Search Results for: vegetarian

Why Elementary Schools Going Vegetarian Will Be an Increasing Trend (Money)

Saw this today: Elementary School Cafeteria Goes Vegetarian.

A New York City elementary school cafeteria is one of the first in the nation to go meatless.

Students at P.S. 244 , the Active Learning Elementary School, are being treated to eclectic fare, including black bean and cheese quesadillas, falafel and tofu in an Asian sesame sauce.

"It's been a really great response from the kids, but they also understand it's about what is the healthiest option for them," principal Bob Groff told ABCNews.com. "Because we teach them throughout our curriculum to make healthy choices, they understand what is happening and believe in what we're doing too."

Well, in a truly rational world, principal Bob Groff would not be able to talk out of his toothless mouth, anymore, given that he would already have been beaten to a bloody pulp.

All meals have to adhere to USDA standards, he said, making sure students get plenty of nutrients, including protein, for their growing bodies.

He wouldn't know a nutrient if it knocked his teeth out.

The sort of brain rot infecting the general population nowadays (like this...do take a quick glance) is just the quotidien norm. It's like everyone is in a mad rush to be demonstrably more stupid, more led by the nose, more conforming, more "team moron" than the next guy.

But it's a simple thing, easy to understrand. This is about money. It's all and only about money. It's combined with the sort of 1984, NewSpeak ignorance where War = Peace, and so bankrupt food conglomerate nutrition = Healthy!!! ...Real, fresh, quality food—meat, fish, fowl, vegetable, fruit, nuts—is comparatively far more expensive than the cheap, packaged, multi-year-shelf-life industrial EXCREMENT that Bob Groff is feeding the children of that school.

And the derelict parents are probably lining up to applaud because they get to be as stupid as they want to be.

Guess how this would go over in France? No, really; just guess. And that's just France. Here, you can see that just about every country on Earth cares far more about the nutrition of children than here is good ol' Merca, land of the perpetually moronic, a veritable Idiocracy.

Here's but one quote of many.

This spring I joined the International Exchange Forum on Children, Obesity, Food Choice, and the Environment in France’s Loire Valley, where 16 of us met first with each other, then with our French counterparts working in diet and health, and finally in the lunchrooms of two schools. The school lunches we ate were meals I’d be proud to serve.

At one school, students were served a choice of salads — mâche with smoked duck and fava beans, or mâche with smoked salmon and asparagus — followed by guinea fowl with roasted potatoes and carrots and steamed broccoli. For dessert, there was a choice of ripe, red-throughout strawberries or clafoutis. A pungent washed-rind cheese was offered, along with French bread and water. Yes, the kids took and ate the cheese.

French schoolchildren eat in brightly colored lunchrooms. Lunch hour includes exercise and lasts for two hours.

Our second meal was a little simpler, but then, the kids were younger, too. Children served themselves a butter lettuce salad from a bowl set on the table. The main dish was mashed potatoes with a sauce of ground beef (delicious!). Bread and water again were offered as well as the pungent cheese, and a choice of fresh strawberries or a little pastry.

In addition to the goodness of the food, there were other good things about these school lunches. First of all, they weren’t rushed. About two hours are given for lunch, a portion of which is used for very loud and active exercise. Second, they were civilized. Food was served on heated plates; real silverware and glasses — not plastic — were used; and the lunchrooms were pretty and comfortable for the kids.

I think it's wonderful for America to be so dreadfully shamed by the French in this regard. There is no other word for it. Hey, Americans: stick your "Freedom Fries" up your pathetic asses. You can't carry France's bread, or water. Fact.

Another:

"The food is very good, Madame. The meat is 100% French," the official said, picking up a brochure from her desk. I knew this brochure well, having e-mailed it to friends in the U.S. last year as a this-could-only-happen-in-France conversation piece. It lists in great detail the lunch menu for each school day over a two-month period. On Mondays, the menus are also posted on the wall outside every school in the country. The variety on the menus is astonishing: no single meal is repeated over the 32 school days in the period, and every meal includes an hors d'oeuvre, salad, main course, cheese plate and dessert.

There is more: the final column in the brochure carries the title "Suggestions for the evening." That, too, changes daily. If your child has eaten turkey, ratatouille and a raspberry-filled crepe for lunch, the city of Paris suggests pasta, green beans and a fruit salad for dinner.

I finally saw the system in action earlier this month. Caught short by a sick nanny, my son, who was accustomed to eating leftovers from the refrigerator, sat in silence with his 25 classmates at tables in the nursery-school cafeteria, while city workers served a leisurely, five-course meal. One day, when I arrived to collect him, a server whispered for me to wait until the dessert course was over. Out in the hall, one of the staff shouted for "total quiet" to a crowd of 4-year-olds awaiting the next lunch seating. "I will now read you today's menu," he told them. "First, you will begin with a salad."

"4-year-olds." This country is pathetic in this regard, and principals like Bob Groff are too ignorant to even understand the depth of their stupidity (it's why it's hard to fix stupid: ignorance gets in the way).

In other news, a mother emails in to let me know that in an annual 5th grade state study project, part of it is the "foods of..." and the kids always look forward to the various regional specialties that get served. Not this year, though. Doesn't conform to the USDA guidelines for cheap-ass crap, so the kids have to be content with pictures of food.

Oh, well, it's just another day in "The Land of the Free."

Two Success Stories: Rescued from Vegetarian and Back to High School Weight

It's always great to stop and realize that eating an evolutionarily appropriate diet for human animals actually helps human animals improve their lives. Yep, there's a point to this after all and it goes far beyond any drama or nit-picking minutiae anyone can bother to conjure up.

The first is a story from The Independent that I think reads real well: From vegetarian to confirmed carnivore. And, he has a book out: The Meat Fix: How a Lifetime of Healthy Living Nearly Killed Me!

Some excerpts.

John Nicholson was a strict vegetarian for more than 20 years. But when he and his partner became ill, they had a carnivorous conversion.

Growing up as a working-class kid in the North in the Sixties, food was incredibly limited. It wasn’t like today, where everyone has groaning cupboards of unused goods; we had just enough food to get through each week. Meals were plain and boring, but everything was wholesome and home-cooked. [...]

...By 1982, I was living in the North of Scotland in a sort of croft with my partner, Dawn. Two years later, we decided to stop eating meat because we used to see all the cattle taken away to the slaughterhouse and we were growing a lot of our own food anyway. That’s where the adventure into vegetarianism, wholefoods and healthy eating started. [...]

...With things such as salmonella in eggs, BSE in beef and the rest of it, the diet we’d chosen based on wholegrains­, lentils, pulses, fruit and veg, and all that other groovy stuff, made us seem like we’d been ahead of the curve.

We were very smug about our lifestyle, which we thought was both healthy and morally correct. But after about six or seven years of being vegetarian, we both started to get slowly and progressively more ill.

The first thing was I started to develop what was later defined as irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. It began as a vague digestive discomfort but within a couple of years had developed into a situation where whenever I ate anything my gut would stick out and it felt like there was a lead weight in it.

...By 1998, it was absolutely chronic. I went to doctors but nobody had a clue what to do about it. [...] But not one doctor suggested it might be my diet. As well as my condition getting worse, I was actually putting on weight – despite the IBS – and I became clinically obese.

