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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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November 25, 2009

The Vegetarian Myth

By Mark Sisson
267 Comments

Wow.

It isn’t often that I write book reviews (have I ever? – serious question), but it isn’t often that a truly important book like Lierre Keith’s The Vegetarian Myth pops up on my radar just begging for one.

You may remember it from a brief mention I gave back in September, or maybe from Dr. Eades’ endorsement of it. You may have even already read the book yourself. If you haven’t, read it. And if you have? Read it again or get one for a friend.

That goes double for vegans, vegetarians, or anyone on the cusp of adopting that lifestyle. If you fit the bill, especially if you’re considering veganism/vegetarianism for moral reasons, drop what you’re doing and run to the nearest bookstore to buy this book. It’s incredibly well-written, and the author has a real knack for engaging prose, but that’s not the main reason for my endorsement. The real draw is the dual (not dueling) narratives: the transformation of a physically broken moral vegetarian into a healthier moral meat eater; and the destructive force of industrial agriculture. The “Myth” in question is the widely-held notion that vegetarianism is the best thing for our health and for our planet. On the contrary, Keith asserts that a global shift toward vegetarianism would be the absolute worst move possible. It’s vitally important. It’s definitive. It’s somewhat depressing, and it’s brutally honest. It also might be the book that changes your life.

Lierre Keith is a former vegan/vegetarian who bowed out after twenty long years of poor health and paralyzing moral paradoxes. Her original goal was to explore the question, “Life or death?” as it pertained to food. She, like most vegetarians, assumed she had a choice between the two, that it was an either/or thing. Eating tofu and beans was life, while a burger represented death. Life didn’t have to involve death – that was the weak way out, and the honorable (and difficult, and therefore meaningful) way to live was by avoiding animal products of all kinds. No blood on your hands or on your plate meant a clean moral slate.

Or so she thought. See, Keith began as a moral vegetarian. She never espoused the idea that meat was inherently unhealthy or physically damaging; she was simply a young kid who “cried for Iron Eyes Cody, longed… for an unmolested continent of rivers and marshes, birds and fish.” We’ve all heard of kids who “turn vegetarian” when they find out their chicken nuggets once walked, clucked, and pecked. Well, Keith was that five year old who bemoaned the “asphalt inferno of suburban sprawl” as a harbinger of “the destruction of [her] planet.” Hers was a deep-seated commitment to the preservation of all living things, not just the cute and fuzzy ones.

That expansive scope meant she looked at the big picture, and suffered for it. She never got to enjoy that oh-so-common smug vegetarian elitism, because she was too aware. Seeds were living things, too. They may not have had faces or doting mothers, but they were alive, and that meant they could die. Killing slugs in her garden was impossible, and deciding whether to supplement the soil with actual bone meal was excruciating. Unlike most of her peers, she knew that avoiding direct animal products didn’t mean her hands were clean. They might not be dripping red, but living organisms died to make that head of lettuce possible. Fields were tilled and billions of microorganisms were destroyed, not to mention the mice, rabbits, and other wild animals whose environments are leveled to make way for industrial farming. And so whichever direction she went – home gardening, local produce, or grocery store goods – Keith was contributing directly and indirectly to death.

What’s a moral vegetarian to do?

She briefly entertains studying with a mystic breatharian, hoping to (tongue-in-cheekily) learn to subsist purely on oxygen. She spends hours picking slugs from her garden and goes to relocate them. Nothing works. She keeps coming back to death.

“Let me live without harm to others. Let my life be possible without death.” Keith realizes this vegetarian plea (which “borders on a prayer”) is impossible to fulfill. She can’t live and eat without something dying, and that’s the whole point of it all. Death is necessary and natural. Circle of life, you know? Without death of some sort, life would get a whole lot worse.

Keith ultimately sets her sights on one of our favorite human “advancements” at the Apple: agriculture! Readers of MDA already know how agriculture altered our trajectory forever, but maybe not in such vivid detail. We focus on the lowered life expectancy, reduced bone density, compromised dental health, and the stooped, shrunken skeletons of our Neolithic ancestors, but Keith shows how grain agriculture actually destroys the land it touches. The Fertile Crescent, ground zero for grain development, used to be, well, fertile. It was verdant, lush, and teeming with life – including nomadic hunter gatherers. Paradise, you might even say. Animals grazed on perennial grasses, pooped out nutrients, and gradually those nutrients would work themselves back into the soil. It was a beautiful, natural life cycle that worked great for millennia. But once grains were grown and the land was irrigated, everything changed. Perennial renewable grasses became annual grains. Animals no longer grazed and replenished the soil. The top soil was robbed of nutrients and faded away. Irrigation meant crucial annual floods were disrupted or even halted. A massive monkey wrench was thrown into the system, and rather than coexisting as a complementary aspect of nature, man thus commenced the conflict with the natural world that rages to this very day.

And that’s the crux of her argument – that modern industrial agriculture is wanton destruction. Grain-based, vegetarian agriculture is even worse, because it attempts to eliminate a crucial player in the normal life cycle of the planet. Animals, which provide manure, calcium, and other nutrients for the soil, have to be part of the equation. Whenever a culture turns to a grain-based agricultural system, these same problems arise. Annual grain crops killed the American prairie and, for the vegans out there, they kill the millions of animals, bugs, and birds that rely on specific ecosystems to survive. The vegan’s soy burger has nary an animal part, but the machines that worked the soybean fields were greased with the blood of a thousand organisms. The vegetarian’s wheat crops feed millions, but robs the land of nutrients and destroys the top soil necessary for life.

Primal readers won’t be surprised by what they read. They may be horrified at the extent of the environmental damage caused by industrial agriculture, but they won’t be surprised (given agriculture’s poor track record with our health). Keith lays out an effective case against grains (and for a Primal-ish, low-carb, high-fat diet, believe it or not) on nutritive, moral, and economical grounds that’s tough to refute. The nutritional information will come as second nature, but the sources are sound and the references are powerful.

There’s more, far more, but I’d rather not spoil the entire thing. Just read it and rest assured that it’s worth your time. The book is a must-read, and a great ally for anyone interested in promoting a healthy, sustainable, omnivorous future. Read this book and distribute it to your vegan friends.

Primal approved!

Check out excerpts on Google Books, read the first chapter here, or purchase the book here or here.

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267 Comments on "The Vegetarian Myth"

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musajen
musajen
6 years 10 months ago

I’m working my way through this book right now and it’s really a gripping read. It’s opened my eyes to a lot and makes me even more certain of the primal way. Can’t recommend it enough!

Sam
Sam
6 years 10 months ago

Hi Mark,

I am a recent reader of your blog. I am a vegetarian making a transition to becoming paleo. It’s a tough road, but one I’m sure will pay off in the long run. I absolutely agree with the message conveyed by this book, but it can’t go without saying that raising cows and chickens does put a dent in our ecological footprint, more than modern agriculture does in my opinion. I understand ofcourse, that you fully endorse organic/free range meat, but I think it’s important to note that modern agriculture is not the only sin being committed.

pjnoir
pjnoir
6 years 10 months ago

free range pastures do far less damage to the soil than burrow/row farming of crops. Read the book. Remember the dust bowl?

