Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
22 May

My Escape from Vegan Island

Every once in a while, I am alternately stunned and amused by what I see being promoted in the name of good health. I had one of those “stunningly amusing” episodes when I took an eight-day vacation with my family to an all-vegetarian health and adventure retreat in Costa Rica several months ago. We had joined a group of 125 headed by Dr. John McDougall, an accomplished and well-respected physician who uses a strict vegetarian/vegan lifestyle to address disease states in his patients and (ostensibly) to promote better health among the general population. I wasn’t too keen on attending, strict carnivore that I am, but I’m always up for an experiment of one and, moreover, I was convinced by my mostly-vegetarian wife and her vegan parents that our extended family would enjoy a nice tropical vacation together. And the food promised to be so yummy… so I made the leap with my wife, two kids, the in-laws and some cousins.

cr

First off, I must say, I did have a very enjoyable time in Costa Rica with my family, rafting, diving, zip lining and hiking…but after what I witnessed during my stay, I can assure you that I have never been so certain that the Primal Blueprint way of eating – which I have embraced for over 30 years now – is the best way to achieve and maintain excellent health. Frankly, I was appalled at both the information being disseminated during this event and at what I saw being served at every meal in the name of “health food.”

I am an omnivore and always have been. Carrie, my wife, was a vegetarian for fifteen years until I convinced her about five years ago to starting adding fish to her diet to get more protein. She still considers herself, in the words of the Outback Steakhouse guy, a “semi-veg.” My wife’s parents have been strict vegans for nearly thirty years and are ardent followers of Dr. McDougall. McDougall’s own story involves having had a severe stroke at age 19 from which, at 59, he still limps. He became an MD and eventually realized that diet was an important part of the health equation. He’s a very likable and charming guy. I had a few superficial discussions with him, even attended a few of his nightly lectures. His heart is certainly in the right place, but I fear he is leading people down a wholly inappropriate dietary path. At the risk of oversimplifying, the basis of his program is that almost all starch is good, all fat is bad and meat of any kind is deadly. It is, in his words, a “starch-based” diet, high in grains and legumes.

The attendees were generally divided into two groups: those who were fairly new to the program – many of them had some serious weight to lose – and those who had been on the McDougall program for several years. Many of the latter group, I gathered, had come to McDougall originally with one or more chronic diseases and on multiple medications. Each evening, after the adventure activity of the day (all of which were pretty sedate), Dr. McDougall would deliver a lecture intended to inform the group of the evils of traditional medicine and big pharma – much of which I generally agree with – and to demonize beef, pork, chicken, fish, dairy of all kinds and most forms of soy. I got the general gist after the first evening. He’s not a fan of supplements either. But he does imply that when you eat vegetarian, you can have all you want…and therein lay the source of much amusement for me.

The lecture would adjourn and everyone would line up for the buffet line which would, at virtually every meal, include copious amounts of breads and rolls, rice, potatoes, pasta, beans, some anemic-looking steamed vegetables and a romaine-only lettuce salad. No dressings allowed. The only fat I could see was in the guacamole that served as a spread. The desert table had a variety of fruits and at least two choices of so-called “healthy” cakes. The drinks were generally overly sweetened fruit drinks.

Now I’m not one to judge. Okay, I am, but I usually keep my mouth shut – except herein. I watched at every meal as overweight, unhealthy people piled their plates with at least two pounds of bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, beans, desert cake, and a glass of fruit juice. Sometimes they went back for more. By my calculations these people were consuming 200 to 300 or more grams of (mostly simple) carbohydrates at each of three meals. There was no way these folks were going to lose fat on this trip. It was, in my view, a type 2 diabetes epidemic in-the-making.

In fending for myself, I focused mainly on the salads and the black beans mixed with a little rice. As you regular readers know, I don’t “do” breads, potatoes, pasta, desserts or fruit drinks. I think they are unhealthy. Go figure. I have to say, it sure got old after a day or two.

carbs

This is Kina’s Flickr Photo

Of those who had already been on the McDougall program for years, I had the following general observation: they don’t look too healthy. People who subsist on grains and simple carbs at the expense of quality protein for any length of time tend to lose muscle mass, regardless of their exercise regimen. They are what we call “skinny fat“. Essentially, they have no lean tissue and yet they have surprisingly high body fat levels, despite their loose “skin and bones” appearance. Lean body mass is a major defining criterion of good health; and these folks were sorely lacking. Excess carbohydrate turns to fat pretty easily, but you can neither build nor preserve muscle with it. Herein lies the confusion for many folks: while glucose serves as short-term fuel for muscles, it does not build nor maintain them. One woman, a 62-year old triathlete who trains hours a day and competes almost every weekend authoritatively suggested that I was a fool to eat meat and that I should embrace the McDougall program as she had for 15 years. Problem was, she looked like hell. No muscle tone at all and, I suspect, a fairly high body fat for someone who fancied herself an athlete. It took all I had to keep from saying something that might have spoiled her trip!

As with any diet regimen, Dr. McDougall backs his theories up with studies. But that’s the biggest problem with the “science” of nutrition: anyone can find a study here or there that supports almost any premise. To wit: Fish is great because it’s a source of important Omega 3 fats, but fish is bad because it’s a source of toxic heavy metals, but fish is great because the heavy metals are not actually present at realistically dangerous levels, but fish is bad because the fish lobby was the one funding the study on relative safety, and on ad infinitum.

If there were a right answer, everyone would be doing it. I guess the best any of us can do is to align the “receptivity filters” in our brains with our current belief systems and create habits that reinforce those beliefs – and that, hopefully, result in healthy bodies and minds. Ultimately, I have chosen to believe that we were programmed to eat primarily small portions of meat and vegetables, with a little fruit thrown in occasionally. It works for me (53 years old, 5’10” 165 lbs and 8% body fat).

frisbeemark 1

Problem is, if you have no understanding of biology or chemistry, you can easily fall for that old vegan argument that meat is bad (notwithstanding the fact that there has never, in the entire history of man, been a country, culture or race that subsisted entirely on vegetables without animal flesh of some kind). Many people do fall for it. They also fall for the old “protein leaches calcium” argument, completely ignoring the fact that bones require protein as well as weight bearing activity to promote bone density and prevent osteoporosis. Or that stress has a far greater impact on preventing absorption of calcium than excess protein in the diet. But here I am giving you my opinion again and it’s only based on studies that my filters have shown align with my own beliefs…

I was fascinated by what I saw to be the complete antithesis of a healthy diet being offered up as the healthiest way to eat. And by people willing to accept that they could eat all they want of this high-carb fare and regain their lost health in the process. Try as I might, I couldn’t avoid losing a few pounds of hard-fought muscle myself over the week. Luckily, I was able to regain homeostasis shortly after returning home. And ultimately, I was left with a confidence that following Primal Blueprint path is exactly what humans were designed to do.

What are your thoughts on vegetarianism, carbohydrates, and protein?

Be sure to stick around for today’s Tuesday 10.

Best of MDA

(This piece was originally posted at my friend Art DeVany’s blog.)

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You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Go figure. When I first became a vegetarian, I put on a LOT of weight. I’ve since given it up after a CBC showed high cholesterol and anemia, but I still have a bad high GI carb habit.

    Lee wrote on July 17th, 2007
    • I was a vegetarian for years and I was overweight, developed diabetes and high blood pressure. I switched to a high fat carbohydrate restricted diet and lost the weight and the diabetes and the high blood pressure.

      joel wrote on October 8th, 2011
  2. Hey. . .just surfing along. . .interesting blog entry. :) I don’t necessarily follow the McDougall program, but can say that since I gave up animal products a couple years ago, I feel far healthier and energetic. I went down from 200 lbs eating anything I want, but now maintain a healthy wait of 135 at 5’10″. I no longer have asthma, no longer am tired, and never get sick anymore. I used to get sick at least twice a year. My personal feeling is that it’s the best choice I ever made for myself.

    Hey, you asked. ;)

    Jackie wrote on July 18th, 2007
    • Anyone cutting out junk is going to get some good results. I tried the blood type diet several years ago. I’m Type O, and contrary to popular myth, that version of the diet is not carnivorous and not even particularly low-carb. But it does require you to get off of wheat. Just switching from wheat to quinoa, rice, and amaranth let me lose a noticeable amount of weight.

      What’s your grain intake like? Your soy intake? Did you ever try grass-fed/grass-finished animal products or did you just quit the CAFO stuff? Insufficient data here. :)

      Dana wrote on February 14th, 2011
      • You could reply the exact same thing to anyone who lost weight and is feeling healthier on the paleo diet. Most diets work as long as you stick to them.

        Eva wrote on February 3rd, 2013
        • That’s a lie. The paleo “diet” is great for carnivores, but since we’ve long evolved away from being Neanderthals (who were carnivorous omnivores) and then evolved into omnivores (which are basically nature’s opportunists) the pattern is then to become omnivore/herbivore until the barbaric ways of early man are left behind along with excess hair, rendering us herbivores. Despite being very adaptable, we can’t fight the rhythm of evolution. There are major facts to be considered in our physical makeup. A carnivore’s intestines are short (for quicker evacuation of carcass) and its stomach is highly acidic (to break down carcass). An herbivore has very long intestines, chews its food as opposed to ripping & swallowing, has insufficient stomach acids/enzymes to continually break down any excess outside of plant based diet, and grazes as opposed to hunts (pizza delivery, anyone?). Hippocrates (noted as the unparalleled father of western medicine since 400 BC) states that “over 90% of diseases begin in the colon”. Now what could possibly be clogging it up?? In colonic reports, stubborn fecal matter (“tire rubber-like”) is found 9% more likely in those who consume animals as opposed to those following a plant based diet… because fruits & vegetables are fibrous and DIGESTIBLE. The best diets, whether you choose to remain omnivore or not, is an 80% alkaline (pH balanced) one – which is easier to accomplish on a vegan diet.

          Josh wrote on June 27th, 2013
        • This comment is directed at Josh who said: “We’ve long evolved away from Neanderthals.

          I just thought you should know that H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis
          are 2 different species and we did not “evolve from” them, yet we are related TO them.

          PepperCulpepper wrote on June 26th, 2014
    • Eliminating a major component of one’s nutritional intake would result in weight loss. You may have seen similar results if you decided to give up grains instead of animal products and I suspect your overall feeling of vitality has less to do with the elimination of animal products and more to do with a significant weightless and, likely, a more active role in managing your health and fitness. Since April I have adopted a lifestyle change that includes A LOT of physical activity coupled with consuming fewer carbs, zero “bad” carbs, more lean protein, whole foods, fruit, veggies and supplements. The result, down 40 pounds, no asthma, allergies, high blood pressure or acid reflux. I have ditched five prescription meds I was one for years, reduced by body fat significantly and gained lots of lean muscle…something that I could not have done without including lean protein in my diet.

      Janalina wrote on August 30th, 2011
      • Josh, I would love to hear what you think is the healthiest way of eating. Vegan?

        Kris wrote on January 30th, 2014
    • Same here. I went veg about 10 years and am in the best shape of my life. I hit the gym regularly and have more enegy than my meat-eating friends. And same on getting sick, it almost never happens to me. This is to say thatveg is the only way, but that veg is one option that shouldn’t be discounted.

      Jabalong wrote on December 17th, 2011
      • I seem to swing between paleo and veg in my thoughts. I tried primal and got so stopped up that in the end I spent $400 on a GI specialist that wanted to run test amounting close to $4000 and get on MiraLax daily for the rest of my life. I said “No thanks” and swung more vegetarian–still with meat about once a day. Once I added grains back (about once a day) and limited meat to once a day, my body began to heal. I still bloat like a balloon if I skip enzymes or HCL, so the journey to healthy digestion isn’t quite over yet. Thus intrigued in what others have found.

        Kris wrote on January 30th, 2014
        • Might I suggest the book Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford…It’s grounded in Chinese medicine and the author apprenticed with monks and has a master’s in nutrition from Harvard.

          I have found that eating meat once a day (2-3 ounces max) at noon is important. I eat no more than 1/2 ounce of nuts, very little fruit and otherwise I eat 40-50% white rice and oats cooked together in a 3:1 ratio of rice to whole oat groats that have been freshly rolled. I eat 30-40% vegetables. Ayurveda is a great starting point for nailing down your constitutional type, which helps choose appropriate foods that will optimize digestion. I am very much vata, but what works for me may not work well for someone else…

          Greg wrote on February 9th, 2014
        • google vegan bodybuilder…the comment by Mark of loss of muscle is not factual.
          In every manner of eating one can junk or true foods.

          Laura wrote on February 17th, 2014
        • These are the top ten body builders of all time-

          Ronnie Coleman
          Gunter Schlierkamp
          Markus Ruhl
          Kai Green
          Dorian Yates
          Arnold Schwarzenegger
          Lou Ferrigno
          Victor Martinez
          Victor Richards
          Dennis Wolf

          Do you know how many are vegan?

          Zero

          Sure if you stress your body with heavy weight, it will take whatever protein you give it and it’ll grow… but as long as you’re competing against omnis, you’ll never be the biggest.

          And for the typical person who isn’t lifting heavy, they will lose muscle on a vegan diet.

          Paleo Huntress wrote on February 17th, 2014
        • same happened to me, was gung ho about paleo became constipated and lost my period. I wasn’t the least bit skeptical. I was all in, thought it would work, if it did, I would tell you. I started adding back the foods I eliminated at the behest of Matt Stone and I’m pooping again and feeling better, although my period hasn’t restarted. I think paleo is dangerous and a waste of money and I feel bad for the people who get sick on it thinking they are helping themselves.

          Morgan wrote on May 25th, 2014
        • Paleo is a template, not a diet. Saying you ate a paleo diet is about as descriptive as saying you ate an “American” diet. Paleo can be high or low fiber, high or low fat, high or low protein, high or low carb. It can be almost vegan or almost carnivorous. If you weren’t getting enough fiber to move your bowels or carbohydrate to normalize your menses, the answer is to eat more fibrous foods and/or fruits and tubers. If the only way you could manage this was to eat grains, that just shows your lack of imagination with regard to food options.

          A whole food diet full of fresh animal foods, veggies, berries, nuts, seeds and tubers is dangerous? Only in Backwards Land.

          Paleo Huntress wrote on May 26th, 2014
    • +1

      steffo wrote on October 8th, 2013
      • How many of those bodybuilders were on steroids and/or isolated protein powders?

        And you forgot Jack LaLanne.

        Tyler wrote on March 13th, 2014
        • Tyler,

          I have no idea… but vegan body builders also use steroids and/or vegan protein powders. ~shrugs~

          LaLanne doesn’t come up in the top 10.

          Paleo Huntress wrote on March 13th, 2014
        • Top 10 bodybuilders based on what parameter?

          I admire the work ethic of those gentlemen, but personally I find them sorta freakish.

          LaLanne was one of the fittest humans who ever walked this earth.

          Tyler wrote on March 13th, 2014
        • Tyler,

          Based on their winnings.

          My comment was intended to evidence the fact that vegan body builders DON’T build muscle as well as omni body builders, it wasn’t to promote the sport itself. I’m a LaLanne fan, always have been. He promoted both omnivorism and moderate to low-carb. No matter what your sport, you will sacrifice something in order to excel at it. But the people involved in the sport have the right to choose it.

          3 minute video of Jack LaLanne Giving Nutrition Advice

          Paleo Huntress wrote on March 14th, 2014
        • Jack LaLannne wasn’t a vegan. According to three of his books that I read he ate egg whites and fish everyday.

          Michelle wrote on March 16th, 2014
        • Who said LaLanne was a vegan?

          “My comment was intended to evidence the fact that vegan body builders DON’T build muscle as well as omni body builders.”

          Can you present the evidence for this statement, please?
          Preferably a study where none of the participants are using steroids and / or isolated protein extracts, for the study to have any true relevance.

          Tyler wrote on March 18th, 2014
        • A number of the people on that list have openly admitted to steroid use for starters, so if his intent was to exemplify those men as paragons of primal eating over vegan eating he largely fudged the bucket there, and furthermore, why even bring them up? Seems empty to even cite them as last time I checked this site was not about bodybuilding, rather healthy primal/paleo living. Instead he cited the list because he has no real other arguments against veganism beside the typical dismissive propaganda that only sissies are vegan, that God forbid a differing diet work better for someone else that you must belittle them because your ego has grown that attached to what you eat. They would be well off to check out veganbodybuilding.com.

          Here’s the kicker, I’m primal myself but I’m not a bigot. The primal vs high carb vs vegan vs whatever crap is growing to insidious proportions because people have such an arrogance that what works for them is cold hard fact for everyone else on the planet. It’s more about their conceit than their diet of course, but they’ve sullied the beliefs they tote around when they turn people off with their intolerance.

          Victor wrote on April 20th, 2014
        • No Victor, the intent wasn’t “to exemplify those men as paragons of primal eating over vegan eating”. It was to exemplify the failure of vegan bodybuilders to outperform OMNI body builders. As mentioned, vegans are no less likely to use steroids or concentrated protein sources than omnis and they still fall short of omni performance.

          Paleo Huntress wrote on April 21st, 2014
    • Its not that you became vegan or vegetarian that made you feel better, but the cleansing and detoxing that occurred in your body through the vegan/vegetarian diet, you cleanse from GMO, MSG, sugars, refined starches, it was not the meats, cheese and eggs that made you sick it was the bad meats, non-organic eggs and bad milk you consumed. Just like it took time to make you sick from bad proteins combined with bad starches, sooner or later you will get sick from to much cleansing, you will destroy your immune system and than you will blame vegan/vegetarianism that made you sick. Good luck, hope you find the perfect nutritional information.

      Geni wrote on December 23rd, 2013
  3. Great blog! I have never seen a healthy energy field (through my “3rd eye”). Ditto for yoga. Meat is grounding as it is required for the DNA to properly replicate itself. “Like needs like,” and we humans are more like animals than plants. Vegetarians tend to be spacey, or “ungrounded,” if you will…

    I once asked Dr. McDougall how people were going to get adequate fatty acids to maintain healthy brains on a low saturated fat diet. Fatty acids are derived from cholesterol which comes from saturated fat. Is it consequential that there has been a rise in Alzheimer’s Disease since Americans began their obsession with consuming low fats? Of course “low fat” and “low carb” are merely marketing ploys because if you consume more calories than you burn, it will be stored as fat! The doctor glowered at me, “Well, that’s your opinion,” without answering the question.
    I could go on, but suffice it, I think he could be more grounded in reality… of what people will eat, which isn’t the “third world diet” he advocates. But he is well intentioned.

    Victoria wrote on July 29th, 2007
    • I laugh when veg*ns try to guilt-trip me out of meat-eating with a “you are what you eat.” Yes, and I’m an animal. Not a wheat stalk or a soy plant. Thanks for playing, please drive through. :)

      Can’t agree about the calorie comment though. If you burned every single calorie you ever ate, you’d die. It is not a matter of “either burn the calorie or store it as fat.” Where do you think your body parts come from? They must be maintained throughout life; you don’t die with the exact same set of cells you were born with. Food is not just fuel, but also spare parts. Think of it as replacing the air filter and belts in your engine by filling up your car’s gas tank. You can’t do that, but human beings are organisms, not mechanisms. Your stomach is not a bomb calorimeter, and food is not merely fuel.

      I’ve heard it best put that we gain fat because we store more calories than we expend in fuel but that is the “how” of weight gain, and does not explain the “why.” The “why” appears to involve hormonal imbalance among other factors. So no, low-carb is not a marketing ploy. If you’ve got chronically high insulin, it’s pretty much the only way you can eat and expect to regain your health.

      Unless you think the Inuit on their traditional diets are master marketers, or something…

      Dana wrote on February 14th, 2011
      • If we are animals, lets behave like animals all the time. Fight for females we like. Strongest one gets to have sex, and weak never will.
        Its not just about health. Watch cows being slaughtered. Its inhumane.

        Tim Davydov wrote on April 17th, 2012
        • Then there wouldn’t be many vegetarians left…

          Brian wrote on April 25th, 2012
        • Maybe conventional grain fed cows but the people on this site eat mostly grass fed beef which is humanely raised and humanely killed. And yes I have seen how cows as well as chicken and pigs are treated and killed in factory farms, but factory farmed meat is not the only choice.

          Jason wrote on June 1st, 2012
        • We are animals.. and we are acting like animals, all the time. You’re acting like a human animal by making a diet choice based on ethics.

          Anyway, is eating a living carrot inhumane also? Just because it doesn’t react in a way you can relate to doesn’t mean you haven’t taken another organisms life to sustain your own.

          Dan wrote on June 17th, 2012
        • http://www.bulletproofexec.com/carl-lewis-vegan/

          The cows being slaughtered thing is a joke. Stop perpetuating that.

          And let’s quit with the anecdotal evidence – and post up your blood work. Mine’s phenomenal avoiding sugar, grains and dairy. Let’s see some vegan blood work.

          Ryan wrote on February 18th, 2013
        • ‘strongest get to have sex’ , ‘fight for females’, only if you’re talking about rape and not consent, what are we cats?.

          Morgan wrote on May 25th, 2014
      • This is the most ridiculous arguement for eating meat that I have likely ever read. I’mnot trying to be rude, but you’re opinion’s here are extremely insular and twisted to fit your purpose. “yes, and I’m an animal, not a wheat stalk or a soy plant”…this seems to allude to all animale consuming meat as a means of survival when, in fact, many animals are vegetarian, including, most notably, many of our closest counterparts in the primate family. If a giant gorilla can survive on banana’s, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to assume so can a human.

        “Food is not just fuel, but also spare parts”…yes, spare parts known as FAT. Your whole argument here is way off. In fact, we DO burn all calories we intake in some way or another. That’s not to say we have to hit the treadmill to rid our bodies of all 1500-2000 calories we intake. But through normal, everyday bodily functions, including those burnt in our resting metabolic state, yes, we do burn them. Otherwise, excess calories are indeed stored as fat deposits. It’s a fact.

        I could go on but I think you’ll get the point. Cheers….regards and good heatlh to everyone.

        You’re vegetarian friend.

        Amanda wrote on September 26th, 2012
        • You call “This is the most ridiculous arguement(sic) for eating meat that I have likely ever read.” because you even didn’t understand what was being said. Sad.

          daniel wrote on November 4th, 2012
        • “humanely killed” – in my books that’s an oxymoron.

          smileyanne1 wrote on March 2nd, 2013
        • Like it or not research based content of Dr. McDougall books’ are factual as indicated with an index chocked full of supporting impressive documentation . Nathan Prtitikin, Dean Ornish, Dr. Neal Barnard (Physicians For Responsible Medicine) and many others all support this lifestyle. Why ? because it is true and research based with study after syudy supporting the same facts. Another research based publication ” The China Study” is wonderfully research based publication that supports these medical philosophies with detailed analysis on a comparative worldwide scale . Once more proving a Vegan life style is the smarter choice.

          Food is part of our culture and many can not give up poor eating habits even if it will make them ill or bring them to their grave early. Many eat themselves to death even though they know their poor food habits will hurt their health because they are addicted. Yes you inherit your genes along with their parents eating habits.

          Food is a personal choice and I guess the choice between a food and death is simple. Food choices you can be changed, stupid is forever.
          Yes the early explorers were also told the world is flat. Science and history has shown that those that do not learn form history are doomed to repeat it. What makes things more complicated is this time the food and drug industries spend billions to brain wash a public devoid of the nutritional education. They do this to protect their corporate profits and could care a rats ass about you. So who are you going to believe more a talking cow, a clown called Ronald McDonald or few Doctors with the all scientific facts?

