No Vegetables in the Way

Oh Noes!

Don Matesz has a different take on an aspect of Paleo-ish than I? Well, this means war! First it was the Johnsonian "War on Poverty;" then, the Nixonian "War on Drugs;" and then, we got used to always being at war with someone over something. We’re America, goddammit! We’d better be at War! Indeed, love is War. Peace is War. Life…is War.

Suppose I’ll have to head out to Phoenix, sos we can have it out — Don & I —  mano-a-mano, as I think they say it out in those backwards places. I mean…his post…on the heals of mine

I’ve been dissed! Don dissed me!

Now, if what I was representing was mainstream media something, and Don, something else, equally mainstream…y’know, something like an abducted, likely raped and dead pretty young bond white  girl — and certainly not a black one (especially not black black – we prefer our mulattos), hispanic, asian — or my God forbid, a male….then even this little disagreement could take on national, yea, International proportions (so long as ad bucks flowed, news whore suckers).

Or maybe not. Will human nutrition ever take on a prominent stage, or is food-in-boxes the last real word and it’s really, going forward, only about treadmills? …The jury will now retire to deliberate.

Ok, so after a long prelude to a short post, I think Don wanted to use good science to defend a sweeping dismissal of vegetables, which I would support. I, on the other hand, simply used the article like a cheap whore to bolster my nagging impatience with those who can’t seem to say, "yea, my diet? Well, when I’m not consuming animal flesh and devouring livers, hearts, other internal organs and the cornucopia of varietals of animal fat, I’m doing my best to choke down a bit of spinach."

Now assuming that’s not hyperbole, which it certainly is, which is better?

And that’s my point.

To belabor it, I am not dissing vegetables per se. Rather, I really want to see them on just about every plate, in their place. Here’s a fact: the variety of flavor and texture in fruits and vegetables (and herbs & spices as subs) is unmatched by animal products. Conversely, the quantity and quality of essential nutrition in animal products is unmatched by fruits and vegetables.

And so, marriage seems appropriate and that’s why we’re always setting them up on our plates. And it’s a good marriage.

It’s just that sometimes, the guy like to be alone.

Rib Tips
Rib Tips

And sometimes, he likes to stray altogether, but in a light, tasty sort of way.


Inspiration for that later was provided by my main local bud, Robert Chon, with whom I, Bea and his wife Julie just spent the weekend in San Francisco. Robert will walk barefoot for miles on bare glass for just a lick of cucumber.

Just ask him. :)

Did this piss you off, enlighten you or poke you in the eye? Tell your Facebook Friends & Twitter Followers. Button up top.

Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. The cost of two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance the travel to write, photo, and film from interesting places and share the experiences with you.


  1. Kristjan @ Paleogateway on January 28, 2011 at 17:33

    Don has changed his mind a bit since one and a half year ago:

    Personally I think you guys are both right, vegetables aren’t really that crucial but they have some amount of nutrients and they add flavour and variety to the diet. That girl’s article had some logical errors though, as Don correctly points out.

    • Don Matesz on January 28, 2011 at 19:03

      My guidelines here:

      • Anand Srivastava on January 30, 2011 at 22:29


        “3b. Dairy fats containing little or no milk protein (cream, cream cheese, sour cream, butter, clarified butter).”

        I think that you are asking to limit clarified butter but not limiting the fat from animals, coconut oil or palm oil.
        This sentence seems to be confusing to me. Are dairy fats on equal footing to Milk and milk solids, with lots of protein or sugar. I would expect that at least clarified butter would be on an equal footing to the added animal fats.

        Agreed that Coconut oil and Palm oil have different properties an may serve other purposes.

  2. josh on January 28, 2011 at 17:56

    I see fruits and vegetables as optional, I’d just rather eat things that eat fruits and vegetables.

  3. Skyler Tanner on January 28, 2011 at 16:40

    “I could buy a bottle of whiskey and mini-keg of beer from vending machines less than 100 yards from my house in Japan, just fer yr’ instance. Oh, and that that was circa mid 80s.”

    You can get soiled woman’s panties in those same vending machines:

    Sounds like a good friday.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 28, 2011 at 17:02

      That’d have had to have been a very bad Friday for me, Skyler. Fresh was only a train ride or car drive away.

  4. Maleficarum on January 28, 2011 at 17:10

    +1 internet points. keep on ranting the good rant.