Sam
Sam
6 years 10 months ago

I absolutely agree with you, but what I was trying to say is that there are problems with both agriculture and factory farming and neither can be dismissed (as Mark noted above). Just thought I’d throw it out there to keep us on our toes :p

josh
josh
6 years 10 months ago

I think that all of the destroyed riparian ecosystems are proof enough that free range pastures are pretty damaging.
Small scale organic farms are pretty darn sustainable and can be an excellent use of under-utilized land in urban area, try grazing a cow in a vacant lot next to an apartment complex. Junk-food vegetarianism is destructive to the environment & quite un-healthy, no arguments from me, but when done in a thoughtful manner (like any other diet) can be healthy & sustainable… different strokes for different folks.

kerstster
kerstster
6 years 8 months ago
” but it can’t go without saying that raising cows and chickens does put a dent in our ecological footprint, more than modern agriculture does in my opinion.” Maby you should read some books about permaculture, and please view a farm for a future (bbc) because this is not what she is saying. If you eat the meat of grain fed animals you are right. But the emphasis in this book is on non-grain fed catle that’s part of a (permaculture)system. In a permaculturesystem everything has a function, preferably more then one. Producing food this way does put a dent… Read more »
Griff
Griff
6 years 10 months ago
Lierre’s book is absolutely stunning in its depth and breadth. She points out the things that we cannot, as moral beings, ignore: By living, we cause other living things to die. That’s it. Point-blank. There’s a number of other related myths that Lierre dispels as well, including my favorite: “You can grow a lot more grain than you can raise animals for the same amount of land – therefore, you should only grow grain and other plants!” Never mind that this myth is easily dispelled when you consider that much of the earth’s surface isn’t suitable for farming and cannot… Read more »
Charley
6 years 10 months ago
Prefacing this comment with the statement that I am NOT a vegetarian (had pizza and wings last nite for dinner), and I should probably reserve judgement till I read the book, but that will be a long time coming as there are many other books waiting in my queue already. I get tweaked by an author, like Keith, who paints a doomsday attitude toward one method of doing anything. Yes, it’s self evident that if 6 billion people suddenly become Vegan, the world will become one large dust bowl before long. It’s just as accurate to say that if 6… Read more »
Nelter
Nelter
6 years 10 months ago

It’s not about ‘imposing beliefs’ on anyone. It’s about access to information. That information may be the truth of the matter or it may not. It’s up to the vegetarian/vegan person to make up their mind on that. If they are rational people they’ll weigh the evidence and consider it carefully. But it’s the awareness that is important and books like this do a wonderful job of allowing people to become more aware of the ramifications of their choices.

Nelter
Nelter
6 years 10 months ago

Regarding the ‘doomsday attitude’ – we’re in the middle of a mass extinction. I’d say it’s appropriate to point out that furthering the vegetarian/vegan cause is only going to push us further into that extinction.

Lenette Nakauchi
6 years 8 months ago

Here here Charley! Thank you! Live and let live. Eat and be happy.

Catleya
Catleya
6 years 4 months ago

Thank you Charley – I completely agree with you!

Charlie
Charlie
2 years 11 months ago
Charley makes some good points. I have read through the book–I will admit I am only part way–and I find it to have a good mix of rhetoric–that is, non-dialectical reasoning. Charley is closer on many things in his short note. Would the world become a dust bowl if we all went vegan? No–as most agricultural planting is done to sustain domesticated animals–so everyone suddenly turning vegan (obviously not happening any time soon) might actually mean less topsoil loss and less habitat destruction–it would even mean some areas of arable land being returned to a fallow state. To speak of… Read more »
JT
JT
6 years 3 months ago

Your statement: ‘Nature knows this, and is coming up with ever more clever ways of eliminating the majority of, if not the entire, population of humans here on Earth (swine flu and AIDS being two of the latest)’

There is nothing natural about it…

Griff
Griff
6 years 3 months ago

Yes, it is completely natural. Do you have evidence that AIDS or swine flu were created by anything other than natural processes? If not, they’re natural occurrences and we are facing an ever-losing battle with Mother Nature. Humans are not essential to the well-being of this planet, but the well-being of the planet is absolutely essential to humans.

JT
JT
6 years 3 months ago

The well being of the planet being essential to humans is obvious.
To close your eyes to the evidence of man made disease is dangerous and that is what is being counted on by many.

Griff
Griff
6 years 3 months ago

JT: Show me hard evidence that either of those diseases is man-made, please. I doubt you’ll be able to provide any. (You seriously believe that conspiracy theory nonsense?)

Craig Brown
6 years 10 months ago

I was lucky enough to be sent an early draft of this- it’s a really excellent work.

pjnoir
pjnoir
6 years 10 months ago

Best bet is to order online- I have yet to see this book in any bookstore as it goes against anything in its catagory and would upset the sales staff like finger nails on a chalkboard at B&N or Border’s. This is a powerful, well orgainzed and written book. Please use the information wisely no fair shoving facts down the throats of vegans at a party- though tempting. LOL

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dave, RN
dave, RN
6 years 10 months ago

I think even if a vegetarian read the book, they’d still not be convinced. They’re not really into facts. Because it’s so… noble to be a vegetarian after all.
On the other hand with all those cows contributing to so-called global warming, I’m happily doing my part to reduce the population of the grass fed ones anyway. That’s noble and tasty!

Simon
Simon
6 years 10 months ago
What ‘facts’ aren’t vegetarians ‘into’? That current large scale agriculture, including live transport and slaughtering techniques are necessarily cruel? That most meat eaters resort to ridicule and small-minded humour to justify their inability to examine their own practises? That animals are largely misunderstood and science is continually revealing a depth and complexity to their behaviours often traditionally used as the basis for what separates them from humans, such as self-awareness? I’m definitely getting this book, but ultimately the end result is the same, unless the critics see anything in absolutes, they are unwilling to modify their behaviour. For me, vegetarianism… Read more »
Griff
Griff
6 years 10 months ago

Nobody’s arguing that current farming practices are unacceptable. They are. The Primal Blueprint calls for eating pastured, grass-fed meat and organic vegetables, not factory-farmed crap. But I think that it’s important to note that it’s the farming style and the monocultural grains that are the problem, not the meat and the vegetables themselves.

Grains are never good, and neither are legumes. They will kill you.

C
C
6 years 10 months ago

“Grains are never good, and neither are legumes. They will kill you.”

Is this a joke, Griff? You are up against the vast amount of scientific evidence out there if you want to make that claim.
Keith has no scientific background and is therefore wholly unqualified to make the majority of claims in her book and, like you, she makes plenty of ridiculous, unsubstantiated claims about nutrition (such as there not being any plant sources of tryptophan, which is totally, 100%, false).
Her book is great for defensive omnivores who need pseudo-scientific proof that their destructive habits are justifiable. I’ll give her that.