I would take food diaries to the doctor, who would tell me everything was fantastic, and congratulate me on not eating butter, cream and cholesterol. [...] Dawn was developing very depressive moods and suffering mood swings. I was also experiencing a lot of headaches, which occurred pretty much every day. I was also knackered and would have to have a sleep in the afternoon. I was just falling apart. By the time I got to 40 I felt 60.

...Dawn suggested that perhaps it wasn’t what we were eating that was making us feel that way but what we were not eating.

...The first thing I ate as part of my new diet was ox liver, so I really threw myself in at the deep end. [...] The second thing I ate that day was a rare steak. That was when I had a transformative experience. It felt like my body was immediately telling me that was what I was supposed to be eating. It sounds really naff but that’s the nearest I can sum it up as. It was quite a profound thing, really. After 24 hours, I never had another IBS episode again. It went overnight.

After 17 years of having something you get used to it, you just think it’s always going to be with you, and then, suddenly, it’s not. I stopped filling my entire meals with carbohydrates – wheat, rice and potatoes – and introduced all meats, butter, cream, lard and goose fat. But it was pure food, nothing processed. And I thrived on it.

I dropped three and a half stone within the first six months. And it wasn’t just weight; what was really freaky about it was that I dropped loads of body fat, going from 28 per cent to 13-14 per cent. In fact, the entire composition of my body changed so I went from being apple-shaped to triangular. And this wasn’t doing a new fitness regime, it was just a change in diet.

My new diet went against all the health advice at the time...