  5. Todd on January 28, 2011 at 17:20

    It was still just as you say when I came to Japan in the late ’90s, but in the intervening 12 years, sadly they’ve all but disappeared.

    As to the panties in vending machine legend, I think much has been made about a “brief” fad that was largely isolated to red light districts and porn shops. The story has become twisted and magnified over time and location…

    • Richard Nikoley on January 28, 2011 at 17:37


      “It was still just as you say when I came to Japan in the late ’90s, but in the intervening 12 years, sadly they’ve all but disappeared.”

      Chalk another WIN for American Puritanism.

  6. Don Matesz on January 28, 2011 at 17:45

    “I think Don wanted to use good science to defend a sweeping dismissal of vegetables”

    Exactly. I eat meat based, averaging 1.5 pounds per day myself, I just don’t diss vegetables indiscriminantly. Nothing irks me more than painting all of a kind with one brush when differences exist. But Zoe doesn’t walk her talk; she talks meat based but loads up on grains, according to her own report discussed on Carb Sanity.

    • rob on January 29, 2011 at 16:15

      That’s about how much I eat per day myself, I try to get in at least 200g of protein. It’s not that I don’t like vegetables, it’s just that after eating all that animal flesh I’m just tired of eating.

  7. Rhys Morgan on January 28, 2011 at 19:24

    I personally eat loads of vegetables (not so much fruits) if for nothing more than adding variety, flavor, bulk, and to go along with bulk, the psychological feeling that i ate a whole lot more than a spoonful of coconut oil and some meat. For me, eating lots of vegetables helps with satiety and keeps me happy. I can’t imagine a world without them. With something as calorie dense as fat it’s easy to go overboard. But I guess we aren’t really talking about watching figures here. Anyway, plants and animals. Amen.

  8. marcus on January 28, 2011 at 19:41

    there is a pizza ad on this page

  9. Al on January 28, 2011 at 21:12

    a good middle ground appears to be that followed by Lex Rooker, as outlined in his journal over at

    He buys grass-only ground beef, and mixes in the organ meat mix (from the same animals) which is sold as pet food.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 28, 2011 at 23:02

      eating raw dog food is a middle ground? What did I miss?

      Listen, I knew about his stuff a while ago. It’s kinda like the guy I just saw on Fly Wild Alaska who lives 250 miles from the nearest road and about 130 above the arctic circle, isolated.

      Have fun, I get it, Not interested. Now, or ever.

      Total raw diets are as stupid and unfounded as vegan diets.

  10. Walter on January 28, 2011 at 23:12

    Some people see war as a metaphor for life. Wake up! Life is a metaphor for war.

    War is not politics by other means, politics is war by other means.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 29, 2011 at 10:42

      Life is a struggle, not a war. That’s just silliness.

      • Walter on January 29, 2011 at 13:34

        It was tongue in cheek in the spirit of the beginning of your blog post.

        “We’re America, goddammit! We’d better be at War! Indeed, love is War. Peace is War. Life…is War.”

      • Richard Nikoley on January 29, 2011 at 13:48

        Haha. You caught be off guard there, Walter.

      • Walter on January 29, 2011 at 15:00

        Comments have the same problems as email. You can’t see the author laughing or chuckling as he types. I found your opening to be very funny. Especial the point where you implied that any disagreement was equivalent to disrespect, since so many people seem to act that way.

  11. Emily Deans MD on January 29, 2011 at 11:53

    I’d have to eat a LOT of kale to make up for a very reasonable amount of meat. And I don’t even like kale.

    • Alex on January 30, 2011 at 02:02

      I agree. And I think this is the crux of the point the author of the original article was trying to make – vegetables are not a particularly good source of nutrients because they are mostly water and fibre with a very low calorie density (which is why it is misleading to quote nutrient content per calorie). You would have to eat kilos of the stuff to get the same level of nutrition you could get from a modest portion of meat, fish or fowl or even eggs. Herbivores have big vat-like stomachs for processing all that plant food they have to graze on constantly in order to meet their daily nutrient and calorie requirements – we don’t!

      There’s nothing wrong in eating them for flavour but let’s not over-blow their nutritional importance. I haven’t eaten fruit or veg for years with no health problems (quite the opposite on the whole\) but I do add small amounts of herbs and spices to meat for extra flavouring when required.

