost as good as pine needles. I think I might eat one leaf every month by accident.

      • I figure in a natural setting it would make decent toilet paper

      • Nothing beats lettuce for that, Romaine : “2-ply and 2x softness of the leading kale product ! ” ;)

    • Just eat your kale with some meat and lots of Smetana (heavy cream) for calories.

      Or mash it with potatoes and serve it with beef (Brisket) that is cooked some hours (typical Dutch recipe).

      Kale is just lovely.

      • Ah Victor, you are giving vegetarians a heart-attack just at the thought!
        Bravo.

    • Galina L. says:

      Nutritional-wise, most veggies are just fat-carriers.

  5. You should create what vegans consider to be the healthiest meal possible (lots of soy for protein, lots of whole grains for carbs and fruits/veggies) and see where the RDAs come into the healthiest possible meal for omnivores. Listing out in detail each meal, it would give your charts a lot more credibility. Then maybe say something like “It would take XXXX calories to get close to the RDAs of a XXX calorie omnivorous meal.

  6. I like it.

    < Those listening to the “experts” or buying into fundamentalist vegan ideals are getting fatter and sicker.

    If I as a (temporarily) successful vegan would read this, I would probably lose trust in the whole book. It's a cheap shot in my view anyway. Looking forward to hear why I'm wrong ;)

    • So, you like cheap shots? Sorry, I’m not following.

      • Richard

        I think he means that, as we know, people who go from the SAD to veganism experience health improvement and gain a sense of well-being temporarily as the body is eating its own fat finally and is getting respite from the anti-nutrient tsunami of the SAD. So for those vegans just starting out, this article will indeed be dismissed because of that line Andy mentioned.

      • What I think people fail to understand, Contemplationist, is that I have no interest in winning over veg*ns, per se.

        That is to say: THEY WILL COME TO ME.

        That is the only way I’ll have it, the only one’s I have the slightest interest in. My terms, unconditional.

    • No, you are right – just keep eating lettuce and don’t listen to him as he is lying about everything. The vegen way is the only way to health and eternal human salvation.

  7. I’m always seeing – not only on this site but on many others – admonitions about what I should eat.

    The admonitions boil down to eat good foods, avoid bad foods, avoid/eat not too bad/good foods.

    However, if I can’t stand eating the good foods why should I eat them?

    Do I have to serve a life sentence eating what I don’t like because it’s good for me?

    Should every meal be an ordeal?

    Should I suffer this daily torture for the rest of mi life in pursuit of an uncertain promise of a healthy future?

    Isn’t this sounding like religion?

    • Lilana says:

      josef,
      It *would* seem like religion, except for one glaring difference–this all has basis in provable fact. We may not have actually proved all the facts yet, but they’re there for the discovering, unlike, say, whether or not there was really a virgin birth.

      The big reason why you’re even finding yourself saying this is because people, thanks to the miracle of Progress!(tm) have found ways to make and market foods that trick your body into thinking it’s getting some amazing treat (thanks to too much salt/sugar/bad fats etc.) when in reality you’re being fed the nutritional equivalent of edible styrofoam. It will keep you alive, but only just. Put it another way, it’s as if you’re saying, “‘Real life’ is a boring life-sentence, but COCAINE! That’s the life for me!” You’ve been duped by an unnatural, unsustainable, and hyperbolic state of eating, and now “normal” isn’t good enough for you anymore.

      If there had never been such inventions, would you be sitting in the forest, complaining over your fruits and nuts and veggies and meat that you REALLY wish you could eat bark and dirt instead (their being the forest junk food equivalent for purposes of the analogy)? That only bark and dirt make eating not an ordeal? What’s so bad about the actual human diet??

      The problem is, you’ve been trained by marketing (both to your brain and taste buds) that poison is the more desirable food item. This is a fictitious construct, and you’re letting it and the marketers run/ruin your life. Would you starve in protest if there were nothing in the “middle aisles” of supermarkets? I, personally, find the sheer revelation about processed food enough to make the paleo food taste even better than it otherwise would. But if you still just want to eat these modern, food-like inventions, go for it–it may not be a life-sentence tastebud-wise, but it will probably be one medication-wise.

    • Josef:

      Go fuck off.

      And how fucking dare you paint me with that brush, you fucking asshole.

      • If the shoe fits, wear it.

        Go get somebody to fuck you, you fuckin’ charlatan!

      • Didn’t I tell you to fuck off already, Josef?

        Yes, I did, and you know exactly why I did, too.

      • Origins, Larousse, charlatan : “Autrefois, personne qui, sur les places publiques, vendait des drogues, arrachait les dents, etc., avec un grand luxe de discours, de facéties.”
        Originally, someone who, in public places, sells drugs, arranges teeth etc with a great wealth of conversation and jokes.
        This is something to aspire to Richard! After all, you are half-way there with the health-oriented “etc” and the “wealth of conversation”, in a very successful public place at that :)

      • I’ve had an exchange with Josef in email. It appears there may have been a misunderstanding on his part, my part, or both parts.

        I’m cool if he is.

      • AndrewS says:

        so Richard is arranging teeth now? Cool!

      • I’m cool, but you are the man!

    • My favorite drink is wine.

    • You only like wheat, sugar and seed oils?

    • bonita says:

      poor josef! why deprive yourself dear fellow? i think everyone that comes to this site is perfectly comfortable with you eating what you chose to eat.

      the sooner the better, no? isn’t that the crinkle of a bag of tostitos?

  8. Somebody asked me yesterday (a complete stranger — I’m one of those people who talk to anybody who talks to me) when he overheard I’m Celiac. Like most, he thought gluten is a fancy word for wheat. “What CAN you eat?!” You could tell he was freaked that I can’t eat you know: bread. Indeed, I have advanced IBD, so Paleo is perfect (when I do it “right”) because truly, most grains mess me up.

    “Everything else.”

    To my surprise, he next asked, “But you can’t have WHOLE GRAINS?! You need those to live. It’s the healthy food.” He was being very sweet, very concerned and I had to remember that Americans are TAUGHT by our government that this is what we s/b eating! I wish that I had a better way of explaining things briefly. Instead, I said, “You know what’s really healthy and works for me? Google ‘Paleo.’” I wonder if he did. It’s a big-bad rule-changer.

    • This is why I’m so adamant about this.

      This is literally the equivalent of superstition. People really believe that whole grains are the most nutritious, healthy thing you can eat. And, they believe that meat with its fat does more harm that good.

      If this one ignorant belief changes, everything changes.

      Look, even decent health bloggers fall into this trap. What do they blog about 90% of the time? Vegetables & fruits. Organic. Farmer’s Markets (90% vegetables and fruits).