          Gary wrote on April 2nd, 2013
        • Wow, you know you’re dealing with a vegan zealot when he comes to a Paleo site and refers to The China Study as a “wonderfully research based publication”. ~rolls eyes~ Actually, the China-Cornell-Oxford Project was some wonderful research, sadly, The China Study was a book based on some incredibly flawed conclusions drawn from some excellent data. In fact, so flawed that only a publisher of fictional novels would print it.

          Extra carbohydrate is stored as fat preferentially over fat and protein. We have proof in the form of what is known as ‘scientific data’.

          ~Huntress

          paleohuntress wrote on April 2nd, 2013
        • Gary,

          “As to your remark as to the publishing company, let’s not waste time on that point clearly it has been sold in mass, nationally and internationally. So who cares who published it. Publishing is about distribution and cutting the right deal.”

          I believe you may have misunderstood MY point. It wasn’t about who did publish him, but rather about who WOULDN’T.

          “To your remark , “Extra carbohydrate is stored as fat preferentially over fat and protein”. Look again—- I believe you missed the main idea so to clarify the point I have quoted the text.”

          I’m sorry Gary, but I don’t find the relevant quote. It would be simpler if you’d quote the piece you feel is relevant WITH your comment. Or even footnote it with numbered indicators.

          “While most of the book is based on peer review, their are other factors that do come into play.”

          A book written on health and nutrition should be based on data, not on peer-review. Perhaps I’m not parsing your comment correctly or there is a typo here?

          “While food is the main building block here what has not been discussed is how safe are the foods we consume? So let’s not bicker but enhance our information transfer. Rice is tainted with Arsenic”

          Hmmm… the sky is blue (unless it’s night) and grass is green. I don’t know why you feel that is relevant here in this blog post. Mark has already hit on this subject elsewhere in his blog, as have most of the paleo gurus. This thread isn’t the place for it, but I’m sure your comment would be well received there.

          “And most organic consumers who are buying Organic need to read the country of origin. Strawberries from Mexico……”

          And he’s covered that one exhaustively in several posts here.

          “The meat, dairy, and fish industry foods are a bazillion times worse.”

          And yet meat didn’t even make it into the top 10 most dangerous foods. The most dangerous foods were fresh produce (greens, tomatoes, potatoes, sprouts, berries) according to the FDA’s report. (Raw dairy didn’t make it into the top 10 either.) But Mark has covered that as well……. elsewhere.

          “You want to make this blog block buster beneficial, cover those those topics as citizens who are aware or comply with this information as few as 1%.”

          I don’t know how to comment without sounding snarky, but it seems more than a little disingenuous to publicly criticize Mark, the blog’s owner, for a lack of what you consider relevant content, without having first explored the blog to know that content is missing. There is a search feature in the upper right-hand corner of every page and all you need do is pop your search parameters in there. (arsenic, organic, water) If this is the way you approach your fact-finding endeavors, it isn’t all that surprising that you believe Campbell’s book to be well researched,

          The authors of the China study first defined simple and complex carbohydrates. They express the simple fact that if you eat more processed carbs like flours, breads chips sugars etc fat will happens. Plenty of fat vegans and vegetarians out there. AKA as weapons of ass destruction..

          First, simple carbohydrates already have a definition, mono and disaccharides. These are sugars that cannot be broken down any further. Anything with starch is a complex carbohydrate. I’m all for refined and unrefined (or whole) as descriptors. I was a whole food vegan. I didn’t eat bread or pasta or flour or chips. I ate whole, unrefined vegan food and after an initial weight loss, I regained that plus 65 more pounds. Yes, I got fat on “healthy” whole food, full of whole grains and legumes. This idea that whole grains are low-glycemic is ridiculous. The glycemic load of a cup of brown rice (21) is only 2 points lower than that of a cup of white rice (23). You know what else has a glycemic load of 21? A snack size Snicker’s Bar (not bite size) and a 2 inch fudge brownie. Glycemic load measures how quickly and how high a particular portion of a food raises blood sugar. Now Campbell claims that brown rice is a low-glycemic complex carbohydrate and as such, is healthy. He also claims that white flour, sugar and high fructose corn syrup is a high glycemic “simple” carbohydrate and as such is unhealthy. Unfortnately, BOTH of these foods have identical glycemic loads. So how can Campbell possibly be right in both cases? He can’t.

          ”Consuming diets HIGH in protein and FAT transfers calories away from their conversion into body heat to their storage form-as body fat (unless severe calorie restrictions is causing weight loss).” “Chinese consume more calories both because they are physically active and because their consumption of LOW-fat, LOW protein diets shifts conversion of these calories away from body fat to the body heat.”

          Umm, huh? You are referencing Campbell’s conclusions, not his data. Neither of those statements is backed up with evidence. What you’ve quoted is Campbell’s very subjective personal opinion.

          The only way that one can accurately conclude that a written work is “well researched” is to read both the research and the conclusion and compare them. I have read them both… have you? If so, simply relate the relevant citations and then we can have a quality debate. Unfortunately, for so many vegans and vegetarians, Campbell is like their god, and the China Study, their bible. And if they just insisted on seeing the data for themselves, it would be so clear that the Emperor is wearing no clothes.

          Huntress

          paleohuntress wrote on April 3rd, 2013
      • I Lol’d at the “your are what you eat” part… because judging from your photos you indeed look like a fat piggy. :D

        Melia wrote on October 21st, 2013
      • Loved your comment.

        Geni wrote on December 23rd, 2013
    • you produce your own cholesterol according to your needs. the same way animals produce their own for their need. You just happen to eat what the animal has produced even though you don’t need the extra. Have you ever heard of a cholesteral deficiency? Neither have I….

      catherine wrote on July 31st, 2011
      • Yes, actually, there is such a thing as cholesterol deficiency. The medical term for it is hypocholesterolemia, and one of its causes is malnutrition.

        Anon wrote on June 27th, 2013
  4. I am an absolutely healthy vegan. My doc says I have the heart of a 20 year old (I am 39.7543 – lol) It does not look like the Dr. McD’s diet is very wise (and I am suspect of critiques by “strict carnivores”) but that does not discount all vegetarian or vegan diets. I am suspect of Sensibility is key. My “beef” with meat is simple: there is no way to produce it in a humane way, i.e., there is no way to nicely kill another. Simple as that. I won’t ask for others to be killed for my benefit. It is against all my morals and beliefs.

    Timothy wrote on August 18th, 2007
    • Fool- fast food or McD’s is not the diet a primal would eat. All meat is not equal. You have to eat CLEAN grass fed meats. Killing for food happens is a way of life. Do you pick up fruit that fell off the tree from the ground or do you ‘HARVEST’ whil it is still alive? It is about being Human- we are what we are. Disney gave animal faces and voices and for a huge Profit.

      pjnoir wrote on August 10th, 2009
      • I agree that it depends on the way the diet is presented. Not all low carb diets are correct and not all vegan diets are correct. I had to go vegetarian then vegan a few years ago due to the fact that my pancreas shuts down when I ingest meat. Even fish and grass fed meats did not work for me as my body could not handle it. I believe that everyone’s body is unique to them and you have to find a balance that fits your own lifestyle and body, some times this means experimenting with a few options or mixing options. I don’t believe there is one correct way of dieting, but being vegan has helped a lot in my life and seems to be the way for me.

        Brandi wrote on January 6th, 2012
        • I agree. I personally have little wrong with my body, but my brain is very messed up (I have been diagnosed with OCPD (not OCD, OCPD is an autism-spectrum obsession disorder), severe Tourette’s Syndrome, ADHD and potentially a mild form of Aspergers), and I find that eating well helps tremendously. I am an omnivore (carnivores eat only meat), but I don’t underestimate a healthy diet!

          sam wrote on February 7th, 2012
        • FINALLY, I read some true wisdom within this whole string of “my way of eating is better than yours” Pissing Contest. I try to go by an old doctor’s advice, “Everything in Moderation”. The way I see it, this phrase does not mean that one should eat a bit of everything. It means that a person should personally find out what makes THEIR body feel and operate at an optimum level. In other words, find what is “moderate for you”. Everyone was not made the same, so why some of these commenters insist on pushing their philosophy as the ONLY way to fly, is beyond me. Frankly, I think that the behavior is myopic and juvenile. You have found out what YOUR body Will and Won’t Accept. In my opinion, that is what everyone should keep in mind, instead of turning their Dietary Lifestyle into yet another Twisted Religion. I applaud your input and thank you for doing so.

          Margueritte H. wrote on August 20th, 2013
      • When Timothy says, “It does not look like the Dr. McD’s diet is very wise” he is clearly talking about the Dr. McDougall diet. You, pjnoir, seem to be taking offense and thinking he is talking about McDonalds.

        Clearly, eating a bunch of doughnuts is not a good vegetarian diet, any more than eating a bunch of Big Macs is not a good primal/paleo diet. Mark’s original point fails because he’s using a bunch of idiots eating croissants and sweet rolls who “look unhealthy” as proof that eating vegetarian/vegan is bad for you. I could just as easily point to people eating heavily processed, chemical-laced fast food meat who “look unhealthy” and claim that paleo is bad for you — but I wouldn’t, because I recognize that they are not eating paleo correctly. The healthy vegans that I know have their own gardens and eat mostly whole foods.

        meagain wrote on February 3rd, 2012
        • Well-stated, Meagain.

          Karl Hungus wrote on December 31st, 2012
      • Seems like you did not read the post you replied to. It is obvious from the context that “Dr. McD’s diet” was not a reference to McDonald’s. It was mentioned as an example of a vegan diet for *** sake!

        Molo wrote on August 28th, 2012
      • Beautifully and accurately stated!

        Ann wrote on June 8th, 2013
    • ALL vegetarians and vegans and Mark! I would recommend a book called The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith.

      Lindsay wrote on October 26th, 2009
      • Then you shouldn’t eat plants either. After all, they are also killed for your benefit. I’m sure you’ll argue that it’s better to kill plants, since they allegedly have less sentience than animals, but killing is killing.

        the better perspective is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s, which is to simply give proper respect to whatever died to sustain you. Nothing is sustained in this world without something having to die.

        JYC wrote on March 14th, 2010
        • People do this. It is not so far fetched. It is called being a “fruititarian.”

          Jack Schaefer wrote on January 24th, 2012
        • That’s a really silly argumentum ad absurdum, similar to the “if gay marriage is okay than people will also start marrying their dogs” nonsense. Animals have an intelligence and capacity for feeling pain and emotion that plants do not. No amount of rationalizing will change that.

          meagain wrote on February 3rd, 2012
        • Plants do not have a central nervous system, do not actively run away from us and desperately try to avoid slaughter and lastly do not squeal in pain when being killed. There is no equivalence between killing an animal and a plant.

          Justin wrote on February 17th, 2012
        • I became vegetarian after following amostly paleo diet and I feel very clean! To say you should not eat plants either is not a smart argument. I think some of you forget that the paleo diet is not all about eating meat. The health benefits from paleo do not come just from eating meat. Consider what you are not eating and what you are mainly eating. Alot of vegetables and salad and protein. Eating factory farmed meat is unethical and unhealthy. Do you really think it is okay to eat a factory farmed animal just because meat is primal?

          whiverjoli wrote on June 12th, 2012
        • If “killing is killing” then you and I are really no different than people like Jeffrey Dahmer or any other murder or serial killer. After all, I have “killed” carrots before! Really though, if you honestly believe that taking the life of a very sentient mammal is no different ethically than picking a non sentient root vegetable out of the ground then please do the world a favor and at least don’t reproduce. I can’t even believe any sane human being tries to make a serious argument out of something so illogical.

          Kyla Mckinney wrote on October 15th, 2013
      • Vegetarians don’t eat meat NOT because
        they love animals – they just truly hate plants :)

        Genya wrote on November 4th, 2010
      • Then after reading the book, google vegetarian/vegan bodybuilding.

        Is it the lifestyle that’s faulty or rather poor education and implementation among those who’ve tried and failed?

        My experience is the latter.

        Dave Michaels wrote on September 1st, 2011
    • But what of plants? Aren’t they living too?

      Virginia wrote on January 14th, 2011
    • So plants are inanimate objects, then? And you don’t mind all the “vermin” that were slaughtered in the fields because they were getting at your food crops?

      Face it, your diet will involve the death of animals whether or not you wind up eating them. If I were to go out and shoot a deer, I’d be responsible for exactly one animal death. If I eat tofu instead, I’m responsible for the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of insects and rodents and other denizens of Kingdom Animalia. I think I know which option is more humane, especially if I were a good shot. Personally I’d rather get a bullet through the heart than ingest pesticide or get run over by a combine. Don’t know about you.

      Dana wrote on February 14th, 2011
      • Another point to add is that all animals die. Hunting for meat, not trophies, must be the most humane death because it allows an animal to live perfectly natural life, but, small-scale farms (one of which I have lived on all of my life) also yield humanely killed animals. I figure that if chickens–my animal of choice–have to die, I might as well be the one to kill them, because I’ll give them a proper life and a humane death.

        Natalia wrote on April 21st, 2011
      • What do you think animals are fed? Pesticide-ridden grains (and other grinded animals)which accumulates in their fat as all toxic substances do. Now it takes way more pounds of vegetal protein to produce only one pound of meat protein so if you do the math, you end up with more pesticides (plus growth hormones, antibiotics, and what else we don’t know about) if you eat meat. Just saying…

        catherine wrote on June 6th, 2011
        • The animals I eat are for the most part NOT fed grains (they eat natural, native, sustainable grass and other forage), and the ones that do eat grains (chicken and pork) are fed organic grain. For the most part, the animals I eat convert low-protein, fibrous, nutrient poor vegetation into healthy, high-quality, nutrient rich protein and fat and they do it without needing growth hormones, antibiotics etc. and furthermore they do it without needing to destroy the top soil and the natural animal and plant communities for industrial soy or grain monocropping. Unlike your tofu.

          Lark wrote on September 6th, 2011
      • Can I kill your dog ? It’s ok right ? You know, because I am going to eat it.

        Justin wrote on February 17th, 2012
        • Vegans are a lot like atheists, it’s all about being against someone or something, not too much about what they’re for….notice even when they’re supposedly extolling the virtues of thier life choices they take every opportunity to say something inflamitory or derogatory…being negative even when they’re “being positive”. Like ok, so you might say you don’t eat meat because you don’t feel comfortable killing a living creature….fine….but then almost without exception and unnecessarily they’ll add…unlike other people who are evil, murdering, animal hating bastards. Yes, a bit dramatic on my part, but I think you get the idea.

          Xfingxfing wrote on January 4th, 2013
      • The only problem is most soy and corn is harvested to feed meat-animals, not humans. So a lot of the collateral field-kill from crop harvest falls on the shoulders of meat-eaters. Most meat-eaters eat a goodly amount of plants as well.

        Tyler wrote on March 13th, 2014
    • There isn’t space to cover this adequately however animals and even humans are killed for your benefit everyday whether you ask or not. You cannot morally “opt” out unless you leave modern society altogether and not just by being vegan. That said, veganism is only capable of existing (and never has existed before) b/c of modern convenience. If you had to fight for your existence (in many ways) you’d be sucking down animal protein whenever you could. Just b/c a vegan eschews animal protein philisophically doesn’t mean that animals are not killed for your benefit. All the hard physical labor that is done in the world to support your lifestyle is not and cannot be done by vegans. So like it or not when you press the pedal on your car, your bike or the throttle on your train, guess what, yeah animals died or are used to provide energy (or to build the machine) to those who provide it to you. So you can get off your moral high ground like right about now. Where do you think all those supplements come from to support your body that you can’t get from eating fruits/veggies all the time? There is no more hypocritical foodism than veganism.

      BTW in your age category you will probably start to feel the negative effects of that lifestyle within the next 10 years as your body can no longer repair its cells due to inadequate nutrition. Yup most pious vegans are all young.

      There isn’t enough time or space to discuss David Wolfe and the whole vegan supplement industry. You need to start being a lot more thorough in your research, like most zealots vegans tend to overlook the obvious.

      tslate wrote on March 2nd, 2012
      • You are wrong. Many people live humanely and obstain from purchasing or consuming anything that was produced in a cruel manner. Most vegans are very educated on the subject and “practice what they preach”, so to speak.

        As for “get(ing) off your moral high ground like right about now”, the question was asked, “What are your thoughts on vegetarianism, carbohydrates, and protein?”, by the author. This is an open discussion in an open forum, hence the replies from those who don’t necessarily agree with the post. It’s too bad you can’t be open-minded and be respectful of those with a different opinion than your own.

        CH wrote on April 20th, 2012
    • What is the difference between killing a plant and killing an animal? Both are living beings. If you don’t draw the line at sentience where do you draw it?

      Matt wrote on May 7th, 2012
      • Plants can obviously respond to stimuli, but have no central nervous system. There is no point in an organism being able to feel pain unless that organism has a way of evading that pain, i.e. mobility. As well, you can hack off part of a plant, and in most cases, the plant lives on. Not always the case with animals.

        Tyler wrote on March 13th, 2014
        • It seems that they may indeed have a central nervous system.

          http://www.smithsonianchannel.com/sc/web/video/titles/12151/do-plants-respond-to-pain

          Crustaceans such as barnacles feel pain, but they’re not able to evade that pain. So while I see some sense in the claim, it doesn’t appear to apply universally.

          As for the pain an animal feels when it it killed, this would apply to animals killed accidentally for plant foods as well. So the argument for avoiding animal food out of a desire to avoid causing pain is admirable, though specious– unless you’re also avoiding the agriculture most responsible for collateral deaths (cereals and legumes).

          Paleo Huntress wrote on March 17th, 2014
        • Barnacles are animals, not plants. Mother Nature is pretty smart. Plants most certainly respond to stimuli, but feeling pain without being able to evade it would confer no evolutionary advantage.

          The majority of the products of the agriculture most responsible for the collateral field deaths of small animals go into the mouths of animals raised for meat. That puts the average meat-eater on the hook as much as, or more than, the average veg*n.

          Tyler wrote on March 21st, 2014
    • Yet it’s OK to kill plants? Maybe you should follow through on your moral reasoning and stop eating all together.

      Kristina wrote on May 25th, 2012
      • A lot of plants aren’t “killed” when parts of them are used for food. I picked beautiful green apples from a tree near me for years. Every year there would be another bumper crop. Omnivores eat (or should eat) a lot of plants, whether at source, or cycled through a meat-animal.

        Tyler wrote on March 25th, 2014
    • What is your vegan diet like, specifically? I’d love to see a diet log, as I am vegan, but am trying to make it more balanced. Seeing what u do would really help! Thanks!

      Bee wrote on September 19th, 2012
      • Want a more balanced diet? Add meat and offal.

        Tyler wrote on September 19th, 2012
    • I couldn’t agree with you more!

      To take a life so that I may eat a slab of it’s flesh for my dinner is so arrogant and so wrong!

      I was having daily anginal pains, heart palpitations, knee pain, super high cholesterol (almost 300) & overweight.

      I attended Dr. McDougall’s program and in one day, my chest pain & palpitations were gone and have never returned. My cholesterol dropped by 88 points, knee pain gone within two weeks. I started losing weight at the rate of a pound a day! And that’s WITHOUT exercising at all!!! There are so many other little things that are constantly improving.

      I absolutely love potatoes, rice, pasta, veggies and fruit and have never felt better in my life. Never get sick anymore. All blood work now normal; B/P normal, NO diabetes, energy sky high, so SOMETHING is working. It works for me.

      All Dr. McDougall asks is that people give it a try for one week; that’s all. As he says: the typical American diet is NOT working, so why not take a look at a different approach?

      In the end, everyone will do what works for them and I respect that. This program has been phenomenal for me and for my best friend. People all around us are getting diagnoses of cancer, diabetes etc and yet we remain healthy.

      We must start looking at alternatives. Somehow it just doesn’t seem right to take the life of a beautiful creature horrifically only to have that flesh rot in our intestines for 4-6 days; flesh that is ladened with hormones, pesticides and other chemicals. Something has to give and unfortunately, it’s within our own bodies.

      I wish you all well in whatever your choice may be. If you are un-well, then why not take a look at an alternative way of eating? Our teeth & “claws” are not meant to grab our prey and tear it apart; not do we have the proper enzymes for meat and we certainly don’t have the short intestines of carnivores.

      It’s hard for each of us so certain that our way is the right way. All I’m saying is: “If what you’re doing isn’t working for you anymore, then take a different approach”.

      I respect each of you for your personal decisions. Thank you for allowing me to voice my opinion and thanks for allowing me to share my story.

      Nancy Nurse wrote on November 28th, 2012
      • Thank you for your story; I have no doubt that your Dr McDougall-type regimen has given you the wonderful health and removal of symptoms you describe. Further, I have no doubt that the low-carb, healthy-fat paleo folk also enjoy their good health as a result of their diet.

        So, all of you, let’s hear back in 15-20 years, okay? Because both regimens, not to mention raw-foodism, fruitarianism, zone diet, macrobiotics, and so many others, are all therapeutic diets. There’s no Forever Diet. To stay healthy on any of these year after year is not doable; you’ll have to make some modifications along the way. Some quite extreme. I know I have.

        Wyandotte wrote on November 28th, 2012
      • Nancy…thank you for sharing your good will to we who are dying all around you, we who horrifically take the lives of beautiful creatures by grabbing and tearing apart our prey with poorly designed claws and teeth and try to digest the rotting meat with insufficient enzymes, regardless of the fact that you’re just so bloody bereft of facts, it’s just….I dunno, so touching that you wish us all so well even though apparently we’re fiendish anathemas to everything so pathetically idiotic you espouse…you’re wonderful dear. Deer is wonderful, you should try it.

        Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
        • BTW…yes there’s all kinds of nasty stuff in industrially farmed meats, which one can make a good attempt at avoiding by going organic as long as you understand the guidelines, like free range could be ok, free run don’t mean nothin’, and you’re significantly better off eating wild meats or Canadian horse meat. But to the Vegist, how you gonna get around all the GMOs?

          Soylent Green is Corn!

          Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
    • What about all the living creatures whose habitats are destroyed to grow crops, and all the insects which must be destroyed to protect crops?

      Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
    • Vegans who do not eat meat because killing an animal for food is “inhumane”, I have a question: where do you draw the line on killing animals? You will not eat animal meat because in order to do so, you need to kill the animal. OK, I can understand that, although I do have my own views on it. But what if you had a problem with mice in your house, for example? Would you not set out traps to kill the mice because that would be too inhumane? What about ants? They are still living creatures even if they are small. Is it ok to kill them if you aren’t going to eat them? How about other insects? They are living too. Maybe we should all quit driving cars to save the bugs. Have you ever noticed how many insects get killed on the front of your car when driving? Oh no, there you go killing living creatures! Not very humane…
      So where do you draw the line at what’s ok to kill and what’s not ok to kill? The logic is just weird…the vegans will say, “I won’t eat that meat cuz then I am doing an inhumane thing,” and then “whap!”, they kill a mosquito. Sure, you might say that the mosquito is not as precious of a creature and it doesn’t matter if they die, but who are we to decide which creatures are precious enough?
      I personally believe that the earth was created with a certain equilibrium, where some animals eat animals, and others just live on plants. The environment then tends to maintain a stable, relatively constant condition of properties in terms of animals and plant based food.
      The way I see it, if your body responds well to meat and animal based food, then it was meant for your body. I doubt a deer, for example, would be able to even digest meat as they eat strict herbivore diets. A mountain lion, on the other hand, is a hard-core carnivore, and they would probably become weak and thin quite quickly if they did not get the meat they are meant to have.
      So there you have it. I am definitely not in any way in agreement with making animals suffer to be food, but there are plenty of other options in finding meat without causing pain. Growing your own, for example, would give the animal a good life and no pain. Local farms where they do not keep animals jammed together is also a good option for animals. Or wild game, (best choice), have free and happy lifestyles most of the time.