  12. William on January 29, 2011 at 14:43

    I eat two pounds plus of meat, everyday. The only plant life that passes my lips are asparagus, artichoke hearts, olives, dark greens (spinach, collard greens, mustard greens etc.) tomatoes and peppers from my garden, and of course herbs. Basically, since going paleo over two years ago, I have gone from eating above vegetables about twice a week, to whenever I sense a need. Even low glycemic plant life can make my joints hurt. Conversely, meat makes this fifty-six year youngster feel like a stallion. Oh, and since I live under gray skies of the Pacific Northwest, about 4,000 to 5,000 mg’s of vitamin D, and a multiple vitamin bought in quanity from Costco completes the story.

    • Bushrat on January 30, 2011 at 21:47

      Are you sure you aren’t affected by nightshades? They are associated with joint pain. Tomatoes and Peppers are nightshades unfortunately.

      • William on January 31, 2011 at 14:49

        Thanks for asking, Bushrat. I am hyper sensitive to carbs in general. Last summer may be the last time I grow tomatoes and peppers. My life long affinity for these two treats seems to have diminished. Maybe, because after two years of paleo/primal eating, my taste buds have changed through some chemical process. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t bother me, as feeling like a nineteen year old kid is far more important than pleasing my esthetic needs.

  13. Mallory on January 30, 2011 at 09:20

    lovely, i dont find i fell feel different with vegetables vs no vegetables, i do think there is a difference between meat & starch(taters) vs meat and no starch though and that avenue has an argument with hormones and stuff. vegetables though, i cant be convinced that crap soil theyre grown in are producing any kind of health promoting benefits at all…

    now gimme some beef heart and liver and im down, the addition of organs weekly has had amazing benefits.

    i like my kale and collards but i only like them because they are good assistance to butter

  14. Mike on January 31, 2011 at 02:40

    I read all three – Zoe’s original, Don’s and now yours and only just got to commenting. Thing is, the Daily Mail simply wouldn’t run an article saying ‘eat less processed grains and sugar’. Saying ‘eat no grains and sugar’ and you have a chance. Saying ‘Fuck the vegetables’, and they’ll give you a full page.
    Don was spot on factually – clearly veg are nutritious – but truth isn’t top of the agenda when it comes to newspapers. And if you want to get heard…

  15. Ned Kock on January 30, 2011 at 13:10

    Just posted something that supports both yours and Don’s points of view – a mix of both, I’d say. I had done the analysis a while ago. The main conclusion is that veggies are probably healthy as long as they don’t displace more nutrient-dense animal foods too much:

  16. russell campbell on January 30, 2011 at 21:17


    Am still in Japan and it is still easy to find a twisted side to the place. But you are right about the puritans tryin to change it here. One thing I love about Japan is the lack of religion and its strange effects on people.

    To link the two–religion and vegetables–you should have a chat with a fellow San Fransisconian at Zen Health. Mark Sisson links to him. I checked it out and WOW–the guy gives a first page rant as to why his vegetarian diet is best, we don’t need meat, soy is ok (he thinks Westin A. Price Foundation is running a scam on that one ) etc etc….unbelievable.

    The guys a nut job but Mark like his–anti-stress stuff. Ok, but I think people have to take a stance and stick with it. Seems to me that Mark is tryin to hard to be liked by everyone–yeah I know–he’s tryin to sell stuff. An interesting comment by Robb Wolf in his podcast..paraphrased as…he would like to say strong comments against the vegetarians out there, but there are many freaks among them and he doesn’t want to get shot….hhmmm free country eh??

    Keep up the great blog. I love the rants, info and comments on the blinders that people have in the “land of the Free”…Oh I’m from Canada and yeah we are free also…and here in japan ..uh, I’m free too..

    A little long, but I never make comments so kinda pent up.


  17. bigmark on May 16, 2011 at 13:41

    I am a bodybuilder and eat similar to this diet. I eat a high protein ( bodyweight X 2) per day, a lot of fat and carbs only after lifting. I was reading some books and found that you seem to eat a lot of fatty meats as opposed to what the books recomend. Care to comment, just curios your thoughts?

    Also had bad do you think protein shakes are for this type of lifestyle, each scoop is 110 cals, 24 grams of protein, 2 carbs, and some fat. I mix it with water …

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.