The Vegetarian Myth

Before I get into a discussion of the absolutely phenomenal book you see pictured at the right, I’ve got a few disclosures to make.  First, I’m not much of a believer in the notion of man-made global warming or climate change (as they now call it since temperatures have been constantly falling instead of rising).  I’m a denier, in the pejorative term used by those who are believers.

Second, I’m not particularly pro-feminist.  And I certainly don’t hang around with any self-proclaimed radical feminists.  I have a wife who is smarter than I am, who is more talented than I am, and who, pound for pound, is probably a better athlete than I am, and I’m not bad. (In my defense, I can read much, much faster than she, but, she has better comprehension.) I long ago gave up the idea (if I ever really considered it seriously) that men are superior to women in any ways other than brute strength.  Having said that, however, I do believe that men are better suited to certain endeavors than woman and vice verse, but that doesn’t mean either men or women should be denied the opportunity to give whatever it is they want to do a whirl just because of their sex.  I guess I consider myself an egalitarian.  But from what I’ve seen of radical feminists, I’m not sure that I would count myself a big fan.

Given the above, you wouldn’t think I would enjoy and recommend a book written by a self-proclaimed radical feminist who is obviously a believer in global warming and the impending end of the earth as we know it.  I wouldn’t think so, either. Not my cup of tea even when it is sort of preaching to the choir.

But I can tell you that Lierre Keith’s book is beyond fantastic.  It is easily the best book I’ve read since Mistakes Were Made, maybe even better.  Everyone should read this book, vegetarian and non-vegetarian alike.  If you’re a radical feminist, you should read this book; if you’re a male chauvinist, you should read this book; if you have children, especially female children, you should read this book; if you are a young woman (or man) you should read this book; if you love animals, you should read this book; if you hate vegetarians, you should read this book; if you are contemplating the vegetarian way of life, you should definitely read this book; if you have a vegetarian friend or family member, you should this book and so should your friend.  As MD said after she read it, “everyone who eats should read this book.”

Anyone who has ever read a book on writing has come across the hackneyed piece of advice to cut open a vein and bleed on the page.  Lierre Keith, the author of this book, has come closer to literally doing that than almost any writer I’ve ever read.  Not only does her passion for her subject bleed through in almost every sentence, she is a superb lyrical prose stylist.  My book is dog eared, underlined and annotated from front to back – I can’t remember anything I’ve read that has contained so many terrific lines.

In fact The Vegetarian Myth is filled with so many good quotes (most by the author but some from other authors) that I was reminded of the old joke about the redneck who went to see a performance of Hamlet.  When the show let out, someone asked him what he thought of it.  Replied he:  It wasn’t nothin’ but a whole bunch of quotes all strung together.  As you’ll see when I ‘quote’ them below, The Vegetarian Myth contains quotable lines and paragraphs at about the same rate Hamlet does.

Ms. Keith was a practicing vegetarian (vegan) for twenty years, driven by her passion for kindness and justice for all creatures.  She couldn’t bear the thought of even killing a garden slug, or, for that matter, even removing a garden slug from her garden to a place where something or someone else might kill it.  Her years of compassionate avoidance of any foods of animal origin cost her her health.  Her story of coming to grips with the realization that whatever she ate came as a consequence of some living being’s having to die form the matrix onto which her narrative hangs.

You can read the first 14 manuscript pages of the book on the author’s website.  I have quoted from these 14 pages liberally below.

The introduction to The Vegetarian Myth explores Ms. Keith’s rationale for writing such a book, a book that, given her years of walking the vegetarian walk, must have been incredibly difficult to write.  She says as much with her first sentence.

She ponders the idea of factory farming, which she loathes, and the misbegotten idea that most people hold (not most readers of this blog, but most of the people in the world) that grains are good, not only for people, but for many animals as well.  And the common misconception that agriculture, the growing of annual grains and plants, is a wonderful, kind, sustainable activity.

This misunderstanding is born of ignorance, an ignorance that runs the length and breadth of the vegetarian myth, through the nature of agriculture and ending in the nature of life. We are urban industrialists, and we don’t know the origins of our food. This includes vegetarians, despite their claims to the truth. It included me, too, for twenty years. Anyone who ate meat was in denial; only I had faced the facts. Certainly, most people who consume factory-farmed meat have never asked what died and how it died. But frankly, neither have most vegetarians.

The truth is that agriculture is the most destructive thing humans have done to the planet, and more of the same won’t save us. The truth is that agriculture requires the wholesale destruction of entire ecosystems. The truth is also that life isn’t possible without death, that no matter what you eat, someone has to die to feed you.

I want a full accounting, an accounting that goes way beyond what’s dead on your plate. I’m asking about everything that died in the process, everything that was killed to get that food onto your plate. That’s the more radical question, and it’s the only question that will produce the truth. How many rivers were dammed and drained, how many prairies plowed and forests pulled down, how much topsoil turned to dust and blown into ghosts? I want to know about all the species—not just the individuals, but the entire species—the chinook, the bison, the grasshopper sparrows, the grey wolves. And I want more than just the number of dead and gone. I want them back.

After she had seen the error of her ways as a vegan and had been eating meat for two years, for reasons unknown to her, the author continued to surf the same vegan websites and message boards she had for years.  Until she read one post that was so bizarre that she finally realized the large intellectual gap that had widened between her rationale thinking and the cult like thinking of, well, a cult.  It would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic.

But one post marked a turning point. A vegan flushed out his idea to keep animals from being killed—not by humans, but by other animals. Someone should build a fence down the middle of the Serengeti, and divide the predators from the prey. Killing is wrong and no animals should ever have to die, so the big cats and wild canines would go on one side, while the wildebeests and zebras would live on the other. He knew the carnivores would be okay because they didn’t need to be carnivores. That was a lie the meat industry told. He’d seen his dog eat grass: therefore, dogs could live on grass.

No one objected. In fact, others chimed in. My cat eats grass, too, one woman added, all enthusiasm. So does mine! someone else posted. Everyone agreed that fencing was the solution to animal death.

Note well that the site for this liberatory project was Africa. No one mentioned the North American prairie, where carnivores and ruminants alike have been extirpated for the  annual grains that vegetarians embrace. But I’ll return to that in Chapter 3.

I knew enough to know that this was insane. But no one else on the message board could see anything wrong with the scheme. So, on the theory that many readers lack the knowledge to judge this plan, I’m going to walk you through this.

Carnivores cannot survive on cellulose. They may on occasion eat grass, but they use it medicinally, usually as a purgative to clear their digestive tracts of parasites. Ruminants, on the other hand, have evolved to eat grass. They have a rumen (hence, ruminant), the first in a series of multiple stomachs that acts as a fermentative vat. What’s actually happening inside a cow or a zebra is that bacteria eat the grass, and the animals eat the bacteria.

Lions and hyenas and humans don’t have a ruminant’s digestive system. Literally from our teeth to our rectums we are designed for meat. We have no mechanism to digest cellulose.

So on the carnivore side of the fence, starvation will take every animal. Some will last longer than others, and those some will end their days as cannibals. The scavengers will have a Fat Tuesday party, but when the bones are picked clean, they’ll starve as well. The graveyard won’t end there. Without grazers to eat the grass, the land will eventually turn to desert.

Why? Because without grazers to literally level the playing field, the perennial plants mature, and shade out the basal growth point at the plant’s base. In a brittle environment like the Serengeti, decay is mostly physical (weathering) and chemical (oxidative), not bacterial and biological as in a moist environment. In fact, the ruminants take over most of the biological functions of soil by digesting the cellulose and returning the nutrients, once again available, in the form of urine and feces.

But without ruminants, the plant matter will pile up, reducing growth, and begin killing the plants. The bare earth is now exposed to wind, sun, and rain, the minerals leech away, and the soil structure is destroyed. In our attempt to save animals, we’ve killed everything.

On the ruminant side of the fence, the wildebeests and friends will reproduce as effectively as ever. But without the check of predators, there will quickly be more grazers than grass. The animals will outstrip their food source, eat the plants down to the ground, and then starve to death, leaving behind a seriously degraded landscape.

The lesson here is obvious, though it is profound enough to inspire a religion: we need to be eaten as much as we need to eat. The grazers need their daily cellulose, but the grass also needs the animals. It needs the manure, with its nitrogen, minerals, and bacteria; it needs the mechanical check of grazing activity; and it needs the resources stored in animal bodies and freed up by degraders when animals die.

The grass and the grazers need each other as much as predators and prey. These are not one-way relationships, not arrangements of dominance and subordination. We aren’t exploiting each other by eating. We are only taking turns.

That was my last visit to the vegan message boards. I realized then that people so deeply ignorant of the nature of life, with its mineral cycle and carbon trade, its balance points around an ancient circle of producers, consumers, and degraders, weren’t going to be able to guide me or, indeed, make any useful decisions about sustainable human culture. By turning from adult knowledge, the knowledge that death is embedded in every creature’s sustenance, from bacteria to grizzly bears, they would never be able to feed the emotional and spiritual hunger that ached in me from accepting that knowledge. Maybe in the end this book is an attempt to soothe that ache myself.

How anyone who can read these 14 pages and not purchase and read this book is beyond me.

After the introduction which deals with why the author wrote the book, The Vegetarian Myth is divided into four sections: Moral Vegetarians, Political Vegetarians, Nutritional Vegetarians, and To Save the World.

The first three of these sections are the author’s in-depth refutations of the moral, political and nutritional arguments that vegetarians are constantly putting forth.  She does a masterful job.

In the Moral Vegetarians chapter, the author addresses the moral issue of killing animals for our own food.  She beautifully makes her case by cutting to the heart of the matter:

What separates me from vegetarians isn’t ethics or commitment.  It’s information.

And while she was in her 20-year trek in the vegetarian wilderness, she shielded herself from information as most cultists do:

I was on the side of righteousness, and like any fundamentalist, I could only stay there by avoiding information.

She finally realized the truth about agriculture; she figured out that the amber waves of grain are as death dealing as any slaughterhouse.

And agriculture isn’t quite a war because the forests and wetlands and prairies, the rain, the soil, the air, can’t fight back.  Agriculture is really more like ethnic cleansing, wiping out the indigenous dwellers so the invaders can take the land.  It’s biotic cleansing, biocide. … It is not non-violent.  It is not sustainable.  And every bite of food is laden with death.

There is no place left for the buffalo to roam.  There’s only corn, wheat, and soy.  About the only animals that escaped the biotic cleansing of the agriculturalists are small animals like mice and rabbits, and billions of them are killed by the harvesting equipment every year.  Unless you’re out there with a scythe, don’t forget to add them to the death toll of your vegetarian meal.  They count, and they died for your dinner…

Soil, species, rivers.  That’s the death in your food.  Agriculture is carnivorous: what it eats is ecosystems, and it swallows them whole.

In Political Vegetarians she refutes the politics (predominantly liberal) of the vegetarian movement and describes the dark side of political meddling in our ecosystem approved of in the main by PETA and other vegetarian groups.  She follows the money.

Rice, wheat, corn – the annual grains that vegetarians want the world to eat – are thirsty enough to drink whole rivers.

The result has been an unending river of corn, drowning our arteries and our insulin receptors, our rural communities, and poor subsistence economies the world over.  The corn comes at a huge environmental toll: there’s a half gallon of oil in every bushel.  And it’s essentially a massive transfer of money from the US taxpayer to the giant grain cartels, who are able to command the price of grain to be lower than the cost of production, with all of us making up the difference – five billion dollars in subsidies for corn alone, straight into the pockets of Cargill and Monsanto.

Nutritional Vegetarians is about the nutritional inadequacies of a vegetarian and especially a vegan diet.  And she does an absolute bang up job of laying out the rationale for following a no-grain, low-carb diet.

I have a disclosure to make here.  Much of the information in this chapter is based on Protein Power and The Protein Power LifePlan.  MD and I are listed in the acknowledgments, but I swear I didn’t know this until I bought the book.  We aren’t the only ones, but there are plenty of quotes from us in this chapter.  Gary Taubes, Malcolm Kendrick and (dare I say it) Anthony Colpo are quoted liberally as well.  I would have loved this book just as much if we had never been quoted.

Ms Keith has made a few minor innocuous errors in this chapter, but, all in all, she has done a tremendous job of synthesizing the scientific information into an easy to read, informative format.

The Nutritional Vegetarians section isn’t just about the science of why vegetarianism is bad and meat eating is good, it gets into the nutritional politics (as opposed to the vegetarian politics in the previous section) as well.  Ms Keith shows how we got to where we are by the nutritional strong arming by the McGovern committee back in the late 1970s.  George McGovern (a senator from a grain-producing state) and his cronies basically set the nutritional standards under which we are still oppressed.  They have been a disaster, as some scientists at the time predicted they would be.