      Lia wrote on February 5th, 2013
      • The example you gave about mouse traps, I think that you have a right to defend yourself in your own home. It’s like if you try to enter a bear’s cave, you’re probably going to get attacked, or if you try to mess with a beehive, you’re going to get stung. The bees and the bears are both trying to defend themselves against what they think is an invader. Same thing with the mouse, if the mouse tries to mess with your abode, you have a right to defend yourself. This might end up in killing them, but I think the best thing to do is just to chase them out of the house.

        Now, about killing bugs by driving, the same thing can also happen by walking, you can step on a beetle or ant by accident, if the bug is relatively weak. Does this mean we should all stop walking, no. I think the best way to question animal rights is to put yourself in an animal’s shoes (paws?) Let’s say a dog accidentally steps on an ant, does that mean that the dog is inhumane? Face it, there’s no way that humans, or any animal for that matter can get around without worrying about stepping on another animal’s rights. All we can do is try our best to avoid it. And that’s what vegans do, they try reasonably hard to REDUCE animal cruelty, not totally eliminate it.

        trajayjay wrote on June 28th, 2013
        • I couldn’t agree more…many of the moral arguments put forth by those for whom meat is a daily staple are totally bunk…

          Case in point: “where do you draw the line on killing animals?”

          The moral basis for veganism is solid in and of itself…however, even if one could find fault with the moral arguments, consuming beef, chicken, and pork on a daily basis will probably not be sustainable for much longer…Declining grain yields, rising population, falling water tables, plus many other factors are contributing to increased food shortages…animal meat is simply too resource-intensive for us as a society to consume without causing the price of grains to rise so fast that poor people in other countries go hungry…

          I have wanted to tackle the moral arguments against veganism for a while though…How do we draw the line? Simple…cows, pigs, chickens (the three major meats people eat in this country) all have a central nervous system, and all are capable of experiencing suffering…shellfish do not, and therefore cannot experience suffering either emotional or physical…neither can plants…I do not know enough about insects to comment, but since insects are rarely consumed in this country, debating the morality of consuming them seems irrelevant…If we contemplate the suffering of a single cow and compare it to the suffering caused by organic, sustainable agriculture, there is no contest…the cow “wins” hands down…The implication put forth by many “heavy” meat eaters that killing a mammal is equivalent to killing earthworms, insects, snails, and plants is absurd…One just has to visit a slaughterhouse to see how false this really is…

          I am also going to “invoke” the fact that many religious traditions around the world advocate against the killing of higher forms of animal life…Monks had a lot of time to meditate on these things back then, and I think we should take their word for it…

          The amount of animal food consumption advocated by low-carbers, paleo dieters, etc. is totally unsustainable from an environmental perspective…It is possible to feed everyone on earth easily through a grain and vegetable based diet…

          Tony wrote on June 30th, 2013
        • Tony, there are too da*n many people on this planet even if every last one of them consumed enough plant food to stay healthy and lived in little huts and caves and didn’t use the earth’s resources for anything other than food. It’s true.

          Wyandotte wrote on June 30th, 2013
      • What is it with people? A person makes an attempt to refrain from supporting that which they disagree with ie killing in order to satisfy ones palate and all of a sudden everyone else A) is defensive about their own diet B ) expects you to basically live like Buddha. If you are willing to go without a certain food group then you should be willing to give up your life for the same cause ie cease to exist because you might accidently harm something. The point of being vegan is to try to avoid harming animals when it is not neccisary to do so. It is not neccisary for me to give money to people who torment and kill animals for me to survive. If it was, horrible me, I would choose my life over theirs. If a bird is killed by the truck that transports vegetables well so be it, there isnt much I can do aside from starve. But the reality is that unless you hunt your own meat exclusively, there is far more suffering attached to a diet that includes meat or animal products. Animals consume most of the plant crop grown, animals raised for meat..so the vast majority of death in these fields happens for the sake of feeding an animal that will be killed because someone wants to satisfy their palate. A human requires far less vegetation to survive than a cow. So in my opinion most of this death is unnessisary. Again, the point is to try to minimize the amount of suffering that one causes, eliminating it completely is obviously not possible.

        Kyla Mckinney wrote on October 15th, 2013
  5. I can’t resist, although I have commented on being vegatarian previously. I am 71 and have been a vegetarian for 15 years. I did it originally because of marrying a vegan lady, but then I (sumultaneously) got colon cancer and eventually learned that colon causing polyps were no longer forming inside. Previous to veget. diet my colon could have as many as 8 polyps a year; after becoming vegetarian, I have never had another polyp (in ~15 years). Also, I had an oncologist tell me at an annual exam that meat is the main cause of colon cancer. Lastly, I learned that the human colon is some 16+ ft. long, yet a carnivorous cat (all cats?) like a lion might have only a 6 – 8 ft colon. Our problem is the meat, slow to digest, stays inside too long. A cat dumps it much faster and doesn’t suffer as many consequences (that we know of).
    But I did enjoy your column, and I plan to check out and watch the problems with too many grains and sugars. My weight? 155 – 160 at 5’10″ and always has been since high school. Health? Great! with no problems and especially no medication, no pain pills and no soft drinks! Ah – life is easy.

    Tom Orlando wrote on August 25th, 2007
    • The human brain is too large to be fed on a plant diet with the amount of colon we have been blessed with–the colon is the part of the intestine in mammals that deals with plant matter and ours is not long at all. The small intestine is what deals with meat (well, that and the stomach for the original breakdown). By the time the meat gets through the stomach and small intestine it is not really meat anymore.

      Enzymes are an issue too. We make all the enzymes we need in order to deal with meat and fat, but we only have some of the enzymes that deal with plant matter. We don’t make a lot of amylase, the enzyme that breaks down starch–and we make no cellulase at all, so we can do nothing with cellulose.

      Grossness/TMI alert: I have found that if I eat a lot of plant matter I can often identify what’s in the toilet, especially if I have eaten seeds. I have never had that issue with meat.

      Additionally, if I eat enough fat I don’t need fiber to keep me regular. The fat does the job.

      *Additionally*, studies have shown that the more fiber you eat relative to fat in your diet, the less calcium you are able to absorb because your food runs through your GI tract too quickly. That’s just one mineral. Wonder how many more we are being shorted.

      You specify that your wife was vegan but don’t say that you are. You are saving yourself from the worse effects of a low-animal diet by continuing to consume, I’m guessing, dairy and eggs. If you were to cut those out of your diet too, you wouldn’t be here telling us how wonderful you feel. It’s interesting that I read an article not long ago about Alicia Silverstone saying she occasionally cheats with cheese. I’ve heard from other sources that this isn’t terribly uncommon among vegans, probably why they don’t destroy their health sooner.

      Nice dig at cats. If you really suspect there are adverse health consequences for a cat eating meat, feel free to put yours on a vegan diet, but get ready to put them down. There is no taurine in plant foods, and without it, a cat will go blind and suffer heart failure.

      Personally I find that if I go without the animal foods and the saturated fat, I suffer vitamin shortages and my brain function suffers.

      I’m not a different species than you, by the way.

      Dana wrote on February 14th, 2011
      • Your colon is as long as a football field… where do you get your infos?
        Fat makes you regular??? Jeez…

        catherine wrote on June 6th, 2011
        • Football fields are only 5 feet long?

          Lark wrote on September 6th, 2011
        • The small intestine is 7 METERS(20 to 23 feet long).

          The large intestine is only about 1.5 meters (5 feet) long.

          I know, facts suck.

          tslate wrote on March 2nd, 2012
      • Hi there, as a Registered Dietician, I believe that vegetables and fruits should make up a huge part of the diet. People can be healthy on vegetarian diets. Very low fat diets are not healthy but they may be presrcibed for certain medical conditions. FIBER is healthy. Fat does not replace fiber.
        People can be healthy as vegetarians or meat-eaters. Why eat like primals? primals didn’t live as long as we, many died at 30 or 35 before they even had a chance to develop heart diseases and cancer.
        Either way you want to avoid junk food, fast food, processed foods, and soft drinks, as well as fluoride.

        that being said being VEGAN people usually cut out all fat. Fat is not bad. Fat keeps you warm. fat protects and cushions, you cant live without it.

        I understand that you are interested in the topic, but you’d do well to better inform yourself

        I’m curious to know what ‘vitamin shortages’ you get when you cut out saturated fat and animal foods, and if you have any solid evidence to back it up?

        RD Liz wrote on December 14th, 2011
        • Actually, it’s a myth that people used to die at 35. That was about the average life expectancy, but that includes a huge amount of infant mortality. In fact, a hunter gatherer who lived past 15 could expect to live to at least 70, assuming they didn’t fall to accident, predation, or human-on-human violence.

          Tess wrote on December 30th, 2011
        • All right you folks out there, while I have no formal education in nutritional science, I have read quite a bit on the subject. At the beginning of my own personal researches, many years ago, it all seemed so complicated. Finally, when I grasped the essentials, I came to realize that understanding basic human nutrition is not rocket science.

          We as human beings are all (biologically/chemically) built/composed of the same matter. Sure, we do vary in size, height, body frame, lifestyle choices, level and nature of daily activity we engage in, the type of metabolic system we have, gene inheritance, etc.

          So, in a nutshell, my understanding of ‘ WHAT’ should we eat as human beings is this:

          1. Plenty of fresh raw vegetables and fruits (organically grown, pesticide free as much as possible). They supply the body with excellent sources of complex carbs, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibers, etc. Kale, dandelion greens, spinach, parsley, watercress, celery, broccoli, chard, collards, bokchoy, Brussels sprouts, etc., are loaded with good stuff the body will thank you for. If you can’t chew on all that, try tossing them in a high speed blender. Very smoothie. Oops! I almost forgot the avocado.

          2. Steamed starchy vegetables are also nutritious too, but in smaller quantities. Like squash, carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, yams, etc.

          3. Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, chia, flax, sesame, etc.) Nuts (almonds, walnuts, Brazil, pecans, cashews, etc.). These offer some form of protein while at the same time offer good fats and oils. But you still have to go easy on them. Don’t indulge too much.

          4. Grains (Always choose whole grain. Try to stay away from gluten grains. Stick rather with Quinoa (my favorite), short grain brown rice, buckwheat, millet). You do not need to eat a lot of these. Very small amounts will give you a lot of mileage. (Try to combine with legumes). Grains are usually cooked but can be sprouted.

          5. Legumes (black beans, adzuki, lentils, Lima, etc.). For those who still are questioning the whole soy-dilemma, well, you just don’t have to have any. No one absolutely needs to eat soya beans or any of its by-products. You can find everything that soy has to offer in other beans, especially black beans. (Oh, all right, soy might have slightly higher protein content, so what. I never really understood the big hype surrounding soy products).
          Legumes can be eaten either cooked or sprouted and are best nutritionally when combined with a whole grain.

          6. Hydrate: This should be # 1. Since our brains and cells bathe in water, we need to be well hydrated with plenty of clean fresh water.

          7. Animal protein: I do believe that humans can live a very long and healthy life without animal products. Armed with the right amount of nutrition knowledge (proper food combining), a person can thrive on a well balanced plant-based food diet.

          If someone chooses to incorporate some animal product, then that is the person’s right to do so. I believe though that if a person is going to incorporate animal products in his or her diet (for whatever reason you may have – too time consuming to eat all plant-base or very physically active lifestyle, or just your love for its taste and biting into its flesh, etc.), then the person who chooses to do so, whether it be meat, dairy/cheese, fish, therefore, would be wise to check the source of the animal product he or she has chosen to put in his body.

          For a multitude of reasons (ethical, environmental, economical, etc.), it is wise to ask and find out where and how the animal product was produced. And last but not least, if you are going to incorporate animal products in your diet, ask yourself, do I really need to eat that much, that often?

          Like Julia would say : Bon Appétit !

          DarkGreenKale wrote on March 15th, 2012
        • To DarkGreenKale,

          You obviously haven’t read much on this website. Your 7 points have been extensively refuted here. If you’re going to tell us what you have “figured out” in your brilliance, can you please point to the MDA articles that refute your claims, and refute them?

          Otherwise, you’re just parroting Conventional Wisdom, which is kinda stupid considering it’s been so thoroughly rebuked around here.

          Jack wrote on March 27th, 2012
        • You may be a dietitian, but your thinking is very flawed.As a “Registered Dietitian” You are simply regurgitating the “conventional wisdom” on the subject and it is very flawed. If we look at man in his present primal state, hunter gatherers, we see that they live just as long as we do. The lower lifespan is calculated as an average, and this average is brought down dramaticaly by infant and childhood mortality. Scientists, missionaries,doctors and explorers, when first encountering man in his primal state universally noted a complete absence of the diseases of civilization, heart disease, cancer, diabetes etc.The idea that they dont live long enough to develop the diseases of civilization is also flawed. HG,s do develop these diseases when they start eating modern refined foods, namely whit flour, sugar and vegetable oils.There are NO vegan hunter gatherers. HG’s get 60-70% of their calories from animal sources. Some HG’s like the inuit, plains indians and masai get almost all of their calories from animal sources. Gary Taubes devotes a chapter to this very subject in “Good Calories Bad Calories”. You would be doing yourself and your clients a big favor by reading this book. Dr Loren Cordain discusses the subject of vegan diets very well. He states that people quickly become deficient in zinc and iron and eventually B6 and B12 on a vegan diet. Also grains and legumes are loaded with anti nutrients. The phytates inhibit the absorption of minerals in general.
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52A3ayfxfTs&feature=player_embedded

          There is nothing wrong with saturated fat. Blaming cholesterol for heart disease is like blaming the scab for the cut, or blaming firemen for causing the fires they are trying to put out. As a “registered dietitian” you should know that no relationship between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol. Cholesterol is not a toxin.It is an essential substance made by ALL of our cells. It is found in plaques because it is evidence of the body trying to heal itself. Clinically the only thing fiber has been shown to effect is constipation. Given the evidence of human biochemistry, anthropology and history, I have come to the conclusion (as a former vegan) that veganism is a form of mental illness. It is a practice that goes against our bodily functions and needs. The nutrient dense red meat of herbivores is what gave us the energy to evolve into modern humans. Homo Sapiens is a carnivore.

          Michael Cohen wrote on May 25th, 2012
        • I completely agree with you. I’m not a dietician and don’t claim to be, but I can say that my personal diet consists of a fairly good amount of lean meat, eggs, milk, fruit and vegetables, and grains. I try to stay away from snack cakes and fast food but I do have one or the other once in a while. I do smoke, though not nearly as much as most habit smokers lay claim to. Maybe a pack every 2 1/2 to 3 days. Maybe a beer a month on average. I’m 180 lbs at 6′ 1″ tall and my exercise comes generally from work and normal daily activities. My resting heart rate is about 70bpm, I have good cholesterol levels, blood sugar and normal blood pressure for a guy almost 32 years old. Things of note here, fruits and vegetables are very good in that they contain large amounts of water and vitamins. They don’t have fat and you have to be extremely versatile to get all of your protein and amino acids from them. Fat does play an important role in health in that at the very least, certain types of fatty acids are consumed by your brain. There is no fat at all in any type of fruit, vegetable, grain, bean or nut without adding some sort of animal byproduct such as butter. Back to protein…protein is more abundant in meat and other animal products than any vegetable by weight. Now on to grains and fiber. Fiber helps with digestive functions and grains help lower cholesterol. If you don’t believe that, look at a box of Cheerios. Not bashing your comment…helping it. Good job :)

          Bryan wrote on December 8th, 2012
        • “…as a Registered Dietician, I…”

          Blah, blah, blah.

          I love how people think a title confers unquestionable credibility. The same goes for MDs, PhDs, etc.

          Rufus T. Firefly wrote on December 31st, 2012
        • RE: Bryan – “There is no fat at all in any type of fruit, vegetable, grain, bean or nut without adding some sort of animal byproduct such as butter.”

          I’m surprised no one pointed out the flaws in this statement. There are plenty of non-animal sources of fat – olives, avocados and coconuts first come to mind. All nuts that I’m aware of and some grains contain fat.

          Just sayin…

          Erin wrote on February 23rd, 2013
      • I think you need to work on your reading comprehension skills, Dana. It’s pretty clear his point was that obligate carnivores, such as cats, are better able to digest meat quickly than omnivores, such as humans, who have a much longer digestive system. This is in no way a “dig at cats” nor, does it seem, he was suggesting that cats should be placed on a vegan diet!

        meagain wrote on February 3rd, 2012
      • STFU!

        Primal Vegan wrote on February 16th, 2012
        • How do u construct a primal vegan diet? Id love to see what ur daily diet is like!

          Bee wrote on September 19th, 2012
      • If seeds go right through you it is because you aren’t chewing. Why do you think we have teeth? What are all those molars FOR? I’m not defending strict vegetarianism, etc. but I do eat a lot of plant food and don’t see any undigested food in the toilet. Jes sayin.

        Chickygirl wrote on May 25th, 2012
      • About your grossness alert:

        If you identify what’s in your toilet, it has as much to do with food not entirely digested because of too many type of food at once, or food not chewed enough. Also, poorly digested seeds and vegetables, because of their structures, are easier to spots in bowels than meat.
        (Might also be cause fried meat already looks like…)

        Anyone familiar with food combining would tell you this. Any well-combined food is mostly digested ”completely”, meaning this incredible feat: AFTER YOU’VE TAKEN A DUMP, RARELY THE NEED TO WIPE YOUR BUTT CAUSE FULLY CLEAN! Also the bowel has a totally different quality to it than what poeple are used to and is mostly odorless. If that’s not an interesting incentive for you to try food combining, it was and still is for me.

        I bring this up because I found it to be easier to fully monitor how your body react to certain food when you isolate them at first, within your personal diet. How you feel when in your stomach and how it comes out are really valuable ways to understand by yourself how your body reacts with this particular food. It’s a less theoretical approach to really knowing how to feed your body by listening closely to your it before listening to most nutritionist/diet salesman, whatever diplomas on their walls.

        stephen wrote on December 25th, 2012
        • I was on the atkin’s diet and was having diarrhea every day and acne coming out of my neck. I still had allergies and asthma. I was not healthy but thin.

          I couldn’t sleep either. green leafy veggies, sweet potatoes and always feeling wired from ketosis.

          I gave that up and starting juicing. Went through a major detox where I was throwing up for a couple of days. My skin is glowing, my asthma is gone. My allergies are not reacting. My stools are solid on a nutrient rich diet. I eat 98% vegetables with half a cup of beans for lunch and 1/2 cup for dinner. I eat a lot of kale, collards, and broccoli. I lost 30 pounds in 2 months so far. I have a mood disorder and as long as I drink the green juice, no more irritability. My food sensitivity to caffeine is almost gone now. I’m healing my gut with L-glutamine and NAG supplements. Studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet is the bestto prevent heart disease, cancer, MS, and diabetes. Veggies at the top, legumes second, no dairy, good oils from nuts and seeds/advocado, grains in small amounts, then small amounts of meat (1 to 3 ounces a day max of mainly organic poultry, fish, and even less red meat). Studies have shown that meat in small amounts with a huge amount of veggies and fruit is the ideal diet. You don’t absorb beans because of fiber. That is the entire point of eating beans. You absorb the good stuff and most of it is fiber and will reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, and control blood sugars. Meat causes fibroids and cancerous tumors. not enough fiber will leave toxins in your body.

          liz wrote on February 23rd, 2013
    • Vegetarians come in many forms including those who eat chicken, fish, all dairy, etc. Many indians are like this, who eschew read meat but eat other forms of aimal proteins. You don’t explain further.

      The issue is really the vegan rhetoric. I think many of us have tried these various forms of eating all started by Paul Bragg in the US for the most part and have gone on from there. If there is a group of supremely healthy VERY athletic robust vegans out there I’d think we’d know by now. The fact is all forms of healthy eating can manage a modern sedentary lifestyle very well, heck I can eat all veggies, drink a gallon of carrot juice a day and glow. But it doesn’t mean I’m all that robust either. I hope your choices make your golden years as you say, pain free.

      tslate wrote on March 2nd, 2012
      • Carl Lewis is a vegan and had the best performance of his live when he switched. Google vegan athletes and bodybuilders and you’ll find many. Just because they aren’t coming out of the woods in waves doesn’t mean they don’t exists. That’s a pretty ignorant way of thinking that just because YOU haven’t heard of any means they don’t exist. I have to assume you’ve heard of Carl Lewis.

        Rick wrote on June 25th, 2012
        • Carl Lewis became vegan in 1990. His career spanned 1979-1996. Before he became vegan he excelled in any competition he entered. After he became vegan his career went downhill. Yes, in 1991 he partly excelled but from 1992 onwards his career spiralled down like a Messerschmitt shotdown by a Spitfire.

          Try again.

          Andy wrote on July 19th, 2012
        • Re Carl Lewis. He changed his diet to vegan in 1991? And only a year later he spiralled downward, is that right?

          It would appear to me that if he, his advisors, and his coaches could not make the connection between a great change of diet, and subsequent failures, that their combined IQ must be around room temperature.

          Wyandotte wrote on September 19th, 2012
    • Mostly carnivorous cultures (Maasai, Inuit) do NOT suffer from higher rates of colon cancer, which in and of itself disproves the theory that meat is cancer causing. If that were so, these cultures would have died out centuries ago.

      Paleo Huntress wrote on December 23rd, 2012
      • I don’t know about the Masai, but as far as the far northern indiginous people are concerned, they have a pretty severe calcium deficiency, I would say. You can see this in their severely wrinkled skin. I guess the Masai, being in a sun-rich, vitamin-D inducing, area, are able to avoid this.

        You have to look at the whole darn picture. We can’t translate a traditional lifestyle from one part of the world and glom it onto people living in different latitudes. Us civilized folk in a 4-season climate weren’t designed to eat or live like the Masai or the Inuit. We were meant to eat like our ancestors in Europe did, for 10,000 years. There is nothing wrong with that. If you do well on nothing but meat and vegetables, let’s see if you can keep this up in good health for 40 years.

        Wyandotte wrote on December 24th, 2012
        • I’m not suggesting we can translate their diet or culture- the claim was that meat causes colon cancer- the reference to the Maasai and Inuit is presented as refutation of that, nothing more. Consider too, the modern Inuit diet contains grains and other processed foods now, and their health is suffering for it.

          Paleo Huntress wrote on December 24th, 2012
        • Us civilized people, as opposed to like Masai or Inuit…..Racist!!! Besides, Masai don’t have wrinkly skin….even if they did, you spend 16 hours a day in 90+ temperatures, see how quickly you’d leather up.

          Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
      • One explanation for the lack of colon cancer is that they don’t live long enough to develop polyps which could eventually develop into malignant tumors. Maasai and Inuit have less than impressive life expectancy…They do have fairly high rates of heart disease as do the Mongols (milk and meat-based diet)…

        Tony wrote on June 8th, 2013
        • I don’t know about the Mongols, but the Maasai do NOT have heart disease. Researchers say their blood vessels are sclerotic, and though in the Western world, arterial sclerosis is correlated with heart attacks, it isn’t in the Maasai. Their vessels enlarge to compensate and they don’t have heart attacks. (Am. J. Epidemiol. (1972) 95 (1): 26-37)

          They also live into old age. Average life expectancies are not a reasonable way to compare the health of populations with significantly different cultures because confounders like infant mortality, accidents, warring and other causes of death have been minimized in so-called ‘modern’ cultures. (http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA547ComparativeHealth.html) The Maasai have a significant “elderly” population.

          paleohuntress wrote on June 9th, 2013
        • Are you honestly saying you are OK with having sclerosis as long as it doesn’t give you a heart attack? If you have sclerosis in your heart you will also have it throughout your body. The confounding factors with the Maasai are that 1) They live at high altitudes, dilating their blood vessels somewhat like you stated and 2) They have loads of parasites from eating all that meat, blood, and milk, and the parasites have a cholesterol-lowering effect. In addition, the Maasai are active and do not suffer from being overweight. All of these things work in their favor, but their diet is far from optimal and the pertinent question is would their diet be appropriate for most people, and the answer to that is definitely no.