C2H5OH
6 years 10 months ago

I think some things should be moderated

OrangeGirl
6 years 9 months ago
🙁 It’s just this kind of attitude that as a vegetarian converting to a Paleo diet that makes me cringe. I worked with so many people that I had to explain my vegetarian (sometimes vegan) diet to, and had polite conversations with them (well, THEIR attitude wasn’t always so polite) … and now that I’m changing my attitudes because of this website, I’m afraid of all the people who are going to say “I told you so!” I consider myself a person who makes decisions that work for my health and mental clarity. Please don’t lump everyone who abstains from… Read more »
Del Mar Mel
Del Mar Mel
6 years 10 months ago
Coming from a raw foods background I haven’t been eating grains for the most part so that hasn’t been my difficulty. I will always prefer fish but I know my body is wanting some meat which I’m trying to work my brain around. This book had been mentioned in the forums and will be at the top of my list to read. I have to disagree with you Dave, RN. I have been corresponding with many raw vegans over the last few years and I have found the vast majority to be extremely well read. I have even shared on… Read more »
David
David
6 years 10 months ago

Del,

I am currently reading a book you may find of interest,

Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human by Richard Wrangham.

It discusses the evolutionary impact of cooking and discusses raw foods as well.

Del Mar Mel
Del Mar Mel
6 years 10 months ago

Thanks David. I’m adding it to my list!

Uncle Herniation
Uncle Herniation
6 years 10 months ago
I haven’t read the book, so I’m going off of Mark’s review. Is vegetarianism, per se, the problem, or is it industrial agriculture. In other words, if someone were to have their own garden and subsist off of organically grown vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds – as well as a backyard chicken coop for eggs, and maybe a goat or two for dairy – would that form of vegetarianism be a problem at all? If the answer is no, then this is an example of a misdirected effort. Sure, the author’s intentions may be in the right place, but if… Read more »
Griff
Griff
6 years 10 months ago
Both of them are bad. Industrial agriculture is globally unsustainable, and vegetarianism, especially veganism, is personally unsustainable. You cannot live without animal products – specifically meat and eggs. You CANNOT. You will be sick all the time. Lierre’s experience was horrifying. I don’t recommend having it. So while we should all grow our own food, how do you suggest we raise our own animals when the majority of us live in urban areas and when that ratio is going up every year? This year was the first year in which more people in the world live in urban areas (cities)… Read more »
JorgeGortex
JorgeGortex
6 years 10 months ago

I would have to disagree with you Griff. A bridesmaid in my recent wedding is 100% vegan, and has been for many years. She also teaches serious kick boxing classes, while working on her PhD. She is happy, healthy, and full of energy. Now, I do not subscribe to this way of living, and don’t quite understand it, truth be told, but I see first hand it can work for some people. It takes effort, sacrifice, planning, and understanding, but it is doable.

Del Mar Mel
Del Mar Mel
6 years 10 months ago
I second JG’s point. I know vegans who are in fabulous health. It was my ideal to be a raw, vegan but a couple years in I hadn’t been able to completely go with it. When I found Mark’s site it seemed like exactly what I was trending toward. Lots of veggies and some clean, natural protein. I do want to work some meat into my diet so I think reading the perspective in this book will be a good step for me. Overall, I think those eating REAL, organic foods are going to be the most healthy. Some people… Read more »
Griff
Griff
6 years 10 months ago
And I’ll disagree with you right back. I didn’t start having illnesses like RA until I went vegetarian for two years. I’m glad I stopped when I did, or I might be as sick as Lierre was. And I did all that “effort, sacrifice, planning and understanding” – and I was constantly sick as a dog. I have never yet met a vegan who was not sick with at least three different problems that were not responding to medical intervention. Never once. Vegetarians? Yes, occasionally – but only occasionally, because they were lacto-ovo vegetarians and at least got some animal… Read more »
E.M.R
E.M.R
6 years 10 months ago
I second Griff. Even if your bridesmaid friend is in “perfect health”, which I have a hard time believing, veganism will take it’s toll sooner or later. She may be healthy now, but she also could be a major life event away from a serious tailspin in her health. I’m betting that people who can live for a certain amount of time on a vegan diet are running on solid reserves they’ve been blessed with since birth. What I mean is, they probably have great genes. The thing about vegans is their diet is completely out of balance. Carbohydrates dominate… Read more »
Liza
5 years 1 month ago

Griff, I’m not sure that vegetarianism not working out for you or people you know is a good argument against vegetarianism. Many people know very healthy vegetarians – the fact that you weren’t one does not mean they don’t exist.

Uncle Herniation
Uncle Herniation
6 years 10 months ago
Griff, it sounds like you’re making a blanket statement about vegans to justify your beliefs. Obviously, most people know vegans who live healthy lives. Some vegans may be unhealthy, just like some meat eaters may be unhealthy. Broad generalizations don’t help us reach common ground. They just cause tangential conversations about whether the blanket generalization applies to everyone. As far as urbanization goes, last I knew, people could choose where to live. And even in cities, we’re seeing more urban gardens, community gardens, rooftop gardens, backyard chicken coops, rooftop beehives, etc. Humans are industrious and are capable of getting out… Read more »
Griff
Griff
6 years 10 months ago

UH: See my response above regarding vegetarianism.

Regarding urbanization and choosing where to live: People live where the jobs are. That’s not really something they can choose. And yes, the urban gardens are helping to some extent, but not nearly enough. We are simply an unsustainable population at this level of people.

Uncle Bulldog
Uncle Bulldog
6 years 10 months ago

Don’t know if it has been said elsewhere, but there is absolutely no such thing as a true vegan. The average individual unknowingly ingests all kinds of insects and other critters each year. As far as I know, that counts for protein.

C
C
6 years 10 months ago

“You cannot live without animal products – specifically meat and eggs. You CANNOT.”

There you go again, Griff, with your unsubstantiated claims. I’ve been vegan for longer than Keith was and I’m in great health. How can you make the statement above when there of millions of healthy vegans in this world and when even the mainstream medical community accepts that it’s not only possible but beneficial, while consuming animal products is detrimental to human health in myriad ways?
Someone here surely is not well-read. I’m not naming any names, Griff.

Griff
Griff
6 years 10 months ago
Think what you like, honeybun. The current science (as substantiated in detail by Gary Taubes, the Drs. Eades, and Mark) have demonstrated that what I’m saying is the truth. Lierre’s experience demonstrates the truth of the science behind what I’ve said. The mainstream medical community is a bunch of quacks who swallow what they’re told without examining it critically, so I’m sorry – not willing to believe their nonsense over the scientific evidence I’ve read and seen for myself. Now, you can believe it or not as you like, but I bet I’ll live a longer, healthier life than you… Read more »
grambo
grambo
6 years 10 months ago

No, you’re not in great health, you are probably 5’10 140lbs with no strength or work capacity to accomplish any physical task in life.

Nelter
Nelter
6 years 10 months ago

‘I’m in great health. How can you make the statement above when there of millions of healthy vegans in this world’

…Speaking of unsubstantiated claims…

What is “great health” to you may not be to athletic people.

C truly chose the wrong site to spout off “facts” from the ‘mainstream medical community’ 😀

C
C
6 years 10 months ago

Great health, to me, means I have no self inflicted physical ailments of any kind. My blood vitamin levels are all within range –except cholesterol — which is below the normal range.
“No, you’re not in great health, you are probably 5?10 140lbs with no strength or work capacity to accomplish any physical task in life.”
“What is “great health” to you may not be to athletic people.”
Where do you come up with this shite, nelter and gambo?
I’m letting you all know that I have been vegan for longer than keith and I am perfectly fine, as far as health goes.

C
C
6 years 10 months ago

“The mainstream medical community is a bunch of quacks who swallow what they’re told without examining it critically”

Sounds more like the majority of posts on this site actually.