As he and others can attest, that speaks to the quality of health and nutrition advice in general. The comment thread where the article was published stands at 463 and John Nicholson is active in the thread.

~~~

Here's a great email I got yesterday afternoon. Love getting these. Just so you don't get a bit confused as I did when reading it the firs time, I take it to mean that the girlfriend is a friend or former GF from high school that's now Paleo, and his fiancé is [still] vegetarian—at least until she reads the first testimonial, above. :)

My name is [W]. I was introduced to this way of life by a girlfriend from high school about 10 months ago. To make a long story short, had she not reached out to me, I would be on a path of self destruction via SAD. A little over year and a half ago, I tipped the scales at 230+ pounds and I was extremely hypertensive. To be exact, my BP was 191/100 when I saw my doctor. I was in denial about it, but when my girlfriend contacted me and shared her experience, I made a choice to try it out. And I did it with a passion and started working out….religiously. That was September 17, 2012. Now, I am high school skinny and I wear a size 34, down from a size 38 and I’m not done. I’m still hitting the gym and my physique is improving with each passing day. I look and feel great thanks to this way of life. And, my girlfriend has benefitted greatly too. She looks and feels amazing. I’ll say it again, if it wasn’t for her, I would be in a sad and sorry state.

The hardest part for me was ridding myself of grains and sugars. I still struggle because my fiancé is a vegetarian which doesn’t leave her a lot of options in terms of protein. So, as a result, there is still a lot of grain and carbs around the house. But, that’s OK. I’m still disciplined enough that I stick to my new way of living and enjoy every moment of my life now. I was sick – literally – of being sick and tired.

For what it is worth, a lot of folks don’t get what I’m doing. They think it’s odd that I don’t eat bread and pasta like I used to among other foods. They think I’m starving myself when in fact I’m not (although I will confess that my appetite has gotten a little out of hand. I think it’s because of the exercise I’ve been doing and the muscle mass I’m building). And, saying no to bad food is lot easier now than it used to be.

I appreciate what you’re doing. I hope more folks get with it and see the light. This has really changed my life and I’m really fortunate that an old friend took the time to find me and eventually share this way of life with me.

What's left to say? Eating real food most of the time, to the exclusion of cheap junk food just works.

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:

Yummy; Not

Hey: vegetarian and vegan junk food.

Soya veggie burgers and sausages generally use the same chemically extracted fraction of the bean. This meal is the product of the industrial crushing process the vast majority of the world’s soya beans go through. The raw beans are broken down to thin flakes, which are then percolated with a petroleum-based hexane solvent to extract the soya oil. The remains of the flakes are toasted and ground to a protein meal, most of which goes into animal feed. Soya flour is made in a similar way. The oil then goes through a process of cleaning, bleaching, degumming and deodorising to remove the solvent and the oil’s characteristic “off” smells and flavours. The lecithin that forms a heavy sludge in the oil during storage used to be regarded as a waste product, but now it has been turned into a valuable market in its own right as an emulsifier.

What does 2-3 million years of evolution know? This stuff's gotta be better than "artery-clogging-saturated-fats."

“Opposing Views” Asks…

Are Vegetarians Healthier?

Could veggie burgers increase your lifespan? Many experts insist that switching to a vegetarian lifestyle can greatly increase overall health, leading some to ditch their pork rinds like an old smoking habit. Still others swear by an omnivorous diet, saying that occasional New York steak never hurt anyone. Is a fresh helping of tofu just what the doctor ordered, or only a lot of empty calories?

You do notice the smuggled premise, right? Not to mention the typical smug assurance which, is really the more necessary the more wrong you are.

At any rate, the Weston Price Foundation does a very admirable and thorough job. Much of the veggie stuff is shallow assertion. The comments are generally shill with far too much protestation; but then again, that's what has to happen when you go up against reality in such a stark manner. Thanks to Diana for emailing that link.

Here's one of my recent -- and infrequent -- posts on vegetarianism.

Vegetarian Paleo

Here's how to deal with me when we have a fundamental conflict, unlike some people. A comment from a vegetarian reader.

I see this blog all of the time and I love reading it. I never comment because, as interesting as I think it is... I am newly a vegetarian and am really enjoying this lifestyle choice.

Is it possible to practice this diet with the exclusion of meat?

I keep a foodie blog, tracking my progress as a vegetarian.

Well, I took a quick five or so at your blog and there's no mystery at all. You're having a ball. Quite obvious, and I salute and congratulate you on it. Even though our food choices are not the same, much of what you're doing is real food, you're doing it yourself, and you're doing it with imagination and gusto. Salut!

How could I possibly dis that?

Here's what I think: in spite of you adopting a diet that I would not undertake, I think you're heads & tails above most. I didn't see any fish, and I've had many acquaintances over the years who call themselves "vegetarian" but eat fish and/or shellfish. Could you consider that? It would make me immensely happy if you did.

That approach, if one does it, is an ideal modified-vegetarian approach in my view. The cool thing about fish is that it's as wide in variety as the sea -- really, a whole other world of nutrition. In terms of meat, for most of us, we have beef, pork, lamb, chicken & turkey. Toss is some buffalo, emu, or game meat from time to time. But in terms of fish, you have huge, huge variety in taste, nutritional composition, fat content, texture and other attributes. One can eat very fine and high nutrition with fish, vegetables, fruit and nuts. You will annihilate the grain, legume & sugar eaters in terms of nutrition. Instead of grains, rice, legumes, or sugar, just eat a bigger portion of fish, more veggies, more fruit (berries preferable), and/or nuts. Then laugh at your malnourished interlocutors.

I aim for optimal nutrition from food. So, I'm going to try to eat from as wide of a variety as practical; from meat, fish, natural fats, vegetables, fruits, and nuts / seeds.

So now let me get to some critiques of the vegetarian path.

1) You have to get a decent amount of protein or you'll lose weight, as many vegetarians do. This fools them into thinking they are on a good path, but what their body is doing is scavenging lean mass and bone in order to make up for malnutrition. They become skinny fat, i.e., low body weight but relatively high body fat percentage.

2) Since you're not going to get protein from natures most readily available (and tasty) sources, you're stuck with legumes in general, and soy in particular. I've blogged before about lectins, but soy is probably one of the worst (follow the links). In short, lectins are everywhere, but the ones found in legumes and grains are ones we haven't had exposure to long enough to adapt to. For some people, this means a peanut can kill them, and for others, wheat and other gluten containing "food" can melt their gut. So here's what you have to consider: Peanuts don't kill you, nor does wheat and other gluten heavy grains cause immediately noticeable harm. But what do you know of your generalized inflammation, inflammation that may lurk below the pain threshold? You might want to get a blood test for c-reactive protein.

3) This may not apply to you, evidence thereof being your blog, but more and more, vegetarians are straying from the whole foods path to processed foods. Let's just say that highly processed foods eaten chronically are death to all, from vegan to carnivore.

Now, in the interest of objectivity, allow me to highlight the fact that I don't think vegetarians and vegans are entirely deluded. Here's an example:

"Raw For 30 Days" - Vegan Cure for Diabetes

I think that's cool & awesome. But the same thing could have been accomplished with a Paleo diet, and what's more: it's sustainable.

Alright, I believe I've made my point, which is: I think a careful vegetarian diet that eschews processed foods and sugar entirely is probably better than the average American diet -- even one including meat. And that's because the average American diet includes a ton of wheat & sugar. Most simply: vegetarian diets have sometimes been shown to deliver net benefit simply because vegetarians are of an above-average health consciousness, and that's a bigger association to overall health than the specifics of your diet. Because of their fundamentals, they are going to eat closer to nature, closer to the Paleolithic, and that's going to have a net benefit on some scale.

As a last bit, I've often described the vegan diet as one of "long-extinct pea-brains and chimpanzees." As I've remarked on before, the two lines of hominids that were vegetarian (other than the bugs, worms and caterpillars they all consume) went extinct like a couple of million years ago. Still, if one is vegetarian or has even mildly been exposed to the rational, one has with little doubt been exposed to the "argument" that our digestive tracts are more like those of "vegetarians" than of carnivores.

Do you mean: like these vegetarians. (Note added later: Bea just saw this, said it freaked her out, and that I needed to emphasize that you take the time to watch it. It will blow you away.)

(HT: To the commenter on a previous post who clued me into that, and this.)

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.

The Vegetarian Myth

Man, oh man, is this ever an amazingly good book: The Vegetarian Myth. What is so compelling to me, as somewhat of a hack when it comes to writing, is that her writing is plain old damn good. It's really good. You can easily forget what you're reading because the enjoyment of the style, integration, honesty, and the personal bleeding that goes with every page is so captivating.

This is but the fist of likely a number of posts about this book. It is very important. Oh, did I mention that it's written by a 20-year [ex-] vegan? Yea, and her honesty about all of that -- her anguish in the clash between reality and her values -- is right there, exposed.

...And I'm only through chapter two. Well, see for yourself. Here's chapter one.

Well, my position on vegetarianism / veganism is well documented, this being the most recent.

I got wind of it via Dr. Mike Eades, and seeing that his recommendation was so strong, I had it 1-clicked to my Kindle by the third paragraph of his review.

The truth is also that life isn’t possible without death, that no matter what you eat, someone has to die to feed you.

That's her, and you will see that recognition of reality threaded throughout. In some ways, I have to say that her seeming radical egalitarian philosophy is as goofy as a football bat, but be patient. So far, what she's doing is using it to expose woeful vegetarian ignorance. I have not yet discovered if she's found reconciliation between her fundamental values of all life being just as important as all other life (with rights for microbes, I guess) and her recognition that lots of things have to die for everything to eat (even plants).

Fascinating journey, this. More to follow.

Update: Just learned that major portions of the book are online at Google Books.

A Little Mercy

I'm not sure I would consider mercy anywhere near a top virtue, maybe not even a virtue at all. A value, sure, but in the right context, and that swings both ways. It can be just as inappropriate to grant mercy in some situations as it is appropriate to grant it in others.

But certainly, I've never been a fan of mercy for mercy's sake.

So the back story, for those who don't know is that I just removed a hit piece I did last night focussing on an individual self-described as a vegetarian and a journalist. This person said some silly things in comments on another post, was rebuffed by another commenter and ultimately emailed me threatening legal action.

So I did my hit piece with lots of my typical invective and there were lots of comments. 90%+ positive here, but three or so highly negative comments on the FTA Facebook page (I deleted the post there, too). These were your typical, "I'm not going to read you any more" and, "I wish your wife well," the latter being of the form that always cracks me up -- like my wife is some prisoner who would otherwise bolt if I didn't have her chained down, or something.

Funny shit.

The comments I like the best are those who recognize that I'm not and am never going to be the paleo / primal blog that attempts to appeal to everyone all the time, never offend anyone, never ruffle feathers, play paleo politics... Screw that.

And as for the "you're giving the paleo community a bad name" sort of stuff, listen: if I can give the paleo community a bad name, then it's definitely not worth a shit anyway.

So I suppose you want to know why I removed the post. Well, I got an email from the individual. Then another and another, all very open, all contrite, all apologetic; all demonstrating a sort of anguish over the whole thing.

I'm direct and I can be an asshole, but I'm not going to be cruel. So I removed it.

The Vegetarian Myth Revisited

Aside from the recent abysmal nature of my blogging, my neighborhood dog-walking friend Kara emails:

You are on the cutting edge.

Indeed, I am. She forwards a great review of The Vegetarian Myth (reviewed here, here, here, and here) in an email newsletter from Fourfold Healing.

The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith

Very occasionally powerful, life-changing books are written that give one the palpable sense that "if people would only listen" the world might be a different place. The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith is one such book. In this book Lierre essentially tells two intertwined stories. One is the story of the deterioration of her own health as a direct result of adopting a vegan diet. The second is the related tale of the destruction of our planet essentially as a result of the widespread adoption of agriculture, specifically agriculture based on the growing of grains. Her central premise is that, unlike what we are all led to believe, the absolute worst thing that could ever befall humans or the earth is if we all adopted a vegetarian or, worse yet, a vegan diet. To many, this is such an unbelievable head spinner that they simply will not even be able to entertain the ideas that are presented by Lierre. The ideas, the argument she presents to make her case are powerful, coherent and irrefutable - grains and in fact a grain-based (i.e. vegetarian) diet are literally killing us all.

First, the ecological argument. We are told that the biggest users of fresh water and the most wasteful, ecologically speaking, food we can eat is meat. We are told that if instead of feeding grains to cows to get meat, which is anyway poison for us to eat, we should feed that grain to people thereby feeding at least 30 people with a grain-based diet for every one person we can feed on a meat-based diet. We are told to eat low on the food chain to conserve resources and be ecologically friendly. And, finally and crucially we hear people proudly announce they don't eat anything with faces as a sign that they are living out their deeply held convictions about social justice. The facts actually tell a completely different story.

Imagine the Middle East 10,000 years ago when the only people living in what we now call Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, etc., were nomadic hunter-gatherer types. This area was referred to as a paradise; it was lush, fecund; Lebanon was the land of the cedar forests. The area between the Tigris and Euphrates was literally paradise on earth. Then came agriculture, specifically the growing of grains. As happens where grains are grown and irrigation is used, the soil began to lose its vitality, the humous layer was lost. The irrigation and the converting of perennial grasses and the animals that live on these grasses to annual crops is akin to mining the nutrients and the fertility out of the soil. Without sufficient animal manure and animal bodies to put nutrients back into the soil, without the annual flooding of the plains that is stopped when irrigation systems are used, the land loses its nutrients, the soil becomes more salty and, as evidenced in the Middle East, eventually, inevitably the land becomes a desert. Lierre describes this process in intimate detail so the reader is left with no doubt that in human history, whenever the transition from perennial grass- based land - alongside naturally flowing lakes and rivers, co-existing with verdant forests - is converted into grain based agriculture, the inevitable result is everything dies. Everything - the plants, the insects, the wild animals and eventually the people.

If this wasn't reason enough for conscientious people to shun a grain-based diet, Lierre spends the second half of the book detailing the negative health repercussions from adopting a grain-based, vegetarian or vegan diet. For those familiar with the work of the Weston A. Price foundation or The Fourfold Path to Healing, this will come as no surprise. What will be eye-opening for many is a detailed chart that compares the physiology of meat eaters with that of herbivores. If you still have any doubts that humans are literally physiologically required to live on mostly an animal food diet, I recommend checking out this enlightening chart. Lierre has done her homework. She references many studies that have been done in the last 100 years documenting the superior health outcomes, the absence of chronic disease, and the total absence of cancer and heart disease in people who eat the food that comes naturally out of a perennially based grass and forest system. What do these people eat? What is the "human" diet, the diet that works back to heal the land? Conveniently it is one diet, called the GAPS diet. As probably more than a hundred of my patients can attest, those who have literally regained their health as a result of the GAPS diet, it is no surprise that the very diet that can heal so many sick people is the very diet that,when applied to agriculture, can heal a "sick" earth.

Get this book, read it, pass it to your friends, especially your vegetarian friends, for as Lierre often says in our current situation, it is not enough any more to just have good intentions. You also have to be informed about what it is you are fighting for.

By the way, some people have emailed me that they have not been able to get it from Amazon. Me too. I have an order pending; I initially read it on Kindle, but wanted a copy to mark up. Still waiting. At any rate, Lierre informed me via email today that she has had the 2nd edition for weeks and anyone can order directly from her.

She might even sign it for you, if you ask. Click here to order.

Vegetarian and Vegan Tear Jerkers

It was inevitable. A link to the following video was posted in comments on my post about Lierre Keith's book, The Vegetarian Myth, within which I was compelled to keep my nose buried for even more hours, last night. [Update: Major portions of the book are up at Google Books.]

In case you're wondering, I do not give warnings about "graphic scenes." I simply presume the maturity and adulthood of my audience. Yea, it's not pleasant to watch. I don't insist that you do, but it is an aspect of reality.

So, here was my response to the comment, edited and expounded upon for additional clarity and oomph.