          “The Maasai are one of the poorest tribes in Kenya. Life is hard, infant mortality high and drinking water rarely clean or close-by. Maasai people on average live to less than 50, less than the rest of Kenya and much less than the USA life expectancy of 78.2 years.” (http://medicforce.org/Kenya)

          They most certainly do not live into old age; rarely do they live beyond 60. I know all about infant mortality confounding average life expectancies and that is not the case here.

          About the Mongolians, the WHO does not paint a flattering picture. I realize only 40% of them live a pastoral lifestyle, but the life expectancy taking into account infant mortality is about 66…not great in my opinion. For more info on Mongolians:

          (http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/2012/09/grass-fed-animal-products-prevent.html)
          (http://www.who.int/nmh/countries/mng_en.pdf)

          They die mostly of cancer, heart disease, and other NCDs. Find me a population of people who do not get the majority of their calories from some type of starch AND who live long lives free of chronic disease and age gracefully…Don’t think you’ll succeed in doing so…

          On the other hand, every single large successful population of healthy, fit people in history without exception have eaten a starch-based diet from whole grains and/or tubers…

          Animal products may be beneficial or even necessary but only in small amounts and only if the rest of your diet is whole-foods starch-based.

          Tony wrote on June 9th, 2013
        • I’ve no particular dog in this fight – I support everyone eating what he wants – but wish to point out that we here in the west tend to have “long lives” because of the intervention of much medical technology. But has anyone here ever gone to a personal care home and had a look at the folks whose “long” lives skew the statistics in favor of the continuation whatever it is that our society as a whole eats? If you aren’t sickened and heartbroken, you are a zombie.

          Different strokes. That’s all.

          Wyandotte wrote on June 10th, 2013
        • Couldn’t agree more Wyandotte…high life expectancy does not guarantee health…not by a long shot…

          That said, since everyone on this forum is in some way shape or form trying to find what diet works best for them individually and what diet (if any) works best for humanity as a whole, life expectancy statistics can be a useful thing to examine in my opinion…

          Tony wrote on June 10th, 2013
        • Tony,

          “Are you honestly saying you are OK with having sclerosis as long as it doesn’t give you a heart attack? If you have sclerosis in your heart you will also have it throughout your body.”

          Yes. It isn’t disease, it’s a healthy hormetic response to their diet and environment. Most folks claim that a high fiber diet is good for the gut and yet if you look at what happens to the mucous membrane of the gut, the rupturing of cell walls and consequent spilling of the contents into the intestinal bolus, you might question whether this could truly be “healthy”. It’s all in the interpretation. Some of the Maasai have what we’d call too much abdominal fat too, a significant amount of around their inner organs. This is usually an important marker of cardio-vascular diseases, but researchers determined that it has no negative impact for the Maasai. Again, what we associate with disease doesn’t cause disease in the Maasai, so we cannot call it disease.

          “They live at high altitudes, dilating their blood vessels somewhat like you stated”

          The Maasai live primarily between 1000-3000′ above sea level. The Moroccans live at above 4000′ above sea level and heart disease is their number one cause of death, with stroke and hypertension coming in 2nd and 3rd. (Cancer is also in the top 10.) Why isn’t the elevation protecting them with larger vessels?

          “They have loads of parasites from eating all that meat, blood, and milk, and the parasites have a cholesterol-lowering effect.”

          Even if you could conclude that parasites do in fact lower cholesterol, the net result is still higher than what we consider high in the Western world- which renders this point irrelevant.

          “In addition, the Maasai are active and do not suffer from being overweight.”

          First, fitness is important for everyone. But we know for a fact that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. The warriors consume the equivalent of 3 STICKS of butter/day in saturated fat. According to Dirk Lund Christensen, the lead author of the Maasai study published last year, most of the Maasai’s everyday physical activity is in the form of walking; very little time is spent running and their daily physical activity does not even equal that of our athletes. So this claim that they are “very active” is an exaggeration. And contrary to your assertion, the Maasai DO have overweight members-(with a BMI over 25) and interestingly, they have normal, healthy levels of insulin. Considering the corn and millet that have become a new staple of their diet, the obesity doesn’t surprise me.

          “would their diet be appropriate for most people, and the answer to that is definitely no”

          This is a non-sequitur argument- no one has claimed that the Maasai diet is appropriate for most people. This debate is on whether or not the Maasai die too early (due to dietary factors) to develop cancer. The average onset age for colon cancer is 39. Many Maasai DO live well into their 40s and 50s and they don’t develop colon cancer.

          “I know all about infant mortality confounding average life expectancies and that is not the case here.”
          In 1974, a study showed more than a 50% infant mortality rate. However, most men die from warring or infectious disease like syphilis. In the Koyaki group, the top causes of death were land mines, cattle raid injuries, “fever”, typhoid, snake bites and drowning, none having anything to do with infant mortality.On the other hand, every single large successful population of healthy, fit people in history without exception have eaten a starch-based diet from whole grains and/or tubers…

          “Animal products may be beneficial or even necessary but only in small amounts and only if the rest of your diet is whole-foods starch-based.”

          A whole-food, starch based, vegan diet almost killed me. It caused diabetes, infertility, hypertension, GERD, high cholesterol and a myriad of other disease. ~shrugs~ Data is emerging that appears to demonstrate that the number of copies of the amylase gene may be the determining factor in whether or not one tolerates a high starch diet. And frankly, the Maasai and traditional Inuit are/were both healthy and fit… YOUR criteria for the evaluation of their health is subjective and significantly biased.

          ~Huntress

          paleohuntress wrote on June 12th, 2013
        • This–> “On the other hand, every single large successful population of healthy, fit people in history without exception have eaten a starch-based diet from whole grains and/or tubers…”

          –should have been included in the quote formatting located below it.

          paleohuntress wrote on June 12th, 2013
        • We are in agreement that the sclerosis does not seem to adversely affect the Maasai based on that study…but whereas you think this is healthy, and you are obviously entitled to your own opinion, I would rather not have any amount of sclerosis at all…

          This idea that fiber damages the intestinal membrane, however, is nonsense. As long as you have healthy intestines, meaning no scar tissue or lesions from something like Crohn’s disease for instance, fiber is beneficial. For those people who do have problems digesting whole grains (and I will admit that they do exist), there is white rice, taro, sweet potato, potato, etc. Sometimes people think they have problems digesting whole grains but actually the issue is with how they cook the grain (not enough water, not long enough, etc.) or they may need to add a little unrefined fat like olive oil, ghee, butter, etc. Also some grains are just not well tolerated by some people. I digest brown rice and whole wheat/spelt bread just fine, but other grains don’t sit as well for me.

          Altitude is just one “protective” factor among many, and alone, it’s unlikely to make much of a difference, thus explaining the chronic disease issues in Morocco that you mentioned, and about which I am unfamiliar.

          Regarding cholesterol, I mentioned it simply because it has been scientifically demonstrated that parasites diminish cholesterol levels. I agree with you that cholesterol does not come close to painting the full picture of cardiovascular disease; it’s obviously much more complex. Still, I maintain that these parasites likely play some kind of role in explaining why heart disease is not more prevalent among the Maasai…definitely relevant…

          So this claim that they are “very active” is an exaggeration. And contrary to your assertion, the Maasai DO have overweight members-(with a BMI over 25) and interestingly, they have normal, healthy levels of insulin. Considering the corn and millet that have become a new staple of their diet, the obesity doesn’t surprise me.

          Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/vegan-island/#ixzz2W2OLjk5v

          You’re making some unwarranted assumptions here…First of all I said they were active, and only mentioned this because the authors of the study you mentioned hypothesized that this kept their arteries in good shape. Second, you are obviously more familiar with this tribe of people than I am, but you say there are some overweight members with healthy levels of insulin and corn and millet have become new staples in the diet. Maybe some of them are overweight because they are getting less exercise, eating more grains AND still eating their traditional meat/milk/blood diet resulting in greater energy intake. Corn and millet normalize insulin levels in most people who eat the whole grain…maybe that’s why their insulin levels are normal. Also meat spikes insulin nearly as much as carbohydrates, but let’s not argue about insulin, it’s only one hormone and metabolism is a bit more complex…1.4 billion Chinese people eat mainly white rice and they are less obese than Americans. Okinawans, Peruvians, Indians, Polynesians, etc. all eat some type of whole grain and/or tuber and obesity was unheard of until recently…

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

          Read the part about diet. It does not look like they are purely carnivorous…In fact their diet may actually be more starches now that animal products, rendering our disagreement about the cause of their long term health problems or lack thereof irrelevant.

          A whole-food, starch based, vegan diet almost killed me. It caused diabetes, infertility, hypertension, GERD, high cholesterol and a myriad of other disease. ~shrugs~ Data is emerging that appears to demonstrate that the number of copies of the amylase gene may be the determining factor in whether or not one tolerates a high starch diet. And frankly, the Maasai and traditional Inuit are/were both healthy and fit… YOUR criteria for the evaluation of their health is subjective and significantly biased.

          Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/vegan-island/#ixzz2W2TiPeu9

          Maybe the reason you got sick had more to do with what and how you were eating as well as other lifestyle factors…ie you were doing it wrong ~shrugs~ out of curiosity, what exactly were you eating? We are 99.99% similar genetically, and while copies of amylase gene do vary, you are designed to eat mostly whole, unrefined starches.

          At the end of the day, the difference between how we look at the world is that I observe and follow what seems to have worked for most people throughout history, and you choose to observe and follow the example of outliers of humanity such as the Maasai and Inuit, who both traditionally followed rather extreme diets. Civilization was built on starches, not animal foods. Do your research and you will see this is so…

          Tony wrote on June 12th, 2013
        • Tony,

          Let’s try this again…

          “One explanation for the lack of colon cancer is that they don’t live long enough to develop polyps which could eventually develop into malignant tumors. Maasai and Inuit have less than impressive life expectancy…”

          False. Demonstrated.

          As for the rest… no matter how many time you repeat it, it doesn’t get any truer.

          Thank you for playing.

          ~Huntress

          paleohuntress wrote on June 13th, 2013
        • FWIW, corn does NOT normalize insulin response in anyone. A 2005 study of carb-rich foods eaten in the Sudan (and these are traditional foods) found: “[M]aize acida induced a higher post-prandial glucose and insulin response.” The corn is ground into meal and cooked like a porridge- just as with the Maasai.

          paleohuntress wrote on June 13th, 2013
        • Well I guess there’s not much I can do to change your mind about the Maasai and Inuit, even though I referenced accurate statistics on life expectancy, which, no matter what you might like to believe, is on the whole much lower than people who eat whole foods starch-based diets…As for their “fitness,” sure they may have enjoyed good physiques and health for a time, certainly long enough to reproduce, but are they models of what to eat to have a long life? Not even close…

          As for the colon cancer, you are mistaken:

          “Genetic alterations, both inherited and non-inherited, are responsible for the carcinogenic process in colon cancer. About 75% of colorectal cancers are “sporadic,” meaning that they arise in those without any family history of this disease, while the remaining 25% have an inherited predisposition that raises risk (NCI 2011).

          Two familial disorders raise risk significantly, familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC, or Lynch syndrome). These inherited disorders are responsible for 1-2% and 3-5% of all colorectal cancers, respectively.

          Familial adenomatous polyposis syndrome causes hundreds to thousands of polyps to form before age 30 and often leads to colon cancer at a young age (average age 39 years old). Familial adenomatous polyposis arises from inherited mutations of the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene, a gene mutation that is also present in 60-80% of sporadic colon cancers.

          Hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer does not cause the multitude of polyps, but polyps are much more likely to become cancerous in those with this disorder. Those with hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer have mutated mismatch repair genes (MMR genes), which fail to make necessary corrections to errors in DNA replication, allowing mistakes in the DNA to accumulate and colon cancer to ensue.”
          http://www.lef.org/protocols/cancer/colorectal_01.htm

          “More than 90% of colorectal cancer cases occur in people aged 50 or older. The incidence rate is more than 50 times higher in persons aged 60 to 79 years than in those younger than 40 years.”
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2796096/

          As you can see, I was not wrong about the lack of colon cancer in Maasai/Inuit being possibly due to low life expectancy…The type of colon cancer you referenced is very rare at 1-2%. Most colon cancers are not related to genetics and manifest most often in old people; that’s why modern medicine recommends getting regular colonoscopies after age 50. There simply isn’t enough time to die of colon cancer if you are dying of other causes before age 50-60. You did not comment on anything I showed you regarding the Mongolians, who also die relatively young of non-communicable diseases and who eat a meat and milk-centered diet.

          Regarding corn increasing insulin response and post-prandial glucose…so what? high insulin sensitivity is a good thing! You want blood sugar to go up after a meal because this links to satiety. Fats do not have the same effect. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance. If the body’s insulin levels are constantly being pushed through the roof by the SAD for instance, the body’s cells adapt by becoming less sensitive to insulin, not more! Anyway, arguing about metabolism in such a reductionist fashion leads nowhere because there is so much we do not know. The best approach to nutrition is holistic…Since you like looking at examples of healthy indigenous tribes, I’ll leave you with an article about the Pima Indians…70-80% starch-based diet and traditionally was “virtually nonexistent.”

          http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/16/1/369.full.pdf

          Tony wrote on June 13th, 2013
        • 70-80% starch-based diet and *diabetes* used to be “virtually nonexistent.”

          Tony wrote on June 13th, 2013
        • That’s a myth… even the ancient Egyptians suffered from diabetes.

          paleohuntress wrote on June 13th, 2013
        • The idea that most Egyptians had diabetes is a myth…

          However, the Egyptians found entombed as mummies were part of an elevated and wealthy social class that tended to eat diets that were richer in animal foods. Archaeological evidence on their teeth and elsewhere indicates this is so.

          Egyptians that were not wealthy ate a lot of wheat and their remains are not as common, hence the idea that people in ancient Egypt had diabetes and other “diseases of affluence.” Check out the link below under “Diets of Wealthy Ancient Egyptians.”

          http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2012nl/feb/excerpt.htm

          Tony wrote on June 14th, 2013
        • Tony,

          “Most”? You really should work on your reading skills- then you wouldn’t have to put so much energy into building strawmen. =)

          Mummification became available to pretty much anyone who could afford it and many saved their whole lives for that final expense. Even the middle classes had access to mummification, including the laborers working on pyramid building.

          You offer a link to the hand-rubbing, maniacally-grinning clown of a guru whose wealth and reputation are dependent on people believing ‘starch is manna as your evidence’? Please.

          At least I now know where your fanatacism comes from.

          ~Huntress

          paleohuntress wrote on June 14th, 2013
        • Huntress,

          I am guessing that you must have had a really bad experience with your previous vegan diet…is it possible that you simply were not eating the right foods in the right balance? Meat is definitely not necessary…many humans have abstained and lived long lives…but there is a growing body of evidence that basing one’s diet on meat and animal products leads to chronic disease. This evidence has been accumulating for some time now, but it doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves. People who are in favor of eating meat usually reference, as you do, various studies that either are flawed, misinterpreted, or taken out of context. I am not saying that never eating meat for the rest of one’s life is the only way to go, only that relying on animal products as one’s dietary staple is almost guaranteed to lead to problems in the long term.

          I don’t appreciate being called a “fanatic,” and Dr. McDougall has the right idea. Interestingly, his views on diet closely approximate those of traditional Chinese medicine as well as Ayurveda, which espouses vegetarianism…both of these traditions have hundreds of years of experience, but I guess this probably doesn’t impress you either…

          As for Egyptian mummies…you may be right that even the middle and lower classes were entombed as mummies…I honestly do not know enough about the topic…the pertinent point is that the mummies that have been analyzed were members of an elite, and they ate a significant amount of meat and had cardiovascular disease…honestly it’s kind of silly to argue about what may or may not have happened thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt.

          In my opinion, traditional Chinese medicine dietetics is all that is necessary to get a good idea of where to start…why try to reinvent the wheel? At the end of the day, reductionism is not going to give us the answers we seek concerning diet, only empiricism will get us there…

          Tony wrote on June 14th, 2013
        • Tony,

          You are correct, I had a bad experience with my vegan diet. I went vegan to avoid the heart disease and diabetes that runs in my family… and a few months in, I felt good and had lost over 20 pounds and was sure that I had. But then I started to feel crappy… and gain weight again. I saw a vegan dietician every other week- we worked closely together with my doctor getting lab work done. We tried more/all/less cooked, more/less fat, more/less calories, more grains, no grains, etc… etc. In the end, veganism CAUSED the very disease I was hoping to avoid by engaging in it.

          So here’s the thing- as a vegan I was ill. Removing grains and legumes and adding animal food made me healthy. Now I suppose one could suggest that I must have been a junk food vegan, and trust me, many a militant vegan have, but then, that would also suggest that paleo imparts magical willpower that allows me to eat whole foods NOW when I was simply “too tempted” as a vegan then. ~shrugs~ Whatever. Bottom line- vegan diet (including the high starch phase) raised my inflammation, my cholesterol, my weight, my fasting glucose– it caused acid reflux, seasonal depression, PCOS and even fibromyalgia. Ending the high starch, vegan diet? Health. In fact, there was no sign of the diabetes in less than 3 months. Now, you can argue that my current diet isn’t healthy all you want, but frankly, that would suggest that your idea of healthy if different than most. My cholesterol came down over4 100 points, as did my weight. My inflammation markers are at the low side of normal. My energy is the best it’s ever been. The GERD is gone, I haven’t had a bout of depression in 6 years, my skin is clear and I’m pain-free. The dumbest thing I could do would be to go back to the diet that was killing me simply because a guy on the internet claims it’s the only way to be healthy. “Those who do, laugh at those who say it can’t be done.” A huge fraction of paleo came from veganism, that says a lot. ;-)

          Are you familiar with Ayurvedic guru Dr. Gabriel Cousens? He says veganism is WAY too high in carbohydrate and is curing diabetes with a high fat diet. (35-50%) I guess he doesn’t agree that the ayurvedic tradition is high starch.

          We could argue about the diets that primitive people ate endlessly- but the fact is that most modern people haven’t been eating whole food diets. Most people seeking a new diet are doing so because they have some degree of metabolic derangement or disease- meaning we won’t EVER be able to tolerate a diet made up of 80% carbohydrate. It’s a bit like suggesting that a cat with renal disease can still eat 100% animal food because they evolved to be obligate carnivores- or that more relevantly, a person with Type I diabetes can eat a high carb diet. It simply isn’t true.

          If you do well on a high starch diet, congratulations. Getting back to the original point though, the Maasai’s diet doesn’t cause cancer, hypertension or heart disease.

          The longest lived people in the world eat meat… daily. We could joust over the ratios, but who cares? The point is, they eat MEAT. Daily. I guess mother nature forgot to make good on that guarantee to lead to problems in the long term– unless of course, living past 100 isn’t long-enough for you. I don’t consider McDougall an expert, so I don’t know why you think that some guy on the internet swearing that McDougall is right would be any more persuasive. NEITHER of you has met the minimum burden of proof.

          Honey-sweetened wine was the beverage of choice among the elite in ancient Egypt, as were honey sweetened cakes made with refined flour- something that was very expensive, since removing the bran was done by hand and was an expensive process. These people were also less active as they had servants tending t most of their needs. It’s funny how for vegans it always comes down to meat consumption even though disease is conclusively linked to sugar and refined carbohydrate consumption- BOTH of which the elite Egyptians had significant access to.

          Here in the US, heart disease was practically unheard of in the first half of the 20th century and saturated fat and meat certainly weren’t scarce, in fact, saturated fat consumption was significantly HIGHER then. Dr. Campbell himself says that his research found no correlation between saturated animal fats and disease and it would appear that even vegans can’t agree on what the right diet is.

          BTW? Insulin response is NOT the same as insulin production/sensitivity. Those who are insulin resistant have an exaggerated response (ie: fast, disproportionately high production) to high glycemic foods because the pancreas is trying to compensate for poor insulin sensitivity. [According to YOUR source, higher levels of insulin and glucose in the blood can increase the risk of developing colorectal cancers, as do higher levels of leptin (another byproduct of excessive fructose consumption like that found in honey).] Therefore, a higher insulin response is a BAD thing. The more often the body cranks out higher than necessary levels of insulin, the more resistant the cells become to it, which eventually ends in the deaths of the pancreatic T1 cells and diabetes.

          ~Huntress

          paleohuntress wrote on June 14th, 2013
        • You clearly were eating in a way that your body did not tolerate when you were vegan and that is why you were sick. The addition of meat did not make you healthier. You simply substituted some foods that your body tolerated better in the short term. Grains and legumes are a pretty huge category. I find it hard to believe that someone could be intolerant to those. With the exception of gluten intolerance, which is actually probably just a result of eating too much rancid flour, most people can digest grains just fine. It’s great that you’re better now, but if you are getting most of your calories from fat and animal products, I predict you will be even unhealthier long-term. If you were eating a high starch and high fat diet and eating excessively for instance, even if you were vegan, I am not surprised you became ill. But it wasn’t the starch, it was the fat and the excess. Also, refined carbs are way too general. Billions of asian people eat white rice and noodles and they were until recently on the whole much healthier than Americans. White rice is a refined carb. Should Asians stop eating so much rice and eat fat to cure the diabetes? If anything, the government is creating an initiative to get 15% of the population switched over to sprouted brown rice, see Whole Grains Council website…

          About Gabriel Cousens…you’re getting your gurus mixed up, he advocates 100% raw vegan live foods for diabetics and has apparently had great success with that approach.

          “Getting back to the original point though, the Maasai’s diet doesn’t cause cancer, hypertension or heart disease. The longest lived people in the world eat meat… daily”

          Wow, I thought we had already settled this issue…Just because the Maasai don’t get those diseases doesn’t mean their diet is suitable for most people, and since they die relatively young, that diminishes the number of them that could get those chronic diseases.

          About the longest lived people…show me a large population (or even a small one) of vegans who eat only whole, plant-based foods that die young…We’re not looking for the supercentenerians or centenerians, Huntress, we’re looking for large, relatively long-lived populations of people who have very low rates of NCDs. Just because some people in the blue zones eat meat, does not mean they are healthy because of it, mainly in spite of it. The meat may or may not be helpful in the long run…probably not though.

          “It’s funny how for vegans it always comes down to meat consumption even though disease is conclusively linked to sugar and refined carbohydrate consumption- BOTH of which the elite Egyptians had significant access to.”

          I would say it’s funny how meat eaters like to point to refined carbs and sugar as being the real culprits when arterial plaques are made of whatever animal fats were most often ingested as well as calcium deposits mostly from dairy products. Sure there’s a link between refined carbs and sugar because most people are overweight and eat those things in addition to all the animal foods, but it’s not the major factor. The reason this theory falls apart is that the structure of the fat in the arterial plaques was clearly not synthesized by the person’s own body, The fats that are found are the same as those found in meat, chicken, fish, etc. Are you honestly saying that humans are capable of synthesizing beef fat or fish oil? If that were so, why do so many people erroneously believe taking omega-3s will prevent heart attacks?

          Dr. Campbell debunked that study on saturated fat…read his interpretation of it…and “vegan” is just a word. There are different types of vegans and many of them are quite unhealthy.