      • Lilana says:

        “Brawndo: It’s got what plants crave–electrolytes!” -Idiocracy

      • Lilana:

        Precisely. Exact equivalent. Not close. Equivalent. A=A, 0=0 equivalent.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Vw2CrY9Igs

      • Steven says:

        Idiocracy – the movie that just keeps on giving and giving…

      • At work I can typically be found gnawing on a hunk of chuck roast with some small potatoes and creamed kale (kale is delicious I think), but one day I brought liver and onions. I was informed by one coworker, “you’re so weird to eat that shit! it’s so disgusting!!” and another “you know that stuff is so horrible for you, right?”

        I haven’t had the pleasure of eating grassfed calf/beef liver, but I do notice that I’m usually notice a positive mood change after eating regular conventional liver. I guess that’s a horribly disgusting thing to experience.

      • Todd

        My wife and I were both raised with our moms cooking liver and onions regularly. They knew it was nutritious (that knowledge has been largely lost in America). Consequently, I like it a lot, but she absolutely loves it. Bugs me to cook it all the time so there’s leftovers. Her breakfast of choice now is a corn tortilla with an oz or two of liver. Says it makes her feel great.

      • I’ve been following Martin Berkhan’s approach to no breakfast and I think it’s really sharpened my mind & body. Just coffee and I’m cruisin til noon without any hitches. Leaning out that last bit too.

        Speaking of your wife having liver regularly (assuming daily?) , I’ve wondered if it would be more beneficial to eat the half pound I eat once a week spread out throughout the entire week? I know your stance on experimenting, but I wonder if anyone else might have noticied a difference by doing this.

      • I doubt it makes too much of a difference, except perhaps for the water soluble stuff, where it may be better to get a daily small dose than a once per week overdose.

      • They nag us incessantly about eating leafy green vegetables because geldings are more easily managed than stallions. The direction for the past 100 years has been to treat humans as herd animals.

      • Great point!
        Considerably more than 100 years, I am currently reading the Dewar manuscripts. The attitude towards the common highlanders by the chieftans and lairds is more than little cynical and, “shepherd like”.

  9. Richard. I would find the graphs more intuitive if you would compare the Recommended Dietary/Daily Allowances for foods with the amount of calories you need in a day and not the amount in a loaf of bread, or one meal. Especially when you start talking about how often a value is above 100% of the RDA.

    • Victor:

      That example is merely to for relative comparison. Look at it this way. How much liver is necessary to get the nutrition in 2 slices of “fortified” bread. Probably less than a level teaspoon.

      …Anyway, I’ve sent some data off to marie for graphing shits and giggles and took Jake’s suggestion. I created an 850 calorie meal that’s varied vegan, roughly 60/20/20. Whole wheat bread, hummus, tofu, almonds, blueberries and strawberries. At just a glance, not an impressive result nutritionally compared to my 850 cal meal with 4 oz liver.

      • Yes, Jake’s one meal head-to-head comparison or victor’s 2000C RDA comparison are more satisfying. Scientifically correct would be the 2000c rda for discussing nutrient excesses to, well, rda :)

        But I also like the meal for everyday appeal, easier maybe to relate to?

        And a very fair one you designed, with several of the most nutritionally dense veggie favorites.

  10. Why is it that many (most?) people find liver distasteful – even revolting – but fruit appealing?

    • Janey

      Conditioning.

      http://bildungblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/between-bites-of-raw-reindeer-tea-party.html

      When you’re truly hungry. you’ll be amazed at what you’ll find ultimately tasteful.

      • Sure, it would probably be very tasty if I were starving. But I’m not. Should I starve myself until I find liver tempting?

      • I don’t should people, Janey. Unless it is to say that you should

        1. pursue your own values

        2. let others pursue theirs

        3. mind your own business

        Liver is, bar none the most nutritious food on the planet, by wide margin. If you can’t stand it, but dense nutrition is appealing to you, there are liver pills made from grassfed Argentinian beef. i blogged about it recently.

      • ….but do what you like. My purpose it to provide info in a lively setting, criticize stupid bullshit in a lively setting, and encourage everyone to make up their own mind.

      • 1. pursue your own values

        2. let others pursue theirs

        3. mind your own business

        Works for me. :)

      • Very good, ma’am.

        Imagine what the world would be like if everyone took that to heart. To stipulate: not talking pacifism, here. I have a number of loaded weapons in my house, only to be used against those who violate those rules against me or someone I love.

      • ebrown2 says:

        Well, my dear late mom cooked it to a fare-thee-well, so much so that it was practically solidified bile. (a legacy of growing up in the 20′s and 30′s and thus having to deal with no refrigeration) It wasn’t until I had my aunt’s that I realized that it was a pretty tasty dish.

      • ebrown2:

        It this the ebrown I’ve known since CompuServe in about 1993, most recently on BBeck’s FB page?

      • Elenor says:

        So, I bought ‘em and have added two of the (monstrously large) pills a day. No noticeable results yet, but my local Whole Foods switched to requiring a purchase of a whole-pound-at-a-time of Patek Liverwurst (OMG — orGASmicly delicious! Esp on bread (which I no longer eat) with Kerrygold and cheese…. O.M.G.!) so I had to quit buying it. (It’s just me, so it would go bad before I could finish it, spread on cheese with a bit of butter…) (And probably liverwurst has less-than-optimal stuff in it for everyday use…) At least I’m GETTING some liver. No brave enough, dunno if I ever will be, to actually cook and eat it!

      • It took me about 20 iterations to acquire a taste. Now I look forward to it ..!

  11. Position of the American Dietetic Association: vegetarian diets.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19562864

    J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 Jul;109(7):1266-82.
    Craig WJ, Mangels AR; American Dietetic Association.
    Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI, USA.

    It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.

    A vegetarian diet is defined as one that does not include meat (including fowl) or seafood, or products containing those foods. This article reviews the current data related to key nutrients for vegetarians including protein, n-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, and vitamins D and B-12. A vegetarian diet can meet current recommendations for all of these nutrients.

    In some cases, supplements or fortified foods can provide useful amounts of important nutrients. An evidence- based review showed that vegetarian diets can be nutritionally adequate in pregnancy and result in positive maternal and infant health outcomes.

    The results of an evidence-based review showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease. Vegetarians also appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than nonvegetarians.

    Furthermore, vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates. Features of a vegetarian diet that may reduce risk of chronic disease include lower intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol and higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, soy products, fiber, and phytochemicals.

    The variability of dietary practices among vegetarians makes individual assessment of dietary adequacy essential. In addition to assessing dietary adequacy, food and nutrition professionals can also play key roles in educating vegetarians about sources of specific nutrients, food purchase and preparation, and dietary modifications to meet their needs.

    • Where’s your evidence, “Evidence Ed?”