Nelter
Nelter
6 years 10 months ago

‘I am perfectly fine, as far as health goes.’

I’m sure ur health is adequate for YOU while on a vegan diet. If ure lucky enough it may last you into old age.

But you’ll never be in as good shape as you could have been.

So just you keep tellin’ yourself that Mr/Mrs. Iinsultpeopleontehinternetz

Then BAM! Herpes.

😛

C
C
6 years 10 months ago

there is no proof for what you say. just more defensive omni talk.

C
C
6 years 10 months ago

I’ve been an unhealthy omni before, for over 20 years of my life actually. My health is much better now. Not that typing this will halt your unsubstantiated claims.

grambo
grambo
6 years 10 months ago

C, what is your height/weight/bodyfat %? What is your 400M and 5km run times? What is your max deadlift, squat and number of pull-ups? Oh you don’t do those things? You are not functionally healthy.

Tara
6 years 10 months ago
Wow, great, now I can do more than tell people that this book MUST be read, I can point them to your excellent review. Thanks, Mark! Lierre’s book is profound to me on so many levels. I was a vegetarian, then a vegan, I’m a Nutritionist, but am now leaving that profession to farm. Her book was everything I’ve ever felt, learned, experienced written with such eloquence as to leave me in awe of her talent. Lierre is able to write with compassion and understanding, bolstered by thorough research. I read parts of her book to my life-long farming buddy… Read more »
Del Mar Mel
Del Mar Mel
6 years 10 months ago
As mentioned I definitely will read this. I can definitely identify with having a hard time eating creatures. That set in for me when I was very young. Mark, I’m curious. Carrie mentioned in her post that one of your kids gravitated to vegetarianism from a young age. Is that still the case? I know Carrie mentioned she sticks to fish only. Obviously you have had to confront some of this stuff in your household. It seems like you all manage to keep the peace so it seems you have found a peaceful way to all live healthfully and honoring… Read more »
Jeff
Jeff
6 years 10 months ago

This is very high up on my queue…looks excellent. I have a few vegan friends so I expect many interesting conversations ahead! 🙂

Candace
Candace
6 years 10 months ago
That book seems like a good Christmas gift for my little sisters (they’ve both been vegetarian for several years). My heart goes out to vegans and vegetarians… for moral reasons I avoided as many animal products as I could for about 8 years, but fortunately about 6 months in I started to “cheat” once in awhile (never with meat or fish, though). Terrible guilt afterwards but apparently my body’s needs won out over my idealism… it probably saved me from a lot of permanent damage, and I don’t like to think of how much happened before I backslid. Animals used… Read more »
Del Mar Mel
Del Mar Mel
6 years 10 months ago
I applaud your approach with your son. Personally, I was thrilled when I saw Carrie’s post about her diet and mentioned your son. I had already been tending to eat like Carrie and the mention of your son further reinforced that I can do this without having to sit down to a steak everyday. Not that steak isn’t incredibly appealing at times but it is currently not so easy for me. I’ve had a tremendous education on your site and with your book. I hadn’t been paying much attention to animal foods the last few years so I had never… Read more »
maba
maba
6 years 10 months ago

I ordered this book for my vegetarian husband as soon as I read Dr.Eades’ review. But before the book arrived, he switched sides 🙂 I’m currently reading this book and Lierre Kieth’s voice is compelling, passionate yet rational. I want to give it to my vegetarian friends but don’t know how to do it without offending them.

HKay
HKay
6 years 10 months ago

Ask for their help. It always works! ” I read this book that I found compelling and I want to share it with you but I am worried it will somehow offend you.”

Whenever I want to give people advice they’re not going to like, I just say that I won’t say it because I KNOW they’re not going to like it. It usually works, curiosity wins over “being offended” and most let their guard down.

SerialSinner
SerialSinner
6 years 10 months ago
This book is next on my list. Ethical vegetarianism is a very tricky issue. I see two main general approaches to it: rational and emotional. My comment is about the rational side of it. Rationally speaking, and in my opinion, standing by vegetarianism as a more ethical lifestyle should result from taking into account much more variables than people usually consider. One of them is, as Griff mentioned before, the unsustainable population levels we have today. It could be argued that very dense cities have a lower environmental footprint that big, spread-out cities. Think of heating, for example. An apartment… Read more »
John Mathieu
6 years 10 months ago

The real root of the problem is there are too many people. The population growth is not sustainable for vegans or meat eaters in the long term unless there are changes, as suggested earlier.

SerialSinner
SerialSinner
6 years 10 months ago

Oh god seems I got carried away, sorry for the massive comment.

Griff
Griff
6 years 10 months ago

Not at all, SS – I think what you wrote was eloquent and to the point. Well said.

marci
marci
6 years 10 months ago

I agree-well said!

emmcubed
emmcubed
6 years 10 months ago

Kindle has it. Boo-yah and purchased.

marci
marci
6 years 10 months ago
I’m thrilled this topic has been addressed. I’ve been reading the (mostly glowing) reviews about Johnathan Safron Foer’s book “Eating Animals” with some dismay. While no one in their right mind would agree that the industrial factory farm is anything short of death camp for animals, few people consider the ramifications of industrial agriculture. As I’ve mentioned here before, I was vegetarian for 20 yrs- and in excellent health, I might add. I rarely missed a day of work. Exercise and eating clean was, and still is, a big part of my life. But when I discovered this site all… Read more »
Lance
Lance
6 years 2 months ago
I agree this post has been very thought-provoking. My situation is as follows, and I’m sure it’s not that unique. I became an almost-vegetarian about a year ago (I’ve eaten some fish – but I would say less than once per month). Mostly, my issue is with corporate capitalism more than animal rights, per se. I just can’t imagine eating the animals who are being raised and then slaughtered in the giant agri-business of factory meat creation. There’s absolutely NOTHING paleo or primal about it. But I also understand the problems of eating our corn-and-soy-based pseudo plant/grain diet. I’ve said… Read more »
Griff
Griff
6 years 2 months ago
Unfortunately, sustainability isn’t possible in tandem with optimal health. There’s just no way. We can’t support the 6+ billion people on this earth, and most of them never should have existed in the first place (and wouldn’t have but for the development of agriculture). It’s sad, and it’s harsh, but the fact of the matter is that we can either all die together of the diseases of civilization caused by agricultural foods, or a few of us can survive while the rest die of those diseases. There is just no way to make this bloated population sustainable *and* healthy. The… Read more »
Trav
Trav
5 years 7 months ago
But let me guess, YOU just so happen to NOT be one of those people who “never should have existed in the first place.” It never ceases to shock horrify and sadden me to see people speaking like you do about your fellow human beings. The fact is, we as humans with our capacity for innovation and adaptation can and will overcome the so-called “overpopulation” you speak of. We may technically be animals but we differ from other intellectually inferior species in our ability to develop and cultivate new resources and new ways to do so with already discovered resources,… Read more »
Griff
Griff
5 years 7 months ago
Think what you like, I’m just stating fact, which has no moral component. I’m fortunate to exist, but I recognize that I and millions of others – you included – only exist because our Neolithic ancestors made a huge mistake and developed grain-based agriculture. If we had kept to what we evolved to eat, instead of one of those lovely “cultural innovations” you seem to think is so awesome, we wouldn’t be in the population situation we’re in now. We managed to circumvent the natural controls that used to keep our population levels in check. All our cultural cleverness –… Read more »
Kat Eden
6 years 10 months ago
I’m halfway through reading this book and you’ve given me a great reminder as to why I need to pick it up and finish it. As you say, much of the content doesn’t come as a complete shock but at the same time it’s incredibly eye-opening to learn the full extent of the effects of a vegetarian diet – both to our health and our planet. Even a chapter in I felt powerfully equipped to fight back against some of the naysayers who claim meat-eating is ruining the planet. It’s actually been a great help in rounding out some of… Read more »
Jack
Jack
6 years 10 months ago
It’s something most people worry about, they suddenly learn where their meat came from and feel remorse for the poor little “insert cute animal name”. The truth is, we disrespect these animals, in life by the way we raise them, and in death by not appreciating their sacrifice. Most “undeveloped” longstanding cultures perform ceremonies after a kill, honouring the animal for giving it’s flesh so that the community can live on. By not doing this, I beleive it encourages vegetarianism, and by doing this, you become more in tune with the life and death cycle of the world, the most… Read more »
Shannon
Shannon
6 years 10 months ago