          BTW…thanks for the lecture on insulin. However, I never said a high insulin response was a good thing, I said insulin sensitivity was good. Two very different things. I said that blood glucose should go up after a meal and so should insulin because this helps your brain know that you are full. I never said that chronically high blood glucose and insulin were good…on the contrary, very bad. I was pointing out the fallacy of glycemic index, which says that foods should be low glycemic. It falls apart when you look at what healthy people actually eat, like potatoes, taro, sweet potatoes, yams, cassava, many grains, etc.Many of these have a high GI, and yet people eating them hardly ever get diabetes or are overweight.

          Tony wrote on June 14th, 2013
        • LMAO Tony,

          “About Gabriel Cousens…you’re getting your gurus mixed up, he advocates 100% raw vegan live foods for diabetics and has apparently had great success with that approach.”

          This debate stuff would be easier if you’d learn to read. I know it’s tough to see past your strawmen and biased associations, but I didn’t say anything about meat. =)

          “He says veganism is WAY too high in carbohydrate and is curing diabetes with a high fat diet. (35-50%) I guess he doesn’t agree that the ayurvedic tradition is high starch.”

          “Here- I’ll link you to a video short with Gabriel Cousens talking about it. Spend a little time chewing on your foot and I’ll get back to you on the rest.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUPa9eQSkC0

          “Why the vegan diet has been quite unsuccessful.”

          “What I found is that the high complex carbohydrate, moderate protein, low fat diet that the vegan religion <–[his word, not mine] talks about is not accurate, and led to all kinds of problems. And one of the reasons it's not accurate- and PATENTLY not accurate, is because 60% of the people need a higher protein. What we're finding is that the optimum diet or longevity is one that gives you a low insulin and low leptin."

          "Once you get that, it's very clear that the diet that's being proposed by the vegan world doesn't work."

          "There's a little bit more to it- I compare my diabetes study… our protocol is, depending on your constitution, a moderately high fat diet- up to 40%, 50% fat, fairly low protein and very low carbohydrate, gives very powerful results…”

          Etc. etc…

          Enjoy.

          paleohuntress wrote on June 14th, 2013
        • Tony,

          “I never said a high insulin response was a good thing.”

          Oh? You wrote,

          “Regarding corn increasing insulin response and post-prandial glucose…so what? high insulin sensitivity is a good thing!”

          You say “so what” that insulin response is increased, and then you explain that that’s because, “insulin sensitivity is a good thing”! Well Tony, nice try back-paddling, but your second statement shows that you believe insulin response IS the same as insulin sensitivity.

          Fail.

          paleohuntress wrote on June 14th, 2013
        • (looks like a comment that includes a link is held for moderation- once approved it will post again.)

          LMAO Tony,

          “About Gabriel Cousens…you’re getting your gurus mixed up, he advocates 100% raw vegan live foods for diabetics and has apparently had great success with that approach.”

          This debate stuff would be easier if you’d learn to read. I know it’s tough to see past your strawmen and biased associations, but I didn’t say anything about meat. =)

          I wrote, “He says veganism is WAY too high in carbohydrate and is curing diabetes with a high fat diet. (35-50%) I guess he doesn’t agree that the ayurvedic tradition is high starch.”

          “Here- I’ll link you to a video short with Gabriel Cousens talking about it. Spend a little time chewing on your foot and I’ll get back to you on the rest.

          (plug it in and remove the space before the ‘com’)

          youtube. com/watch?v=pUPa9eQSkC0

          “Why the vegan diet has been quite unsuccessful.”

          “What I found is that the high complex carbohydrate, moderate protein, low fat diet that the vegan religion <–[his word, not mine] talks about is not accurate, and led to all kinds of problems. And one of the reasons it's not accurate- and PATENTLY not accurate, is because 60% of the people need a higher protein. What we're finding is that the optimum diet or longevity is one that gives you a low insulin and low leptin."

          "Once you get that, it's very clear that the diet that's being proposed by the vegan world doesn't work."

          "There's a little bit more to it- I compare my diabetes study… our protocol is, depending on your constitution, a moderately high fat diet- up to 40%, 50% fat, fairly low protein and very low carbohydrate, gives very powerful results…” ~Dr. Gabriel Cousens

          Etc. etc…

          Enjoy.

          paleohuntress wrote on June 14th, 2013
        • Interesting discussion.

          There are two things linked to inflammation, protein, which is an acid, and sugar, if someone is getting to much of both they are at risk of chronic disease. That is why smoking mysteriously is linked to heart disease, it lowers blood ph, and causes inflammation. The arteries form fatty concentrations(animal or plant based dependent on what’s available) on the side to absorb acids, and maintain blood PH. You can clear up most inflammation with something with a high PH, ( a plant ). Interestingly grains are the only plant food with a low or acidic PH. It would be wise to avoid over consuming them, unless you are countering with lots of high PH foods. Meat is also a Low PH food, unless very very fresh, in which it would be 7.2, unless it struggled, then stress hormones would lower the PH.

          http://www.thepigsite.com/articles/1506/

          This shows the meat after slaughter is a low PH food, at something like 5.7 PH, the cells are still living and producing waste, the body will then have to deal with this cellular waste in some fashion, in addition to its own cellular waste. At a certain point of decay it becomes almost non eatable to humans, and risks for bacterial infection increase. A carnivore could conceivably consume it.

          The Inuit further help us understand this as they live in a functional refrigerator, and are the only tribal all meat culture I’m aware of. They had a simple method to preserve meat, put it outside. The refrigerator a relatively new invention of things that allows non-arctic humans to eat lots of meat, via mass production, and storage facilities, and refrigerated transportation. This is something cave people simply did not have access too. Evolution and science tell us they went for the slower moving, easier to catch plants, and occasionally ate meat. This interested me.

          http://www.fasebj.org/content/13/3/559.full

          The argument that humans are naturally carrion eaters is laughable.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrion

          It’s quite possible to follow a Paleo themed diet, and be a vegan.

          Marks version has always been interesting, since he seems to suggest Bacon, a food processed with sugar, is somehow a Paleo food. Bacon was popularized by a man named Bernays in the 1930s, and PR and Marketing people still celebrate his cool trick. You can look this up if you like, before Bernays Americans ate fruit and tea for breakfast, not bacon and eggs.

          I hope these insights liven up the debate a bit.

          Jesse wrote on June 14th, 2013
        • A few other brief points, we know that meat has a PH lowering effect because calcium from ones bones, Calcium being an alkaline mineral.

          http://www.balancinghealth.net/blog/low-carb-low-bone-densit.html

          We see lower bone density in cases where calcium is not taken with meat products. This is also the reason milk a high calcium food, can cause low bone density, the acidic value of the milk counters the calciums effects.

          If we look for meat eating behavior in primates we find that in the case of chimps, its linked to Mating habits. Female chimps who eat meat have a higher birth success rate. I believe due to higher iron availability. Male chimps have been observed trading hunted meat for sex. We can infer the idea of the “successful male hunter”, harkens back to this phenomena. There could be strong links between human meat eating and sexuality.

          There is no biological reason for humans to eat meat at this time, but there could be strong biological/sexual drives to do so, that people don’t consider, and are somewhat subconscious.

          I hope what I’ve said is interesting to this community.

          Jesse wrote on June 14th, 2013
        • I meant high cellular insulin sensitivity not high insulin response…but I’m sure you’ll find a way to accuse me of “back-peddling” and “putting my foot in my mouth” Lol. I like to engage in these kinds of discussions as a way to clarify my own views as well as learn from others…If you can’t find flaws in the content of my assertions, don’t resort to implying that I am incoherent…

          About Gabriel Cousens…You are right. I was mistaken about what he advocated. That said, his ideas are kind of extreme and don’t make much sense to me. I actually have his book, “Conscious Eating,” and in that book he again recommends a mostly raw vegan diet. He makes no mention of protocol for diabetes in the book that I have seen (I could be wrong though), but he does say that some people need up to 50-55% protein and that means nuts and seeds. I can’t imagine getting half of my daily calories from nuts/seeds…can you? for 2500 calories that would mean eating around 1.5 cups of almonds (half a pound) a day! I can barely eat an ounce of almonds in a day, so that’s quite a substantial amount…anyway, he has some interesting thoughts, but at first glance, I don’t think his recommendations would work for me. Raw food is also more difficult to digest…

          Also, please forgive me for assuming that you did not mean animal fat when you referenced Cousens as saying that a diet composed of 35-50% fat was indicated for diabetics…Given the fact that you have made your views about the healthiness of meat-eating abundantly clear, I assumed that you were implying that animal fats and vegetable oils were what he recommended, when in fact he recommends strict avoidance of those and favors avocado, nuts, and seeds…The whole point of this discussion is to exchange ideas about the merits of eating significant amounts of animal foods on a daily basis. I think this is unhealthy, but I will admit that there may be (probably not for most people though) a benefit to including small amounts of animal foods once in a while in an otherwise whole foods starch based diet…

          Tony wrote on June 14th, 2013
        • Thanks for those links Jesse…

          I agree with pretty much everything you said…

          One thing I would say about grains though: they are so mildly acidic that simply adding a pinch of unrefined sea salt is enough to make them neutral. Cooking them with seaweeds also helps. Roasted/grilled/bbq meat on the other hand, is without a doubt the most blood-acidifying substance on earth…

          I must disagree with you on the notion of a “paleo-themed” vegan diet. I know I’m arguing semantics here, but I think this is important enough to warrant distinction. As far as I can tell, self-described “paleo” dieters pretty much all believe that eating meat not only is healthy, but should be a significant dietary staple. Primal eaters certainly fit into this category.

          There also appears to be many different factions within “veganism” itself. Some of them may be just as unhealthy as a meat/fat-heavy paleo diet. The ones that seem particularly unsafe to me include fruitarianism, raw-foodism, and any diet that emphasizes eating mostly non-starchy vegetables and juices. I myself ascribe to eating a whole-foods starch-based diet with mostly cooked foods. i never eat any refined foods, and I get most of my calories from complex carbohydrates such as potatoes, cassava, taro, whole grains, sweet potatoes, legumes etc. I am not averse to eating small/moderate amounts of nuts, seeds, and fruit either. But each individual has a slightly different constitution and requires different foods in different amounts at different times of the year at different stages of life, and in different parts of the world…so clearly any diet that enforces strict protein/carbohydrate/fat ratios for everyone is bound to fail…Also, if I ever do feel a craving for meat or milk, (hasn’t happened so far) I prefer to obey that craving rather than risk losing my health over it…some may take issue with this, but sometimes, meat may be necessary.

          That said, arguing about nutrition with many people is an exercise in futility because it’s almost like arguing about religion. If we as a society had invested more money into holistic nutrition research, (examining the effects of various whole foods on different conditions) we might have a clearer picture by now of how to bolster health and prevent chronic diseases, but since only 2-3% of all research money (maybe less than that actually) goes towards nutrition research, it’s still a black hole for most people who haven’t done much reading…

          Tony wrote on June 16th, 2013
        • Tony,

          “If you can’t find flaws in the content of my assertions, don’t resort to implying that I am incoherent…”

          I find you VERY coherent, I’m not sure why you’d think otherwise. It’s simply that you are so zealot-like in your belief system that you see what you want to see rather than what is there- and out of that you build straw men, at least three in this part of the thread alone. But for the sake of clarity, I find your non sequitur arguments quite coherent.

          “his ideas are kind of extreme and don’t make much sense to me.”

          The religious rarely find other belief systems sensical. If you are as eager for clarification as you claim, being more open-minded about different ideas will serve you better. His ideas are NOT extreme at all as I’ve demonstrated in the other thread- they are shared by many Ayurvedic gurus.

          “I actually have his book, “Conscious Eating,” he again recommends a mostly raw vegan diet.”

          I have tremendous respect for Dr. Cousens, he is the only vegetarian guru I have any respect for. He is the only one who appears to understand that different people have different macro needs and who is humble, not acting like his advice is holy scripture. His protocol was the best of the vegetarian protocols for me. What it came down to was the huge expense involved for a large family and the fact that I couldn’t eat locally and still follow it. I can’t tolerate a high carb diet, and contrary to your constant claims, as many as 60% of us can’t. This means I have to get my protein from less carbohydrate-dense sources and I make up the difference with fat.

          “he does say that some people need up to 50-55% protein and that means nuts and seeds.” can’t imagine getting half of my daily calories from nuts/seeds…can you? for 2500 calories that would mean eating around 1.5 cups of almonds (half a pound) a day!

          I don’t know where your calculations are coming from- a cup and a half of almonds contain 49 grams of protein and that equals 220 calories. If you were referring to FAT and not protein, there are lots of fat-rich plant foods- avocados, olives, walnuts, etc. Half a cup of olives contains over 100 fat calories, a single avocado contains over 250 fat calories… a cup of walnuts (instead of almonds) contains over 680 fat calories.

          Spinach, asparagus, kale and most other green veggies as well as avocados and olives contain as much protein as available carbohydrate. If you skip the starches and eat your calories from non-starchy options, it’s not difficult to get protein and fat in.

          I assumed that you were implying that animal fats and vegetable oils were what he recommended

          As I said, YOU made assumptions- and these came out of your own biases rather than from what was written. In fact, you mention meat literally dozens of times in this discussion and I mention it only a few. YOU are making the assumptions about meat and about my attitudes about animal foods. I have not argued in any way that meat is required for health, but rather have argued that it is false to claim that diets that include animal foods are NOT healthy– as there are clearly millions of healthy people around the world eating animal foods- even those living past 100. Your inability to read this as it’s written should be a red flag to you about a personal bias that keeps you from learning.

          “You clearly were eating in a way that your body did not tolerate when you were vegan and that is why you were sick. The addition of meat did not make you healthier.”

          To cover this again- I eat the same diet I ate as a grain-free, part cooked vegan, but now I eat animal food too. So let’s say that another way- I eat EVERYTHING I ate as a grain-free vegan (and I was sick), and now I eat animal foods too, and I’m well. Now obviously, replacing vegan protein sources with animal protein sources changes my macro-nutrient profile so we can’t actually say that if I could exactly duplicate the macros from my current diet in vegan form that I wouldn’t also be healthy- but then, when you can show me how to duplicate those macros in plant form (locally) I’m up for giving it a try. So though I realize it is vegan nature to pretend to read minds and be omnipotent, the fact is, your claim about MY diet is false. And of course it is- what kind of arrogance jerk thinks he knows the details of a stranger’s diet better than her doctor and dietician?

          paleohuntress wrote on June 21st, 2013
        • If you were a grain-free vegan before, I am not surprised that you were sick…No one likes admitting that they made mistakes…but you clearly did…If you eat a mostly-cooked whole grain-based diet (or if you have a phobia of grains, which is foolish, eat potatoes, sweet potatoes, taro, yams, etc.) you will not get diabetes, have high cholesterol, and so on…This is a fact, and if I ever run into you in the future, that bet I made still holds! Your physiology is not SO different that while most of the healthy cultures on this planet get away with being fit and eating a high carb diet into old age, you get diabetes and high cholesterol…Whole grains don’t contain cholesterol!!! It is physiologically impossible for them to do that…Even type I diabetics benefit from eating whole grains, so don’t tell me that they cause diabetes…most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard…Traditional Chinese medicine specifically indicates whole grains for diabetes, which can be caused by any number of factors, some of which include: eating too many refined carbohydrates, sweets, greasy/fatty food, alcohol, spicy foods, or hot beverages…go do some research on this if you don’t believe me…why would a medical tradition thousands of years old recommend whole grain for diabetics if “grains cause diabetes”…please.

          I think I know where you went wrong…you ate not enough grains and dense carbohydrates, you ate too many raw foods, and you added fats liberally to everything you ate…Also, you probably ate too many nuts and seeds, of which not more than one ounce a day should be consumed….The Cousens diet sucks!!! Human beings are meant to eat cooked foods because they are easier to digest! It was the fats that made you sick, not the carbs!!! Rookie mistake…I did the same thing initially because I had an underlying fear of eating too many carbs, so I added avocado, olive oil, ghee, etc. on top of my grains and tubers…

          In TCM all those fats have a deleterious effect…what this does is to cause “dampness” in the “spleen-pancreas”…essentially it diminishes the capacity of the pancreas to digest carbohydrates…Too many refined carbohydrates like white rice and white pasta can also diminish this function as well…as soon as I took the full plunge and totally eliminated the added fats and refined carbs, the “dampness” cleared and I was able to guzzle as many complex carbs as I wanted…Still do and have never felt better in my entire life!

          However, what is very important to note is that it takes at least 2-3 days for your pancreas to start functioning optimally again once you cut out all the added fats, nuts, and seeds and during those three days, your appetite may be lower than normal and you may feel tired and depressed…essentially “sick”… If you keep eating fats and raw foods during this time, your pancreas will essentially be unable to recover and you will be unable to eat lots of carbs…After 3 days though your appetite will return and if you don’t add any more fats or raw stuff to your food, you will be astonished at just how many carbs you can ingest and never feel groggy or have heartburn or acid reflux after eating a bowl of brown rice…Those symptoms occur when your pancreas is weakened and cannot handle the amount of food demanded by your appetite…

          You likely were not getting enough calories with the raw foods and the lack of grains and a diminished pancreas and too much fats to compensate…also cooking grains with too much water will increase the volume and lower calorie density, making you hungry every few hours…the proper way to cook brown rice for instance, is this: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Perfect-Brown-Rice

          The paleo and primal diets are a joke Huntress!!! People get good results in the short term, but they sacrifice their long term health…you can be very unhealthy as a vegan if you follow radical diet suggestions like Cousens’…that’s why I think it’s a crappy diet philosophy…He associates himself with Ayurveda and then goes full-on raw vegan, when Indian food is at least 90% cooked…They go to great lengths to make their food easily digestible, just like the Chinese…Indian food is all about mushy, pureed, gravies poured over steamed basmati rice and warm naan breads, and it used to be mostly vegetarian…The reason it’s so greasy nowadays is because oils are cheap and plentiful and they satisfy the palette at the expense of health long term…

          Tony wrote on June 22nd, 2013
        • Tony,

          You’re an illiterate ass and I’m done giving you a pass on it. Should you ever learn to read, I welcome you back into this debate. In the meantime though, I strongly encourage you to focus on your reading comprehension skills. http://www.cracked.com/article_19468_5-logical-fallacies-that-make-you-wrong-more-than-you-think.html

          Paleo Huntress wrote on June 23rd, 2013
  6. …….

    Alexa wrote on August 27th, 2007
  7. Hi-

    I became vegetarian 2/12 years ago, and became strict vegan 1/1/2 years ago. For me, it has it’s benefits and drawbacks. Before going veg, I ate only meat, dairy, pasta, and bread. Drank a gallon of milk every 2 days, picked the fruits and vegetables out of everything. I was a dancer, and had a muscular build. I was constantly constipated and did not get regular periods. Also, I had a short fuse. Since cutting out flesh, and then all animal by-products, I’ve lost 12 pounds of muscle mass and fat. While I enjoy having a more feminine body (slimmer arms and thighs), much of my strength is gone, along with the elasticity of my skin. I am only 33 and the skin on my arms and knees is equal to that of a 50 year old who has spent years in the sun. I did not have these problems as a vegetarian, only since I’ve become vegan. I do realize that I am not getting enough fats in my diet, as I mainly live on raw fruits and veggies. I have just added virgin coconut oil, eggs from a local farmer (I’ve met the chicken), and am trying to eat more calories in a day. I suspect my cholesterol is dangerously low as I have stopped getting my periods, again, have pains in my arms and legs, find new spider veins daily, and am constantly tired. The only conclusion I can draw at this point is that animal fats are necessary, but not flesh. Consumption of these fats should be daily, but accompanied with lots of fiber, to help it through the intestines. Any thoughts?

    Toni Ann wrote on September 21st, 2007
    • Had you considered that perhaps it wasn’t the subtraction of meat, but the addition of vegetables to your diet that benefited you? Constipation is generally caused by a lack of fiber, which comes from… you guessed it! Veggies!

      Alison wrote on January 10th, 2011
      • If she’s typical of the average American, she ate all that junk but was afraid to eat too much fat because it was “unhealthy.”

        I can avoid constipation without eating lots of fiber simply by getting enough fat in my diet (butter, cream, coconut oil, etc.). Eating fiber, particularly cereal fiber, has less than salutary effects on my health. The cereal fiber can actually make me back up, as it were. The vegetable fiber makes things move through entirely too fast. If I can identify what’s in the toilet, it’s had too short a transition time. I don’t eat food only to have it do me little to no good nutritionally because I dumped it too soon.

        Dana wrote on February 14th, 2011
        • Some of your opinions and commentaries are, I wanna put it gently, a bit weird and toilet centered…

          Some guy wrote on December 25th, 2012
    • “I’ve met the chicken”… whether I agree with you or not, that line is CLASSIC!

      TONYSHOGUN wrote on August 9th, 2011
      • That just made me LOL, thank you!

        ameeyr99 wrote on May 7th, 2013
  8. ALL–Please see the CHINA STUDY if you have not,
    (milk and meat cause cancer);
    dancer lady:–please eat nuts and seeds,
    and all yes white flour is = sugar and is a waste,
    try eating RAW FOODS veg as much as possible.
    ray

    rayomnivar wrote on September 21st, 2007
    • CHINA STUDY:

      http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/China-Study.html

      “casein, and very likely all animal proteins, may be the most relevant cancer-causing substances that we consume.”

      Then:

      “Whey protein appears to have a protective effect against colon cancer that casein does not have.” So which is it? Campbell argues that since Cassein is bad, all animal proteins are bad… but whey is good? last I checked, Whey comes from milk aka animal.

      And my favorite quote from the above link which looks at the data Campbell “used” to make his assumptions:

      “Sugar, soluble carbohydrates, and fiber all have correlations with cancer mortality about seven times the magnitude of that with animal protein, and total fat and fat as a percentage of calories were both negatively correlated with cancer mortality.”

      Campbell is an advisory board member for the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, which has ties to PETA… interesting that he wrote a book claiming that eating animals will kill you.

      MB wrote on April 28th, 2010
    • http://rawfoodsos.com/category/china-study/

      Read it yourself. Not the popular book that misrepresented the data in the survey.

      Hope you don’t eat wheat. Meat was not linked with disease, but wheat sure was.

      Dana wrote on February 14th, 2011
    • Amen!! Meat and Milk DO cause cancer, and the best nutrients; all you will ever need, can be found in nature from nuts, beans, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Becoming vegan stopped my constant calorie counting, watching carbs, etc. My energy zipped up, no longer depressed, skin glows, never ever feel deprived. You couldn’t make me it anything from an animal. Sadly Kharma from eating animals is heart disease, cancers and unhealthy weight gain. I highly recommend you read the kind diet…will WAKE you up!

      Deanna wrote on August 7th, 2011
      • And you’re citing Alicia Silverstone as a nutritional expert? Please at least choose a reputable veg nutrition source to cite when making these claims. (I can think of a few that, though certainly not what I consider to be ideal, are loads better than that book.)

        I’m formerly vegan, and did everything “right”… but my cholesterol went down when I put some grass-fed, local meat back into my diet. My blood sugar and blood pressure also went down. All this before I cut out sugar and grains. Now that I’m off grains, sugar, and most legumes I’ve lost body fat and my “numbers” have gotten even better. (Of course, much of that may be due to the fact that I am severely intolerant to gluten and moderately intolerant to soy.)

        formerveg wrote on August 10th, 2011
      • Is that why vegetarian east indians have one of the highest rates of heart disease in the world?