      Show me the graphs, the figures, the actual comparisons, nutrient by nutrient. You didn’t read the full text, did you? Abstracts are bullshit. They show nothing. They aren’t “evidence” by even the most liberal standard.

      …Otherwise, shut the fuck and sit your argument-from-authoritity ass down and content yourself in being the fucking liar you are.

      Bye.

      • Wow.

        I present a link to a published scientific paper written and peer-reviewed by trained experts in the field of human nutrition.

        You reply with an outburst of aggression and insults.

        I think this exchange speaks for itself.

      • “I present a link to a published scientific paper….”

        “I think this exchange…”

        See, that’s what a despicable, stupid moron you are. You can’t even tell the difference between you regurgitating stuff you have zero first hand knowledge of (I have 100% first hand knowledge of every single word and figure in the post, because I wrote it—and I’ll take on ANYONE any day over it, publicly) and actually having an exchange, where you say shit like: “you wrote this but you’re wrong because I did these figures and I got this result.” Et cetera.

        You’re a lazy ass who sucks authoritarian cock, and there’s not a person in this comment thread who doesn’t know it.

        Now, put up like I asked, or fuck off.

      • Condescending Vegan says:

        Obvious troll is obvious.

      • Condescending Vegan:

        Laf.

    • Let me put it another way, “Evidence Ed,” you lazy, lying sack of runny shit.

      Dispute one single figure or calculation I did in the post above. I received a number of constructive critiques and criticisms so far–if you even read the comments, which I doubt your lazy ass did–and I’m working on most of them, actually.

      Prove any one thing I said above wrong, and I’ll be the first to admit it, correct it, etc.

      But you won’t, and do you know why? Because even an error here and there that’s big enough to even make a little make a difference won’t change the big picture one bit. That’s because the picture is that veg*ns are fucking ignorant morons. That’s really the big picture. I wanted it that way. Because it’s true.

      Vegetarians (as its practiced now–there’s a comment above as to how it has changed from the sane traditional Indian for to what it is now) and vegans are ignorant of nutrition. Totally so, and you demonstrate it by reading and quoting an abstract, trusting all is well…as though you just quoted a bible verse.

      Prove one single thing I said wrong. May not be too hard to do. I make mistakes. Then, argue how it reverses the whole picture I painted: that an omnivorous diet is not only superior to any veg*n mix in common practice, but that it blows it out of the water. By magnitudes. We’re not talking cunt hairs, here. We’re talking the Grand Canyon, when not talking about the distance to the moon, you stupid fuck.

      Vegetarians and vegans, in general, are all ignoramuses, as it’s practiced now. The only salvation in the traditional form of a vegetarian diet is eggs and dairy, which the Indians used in abundance—before they started getting fucking stupid on the topic, replacing wonderful ghee with vegetable oils, and on and on.

      So, again, prove me wrong, or go fuck off. You can use FitDay or any other tool to do it yourself, just like I did.

      • Nathaniel says:

        But Richard… it is the opinion of the American Dietetic Association! What more evidence do you need??

      • You mean the CONSERVATIVE American Dietetic Association? You forgot the official tag. ;)

      • I am starting to worry more and more that liver is not good for your emotional stability. :-)

        But seriously Richard, the paleo crowd has much more in common with health-concious vegetarians as with typical Western citizens. We only disagree about meat, with respect to most other aspects of diet and lifestyle we agree. If I read the comments, many paleos used to be vegetarians.

      • mehitabel says:

        I don’t normally do this kind of thing but I really need to rant and rage at the moment.
        Dietary position papers should be double-ply.

        I’ve had lymphoma and attempt, less and less frequently, to put up health info in nutrition discussions on several cancer boards.
        I’ve just had a frustrating exchange about the carcinogenic and metastisizing effects of omega-3 fish oil.
        My effort to battle conventional wisdom — cast asunder — posts, links deleted — deemed “not supportive.”
        Fuck’em — let them die.

        On all the boards — sweetness trumps life-saving info every single time.
        Some little old lady who believes every nutritional saw she’s grown up with — gets lung cancer — and suddenly becomes a nutrition expert — never with any meaningful links, never science to back up a word of the crap advice she hands out to other lc sufferers. And they eat it up and think every “but” or “on the other hand” or contrary science link from me is “hostile,” “argumentative,” “angry,” “not supportive.”
        Fuck’em — let them die.

        I’ve had it up to here with the fucking, life-robbing tribalism. “What?!…what?!…you mean you don’t have *my* cancer?!!! You’re telling me to cut out sugar…and you don’t have *my* cancer?!”
        Fuck’em — let them die.

        These are people who’s only notion of supporting the body is endless supplemention and sipping fruit smoothies from the comfy chair. Many are truly dim bulbs — others are bright but see nothing but convention. Not a one sees their life beyond their nose and their personal history. Not a one even “gets” evolution. These are people who truly believe their healing stops the minute they stop thinking about puppy dogs and rainbows.
        Fuck’em — let them die.

        They come on with rants against cancer — primal howls at the unfair loss of their loved one. But they are blind to their addictions. In a nation of 100 million diabetics and pre-diabetics, they are dumbfounded at what could possibly be causing all this cancer. They’ve eaten wheat for decades and have been crapping into their bloodstream and just can’t understand the unfairness of cancer. They watch their moms and dads waste away while being fed iv sugar, and sweet treats because the fucking nutritionally moronic doctors tell them to eat anything, especially high-sugar.
        Fuck’em — let them die.

        joe, annie, lencie, tpal, cards7 — have accidently colluded and carried out a killing. i sensed it was coming, because i’ve been building a little box, nailing wood together in my mind. and now i see it’s a little coffin and it’s for my caring. my caring has finally died. it got no thanks, no credit, no rememberence, no acknowledgement of its existance, then they beat it and bullied it. and now my caring is no more.

        Fuck’em — let them die.

        I thank them. i am free. no need to waste more time caring. let’s make art!

        ron

      • A very reasonable, rational comment. And seemingly overlooked…

      • Whose, Janey?

        Evidence Ed’s?

        If so and I’m not misunderstanding what you are commenting about, then what “reasonable, rational comment?” He cut & pasted. And he added not a scintilla of his own thought, argument or ideas.

        Sure, it’s a “comment,” technically speaking. Contrast it with Veg1′s real comment that not only warranted my best polite behavior, but I agreed with him and the book has been changed.

        See how that works?

      • No, I clicked “reply” on Victor Venema’s comment. Don’t know why it ended up where it did.