And some scientists knew ahead of time that they would be.  Phil Handler, the president of hte National Academy of Scientists asked Congress, “What right has the federal government to propose that the American people conduct a vast nutritional experiment, with themselves as subjects, on the strength of so very little evidence that it will do them any good?”  Dr. Pete Ahrens, an expert on cholesterol metabolism, told the McGovern committee that the effects of a low-fat diet weren’t a scientific matter but “a betting matter.”

It’s twenty-five years later and we aren’t winning this bet.  Each US American now eats sixty pounds more grain per annum and thirty pounds more cheap sugars, mostly from corn.  [Is it any wonder we’re all fat?]

The result, Dietary Goals for Americans, set in motion a cast sea change in the public’s beliefs and behaviors. … Dietary Goals was a predictable victory in a war that started ten thousand years ago.  What really won were those annual grasses that had long since turned humans into mercenaries against the rest of the planet.  We would now enshrine them like demi-gods, those whole grains and their sweet, opiate seductions, believing in their power to bestow health and long life, even while they slowly ate us alive.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book review that was positive from beginning to end, and this one is no exception.  Based on the many comments I’ve gotten on this blog and my response to them, I’m sure many of you will find my main objection surprising.  There is too much politics in the book.  Not nutritional politics, but feminist politics.

I know, I know, I let my libertarian leanings come through in all kinds of blog posts and comment answers, but there is a difference.  My blog is just that – a weblog of things I find interesting or informative.  And it’s free.  I don’t particularly like to pay for a book (and I paid full price for this one plus shipping) on a given subject then be beaten over the head with a political viewpoint.  I guarantee you that our new book has zero politics in it.  And if people bought our book expecting to learn about getting rid of their middle-aged middles and were fed a generous dose of my politics mixed in with the information, I would expect them to be flamed.

To give the author her due in this matter, the vegetarian ideology that had her in its grasp for 20 years was intertwined with her feminist politics, so a bit of said politics are necessary to describe how she was so taken in for so long.  But I think she went a little overboard with it.

And, I think the last section of the book – To Save the World – is the weakest part of the book.  The author makes several recommendations, all of which (save one) are, in my opinion totally unrealistic.  But I’ll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions after you’ve read the book.

I’ve read that when people are asked to recall what they remember of something they read, they tend to remember the first thing in the piece and the last thing.  Most of the middle melds into a vague memory of what the article was about.  I certainly don’t want people to remember this last negative part I wrote and let it dissuade them from reading this book.  The good parts of the book so far outweigh the not-so-good parts that there is really no contest.

At a time when PETA and other vegetarian groups are mobilizing and ramping up their activity levels, a book such as this one bringing sanity to the debate is more important than ever.  And don’t think these groups aren’t becoming more active.  In the past, PETA and PETAphiles pretty much devoted their educational efforts toward the idea that eating animals was cruel.  Now they are starting to make the case that a vegetarian diet will solve the obesity epidemic.  Take a look at this billboard in Jacksonville, Florida.

whales

If you find this sign annoying, buy The Vegetarian Myth and do your part to fight back. And if you have or know anyone with a daughter who is contemplating going vegetarian (young females are the most common victims), please make this book available.  It could be the most important thing you ever do for the long-term mental and physical health of a young woman.

If you’ve made it this far in this long review, take a couple of minutes and watch this YouTube of Lierre Keith at a book event; she’s as fascinating to listen to as she is to read.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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577 thoughts on “The Vegetarian Myth

  1. Hi Mike,

    Probably shouldn’t say so, but I while I am all for healthy scepticism in all things, religion, politics and especially science, I do find statements of the “temperatures have been constantly falling instead of rising” kind depressing in I imagine a similar way to Lierre Keith’s response to the ‘predator fence’ posts, and the statistical cherry picking which is typically used to support this and similar positions is IMHO truly ‘Keysian’.

    Anyway, pity you didn’t post about this yesterday, I would have added her book to my Amazon order for 6W – but I will get it next time.

    Cheers,

    Malcolm

    • Oh isn’t it great when someone comes along to make you all feel better about a diet of gluttony and greed?

      Until you all go outside and kill and clean your own meat, you all have nothing to justify.

      • KellyBelly, you bring up an interesting point. Unfortunately, until you go outside and grow every plant and pick every leaf yourself, you have nothing to justify. And bee sure that none of those plants have been pollinated by any bees. Or that any animals fertilize your food.

        Why does eating meat equate with “gluttony and greed”? You do realize that big agriculture is the clearcutting of land for the use of singular crops, right? And all those animals are displaced and die. You do realize that, right? Unless you think the animals stick around and work jobs driving tractors and picking strawberries.

        If you truly believe that a vegan diet works for you, do it. Moreover, if you don’t support factory farming (like none of us here do) then don’t eat it. Like us. But until you read the book in question, just go away. You’re not adding anything new here. In fact, you’ve managed to repeat all the typical fallacies that are continually repeated by people that don’t understand food. Next time, just say you don’t get it and ask questions.

        • So Nadia. I DO REALIZE that we rely heavily on animals for our survival. They are, indeed part of the ecosystem and essential to the balance. But to justify eating them for our nutritional survival? THAT is crap. Big agriculture displacing animals? I’m with you honey.

          But guess what, I’m not going anywhere. In fact none of us are. We’re only growing. In fact, some day, the meat eaters will have to stand outside with the smokers.

          And so Nadia: what you are saying is that you NEVER purchase meat that is processed by the corporate machine? Ever? Never Ever? How about milk? Ever run in and grab a gallon of the stuff from a convenient store? Because, as you know, those dollars do fund the veal industry.

          So make yourself feel good as you bite into that nasty piece of chicken that you bought at a natural food store making yourself feel good thinking it was “free range” and, no doubt, environmentally sustainable. But you know what? You are still putting yourself in the same league with the likes of neanderthals such as Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. There are two types of people in the world: those who eat meat, and those who don’t.

          Hundreds of years from now, humanity will look upon us, in horror, by the way we treated animals, just as we do now, when we are found dumbstruck by the thought of our ability to enslave human beings or shove them into ovens.

          “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who stand by and do nothing.” – Albert Einstein

          • KellyBelly, it’s been quite some time since this last post. Have you read “The Vegetarian Myth” yet?

          • Wow, crazy woman here. How Glenn Beck makes it into her angry ramblings supposedly on food I’m not sure. This is an insane argument that brings nothing valid to the table and only seeks to add some strange morality and fear to the conversation. Completely invalid and not useful.

          • That Beck DOES “make it into her ramblings,” is PLENTY to justify my disinterest in what is already in this description less than worthy of the time I have just squandered on it.

          • So this is the plan of the vegetarians? Make it so that those of us who cannot SURVIVE without animal products (and a large percentage of us ARE obligate carnivores like those of the feline family) eventually go the way of the dodo and become extinct, because living as an obligate carnivore has become illegal? Is that the ‘secret government conspiracy’? Reduce human population by killing off the 30-60% of us who can’t survive without meat, thus paving way for generations of vegetarians who can scarf down planet-destroying grain without getting sick?

            Smoking is inherently unhealthful. So are phytates and lectins. Perhaps the grain parade should go stand outside with the smokers.

          • I would love one of you ‘obligate carnivores’ to give us proof that there is an absolute requirement for meat consumption. I constantly hear about ‘health issues’ forcing people to return to meat eating, and never do they get specific. Like what issues, what disease…..? Big mystery here that none want to talk about. Please, enlighten us.

          • “I would love one of you ‘obligate carnivores’ to give us proof that there is an absolute requirement for meat consumption. I constantly hear about ‘health issues’ forcing people to return to meat eating, and never do they get specific. ”

            Well, I’m late to the party (as usual) but I’ll give you the evidence you’ll never accept.

            To begin with, I’m allergic to dairy. I had POS and struggled with a short bout of infertility. After child #1 I went vegetarian for “my health”. Gained weight, awful headaches, worse temper and my energy ended at 4pm precisely. Suffered anemia with the #2 child. The worst thing was the fog and the depression. I tried Atkins almost as a lark when child #2 was a few months old. The next stop was the Doctor’s office for drugs.

            And when I dropped my carb levels to 20 grams a day, miracles happened. My weight dropped. My fog lifted. I had energy back. I wasn’t sick with head colds very often.

            And I discovered, in addition to the dairy allergy, that I was sensitive to wheat. (Notice how the world of plant/non-animal products I can eat have gotten smaller.) I had cravings for liverwurst (which I could finally answer) and since discovered that both high levels of Vitamin A and D are critical to my overall health. But I can’t use carrots, because beta-carotene is not the version of Vitamin A that is readily used by my body. I will always need those vitamins, along with iron from animal sources because, thanks to the experience of pregnancy #2, I clearly do not absorb iron well from plant based food.

            In order to maintain my health and weight, I need pretty low levels of carbs – below 50g per day. There are really no grain based foods with enough protein to fit that criteria.

            But I guess that’s all lies, right? Just another obligate carnivore with their head in the sand. *head shake* I’m just sad I believed the lies about vegetarianism and wasted 2 years of my life.

          • Debrah,

            Thanks for asking. I eat animal products (meat, cheese, eggs, etc.) because they nourish me and satisfy me without my having to trade a gigantic squirt of insulin from my pancreas to soothe them. If I eat a half-cup portion of white rice, my blood glucose will be elevated for hours. If I eat vegetables with fat and protein, my glucose rises moderately if at all, and returns to normal far quicker. And no, I can’t substitute soy. Soy is not good for me (bad production values, poorly absorbed nutrients, phytoestrogens, far too many grams of carbohydrates for an adequate amount of protein, and so forth.) And? Wheat raises my blood pressure and causes my feet and ankles to swell, in addition to giving me constant heartburn. Well, most grains give me indigestion, but I think wheat is especially good at that.

            So yes, I am an obligate carnivore. I don’t want to die, and while I’m living I want to feel good and look as well as I can. There’s your answer from me, anyway. You take care.

            Silphium

          • Diabetes.

            I AM a former and current vegetarian. I eat 30 – 40 g carb per day and after 38 years cannot bring myself to eat meat. So I end up eating a lot of cheese and eggs.

            I also inject insulin, at this point 3 times per day, but it is increasing despite my diet. I may very well have shortened my lifespan by being a high-starch vegetarian. I have no idea if I caused my Diabetes to occur by eating too much starch, but I hope you never have to experiment with that and find out.

          • Okinawans eat a high starch diet. Sweet potato is their staple. Okinawa boasts the highest number of centenarians per capita of any other country in the world.

          • “They also have one of the highest rates of smoking in the world, so I guess that means smoking promotes longevity.”

            Ah, those years spent in medical school weren’t wasted … much. Would you like to respond as a real doctor would?

          • So the diet of the Okinawans is meaningless when explaining why these people live long, healthy lives? Perhaps we should send them copies of your book. I’m sure that we’d see their longevity numbers decline if they take your advice to heart.

          • I’m sure some of them, if not all, would.

            It’s clear that you have limited understanding of what I’m saying.

            First, the fact that they eat carbs and have long, healthy lives is as meaningless as the statement that they smoke and have long, healthy lives. The only difference is that we know – as well as medical science can know – that smoking is bad, so we can say they live long, healthy lives despite smoking. We don’t know with absolute scientific certainty – at least not to the extent we do about smoking – that carb are good or bad for the average person.

            Second, given the large number of studies stacking up showing restricting carbs works better than restricting fat and/or calories to induce weight loss, improve lipids, decrease blood sugar, and, in general improves virtually all of what scientists have come to call the diseases of civilization. So, as we do with smoking, we might say they live long, healthy lives despite eating a lot of carbs. Not because of.

            Understand this, and you’ll understand a lot more about how science works than you did before. I’ll admit, it’s not an easy thing to grasp at first glance.

          • Well, there’s one thing we also know – there are no low carb civilizations that can match the Okinawan or Sardinian populations in longevity. There’s more to health than weight loss, not that weight loss isn’t important. Reducing weight can eradicate a multitude of health problems. I don’t believe we have enough long-term LC studies that look at other aspects of health. They seem to focus on weight loss mostly from what I’ve seen. Are you aware of any others? Personally, my cholesterol and uric acid levels always increase when I increase the amount of animal foods into my diet. What would you consider a healthy cholesterol test result? My cholesterol topped off at 6.1mmol/l until I decided to do something about it. It took a near vegan diet plus some plant sterol supplementation to bring it down to 4.81 mmol/l within a 12 month period. I have a question for you – Does a person’s ability to effectively burn carbs decrease with age?

          • We can also say that there are no non-smoking populations (that we know of) that can match the Okinawan populations in longevity.