~~~

Oh yes, greencare. I’m sure that video just makes all the mall-hopping teenyboppers just horrified!

They’re all then perfectly prepped for the guilt-inducing brain washing -- to have their bodies ruined in the long term by undertaking a fantasy diet that explicitly rejects man’s biological nature and his requirements for optimal health.

And I don’t want to hear any bullshit about vegetarian or vegan “health.” The most valid data on that score is that comparing apples to apples, i.e., the anthropological record: that repeatedly and consistently demonstrates strong and robust skeletons and teeth amongst hunter-gatherers, in stark contrast to those diseased skeletons, rotten teeth, and even diminished stature of agricultural populations. This is not in dispute; and furthermore, there has never existed a vegetarian hunter-gatherer population, much less vegan.

Now, while I’m all for humane treatment of animals right up to the moment of death (and willing to pay for it), this video was not particularly shocking. I’ve hunted birds & deer and dressed both, fished, and raised broiler chickens and rabbits. I was the one (at age 13 -15 or so) who did the executions — axe for the chicks, club for the rabbits.

We endeavored to treat them very well during their lives, and to make their end of life very quick (as well as out of sight for those in wait). I have always abhorred animal trophies of all kinds. We were brought up to respect animals and that the only justification for killing them was for the food.

Now, as far as videos go, how’s this for cruelty:

Or this?

That last one shatters the myth that we’re evolved from strictly herbivore primates (of which there are none, anyway: think bugs). Yea, chips hunt other monkeys, rip them to shreds live, and then eat them, to great tribal celebration.

So, given that, I think humans offer a far better, more humane way for necessary prey to die.

The problem with you folks is that it’s all emotion and feelings with you. You are simply not dealing properly with the reality of human existence and the requirements for survival and happy flourishing.

In the end, y’all remind me of the born-again Christian fundamentalists I grew up around. It’s always about denial, penance, guilt — and over man’s very nature (’original sin’). Vegetarianism offers the very same unearned guilt trap, and there’s no mystery that it’s the young and as-yet dumb and ignorant where lies the biggest push.

In the end, you need emotion and feelings-based ignorance: the only life truly suited to the diet of a pea brain.

Forgetting to Die

I've had this NYT article open in a browser tab for days and just couldn't close it.

The Island Where People Forget to Die

28Ikaria3 articleLarge v2
97 yr-old Stamatis Moraitis tending his vineyard and olive grove on Ikaria, Greece

It's by Dan Buettner, the The Blue Zones guy. In spite of his clear bias for plant based and vegetarian-esqe diets, I think the importance of his work is in finding those populations or zones for whom longevity is clearly multi-factoral.

Nope, it's probably not all about a Paleo diet and Crossfit WODs.

I think I'll leave it at that, for once. You really ought to just read the article and see how many likely factors for a nice long life you can uncover...other than a pretty reasonable diet of whole food, and in spite of the fact that it includes some "evil" things.

I've been to Greece a number of times, hit the countryside and have spent time on a small island. This all makes perfect sense to me.

A 100% Raw Vegan Success Story

Well, I tweeted this story a couple of hours ago, it got immediate traction in terms of mentions and retweets, then Robb Wolf retweeted it and things really took off. So, based on that, I figured I better just blog it. This is about a tragedy, not ridicule -- except for those so deserving.

This morning I got a WTF? email from reader Clarice with a link to this raw vegan "success" story over at 30 Bananas a Day. It comes complete with before and after photos. Here's some highlights of 17-yr-old Harout's story.

I first got introduced to a better diet of mostly vegetarian foods with the occasion of some fish here and there by my high school assistant basketball coach for the Varsity team. i stuck to that for the course of my basketball season and stuck to it ever since i came to this site and moved on to the raw food movement. I was feeling so good on a vegetarian diet and looking so good that i believed that going on a raw food low fat raw vegan would make things even better for me with all the success stories.

So, he went from a diet that included cooked animal products to one that excluded them completely and...

I never jumped to high fat raw first. I barely tried being vegan for the time in transition. I just jumped straight in and have been 100% ever since mid September and have only had cooked plain brown rice pasta a couple times down the line. Every time i ate the cooked food though im like why am i eating it? It gives me energy yeah, but it doesnt taste good.

After 5 months of living this lifestyle i reversed my diagnosis of hypothyroidism. I took the pills for the first week and after that left it, on the verge of wanting to cure it myself. It worked, i shared with family my success stories and have influenced my households to go vegan and my brother a raw vegan as well. Its truely an amazing thing once you get into it. Its not just about diet anymore , i really realise the true aspects of this lifestyle and its NATURES GIFT. It really is, i wouldnt do anything nor let anybody do anything to change my insight on the way i live and my diet.