    • “nutritionally adequate” oh boy! “infancy” this advice is just pathological.
      We should expect vegetarian to have better health outcomes, A significant (40% and more) number of vegetarians become so for health reasons, in general vegetarians are health concious individualswith far lower rates of smoking drinking etc and higher rates of exercise. Higher incomes and education levels.
      In fact given all this the modest improvements in health should be worrrying.
      Secondly it is rather misleading to compare vegetarians to all omnivores, there is a world of difference between what I eat and what the standard Western omnivore eats. The NHS states that a peperami (I don’t know if you have these in America) is nutritionally equivelent to lamb’s or calves liver. Officialdom here reckon that meat is a great source of protein but nothing more. Who cares what “experts” like this have to say
      Anecdotally vegetarian and vegans that I know have had a terrible time concieving relying on IVF (at my expense thank you very much) and difficult pregnancies.
      Most have also started to include some meat into their children’s diet.

      • “Most have also started to include some meat into their children’s diet.”

        I noticed this phenomena at the age of about 13, growing up in fundamental Baptistism. Push comes to shove, and most parents love their children more than their religion.

        Not ideal, because religion is stupid, but a good societal marker nonetheless.

      • Hi Richard, are fundamental Baptists vegetarian?

      • Neal, no, at least not in general or common. I was referring to the underlying principal that when doctrine starts adversely affecting the kids, whatever it may be, often you see a shift favoring the kids. Not always, but a lot, which is a good thing.

      • okay, thanks for that

    • I’ve started to feel sorry for the word evidence lately :(

  12. Richard,

    I say quit giving those fools respect with your responses. Soon there brains will wither away and the world will be a better place. A place where you and I can live in peace sans the fools in the peanut gallery. Healthy and happy.

    If they want to fuck with what was given to them by birth and mess it up, let them. Your time is better spent on your next research/life project.

    • Steven:

      This is exactly how I conduct my real space affairs. In fact, I have a few vegetarian friends. I’ll respectfully answer questions if they ask, but I never bring it up. I even cook for them and try to be accommodating if they’re my guests.

      But this blog, and in particularly the comments, are part spectacle. Totally different and no drain on my life in the slightest respect. Quite the contrary, actually.

  13. Michael P (@PizSez) says:

    I eat vegans all the time.

    They’re called “cows.”

    • Elenor says:

      Not sure this is accurate, although it’s sure funny. Cows eat bugs (insects) with their grassy meals, and most esp. they eat their own bacterial/fungal/faunal digestive factory workers! Their ‘gut-bugs’ (as differentiated from the flying/crawling around ‘real’ bugs (insects) the ingest unintentionally) are the ones who actually ‘eat’ the veggie-matter. The cows eat *them*.

    • becky_yo says:

      The cover of this month’s Lucky Peach magazine features a cow eating a hot dog which totally grossed me out! However, the text inside told me it was a soy dog not a beef dog. I’m not sure that makes me feel much better (for the cow.)

  14. Thanks to your posts Richard I have begun trying to eat liver again. Bad experiences as a kid of my mum’s chewy tough liver and bacon left me traumatized and avoidant. For me its all about the texture, and thats why fruit is more appealing. Getting over my offalphobia required the nutritional facts and evidence like you presented here. Thank you. One question… are there any other offal meats worth eating for their nutrition, I’ve seen heart, spleen, even uterus. Dried blood? I can get it all here, but are there nutritional advantages?

    • Lucy:

      A bit of history. Actually, growing up we ate more venison liver than anything and the only other offal we ate was venison heart, and that was the night(s) of the kill(s) when we were dear hunting mule deer every October in northern Nevada as I was growing up (sliced, battered, fried, like onion rings). I don’t recall saving heart that didn’t get eaten (sometimes there were up to 10 dear taken amongst the hunting party on scene each year). We had frozen venison liver for a good part of the year, beef after that.

      Because liver is the most nutritious, and I like it, I don’t worry about other offal unless I particularly like it. I’ve tried both the French & Mexican versions of stomach (Tripe / Menudo). Don’t like. I’ve had kidney in France, but I only like the sauce, so I just ate that with the noodles they served in the 2 years I lived and worked there, with food prepared for me.

      Here’s one I LOVE, though: BOUDIN NOIR

      http://www.hertzmann.com/articles/2002/boudin/

      It was actually the very first meal I had on the French ship I worked on for 2 years, on the first night I arrived. It’s typically served with mashed potatoes and either some form of baked apple, or applesauce.

      If you live near anywhere there are French restaurants, call them up and ask if they serve it. I love, love love it.

      • There’s a Vietnamese restaurant in my town that serves a pho with beef tripe. It’s good in that. There’s also a Korean place that has a beef intestine & tofu stew which would be absolutely yummy without the slimy tofu.

    • gallier2 says:

      Kidney: in France often done with a heavy brown sauce, but also often grilled as one of the ingredients in brochette (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brochette). My mother used to cook finely cubed in a tomato sauce and served them with Knödel (German potato dumplings), to avoid if you’re low-carb. From a nutrtional point of view it is almost as rich as liver. It has a lot of Coenzyme Q10 which liver does not (if I remember correctly).

      Veal sweetbread called “ris de veau” in France, it’s one of the highly appreciated delicacies here. It has a posh appeal nearly as high as lobster, foie gras* or caviar.

      brain: If one can overcome the texture and its strange blandness. It’s one of the richest source of fully formed omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA), fish oils are dwarves in comparison.

      heart: Quite difficult to cook right but really tasty, contains huge amounts of CoQ10. My mother used to serve heart cubed and mixed with lung. The toughness of the heart was compensated by the mushiness of the lung, eating both separate can have problems.

      tongue: my children’s favourite, I made a soup recently with the cooking water of the tongue, sliced it and served it to the children. Since then they ask for tongue all the time. Some people remove the parts of the salivary glands that are in the lower part of the tongue, it is an error in my view as it is the best tasting part of the whole organ, but granted it’s probably not everyones thing.

      tripe: this one can be tough and is definitly an acquired taste. Especially considered that preparing it is challenging because of the odour. One form of tripe popular in France is andouillette. it’s a kind of sausage that is in fact rolled up tripe. It’s cooked and then fried. There’s a french saying about cooking tripe that says “l’andouillete doit sentir la merde, mais pas trop!” which translated means “andouillette should smell like shit, but not too much!”.

      blood: various recipes for blood sausage around the world, black pudding in the UK, boudin in France (the creole version from the antilles are my favorite), Blutwurst in Germany.

      testicles: a highly praised dish in Spain after a corrida where the cojones of the loser are eaten afterwards. But is also known in France where it is called “rognons blanc” white kidney.

      I recently managed to overcome my revulsion of eyes and was surprized of how good it tasted. I’ve gotten a pig head recently and ate it completely including the eyes. I can not describe how the eyes tasted, but it was one of these foods that your whole body shakes of delight when you eat it.