        Michael Cohen wrote on December 12th, 2011
        • Guess what?! We’re all gonna die eventually, whether we eat meat or not

          Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
        • East Indian women have THE lowest rate of heart disease in the world, and highest life expectancy. (Source: Sociology of Health & Illness by Peter Conrad, 7th ed.)

          I am very annoyed with people who try to justify their beliefs by fabricating information, or were simply misinformed and don’t bother to verify information before confidently misinforming others.

          k wrote on February 17th, 2013
      • Steve Jobs will attest to everything you have just said! Oh wait. He was (a strange) vegan and he died of cancer!

        Oh well, let’s ask Linda McCartney. Nope. Vegetarian died of cancer.

        Let’s ask the Monkee’s guy, Davy Jones. Oh dear, heart attack at 66.

        What about the Bee Gee’s? Robin Gibbs – vegan and cancer.

        Ok, what about Maurice Gibb? No! Donna Summer? No. Bob Marley? No.

        I could go on but I won’t,

        Andy wrote on July 19th, 2012
  9. Hi Ray-

    Thanks for the note. I don’t eat any refined products and do live mainly on raw fruits and veggies. I do realize the risks of consuming meats and dairy, aside from the fact that I would never expect something to die so that I could have a particular taste in my mouth. There are conflicting views and studies about whether flesh consumption is a health risk, but I would be more than willing to read the article in question. Can you send me a link? I won’t eat animals again, but I do need to get a lot more calories and fats. I am severely malnourished and my cholesterol is too low. Any ideas about how I could raise it?

    Thanks,

    Toni Ann

    Toni Ann wrote on September 21st, 2007
    • “I would never expect something to die so that I could have a particular taste in my mouth.”

      So plants aren’t alive? Then why do you eat them? They wouldn’t have anything your body could use if they weren’t biological organisms.

      I’ve actually had veg*ns tell me that bugs dying in a crop field aren’t a big deal because their nervous systems are less developed than those of mammals.

      Not that mammals don’t die in plant agriculture too.

      Dana wrote on February 14th, 2011
      • That sort of ‘reductio ad absurdam’ argument is indicative of an absence of sensible argument.

        As a reasonably-strict vegetarian, it annoys me no end to see vapid straw-man argumentation – using some starch-hounds as an example of dumb veganism simply shows that a goodly swathe of Americans are cultish idiots… it doesn’t show anything else whatsoever.

        Plants are most certainly ‘alive’ in that they have demonstrable biological processes.

        However to the extent that we are able to determine, they don’t appear to be SENTIENT. They don’t demonstrate any tendency to minister to their young; they show no social attributes that we can discern; they seem not to interact.

        They don’t seek to escape harm (‘fight or flight’ is not ‘instinct’… it is prima facie evidence of awareness of mortality and a desire to escape injury or death).

        If you’re only concerned about the projection of things into R4 (space-time – the bits of the universe that we experience directly) then that’s sufficient evidence that there is less ‘harm’ done in ‘killing’ a carrot than in killing a bunny. (Then again, you could easily make the argument that the carrot’s projection into R4 is less important to the carrot, than the bunny’s is to the bunny). Note that the idea of dimensions other than the R3-plus-time that we experience directly, is uncontroversial and has nothing to do with ‘New Age’ tripe or whatever.

        I’ll try to phrase this simply: I’m vegetarian – EVEN IF it imposed some slight adverse health consequences (which I’m confident it doesn’t) – because I do not want to be responsible for the deliberate killing of something that thinks.

        The key there is deliberate: it would be possible to make tofu in such a way as to reduce TO ZERO the probability of killing a verifiably-sentient being; the same cannot be said for a pork-chop.

        The argument “well, we evolved eating meat” is as ludicrous as the phrase “we evolved with institutionalised chattel slavery”. We evolved – naturally – FROM thsoe states… and we evolved or are evolving – socially and technologically – AWAY FROM the requirement to do so.

        All things – from nutrition to social relations – are subject to cost-benefit analyses.

        Slavery eventually became too costly (although as usual Americans were about 100 years behind the civilised world) – for two reasons: first, people stopped believing that underclasses (both white and African) were ‘less than human’; second, economics as a paradigm began to make clear that voluntary exchange was superior – in terms of productivity – to forced labour. (It was only later that ‘capital deepening’ gave even more impetus to what we now call the Industrial Revolution.)

        The sole justification – in benefit-cost terms – of continuing to eat meat is that vegetarian and vegan options cannot adequately replace the MOUTH FEEL of meat; there is no longer any nutritional tradeoff worth remarking upon (so long as the vegetarian has an IQ above 80, and an internet connection).

        I am fully aware of the ‘mouth feel’ issue – my ‘fake beef rendang’ does not substitute perfectly for the real thing (and from time to time I do miss the real thing… just as I miss duck confit and bacon and eggs on toast; not because I’m failing to acquire nutrients, but because I liked the taste and feel).

        So then the question becomes: are there people who would continue to eat meat, even if there existed a way to PERFECTLY replicate both the nutritional profile and the mouth-feel of all types of meat?

        The answer, sadly, is yes. They are people with the mentality of a 5’5″, 120lb Frenchman who think that there is some vicarious masculinity that can be had by eating flesh.

        GT wrote on May 22nd, 2011
        • I think I am in love with you.

          meagain wrote on February 3rd, 2012
        • So many words to say nothing. Good job setting up your straw man and heroically thrashing it, though, right after accusing someone else of the same thing.

          First off, reductio ad absurdum is a logically consistent form of argumentation.
          Of course, your post is not so much reductio ad absurdum, argumenting by reducing to logical absurdidies, but rather arguing FROM absurdity by throwing a lot of irrelevant crap together and then trying to convince the reader that you’re spinning feces into gold.

          The original comment very specifically stated that the commenter would not want something to die for a particular taste. (Ie, I don’t want things to die so I can eat, therefore I don’t eat meat.)
          It is logically consistent to therefore examine this with a reductio ad absurum approach, as the term ‘alive’ refers to plants as well. By appending ‘sentience’ to the argument, you are committing the informal logical fallacy of moving the goalposts. Congratulations, you fail.

          The rest of your comment is, as I said, mere ignorant rectal expulsion of the worst kind, from your fundamental departure from the realm of science when it comes to evolution to your ignorance of the production of meat.
          Yes, it is entirely possible to produce a porkchop without killing a sentient being, a project that is in fact being worked on RIGHT NOW.

          One day, you may very well be able to enjoy industrially harvested vegan products that doesn’t kill millions of small rodents and field-animals a year, with a side serving of meat-factory grown porkchops.

          You might as well say, are there people who would continue to eat plants, if there existed a way to PERFECTLY replicate both the nutritional profile and the mouth-feel of all types of plants?

          That answer, sadly, is yes. There are hardcore veggians out there with the mentality of a psychopath who derive some perverse pleasure of senseless killing for the sake of killing, that there is some vicarious femininity in tearing a vegetable from it’s patch and gobbling it up, roots and all.

          There is in fact more reason to believe this to be the case than your own hackneyed straw-man argument, as you yourself profess a moral superiority to eating vegetables because they are ‘less’ than sentient beings. (IOW you don’t have to care about them.)

          argon stripe wrote on February 15th, 2012
        • @GT you totally crack me up – “because I do not want to be responsible for the deliberate killing of something that thinks. ”

          You can eat loads of animal protein and not eat meat. Besides all that, your veganism is allowed in a sedentary culture such as the US because most everything is factory produced, of course by animal, flesh eating cannibals. But why waste the finer subtleties of logic on you. I do believe hypocrisy is one of the requirements to veganism. BTW vegans against the killing of whales for food believe that other types of fish are not sentient. I really don’t believe your ability to discern what does and doesn’t get to live or die is any better than Hitler’s but hey who am I to stand in the way of your dictatorship. Just understand that I get to cut you down with my mighty sword of righteousness but my pets still get to live. Just start a society called the “Angry Vegan” and just be done with it. LOL!

          tslate wrote on March 2nd, 2012
        • I’m thoroughly enjoying the debate. However, I will note that folks that study plants are discovering more and more the ways in which plants communicate with one another. They may not display animalistic sentience, but its no longer correct to unequivocably say they display no evidence of intentionality.

          Personally, I think anyone that gives up processed food, sugar, and commercial meat (Mark and McD both advocate these behaviors) tends to feel better. All the other stuff…people try and experiment with themselves. Who am I to question their personal experiments? As for my experiments: I cannot deal with wheat, but I do fine with rice…can tolerate corn and potatoes, but can’t lose weight while eating them. Physically crave beef, but cannot stomach meat everyday. Those are my experiences. Complex. Varied. But seems to suit me.

          tatiana wrote on May 26th, 2012
        • Plants do actually know when they’re in danger, and take defensive action: http://www.livescience.com/1909-plants-communicate-warn-danger.html

          As a Spiritual Naturalist, I choose the natural omnivorous diet of my species. Organisms must consume organic matter to continue to function, and that’s just the way it works. I am grateful to the plants and animals that keep me alive with their flesh. (Yes, plants have flesh, too. And some of them eat animals.) Until we manage to change our physiology to subsist on sunlight, air, and water, we’re stuck with the biological imperatives we have, and don’t get to enjoy the good karma photosynthesizing plants have. Choose plants only if you wish, but don’t be hypocritical or ignorant about it. And expect as much nutritional/health challenges as choosing only meat would also give you.

          Welcome to Earth.

          balance wrote on August 3rd, 2012
        • I couldn’t get past your bizarre vocabulary…goodly swath….you lost all credibility at that point.

          Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
        • GT…you’re very naive, slavery didn’t end, it just took on a different guise…by “paying” next to nothing to Chinese workers, etc. it’s cheaper than having slaves which you have to feed and shelter.

          And I take offence to your slur about Americans once again being a hundred years behind the civilized world, as a Canadian I can think of a lot of reasons the U.S. sucks, legitimate reasons too, but your remark was not only uncalled for but it added nothing to the point you failed to make.

          As for your unkind remark about the little Frenchman, as a Frenchman myself I’d love to shove a frog leg down your yeasty plant infested throat. Just kidding.

          By the way GT, have you ever tried horse meat, mmmmm Equine Bourguignon.

          Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
        • Man, this is the most intelligent post in defense of vegetarianism that I’ve seen to date. I’m going to have to do some real thinking about my lifestyle.

          Advar wrote on June 14th, 2013
        • GT, please marry meeeee!!

          Melia wrote on October 21st, 2013
      • Please another excuse to bash choice to live a Vegan lifestyle… you are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts, now it is bugs you are killing… Visit a livestock processing plant and then tell me how you feel about eating a steak, porkchop or a chicken only then will I understand your desire to poison your body.

        Deanna wrote on August 7th, 2011
        • @Deanna, like you’ve been to one. But maybe more up your alley, how about visiting Indonesia and live the life of a family who subsists on nothing in a hut living in slavery to provide you with raw cocoa nibs and chocolate. It’s called chocolate, and vegans love it, got to get all those antioxidants! But yeah, we know it’s all “vegan approved” not to hurt anyone, LOL!

          tslate wrote on March 2nd, 2012
        • Bad point about the Indonesians, Vegans don’t care about inhumanity towards humans, they’re only concerned about being humane towards animals….well, certain “loveable” mammals.

          Every time you scrub your unhealthy ashy vegan skin you kill zillions of micro-organisms.

          Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
  10. to the tired vegetarian-
    sounds like you’re seriously lacking in the b vitamin department, aside from others. i’ve been veg for over 10 years, so i have been through a lot of the same symptoms… cramping in the limbs sounds like you need some potassium. some may tell you that being tired is obviously a lack of protein, but it could be a lack of b vitamins as well.. it is something that is really hard to get from non meat sources. you should really research it. it can really put a deficit in building and retaining healthy muscles. fats really do keep the skin plump and glowing. try some avocados, and there’s nothing wrong with a little olive oil.. or olives! i’ve been reading in a dietetics text that some veggies have vitamins that are easier absorbed when NOT in the raw form, by the way. an example may be carrots.. you may want to look things like this up before you just start eating what people tell you to! there are some amazing resources out on the web. google search! i hope you feel better soon. with proper fuel, as a fellow vegetarian, i believe you should be able to lead a healthy and active lifestyle.
    oh, and i’m not a dietitian, but all i really do is study dietetics. i have had a lot of issues in the past that you describe, and if you’d like my email address, i’d be happy to help you!
    -liz

    liz wrote on October 1st, 2007
  11. From Personal experience I have tried several times in my younger days to go vegetarian believing the stories about meat causing osteoporosis, cancer, colon problems etc. All 3 times I wound up losing muscle mass, feeling lethargic, and generally miserable. I was the “Skinny Fat” Person. A year ago I gave up all processed prepackaged foods. I now regularly eat organic, free range, hormone free beef, chicken, and bison and wild fish and I have never been happier or healthier. I know that most people who turn vegetarian do in fact loose weight and feel better or conquer their chronic health problems. But it probably has more to do with the fact that they are cutting out the heavily processed foods,instead opting for natural whole foods and dramatically increasing their intake of veggies and fruits and whole unprocessed grains and legumes. I know quite a few people who are or have turned vegetarian and for all of them it has been an entire dietary overhaul not just cutting meat out of their lives. Anybody is going to feel bad if they are eating nutritionally deficient starchy sugary foods. I resepect that some people give up meat for ethical reasons and I personally will only by meat from local farms where I can actually talk to the people who raised it and can assure me that it is treated kindly. But I think most vegetarians who do so for “Health” reasons would be surprised what would happen if they incorporated sensible portions of healthy meat into their diets. It’s not the great evil it the proponents of vegetarianism have made it oot to be.

    Kelly wrote on October 16th, 2007
    • “who raised it and can assure me that it is treated kindly”

      Raised “it”, and, “treated kindly”, that is until ‘”it” was slaughtered to feed me…..’

      Geez!!!

      Susan wrote on November 13th, 2010
    • Hiya Kelly.

      To me it indicates that you didn’t properly ‘research’ your forays into vegetarianism.

      I’m 6’1″, 230lb, and easily as strong as I was when I ate meat (which I did non-stop for about 42 years). In the past I was carrying too much fat (not due to meat; I ate WAY too much white bread. Thankfully I never drank fizzy drinks).

      After 2 years of reasonably-dedicated vegetarianism (I lapsed, btu I do so less frequently now) I can still bench my bodyweight with ease (my bench warmup weight is 130 and I squeeze out 8 reps at 230lb for 5th and final set), my beep test is 10 (even when I’m being lazy), my RHR is 60 or slightly under. I’m even more flexible than I was (although when I was 18 I could do a full split… that’s a goal for year-end 2011).

      When I finally decided to go veggie (due to pressure from The Lovely, who has graced my life lo these past 19 years)… I decided that we would do it in the most well-researched way possible. All large change should proceed after due diligence – whether it’s taking on a mortgage, going back to school or changing your diet drastically.

      That’s the same paradigm that we deploy in all things – which is why even before going veggie we both understood that

      * sugar and refined carbs were the primary culprit in most lives (insulin control is important);
      * saturated fat was not bad for you;

      and so on… stuff nobody has an excuse for not knowing (there is a terrific presentation on YouTube called “Sugar: the bitter Truth” by an endocronologist called Lustig that goes into detail about the lipid hypothesis, why it’s a fallacy; how isocaloric is not isometabolic and so on… there’s also a superb series by the guy who produced ‘Fat Head’).

      We tailored our diet to absolutely maximise nutrition – going as far as using channa dal instead of regular chickpeas (garbanzo beans); channa dal has a GI of about 8-12, is high protein, high fibre and we eat plenty of it; between that and tofu (in recipes of such variety and spice that your toes would curl; my lianbian duofu si) we are proteined out the wazoo (and our protein has a PDCAAS of 1.00-1.06, BV of 91-96… BOTH of those measures are superior to lean beef or chicken).

      We eat VAST amounts of green vegetables, salads and probably way too many potatoes (The Lovely is a fan of the tater in all its forms; for me it’s simply a tasty, crispy vector for transporting salt and fat into my body).

      We make sure that the non-haem iron in our veggies is made bio-available thanks to eating them with things that have VitC in them.

      The ONLY thing that we supplement: iodine. (The Lovely used to supplement Iron, but fixing the non-haem problem fixed that).

      There is no reason that a person of average intelligence can’t adequately prepare themselves for vegetarianism (or even veganism); it requires some small amount of research (maybe half an hour a week), but once that’s done it’s all about finding any of the VAST amount of sensational, varied, spicy, yummy vegetarian recipes that are out there.

      GT wrote on May 22nd, 2011
      • @GT – I really appreciated reading your thoughtful replies.

        I have been a vegetarian for 9 years and I admit to doing exactly what you say – jumping in without doing proper research.

        My general health did improve straight away after becoming a vegetarian, but over time I began to notice that my body was transforming in the wrong direction – towards skinny-fat.

        Completely my fault, however, and not the diet. I lead a totally sedentary lifestyle while chomping down excessive carbs, thinking that becoming a vegetarian was like some magic cape that shielded me from poor lifestyle and dietary choices.

        For me, I’m a vegetarian b/c I find meat disgusting, so returning to meat was just not an option. That predicament finally forced me to do what I should have done in the beginning – educate myself. I began to read through vegetarian bodybuilding sites and really learned about proper nutritional balance.

        Now, I keep my carbs in check and got over my fear of healthy fats. My diet consists of ~50% fats, 25% protein, 25% carbs. I’m doing much better now.

        I lift heavy several times a week using the HIT method, and one thing of which I am now convinced – you can grow muscle and make healthy gains on a vegetarian diet. Again, healthy fats are your friend here.

        I still have some work to do, but definitely going in the right direction. I just wanted to basically confirm what you are saying – a vegetarian lifestyle is totally viable IF you do your due diligence and educate yourself about your new lifestyle FIRST.

        Thanks for raising the issue. So true.

        Dave Michaels wrote on September 1st, 2011
        • Hi! Quick question – do you skip the legumes/beans as a protein source with a 50% fat 25% protein 25% cabs ratio? Any suggestions on other veg friendly protein sources, apart from hemp?

          I understand that vegetables have protein in them, but I do want to up it up and I am having difficulty doing so considering I am sensitive to soy and I am trying to go as primal as I can. I currently leech off of my husband’s whey protein powder for post workout smoothies (fine a vegan mortal sin haha), and it really drastically helped me get out of being skinny fat. My husband is suggesting adding egg whites, too but I guess it would take a lot from me emotionally to switch my diet.

          Would appreciate your thoughts on this.

          Thanks!

          Emma wrote on October 18th, 2011
      • Finally, intelligence in the midst of “but you kills plants and bugs” – so ridiculous! I agree with you 100%, changing your diet does require due diligence. Do your research (thanks for some of your tips listed). There is enough negativity in the world than for meat eaters and vegetarians to take a defensive stand. It’s all about conscious eating. If you’re conscious and are happy with your health choices and your body tells you you’re one healthy babe – good for you. I go to these sights for insight and information. And luckily, sometimes I find it. But some of the posts are highly amusing, if nothing else!

        Sunny wrote on September 15th, 2011
      • Do you eat fermented tofu? you seem very well informed so I assume that you are but if not I would highly recommend it to lower the phytic acid content. You could also try tempeh but it does have a stronger flavor and a more firm texture but it is also higher in vitamins, fiber, and protein so it might be worth trying.

        Jason wrote on June 1st, 2012
      • The Lovely? Hey, 230lbs…ain’t that a bit obese for a woman, even one as tall as you claim you are GT? Besides you ain’t healthy like you say, I know ’cause I seen you in the shower.

        Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
      • Golly, that’s an interesting story your telling us there GT…..but that’s just it, with nothing to corroborate your claims of superhuman strength, your Adonis body…..well, anybody can type anything on here….sorry you wasted your time and unfortunately ours too, but antichdotes without supporting facts don’t add much of anything to any serious discussion or debate. Furtermore, your story has absolutely no credibility whatsoever when it’s laced with incorrect “facts” so eat your Tofu which even a stupider than usual vegan knows is unhealthy garbage.

        “There’s no reason a person of average intelligence can’t adequately prepare themselves for vegetarianism or veganism…..hope you find someone of average intelligence to help you prepare.

        Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
  12. Second vote on the ‘China Study’.

    At the very least look it up on Amazon. There’s never been a larger scale study done on the effects of animal protein on the development of cancer and heart disease – well written and worth a few days of your time!

    Rene wrote on February 5th, 2008
    • The popular book available on Amazon misconstrues the actual data in the actual study. Campbell’s own data disprove his conclusions.

      Click on my name for a link, go read the numbers for yourself.

      Dana wrote on February 14th, 2011
  13. I was curious about that argument that protein leeches calcium out of the bones. The gist of the argument is that eating too much protein causes you to slide into a metabolically acidic state, and you need calcium to buffer the acid, so it gets taken out of your bones.

    The trouble is that we don’t really understand, as yet, the relationship between blood calcium levels and how much is still left in the bones. We can see the loss after it’s happened, but this is an area we need to research more.

    Besides, in my reading up on the subject I found out something very interesting: Calcium is not the only buffering agent the body uses. It also uses a certain amino acid which–get a load of this–occurs primarily in animal foods!

    So it would seem Nature had this particular food nice and packaged up for us already, and we really didn’t have anything to worry about.

    There’s also the point that if you use the bones of the animal, which our ancestors did, you can make broth out of them or simply gnaw on them and get a nice little natural calcium supplement that way. Once again balancing out any “buffering” your body might need to do. Go figure.

    Dana wrote on February 13th, 2008
  14. One thing I’m just not seeing in the several comments I just read is the impact that mass-producing meat has on our environment. The methane gas, the toxic runoff and waste, the chemicals used on the ‘aberrant’ animals to keep them alive and fat, the amount of water (2500 gals total per lb!), the land needed to grow the grain (which is an unnatural feed for animals)and the inhumane way these animals are raised and killed!

    Being vegetarian, vegan or a raw foodist is a personal choice based on many different reasons. The stories told by people who had poor health with these lifestyles either needed a certain amount of animal protein based on their constitutions, or weren’t knowledgeable about how to get enough plant protein and fats in their diets.

    I believe everyone has individual dietary needs and you just have to listen to your body. If you aren’t able to fully understand what it requires for a proper vegetarian or vegan diet, than eat meat but know where it comes from (the closer to you the better), how it was killed (visit the farm) and in small quantities (a side dish, not main dish)which means paying big bucks for quality organic, humanely-raised meat.

    It is each person’s obligation to become aware of how your food reaches your table, which may compel you to make major changes. My husband and I chose to become (fish/egg) eating vegetarians because affording the highest quality organic humanely raised meat was too exorbitant. Now that we’re mostly vegetarian, we wouldn’t eat meat even if we could afford it, we just don’t desire it anymore.

    But we have meat eating constitutions, so I make sure we have lot’s of beans and lentils and nuts, etc. And humanely raised organic eggs and organic butter and Alaskan wild salmon (visit http://www.seafoodwatch.org for healthy and environmentally safe fish choices).

    Each of us have a responsibility to be diligent about becoming Aware and gaining Knowledge in everything we do so we can make better choices for ourselves and our planet.

    Hongirl wrote on December 9th, 2008
    • Fish and eggs are not in the vegetarian diet.