            Yes, there are many low-carb studies of varying length that show multiple positive benefits other than weight loss. Problem is, there are no prospective, randomized long-term studies that show much of anything about low-carb diets because there have been no such studies done. There have, however, been two such studies done on low-fat diets – the Women’s Health Initiative and the Look AHEAD study – both of which have been major busts, showing no benefit to low-fat dieting for anything.

            So, your uric acid goes up when you add animal foods? Not really a big deal as far as I’m concerned.

            Your cholesterol level of 6.1 mmol/l (~235 mg/dl) is not one I would have worried about. The lipid hypothesis posits the following:

            Eating fat, esp saturated fat –> elevated cholesterol –> heart disease.

            Sounds plausible, but has never been shown to be true. And, in fact, the scientific edifice, such as it is, of this edifice is crumbling daily.

            Yes, a person’s ability to deal with carbs decreases with age. As we age, we become more glucose intolerant.

          • Rob,

            “Personally, my cholesterol and uric acid levels always increase when I increase the amount of animal foods into my diet.”

            It’s not possible to argue with anecdata, but for what it’s worth, both my uric acid levels and cholesterol came down when I went from whole food vegan to low-carb paleo. <–(Does that cancel out your experience?)

            Anyway, according to the data from the recent EPIC study, average uric acid levels were higher in vegans than meat/eggs/dairy-eaters, both men and women. So perhaps you are the outlier. Interestingly, dairy consumption appears to lower uric acid levels.

            Men
            Meat-eaters – 323
            Pesco – 307
            Lacto-ovo – 301
            Vegan – 336

            Women
            Meat-eaters – 239
            Pesco – 224
            Lacto-ovo – 228
            Vegan – 243

          • Paleo Huntress,

            Perhaps my uric acid levels were affected by my 1-2 glasses of red wine per day? I stopped that practice almost a year ago so maybe my latest numbers (from August/2013 blood tests) will be different. There are many possible causes including genetics. As far as cholesterol is concerned, the pattern, based upon my blood tests, is clear. The more saturated fat I consume, the higher my cholesterol will be. This has consistent. To lower my cholesterol I went on a near vegan diet and took plant sterols (2g/day). That really is the only thing that works for me. I highly doubt that I’m a special case in this regard. Its quite common to hear people say that their cholesterol levels went down after limiting or eliminating animal foods.

          • Rob,

            “Its quite common to hear people say that their cholesterol levels went down after limiting or eliminating animal foods.”

            What you “hear” still counts as anecdote, not data. In the actual data we find that nothing lowers total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, VLDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels better or faster than a low carb diet. Most of the time, HDL levels improve (rise) as well.

            It’s disingenuous to compare whole-food high carb cultures with our junk-food high carb culture. “High carb” doesn’t mean the same thing. It’s entirely possible that if one were eating a high carb, whole food diet their entire lives, they would manage those carbs relatively well. But once there is metabolic disease brought on by high carb junk-food, the likelihood of that person ever being able to eat a high carb diet, even one made up of whole foods is extremely small. Dr. Mike isn’t addressing the Okinawans or the Sardinians, he’s addressing Americans (mostly) and your arguments are moot.

            Also, there is no question that insulin ages us. Again, pointing to other cultures that don’t live with the stress and chaos that we live with as your “evidence” that this isn’t true, is also disingenuous.

            And finally, calories do matter. And though it appears that anyone can lose weight on a restricted calorie diet made up of most ANYTHING (even Twinkies!), a low carb diet reduces appetite, improves energy, mental clarity and ALL metabolic and disease markers above that of any other restricted calorie diet. This means the low-carber is more likely to stay on track because the diet doesn’t make them miserable like a low fat/high carb diet does, kicking hunger in every time their BG drops. This gives people only and hour or two before they have to start IGNORING their hunger or eat more food. And considering that the low-carber gets most of their calories from fibrous veggies rather than starchy veggies, they also get significantly more nutrient-density from their diet. For the same calories you get in a couple of cups of brown rice and a couple of potatoes, we can eat a couple of POUNDS of greens and other brightly colored, fresh veggies.

          • Paleo Huntress,

            “What you “hear” still counts as anecdote, not data. In the actual data we find that nothing lowers total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, VLDL cholesterol and triglyceride
            levels better or faster than a low carb diet. Most of the time, HDL levels improve (rise) as well.”

            The ONLY thing that counts with regards to my health is what works for me. Therefore my n=1 (anecdotal) experiment trumps whatever so-called data you claim to
            have. Clearly, a low carb diet is a high protein, high fat diet. You remove most of the carbohydrate foods then you are left with mostly protein and fat. More fat equals
            elevated cholesterol levels in my experience, regardless of what your “data” shows. This pattern of increased dietary fat followed by increased cholesterol has been
            consistent with me. A lower fat (particularly low saturated fat), moderate to low protein, high carb (mostly from fruits and vegetables with modest amounts of grains)
            has been the only thing that has been able to lower these levels. As far as low carb studies go, you don’t have enough long-term studies that look at all aspects of
            health. Even your Grand Pooh Bah of low carb admits that there really aren’t a lot of studies available. Also, assuming that a diet our Paleolithic ancestors may have
            eaten is the perfect diet is illogical. They ate whatever they could get their hands on. You know you’ve got a problem when you use groups like the Massai, the Inuit
            and Paleolithic people to bolster your argument. These groups all have one thing in common – short lives. And because of that, you can’t draw any meaningful
            conclusions about low-carb being the perfect or even preferred human diet.

            “It’s disingenuous to compare whole-food high carb cultures with our junk-food high carb culture. “High carb” doesn’t mean the same thing. ”

            Seriously? This is your rebuttal? You’re upset because my examples of high-carb eating cultures aren’t eating a junk food diet therefore I’m disingenuous? This is too
            funny. Btw, I was comparing high carb whole food diets with low-carb whole food diets. Why would I even bring in junk food diets into the discussion? Oh that’s right, I
            didn’t. You did! I’ll give you this – I agree that even a low-carb whole foods diet is better than a high-carb junk food diet.

            “It’s entirely possible that if one were eating a high carb, whole food diet their entire lives, they would manage those carbs relatively well.”

            Well, that must have killed you to admit (grudgingly) that high-carb eating cultures could manage their carbs “fairly well”. I’d say, better than just “fairly well”. We have
            real life examples of populations out there as proof so your “approval” nor your “data” really isn’t required. I’m sure these high carb cultures would be ecstatic that you
            took some time from your busy day to toss them a bouquet, of sorts.

            “But once there is metabolic disease brought on by high carb junk-food, the likelihood of that person ever being able to eat a high carb diet, even one made up of
            whole foods is extremely small. Dr. Mike isn’t addressing the Okinawans or the Sardinians, he’s addressing Americans (mostly) and your arguments are moot.”

            So, in your world the only high-carb diets worth discussing are the typical junk food diets followed by many Americans? I can understand why you’d do this. ANY whole
            foods diet is better than a junk food diet. Even a low carb diet! Low carbers love to demonize high carbohydrate diets but when faced with the fact that high carb can
            be healthy you then play the junk food (simple carbs) card. Now that’s disingenuous!

            “Also, there is no question that insulin ages us. Again, pointing to other cultures that don’t live with the stress and chaos that we live with as your “evidence” that this
            isn’t true, is also disingenuous.”

            You might want to rethink what you said. Living through WW2, the aftermath of the war and also living in a part of the world where the next earthquake could wipe
            you out isn’t stress? Studies of the Okinawans observed that these people are mentally tough. They deal with stress well. They don’t dwell in the past. They get on with
            their lives in stressful moments.

            “And finally, calories do matter.
            And though it appears that anyone can lose weight on a restricted calorie diet made up of most ANYTHING (even Twinkies!), ”

            Uh, yes they do matter. Did I say otherwise or is this just another detour you’re taking here?

            “a low carb diet reduces appetite, improves energy, mental clarity and ALL metabolic and disease markers above that of any other restricted calorie diet. This means
            the low-carber is more likely to stay on track because the diet doesn’t make them miserable like a low fat/high carb diet does, kicking hunger in every time their BG
            drops.”

            If I had a dollar for every time I heard a friend who tried low carb and said that they lacked energy, became crabby and felt like total crap. Mental clarity? You’re joking,
            right? I tried low carb many years ago so I can vouch for their complaints. Of course, we weren’t part of a study so its all meaningless of course. At the time I was
            experimenting with low carb, I was also running. Not terribly long distances but 10K, four times a week. I actually had to put
            my running on hold because I could barely get through half a run. I switched to a lower intensity activity and walked. The last thing I felt was mental clarity on low carb. I
            wouldn’t recommend this diet to any student studying for an important exam.

            “This gives people only and hour or two before they have to start IGNORING their hunger or eat more food. And considering that the low-carber gets most of their
            calories from fibrous veggies rather than starchy veggies, they also get significantly more nutrient-density from their diet. For the same calories you get in a couple of
            cups of brown rice and a couple of potatoes, we can eat a couple of POUNDS of greens and other brightly coloured, fresh veggies.”

            I never found that higher fat diet like low carb was more satiating than a good, healthy, high-fibre, high carb diet. I can eat a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal with fruit, milk and
            I’m good for 5 hours. Maybe you “can” eat a couple of pounds of vegetables but I sincerely doubt you actually do. It sounds good though and impresses the readers of
            this forum, I’m sure.

          • Rob,

            From the Forbes article, The Myth of Americans’ Poor Life Expectancy

            “A point worth making is that people die for other reasons than health. For example, people die because of car accidents and violent crime. A few years back, Robert Ohsfeldt of Texas A&M and John Schneider of the University of Iowa asked the obvious question: what happens if you remove deaths from fatal injuries from the life expectancy tables? Among the 29 members of the OECD, the U.S. vaults from 19th place to…you guessed it…first. Japan, on the same adjustment, drops from first to ninth.”

            Keep this in mind while considering the statistical life expectancy of the Maasai and the Inuit…

            The ONLY thing that counts with regards to my health is what works for me.

            I was quite careful NOT to argue with YOUR dietary experience, but rather to point out that what you “hear” about or from others is anecdote, not personal experience. It would be helpful if you’d respond to what was actually written, rather than building strawmen to argue with.

            Clearly, a low carb diet is a high protein, high fat diet. You remove most of the carbohydrate foods then you are left with mostly protein and fat.

            Fortunately Rob, that isn’t clear at all. A low carb diet MAY equal a high protein/fat diet, or it may equal a high-protein/low-FAT diet, or it may equal a high-fat/low-PROTEIN diet.

            More fat equals elevated cholesterol levels in my experience, regardless of what your “data” shows.

            Again, not arguing with your experience. If you wanted to stick to your own experience, you wouldn’t reference the experiences of others, either individuals or entire cultures.

            Even your Grand Pooh Bah of low carb admits that there really aren’t a lot of studies available.

            Who is my Grand Pooh Bah?

            [A]ssuming that a diet our Paleolithic ancestors may have eaten is the perfect diet is illogical. They ate whatever they could get their hands on.

            First, we’re not discussing paleo diets which may be either high or low carb, we’re discussing low-carb diets. If the topic changed somewhere, I’m not aware of it. Second, I’m not quite sure how it matters whether a person’s dietary choices are limited by their own will or by their environment. It makes perfect sense that a primitive animal will eat whatever it can find- and when food is especially scarce, they’ll eat things they might not otherwise have eaten. This is what shapes an animal’s evolutionary diet– because in nasty environments, those eating foods that don’t support strength, fertility and immunity die off. Are you familiar with the phenomenon of the “Freshman 15″? (It’s usually more like 30) That’s what happens when you put a teenager in an environment where their food choices are COMPLETELY their own and they have a food plan that allows them to eat as much as they want of those choices for the first time… they often make shitty choices in enormous quantities and they gain fat at an alarming rate. Will you point to the diet they ate at home and say, “They ate whatever they could get their hands on.”? Of course not… because while it may be true, it’s moot. And FWIW, even amidst unusual plenty, animals who are normally lean do not get fat because their natural diet isn’t obesogenic.

            You know you’ve got a problem when you use groups like the Massai, the Inuit and Paleolithic people to bolster your argument.

            You know you’ve got a problem when you’re reading things that weren’t written. >.< I'm just going to assume you've reread the conversation by now and that you've realized that argument wasn't made. If you are looking to distract from the actual argument, I'm not getting hooked.

            I was comparing high carb whole food diets with low-carb whole food diets.

            Mea culpa… I misread your comment. You also wrote, “There’s more to health than weight loss” and that’s true, but frankly, there is far more to health than diet too. In a study of male Japanese immigrants living in Hawaii, they found that those who ate their traditional diets but adopted American culture developed American disease, while those who ate the American diet and maintained their Japanese culture did not. It seems again, that the biggest cause of disease is stress. How do you think the stress levels of the warring Maasai or the darkness-for-6-months-of-the-year Inuit compare to the Okinawans? What about the wood-smoke of the Inuit which is shown to be more damaging than the cigarettes they smoke at about 3 times the rate of Americans?