      * foie gras is an excellent way to get liver in a diet. It’s the also the richest source of Vit. K2 MK4 of any food (Prices butter oil can not be counted as a food, more like a drug or supplement).

  15. I DO NOT… understand vegans, AT ALL!

    • Condescending Vegan says:

      Have you ever tried?

    • GiGi:

      Good for you. I love your schtick for your blog. LOVE IT.

      I do not have time anymore to scour interesting blogs like yours but please, drop in links to your posts in comments here any time you feel it’s warranted and apropos, and I’ll try to link you up in a post from time to time.

      I trust you.

      (One tiny critique on your video. There’s so little PUFA in beef that the n-6/3 ratio is not even worth mentioning.)

  16. Jackson Heidin says:

    Veganism is an “experiment” that allowed Donald Watson(the inventor of the word “vegan”, founder of the Vegan Society, and one of the earliest practitioners of modern Western-style veganism) to live to 95 years of age. About 20 years longer than his average omnivorous contemporaries:

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

    • See, Jackson, that’s what a stupid moron you are.

      Guess what? All four of my grandparents lived well into their 80s and they all smoked. Two of them drank like fish.

      I have a great grandmother who lived to 96, after having survived the onslaught on WWII in Germany. She never heard of veganism her whole life(she died in the early 70s).

      And how would we know whether Watson, a lone individual, was straight up or not? And what did he do generally to promote his own health? At what age did he go vegan?

      I could go on and on, but I’ve already been admonished about casting pearls before swine.

      • Jackson Heidin says:

        What do you think you’re going to achieve by so readily insulting people on this blog?

      • “What do you think you’re going to achieve by so readily insulting people on this blog? ”

        Ideally, behavior such that I don’t have to resort to that. See Veg1′s comment and my reply for an example.

    • Oh, and, Jackson.

      I did notice you had nothing direct to say about the nutritional facts in my post.

      And I know why, even if you don’t. It’s because you can’t do anything but desperately put up an anecdote, the equivalent of which is, “well, Jesus turned water into wine and fed thousands with three fishes.”

      You’re fucking pathetic, as are all brain dead vegans and vegetarians.

      Now go back to answers.com or wherever it is your level of discourse passes for enlightenement. It doesn’t pass here. Put up, or fuck off.

    • I do so love correlations – but you seem to think this is causative?!
      O.k. then, my husband’s mother, two aunts and several uncles are in their 90′s – a couple of years ago , at age 91 (!) she climbed with a WET MATTRESS to the roof of her house to protect it from catching fire during massive forest fires in southern Greece. She eats Lamb nearly every day, fish 1-2 times a week, yogurt, cheese, wine and vegetables, the typical Authentic mediterranean diet (more fish in coastal areas, more lamb in the hills).
      So I guess it’s the lamb that’s doing the trick, by that same correlation ‘logic’.
      .
      I think I should invent ‘Lambism” now and promote it for longevity – I’m open to suggestions :)

      • This was in response to Jackson.

      • Elenor says:

        “Lambism”

        OOOH! I’ll convert! Where do I sign up!?

      • Elenor, laf :-).
        We should start our own ‘evidence’ collection of healthy, active, nonagenarian Lambists, no?
        Round-it-out with recipes of course (!) and life-cycle information from ecologically sustainable lamb grazing – easy that, since lamb/goat grazing is the center-piece of traditional and ecologically Ideal husbandry in the Med…. not the modern destructive mono-crops of grains.
        .
        This needs a tag-line though – one thought : “Lambism, the gentle way of life” – heh, religious overtones a bonus, converts should be inspired !
        Open to suggestions… :) :) :)

    • “having never been sick for longer than 1 day.”, “At the age of 14, he became a vegetarian”

      I find this interesting. Even before before he became a vegan he would never have been sick more than once over 14 years. Still, it is a bad argument and you should know why and you should feel bad.

      • I have read many, many accounts of vegetarian cheaters. It.s a far different thing than a paleo cheater which most of us do from time to time and admit it, but because we’re omnivores anyway, not much to hide.

        Sorry, but I put absolutely zero stock in any indovidual who claims their longevity is caused by availing the most nutritious food there is. It’s a fuckimg stupid claim on its face

        And only fucking stupid people regurgitate it.

  17. Jackson Heidin says:

    No reasonable person would ever buy a supposedly scientific book written by a man who is incapable of civil discourse and who habitually angrily hurls insults during attempted discussion.

    • Jackson

      I told you to fuck off already.

      I’m perfectly willing to entertain any and all direct criticisms of the specific argument and discourse on the post. I assume you can read.

      But you knew before you even started that you didn’t have a prayer on that score. Didn’t you? Instead, you tossed up a pathetic n=1 that virtually every single of the 7 billion people on earth could do. And you thought I’d just sit back and suck you off over it. Didn’t you?

      And now you’re but hurt because I called you on it with the absolute malice such bullshit calls for, but few are willinging to do.

      Now go fuck off, of put up a real argument. You’ll be amazed at my level of civility if you can actually put up a real argument. I’ll even thank you if you can show me where I’m actually wrong, because that would benefit me.

      But I suspect you’re far too stupid and entrenched for any of that.

    • “No reasonable person…”

      Or, a True Scotsman.

  18. Per Wikholm says:

    Richard…

    You can make the graph without truncating it at the top. Look at this Swedish graph of RDI from Dr Andreas Eenfeldt (Dietdoctor.com). He has compared oranges, bananas, apples, eggs, liver and mackerel:
    http://www.kostdoktorn.se/wp-content/2008/01/vitamin-frukt-agg-lever-makrill5000d.jpg

    Beautiful graph, isn´t it? I´ll bet he will let You use it if You ask him!

    About veganism… another factor is that our primate cousines like the gorilla can convert a lot more fibers to short chain fatty acids, making their diet a low carb, high fat diet at the end of the day. I have written a lenghty post on that here:
    http://www.lchf.com/?p=171

  19. Your self-deception is amazing Jackson, truly a thing to behold!
    You’ve demonstrated such a total ignorance of the most basic scientific principles that you cannot possibly render an opinion on anything in this post, let alone this or ANY other data-based book, article, abstract or report.
    You also have no concept of what constitutes a discussion, which is something based on Reasoning at it’s least, together with data at it’s best – in other words, discussion does Not come-about following the mindless expulsions of air to which you have treated this comment section.

  20. comparing 1400kcal of bread with 1400 kcal of liver doesn’t make any sense, nobody eats 1400kcal of liver daily , it would be bad in terms of iron overload and excess copper.
    Many vegetarian foods provide almost all the nutrient in 1000kcal (with the obvious exception of b12 and vitD, the latter is not a problem unless you live in the arctic or don’t get enough sun).
    http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2600/2
    there is no reason a vegetarian should eat only bread, a mix of nutrient rich vegetable,fruits some eggs/dairy along with cereals and legumes will easily provide all the nutrients in excess.
    The population of the alps studied by weston price were eating mostly rye bread and dairy and were free of disease.