      Susan wrote on November 13th, 2010
    • Well, I am a vegetarian but let’s be clear that the paleos are not advocating the type of animal production that you’re talking about. I respect that authentic paleos are leading the push toward free range and organic animal farming methods, which is a major step in the right direction for both animals and the planet. Personally, I would not eat animals under any circumstances, but other people are not going to stop eating them, so I’d certainly prefer that they were at least eating free range/organically/locally grown animals.

      meagain wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  15. There are a couple of things that need to be cleared up. Dr McDougall is promoting a whole foods plant based diet, which happens to be Vegan. I have been vegan for several years, and my choice to do so was for compassionate reasons. I looked at the cruelty involved in the production of animal products and decided it was wrong for me to partake in that. I do the best that I can to avoid using all animal products. It is important on any diet to eat a variety of foods. Just because you are vegan doesn’t mean you are healthier. If you are just eating fruit & veg, you probably arent’ getting enough calories, so you need to make sure you add nuts, grains, seeds, beans, lentils etc to the mix. If you’re eating fast food, junk or processed foods, you are also not getting proper nutrition. That goes for everyone.
    You have to understand that Dr McDougall’s followers are often people who have followed the SAD (Standard American Diet)diet for decades, are overweight and plagued by many health issues and are looking for a cure. His diet recommendations do work, you can hear that from people who have followed his recommendations.
    To make claims that vegans are unhealthy, have bad skin and are losing muscle mass is just silly generalizations. That’s like saying all meat eaters are unhealthy. There are many healthy, vibrant vegans out there, I count myself as one of them.

    mary wrote on January 27th, 2009
    • I have never seen a healthy vibrant looking vegan- not to say you are not one – I just have not seen one- all I have encountered are stringy haired, pasty faced and underweight. I am a semi- veg – no animal flesh – but I do eat fish, shrimp, salmon and occasionally (very occasionally) chicken… I do not consider myself perfectly healthy – but at 76 still running around the arena chasing my horse = playing with him, riding him and enjoying life with only one rx (thyroid)

      Terry wrote on September 26th, 2011
      • You obviously have never seen my daughter then. Very vibrant!

        Lisa wrote on November 23rd, 2011
      • How about triathlete Brendan Brazier? He is vegan.

        Why should you require a prescription for thyroid illness, if your diet is so good? I don’t push or believe in any specific diet for all people, so I’ve no dog in this fight except when people claim that our health is entirely caused by diet and nothing but.

        Chickygirl wrote on May 25th, 2012
      • Personally I think Ellen Degeneres is a healthy and vibrant looking vegan. she is in her 50′s but still looks no more than thirty years old. I believe very strongly in a paleolithic diet but I also believe it is ridiculous to assume that nobody can be healthy on a vegetarian or vegan diet.

        Jason wrote on June 1st, 2012
        • you might wanna look a little closer at more pictures of ellen. she totally looks her age. on tv makeup and lighting hide a lot. close up photos tend to show the truth–assuming they aren’t air brushed. look at her wiki page photo. i’m not saying she looks bad for her age… but no more than 30? please.

          bog wrote on September 16th, 2012
      • Oh I’ve seen plenty of heathy robust vegans…Moose, Elk, Whitetail Deer, Bison…..vegans taste good!

        Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
  16. Well said Mary. I could not agree more. The statistics of heart disease, cancer, diabetes is staggering in the US and can mainly be attributed to the Standard American Diet (SAD) filled with processed foods stripped down to have little or no nutritional value. It is exceptional to note that this statistic is not found in other geographical areas. However, they adopt similar health problems when emigrating into the US. What happened here? It cannot be explained by genetics. The article erroneously claims that there have not been cultures with strict plant based diets. Obviously, the author is not familiar with the “Blue Zone” concept.
    A diet has to be varied and rich in nutrients. There are unhealthy vegans/vegetarians/omnivores/carnivores. I cannot imagine any doctor prescribing a diet rich in simple carbs, unhealthy fats, sodium and cholesterol.
    I am a very healthy vegan, with amazing skin, hair, more energy than my counterparts, choosing good nutritious food, plant based, minimally processed, with no simple carbs, sugars or sodium. You will find lower rates of disease from vegans than you would with those that follow the Standard American Diet.

    Joel wrote on February 5th, 2009
  17. Avoiding meat because you “cannot ethically take the life of another to feed yourself” is an irrational and untenable argument. Vegans consume plant life, which is just as wonderful, highly evolved, and elegant as animal life. What is the difference between plants and animals with respect to evolutionary and biological signifance? None. There’s no rational argument to make regarding why one non-human life form should die for our sake and another should not.

    No one wishes to see animals suffer—the shepherd has a responsibility to his flock—but how do we know that plants do not suffer when we kill them? Is the suffering of plants more ethically defensible than the suffering of animals? If so, I’d like to hear the argument. But save your time because we all know that the difference is one of a human bias towards other creatures like us. The emotional bias is a widespread feeling, but we can’t build systems of ethics and morality on feelings. We need logic and reason for that.

    And finally, anyone who argues that farming soy and grains is more sustainable than, for example, huge herds of free-ranging cattle and bison, has completely forgotten—or never knew—that the prairies of the American midwest were once home to some of the richest plant diversity in the temperate latitudes. But it’s gone now, ripped away to feed our insatiable appetite for cheap and unhealthy carbohydrates. And the residues of that farming is drifting down the Mississippi, killing life at the delta. Think about that the next time you bite into a faux-meat soy burger.

    So my advice to vegans and vegs: dump the sanctimony and eat some meat. We’ll all be better off for it.

    MikeL wrote on February 9th, 2009
    • Even if one took this argument seriously, even if one cared primarily for “plant suffering” then aside from starving to death, the best thing would be a vegan diet. Otherwise, the plants would just be fed to an animal before you ate them, and that would require a lot more plants than simply eating the plants in the first place.

      Roslyn wrote on February 11th, 2010
    • Oh, how sad that you know nothing about science. Okay, how can I put this in baby words so you’ll understand? You see, animals, like you, me, my cat, cows, pigs, monkeys, etc. have these things called nervous systems. That means that they have brains and nerves, and those nerves are connected to the brain in complex ways. That means that animals can feel this thing called pain! Just like we feel pain! Isn’t that interesting? Unfortunately, although plants are incredibly complex, they do not possess nervous systems. At all. Not even a little bit.
      When you observe a plant doing something that seems like it might be the result of sentience, that’s something we call a chemical reaction. You see, the presence of all sorts of things, like water and nitrogen and carbon dioxide and light, can cause chemical reactions in the seeds and leaves and reproductive organs (ie. flowers and fruit) of plants. These chemical reactions might look like they are being caused by a nervous system reacting to elements, but sadly that is patently false.
      Hope that cleared things up for you! Oh yeah, and I was raised by an incredibly well-respected neuroscientist, so you can probably rely on this basic knowledge of biology. I mean, I know that you actually won’t, which is sad and hilarious, but I just thought I’d put it out there.

      Anabel wrote on March 8th, 2010
      • Anabel,
        Let’s say that you were an astronaut that landed on an unfamiliar planet. You found life forms there that were also quite unfamiliar, unlike anything you’ve ever seen. How would you know whether or not these life forms had the same rights to life and property that you yourself have? It’s an important question. You have to know how to treat these creatures. Perhaps even your life depends on your judgment.

        Would you use biological criteria alone to make this decision, as your tirade above suggests that we should, or would you use something else to go by? Remember that you don’t know anything about the biology of these life forms. Moreover, you do not have an army of father-neuroscientists, well-respected or otherwise, to help you make a determination regarding the rights of these creatures. How will you act towards these creatures and why?

        mikehell wrote on March 8th, 2010
        • GASP! Oh no! Your ridiculous hypothetical question has torn down my entire scientific argument! Excuse me while I go cry in a corner.

          Listen dude. I don’t give a flying fuck about magical hypothetical life forms, nor do I care about the sort of magical spiritual pain that idiots purport plants to suffer. That’s bull. Animals and plants are controlled by chemical reactions, and by a few flukes of evolution animals ended up with nervous systems. Plants didn’t. End of f@#$ing story.

          Oh, and also? Don’t give me some argument about respecting the “rights to life and property” of imaginary life forms. None of the people supporting a carnivorous lifestyle give a fuck about the “rights to life and property” of our fellow animals, animals whom we know, scientifically, to feel pain and pleasure and sadness and joy just like ourselves. So yeah, maybe I can’t understand some untouchable, imaginary, non-chemical level of spiritual pain experienced by plants, and therefore am causing suffering. But I’m limiting the suffering that I KNOW I can prevent: the concrete suffering, the real suffering, the totally not bullshit, experience, lived suffering of animals who are caged and tortured and murdered for no reason every single fucking day.

          Also, I object to hypothetical situations. They make me want to punch someone in the face.

          Anabel wrote on March 8th, 2010
        • First off, cursing and threats do not make an argument any more relevant and so should stop now. I understand this may be an emotional topic for you, but no one will take you seriously with that attitude.

          I find it interesting that no one has mentioned the number of animals slaughtered in the name of a vegetarian diet. Whenever grain is farmed hundreds of animals (mice, gophers, rabbits, etc.) are killed by the combines. Hawks and coyotes typically follow the combines to reap the benefits of all the deaths. When this is mentioned, vegetarians will argue that they did not intend to kill the animals so it is not as bad. Somehow I doubt the rabbit who sliced open and bleeding to death would really be concerned about your intentions.
          And the argument that animals require a few lbs of grain to make a pound of flesh (the common 10 lbs to 1 lb that vegetarians claim is a myth btw) becomes moot if you eat free range and grass fed animals, which it turns out are much healthier to consume anyway. In addition, since the primal diet shuns grain based food it could be argued that people who eat a primal diet may actually be killing less animals than the common vegetarian.
          The cruelty free arguments make sense against the SAD, but aren’t as relevant against the primal diet. In any event, the claim that a vegetarian diet is cruelty free is a fantasy.

          As a side note, I can see where Mike is coming from. Plants are just as evolved and complex as we are. Just because they haven’t evolved a warning system for pain does not mean they have any less a right to life than we do. Again, the point is that life depends on death no matter how you look at it. Some people do not like this fact, but it’s unavoidable.

          psyte wrote on March 14th, 2010
        • Also, I forgot to mention, I was a vegatarian for 13 years up until a few months ago. And I was a vegetarian for ethical reasons. I knew the vegetarian diet was unhealthy and jumped through all kinds of hoops to ensure I got somewhat adequate nutrition. In fact I would often tell people that I didn’t care if I didn’t live as long if it meant that animals would not die so I could live.

          What happened? I moved from California to Michigan. The town I now live in is a farming community. When I told people about why I was vegetarian, the farmers would laugh at me and explain how many animals were killed every time they ploughed their fields. It was hard for me to accept that I could not live a cruelty free lifestyle. But it was also apparent that if I was not able to live cruelty free then I should not also allow my own health to suffer.

          psyte wrote on March 14th, 2010
        • Well said Anabel, I love your passion but I love your compassion more. The suffering I have seen animals subjected to their entire life so we can eat meat makes me sick. For someone to dismiss this with absolute garbage makes my blood boil. Don’t knock a person who gives a shit about the pain and suffering of another creature and try and somehow ridicule them for having a heart with stupid comments. To those of you who try and compare a plant to an animal…come on.

          whiverjoli wrote on June 12th, 2012
      • On the subject of biology, irrespective of whether plants feel pain or not, have we forgotten the simple fact that we are humans, mammals. Rejecting meat and animal produce is akin to rejecting your own humanity, just ridiculous!

        While we can mostly agree that the SAD is not the way to go, the vegetarian/vegan route is just another extreme that some may look into but not take seriously over the long term.

        Until the human body evolves to the point that it is in fact no longer mammal, it will always require animal saturated fats for optimal health.

        Off to hunt and gather down the supermarket!

        Alma wrote on May 11th, 2010
        • Anabel can’t stand the thought of a sentient creature suffering. It bothers her so much that she wants to punch another human being in the face.

          Anabel is Violent wrote on December 9th, 2012
      • Anabel, you rock. So nice to hear someone mock the silly arguments of a meat eater. I’ve heard them all over the past 14 years but have got fed up trying to fight meaty myths with common sense, morals and values. And as for being a bit scrappy in the delivery of your argument, who can blame you. How come meat eaters think they can talk utter crap without some come back? You keep going. Just wish I was as articulate as you x

        rosie wrote on April 25th, 2011
        • So, Rosie, do you also share Anabel’s desire “to punch someone in the face” for words written by a total stranger? If so, I would request that you share with us a little about your “common sense, morals, and values,” such as they are.

          Please reply before my steak goes cold.

          Love, mikehell

          mikehell wrote on April 25th, 2011
      • “To those of you who try and compare a plant to an animal…come on.”

        Why not? ALL life is sacred. Just because a life form isn’t like you doesn’t mean killing it is a morally “clean” act.

        The “compassion” issue, while sincere, is a product of a deliberately simplifed vision of how the world (and farming)works.

        Animals are not more important (sacred) because they are like you, and feel pain and move. (Plants have far more complex DNA than animals, by the way. The working theory is that they are more complex precisely because they cannot move.)

        The bottom line for life on earth is that something has to die so you can eat to live. We all have blood (or sap) on our hands. Many “compassionate” vegetarians and vegans, unfortunately, refuse to face that reality.

        Amy wrote on October 18th, 2012
      • And you demonstrate superior intellect and caring by being sarcastic and condescending to your fellow human? If you feel you must make your point in such an inconsiderate fashion then I don’t think anyone should consider your point.

        Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
    • You are incorrect. The midwest prairies are gone because of increasing numbers of cattle to feed the masses, and the subsequent increase in plant agriculture–hay, alfalfa, etc.–to fee them.

      Susan wrote on November 13th, 2010
      • Cattle aren’t fed wheat so for whom do you imagine that prairie-destroying grains are grown? Read Lierre Keith’s “The vegetarian myth” to correct your misunderstanding.

        mikehell wrote on November 14th, 2010
      • Um, no. Cattle is not raised in the midwest – cattle is raised in the ACTUAL west. The midwest prairies (where you’ve apparently never been) are gone because they’ve been turned into farms where massive amounts of corn, soy beans and wheat are grown.

        Kate wrote on January 15th, 2013
    • I hate the thought of killing animals to feed me, but I do eat meat, chicken and fish – because I like the taste. To compare a plant to an animal is ridiculous. Plants don’t have faces with big eyes that look at you wondering what your intentions are. If I had to kill my own meal, I would fast become a vegetarian. Never have understood why eggs and cheese are “bad”. No animal dies producing them. Just sayin’

      Carole wrote on August 7th, 2011
    • You forgotten that most of that soy, corn and wheat are fed to animals and not humans.

      andy wrote on August 10th, 2011
    • Does eating fruit destroy the fruit tree ?
      Your arguments are absurd. We share the most genetic similarities with chimpanzees who are frugivores (consume mostly fruits and leafy greens). Fruits are the ideal food for man.

      Justin wrote on February 17th, 2012
      • We’re even closer to neanderthals which were almost entirely carnivorous. Gorillas are just our closest “living” relatives. Also humans do not have the large guts that gorillas have which are used to digest vegetation more efficiently.

        Jason wrote on June 1st, 2012
      • Justin, Chimpanzees eat meat…I’m guessing you didn’t know that.

        Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
    • The vast majority of farm land is used to feed the animals. I agree that we shouldn’t do that for the animals but we would need far far less of it to do for the people. So let’s meat (get it) in the middle. Grasslands for animals to eat and fields for people food to grow. However, you’ll find that your meat price will go up up up. The reason it’s low today is because of mass production and all the bad things they have to do. I’m cool with that because it means people will eat it less because it’s so expensive. I just don’t think you’ll be cool with that because it’ll be most expensive.

      Rick wrote on June 25th, 2012
      • Doesn’t it boil down to the fact that we just eat too much? Whether it is vegan/lacto-ovo vegetarians or animal foods. I found that when I went vegan, when I ate my beans and brown rice meal, or whatever whole grain or starch I became full faster, therefore I ate less. However, I was hungry sooner, and usually repeated the same meal. It was hard to feel hungry often, especially if you are busy and cannot get to your carrots or whatever to snack on. But, if I add just a small amount of animal protein to my meal I feel satisfied and fuller longer, and therefore eat less.

        And when people hear that “you can eat as much as you want” on a vegan diet does it really change our mental or emotional need that some people have to eat large amounts of food? We like the idea that we can eat all we want even if we have to change our diets to do it.

        Maybe we should change our “I need it all” mentality and look at making better food choices, with smaller consumption.

        We as American’s have become a consumer based society. We really don’t produce a whole lot, but we wish to consume a lot. That just doesn’t apply to food, it is everything, bigger and better cars, homes, clothing…etc.
        If we consumed less food and I mean all types of food, meat, dairy, vegatables, fruit…etc. Then we would not have the need for all the farmland that we are using for growing our meat, because we would not be consuming as much, and if we consume small amounts of whole grains and fruits with our meat than we would need less farmland to grow our grains and fruits.

        Globally, wouldn’t we all benefit if everybody would think small in everything they do.
        And wouldn’t our bodies feel better and last longer if we gave it just the amounts it needed and didn’t overeat.

        Shouldn’t we just listen to what our bodies want?? How can our bodies heal and build muscle when it is too busy digesting all the food we are giving it, whether it be vegan or animal products.

        I believe that if we could just start eating smaller portions than we would have plenty of farmland space to share.

        Listen to our bodies…….

        That is my opinion on this.

        Tracy wrote on June 17th, 2013
  18. I gained weight as a vegetarian as well. I’ve never much cared for beef or pork. Pork kind of makes me feel ill. I’ve added back in poultry but one thing I learned when I was a vegetarian was that I need to pay more attention to what I’m putting into me. I ate those breads and pastas. I was tired lots. Now, transitioning to a cleaner eating and maybe someday attempting to eat a mammal again, maybe. It’s still a struggle to eat clean but three week step at a time and I’ll get there. Best thing now, I’m never so tired and I dont get so drained with my workouts even though I stopped the whey supplement. Even before with the supplement as a vegetarian, I would get wiped out so quickly.

    Michelle wrote on February 9th, 2009
  19. I just fail to see what’s so unique or new about your caveman diet thing. It seems nothing more than a cross between Atkin’s, and the same, tired ‘whole foods instead of processed’ approach.

    I’m sure it’s healthy and will be great for most people, but it’s just..not new or earth-shattering.

    We already know vegetables, lean protein and unprocessed foods are best, and that healthy fats are essential (they’re like, even called ‘essential fatty acids)

    That’s really just a lot of common sense dressed up as some radical return to nature.

    Rachel wrote on February 15th, 2009
    • The Primal Blueprint is not just about eating. It’s a lifestyle. Yes, it sounds just like common sense, but then there are a lot of common sense based diets. Since PB gives detailed rules about what and how much to eat, we needed a name for this specific set of “common sense based” rules, and that name is PB. Cheers ^_^

      Elena wrote on May 25th, 2010
      • Actually Horse meat is better for you than Beef or Pork.

        By the way, before you go eating a bunch of Soy crap, make sure you don’t have a Nickel allergy.

        Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
  20. McDougall is up to his old tricks again, this time with a new book called “The Starch Solution.” It is simply amazing what this guy tries to get pass off as healthy living. It’s as if recent scholarship on the problem of metabolic health regarding insulin sensitivity, glucose metabolism, and the like have not even crossed his desk. Moreover, he apparently believes that human history began about 11 thousand years ago. Not an uncommon belief but definitely a problematic one when considering the role of history in shaping human physiology. This man must be stopped.

    Read his most recent newsletter here (if you can stand it).

    http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2009nl/feb/starch.htm

    MikeL wrote on March 5th, 2009
    • I would die on this diet in about three weeks.

      kuno1chi wrote on September 2nd, 2009
      • Well actually you would not. Like he said all the most successful civilizations ate a predominantly starch based diet. So unless you are some weird alien species you should do fine.

        Justin wrote on February 17th, 2012
    • People’s lives have been SAVED because of this diet. That’s not fake facts, that reality. You can’t just dismiss that information because you like to eat meat.

      Rick wrote on June 25th, 2012
      • But for how long? Their health improves because they cut out processed foods, sugar and flour. Over time their health may deteriorate because they cut out vital nutrients from proteins and fat due to not consuming meat.

        It is great that I saved your life by pulling you out of a burning building, but that doesn’t mean that your life cannot still be taken later if you walk in front of a car.

        Andy wrote on July 20th, 2012
  21. It’s all about bio-individuality and honoring what works for our bodies. Our biological needs change as we age, and our diets need to be tweaked as much as our workouts do. I agree w/ some of the previous posts that anyone on the S.A.D who makes a switch- whether to raw vegan, ovo-lacto veg, pescatarain, paleo or primal will enjoy tremendous heatlh benefits. Eliminating processed, chemicalized, artifical junk “food” (cue the Fuming Fuji!) and eating more fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains (sparingly) and lean protein will improve anyone’s constitution. We need to listen to our inner wisdon. Mine is pushing me towards more lean protein (with a little help from my personal trainer & naturopath) and away from fewer whole grains & dairy. Once I read my goals I may be able to add some “sensible vices” back- or I may not want to. Staying flexible is the name of the game.

    marci wrote on March 31st, 2009
  22. I have heard many vegans claim that they are healthier than meat eaters, but the problem is they are comparing themselves to those on SAD. If they would compare themselves to those who eat small amounts of meat along with fresh vegetables, fruits, grains and no processed foods, they would not be able to make that claim. The problem as I see it is not the consumption of meat, but the overconsumption of it. The overconsumption of anything would probably have an adverse affect on health.

    Evonda wrote on April 11th, 2009
    • Here, Here Evonda!

      Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
  23. Although I was at one point swayed by the notion that farming animals is harmful, after reading _The Omnivore’s Dilemma_ I now see that a healthy farming system (that incorporates not just animals but also wild grasses, trees, insects, etc.) can be a benefit to an ecosystem; also, after reading Dr. Temple Grandin, I now think slaughtering can be done humanely (doesn’t mean it IS, just that it CAN be). (It even occurs to me that if we cease raising animals for food, those species will plummet down to almost nothing in number….)

    Hopefully anyone experiencing health issues will take the time and effort to try new, less-processed dietary choice… just doing that will probably help!

    EI wrote on June 4th, 2009
    • The species that we raise for consumption have been bred over an over to the point where they are dependant on humans. Such as the way dogs are, for those particular, oversized breeds of cow, fowl, hog to dwindle would not be a bad thing. They contribute an enormous amount to the destruction of the planet and eat millions of pounds of food grown on land with the water and resources that could be and should be used to grow food for humans, most of cows food is grown in third world countries where lots of humans are starving. No animal should be dependant on humans for its survival, and we should stop fostering a world where this is the default

      Mark wrote on April 15th, 2012
      • Why? Why should the land and water resources be used to grow food for humans? Why can’t the animals use it for grazing? What right do you have as a human to claim that land and water and deny the animal its right to feed naturally on it?

        If the animals are left to graze naturally they will live a happier life, make the land richer and provide better quality food for me. They do not destroy the land itself.

        I have no right to kill the animal but if I am going to I will make sure it has as much of a natural life as it can get before I slaughter it.

        Andy wrote on July 20th, 2012
        • Ok, then you prove how strong your belief is and others might follow you.

          How? Bulldoze your house and give up your plot for a cuddly cow to live on.

          Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
  24. Hehe … I am new to this site and just love what I am finding !!! …I had to comment on the McDougall post simpli b/c I lived in that “hell” for five years – and that was almost 10 years ago and I am still suffering the after-shock !
    Basically, when I found McDougall, I thought I found the cure to my SAD (Std American Diet) induced lifetime of fluffiness – I DID lose weight and combined with running, looked OK in clothes for a 32 yr old female LOL ..But then came the problems that I directly attribute to 5 years on a lowfat vegan diet ..
    1) infertility – cured that eventually with drugs the first time at 35 and a surprise baby at 3 after 2 years on Atkins (hmm)
    2) hypothyroid – I have been on thyrod meds for almost 10 years and still have issues there
    3) skinny-fat … My picture must be in the dictionary there next to the definition LOL ! … the destruction of lean body mass and metabolic breakdown has been difficult to overcome
    4) I have also found that I have some adrenal issues and gluten intolerance … who knows what else ??!!