            Well, that must have killed you to admit (grudgingly) that high-carb eating cultures could manage their carbs “fairly well”. I’d say, better than just “fairly well”.

            [“It’s entirely possible that if one were eating a high carb, whole food diet their entire lives, they would manage those carbs relatively well.”]

            First, I can’t help but smirk a little that you copied and pasted my quote in and still managed to misquote me when you commented on it. I wrote “relatively well”, not “fairly well”. My meaning was that the carbs are managed well relative to their entire diets. And FWIW, I don’t eat a low carb diet, so not only did it NOT “kill” me, but it wasn’t even painful. 😉

            I’d say, better than just “fairly well”.

            And I’d say non sequitur. >.<

            I’m sure these high carb cultures would be ecstatic that you took some time from your busy day to toss them a bouquet, of sorts.

            Your snark is unwarranted, it only tells me that I hit a nerve and that you don’t feel like your argument is strong enough to rebut mine without distracting with nastiness. I haven’t been rude to you and I expect the same in return.

            So, in your world the only high-carb diets worth discussing are the typical junk food diets followed by many Americans?

            If you go back and read the comment again, you’ll see that I specifically WRITE– “even one made up of whole foods”… So I’m not sure where you got the idea that I wouldn’t discuss anything but junk food diets when I’m very OBVIOUSLY discussing whole-food diets as well- even high-carb, whole food diets (like the Starch Solution from the creepy, hand-rubbing, used-car salesman) that people with metabolic derangement can’t tolerate.

            I can understand why you’d do this.

            Kewl… could you fill me in, because I have no idea why I’d do it.

            Low carbers love to demonize high carbohydrate diets but when faced with the fact that high carb can be healthy you then play the junk food (simple carbs) card.

            EVERY dieter loves to demonize diets other than their own. I personally have been on many– several vegan diets, vegetarian diets, pesco, ovo, lacto, WAPF, high carb, low carb, high fat, low fat, high calorie, low calorie, all raw, all cooked and most iterations in between. I know what works for me too, but unlike you, I don’t go into high-carb vegan forums and start posting data and telling them they’re wrong based on my personal experience being different.

            You might want to rethink what you said. Living through WW2, the aftermath of the war and also living in a part of the world where the next earthquake could wipe you out isn’t stress?

            Correct. At least not the kind of stress Im referring to. It isn’t bouts of stress that cause disease, it’s chronic stress. Bouts of short-term stress have a hormetic effect that tends to make us stronger. Chronic, unrelieved stress elevates cortisol and other inflammatory processes and has a cumulative and debilitating effect that weakens us over time.

            Studies of the Okinawans observed that these people are mentally tough. They deal with stress well. They don’t dwell in the past. They get on with their lives in stressful moments.

            Awesome! We could probably learn something from them that could save our lives. If more Americans used stress-reduction methods, the daily stress we experience wouldn’t be so damaging to our health.

            Uh, yes they do matter. Did I say otherwise or is this just another detour you’re taking here?

            [““And finally, calories do matter. And though it appears that anyone can lose weight on a restricted calorie diet made up of most ANYTHING (even Twinkies!)”]

            Actually, it was a reference to the Okinawans. They eat a high carb diet but it averages only 1400 calories a day, so we can’t rule out a hypocaloric diet when we consider their general health and leanness, nor can we rule it out with vegans who often can’t fit in enough vegetation to absorb sufficient calories.

            If I had a dollar for every time I heard a friend who tried low carb and said that they lacked energy, became crabby and felt like total crap. Mental clarity? You’re joking, right?

            Ahh, more anecdata. Studies show that people who complain of feeling crappy almost never waited long enough to become fat adapted. It makes perfect sense that if you’ve been feeding your tissues glucose for most of your life, that it will take some time for them to adapt to utilizing fat. And considering that the brain is made up mostly of fat and that the neurons depend heavily on cholesterol for proper signaling, it actually makes sense that the brain is more alert when running on fat. It’s pretty common to hear the vegan gurus cite the study that looked at this phenomenon and proclaim, “See! The low carbers didn’t do as well on mental acuity tests!” What they fail to mention is that that was only in week one— by week four they excelled.

            I tried low carb many years ago so I can vouch for their complaints.—I actually had to put my running on hold because I could barely get through half a run. I switched to a lower intensity activity and walked.

            See above. =)

            The navy seals tested a low carb, high protein diet and found that once adapted, it was superior to a high carb diet for athletic performance.

            I wouldn’t recommend this diet to any student studying for an important exam.”

            That’s OK… I’m not sure why anyone would be looking to you for dietary recommendations.

            I never found that higher fat diet like low carb was more satiating than a good, healthy, high-fibre, high carb diet. I can eat a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal with fruit, milk and I’m good for 5 hours.”

            And now we’re back to you again. What do you think it proves? It proves that your diet works great for you… and forgive me for being so blunt, but why do we care what works for any one person? My experiences cancel yours out. And?

            “Maybe you “can” eat a couple of pounds of vegetables but I sincerely doubt you actually do.”

            Why do you “sincerely doubt” that, Rob? Because you don’t like me? Because I make a good argument for low-carb? You don’t know anything about me personally and you know only the tiniest bit about my personal diet. Are you really saying that you doubt that I get four 8oz servings of veggies into my 3 meals/day? On what criteria do you base your “sincere doubt”?

            Huntress

          • Taurine is a protein fragment which is not found in any plant source. At all. Only animals need it, and most can manufacture it from other proteins.

            Sometime in evolutionary history, the common ancestor of the entire cat family managed to lose the ability to manufacture taurine. When the stuff is abundant in their natural diet anyway, not being able to manufacture it is hardly a big deal. (As an aside, most primates — including humans — cannot synthesise vitamin C. Same story. A diet rich in vitamin C, as our arboreal ape ancestors would have lived on, means that a mutation that cost the ability to synthesise it was not deleterious.)

            If you fed a cat — and that definition includes everything from a domestic moggy to a tiger — on a vegetarian (therefore, taurine-free) diet which it was unable to supplement by hunting, it would go blind and die in screaming agony as its internal organs packed up one-by-one.

            Humans, too, can suffer from a genetic inability (or reduced ability) to manufacture taurine. Being genetic, it can be passed on from parent to child; and will go unnoticed as long as a steady supply of meat is available. However, adoption of a taurine-free diet will lead to macular degeneration and internal organ failure; which consequences will be only partially reversible, and then only if a sufficient supply of taurine becomes available.

          • Ok here is your proof. As a matter of fact there is NO proof from a bio-chemical standpoint that we require carbohydrates at all, but we do, however, REQUIRE essential amino acids from protein and essential fatty acids from fat.

            “Essential” means that your body can not make it. You must get it from your food. There is NO SUCH THING as essential carbohydrates.

            While the vegan may argue that you can get all of your essential amino acids and essential fatty acids from vegetable sources; such aminos as *Tryptophan, Threonine, *Lysine, *Methionine are in negligible amounts from their vegetable sources: corn, grain cereals, legumes, peanuts, rice and soy. The amino acids in those foods are not only not complete even when combined are still negligible, but corn, peanuts and soy are on the list of some of the most hyper-allergenic foods many people can not tolerate even if they wanted to.

            Although your omega 6s can convert to omega 3s, some people have trouble with that conversion and our society is way out of balance in Omega 6 EFAs from plant sources and should be getting it primarily from fish).

            Besides the fact that other important co-enzymes and co-factors, (vitamin and minerals) are not as readily bio-available to human metabolism from vegetable sources. B12, Vitamin D and A. etc. for example. Although Sesame Seeds are high in Calcium, their Calcium is in the form of Calcium Oxalate which is insoluble (not absorbed by the body). The Calcium in Spinach is poorly absorbed due to the presence of Oxalic Acid which inhibits Calcium absorption.

            I am not saying that cow’s milk is necessarily a good bio-available source for calcium either, however, goat is the closest to human mother’s milk on the planet, and the most tolerated, efficiently absorbed and utilized by humans. While you may be feeding your infants and children dangerous soy products thinking you are doing them good, I will tell you that you may be messing up their hormones and permanently destroying their health, as well as your own.

            As a clinical nutritionist with a PhD, and Masters degree in Nutrition Education, I will say that some of my sickest patients have been vegans. Many of whom suffer from hormone and neurochemical imbalances due to B vitamin, fatty acid and primarily tryptophan deficiency. A huge percentage of the population is vitamin D deficient and while sunlight is the best source, people in the northern parts of the country or in cold climates are primarily dangerously deficient.

            I teach a nutrition course at a vegetarian culinary school. Most of the students there are vegans or vegetarians. Their knowledge of how the human body works is appallingly limited. After the course, I generally get a slew of them coming to me with health issues. In most cases they are initially starving to death. Their basic deficiencies are blatant. Symptoms included, fatigue, diminished cognitive function, depression/anxiety, eating disorders, neuropathy, young women in pre-menopause, infertility, or no periods at all, males with no muscle or stamina, the list goes on and on, iron deficiency, B12/folic acid, B6, deficiency, liver dysfunction due to methionine deficiency, even obesity, metabolic syndrome and pre-diabetes.

            I am not opposed to vegetarianism if that is someone’s choice. But if it is your choice, you better know what you are doing or you and your skewed philosophy will get you in serious trouble.

          • Although your omega 6s can convert to omega 3s, some people have trouble with that conversion and our society is way out of balance in Omega 6 EFAs from plant sources and should be getting it primarily from fish):
            -> are you talking about potato chips here? We certainly get a lot of plant-based Omega 6s from potato chips and other unhealthy sources.

            I am not saying that cow’s milk is necessarily a good bio-available source for calcium either, however, goat is the closest to human mother’s milk on the planet, and the most tolerated, efficiently absorbed and utilized by humans. While you may be feeding your infants and children dangerous soy products thinking you are doing them good, I will tell you that you may be messing up their hormones and permanently destroying their health, as well as your own.
            -> The issue with cow’s milk or goat’s milk is that it is highly acid-forming in the body and barely has anything to do with it’s bioavailability. The most bioavailable protein source, based on it’s similarity to our own, is human flesh. This similarity is also what causes it to speed up tumour growth.
            -> Just curious, how exactly do you diagnose a tryptophan defeciency? If you’re getting enough plant protein, you’ll get enough tryptophan. If you think you aren’t, try taking a tryptophan or a 5-HTP supplement with your protein and see if you feel any different.
            -> Speaking of hormones, the phyto-estrogens in soy are about a thousand times weaker than the real oestrogens from lactating cows, not to mention the antibiotics and hormones in most cow’s milk that’s probably causing girls to hit puberty earlier.

            In most cases they are initially starving to death. Their basic deficiencies are blatant. Symptoms included, fatigue, diminished cognitive function, depression/anxiety, eating disorders, neuropathy, young women in pre-menopause, infertility, or no periods at all, males with no muscle or stamina, the list goes on and on, iron deficiency, B12/folic acid, B6, deficiency, liver dysfunction due to methionine deficiency, even obesity, metabolic syndrome and pre-diabetes.
            -> Starving to death?? Holy cow man, give me a break. This is caused by vegan diets? Someone not eating enough?
            -> Studies have shown vegetarians are no more iron deficient than meat-eaters and I can find you the study if you want.
            -> Diminished cognitive function caused by vegetarian diets, really?? Let’s see some studies. I bet you will find vegans to be just as smart or smarter than the average meat-eater who doesn’t question anything.
            -> B12 deficiency is possible with vegans and I would recommend they take B12 supplements but that doesn’t mean vegan diets are necessarily unhealthy just because they have to take B12 supplements.
            -> If you eat a whole foods, plant-based diet it’s pretty hard to avoid iron. I get tons of iron personally because I eat this diet.
            -> You seem to have a lot of unhealthy people in general in your classes but how do you know they have liver dysfunction based on methionine deficiency?
            -> Obesity and people starving to death, you haven’t thought this through very well have you?
            -> Metabolic syndrome and pre-diabetes caused by vegan diets, again where’s the proof?
            -> males with no muscle, this is caused by unhealthy people who don’t do weights; not by vegan diets. I weigh close to 200 lbs and have put on 15 lbs of muscle on a vegan diet and can easily squat over 300 lbs.

            you better know what you are doing or you and your skewed philosophy will get you in serious trouble.
            -> what skewed philosophy might this be? Just curious because I’m a philosophy major but I haven’t seen this skewed philosophy. It actually seems to make more sense to me to cause LESS (not none) suffering to animals when there are healthier alternatives out there. And don’t go quoting the baloney from this Minger person or other people who talk about agriculture hurting animals as if most of that agriculture isn’t for the animals in the first place.