This.

An awesome response.

Nelter
Nelter
6 years 10 months ago

A nature reserve for hunter/gatherer man. At the current rate of ecosystem destruction I can almost see it coming to that.

Grant
Grant
6 years 10 months ago
One of the things you said about vegetarianism I found particularly interesting: in the minds of many of it’s practicioners, the more honorable, and therefor more meaningful, approach to life was vegetarianism precisely because it was more difficult to live “free of death.” In today’s world, saturated with Kantian philosophy, many people regard something being more difficult, or even blantantly impossible, as prima facia evidence of it’s moral superiority. If there isn’t something to suffer over, or to act against who they really are for, they’ll invent something. What these people don’t realize is that, ironically, it is far, far… Read more »
C
C
6 years 10 months ago
I’ve never heard one vegetarian or vegan claim that we can live a life free of death, or deny death, or whatever. That’s silly. That is just one of the absurd assertions which keith’s book is based upon. non human animals (at very least, the ones we routinely exploit for food or clothing) are sentient, meaning they are sensate individuals capable of having subjective experiences. Plants and microorganisms, as far as we currently know, are not sentient. They do not have brains or central nervous systems, as animals do. keith overlooks the fact that veganism is, and always has been,… Read more »
Grant
Grant
6 years 10 months ago
I’ve never heard one claim that death-free life is possible either, but that doesn’t stop them from holding it up as a moral ideal (and evaluating the various ways men can live based upon how closely they can approach that ideal). I say that any way of life which regards the impossible as the desireable is not only pointless, but actually immoral to follow. All vegans/vegetarianism is is a heavily-camoflagued recycling of the mystical, reality-irrelevant ethics of the major religions. These people think they’re nothing like their unenlightened cultural antipodes, but if you dig deep enough into the philosophical fundamentals… Read more »
C
C
6 years 10 months ago

I love how non-vegans always want to tell vegans what veganism is all about.
It might make you feel better but it’s not reality, Grant.

“Both preach self-denial, both admire making things unnecessarily difficult, both extol the “virtue” of sacrifice (even if their objects are different).”

Where do you omnis come up with this shite? It’s quite comical.

What sacrifice? What’s unnecessarily difficult?

Grant
Grant
6 years 10 months ago
Elsewhere, I’ve heard Ms. Keith speaking about her acceptance of the fact that life requires death. That’s a definite improvement over her fanciful notion that it doesn’t, however I still suspect that she hasn’t completely freed herself of the trappings which could, once again, make her regard eating meat as immoral. She is taking the utilitarian approach. She is still hanging on to her belief that biological life, per se, is the root of morality; it’s just that as of right now she’s convinced that eating meat is the best way to serve that root. She’s saying, in effect, reject… Read more »
C
C
6 years 10 months ago

“She’s saying, in effect, reject vegetarianism because that lifestyle actually causes more death than a meat-eating lifestyle does. That’s certainly true, but that isn’t what makes the latter morally acceptable.”

How is that “certainly true”?

Grant
Grant
6 years 10 months ago

Seriously?

100 pounds of beef: one dead organism.

100 pounds of wheat: thousands of dead organisms.

C
C
6 years 10 months ago

That’s rubbish! What about the microorganisms that are eaten by the cows? Much more than are killed to eat the plant source directly.
And anyways, where do you get your figures… besides out of thin air?

C
C
6 years 10 months ago

Plus cows are provably sentient. Microorganisms, like plants, are not.

Rob
Rob
6 years 9 months ago

10 pounds of grain = 1 pound of meat, it’s the average ratio.

So, 100 pounds of beef = 1000 pounds of wheat which in turn equals tens of thousands of dead organisms.

BMacK
6 years 10 months ago

Beautiful. Robb Wolf bowed out on basically the same reasons years ago. It is frightening what people are convinced of.

BMacK
6 years 10 months ago

im linking you into our post tomorrow as well… Keep it up Mark!

Frenchie
Frenchie
6 years 10 months ago

Hey! To each, his own. Some have to eat animal protein to be healthy and some don’t. Why do we have to moralize to be on the right side?

Bigby Suvins
Bigby Suvins
6 years 10 months ago
GRANT – I’m going to guess that you didn’t read the book because the criticism you do have would have been answered by the book. I suggest you pick up a copy. You say, “What’s to keep her from falling into, for example, the rationalization – which many vegetarians already possess – that it’s not the dying per se which is the moral issue, but the pain involved in the dying? Clearly, if that were the standard, vegetarianism is the moral answer.” Not true. There are two refutations to this. One is that in order to have life you need… Read more »
Grant
Grant
6 years 10 months ago

You’re actually claiming that plants feel pain?

Anand Srivastava
Anand Srivastava
6 years 10 months ago

That was proved long back in the late nineteenth century, by J.C.Bose.

He showed that plants can “feel pain, understand affection etc.,”. He showed that they grow well with soothing music and get retarded with loud and harsh music.

Grant
Grant
6 years 10 months ago

No he didn’t. His observations don’t prove a capacity to feel pain. A sensitivity to certain things does not require that capacity in order to be sensitive.

Ben Fury
6 years 10 months ago

Yes Grant, plants feel pain.

Read:
The Secret Life of Plants
http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Life-Plants-Peter-Tompkins/dp/0060915870

Grant
Grant
6 years 10 months ago

Any book which thinks that an artistically written bald assertion is an adequate synopsis shall not be read by Grant.

(Nor will any reply to a comment of mine which thinks that saying “read this entire freaking book” is a useful contribution to the discussion be responded to politely)

C
C
6 years 10 months ago

Plant are not sentient. No brains, no central nervous systems, no benzodiazepene receptors or any other indicia of sentience, or the ability to feel pain. Is that seriously your only proof? The secret life of plantS? Really?
Animals have interests. Plants do not. Do you honestly believe there is no difference in me putting a knife into a carrot and a knife into a cow? The cow will try to avoid the pain, the carrot will not.