    • Mel Birduch says:

      Exactly.

    • Veg1

      First, thank you for putting up an actual argument. Consequently, unlike others, you get my best behavior. I’ll be back to you shortly.

    • “comparing 1400kcal of bread with 1400 kcal of liver doesn’t make any sense, nobody eats 1400kcal of liver daily , it would be bad in terms of iron overload and excess copper.”

      Agreed, though the original purpose of that comparison was a bit different. And, since it’s isocaloric, the real point is that it’s all proportional. So, for example, 2 slices of bread compared to an equal caloric serving of liver will yield the same relative percentages. Here’s the post:

      http://freetheanimal.com/2011/09/wheat-how-about-against-the-grain-and-zero-servings-per-day.html

      But point taken. I’m going to consider simply making a comparison between the average daily grain consumption in the US (if I can locate that figure), use fortified bread as a surrogate for that average grain consumption (because that’s going to include the grain calories in processed foods of all sorts, cookies, crackers, pasta, pizza, etc) and compare that to say, a reasonable 3oz serving per day of liver (which my wife and I do and feel great). In fact, see this:

      http://freetheanimal.com/2012/06/worlds-best-multivitamin-dietary-supplement.html

      On days I don’t eat liver, I take 10 of these and once you factor out the 70% water content of liver, it comes out to about 2.8 oz. One commenter said he and his wife have been taking the pills for years (10 for him, 5 for her) and it’s only to the good.

    • Alright veg1.

      Bravo for helping out here. Once I began to think about it, my purpose here is different from that in that post. Someone previously suggested (Jake, I think) that in the other comparison, an 850 cal meal, raw fruit vs omnivorous, that I include a third, i.e., a varried vegan 850 cal meal, which is done and charted.

      So, what I did this morning was to check out the USDA recommended daily grain intake. 8 oz, with at least half consisting of hearthealthywholegrains(TM). Since hearthealthywholegrains(TM) are supposedly the epitomy of health, well being and nutrition, let’s just go ahead and go for the gold standard and make is the full 8oz a whole grains. As a surrogate for all sources (like pasta and such), I’m using whole wheat bread. It’s 600 calories, so roughly a 4th of an average person’s daily energy.

      I’m comparing that to 4 oz of beef liver, which is 200 calories, so a third of the calories of the bread (wanna guess what it looks like?). Separately, I’m comparing it to an 8 oz portion of salmon, which is 400 calories. Since the liver and salmon combined equal 600 calories, just like the bread, we’re doing a combined, calorie for calorie comparison, 600 cal whole grains vs. 600 cal combined liver and salmon (200 and 400 cal, respectively).

      So, does this make more sense as a reasonable comparison?

  21. Peter Erlmann says:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15702597
    1. Forum Nutr. 2005;(57):147-56.

    Vegetarian diets: what are the advantages?

    Leitzmann C.

    Institute of Nutritional Sciences, University of Giessen, Giessen, Germany.
    [email protected]

    A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that wholesome vegetarian diets
    offer distinct advantages compared to diets containing meat and other foods of
    animal origin. The benefits arise from lower intakes of saturated fat,
    cholesterol and animal protein as well as higher intakes of complex
    carbohydrates, dietary fiber, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C and E, carotenoids
    and other phytochemicals. Since vegetarians consume widely divergent diets, a
    differentiation between various types of vegetarian diets is necessary. Indeed,
    many contradictions and misunderstandings concerning vegetarianism are due to
    scientific data from studies without this differentiation. In the past,
    vegetarian diets have been described as being deficient in several nutrients
    including protein, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin B12 and A, n-3 fatty acids and
    iodine. Numerous studies have demonstrated that the observed deficiencies are
    usually due to poor meal planning. Well-balanced vegetarian diets are appropriate
    for all stages of the life cycle, including children, adolescents, pregnant and
    lactating women, the elderly and competitive athletes. In most cases, vegetarian
    diets are beneficial in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases, such as
    cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, renal
    disease and dementia, as well as diverticular disease, gallstones and rheumatoid
    arthritis. The reasons for choosing a vegetarian diet often go beyond health and
    well-being and include among others economical, ecological and social concerns.
    The influences of these aspects of vegetarian diets are the subject of the new
    field of nutritional ecology that is concerned with sustainable life styles and
    human development.

    PMID: 15702597 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

    • “The reasons for choosing a vegetarian diet often go beyond health and
      well-being and include among others economical, ecological and social concerns.”

      It ALWAYS fucking goes past health and gets religious – period… Save the animals (just give me their eggs) and planet bullshit.

      Here it is in black and white.

      It is healthier to stop eating boxed pizza and twinkies and move to a grain-less vegetarian diet (yes grains are bad :) This has never been and will never be the argument.

      BUT!!!!! it is even healthier to add in various “pastured” and “organic” animal fat/meat/organ with your vegetables and fruit. So go visit a local, organic pastured farm and just see how ecologically fucking sustainable it is.

    • Peter:

      Are you going to make an argument, or simply regurgitate what you’ve read, have zero first hand experience of, but believe anyway? Moreover, that above piece appears to be merely a discussion piece where, in the full text I imagine they cite a bunch of studies to support their beliefs and leave out a bunch that don’t. Typical.

      What is your argument, anyway? That one can, conceivably to vegetarianism well? I suppose the Traditional Indian diet that includes lots of dairy appears to do that. But then there’s this:

      Malhotra SL. Br Heart J 1967;29:895-905

      For six years Indian researcher Malhotra registered how many died from a heart attack among the more than one million employees of the Indian railways.

      According to Malhotra’s report employees who lived in Madras had the highest mortality. It was six to seven times higher than in Punjab, the district with the lowest mortality, and they died at a much younger age. But people in Punjab ate almost seventeen times more fat than people from Madras and most of it was animal fat. In addition they smoked much more.

      And this:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19676146?ordinalpos=2&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

      “Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi, India.

      “The incidence of coronary artery disease (CAD) is increasing at an alarming rate, especially in developing countries, such as India. It is often advocated that a vegetarian lifestyle could reduce the burden of CAD. However, in spite of a majority of Indians being vegetarians, the incidence of CAD is highest in this population. This may be due to deficiency of vitamin B12, a micronutrient, sourced only from animal products.”

      All of this to AVOID something we evolved to eat and which I have conclusively shown in the post above is far more nutritious that plant based foods.

  22. Mike Tolle says:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15702597
    1. Forum Nutr. 2005;(57):147-56.

    Vegetarian diets: what are the advantages?

    Leitzmann C.