          • Tryptophan is in Banannas a lot and a person needs around 70 g Protein a Day that is if you working hard, 100g of Walnuts has 30g allready, then if you eat some whole gain organic rice or organic potatoes with beans and perhaps some avocado and a few more fruits/vegs/leafy greens you can easilly cover all your fat and protein needs….
            i make it a habit to eat a handull of nuts each day ……
            I try to use only organic or grow my own, in order to not support big aggribizzness
            and with this description i still eaten no bread or grains yet….
            Btw. is Dairy causing Diabetes not organic non gmo starches

          • B12 is an essential nutrient. deficiencies result in neurological problems. It is found only in meat products. Oh…and in the past century, it can be artificially produced from chemicals. It does not occur in plants and we cannot produce it in our bodies.

          • b12 is produced by fungi, that’s where animals get it from. A simple google search would have given you that information.

          • @tball: It isn’t relevant that it’s produced by fungi- those flora live ONLY in the guts of animals.

          • @Paleo Huntress: That’s not true. Vitamin B12 is mostly produced outside animal bodies in labs and is also produced by bacteria around feces that the animals initially ingest and then it can be made in their intestines by the fermentation process of other bacteria. There are 4 major producers of B12. Nowadays they add it to the feed but you can just take it directly. It is relevant how it’s produced because that’s going to determine whether people think they need to eat meat to consume B12 or not.

          • Have been a vegan since 1976…Am now 64 years of age and take no drugs…ever…I am healthy and people guess my age at 10 to 15 years younger……My family has mostly all died of cancer and heart disease..That is why I changed my diet….I was raised on a farm..I say go to a farm and see all the chemicals that are used to deteriorate the soil…Check to see if subsidies require the farmer to use such chemicals in order to recieve gov’t payouts…Count how many farmers are dying of ALS or other nerve diseases…The farms around here use pesticides to kill ALL the insects(beneficials too) and fertilizers in order to grow anything in the poor soil……Go to an egg farm and see how cruelly the chickens are treated…Drive by the feedlots…Take a deep breath and see if you would want to eat the animals that breathe this air and stand knee-deep in their own waste…Watch as the semis deliver the antibiotics in barrels…Drive through the clouds of methane gases that hang like fog around them..The “family” farm is almost gone in this area…It is increasingly becoming large ” factory” farms…Also, ‘when I was 10 years old I remember holding the hens while my Mother shot them in their neck with a huge syringe that put a pellet in their bodies to “make them gain weight”…That was in 1957, so you can’t even trust the small farms either… .I find that most vegetarians and vegans do not do their homework on nutrition before they begin the diet..Thus they encounter many nutritional deficiencies…Most live on dairy products and grains(not even whole grains)…..I grow most of my own food in a small garden plot… I grow sprouts and have been eating algae for 30 years…Algae and seaweed can supply b12, b6 and a complete spectrum of amino acids(depending on the type), some in a profile that mimics the human body profile..For me veganism works…I do not try to CHANGE anyone….We are all going toward the same place…DEATH, and my path is not necessarily anyone elses’…However, IF you choose to go meat-free, know that you will be shunned by many and unless you are in a community that shares your concerns maybe even attacked for your beliefs…Consider if your values are worth it and then proceed with knowledge…And yes our system of living is all messed up, so act on an individual basis and challenge your own belief systems…

          • @Brian: Chlorella is the only known reliable plant source of B12, and studies show that the B12 from algae isn’t assimilated in the human gut.

          • @Paleo Huntress: Actually the B12 in algae was more recently shown to be an inactive analogue of vitamin B12 and may actually compete with the absorption of B12 so it shouldn’t be relied on for B12. I believe no plant sources should be relied on for vitamin B12 and it should be supplemented. Plants can absorb it if the soil is rich in B12 but our soil is usually depleted of vitamins and doesn’t have nearly enough. This is probably where a lot of vegans run into serious health problems and then say that vegan diets are unhealthy so it’s a very important part of this debate.

            People should inform vegans to supplement with vitamin B12 instead of telling them that the vegan diet is bad for your health and can lead to neurological problems because there are many benefits to the vegan diet when it’s done right. There are many famous vegans like Ellen Degeneres, Bill Clinton, Carl Lewis (who attributes his incredible results in 1991 with the adoption of his vegan diet. You can hear him talk about it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOTETXwfIaY) and even Mike Tyson (see how it has helped his mental and physical health here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bvy-M-ORNIc). Vitamin B12 is very important for the brain and nervous system, the formation of blood, cell metabolism, DNA synthesis and regulation, fat synthesis and energy production so a lack of it can cause a whole host of problems and lead people to believe a vegan diet is unhealthy.

            As I mentioned earlier, B12 isn’t produced by humans, animals or plants but by bacteria. I believe VEGANS SHOULD SUPPLEMENT WITH VITAMIN B12. No animals are required to produce B12 so it’s consistent with the vegan diet. Drinking 1 cup of fortified soy, rice, almond or hemp milks often supplies around 50% of your vitamin B12 requirements. Some cereals, smoothies and nutritional yeast, etc. are also fortified so you can easily get the RDA for vitamin B12 if you consume enough of these products. It may still be a good idea to supplement with B12 due to the analogue issue but I’ve been getting mine through soy milk, rice milk and with the smoothie Vega which accumulates to 150% of the recommended daily intake per day and I haven’t had any issues.

            Vitamin B12 is the only supplement a vegan really needs if you’re getting enough sunlight to produce adequate levels of Vitamin D.

          • @Brian: I’m always amused that someone will point to a vegan athlete as proof of the superiority of vegan diets, when 99.99% of all elite athletes are omnis! If veganism was naturally ideal, supplementation would be unnecessary. That’s all any of us needs to know. =)

          • @Paleo Huntress: I thought someone would bring up the “natural” argument. The issue here is health and that a vegan diet, done right, is way healthier than diets that involve meat and, especially, dairy. The important thing is, we have the technology to not have to rely on meat or dairy. If you’re in Tibet maybe you can’t do that but that’s not the situation we’re in in the West. Plus, we use technology for everything. I’m not saying anything about what’s natural. That’s a whole other can of worms especially when it comes to ethics and the Naturalistic Fallacy.

            I’m pointing out healthy vegan athletes to show that a vegan diet CAN be healthy and can even improve athletic performance. There are UFC athletes like Jon Fitch and Frank Mir who attest to this as well.

            I’m largely responding to claims that vegan diets are inherently dangerous and showing cases to disprove this claim.

          • Also, only one of the examples mentioned had anything to do with veganism and athletic performance: Carl Lewis (but he mentions his whole team in the video). Mike Tyson is retired and Ellen Degeneres is just a popular figure who just seems to radiate health and Bill Clinton is obviously not an athlete but is doing it for his heart issues because all the omnivorous diets he tried didn’t reverse his heart disease like the whole foods, plant-based one did. I’m not saying that there aren’t people on omnivorous diets that radiate health but I’m trying to show that a whole foods, vegan diet can be very healthy, and maybe even the healthiest diet, if done right.

          • Brian: There is absolutely nothing, and I mean NOT A SINGLE THING that would support the idea that veganism might be the healthiest diet. From the perspective of evolution and survival of the fittest, the idea that the human body evolved to be healthiest on a diet that can’t be “done right” without supplementation provided by a lab is ludicrous. I’ll suggest instead that it is the omni diet “done right” that is optimum and most certainly healthiest. The longest lived people in the world are omnis. There isn’t a shred of evidence, either from the scientific method or from empirical observation that supports your theory, no matter how badly you wish it was so.

          • @Paleo Huntress:
            “There is absolutely nothing, and I mean NOT A SINGLE THING that would support the idea that veganism might be the healthiest diet.”

            -> Where did I say “veganism” was the healthiest diet? There is tons of evidence that a whole foods plant-based diet is healthier than diets that involve meat and dairy. You should be aware of the evidence since you said you read The China Study (although you must have missed at least chapter 3 and the part at the end that talks about plants’ ability to absorb vitamin B12). There are a lot of studies quoted in that book. I’m not saying it’s definitive but you say that there is “NOT A SINGLE” bit of evidence which is simply not true. Some parts of The China Study you can question but you can’t dismiss everything presented in that book or say that it provides no evidence that a whole foods plant-based diet is the healthiest. You can’t deny that animal protein raises cholesterol levels and is causing the massive amounts of heart disease we see in the West and that one of the remedies is a whole foods plant-based diet. There are clinics that are using this diet to take people off their meds and reverse heart disease and have been doing so for years now. Dr. Esselstyn’s clinic was mentioned in The China Study and in Forks Over Knives and there are other clinics mentioned in FOK that are using this diet to manage people’s diabetes without medication not to mention tons of anecdotal reports. How you can say there isn’t “A SINGLE THING” after all my comments is baffling to me and I’m not going to go around in circles.

            If there wasn’t a single thing to support a whole foods plant-based diet as being the healthiest diet, this study http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10555529?dopt=Abstract wouldn’t have concluded: “Vegetarians have a lower risk of dying from ischaemic heart disease than non-vegetarians.”. Or this study http://www.pmri.org/publications/Lifestyle_Changes_and_Prostate_Cancer.pdf showing the benefits of a primarily whole food vegan diet on cancer.

            “From the perspective of evolution and survival of the fittest, the idea that the human body evolved to be healthiest on a diet that can’t be “done right” without supplementation provided by a lab is ludicrous.”

            -> This is wrong on many levels. For one, we evolved to be able to survive on many different diets including plant-based ones. We can extract all the nutrients we need from plant-based sources and whole foods vegan diets have the highest amount of anti-oxidants from higher levels of fruits and veggies.
            Secondly, I’m recommending vegans take vitamin B12 as a precautionary measure. Many don’t supplement and their vitamin B12 levels are fine. This may be my fault for not making it clear.
            Thirdly, when the soil has vitamin B12 from manure, plants can absorb B12. The problem has been that over-farming has depleted the soil of micronutrients like B12 and farmers don’t have much incentive to put micronutrients back in the soil. People from third-world countries where the sanitation isn’t as good that eat vegan diets acquire B12 from fruits, veggies and other foods that are contaminated with bacteria. Prehistoric vegans would have been able to acquire B12 in similar ways.
            Fourthly, since you brought up evolution, it’s worth noting that we evolved from the apes who eat primarily vegan diets; therefore, according to your logic, this would be the healthiest diet. I think this idea of yours is a metaphysical belief that doesn’t have any proof. What period of human history or the history of our ancestors are you referring to anyways and in what part of the world? There isn’t just one human diet that we evolved on as you seem to imply.
            Take a look at the effect of Dr. Oz’s prehistoric diet which is a whole foods plant-based diet: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/prehistoric-diet-pt-1. Like he says, if you could put the effects from this diet in a pill it would be phenomenal showing just how healthy a plant-based whole foods diet really is.

            “The longest lived people in the world are omnis.”

            -> This doesn’t prove anything even if it’s true. There are way more omnis than vegans giving them a statistically higher chance at having a few that live the longest. This is flawed logic that doesn’t follow the scientific method as you seem to adhere to.

            “There isn’t a shred of evidence, either from the scientific method or from empirical observation that supports your theory, no matter how badly you wish it was so.”

            -> I think I provided many shreds no matter how badly you wish they didn’t exist.

          • @Brian:

            —> “There is tons of evidence that a whole foods plant-based diet is healthier than diets that involve meat and dairy.”
            Let’s get something straight- The standard American Diet (SAD) is a plant based diet. The United States Department of Agriculture’s loss-adjusted food availability data shows that Americans get over 70% of their calories from plant sources. (http://civileats.com/2011/04/05/where-do-americans-get-their-calories-infographic/) Comparing a vegetarian diet to the SAD is NOT comparing it to a whole food omni diet.

            —> “you must have missed at least chapter 3 and the part at the end that talks about plants’ ability to absorb vitamin B12″
            The data shows that if you grow a food plant in a pot and you mix in caw manure, that the plants will absorb B12 analogues from that soil. It doesn’t show that if that plant is grown in a field, that this will also happen. But let’s say it does- shall we just keep the animals around, and feed them so they can crap in the fields? Let’s go back to the original premise for a moment… what are the chances that a primitive person was eating food from a plant grown where an animal recently crapped? Or maybe they had a diet REALLY high in white mushrooms?! Or I know, maybe they were getting it from sea algae?! No, they got their B12 from animals… that they ATE.

            > “You can’t deny that animal protein raises cholesterol levels and is causing the massive amounts of heart disease we see in the West and that one of the remedies is a whole foods plant-based diet.”
            Yes I can. Besides the anecdotal fact that I became diabetic as a whole food vegan (for two years) and that after ditching grains and beans and eating red meat again, eggs and cream, my cholesterol CAME DOWN almost 200 points, the data just doesn’t support it. Brian, read Minger’s review of the China Study data. The link has been made available to you. Why not be genuine and simply look at what she has to say so that the rest of us don’t need to repeat it? You seem like a good guy, just go read it. (http://rawfoodsos.com/2010/07/07/the-china-study-fact-or-fallac/) If you’re that sure in your resolve, you have nothing to fear.

