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:

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Vegetarians and Vegans Get Well Deserved Bare-Assed Spanking

"Why a group of longtime vegetarians and vegans converted to the idea that flesh and other food from animals can be healthful, environmentally appropriate, and ethical"

That's the kicker to this new piece in The Atlantic: Eating Animals.

As Americans gather around holiday tables this year, many of us will be setting places for vegetarians and vegans. In some families, diverse diets co-exist peacefully. In others, well ... maybe there's a health-obsessed uncle who relishes warning that "Meat will kill you!" Or an idealistic college student, eager to regale her complacent elders with grim details of the cruelty and environmental damage wrought by factory farms. Or omnivores who resent the suggestion that they should worry -- or feel guilty -- about eating meat.

The three of us can relate to both sides of such discussions. Though reared by omnivorous families, as young adults we each came to the conclusion that meat was to blame for health problems, environmental destruction, and cruelty to animals. Collectively, we have lived 52 years vegan or vegetarian. Yet we no longer think that vegetarianism is the answer to these ills. Now -- as a rancher, a hunter, and a butcher -- we firmly believe foods from animals can be healthful, environmentally appropriate, and ethical.

The piece goes on to profile each of the three individuals, their past vegetarianism or veganism, and what they do now (one still follows a vegetarian diet, but supports other people's choice to eat meat). That one, Nicolette, says:

At first, my new job -- touring factory farms and researching their water, air, and soil contamination -- reinforced my rejection of meat. But as I studied ecologically based food production, I learned that animals were essential to sustainable farms, which don't rely on fossil fuels and chemicals. Animals can increase soil fertility, contribute to pest and weed control, and convert vegetation that's inedible to humans, and growing on marginal, uncultivated land, into food. And as I visited dozens of traditional, pasture-based farms, and came to know the farmers and ranchers, I saw impressive environmental stewardship and farm animals leading good lives.

And Tovar says:

I realized that all food has its costs. From habitat destruction to combines that inadvertently mince rabbits to the shooting of deer in farm fields, crop production is far from harmless. Even in our own organic garden, my wife and I were battling ravenous insects and fence-defying woodchucks. I began to see that the question wasn't what we ate but how that food came to our plates. A few years later, my wife -- who was studying holistic health and nutrition -- suggested that we shift our diet, and my health improved when we started eating dairy and eggs. It improved still more when we started eating chicken and fish. Two years later, I took up a deer rifle.

Joshua adds:

Eventually I went, literally, whole hog into eating meat again; it was bacon that pushed me over the edge. Once I saw how the meat we were selling had been raised, and met the farmers who were striving to raise animals sustainably and ethically, I overcame my aversion to consuming meat. I realized I didn't have a problem with meat. I had a problem with the inhumane practices of the commercial meat industry. Once I saw how things could be done, I was happy to support the farmers who make our business possible and profitable. [...]

...not all forms of animal farming should be painted with the same brush. And it's simply inaccurate to suggest that a vegan diet is necessary for optimal health.

There's a mix of good and bad, as the article goes on to mention "overconsumption" of meat:

In short, eating animal-derived foods is not a health risk. Only overconsumption is.

I have no fucking idea what that even means. Oh, yea, great...eating animal derived food is not a health risk. Yea, and...

  • Getting a good education will probably not harm your career
  • Finding a good spouse will not automatically tank your eventual marriage
  • Doing a good job at something is not likely a risk to your well being
  • Being the best you can be is certainly no a risk to your social standing
  • Et cetera

Get it? How about: eating animal derived food is optimally healthy and, getting a good eduction will help your career, a good souse will give you better chances at a successful marriage, doing a good job enhances your sense of well being, and being the best you can be will likely get you somewhere in life? How about accentuating the positive rather than apologizing through negativity?

You see, it's like I always say. There's this underlying, all-pervasive guilt & shame, guilt & shame, guilt & shame surrounding the simple adherence to our very natures as omnivorous beings—and even in a goddammed article spanking veggies, you can't get rid of it.

You see what a blasphemous abomination the idea of Original Sin is? You remember. That's the one where you're guilty by your very nature.

The stupid bla bla bla continues.