FarmerH
FarmerH
3 years 8 months ago
Hello there C When you pluck the carrot from the carrot “plant”, it feels pain too. Plucking the garden knife into the carrot plant is the same as doing that to a cow’s throat ( sorry if u are disgusted, but that’s true) No, plants really have interests and even personality. If you play harsh music to them, they grow retarded. That’s what Boyce said. Ask a “plantologist” if he or she thinks plants hace thoughts and feeling too. And just because plants cant run away from the slaughtering human like cows, and can reproduce themselves, does not mean that… Read more »
Richard Nikoley
6 years 10 months ago

Just have to jump on the dogpile here in absolute enthusiastic support of this book.

I don’t think I’ve written more than one book review on any book before, and I’ve so far done three and I’m probably not done yet.

Don Matesz at Primal Wisdom blog has two excellent reviews up as well, one on the Moral Veg and one on the Political Veg.

PrimalK
6 years 10 months ago

This book sounds fascinating. I was vegetarian many moons ago and it kinda sorta worked for a while. But then it didn’t and I suffered big time. This book won’t change my mind on anything (preaching to the converted?!) since I think I know a fair amount about the damage being wreaked, but it will still be a good read nonetheless.

Thanks for the great review, Mark

jude
jude
4 years 7 months ago

It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes
http://www.eatright.org/about/content.aspx?id=8357

alex
alex
6 years 10 months ago

I like to think that by not eating meat I am affecting the supply/demand cycle for the horrific meat industry.

i dont disagree with eating meat, just with the way we abuse and torture sentient animals to harvest our meat.

If all the vegetarians in the world started eating meat it is undeniable that supply would have to go up to meet demand and there would be more suffering.

Unless all meat was free range/organic and not tortured pumped with drugs and industrialised. That would be great.

Pim
6 years 10 months ago

Can’t the same be said for primals? If they went meat free, were should all those soyabeans, veggies and fruit come from? Either way we have to be aware of the fact that most of our food is made in a not so healthy way. Be it direct or indirect. There is enough meat to get your hands on that is not pumped with drugs or industrialised… Atleast here in the Netherlands it’s not so hard.

jude
jude
4 years 7 months ago

http://www.indiaprwire.com/pressrelease/other/200804208909.htmIf those living in developed countries do not stop eating meat, and if those of developing countries (who are liable to start eating meat when their incomes rise) include it as part of their diet, they will positively be hastening mass starvation of fellow humans on this planet.Humane exploitation and slaughter is an OXYMORON.

HKay
HKay
6 years 10 months ago
I’m surprised at the children who suddenly find out where meat comes from and become vegetarian. Children should understand and perhaps see where meat comes from. As a child, I used to watch the butcher in the morning say a little prayer and then slaughter a cow. All while waiting for the school bus. My parents told me back then that the prayer is to thank God for the meat and that the butcher is very skilled that the cows dies almost immediately. That eased my concern somehow. No longer religious, I still secretly murmur a prayer sometimes when I… Read more »
Icarus
Icarus
6 years 10 months ago

I am reminded of the ubiquitous shots of lions and cheetas and the like taking down a wildebeest, hyena, or what have you, often played in slow motion and with the sound off. This is considered educational television. Why is it OK to watch a lion kill its prey, but not OK to watch a human do the same? I really don’t get this attitude. (I agree with you, though.)

C
C
6 years 10 months ago

Well, those animals NEED to eat other animals. We humans have NO nutritional requirement for animal flesh and secretions. We can get ALL our vitamins and nutrients from plant sources. Therefore it is unnecessary for us to do so. That can’t be said for true carnivores.

Ben Wheeler
6 years 10 months ago

What about your B12?

C
C
6 years 10 months ago

B12 is made by bacteria and is found in the soil. That’s how it ends up in the flesh of rotting animals (not to mention the bacteria present in rotting animals). I get mine from a fermented yeast. And B12 supplements are plant based as well.
I’ll type it again – We humans have NO nutritional requirement for animal flesh and secretions. We can get ALL our vitamins and nutrients from plant sources. Therefore it is unnecessary for us to do so. That can’t be said for true carnivores.
Why are the majority of B12 deficiency cases found in animal eaters?

C
C
6 years 10 months ago

B12: An essential part of a healthy plant-based diet
by Stephen Walsh, PhD

http://www.scienzavegetariana.it/rubriche/cong2002/vegcon_B12_en.html

“Our need for B12 has nothing to do with a need for meat.

Ultimately all B12, including that in meat and milk, comes from bacteria just as the B12 in supplements and fortified foods does.”

Ben Wheeler
6 years 10 months ago

Your understanding of this gets worse and worse.

http://www.westonaprice.org/mythstruths/mtvegetarianism.html#2

That should take up a good part of your day. If you actually did some actual research, followed the citation, a better part of a year.

Girl Gone Primal
6 years 10 months ago
Except that a growing body of science is showing that while nutrients may be found in fruit & vegetables, it doesn’t mean we are able to convert them into a usable form. Take beta carotene – Vitamin A for instance: http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2009/11/23/Some-women-may-lack-vitamin-A/UPI-10441258957333/?form_372.replyids=1&form_363.replyids=1&form_346.userid=215&form_346.replyids=4978 I’d hate to think I was covering my nutritional needs, to then find out that I was one of almost half the population that simply cannot meet their needs on a purely vegetarian diet. Maybe there needs to be a way to ‘screen’ our genetic makeup to see what our genes are able and designed to thrive upon… Personally,… Read more »
subversive
subversive
4 years 7 months ago

wtf, a meat-only sutainable diet?! you really belief that kind of bullshit? have you ever thought about how many kg of corn are fed to animals to produce one kg of meat? corn is one of the most bad ass monocultures out there, devastating the soil for years, if not ever; and it is not even the NATURAL food of cattle. it’s being fed to them simply cause the fact that it is cheap.

HKay
HKay
6 years 10 months ago

PS. If this is not posted somewhere else, here’s a very thought-provoking article about the ethics of eating meat:

http://www.westonaprice.org/healthissues/ethicsmeat.html

Pim
6 years 10 months ago

Guess what’s under the christmas tree this year 😉 Hope I can get some of my vegatarian relatives primal!

AlainaOfArc
AlainaOfArc
6 years 10 months ago

Does anyone else find it highly ironic that this post immediately follows “Diet as Dogma”?

Most of you paleo/primal people are just as bad as vegans/raw foodists when it comes to belittling other diets.

Mark, thank you for exposing me to the primal diet and this book which I intend to read. However, the elitist attitude towards food that has grown around this blog has really turned me off. I won’t be coming back any time soon.

Shannon
Shannon
6 years 10 months ago

AlainaOfArc, I feel the same way and have limited my visits here for the same reason.

I have learned much here that I am grateful for and will continue to carry with me.

My focus has grown. I’ve moved on to Traditional Foods. Price’s research resonates with me and the community is very diverse and accepting. Besides, fermenting is fun! LOL.

We are all just trying to do the best for ourselves and our families. When the student is ready, the teacher will come.

Force leads to war.

Nelter
Nelter
6 years 10 months ago

Aw… cmon… it’s not that bad… it’s mostly fairly decent rhetoric.

James
James
5 years 5 months ago

You know, I kind of share your sympathies about it. I see many of these raw vegans saying primal diet is a disease and anyone who thrives on this diet is broken, just as primalers do to raw fooders. I wish we would all be more open to the idea that different diets suit different people best. I see it in my parents, dad says he feels heavy and queasy if he eats more than a few bites of meat, mom gets grumpy if she goes a day without.