            It matters “why” people are vegetarian- those that are vegetarian for “health” reasons have a significantly higher rate of other healthy behaviors. (fitness, sleep, no smoking/drinking/drug use, etc), ie: CONFOUNDERS. There’s no way to know if their better health is related to dumping animal food or their other habits. However, if you compare vegetarians who don’t eat meat for RELIGIOUS reasons, meaning the remainder of their diet is almost identical, the vegetarians do not have better health. As for total cholesterol, it’s true it’s lower in vegetarians, but this isn’t necessarily a good thing. We now know that total cholesterol isn’t indicative of disease risk but rather the RATIO of HDL to LDL. A low HDL is 4 times more indicative of heart disease risk than a high LDL. The ratio remains the same between both groups. However, vegetarians have higher levels of CRP than the omnivores, along with higher homocysteine and triglycerides. This little trio of markers is far more significant in the prediction of disease. When Minger looks at the data cited by The China Study on the correlation between animal food and cancer, she notes that cancer risk is actually quite a bit higher in the plant protein group. The association of animal protein with cancer is +3, while the association with vegetable protein is +12.This is Campbell’s OWN DATA.

            In another study conducted in China, (http://content.onlinejacc.org/cgi/content/full/46/10/1957) vegetarians (6 to 40 years of meatlessness)—including many religious vegetarians—researchers compared their heart disease markers against an omnivorous control group. Apart from eating less saturated fat, protein, and cholesterol, the vegetarians had nutrient intakes similar to those of their omni friends. Researchers found

            the vegetarians had significantly thicker arterial walls, reduced flow-mediated dilation (a predictor of cardiovascular events), higher blood pressure, and higher triglycerides than the omnivores. In the researchers’ multivariate statistical models, vegetarianism had the strongest association with both artery thickness and diminished flow-mediated dilation out of all the variables documented—including age, gender, and triglyceride levels. As might be expected, the vegetarians also had lower B12 levels and higher homocysteine than the control group—but even after adjusting for these, vegetarianism remained strongly linked with less-healthy hearts.

            The study concluded: In summary, contrary to common belief, vegetarians, at least in the Chinese, might have accelerated atherosclerosis and abnormal arterial endothelial function, compared with omnivore control subjects. The increased risk could only be partially explained by their higher blood pressure, triglyceride, homocysteine, and lower vitamin B12 concentrations.

            —> “Dr. Esselstyn’s clinic was mentioned in The China Study and in Forks Over Knives and there are other clinics mentioned in FOK that are using this diet to manage people’s diabetes without medication not to mention tons of anecdotal reports. How you can say there isn’t “A SINGLE THING” after all my comments is baffling to me and I’m not going to go around in circles.”
            This is the same thing I mentioned above- CONFOUNDERS. Removing animal food is an infinitesimally small change relative to the remaining changes, and it’s only a piece of the entire lifestyle change. It’s not possible to conclude that removing animal food changed anything at all.

            —> “If there wasn’t a single thing to support a whole foods plant-based diet as being the healthiest diet”
            To be clear, MOST diets are plant-based. I eat a low-carb Paleo diet and even it is plant-based and I eat meat with every meal.

            —> “[“”From the perspective of evolution and survival of the fittest, the idea that the human body evolved to be healthiest on a diet that can’t be “done right” without supplementation provided by a lab is ludicrous.”] “This is wrong on many levels. For one, we evolved to be able to survive on many different diets including plant-based ones. We can extract all the nutrients we need from plant-based sources and whole foods vegan diets have the highest amount of anti-oxidants from higher levels of fruits and veggies.”
            Right and wrong are ethical judgements and have nothing to do with fact. There are several cultures around the world that eat no plant food at all and they thrive. The same cannot be said for cultures that eat no animal food. There isn’t a single thriving vegan culture in all of recorded history.

            —> “People from third-world countries where the sanitation isn’t as good that eat vegan diets acquire B12 from fruits, veggies and other foods that are contaminated with bacteria. Prehistoric vegans would have been able to acquire B12 in similar ways.”
            Statistically, B12 would be higher in unwashed foods. These people should have higher levels, not lower levels.

            —> “Fourthly, since you brought up evolution, it’s worth noting that we evolved from the apes who eat primarily vegan diets”
            We did NOT evolve from apes- both apes and humans have a common ancestor and we evolved along completely different paths. Our closest biological relative is the chimpanzee, and they are omnivorous. Take a look at the HUGE gut on an ape. They need that room for all of the extra feet of intestine it requires to get enough nutrition form plant food.

            —> “Take a look at the effect of Dr. Oz’s prehistoric diet which is a whole foods plant-based diet: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/prehistoric-diet-pt-1. Like he says, if you could put the effects from this diet in a pill it would be phenomenal showing just how healthy a plant-based whole foods diet really is.
            Dr. Oz’s prehistoric diet is a joke. I enjoyed many hours laughing about it and commenting on it when he first posted it on his site.

            —> [“The longest lived people in the world are omnis.”] This doesn’t prove anything even if it’s true. There are way more omnis than vegans giving them a statistically higher chance at having a few that live the longest. This is flawed logic that doesn’t follow the scientific method as you seem to adhere to.
            Having more members doesn’t change the statistics of survival of any group beyond what is required for basic human needs. An average is an average. Omnis live longer, there is no flaw.

            —> “[There isn’t a shred of evidence, either from the scientific method or from empirical observation that supports your theory, no matter how badly you wish it was so.”] “I think I provided many shreds no matter how badly you wish they didn’t exist.”
            I used to wish your argument was so… I spent countless hours searching for data that would prove veganism was ideal, and even then, when i WANTED it to be true, I couldn’t find it. Because it isn’t. Bummer dude.

          • SIBO- a digestive bacterial overgrowth that makes eating vegetation impossible.. the treatment eat only meat and fat potentially for the rest of your life… yes some of us have to… educate yourself.

          • It’s made much more dangerous by people who are CERTAIN they have the only true path to truth…regardless of what they think that truth to be.

            “Two types of people in the world, those who eat meat and those who do not..” Please, life and morality are much more complex than that.

          • @KellyBelly, Whoa girl! You need to take a chill pill. You also sound like a communist. How about you stop trying to control everyone else out here ad just worry about yourself? If I want to eat meat I am gonna eat meat. You nor any other commie is gonna tell me how to live my life. STOP trying to control the details of people’s lives… it would likely make you a much nicer person to be around. NOBODY likes a bossy know-it-all control freak like you.

        • What a way to justify what you do! Livestock production requires enormous amounts of energy. We put far more energy into animals per unit of food than we do for any plant crop. The main reason is that cattle consume 16 times as much grain as they produce as meat, so right there we have 16 times as much energy just to grow those crops, just so we can waste them on livestock. Then of course there’s refrigeration, including during transport, necessary for meat but not for grains and beans. And then there’s the transportation itself. Meat production requires so much water it’s hard to comprehend. A pound of potatoes takes 99.6% less water to produce than a pound of beef, and 97% less than a pound of chicken.
          If you gave up beef, you’d save over 300,000 gallons a year. A whole lot more than you could save by never showering. This doesn’t even take into consideration the suffering that is put out there! Things must change here on planet earth.

          This book is a another mere illiterary crap that helps people like you to sleep one more night without thought or action.

          • “The main reason is that cattle consume 16 times as much grain as they produce as meat, so right there we have 16 times as much energy just to grow those crops, just so we can waste them on livestock”

            Then quit feeding cows & pigs grain! Pastured meat is healthier for you anyway.(because it’s healthier for the animal)

            Check out Polyface Farm to see what a farm should really be.
            http://www.polyfacefarms.com/

          • There is no way that the levels of meat consumption currently practised in the world can be met by pastured meats, or chickens, or dairy. No way. Mind you if it was tried, the cost of meat and dairy and eggs would go up so high you couldn’t afford it anyway and so fewer animals would suffer — so go for it.

          • Perhaps you should read the book before you make ignorant comments such as these. The author intellectually and factually refutes all of the points you have made, and I don’t believe there is anyone in this forum that supports the process of big industry farming. Do a little ACTUAL research before wasting your time writing long comments that in reality do more harm than good to your cause.

          • Then why don’t you enlighten us as to why there is a concern, worldwide, for the diminishing resource of fresh drinking water. After all, water molecules don’t just disappear right? I’d sure love to hear how you can justify the thousands of gallons that goes to your hamburger, when it’s a fact that we stand on the verge of a looming water crisis.

          • You are seriously arguing that the problem is water molecules disappearing? That’s even worse than the example of segregating the predators from the herbivores on the Serengeti.

            Perhaps veganism causes damage to the mind as well as the body.

          • Please re-read what I wrote and also read the comment that I was responding to. Inlikeflynn was the one who brought up water molecules disappearing and I pointed out that even if watermolecules don’t disappear, we can still wind up with a water crisis. I also pointed out that thousands of gallons of water are used to produce meat (of all sorts) and in the big picture, where people need fresh clean water to drink, those ‘molecules’ are no longer in the picture. Ground water is contaminated as are rivers and streams wherever these animal production sites are located.

            As for the Serengeti comment, you know, when I did a search for the original statement, not Lierra Keith’s excerpt, it was impossible to find. Considering that there are serious flaws in her rhetoric, I would not be surprised at all if she hadn’t a) made up the little story for the sake of her book or b) she took what was in actuality said ‘tongue-in-cheek” and chose to ascribe a different tone to it, i.e. that someone actually believed it. I would like this woman to provide the link to the forum where it was said, and I doubt very much that we’ll ever get that.

            Rather than indulge in the same kind of tone that your last sentence demonstrates, I’ll just leave it here.

          • i am so sorry that you must be 1 of the 6.9 billion to die so that the world can heal from the agricultural holocaust that your ancestors created. no more 97% of this or 300,000 of that. just die you homoruminant.

        • Well I have a question: most singular crops are cultivated to feed livestock and not humans. Would you say that if all humans did not eat the factory animals (whether from being vegan or eating only grass-fed animals) then ‘the clearcutting of land for the use of singular crops’ would end? Either way, the result is the same right?

          • Absolutely! But if the lives of the animals matter, eating pastured beef for protein takes fewer lives than eating grains/legumes.

        • People’s first reason for not going vegan is because they don’t want to give up certain food pleasures. Even those who realise you can be perfectly healthy without them; even those who realise that animals are very often treated in an appalling way in factory farms; even those who say, “Yes. I understand your reasons and it makes sense.” Even those people have difficulty going vegan because of a fear of losing pleasure from their food. When a book like this comes along and basically says, “Oh, no! That’s wrong! We need to eat meat and consume dairy for our health.”, it gives them an excuse to relieve themselves of all responsibility towards the consequences of their food choices.

          • “it gives them an excuse to relieve themselves of all responsibility towards the consequences of their food choices”

            The idea that people even have food choices is somewhat of a novel concept that could only apply now and historically to rather elite groups who had attained an affluence that would allow for choice. Much of the planet does not enjoy the luxury of many of the options that we have. If you consider the billions of humans on the planet, how many ever formulate a “first reason” for not going vegan?

            You have raised an excellent and basic question. You have underpinned one’s food choices with the concepts of responsibility and consequences and I would like to continue along those lines.

            The consequences of poor eating choices can result in disease (damage to the body and mind) and also environmental damage (erosion, chemical pollution, factory farming, degradation of habitat by expanding farmlands). At the end of the day, if our agricultural (be it in support of vegan or non-vegan eaters) cannot sustain itself, then, in the final analysis, the arguments for or against veganism versus other food systems becomes a diversion away from the real question of individual/social responsibility: how can we live sustainably and not kill the planet that is our host?

            Veganism by itself does not confront the addiction of modern agriculture to petrochemicals, GMO’s, corporatism and unsustainable practices.

            This whole portion of the blog started with Dr. Eades’ review of the Vegetarian Myth. The author had her own history and opinions on the food choice issue, no doubt. However, I was much more impressed with the fact that she did not focus entirely on that issue. She raised and confronted the issue of agricultural sustainability and the consequences of unsustainable agriculture, rather than food choices.

          • I have difficulty going vegan because I think plants are living things, too. And if you actually read the book this review is about, you’ll understand why a vegan lifestyle is perhaps more destructive of nature and living things than a carnivorous lifestyle.