    I lift 4 times and do HIIT twice a week but am still working on the food thing -I have read a bunch of Michael Pollan, Nina Planck etc – good for general food info but not so much on the fitness – Looks like I can finally get it all together here !!
    Thanks for all the great info here and I am going to get the book :)

    liz

    liz jaeger wrote on July 18th, 2009
  25. oh, did I mention that Dr McDougall’s writings persuaded me to consume large quantities of soy ??!! – in all forms – milk esp – I would definitely say that played a large part in all my issues – sigh !!

    second baby was at 39 – not 3 – hehe !

    liz jaeger wrote on July 18th, 2009
    • and of course you probably know that soy destroys the thyroid? This is espececially dangerous in infants on soy formulas but it applies to adults as well.

      Gordon wrote on July 18th, 2009
    • Actually, that’s not true. Dr. McDougall does NOT advocate eating large amounts of soy – quite the contrary. Personally, 3 of us in our family have had nothing but fantastic success with his program! Amazing actually. Lost tons of “fat” in all the right places; angina completely gone, gallstones expelled naturally etc. etc. I’m sorry it didn’t work for you. Best of luck.

      Nancy Nurse wrote on December 24th, 2012
      • MILK?? I forgot to address your comment on milk.You said that he advocates drinking lots of milk. Are you sure we’re talking about the same Dr. John McDougall? He is adamantly opposed to milk and dairy and calls milk “liquid meat”, so not quite sure where you got the milk part of his program because it’s not true. Please be careful when posting what is true and what is not, as it confuses people that might wish to give it a try. Thank you.

        Nancy Nurse wrote on December 24th, 2012
  26. yes, I had to learn that the hard way LOL !! What a bill of goods about the soy – grrr :)

    liz jaeger wrote on July 18th, 2009
  27. Mark, DeVany and yourself have been a big inspiration to me. As a Type 2 diabetic I started with Atkins in Dec at 266, journeyed through Low carbs IF and now Primal. Clean is the ONLY way to eat- it makes you think (sort of a hunt and gather) about what you put in your mouth. Keeps fast food at bay even when really hungry which IF has stopped dead in its tracks.
    Anyway, this starch, veggie meal plan sounds alot like the Lifestyle Center of America folks. I tried that diet for the 30 days and gained 20 lbs, my numbers were off the charts. Bad information to a public that likes to over eat is like pulling a trigger of a gun aimed at their head. Shame on them and their bank accounts.

    pjnoir wrote on July 20th, 2009
    • I followed the McDougall diet, lost over 70 lbs and got off my type 2 diabetic medication. I did full comply with the diet. Before blaming someone else for your eating habits, take the time to look at yours.

      Ted Moon wrote on December 16th, 2011
      • Ok Ted, but….if that’s your picture….well, I don’t look at you and think I’ll have what he’s having.

        Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
  28. meant to add- tipped the scales at 224 this morning. And actually have a body I can remove a shirt and not look like a pig. I give Pavel and kettlebells a huge plus here too.
    Keep up the great work.

    pjnoir wrote on July 20th, 2009
  29. That was the stupidest vegan diet I’ve heard beyond raw vegans. It’s suppose to be a ratio of 1:1:2 carb:protein:vegetables. That idiot saying carbs were unlimited. He should be sued for malpractice and bludgeoned for being the most misleading vegan leader I’ve heard of so far. Bad enough doing it to yourself wrong but dragging others down with him is just unacceptable. He’s a joke even in the educated vegan community. I’m sorry you had to deal with such a bad example.

    Pat wrote on July 24th, 2009
    • “That was the stupidest vegan diet I’ve heard beyond raw vegans.”

      Eating a well-balanced raw vegan diet is one of the best things you can do for your body IMHO.

      Lena wrote on April 8th, 2010
      • Better get all the facts. All vegetables cannot be eaten RAW. Vegetables are a life form that has in place biological systems that keep predators from preventing it to reproduce. Cellular walls, seeds, etc are not digestible as a defense mechanism. Most Grains are as foreign a substances as anything there is on this planet to put in your body. At least cooking allows the body to absorb then plant as food. Now some raw veggies are okay some of the time but never all the time. Get both sides of the story and see for yourself. I love vegetables- raw tomatoes, bell peppers but broc and other stem veggies need to be heated and I never eat grains of any kind.

        pjnoir wrote on April 9th, 2010
      • No….sorry, it isn’t.

        Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
    • I don’t think a raw vegan diet is worse cooked vegan diet. I knew a raw vegan. She ate mostly nuts, fruits and vegetables. I don’t think raw vegans eat grains or legumes, if they do, the grains are fermented beyond all recognition. Raw grains and legumes are bad for you, after all. As I understand it, raw vegans are closer to us than any other of those “fringe” diets, they basically eat what we do only it is raw, or dehydrated at a low temperature, and not meat.

      toaster for sale wrote on December 16th, 2011
  30. When I was a veg for a few years it was the most unhealthy I ever felt. I became anemic, after about two years I began to daydream about meat. This helped me realize maybe my body was trying to tell me something? I feel much better now that I have a balanced diet and have quit demonizing meat.

    Rebecca Michelle Guelfi wrote on August 9th, 2009
    • When I was a non-smoker for a few years it was the most unhealthy I ever felt. I became irritable, after about two years I began to daydream about cigarettes. This helped me realize maybe my body was trying to tell me something? I feel much better now that I have a pack of cigarettes and have quit demonizing them.

      Ricky wrote on September 12th, 2011
      • The issue isn’t smoking VS nonsmoking, but, I would suggest (as have others), that it is the quality of the tobacco. I used to smoke natural tobacco and I did not become addicted. I could take it or leave it. This isn’t true of those who consume those chemical laced regular cigs.

        However, upon becoming menopausal, I stopped ciggies 99.5% and now only have one on occasion. I heard that being an older woman + tobacco (any kind) is a recipe for weak bones.

        However, in my heart, I still love them ciggies, and, yes, they are good for certain people; they are like a herb that calms you down. Everything has its purpose; we just have to learn how to use it.

        Wyandotte wrote on September 19th, 2012
        • Cute, but meat is not cigarettes and never was. My father and mother both quit smoking and never had dreams about them.

          And high quality meat is good for every human on the planet. Honestly, if your life affords you the luxury of throwing away a whole class of highly nutritious food, more power to you. You’ve just made my life cheaper. But be clear that it’s a luxury – there are no vegetarians in the bush.

          Amy wrote on October 18th, 2012
  31. If anyone is sanctimonious and self-rightous, it is the meat-eaters. I really can’t imagine why anyone is offended that some choose not to eat meat or animal products. Perhaps the meat producers?

    It’s absurd to compare the pain and fear felt by fellow mammals and other sentient animals to that (if any) of plants.

    I’ve never heard of McDougall or his books or his buffet, but a well-informed vegetarian or vegan will eat a big variety of vegetables and fruit, and all kinds of beans and lentils and nuts and seeds. Breads and cereals and pasta should be whole grain. Nobody should be eating simple carbs.

    I just found an excellent book at my local hospital’s community health library: “The New Becoming Vegetarian.” Everything you need to know. Another book, which is endorsed by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America and contains extensive information about foods to help prevent and/or treat cancer is “How to Prevent and Treat Cancer with Natural Medicine.”

    Bonnie wrote on August 24th, 2009
    • @Bonnie

      I’m sorry, I just have to reply to this. I have a problem with your very first sentence so I stopped reading to type this. The very fact that you disregard your omnivorous nature because you want to take the moral high ground (not cause pain to an animal) is the definition of sanctimonious.

      Sanctimonious:
      Adjective. Making a show of being morally superior to other people.

      It is hilariously ironic that you would call meat-eaters sanctimonious when you yourself so fit the definition of the word.

      Now, my opinion:
      Here is why people “get offended that some choose not to eat meat or animal products.” It is the simple reason that people have tendencies to try and persuade others to be like them. This tendency coupled with the opinion that you hold the moral high ground causes others to think that you are pushing your ideas upon them and that they are somehow doing something wrong or evil. This causes resentment and an argument flairs.

      As to my opinion on what to eat: I like to eat meat, and though I’m just starting the PB diet, I expect it to be very beneficial to me. I agree with the sentiment that torture is wrong, and that meat production today uses too much fossil fuel and takes up a lot of land, but I also believe that people don’t understand the portions of meat you are supposed to eat. Regardless of these reasons not to, I still eat meat because, as another commenter put it: its part of being a natural human. If we so remove ourselves from the chains (or wings?) of nature, we will not survive. That said, we can still practice moderation and sustainable agriculture.

      Knowledge is a light that exposes the shadows of weakness, every failure of character in a person and should be faced with squared shoulders, not hidden from, but accepted, whatever the consequences that knowledge brings.

      Sean wrote on August 24th, 2010
  32. Wow, some great insights into delusional belief systems in these comments. I mean, the science is pretty simple – replace carbs with natural fat and protein, eat whole foods, short intense exercise, de-stress. All this vegan = good talk is ridiculous – if you aren’t getting adequate protein and fat, then the macronutrient composition of your diet is HIGH CARB – complete with all the biochemistry that comes with it. Sure, vegetables are better than doughnuts, but that doesn’t make consuming them alone, optimal.

    As for the China Study, I suggest those of you citing it as evidence of your vegetarian superiority might like to first learn a little about evaluating studies, the difference between correlation and causality, and the value of epidemiological studies for anything other than hypothesis construction. I have no dog in this fight – I eat lots of meat and lots of green leafy veg, but I must admit that I do dislike idiots who have mistaken their interest in a topic for authority on it.

    Christopher Byrne wrote on September 2nd, 2009
  33. I married a vegan, who chose it over me in the end. He had really low energy, low moods, and low libido. He could not keep up with me who was four years older, and would be really cranky, because he would often not eat breakfast.
    the marriage was a disaster because of his inflexabibity. I begged him to give up the diet, but he thought he was doing it for his health. He used to say he was “optimized” metabolically, but I argued that if “you don’t move much, you don’t need a lot”.
    He thought it would help his high cholorstoral (214), but he did not exercise at all.
    He was really fearful of pain and the sight of blood, which I think was more of the reason for his choice.
    I did develop a healthy eating style because of him, but chose organic veggies and meat instead of following down the “vegan road”.
    Did I also mention, he did not cook for me, and I had to cook for him. Oh and lastly, when we did get married, he was shocked by the price of organics- so perhaps he was simply trying to save money.
    I would never date a vegan/vegetarian ever again- too restricting at so many levels.

    Valerie wrote on September 7th, 2009
    • Let’s upset a stereotype. I’m a vegetarian, my boyfriend is not a vegetarian but he doesn’t eat meat. He thinks it tastes bad. I dont eat it for moral reasons.

      I am an RD and you can be healthy on a vegetarian diet. Apparently your bf was not doing it right. There is a right and a wrong way to do everything, just as not all meat-eaters are on SAD

      RD Liz wrote on December 14th, 2011
  34. Great post. I am new to MDA and I love it already. I am awaiting my copy of PB [which I hope will arrive really, really soon :D]
    I had been a vegetarian for most of 2008 because I hoped and believed it would be a healthier choice, and would help me lose weight… Can I hear a whatever!! I picked up a lot of weight and along with that, Insulin Resistance.
    I know that low-carb works, but aching bones made me drop off the Atkins bandwagon faster than you can say Steak and Eggs.
    I think the Primal Blueprint really makes sense because it is a balanced lifestyle program, that not only promotes healthy unrefined and unprocessed food choices, but really goes that extra mile in helping one realize life should be enjoyed at every level, work or play.
    Avoiding grain products really makes sense, because every nutrient we can possibly get from grains are readily available in fresh produce and a lot easier to digest.
    This makes total sense. Hubby and I will both be implementing this lifestyle.
    Thank you Mark for a great website.
    Elsie
    South Africa

    Elsie wrote on October 12th, 2009
  35. Low- carb especially as developed by Dr Atkins SAVED my life. If people read the book and not the synopsis, they would have far better results and understanding of the diet. I still used Atkins low carb practices in my Primal/IF lifestyle with great success. If left to the ADA and bozos like Ornish and the “grain is good for you so eat lots and no meat” folks- I’d be shooting insulin several times a day- just to break even. Today I use no meds at all, lost 50 lbs, gained a washboard belly and decent muscle tone for someone my age. Thank God for Atkins and all the folks on his shoulders.

    pjnoir wrote on October 27th, 2009
    • Amen to this:

      “Thank God for Atkins and all the folks on his shoulders.”

      AtkinsFan wrote on April 1st, 2010
  36. Thank you for your blog! I’ve been looking at both sides of the dietary issue for a long time now, as I have Lyme disease and want to get well. I tried the McDougall diet for six months, along with my husband, and we felt well for a time, but I noticed after awhile that I no longer felt strong and my husband was starting to look haggard (even though he said he felt fine). His cholesterol went down 40 points from 180 to 140, but now I’m reading cholesterol may not be the bogey man after all, as might not be fats (The Cholesterol Myth) (Eat Fat, Loose Weight).

    Anyway, we’ve decided to add back grass fed meat, but still do a lot of vegetables. We always have done no to low sugar, and whole grains. I have gluten intolerance and lactose intolerance so that complicates diet even more also.

    Listen to your body is GOOD ADVICE. While on McDougall, I felt that I just had to have eggs! Then, I just had to have a steak (went to Outback for my son’s birthday) I’ve never been a big steak eater. My body was telling me something, even before we decided to quit McDougall.

    The Bible says it well: Moderation in all things.

    M Lee wrote on November 4th, 2009
  37. @ Smedley –

    I’m a little baffled at how you think it is ok to bash someone else for their thoughts with nothing but rude and insulting comments?

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and as far as I can tell Mark didn’t state any of his in a mean way – he simply said, from hi experience, what the food regimen was like and how the people at the retreat looked.

    You, however, seem to feel that you have the authority to say what you please, how you please, while telling others they don’t have that priviledge.

    Please, tell me how that can be?

    I have no opinion, one way or the other, about what Mark said (I eat meat, mostly because my boyfriend does; but I do wish I could cut back a bit – although not for any other reason than that I’m not a huge fan of red meat), but I also don’t feel that anyone should try to force their views and opinions on other nor make anyone else feel bad about what they feel or think.

    Next time you stop by a site that has informationa/stories that you don’t agree with, try to think before you write. You’ll look less stupid and might actually enhance the reading experience for everyone.

    Christine wrote on December 29th, 2009
  38. There are so many contradictory studies and theories and diets and examples of what happened to real live people. How do you make sense of any of it? I agree all our genetics and bodies are different, but really that only complicates things.

    Cathy wrote on January 26th, 2010
    • Genetics and bodies are different among cattle too. When was the last time you saw a cow eating a steak?

      Dana wrote on February 14th, 2011
  39. My health epiphany was when I started home brewing. It all started with and article on the break down of B vitamins in a spoonfull of turb (yeast sediment) at the bottom of a brew. That lead to reading the history of fermentation, then understanding and implimenting lacto-frementation of vegetables. In turn leading to looking for Organic raw sources, research into strictly raw diets, the eventual planting of my own garden and thus into carbon sequestering and sustainable gardening practices that develop terra preta.

    Eating meat, and muddling through both sides of the controversy has led to an understanding in the role of dietary fats cholesterols and animal proteins, sustainable farming practices (farmers who practice them in my area) and sources for free range and grass fed animals who are humanely killed (if thats your hic-up). If I could get raw dairy in my State legally I would do that as well, if even just for the whey to inocculate my veggie cultures!

    Throughout this process I have weaned myself off of the standard american diet. I have found that raw, organic and fermented foods with moderate animal protein intake is what I need to be active and healthy. I have also, opened myself to considering and researching both points of view before implimenting a change. AND I have never been healthier or happier.

    Keep an open mind, read all you can, and don’t take either side at face value as the most vocal proponents are often jaded by their agendas.

    J.B. Aloha wrote on February 20th, 2010
    • What would be your idea of a humane killing method? Please give details.

      Do you yourself eat only animals killed according to that method? Just asking, that’s all. I keep hearing about humane slaughter, but to my knowledge it doesn’t exist on the commercial level. My neighbor just walks up to a cow in his front yard and blasts at its head with a rifle, and that’s it.

      Wyandotte wrote on December 24th, 2012
      • The idea of “humane” is (as the name suggests) an utterly human construct. In nature, with few exceptions, there are no peaceful deaths. The babies and the old are the most frequent prey. If you’ve ever watched an animal documentary, you’ve likely seen a “natural” kill- often the animal is still alive and screaming when the predator starts tearing into its flesh. I’ve seen newborns literally pulled the rest of the way from the birth canal by hungry predators… Is that anyone’s idea of “humane”? Nature isn’t kind and gentle.

        It matters very much to me how the animals I will eventually eat are treated, and taking measures to reduce stress in the animal on its way to slaughter is part of that. But let’s look at the big picture for a moment- does anyone really believe that a “natural death” at the jaws of a predator, after being chased down and exhausted, is somehow calm and peaceful? It’s time for a reality check. Death is extremely violent in nature– and nothing that happens routinely, even conventional slaughter, comes close.

        ~Huntress

        Paleo Huntress wrote on December 25th, 2012
        • First of all, Happy Christmas!

          Though not 100% vegetarian, but pretty close (I eat a bit of wild fish), all my 55+ odd years on this earth I’ve been conscious of human-caused animal suffering. As I see it, there’s a weird logic to the ideas of deliberate heavy meateaters: that nature is cruel, especially where animals are concerned, and therefore it’s perfectly “okay” for humans – a pretty different species – to be equally nasty.

          I wonder why almighty God gave us a brain, sometimes, when I hear this stuff. Why not go “whole hog” if you so admire the forces of nature? You know, use your own hands and mouth to catch your food, too? How about living in the meadows and forests with no artificially produced clothing? Etc. Etc. You have heard it all before and are tuning me out.

          Since the old, weak and sick are killed by the young, strong and healthy in the truly natural world, why not replicate it in human society? No? We’re “different” all of a sudden?

          If you like, want, crave and need flesh, please partake. That’s your right, since we’re designed to be omnivores. But don’t give me the nature-isn’t-kind-and-gentle-speech; you are so protected from virtually all of nature’s forces yet in this one area…

          I am happy that a few of you paleos do care about the treatment of your food prior to killing. Wish there was more of you.

          - Ms Wyandotte, who lived on a farm for decades and knows firsthand about animal husbandry and slaughter, and who continues with country life, seeing SOME wildlife doing its thing, too. No, it ain’t pretty, and yes, I know better. I don’t want to be like them.

          Wyandotte wrote on December 25th, 2012
      • testing- Do basic HTML tags

        work in this forum?

        Paleo Huntress wrote on December 26th, 2012
      • @Wyandotte,

        “As I see it, there’s a weird logic to the ideas of deliberate heavy meateaters: that nature is cruel, especially where animals are concerned, and therefore it’s perfectly “okay” for humans – a pretty different species – to be equally nasty.”

        Happy Christmas to you as well! I admire your passion, but think it’s also unfortunate that emotion clouds our ability to have a reasonable discussion about certain topics. For example, I wrote, It matters very much to me how the animals I will eventually eat are treated, and taking measures to reduce stress in the animal on its way to slaughter is part of that.”, and you ran that through an emotional filter and translated it to, “Nature is cruel and therefore it’s perfectly okay for humans to be equally nasty.” My point is that we are a PART of nature- as much as we like to get pious and claim we can be above it, the simple truth is that we cannot live outside of nature. (There would be no food at all without the labors of animals doing the pollinating.) And that as awful as our conventional meat industry treats animals, if we all became vegan, we’d be condemning 100% of ruminants to a much more terrifying and violent death. I’ve met many vegans (I used to be vegan) that thought this was OK, as long as they didn’t have to take responsibility for those deaths, ~shrugs~, I’m of the opinion that the animals don’t care whether their suffering/death is deliberate or accidental.

        May I ask, how do you define “heavy meat-eaters”? The bulk of the SAD comes from vegetable sources- mostly grains and starches- but also the oils pressed from grains and legumes as well. So the typical SAD is vegetable based. The bulk of my diet today is still vegetable. Most paleo/primal dieters I know get far more veggies in their diet than typical omnis, we simply don’t eat grains and beans. In fact, I eat more fresh produce now than I did as a vegan.

        I purchase my animal foods at a small family farm a few towns away- I KNOW how the animals live and what they eat. I don’t eat supermarket animal foods or restaurant animal foods because it MATTERS to me how the animals are raised. FWIW, when these animals get hungry, they always have food- when it’s cold or raining, they have shelter and if they become ill, they are nursed back to health whenever possible. This is something a wild animal doesn’t have the benefit of. (A feral cat lives an average of 2 years, but one that we care for may live ten times longer.) There are benefits to the animal in domestication as well- and you can argue that we are planning to kill it, but ALL animals are going to die. There are no row crops in my diet (or the diets of the animals I eat) so the thousands of collateral deaths from the combines used to harvest grains and beans don’t come into the picture. I also grow a significant amount of my own produce and get 80% of the remainder from three local farms that use no-till methods for planting. I go to great lengths to reduce the suffering and deaths I contribute to.

        “I wonder why almighty God gave us a brain, sometimes, when I hear this stuff.

        I respect that YOU wonder this, but as an Atheist, this particular argument means nothing to me. The evidence tells me that eating meat gave us this BIG brain, and I honor that contribution by continuing to do so.

        “Why not go “whole hog” if you so admire the forces of nature? You know, use your own hands and mouth to catch your food, too? How about living in the meadows and forests with no artificially produced clothing?”

        I prefer instead to use my big brain to take the best of both. This suits me, it suits my planet and it suits my health.

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        @Ted,

        Huntress, I have nothing against eating animal flesh if you can kill it, you can eat it. Have you killed an animal with your hands, prepared it and then ate it?

        I have, yes. As has my husband who was raised in a culture where food animals were raised and children learned that animals die for other animals to live. It’s only been the last century or so that we’ve been so far removed from our animal food sources. In today’s antiseptic world, children aren’t taught that there is blood and violence in death and that we are nourished by the product if it. But there are other animals that use tools to get their food- have you ever seen the bird searching for the right twig (a tool) to dig the fat grubs out of the branch with? The idea that human beings aren’t suited for meat eating because we can’t chase down or kill large prey with our bare hands has been debunked by a mountain of research showing that as soon as we developed tools, the evolutionary stressors to develop speed, strength or sharp dentition was eliminated. We are perfectly evolved to eat meat.

        ~Huntress

        paleohuntress wrote on December 26th, 2012
        • Well stated Huntress.

          Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on December 26th, 2012
        • I absolutely DO, Ted, all three… because I want them to have a realistic picture of their impact on the world so that they can make responsible choices instead of ignorantly believing that by eating a vegan diet, it will make them fart roses and that no animal, anywhere, EVER will die for for their food. Because that Ted, is what is known as vegan bullsh*t- and you shovel it well.

          paleohuntress wrote on December 26th, 2012
    • Beautifully written. This sounds similar to my path; I’m still in the transition and experimentation phase to see what works best for me. It’s interesting to have Raw, Vegan, Paleo, and Weston Price Foundation books in my kitchen while I investigate all the excellent points each makes and see what my body (and mind) really can handle.

      Kris wrote on February 10th, 2014
  40. I resent the term “vegetarian” when they are really grainatarians. I love vegetables and eat then all the time with my fall off the bone grass fed beef.

    The beef industry was right and Oparh ( I can’t lose weight again) was way wrong. Save our soil, Save our planet- Eat beef.

    pjnoir wrote on March 27th, 2010

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