Well, so far so good, I guess. Or is it?

I have received great benefits and realise the only downfall is that i have gained a significany amount of fat, but i accept the fact of my body storing up what its been missing for a few years now and i respect it. I put my body through hell now its my price to pay for recovery. ...

A few cons that ive been going through lately and like i said respect for the time being of going through the struggles. I cant expect to become the hulk right away. It takes time to feel good , 8 months is just a drop in the ocean to my 16 years of abuse. Another con is slight acne on the forehead, being someone who never had acne in the past.

Like i said these are all little things that take time to recover frrom and im not going to whine about it. I believe in nature and this is as natural as it gets. Ive given up cosmetics as well.

Another thing i'd like to mention is that i used to be the fastest player on my basketball team. Played on A division for my traveling team while i was in high school and thats a good level. Now i play B cause i cannot keep up and even though i am in the starting five, i am not the top player of my team. I cant train as hard as i used to, the gained percentage of fat slows me down a bit. For the meantime i suppose. ...

Even though this last paragraph may be quite negative, i want to share my emotions one way or another, cause things arent perfect and i must share that. I think there is a big difference to feeling good and being able to perform good. I feel good , there is no question about that , but i suppose i am in the process of regaining where i cant perform as well yet. It really puts me down sometimes but i know there is no other option of just picking myself up and aiming for the best i can be day in and day out. Basketball has always been my true love and it just gets me how i let it get to me. Not being able to perform the same ways. It seems its a drag for me moving my feet up , down , slides on defense. I dont know, i hope i see in the light on the other end cause its just a tough time for me right now, still being in high school and ruining my hopes of college ball has been a tough sacrifice. It's not the fact that the lifestyle isnt the answer to health. Its not that at all. But we all go through cleansing and elimination at some point. And fininshing my high school career very poorly in regionals ,being one of the best players. Is really dissapointing to me , it really is. Once again , i dont blame the lifestlye. Its just a sacrifice of present success VS. future health. As much as i think its the wrong thing to do morally , i shouldve waited and stuck with cooked vegan so i didnt do dramatic change to my body right away with basketball in the picture. My bodys foreign to this and thats the only issue. Every day im doing something better and better for myself. It just draws me out of success in what i love doing temporarily. For the time being i guess.

[emphasis added to highlight denial and self delusion]

Well, there you have it. And now, here's the dramatic, 8-month anti-transformation of a poor, ambitious 17-yr-old young man. On the left, you have Harout as he looked on a diet that he called "vegetarian," but included fish and whatever other animal sources, and his food was cooked. To the right you have his 8-month results after being 100% raw, plant based, excluding all animal sources of nutrition. You can click for the full-size image, where the acne problem is more apparent.

Before After
Before (left) and After (right)

Now, this would certainly remain a tragedy, especially given his passion of being a top basketball player on his HS team, with serious aspirations for a college scholarship, but he's only 17 and this condition could be reversed just as quickly as it progressed. So not to worry, right? ...because the 30 Bananas a Day crowd are there for him, there to help him for his sake; to point him in the right direction.

Let's take a look at some of the comments.

Maybe this is that adjustment period for you.

Perhaps your body is just 'rehydrating' after so many years of being dehydrated. I betcha it's all water! ... look at all of the muscle you've put on!

So your super flexing in the top shot and 'letting it go' in the bottom shot. You gotta compare flex shots with flex shots otherwise its like comparing a limp banana to an erect banana! lol! [Durianrider]

THIS IS WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT!! You are still YOU, no matter your physical appearance! You are loved!

...and then its BANG! CRASH BOOM! and we come back to earth and people around us blame the fruit. ... ITS NEVER THE FRUITS FAULT LOL! [Durianrider]

...how old are you in that top shot? You have the body of a 40 year old gym rat. [Durianrider]

Like I said HM, your on the right track now and just gotta let your body 'do its thing' as you do your thing. Keep eating right, eating lots, staying hydrated, GETTING EARLY NIGHTS and get on them b12 shots. [Durianrider]

In the above shot you look like your taking drugs. ... In the below shot, you look like an off season Tour De France rider that is not taking drugs. Still look like you are super fit, just not drug fit. Somewhere in the middle is the more sustainable range. 😉 THEN again, you confuse me cos your flexing hardcore in the top shot and are 'letting it go' in the bottom one. [Durianrider]

I think you look much healthier in the second photo.

Well, so there you have it. In case you think I may have selected only the comments that offered no help, only encouraging him to keep to his delusion, his self-destructive path, then feel free to read through all of the comments. As of 18 hours ago, the last comment, there is not a single one that even hints or suggests that he's doing something seriously wrong to himself.

Not a single one of those mutherfuckers is willing for one second to even entertain a whiff of a notion that something just may be rotten in The Garden of Eden.

If this is not the hallmark of a cultish religion, then there's no such thing as cultish religion. This just pisses me off. For the sake of being "right," they are literally willing to toss away the aspirations of a young kid who clearly doesn't know any better.

So, folks, assuming Harout may get wind of this post, anyone out there want to offer him some real help and guidance? Some real love? Please take a moment to do so. And also take a moment to share this with Facebook Friends and Twitter Followers. You never know who you might save from embarking on a similar path of self destruction; one that's enforced by denial & delusion and encouraged by cultists.

And for any vegans who do stop by with an open mind, here's what real results look like. Kit Perkins is the most recent success. Check out Tim. Or, this "Sterling" transformation. Who hasn't heard of Super Mike? And Chris? He's singing a different tune. Murray to this day constitutes one of the most amazing transformations ever. Anyone remember how Austin in Singapore turned his life around? And how about Michelle and Timothy? And then there's Mel, a PhD biology researcher. All of the resources at her disposal and yet, she had to come to some guy's blog to find a sound path for living and looking the way a human animal is supposed to look.

Good thing none of the above sought dietary and health advice from a fruit cult.

My New Hero: 25-Year Vegetarian Christopher Gardner

Being a hero or gaining respect is easy: be honest. Bonus points for being honest when it's the very last thing you desire to do. How you deliver honesty is irrelevant. That's why I do it a bit rough, now and then.

Dr. Gardner did it gently, and he did it in spades and spades all over, top to bottom & wall to wall.

Amazing.

I've had this video cued up for I don't know how long; other's have blogged it, but I didn't have time to watch. I did just now, Christmas day, and I figure: maybe you have some time on your hands over the next few days. If you do, I urge you: watch this video. Are you going to learn much? Depends. If you are new to paleo, this is essential. If you're an old hand, this should give you comfort, and its fitting for the season. So give yourself a gift.

OK, here's the suspense. You've got a 25 year vegetarian, with three children as vegetarians and one on the way. And yet, he is going to tell you -- and he's extremely likable as a lecturer -- that the Atkins diet (as practiced by subjects educated in it) kicked ass against four other diets (including chubby-face Ornish) in every single marker measured; i.e., weight loss and disease risk factors. So, it's fun too.

"It was a bitter pill to swallow," says he. And he also covers paleo by minute 50 or so, and even touches on fasting in the Q&A. All in all, an amazing presentation and my hat's so off to him. He has everything he needs to connect dots. He even mentioned traditional healthful populations whose members became diseased when emigrating to "civilization." He didn't mention Weston Price, but I will when I come up with his email. [Note: I have the email. Thanks all for sending it along.]