      • If they’d never cleared the land for agriculture and money, killing off animals and fruit trees alike and damming streams, so that gluten addicts could have their gluttony, and cassein junkies their milk fix (the cruelist food of all, if you know anything about it) we’d all be killing and cleaning our own meat and fish, wouldn’t we, not to mention picking our own fruits and veges? KB, It was people like you who made cannibalism popular.

      • It is possible to get proper nutrition from many sources. We are in fact omnivores and it is in the diversity of the foods we eat be they vegetable or meat that we obtain all the essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals we need to be healthy.

        Likewise it is in the diversity of our diet that we can live sustainably. If we eat too much meat we end up with factory farms which use land to raise animals, destroy soil by the mass consumption of round up ready feed crops like soy and corn and send fecal run off into our water sheds. If we over consume one particular type of plant it leads to monoculture and land exploitation. If we keep our diets reasonable and balanced we can be sustained by small organic farms that use good practices to maintain crop types that complement each other and do not require external input into the crop bed year after year.

        Certain animals like hens can help protect plants from slugs and aphids and can consume used plant matter to produce rich compost with their feces. Animals are part of the natural food chain and they can be part of a sustainable agricultural ecosystem.

      • I do hunt, kill and clean my nourishing flesh. My dogs do most of the work, seeking, pointing and retrieving what I kill. So what?

      • Wow, Ignorance is bliss. Im healthy. If you are 100% vegeterian, I bet you are not. Prepare for diabeties!!. The “greed”, you describe is, actually the government and grain producers deck of cards. You notice 100 commercials a day for products of “healthy grains.., whole wheat, hgh fiber”, and even diabeties care” All related.. Oh, BTW, I dont see any proof that you have a farm to sustain yourself..

    • Malcolm, regarding global temperatures, there’s no statistical cherry picking necessary.

      Personally, when I first saw the global temperature data around 1980, I was pretty convinced that something was going on, and fossil fuel use was causing it. Temperatures continued to rise and by 1990, I figured something needed to be done immediately. By 2000, I figured it was too late.

      However, I never stopped paying attention to the data. And between 2000 and 2010, global temperatures did fall. So for people paying attention primarily to the most recent data, there is reason for skepticism – and Eades’ statement is actually better informed than most of the global warming advocates, for whom global warming has become more of a religious than a scientific issue.

      Personally, I continue to believe that there is some man caused global warming going on. However, I also continue to believe it’s too late to do anything about it, because it’s a political impossibility for humans to stop burning fossil fuels before they run out. And I recognize that reasonable people could differ with me on either of those points.

      If you’re going to take Eades to task, take him to task for his 2006 statement that the Iraq war was hopeless, heh.

      • While overall global temperatures may have dropped over the last ten years, the rate of melting ice in the arctic has escalated during that time. So while it may be true that temperatures are lower on average, they are considerably higher in the arctic.

        • The analyses I’ve seen says that the biggest contributor to arctic ice melt is not temperature increase, but albedo decrease from diesel particulates. That would still be caused by man’s use of fossil fuels, yes, but it might give one pause before choosing diesel over gasoline for environmental reasons.

    • From my personal experience, I found some human beings are not strong enough to withstand the seduction of the meat diet, and so they come up with all kinds of reasons why they depart from a vegan diet. It does not matter how long a person has been a vegan, if from day one you really don’t see eating meat very wrong you will resort back to it at some point. I don’t see how a real vegan could turn back to “death.” I do believe people who do this are people who are lost. The sadest part is when they are trying to defend their inability to withstand meat. I have been a vegan for about 12 years, and just the thought of putting a piece of flesh in my mouth would kill me. When I see any kind of cooked flesh, I want to vomit. When I smell any kind of cooked flesh I want to vomit. How on earth can someone turn from being vegan, and starting eating that mess again? It must be that while the person was a vegan, that person, has been salvating and obessing about dead flesh. That synthetic food had held them captive. They could no longer escape the seduction, so they finally fell under the pressure. Now they think others might join them, so they can feel better. I think when someone becomes a vegan just on principle alone they can argue about going back, but if you truly believe that this thing is nasty, like I do, you COULD NOT, AND WILL NOT GO BACK. And this is how I feel. I would rather die than eat meat. If I am going to die, which I will eventually do. I would rather be on my death bed, and know I did the right thing, and therefore did all I humanly can, than the meat industries made a profit from my demise.

      • @June: I wonder, do you believe that even obligate carnivores (like felines for example) are just not strong enough to resist meat too? Are the crows just not strong enough to resist corn? Are the koalas just not strong enough to resist eucalyptus? When something is part of an animal’s natural diet, they crave it because their body KNOWS what it needs. That you find it revolting simply proves that that we can be brainwashed into dietary dysfunction.

          • Oh I get it- but the point is, we all have an evolutionary diet that we’re best adapted to. We want to eat meat because we’ve evolved to thrive on a diet that contains it. If you wouldn’t suggest that an animal eat a diet that was wrong for it, why would you suggest that a human do so? It’s isn’t about weakness, it’s about the instinct to eat what best nourishes us and makes us healthy.

    • I highly suggest you do some research on this lady. She has not done good research and you don’t want to have your thoughts about her affect how people feel about you. These 2 critiques are on Amazon’s site where her book is.

      1,470 of 1,590 people found the following review helpful:
      1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, May 30, 2010
      By A. Perri (Durham, UK) – See all my reviews
      (REAL NAME) This review is from: The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability (Paperback)
      I want to be clear about a few things:

      1) I am a female.
      2) I give the idea of this book 5 stars, but its execution 1.
      3) I have been a radical vegan, a rabid meat-eater and everything in between (currently in the in-between)
      4) I am working on an archaeological PhD on hunter-gatherer diets, subsistence, hunting and transition to agriculture.

      I picked this book up after reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Eating Animals”. I thought it would be interesting to read a different perspective on the vegetarian debate. I found Safran Foer’s book to be much more geared towards the inhumane practices of meat while Keith’s book is geared more towards diet/health.

      I admit that it took a very long time for me to get through this book, for several reasons. I purchased this book hoping to get something out of it. I am not an upset vegan who wants to hate it and I am not someone who bought it knowing Id love it. I was just neutral. There were two main reasons for my disappointment with the book. One minor, one major. First, I found the second agendas (specifically the radical feminism) distracting and unnecessary. I have nothing against the feminist agenda, but this wasnt the place to put it. Second, I found the book absolutely riddled with bad information, faulty facts and just plain lazy research (if you can call it ‘research’). As someone who intensively researches these issues on a daily basis, I found myself underlining items on nearly every page that I knew were just plain untrue or were ‘cherry-picked’ facts slanted to give a certain perception. This is such a disappointment as a really great case could be made for the author’s view if she had only put the real work into researching the book properly. Once you lose the reader’s trust that you are providing factual information what do you have? Ill provide examples:

      1) pg. 140: The author states that “Carbon-13 is a stable isotope present in two places: grasses and the bodies of animals that eat grasses”. She goes on to suggest that since there is no evidence of grass “scratch marks” on the human teeth found, that they must have been eating animals. There are many flaws in this thought process. First, I cant even begin to explain the preservation and degradation issues present in examining three million year old teeth for ‘scratch marks’. Second, carbon-13 is an isotope found in ALL terrestrial and marine plants, not just grass. Finding high levels of C3 or C4 (which are what carbon-13 breaks down into) in human teeth only means that that human was eating large amounts of SOME plant, seed, nut, etc. (not JUST grass) or the animal that ate those. It is not as simple as GRASS OR COW.

      2) pg. 142: The author states that there are no bacteria in the human stomach. This is simply untrue. In 2005 Barry Marshall and Robin Warren won a Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovering a stomach bacteria that causes gastritis and ulcer disease. There are currently over 130 known stomach bacteria.

      3) pg. 146: The author states a “rumor” authored by RB Lee about hunter-gatherers getting 65% of their calories from plants and 35% from meat. She states that this “simply isnt true”. First, this rumor-spreader is one of the most well-respected anthropological/archaeological researchers in hunter-gatherer studies who edited what is considered THE tome on hunter-gatherer theory, ‘Man the Hunter’. He isnt some random hack. Second, saying those numbers ‘simply arent true’ is simply not true. Hunter-gatherers did and do inhabit a huge range of environments and likewise their diets cover a wide range. Some do follow the 65/35% number. Some eat much more meat. Some eat much less.

      These are only three examples from a span of six pages. This pattern continues throughout the entire book. Fact is the authors ‘facts’ just arent believable (which, again, is a shame because a factual book on this topic could be powerful). She writes as if the anthropological and archaeological evidence she quotes is written in stone, when in fact many of these topics are constantly under revision or not well understood yet. Most importantly, I just believe that writing a book and promoting it as a factual, scientific account of a subject when it is not is doing a great disservice to your (mostly) unknowing readers. If you are not willing to put in the real research effort, write a book that is touted as a personal account and nothing more. Selling flubbed facts to people who are truly searching for answers, inspiration or (insert what you are looking for here) is just bad journalism.

      Ill end this review with some facts and encourage any readers (whether you liked the book, hated the book or havent read the book) to always question whether what you are reading is true and to do some research of your own.

      The author cites 207 references in this book.
      62 of those references are websites (~30%)
      18 are newspapers and magazines (~7%)
      32 are journals (~15%)
      95 are other books (~46%)

      First of all, think about that. 30% of the references in this book come from website information. Five of those 62 website references were Wikipedia. Wikipedia! One was Google Answers. I wont let my freshmen students use Wikipedia as a reference in their papers, why would it be acceptable for a book? Like websites, newspaper and magazine information needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Of the 32 journals less than half come from well known, peer-reviewed sources. The remaining 46% are books, which can truly say anything the author cares to print (as this one does) and only show that the author is getting her information from another source (and another opinion) aside from the primary one. The point of this is to make clear that this is a book that is sold as (and which many positive reviews hype as) providing scientific, factual, intellectual knowledge on the vegetarian/diet/health debate. In reality less than 8% of the book is coming from peer-reviewed, fact-checked sources which can provide unbiased, neutral information.

      If anything I hope this review encourages people to get away from the bias on either side, find factual scientific sources instead of second-third-fourth hand knowledge, check information for yourself instead of blindly believing an author, and to question published material and push for it to actually be factual if it presented as such.

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      1.0 out of 5 stars The myths behind The Vegetarian Myth: A dietitian’s review, January 17, 2011
      By Ginny (Port Townsend, WA) – See all my reviewsThis review is from: The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability (Paperback)
      Lierre Keith suffers from numerous chronic health problems. Unable to secure a diagnosis for most of them, she decided that the vegan diet she had followed for twenty years was to blame. But she wasn’t content to add a few animal products back to her diet. Instead, she set out to prove that healthy diets require copious amounts of animal foods and that small-scale animal farming is the answer to sustainability. To prove it, she has cobbled together information from websites (yes, she actually cites Wikipedia!) and a few popular pseudoscientific books.

      I read the section on nutrition first. Since it’s my area of expertise, I figured it would give me some idea of the quality of her research and analysis. But quality isn’t at issue here because there is no research or analysis. Keith doesn’t bother with primary sources; she depends almost exclusively on the opinions of her favorite popular authors, which she presents as proof of her theories. For example, when she writes about evolution as it affects dietary needs, and suggests that “the archeological evidence is incontrovertible,” she is actually referencing the book “Protein Power,” written by two physicians who have no expertise in evolution or anthropology. It’s a neat trick, of course, because we have no idea where the “Protein Power” authors got their information. By burying all of the actual studies this way, she makes it laborious for readers to check her facts.

      I doubt she did this on purpose. And I don’t think she was being sloppy or lazy, either. She just doesn’t understand how complex the research is and she certainly doesn’t know much about basic nutrition. Worse, her conclusions are indebted to the Weston A Price Foundation, a non-credible group that bases its recommendations on the opinions of a dentist who wrote up his observations of indigenous populations in the 1930s.

      As a result, we get page after page of contradictions, fabrications, and misinterpretations. For example, Keith is woefully confused about fats, believing that saturated fat is needed for absorption of vitamins and minerals and that humans have a dietary need for cholesterol (Neither saturated fat nor cholesterol are needed in diets; there is no RDA for either.)

      Like most anti-vegetarians she is vehemently against soy, insisting that it reduces testosterone levels and therefore male libido (there is no evidence of this) and she speculates that African-American girls reach puberty faster because they are more likely to be enrolled as infants in food assistance programs like WIC and therefore, to be fed soy infant formula. It’s true that African-American babies are less likely to be breastfed, but I couldn’t find any indication that they consume more soy formula. And, it’s not soy that produces abnormally fast growth in kids; it’s animal foods. Recent research has linked animal protein to earlier puberty, and cow’s milk to excessive growth in children. There is no evidence that soy is involved in either; in fact, recent preliminary research suggests that soy could slightly delay puberty in girls and also reduce their lifelong risk for breast cancer.