    Institute of Nutritional Sciences, University of Giessen, Giessen, Germany.
    [email protected]

    A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that wholesome vegetarian diets
    offer distinct advantages compared to diets containing meat and other foods of
    animal origin. The benefits arise from lower intakes of saturated fat,
    cholesterol and animal protein as well as higher intakes of complex
    carbohydrates, dietary fiber, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C and E, carotenoids
    and other phytochemicals. Since vegetarians consume widely divergent diets, a
    differentiation between various types of vegetarian diets is necessary. Indeed,
    many contradictions and misunderstandings concerning vegetarianism are due to
    scientific data from studies without this differentiation. In the past,
    vegetarian diets have been described as being deficient in several nutrients
    including protein, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin B12 and A, n-3 fatty acids and
    iodine. Numerous studies have demonstrated that the observed deficiencies are
    usually due to poor meal planning. Well-balanced vegetarian diets are appropriate
    for all stages of the life cycle, including children, adolescents, pregnant and
    lactating women, the elderly and competitive athletes. In most cases, vegetarian
    diets are beneficial in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases, such as
    cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, renal
    disease and dementia, as well as diverticular disease, gallstones and rheumatoid
    arthritis. The reasons for choosing a vegetarian diet often go beyond health and
    well-being and include among others economical, ecological and social concerns.
    The influences of these aspects of vegetarian diets are the subject of the new
    field of nutritional ecology that is concerned with sustainable life styles and
    human development.

    PMID: 15702597 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15702597

    • Honestly it seems alot of this has been covered already Mike
      ” The benefits arise from lower intakes of saturated fat,
      cholesterol ” arguments like that are not going to cary a lot of weight on a plaeo blog and in light of much recent work seem positively laughable.
      “economical, (yup meat is expensive) ecological (er no, ever seen a wheat field?) and social concerns (what?).

    • Please, please, please keep lowering your cholesterol- hopefully prior to having kids. so your inflammed cholesterol free brain forgets why you stopped avoiding meat and fat.

    • Mike:

      I guess this means you just popped in to do a quick hit & run copy/paste job, because that “study” was already copy/pasted above.

      Typical vegetarian / religious behavior. Pop in, quote a bible verse, run away.

    • The guy who authored that abstract you linked to is some sort of biased zealot. Has anyone mentioned that yet? I haven’t read all of the comments.

      http://www.euroveg.eu/evu/english/news/news981/leitzmann.html

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pw3K4pRtqM

  23. Txomin says:

    That’s pretty good, Dick.

  24. Styloo says:

    To add insult to injury, grain minerals are extremely low in bio-availability due to phytates, making your mineral numbers VERY generous.

    • AndrewS says:

      Are there any good sources on the bioavailability of minerals from bread products? Or, heck, bio-availability numbers in general. Cuz I could eat shredded car parts and ingest all the minerals I need, but I have a feeling that’s a bad idea.

      • Styloo says:

        Hi Andrew,

        exact numbers are hard to find. Here’s a paper in which some graphs are presented:
        http://www.ajcn.org/content/78/3/633S/F1.large.jpg
        http://www.ajcn.org/content/78/3/633S.full.

        16.6% of zinc is absorbed in white wheat bread with 38.2% in whole wheat

        That graph shows how a non-vegetarian (white bar) diet compared to a vegetarian diet (dark bar). Especially iron seems to suffer. Note that bread especially has a low bioavailability, while other vegetarian sources generally do better (because of lower phytic acid content), and in actual meals absorption is often also better. Iron absorption can be enhanced by eating vitamin C at the same time, while zinc absorption is enhanced by protein intake.

  25. Pablito says:

    Boy, did I have a good news/bad news experience recently!

    Met a new neighbor a few weeks ago; pretty, nice body, woo hoo! In our first conversation I she readily agreed that we should get together for a “sundowner,” drinks at my house on the water very very soon. Then on the phone that expanded to dinner, perhaps, and the bombshell: She’s not just a vegan, but a RAW vegan. I guess that goes right along with her religious bent, too.

    Just my luck.

  26. BigRob says:

    Google “Most nutritionally dense foods” and see how much liver comes up on the list. There’s no offal to be found. Too funny.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing a top nutrient dense paleo food list.

    Would it really even be necessary to eat vegetables?

  27. long time reader, but don’t usually comment. Thanks for this post, I shared it with my friends who will hopefully take something from it. Ever since your first posts on liver being nature’s multivitamin I’ve been incorporating it into my diet with ever increasing frequency. I had to fight hard to choke it down at first, but now I’ve grown to enjoy it.

    One thing I noticed recently: my sleep quality and quantity is vastly improved on days that I eat liver. I’m in Italy for work right now and I’ve had a lot of time in the day to cook, so on two afternoons I’ve whipped up some liver and panchetta for breakfast (around 2PM, only calling it breakfast because it was breaking the fast). On both nights, I slept for 10 hours and woke up feeling like superman.

    I’m curious if anyone else has had a similar experience.

  28. b-nasty says:

    Dead on. I do get tired — even in paleo circles — of the overemphasis on vegetables. I eat some, spinach kale, tomatoes, and broc mostly, but that’s because I enjoy them with my meat. I don’t see the point in spending tons of money (that could be spent on more meat) on the modern, poor-quality vegetables that exist out there.

    I’ve seen it mentioned that many of the USDA figures for veggies were measured 40+ years ago when our soil wasn’t depleted of minerals. It seems plausable that modern veggies are even more worthless than the numbers would show.

  29. Love the graphs! I did a similar comparison here, comparing grains and red meat. http://thehealthycow.blogspot.com/2012/03/why-you-dont-need-grains.html

    • Very good Bredan and witness the result.

      Vegetarians and vegans can’t argue with it. They can go do it themselves. This puts them in the awkward position of claiming that it’s healthier to eat far less nutrition.

      And of course, those who know me know just how much I love that. It’s delicious. It makes them look like fucking morons—even more delicious because they are and justice is delicious too.

      Good job, man. Comment and link up any time. I trust you.

      • Thanks for the compliments Richard!

        I love it too, it’s right there in black and white. Grains are empty calories. Yet vegetarians still don’t get it.

        What I wrote is actually a true story, my good friend mentioned to one of our professors that she doesn’t eat grains. The professor (RD, CDN, PhD, all that shit) was legitimately concerned about her B-vitamin status and her fiber intake. It just blows my mind how someone can study nutrition for so many years and be so damn ignorant.

      • “It just blows my mind how someone can study nutrition for so many years and be so damn ignorant.”

        I think the basic idea of a professor at an institution of rigerous learning is a wonderful thing. Anyone ever see The Paper Chase, John Houseman, in the early 70s?

        That’s my touchstone for a real teacher of young minds.