Another Grain Fed Vegetarian & Vegan, Saved by Grain Free, Gluten Free Paleo

Read Jennifer's story.

Hi Richard,

Long time reader....

Mmmmm...veganism! it took me a while to learn the lesson that not eating meat is just a delusional quest for health.

As a little girl, my very, very, very favorite food was filet mignon. My dad would actually chop it into tiny bites, deep fry it just so the outside was crisp and the inside was still blue and toss them to me like I was a little bird.

At 18, I found idealism and became a vegetarian. I was one until I got pregnant with my son at 22. Those four years were the first time in my entire life that I struggled with weight.  I just got thicker and thicker so just kept eliminating more and more fats and eating more and more grains in futility because that just led to me getting thicker and thicker.  When i was in my first trimester, I started craving meat so badly that I ate it as much as I could (filled with guilt...those poor animals!) as raw as I could and eating grains at the other meals to pay for my sins.

I omnivored it for the next 9 years. Then, I decided to go hardcore vegan. I never made it to the raw state and I can't even imagine the horror that my poor bowels would have had to go through if I had. As it was, I developed a horrible case of IBS with my seed oils, quinoa, and daily raw salad and tempeh salads.  My depression reached an epic low (I did lose weight but I was not digesting a THING...it was literally going right through me). I did this for a year.  I developed really painful eczema on my feet and hands and finally had to have surgery on my bowels.  I have since discovered how gluten intolerant I am. I was also in constant pain.  Sugar is vegan (well, brown sugar is...I wouldn't do white sugar because I'd read somewhere that bones were used to bleach it....honey was way off limits because the bees didn't make it for us... I was in a sad state!). My joints hurt, I was insomniac.  Truly it was ridiculous in hindsight....but, I worked in a health food store and it was supposed to be such a health promoting diet that i just kept slogging through it.  Possibly the worst side effect of my veganism was that I became such a self-righteous, pompous asswipe....and I knew asswipes, what with the IBS and all. But I digress....

One night at a party, my friend's husband, a chef, brought some pulled pork he'd smoked (I lived in the south) and I just fell into it as if it were a soft bed of delight.  It wasn't until a year and a half ago that I found Mark's Daily Apple and then Free the Animal a little after that.  I spent the entire summer doing it paleo. it REVOLUTIONIZED my life.  My skin was beautiful again, I had energy to spare, My digestion was a thing of beauty....and I lost weight without trying.

Last year, though, the earthquake hit Haiti, where I'm from, and when I went to help out the week after, I just had to eat whatever I could.  When I was driving back from Miami, I was in a bad car accident that I'm only just NOW feeling mostly healed from.  So, this past year has been very difficult because I've not been in a place to follow the lifestyle, as I haven't been in a position of controlling much of my food. BUT.....six weeks ago, I picked it all back up.  I had wings for breakfast today after a fasted HIIT and lifting heavy things.  Already in the past few weeks, I've debloated, sleep has been better, and energy is coming back in spades. YAY MEAT!

Okay....that was a lot more than a meat story, but whatever.

Thank you for your blog and your continued work!

vegangirl
Vegan Girl
cavegirl
Cave Girl

Well, more success stories sporting bikini-clad after shots, please! Uh, ladies only.

So there you have it. Simple. Effective. Forward it to a vegetarian or vegan today. Do it now! And Please share it with your skeptical Facebook Friends and Twitter Tweeps. Buttons up top.

Point of Order – Vegetarianism

Got my first email question regarding vegetarianism. It was from a concerned friend.

One of the insructors at my gym - a vegetarian - is fighting a cold, and is often slightly sick.

Beside the diet, she is way over-trained (she is the instructor for 15 or so intense aerobics classes per week).

She has 2 problems - diet and over-exercise. Her lifestyle and her job make it impossible to change either - and her immune system suffers.

I really wish her well, but I don't think I, or anyone else could be of any meaningful help. We simply are not evolutionarily adapted to be vegetarian. We're not adapted to do 15 intense aerobics/cardio sessions per week. Combining the two is a recipe for disaster. When is the last time you saw lions, tigers, wolves, or even omnivores out jogging every day? The life of an animal evolutionarily adapted to energy and nutritionally dense animal protein and fat is one of languid rest, play, and intense -- all in -- explosive bursts. So, my response:

I'm going to maintain a strict policy with regard to vegetarians and vegans. No advice whatsoever. The "advice" I give out is based on my own experiences, and I have none with respect to avoiding the two healthiest and essential macronutrients in the human diet: animal protein and animal fats.

To quote Barack Obama, "you can put lipstick on a pig, and it's still a pig." Vegetarianism / veganism is so unhealthy, it is to me like trying to advise people what's good to eat out of the garbage can.

Robb Wolf won't work with them in his cross fit gym, either. He says they won't make any progress, and they'll just end up arguing all the time.

And according to Art de Vany, the two branches of bi-pedal hominids that stayed vegetarian (A. Robustus and Ramidus) went extinct (2.5 million years ago, if I recall). Pre agriculture, it would have been impossible for a vegetarian with our physiology (big, fat, energy hogging brain) to survive.

One of the trackback links to Art's post references the brain shrinckage of humans over the last 15,000 years. Make of that what you will, but I suspect the gradual replacement of animal products for grains and sugars.

Later: Reading over this posts suggests it could be offensive to some. I have close friends and family who are vegetarians, I respect their choice, and I endeavor to be accomodating when I prepare meals where vegetarians will be in attendance. And, most vegetarians I know also try to accommodate the meat eaters when they entertain as well. We should try to accommodate each other's preferences when eating together. I have eaten all vegetarian meals that I have enjoyed. It's no big deal. Wouldn't want to do it all the time, but it's very important to be gracious with what dinner hosts provide. I'm a great guest. I like all food, and even if they served up grain-based meals like pizza, pasta and such, I will be gracious and partake, and I'll very likely enjoy.

That said, I'm offended by the often smug demeanor I've encountered (though none from family and friends). Have you? It's this underlying assumption that being vegetarian is, of natural course, a far superior life way, and too bad for all those meat eaters who just can't seem to help themselves. Bullshit. Double bullshit.

But I really don't care to argue the matter.

About a year ago Bea and I were invited to the house of a former student of hers. Very interesting people, whose company I enjoyed. Right up to dinner. Turns out they're vegetarians (I wasn't aware 'til dinner). The meal was 100% vegetarian, curries and such. It was quite good, but then when I commented about all the meat-based Indian dishes I like, the guy says, "I don't eat any of that stuff." "Stuff." Then I get the lectures, the funniest being how his [fat-butted] wife "squeezes the fat out of everything." He must have mentioned it a half-dozen times. Woeful ignorance. Needless to say, suggestions that we ever get together again are dealt with polite indeterminateness.

Low Carb Critiquing and Constructive Criticism vs. Slamming and Tearing Down Values

Looks like my post yesterday about deciding for yourself, and 13 Low Carb Resources was well received. Thanks for all the Facebook Likes!

I received an email about it.

I'm at work but I've been mulling over your 13 low-carb post...

Is there going to be a 13 Pretty Good Churches post at some point? :)

I'm being a dick, but there is a built in deterrent to commenting on that post, since most disagreements are nit picky (especially among one's own readers). We can find the good in almost anything. But, the problem with a lot of those low-carb sites is that:

  1. they employ religious thinking
  2. they are married to low-carb at the identity level, which means they are totally closed to information and research showing that low-carb isn't necessarily ideal
  3. sometimes people set themselves up as gurus, manipulate their followers, and use despicable marketing tactics to sell total crap

It's worth pointing those things out. If anything there is less disagreement than agreement, anyway. The people who disagree are shunned or humiliated. Same kind of shit that got us the low-fat nonsense.