Jhon
Jhon
6 years 10 months ago

Hi,
A quick comment about a vegetarian diet: tried it for a few months after being a meat eater for all my life. What to know what happend? Lost all my muscle mass, became skinny, and people thought I looked sick!

Rodrigo Alemida
Rodrigo Alemida
6 years 10 months ago

I think this author doesn’t know the The farmer and Filosopher Masanobu Fukuoka, whose developments in natural agriculture are outstanding, withouth the use of tilling, composting, fertilizing, etc etc, you should go and see this, read the book “The one Straw Revolution”

Rodrigo Alemida
Rodrigo Alemida
6 years 10 months ago

Plus, we live in a very diversified world, with diferent climates, diferent people, with diferent constitutions, differente enviroments ofering diferent types of food. If you don’t consider Yin and Yang, you could not possibly help someone achieve great health, by just prescribing wath myght have worked for you.

C
C
6 years 10 months ago
Here’s the thing. Vegans are obviously concerned with sustainable practices of producing food. Our current system of industrial agriculture was not set up by people adhering to vegan ideals. Since veganism began, Vegans have pioneered different, sustainable techniques, such as veganic agriculture and forest gardening because they are very aware of the problems with our current system (not to mention that a vegan, Richard St Barbe Baker, helped curb the cattle culture caused Dust Bowl problem in the 30s and spearheaded the Saharan reclamation work). To blame vegans for having to live in this current world with our current industrial… Read more »
Ashlee
Ashlee
2 years 4 months ago
‘Paleo living’ eschews monoculture crops AND the animals who eat them. Animals are not supposed to eat grains. There is land that is not suited to growing veggies but is perfectly suited to grazing. Also, rotating crops and animals feeds the soil, rather than simply growing crops year after year in the same spot, which depletes the nutrients (and fertiliser from fossil fuels is not the answer, because the supply isn’t renewable). Paleo and primal do not simply mean ‘eat animals, no matter where they’re from or how they’ve been treated.’ You should really understand what you’re criticising. For thousands… Read more »
Mert
Mert
6 years 10 months ago

What do you think animals raised for their meet, milk or eggs eat? Let me tell you: grains.

Animal-based diets are much more unsustainable than vegan diets, since one pound of meat production requires 10+ pounds of grain. Let’s say if you eat vegan, you damage the environment 1 units. If you purely eat animal products, your damage is 10+. If you are in between, the cost is in between. This is so simple.

Richard Nikoley
6 years 10 months ago

Mert:

Wow. Wow and wow.

I’ve just bit my tongue over most of the veg-idiocy, but have to step in here.

….Simply to call attention to the fact that you either haven’t read the thread or are too stupid to understand it.

In either case, #FAIL

This is why I rarely bother about or am concerned about vegggggggggies.

When I am, it’s merely for sport.

C
C
6 years 10 months ago

That’s funny, Richard because you are not really saying anything. Your petulant, wanna-be quippy one liners don’t add up to a logical argument.

leslie
leslie
6 years 10 months ago

that’s why you eat grass fed animals

Griff
Griff
6 years 10 months ago

We don’t advocate eating grain-fed meat. You are what you’re eating ate, too. We advocate eating grass-fed, pastured meat.

So your straw man hypothesis is just that: a straw man.

Icarus
Icarus
6 years 10 months ago
The nutrition section is a little too WAPF-influenced for me; I did like the thorough excoriating the book gives to agriculture, however. It’s worth noting that agriculture has been violent and destructive from the very start, and that industrial agriculture, like the industrial revolution itself, merely accelerated the problems inherent in the system. Agriculture demands ever greater amounts of land to produce ever greater amounts of people; the only way to get that land is to take it from someone else. The story of Cain and Abel is the story that has been playing out since the Agricultural Revolution, 10,000:… Read more »
Juan
Juan
6 years 10 months ago
Mark, your review is spot on and, as is usually the case, it is wonderfully written. I myself have been trying to get that sad, important book into as many people’s hands as I can. A number of the posters here — some of whom have clearly not read the book and yet have commented based upon, I suppose, their interpolations of Mark’s comments of it — are mistaken on a number of points. For example, the book is not alarmist “in order to make money” as someone suggested. It is alarmist because it is truthful. I don’t imagine the… Read more »
C
C
6 years 10 months ago
Human anatomies much more resemble that of herbivores than carnivores. The famous Richard Leakey (http://www.leakey.com/richard_leakey.htm) has come to this conclusion as has Dr Patrick Walsh (http://www.enotalone.com/article/3313.html) and many others before them, including Carolus Linnaeus the botanist, physician, and zoologist, who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of binomial nomenclature. He is known as the father of modern taxonomy, and is also considered one of the fathers of modern ecology. That doesn’t mean that we cannot eat animals it just means that our bodies are “designed” to consume vegetable matter. Linnaeus writes: “Man’s structure, internal and external compared with that… Read more »
C
C
6 years 10 months ago

It’s funny that when people start challenging the belief system here, comments start being moderated…

Richard Nikoley
6 years 10 months ago

Comments with links are moderated, but I would not expect you to have figured that out given your astounding level of ignorance.

Ben Wheeler
6 years 10 months ago

William C. Roberts, M.D., editor of The American Journal of Cardiology writes : “When we kill the animals to eat them, they end up killing us because their flesh, which contains cholesterol and saturated fat, was never intended for human beings.”

Believing that statement right there shows you know ZERO about biochemistry or anything involving the human body. Please Miss C, show my one study that proves meat consumption kills us and I will gladly show you why the science around it is god awful.

C
C
6 years 10 months ago

Even if I don’t, William C Roberts and the other I listed do.
How are you qualified to say otherwise?

C
C
6 years 10 months ago

And read The China Study -the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted.

Richard Nikoley
6 years 10 months ago
Oh my, C trots out the China Study. “What is most shocking about the China Study is not what it found, but the contrast between Campbell’s representation of its findings in The China Study, and the data contained within the original monograph. Campbell summarizes the 8,000 statistically significant correlations found in the China Study in the following statement: “people who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease.”26 He also claims that, although it is “somewhat difficult” to “show that animal-based food intake relates to overall cancer rates,” that nevertheless, “animal protein intake was convincingly associated in the… Read more »
Ben Wheeler
6 years 10 months ago
“Even if we can eat animals to a degree, we can live healthfully without eating them. Therefore it is unnecessary for us to do so.” Show me ONE culture that survives on no animal products and has ZERO degenerative disease. The ONLY thing that is in season year round is meat! Apples don’t fall from the tree continuously. There is a significant difference in surviving (you) and thriving (me). The fact that humans, whenever possible, chose animal flesh over plant based foods is neither arguable nor does it make any sense. Chose the food most dense in calories and nutrients.… Read more »
Richard Nikoley
6 years 10 months ago

Leakey writes : “[y]ou can’t tear flesh by hand, you can’t tear hide by hand…. We wouldn’t have been able to deal with food source that required those large canines”

My god how ignorant.

We’ve been tool makers (stone) for at least 2.3 million yeas, Homo Habilis.