Although health and nutrition research has yielded diverse and conflicting findings, there is consensus among mainstream experts: overconsumption of meat, dairy, and eggs can be harmful, but the optimal human diet includes some food derived from animals. "Animal source foods ... play an important role in ensuring optimal health and function, and their consumption is particularly important for women of reproductive age, fetuses, and young children," states a comprehensive 2010 collaborative report about livestock published by Stanford University, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and five other respected organizations.

So let me get this right. Consumption of animal source food is "particularly important for women of reproductive age, fetuses, and young children." But, if you're a young woman not yet of reproductive age, yet older than a fetus or child, a male older than a fetus or child, then watch out you don't over consume!

Why even have that aforespouted balderdash in the article, if not to demonstrate some pansy-ass sentiment about "not going to extremes" and other such pussy bullshit when, right away it follows with good stuff like this:

Even vegan advocacy groups generally counsel their followers to take nutritional supplements because the majority of vegans are deficient in vitamin B-12, found almost exclusively in foods from animals, and because the human body is far less capable of utilizing the forms of iron and zinc found in plants. Yet there is little proof that pills can adequately provide essential nutrients. "Clinical trials rarely show much benefit from taking supplements," says nutrition professor Marion Nestle. And a new University of Minnesota study raises fresh doubt about the wisdom of relying on pills for iron and other nutrients. It found that middle-aged women who took nutritional supplements -- especially iron -- had shorter lifespans than those who did not. Meat and eggs, in contrast, contain ample iron, zinc, and B-12, in forms that are easily absorbed by the human body.

Meanwhile, many popular beliefs about the health-related downsides of foods from animals are being revealed as myths. Take cholesterol. Early human diets apparently included (PDF) a hefty 500 mg daily dose of cholesterol, more than what's found in two eggs. During the 20th century, consumption of eggs declined and overall animal fat consumption dropped by over 20 percent, while consumption of vegetable fat (which contains no cholesterol) increased by over 400 percent. Yet blood cholesterol levels steadily rose and deaths from heart disease increased more than fivefold. Harvard School of Public Health researchers have concluded that eating foods that contain cholesterol does not affect blood cholesterol levels. [emphasis added]

This is reminiscent of The Vegetarian Myth.

As any attentive observer of nature knows, life feeds on life. Every living thing, from mammals, birds, and fish to plants, fungi, and bacteria, eats other living things. Humans are part of the food web; but for the artifices of cremation and tightly sealed caskets, all of us would eventually be recycled into other life forms. It is natural for people, like other omnivores, to participate in this web by eating animals. And it is ethically defensible -- provided we refrain from causing gratuitous suffering. [emphasis added]

Even vegans eat other living things. They just pretend they don't. It's unavoidable.

Pay attention below, to which groups have been advocating vegetarianism and veganism.

...Over the past two centuries, various groups -- including religious sects, social reformers, naturopathic physicians, environmentalists, and animal rights advocates -- have promoted vegetarianism in the United States. Yet the diet has never really taken hold. Today, only about three percent of Americans are vegetarian and 0.5 percent are vegan. And surveys consistently show that the vast majority of Americans who do try vegetarianism or veganism -- about three-quarters of them -- return to eating meat. Rather than urging people to consume only plants, doesn't it make more sense to encourage them to eat an omnivorous diet that is healthy, ethical, and ecologically sound?

But for God's sake, don't over consume animal products!

Alright, let's end on a positive note.

From where we stand -- on a California ranch, in the Vermont woods, and in a New York butcher shop -- we welcome diverse approaches to eating and applaud thoughtful, considered choices about food, including vegetarianism and veganism. But we reject the suggestion that animals should be banished from our farms and our plates. This holiday season, we are pleased that our families (and two of us) will be enjoying pasture-raised heritage turkey, wild venison, and grass-fed beef brisket.

Concerns about health, the environment, and ethical eating do not require giving up meat. What they do require is a new ethics of eating animals: one rooted in moderation, mindfulness, and respect.

Well, two outta three 'aint bad, I guess.

I say, go for it and if it comes down to a choice, just Go Ahead and Fuck Those Vegetables, just like I toldja.

Update: and if that's not enough, try this: Ordering the vegetarian meal? There’s more animal blood on your hands.

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.

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

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.]

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.

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.