I began tapping out a reply from my perspective and when it began getting long, I said 'aww, what the hell—let's just put it out there.'

First, it serves to take a bird's eye view of the whole thing and in general, my view and judgment tells me that the LC community, for all its warts, is a net value and helps a lot of people. Everyone I've ever known of on LC...

  1. loses fat
  2. tends more toward real foods more of the time
  3. improves health, vitality and energy

A big percentage stall at some point, but losing 40 instead of the 60 you wanted is still a huge net benefit, in my judgment.

Now that we have Paleo, that's a next logical step for LC folks to try, and because of the underling religiosity of society (not just LC), Paleo can be a tough nut to crack right off the bat. So, another way to look at Jimmy Moore, for example, is that he serves the value—as a religious man whom religious people trust—of telling people: "Paleo is OK, even if it has an evolutionary foundation." So, ironically, the religious thinking that Jimmy subscribes to (and, I think, does a very good job of not wearing on his sleeve constantly) is responsible for getting more religious people interested in a Paleo approach—where they're going to be exposed to the science of evolution—than you or I ever could.

This is a good thing. So you have people out there saying "Jimmy's just trying to horn in on Paleo; I mean, look how religious the guy is," when in reality, he's to be commended for leading people to a more Paleo, Real Food way rather than saying "don't go there, stay away, they believe in evolution."

As to the other points, well, that's the realities of business and self-help in general and so that's why you check out a bunch of sources and find the one(s) you're most comfortable with. Some people really get into the promotions, contests, challenges, giveaways and such that guys like Jimmy Moore and Mark Sisson engage in. That's great. Doesn't interest me—either as a participant or doing any such thing myself—but clearly there's a lot of people who, for whatever reason(s), get into it and it helps keep them in the game. I see no reason to criticize or bemoan that. Different strokes.

Here's what I am all for:

  1. General critiques. This post itself is a bit of an overall critique of the LC community and I've done it in the past for Paleo as well. It recognizes the overall net value and either explicitly or implicitly suggests improvements to the value. The way to make errors and the bad stuff less and less relevant is simply to increase the value.
  2. Constructive criticism. Same as (1) but typically directed at one person or organization. I have constructively criticized Jimmy a few times. He's taken my criticism well, has blogged about it, even had me on his podcast. What more could one want? So, he exposes his own readers to my criticisms of him, but what exposure to those criticisms would his readers get if I, like so many, attacked him personally or suggested that everything he does amounts to a pile of crap?

So to summarize, step one is to get the macro, bird's eye view and make a judgment call: net value or net disvalue? Everyone knows my judgment in the matter. LC and Paleo are strong net values in many ways for, among other things, educating people about good Real Food, dispensing with the myth that saturated fat will harm you, that cholesterol will kill you, that you need your X servings of hearthealthywholegrains per day...etc., etc.

Conversely, most of the conventional wisdom is a net disvalue (just look around you). I put "vegetarinism" (that allows dairy and eggs) about in the middle because you can get adequate nutrition and there's a strong Real Food thread to it. Veganism, the rest of the conventional wisdom catechism, fat & cholesterol phobia, processed food pushers, et al, I put at net disvalues and as such, am happy to contribute to their complete, merciless, utter destruction...and eventual grave peeing.

For LC and Paleo, it's as easy as not tossing out the baby with the bathwater. Dry that baby off and get more good Real Food in it—and ignore the dirty water.

...Oh, yes, I do have a PGC (Pretty Good Church) idea. Check out the Unitarian Universalists. Any church that welcomes atheists and secular humanists is A-OK in my book. I blogged a bit about them here.

The Moral Vegetarians

I'm pretty sure it was Roger Ebert, somewhere along the line, who taught me the principle that underlies this paraphrased statement:

Judge a film by what its makers intend to deliver, not by what you think it should deliver.

And so we're back again with Lierre Keith and The Vegetarian Myth. My previous mentions & reviews have been here and here and here.

This time I wish to stay on particular point and just write about her chapter on "moral vegetarians." The book is essentially four parts beyond the first chapter, where she explains her reasons for embarking on her punishment (if you've checked out some of the Vegan boards, as I have):

  1. Moral Vegetarians
  2. Political Vegetarians
  3. Nutritional Vegetarians
  4. Manifesto (that's not a derogatory usage of the word, per se)

Here's why I mentioned Ebert: I don't agree with Lierre's moral code. I'll get to that, but that's a difference in philosophy and it doesn't mean she didn't make a consistent argument according to her premises -- she absolutely does, and a devastating one. In the meantime, this chapter is really the essential meat of the book, as it should be. We are moral beings and morality informs our politics and our actions, including our nutritional choices and our idealism.

Lierre Keith certainly accomplishes what I believe she sets out to do: use the vegetarian moral code against vegetarians by exposing their ignorance. In page after page she describes beautifully the whole cycle of life, from microbe to human being, and how everything that lives has to eat, someone or thing has to die, and that everyone is just taking their turn. Even us. Eventually, we're food for worms, bacteria and other crawlies. "We all take turns at the table," says Keith.

And in taking our turn at the table -- responsibly, respectfully, sustainably -- far from inflicting harm to anything, we are actually playing a crucial role in this whole cycle that is life on the planet.

And here's where I learned the most from this book: agriculture, in terms of raw destructive power, is the cat's meow. Global warming? Ozone depletion? Pollution? Whatever you may think of those and other issues, Keith has news for you: they pale in comparison. She convincingly demonstrates that the practice of stripping land (she calls it "biotic cleansing") to grow annual monocrops is far more destructive and devastating to ecosystems and, above all, topsoil -- alive with trillions of microbes in a mere cubic yard.

And here's a good thought for you environmental skeptics out there. Many systems, in particular climate, may be far too complex to be sure of what man's contribution is, if any. On the other hand, there's no doubt about what agriculture does to ecosystems. Moreover, so much of it now is devoted to the growing of corn, such that HFCS is in virtually everything. And it's being fed to cows, an animal that is designed to eat cellulose. Paraphrasing Keith: Cows eat grass, bacteria eat the cellulose -- multiplying into the trillions -- and the cows eat the bacteria. Corn makes cows sick and it's inhumane to feed it to them.

The trickle down havoc wreaked by agriculture is a pretty easy case to make (once you have information) and Keith makes it very well.

In the end, the "moral" vegetarian has nowhere to go. If indeed their moral code is not anthropocentric, as is mine, Keith has nailed them to the wall. If, indeed, all life is more or less morally equivalent in their eyes, then in seeking to do no harm by promoting agriculture, they have instead unleashed the most destructive harm imaginable, in far greater magnitude. But it doesn't end there. There's an economic and political side, too. By promoting big-agra, they have made it very difficult for ecosystem preserving, topsoil building, humane and sustainable local polyculture operations to exist.

So then, what if your moral code is anthropocentric, i.e., one that essentially regards humans (whether by design or evolution) as being qualitatively different in an essential way from the rest of the animals, such that we possess a certain natural dominion? Does that make Keith's arguments invalid? I don't think so.