And check this out, cause if you’re so ignorant about stone tools then you’re probably ignorant of the fact that our ancient primate ancestor the chimpanzee hunts cooperatively to kill colabus monkeys, rip them limb from limb to great tribal fanfare and eat the flesh.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDFh5JdYh7I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1WBs74W4ik

Smoke that, Mr or Ms Anonymous.

Ben Wheeler
6 years 10 months ago
I HAVE read the China Study. It may be one of the worst representations of research I have seen. His conclusions DO NOT even match the data from the China Project. http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/China-Study.html READ CAREFULLY! Campbell makes the assumption that feeding rats pure casein protein (massive spike in both insulin and IGF-1) induces cancer. You cannot eat pure casein protein in nature!!! He feed them PROCESSED FOOD! He then takes this marvelous research and concludes that there is association between all animal protein. Only having data from feeding rats processed pure casein. I could have told you that would have gave… Read more »
C
C
6 years 10 months ago

Richard, I have provided proof for my claims.

C
C
6 years 10 months ago

You just make comments about how ignorant people that disagree with the premise of this site. I think your readers can decide who is supporting their arguments with facts and who is ignorant… I hope.

Richard Nikoley
6 years 10 months ago

“I have provided proof for my claims.”

Oh, so you’re a liar too.

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[…]  MDA Review: The Vegetarian Myth […]

Adriel
Adriel
6 years 10 months ago

haha – clearly the entire premise is ridiculous, but even if it vegetarianism could be blamed for industrial grain agriculture – why do you think we grow so much Grain??? The U.S. ALONE could feed approx _800 million people_ (back in 1997) with grain that livestock eat.#1 Seems to be a case if ideology before facts me thinks…
#1 http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Aug97/livestock.hrs.html

cassie33
cassie33
6 years 10 months ago

So what should we be eating? Meat from factory farming is of course bad, and apparently agriculture is bad, but if everyone ate grass-fed meat, wouldn’t the environmental impact of that still be pretty bad? Grass-fed is better, but animals, especially cows, still harm the environment. I guess there’s just too many people on the planet for there to be a good solution?

C
C
6 years 10 months ago
That’s right, Cassie. Plus grass fed cows produce much more methane. Grass fed cows could not possibly be a solution to feeding the world’s population by a long shot and it accounts for a single digit fraction of cows “raised” for human consumption. Again, as I said above, eating animals is not only unethical because they are sentient beings, but it is also totally environmentally unsound for the current population, or even a small fraction of it. Grazing cattle is the #1 cause of top soil erosion and desertification, water pollution, and all around environmental degradation from small to large… Read more »
Del Mar Mel
Del Mar Mel
6 years 10 months ago

Just read the part in the book about sprinting where Carl Lewis is mentioned as one of the best sprinters of all time. Ironically Lewis is a vegan who credits that fact as one of the most important factors in his performance.

I don’t offer this as an argument to PB; only a fact to be pondered by those who are a little too single minded or believe that there is only one way to achieve great health and performance.

Trish
Trish
6 years 10 months ago

Actually Carl Lewis didn’t turn vegan until 1990, and he frequently tested positive for performance enhancing drugs both before and after he switched his diet. I wouldn’t exactly hold him up as a good example of successful veganism under those circumstances.

Del Mar Mel
Del Mar Mel
6 years 10 months ago
Understood that he didn’t go vegan until 1990 but he credits the switch in his diet to his highest athletic performance. In 1991 he set the world record in the 100 meter dash. Unfortunately, it seems most of the US Track team is on performance enhancing drugs. Just read an article in an issue of Self Magazine about a female sprinter who was stripped of her titles after she began working with the team “consultant” and tested positive for drugs. Basically she couldn’t compete if she didn’t. Sad state of affairs in pro sports today. It would be nice to… Read more »
Juan
Juan
6 years 10 months ago
@C My, my, where to begin. First, please read the book we all started talking about. It might just be the awakener and educator that you clearly need. I have read the modern “bible” for vegetarianism, the China Study, and am well aware of many other vegan/vegetarian screeds. But, because I read other stuff (unlike you, I suspect) I can clearly tell the wheat from the chaff (pardon the grain-based metaphor). Humans are meat eaters, please look at actual, modern, biological, archaeological and anthropological sources. Of course, it’s possible that our distant ancestors –Lucy, and the like, were primarily herbivorous,… Read more »
Richard Nikoley
6 years 10 months ago

Whaddya wanna bet that C has never heard of the Expensive Tissue Hypothesis, or how it relates specifically to Kleiber’s Law.

http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/low-carb-library/are-we-meat-eaters-or-vegetarians-part-ii/

Beast Man
Beast Man
6 years 10 months ago
Since this seems to be a site for true believers, I won’t waste much space trying to refute claims that vegans are all weak and sickly, etc. (The ones I know personally, including an international track medallist, seem remarkably healthy.) But I will note that if Lierre Keith thinks that killing microorganisms presents a moral dilemma for vegetarians, then perhaps she’s met some unusual vegetarians; in any case, she has a very poor understanding of the the ethical basis of vegetarianism. At the risk of having this post moderated out of existence for including a link, I suggest that anyone… Read more »
Juan
Juan
6 years 10 months ago

@Beast man

You seem not to have read the book so I would say that it is not Lierre Kieth who has a “poor understanding”. Kieth’s commitment to vegetarianism rested on a wide spectrum of beliefs, not just the trivial one you cited. She speaks with first hand knowledge of the various moral, political, and nutritional beliefs of vegan/vegetarians.

Unfortunately, there will be far more head-in-the-sand vegan/vegetarians who will not educate themselves, than whom are willing to potentially disabuse themselves of long held dogma by at least exploring what Lierre Kieth has to say.

Bigby Suvins
Bigby Suvins
6 years 10 months ago
This book is an important work and Lierre Keith is an author to watch. This book helped me end my 12 year stint as a vegetarian and vegan. I agree with most of her conclusions and agree with most of her sources. I don’t always like her sources (Weston Price Foundation has made some questionable claims about homosexuality, but their food and nutrition facts I find mostly accurate), but mostly I do. I find this a fairly agenda free book in regards to capitalism. Now who is going to tackle the question of over population and not have it turn… Read more »
Phil
Phil
6 years 10 months ago

I like the vegetarian concept of ahimsa, and so tried to be vegan for an extended period. I got sick and stayed sick, with a variety of imflammatory illnesses. Tried PB and these illnesses vanished. Repeated this twice more with similar results. Not scientific proof I know, but good enough for me.

Sue
6 years 8 months ago

What is PB?

Richard Dahlstrom
6 years 10 months ago
thanks for the review mark…and for your book. The journey towards this lifestyle has been remarkable for me. As a pastor who believes that we’re body/soul/spirit, I was particularly intrigued by the recurring theme Vegan Myth Book: No Life without Death! – That’s the message of Christianity, all the way back in the garden when God kills a couple of animals to provide coverings for the first couple. Hoping that you’re familiar with the work of farmer/poet Wendell Barry too. He’s a huge advocate for localized economies, and this is the place where my faith life joins all that you’ve… Read more »
Richard Nikoley
6 years 10 months ago

Richard:

My last reply is baggage, and having read your reply again, I want to just say that in spite of that difference, I wish you all the best in health. For you and yours.

I have pastors who are family and I love them, in spite of the fact I no longer value their religious beliefs. But I do value them.

So, my former comment ought not be taken too harshly, I hope.

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