        Sorry for the complete diversion vis-avis the job holder of your experience.

  30. I’m a vegan of four years, and oddly, a reader of this blog for three. I think I was linked to it by someone bashing you, Richard, and stuck around for reasons that are not clear to me. Though perhaps it has something to do with the fact that almost all vegan blogs suck. Oh well.

    In any case, I’ve never been compelled to comment before, but I’d like to make a case for my not being an idiot. Or rather, I may be an idiot, but it’s not because I eschew animal nutrition. Furthermore, to be clear, I’m not trying to argue that the paleo (or similar diets) are idiotic, or that all vegans are vibrant, healthful, and in the right. I’m only speaking for me, because frankly, my own health and happiness are what I know best, and care the most about.

    I’ll start by granting you the statistics. As you said, the numbers are inarguable. Wheat bread is an inferior source of basically every vitamin and mineral, when compared to liver. That having been said, I think it’s important to note that for most, and at least for myself, consuming as great a quantity of vitamins as possible is not the goal of a diet. This is not to say that nutrient density is irrelevant, just that it’s a means to an end.

    The end, or rather ends, in this case, are as follows: I want to look, feel, and perform up to certain standards, while maintaining or improving health in measured categories. As much as possible, I’d like to do this eating foods I enjoy most. Would I feel a sense of guilt about deriving nutrition from animals? Yes. But I’m not going to tell anyone else that they ought to.

    Simply put, a vegan diet has allowed me to do all of these things. I feel comfortable not eating animals, or their byproducts. And though this may seem ludicrous to many, all of my favorite foods are still on the menu. I eat what I like, and very much like what I eat. I’ve had extensive bloodwork done several times in the last 2 years, and there is never a single red flag. I do not lack in iron, B12, protein, or testosterone. As that would suggest, I’m also happy with how I look, feel, and perform. I’ve been about 8% BF for several years now, have consistent energy levels, and have a rather large pile of medals earned from high finishes in 5K-50K races.

    To be clear, I am not saying any of this is because I’m vegan, merely that it hasn’t stopped me. Perhaps I’m an anomaly, and perhaps I’d do better, and feel better, including meat in my diet, and eschewing grains. I can’t tell you otherwise, because I haven’t attempted it. What I can tell you is that my diet fits my values, I enjoy it, and my body seems to function well on it. I don’t see how that can be called idiotic.

    • Re: Alex

      Vegans and vegetarians. Read what he wrote very, very carefully. Every word, several times and all the insanely intelligent nuance he includes, having read me for a long time…and I think I can say, understands much of me on this topic

      This is the means by which a vegan makes me stand at attention, clasp my hands as though in prayer, and give a solemn bow. And not say anything.

      Well, done, sir.

    • Great post Alex! I think a problem that makes it easy to bash vegan- and vegetarianism is the fact that it doesn’t necessarily cut out anything that makes sense for health benefits, like cakes and shit. Paleo is lucky to have this baked into its description ;)

    • I too came here as a vegan. My 4th year into that diet had me considering alternatives, but that’s a story for another time.

      I only chimed in when I got here because I felt compelled to point out that not all vegan eaters are nutjobs. You’ve proved my point better than I ever could have, Alex.

    • ” all vegan blogs suck. ”

      Check out http://www.facebook.com/NutritionFacts.org

      • LanceStrish:

        Can you tell me me why I ought to watch the video? Saw a few minutes, the guy is engaging and funny. There’ that. I caught way too much BS in that.

        The guy is a billboard standard bearer for confounding variables. Do you have a BS detector, or do you just eat bullshit because it’s offered up for you?

        Given the context, he appears to be profoundly dishonest.

  31. Richard,
    How does lamb liver stack up? Much the same as the beef?

    Have been experimenting with a small amount of lamb liver for breakfast with bacon, onions, eggs etc.
    Very filling, and satisfying. Don’t get hungry for hours.

  32. Tomasz R. says:

    There is this vegan guru – Joel Fuhrman – who in the vegan circles is considered an expert on nutritional density of vegan food. He has some books with appropriate recommendations.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdxVfi632Xw

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZGgeGHU1Bs&feature=relmfu

  33. Hi Tomasz, I watched your videos.

    video #1:
    < John McDougall, MD: Every population that have lived on plant based starch are thin and healthy. There might be therapeutic value to eliminating starches. Tribes who consume starch will snatch weak non-starch people up, trying to rape, so ya’ll need to all hide your kids, hide your wife and hide your husband cause they raping everybody out here!
    < Joel Fuhrman , MD: Starchy vegetables have low nutrient density. He has observed greater weight loss on diets without them.
    < John McDougall, MD: Every population that have lived on plant based starch are thin and healthy.
    < Joel Fuhrman , MD: Eat foods that are high in nutrients.
    < John McDougall, MD: Diets will fail without starch. Every society that have lived on plant based starch are thin and healthy.

    video #2:
    < Meat leads to "toxic hunger"
    < Nutrients in raw vs cooked vegetables
    < Chicken's nutrient density is five times lower than spinach, eggplant and beans according to his own "nutrient density score". Nutrients that don't have RDAs are made up by looking at recommendations from the scientific literature.

    I would not follow this unless I knew how Fuhrman came up with his numbers.

    So, let me try to find out.

    Skimming through his book "Eat to live!", meat raises cholesterol, is a cancer promoter and promotes bone loss, kidney disease and accelerates aging and have no benefits at all. Plants have many benefits. I can't tell whether or not this affects his scoring (I'm suspecting it probably does). His nutrient density line scores are based on identified phytochemicals (very convenient :)), antioxidant activity, and total vitamin and mineral content. I still have no idea what it really means. I do know that it can be misleading. The numbers he present are probably not devoid of his own bias.

    This got me thinking though. I hope Richard would be totally transparent about what kind of data he is comparing and where he got it from. Is it grass fed beef liver vs. the crappiest bread he could find? Wild salmon?

    • “I hope Richard would be totally transparent about what kind of data he is comparing and where he got it from. Is it grass fed beef liver vs. the crappiest bread he could find? Wild salmon? ”

      If I neglected to mention it here, I certainly have elsewhere. Straight off FitDay. I believe it sources the USDA database. I can’t recall whether my initial liver/bread comparison was whole grain bread, but all the recent ones have been 100% whole grain wheat.

    • …And that said, when liver it 2,640% more nutrient dense than whole grains, I think I have quite a lot of wriggle room no matter how Fuhrman “corrects” his data.

  34. Ha! Their post bot got seriously Pwnd.

    Vegan news indeed.

Trackbacks

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  5. [...] rework of the chapter on nutritional density including completely new charts (thanks Marie!). I blogged that here, took many suggestions from the comments and reworked it again. I'm really stoked about that [...]

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