Keith does try to convince the reader that animals are as morally important as we are with a number of examples of animal and even plant "behavior" that certainly looks like human behavior, including self-sacrifice for offspring, a herd, or even a grove of trees.

But I had this nagging essential question: could any of these animal or plant entities unilaterally, willfully opt out of behaving in accordance with their designed or evolved natures? See, humans can choose to live by their natures; they can choose to strive to live above their natures; they can sink far, far below their natures; they can blow their own brains out.

Humans, unlike other animals, have to willfully determine what values are necessary for survival and prosperity, and then they have to decide whether or not they are going to pursue them. They have a choice by nature. Other animals seem to simply "know" what values they require and automatically set about to acquire them. If their environment is sufficient, they thrive, and if not, they perish. They have no willful choice in the matter.

And since a prerequisite for morality is to have a choice in matters, I have to conclude that morality applies only to human beings, and that we are naturally moral beings, since it is our very nature that demands we chose. Moreover, that choice, by nature, implies the right to choose, by nature, and so I cannot accept the notion that animals have natural rights in the sense humans do.

Alas, though very important to me from an ethical and political standpoint, I am actually quite open to dealing with folks who by virtue of the values they have chosen to live by, wish to hold themselves to what they see as a higher standard. Accordingly, though I do not ascribe morality and rights to animals, I have never been cruel to one in my life, and never would. And anyone who does is my enemy.

In the end, Keith and I don't share the same moral code, but we hold many of the same crucial values. Thanks to her book, I now have a couple of particularly important additional values to hold dear and promote than I had before.

The Latest Uh-Oh for the Vegetarians and Vegans: Creatine

So guess where you get Creatine?

If you're a gorilla, ape, vegetarian or vegan you might have a problem because it's not an essential nutrient, as it is manufactured in the human body from L-arginine, glycine, and L-methionine BUT, in human animals and other animals, approximately half of stored creatine originates from food (mainly from meat). Since vegetables do not contain creatine, vegetarians show lower levels of muscle creatine, but show the same levels after using supplements (reference).

After supplementation? Well, as I've shown for B12, supplementation is not only doable but can be an all natural solution.

So there's some new research.

The influence of creatine supplementation on the cognitive functioning of vegetarians and omnivores

Creatine when combined with P forms phosphocreatine that acts as a reserve of high-energy phosphate. Creatine is found mostly in meat, fish and other animal products, and the levels of muscle creatine are known to be lower in vegetarians. Creatine supplementation influences brain functioning as indicated by imaging studies and the measurement of oxygenated Hb. Given the key role played by creatine in the provision of energy, the influence of its supplementation on cognitive functioning was examined, contrasting the effect in omnivores and vegetarians. Young adult females (n 128) were separated into those who were and were not vegetarian. Randomly and under a double-blind procedure, subjects consumed either a placebo or 20 g of creatine supplement for 5 d. Creatine supplementation did not influence measures of verbal fluency and vigilance. However, in vegetarians rather than in those who consume meat, creatine supplementation resulted in better memory. Irrespective of dietary style, the supplementation of creatine decreased the variability in the responses to a choice reaction-time task. [emphasis added]

Well, you know, I'm just going to be brash about it: eat yer fuckin' meat, dumbass.

The news was also reported elsewhere.

Creatine, an amino acid-like compound, was first identified in 1832 for its presence in muscle. It has been the subject of about 70 randomized, controlled trials over the last 12 years or so, with the majority investigating creatine’s performance-enhancing benefits. The compound is mostly found in animal products like meat.

The role of creatine in brain functioning has been reported previously, but no data has been presented examining the effect of creatine supplementation in vegetarians, a group with lower muscle levels of creatine.

According to new results published in the British Journal of Nutrition, vegetarians showed improvements in their memory after five days of daily creatine supplements. No such improvements were observed in meat-eating omnivores. [...]

Benton and Donohoe recruited 121 young women, both vegetarians and omnivores, and randomly assigned them to receive either a daily placebo, or a daily creatine supplement (creatine monohydrate, 20 grams per day, Isostar Creatine, Wander Limited, UK) for five days.

A battery of cognitive tests were performed by the women, both before and after the five days of study, with results showing that memory improved by about 40 percent in the vegetarians consuming the creatine supplements, compared with placebo.

Furthermore, creatine supplements also reduced the variability of the women’s in the responses to a choice reaction-time task in both vegetarians and omnivores.

Since I'm not The Big Scientist around here, I'd simply want to point out that this should not be in any way surprising.

Big brains have to be demanding, not only in terms of energy, but in terms of its share of the nutrient intake. When a big brained, small gutted human takes on the diet of a pea brained, large gutted primate, results should be quite predictable (hint hint).

...And so 'd call it a target rich environment for research grants, myself.

And in other news, Angelina Jolie comes to her senses. Veganism almost killed her, says Jolie. i for one, am certainly happy it didn't.

Vegetarians and Vegans Read Free the Animal and I Have No Idea Why

Seriously.

Is any-Paleo-one more prolific than I in trashing veg*ans? Yet they read, some, and stick around. If you've been paying attention you'll see them in comments, and I get emails, too. Plant based gluttons for punishment? OK, let me not get off on the wrong track because I have something to share. And this in advance of the vegan trashing Dr. Mike Eades' blog that I may hammer tomorrow. But no promises. I may feel differently in the morning.

Erin rings in:

I am a vegetarian- but I'm not writing to complain.

I find many issues with vegetarianism, but I feel that holes could be poked in any diet. I hate the cultish feel generated by all of them, when all I'm trying to do is eat rationally and not join some bullshitty new-age group.

In an ideal setting, I would have my own plot of land with varieties of vegetables and fruits. There would be laying hens wandering around, and I suppose at least one annoying-ass rooster. (I am on a temp work assignment in Hawaii and roosters are everywhere. They are god-damned annnoying animals).

That being said, I work as a Combat Exercise Planner and essentially use my war expertise to help train troops to more effeciently engage in combat. I have no real problems with humans killing humans, but humans killing animals just seems unnecessary to me.

(My doctor assures me I'm not a sociopath. I am just an "INTP")

I don't think my life is less important than an animal's. I do believe, however, that animals would prefer not to live miserably on shitty farms- which I think rational people could agree with. If obtaining food were a game of cat-and-mouse, I could probably get behind it- just like war. But raising and systematically killing milions of malnourished animals for our own food seems like cheating to me.

I know that people in your camp are offended by wiping out perfectly good ecosystems by planting soy/wheat/corn - as am I. This is where most of my problems with vegetarianism arise. My question for you is, other than meat- what is included in your diet? I ask because I am genuinely curious to know. I'd like to cut out soy from my diet but it is seemingly unavoidable. What carbs do Paleo-dieters eat, other than plant sugars? What protein do you eat, other than meat?

I read that you went to DLI- cool- me, too. But then I got out of the marines and studied visual arts at Columbia University. Maybe that's why I'm such a confused girl... ha

OK, yea, soy is crap (use the search function as I have entries with references). Since you're vegetarian, why not get your protein from dairy? Other than milk, you have cottage cheese, whey powder and many other ways. And hell, you could do a dozen eggs a day and that wouldn't be a bad idea.

Y'know, come to think of it, I could probably pretty easily be a vegetarian, which actually means that as someone pointed out in comments some time ago, the real distinction is in those who eat animal products vs. those who don't. Vegans against the rest of the world.

And now I'll leave it open to comments