      On page 227, she notes that “Mark Messina, a champion of soy, thinks the Japanese eat 8.6 [grams of soyfoods] per day,” or less than a tablespoon. Really? Well, I happen to be married to Mark Messina, so I have a fairly good idea of what he “thinks” about soy intake. But even if I didn’t know him, I could read his 2006 analysis of soy intake data that was published in the medical journal “Nutrition and Cancer.” Apparently, Keith didn’t or she would have seen that Asian soy intake is the equivalent of 1 to 1 ½ servings or more per day. (She gets this wrong because she doesn’t understand the difference between grams of soy protein and grams of soy food.)

      I’m less able to evaluate her discussion of the environmental consequences of animal farming, although it seems reasonable to assume that she gets as much wrong in this section. Notably, she points out that ten acres on Polyface Farm (much lauded by Michael Pollan as an example of sustainable animal agriculture) can produce enough food to feed 9 people for a year. But on his blog “Say What Michael Pollan,” mathematician Adam Merberg performs calculations which suggest that Polyface requires more calories in feed (for the chickens) than it produces in food. The numbers aren’t nearly as egregious as those for factory farming, but they suggest that there is no such thing as truly sustainable meat production.

      But Keith didn’t give up veganism because of concerns about the environment; she gave it up because she didn’t feel well. And she mistakes her cravings for animal protein for an actual need for animal protein. When she decides to eat her first bite of tuna fish after 20 years as a vegan, she says “I don’t know how to describe what happened next. […] I could feel every cell in my body–literally every cell–pulsing. And finally, finally being fed. Oh god, I thought: this is what it feels like to be alive.”

      This, more than anything, shows that Keith’s conviction about her need for meat has to do with something other than nutrition–because food just does not work like that. Eating a bite of tuna–no matter how deficient you might be in a nutrient that it supplies–does not cause all of your body cells to start pulsing. It wouldn’t cause you to feel too much of anything. (At the very least, you’d have to digest and absorb it first!)
      It’s true that some vegans are not healthy. They don’t eat enough fat or enough protein or calories or they refuse to supplement with vitamin B12. There is tons of bad nutrition info out there for vegans, some of it from pretty popular sources. But Lierre Keith insists that a vegan diet will damage us all–she is 100% certain of this–and it is simply not true. It’s not supported by nutrition science and it isn’t supported by simple observations of long-term vegans, not to mention vegan from birth children.

      Interestingly, she never tells us what she ate when she was vegan or what she eats now that she is an omnivore. Except to say that she used to eat “all carbohydrates” (All? No wonder she was sick) and that she now eats mostly animals and their secretions. And while she thinks she understands “moral vegetarians,” she reveals her total disconnect from a vegan ethic with three short sentences in the closing paragraphs of the book, “I have looked my food in the eye. I have raised some of it myself, loved it when it was small and defenseless. I have learned to kill.”

      This is ultimately a sad book. Lierre Keith was desperate to find an answer to her health problems; she landed on vegetarianism and then spun a tale to support her theory. Her intent seems heartfelt; she sees herself very much as a savior of vegetarians and wants us to learn from her mistakes. And the book has been widely embraced by those who want to believe that meat-eating is healthy and just. The problem is that there is truly nothing in this book that accurately supports that conclusion.

      • I highly suggest you read the reviews critically. Neither person has any qualifications – lots of people “work on” their PhDs and never get them. And it sounds like the first reviewer may not get hers, based on how many things she got wrong – starting with Keith being correct on carbon 13 being a stable isotope, and the reviewer being wrong about it “breaking down” into anything – since it’s stable, it doesn’t break down.

        There are plenty of archeological papers on tooth abrasion – “scratch marks” – and on analyzing diet based on stable isotope ratios. The reviewer’s not having run into these papers yet is probably part of why she doesn’t have her PhD yet. She’s wrong on most of the rest of her review as well – not to say Keith is right, but the review isn’t any evidence against the book.

        As for the second reviewer – a dietitian who doesn’t understand food affects health? I’d hate to be one of her clients.

        • So tell us, what are Lierre Keith’s qualifications? What are yours for that matter? I’ll take the word of a phD student over a couple of armchair experts. Also, I found numerous mistakes myself (since it seems to matter to you, I am a fully qualified veterinarian). Here is an example I just took from the excerpts on this page, without even having to go to her book to find them:

          “[Carnivores]may on occasion eat grass, but they use it medicinally, usually as a purgative to clear their digestive tracts of parasites. ”

          We actually don’t know why cats eat grass, but it certainly does nothing to clear their digestive tract of parasites. The best guess we have is that they eat it to induce vomiting and aid in elimination of undigestible material such as bones and hairballs.

          “Ruminants, on the other hand, have evolved to eat grass. They have a rumen (hence, ruminant), the first in a series of multiple stomachs that acts as a fermentative vat. What’s actually happening inside a cow or a zebra is that bacteria eat the grass, and the animals eat the bacteria.”

          Firstly, zebras do not have rumens and thus, are not ruminants. And actually, this is not at all how the digestive tracts of ruminants work (neither do the digestive tracts of hindgut fermenters such as zebras, for that matter). Bacteria break down cellulose and other plant materials into volatile fatty acids that are absorbed. The bacteria are not eaten – they colonize the stomach so they can continue to perform this vital function.

          Neither of these particular points completely invalidate what Keith is saying, but they do demonstrate that her research into the facts is extremely sloppy at best.

          • If you actually read the comment you’re responding to, you’ll be able to answer your own question, as you’ll find that I pointed out that neither person had any relevant qualifications. Of course, even people with credentials can be grossly ignorant of their subject areas; lots of supposedly qualified doctors currently recommend grain heavy dietary regimens for their prediabetic patients that drive those patients into diabetes, for example.

            For this reason, you shouldn’t be taking the word of anyone. Rather, you should be looking at the evidence with which people back their assertions. Keith appears to have provided at least some evidence. The reviewer in question has not, and indeed the student reviewer’s assertions are flat out wrong, as I have pointed out – with references to peer reviewed journals – in my comment on the review on Amazon.

          • “The second one is so right! any you know it too..which is why you trying to ignore her LOL”

            Wow… you can read minds! Is that the magic of veganism?

  2. Thank you for the recommendation for this book, sounds fascinating. Went straight to amazon Uk to order. One 1 star review, the writer thinks that the author ‘succumbed to temptation, eat some meat and had to justify it’. Now there is a reason to spend years researching and writing a book.
    Went through the vegan thing as a teenager, my daughter was vegetarian through her teenage years. (I respected her views, that is important too).
    Can’t wait to recieve this book. Thanks again for bringing it to notice.

  3. I, too, do not believe in the global climate change warming premise. As far as I am concerned, it is a hoax of a similar magnitude to that of the cholesterol and fat cause heart disease. I think you might enjoy the following brief articles on climate chage written by low-carb devotee Owsley Stanley:

    http://www.thebear.org/essays2.html#anchor506009

    http://www.thebear.org/essays2.html#anchor506010

    Also, I was a gender studies scholar for more than three years, and I share your label of egalitarianism. Still, what grinds my gears is that, while so many pro-feminist females voice equality (and with good reason), they still expect men to do traditional masculine things, such as hold doors and pick up cheques. While these examples are trivial, they are indicative of hypocrisy. Also, these same females almost demand their husbands/boyfriends to be more feminine-like, in terms of, say, expressing their emotions, yet when the men express their emotions, the women claim that they are unmanly. Talk about a quandery or double-bind.

    Anyways, the book sounds great. Thanks for the heads-up.

    Thanks for the links. Interesting.

    • <<<>>

      Such crap. Have you done a study? Feminism is the radical notion that women should have equal rights.

      So sorry the you and the author have such a problem with this. Guess what? Egalitarianism = Feminism.

      • Yeah… if you were alive in the Victorian era.
        What kind of an idiot are you? Any cursory “study” will show that the current wave of feminism has little if anything to do with egalitarianism.

        • Oh please do enlighten us about the current wave of feminism as, evidently, you know all about it, realist.

          Also, please cite your sources. Otherwise, you would look like “some kind of idiot”.

          Can’t wait to hear it. Go on, we’re listening.

      • He is differentiating between feminism in theory and feminism in practice. Feminism in practice is a war for dominancy, not equality. Why don’t guys ever get to keep the kids?

      • I will believe Christianity is not sexist the day the second woman is elected Pope and I will believe feminism is not sexist the day feminism fights for the rights of all.

    • Why do people who understand nutrition therefore assume that gives them an insight into climate change? Isn’t this the same kind of arrogance we rail against in other people?
      Surely the icecaps are melting. Surely the ozone hole opened up, then started to close when we banned one type of pollutant. Surely smaller dumb things that humans do can be linked to vast ecological disasters; BP in the gulf; the Great Auk (the arctic penguin, wiped out completely in a century or two); dioxins and PCBs in the food chain.
      Even if global warming and icecaps melting (surely the proof – not seeing that is truly being blind) is largely due to natural factors (a big if), is it the sane thing to do to be adding to it in any way?
      Here’s a way to reconcile the anti-PC gene with accepting global warming – the only cure for global warming is the increased use of nuclear power. And the only way to make nuclear power safe is to increase intake of antioxidants and clean minerals, decrease intake of carbs, and eliminate grains.

    • I was hoping to find a well reasoned argument with evidence disproving anthropogenic climate change. It’s not. It’s a childish rant with zero sources. All this proves is that you are gullible.

      • “I was hoping to find a well reasoned argument with evidence disproving anthropogenic climate change.”

        One could insist you make a well reasoned argument with evidence that you are NOT a child molester.

  4. My husband and I loved this book as much as you. Her writing is gorgeous and you did a spectacular job of showing it off! It is such a treat to find such good information so well presented (you are another rarity in this category).

    We also agree 100% about its shortcomings. I really, really, really wish she had left most of her personal politics outand saved them for a separate book. I am afraid that aspect will turn too many people off and help them dismiss all that good information. The solutions she offers seem to come from the land of wishful thinking. Although I am not sure we can really turn this thing around at this point. So maybe all we have is hope and wishes.

    I plan to get this review in the hands of as many people as possible.
    And link to it on our website if I may.

    You may indeed link to the review.

  5. There’s a lot to say about vegetarian cult tendencies, I was a vegetarian myself for seven years but now eat meat again (and lots of it) since I believe it’s good for me.

    After reading your review, what strikes me as the main point of the book is that agriculture, the agriculture that provides soy and wheat for the vegetarians, causes a lot of bad stuff. If you’re a no-blood-on-my-hands vegetarian who wants to be above the world, that’s sad news for you. But if you’re the kind of vegetarian I was, and almost everyone I knew was, you just wanted to reduce suffering and possibly environmental damage. And then I don’t see the argument.

    Whatever harm agriculture causes, the harm is greater by eating meat than plants, simply because meat is produced by first producing plants. Meat production requires more agriculture than plant production. It astonishes me that Ms. Keith seems to ignore this.

    This is unless one compares modern agriculture vegetarianism with some ideal hunter-gatherer life that has nothing to do with modern meat eaters, and definitely not could support six billion earth inhabitants.

    • “Whatever harm agriculture causes, the harm is greater by eating meat than plants, simply because meat is produced by first producing plants. Meat production requires more agriculture than plant production. It astonishes me that Ms. Keith seems to ignore this.”

      Beautifully said my friend. I am a “reduce suffering” type of vegetarian. i get what she’s getting at. I do have issues with what she’s saying.

      As far as it being a health issue….I’ve known plenty of unhealthy and overweight vegetarians. Primarily because they don’t actually eat VEGETABLES and fruits rich in nutrition. It’s all processed meat free food. They eat potato chips and Boca fake meat patties every day. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work guys…. That’s definitely bad for you.

      I firmly believe a conscious vegetarian diet is a healthy diet. And conscious meat eating diet can be healthy too. FOR YOU. My biggest issue is that i don’t want a factory farmed piece of flesh entering my body. This is a holocaust. My most basic instinct screams at the thought of this. That’s why I don’t eat meat.

      I understand the author loathes factory farming as well.

      • In answer to your statement about being a reduce suffering vegetarian, I say… Buffalo! Buffalo! The buffalo around here is grass fed (kept outside most of the year, they’ll trample you if you go near them) and good enough to make me want to kill one and eat it raw everytime I see them. The owners of the land don’t allow that though (I asked).

    • “Meat production requires more agriculture than plant production.”

      Sorry, but I have a pretty big problem with this statement, and I hear it all the TIME from vegetarians. No matter how much proof to the contrary that you show them, they’ll continue to parrot it.

      I come from a family of ranchers, (my 85 year old grandfather still runs cattle). His cattle are grass fed, and as such considered some of the best beef you can get. His many hundreds of acres of land are virtually untouched, with natural lakes that we fish in, natural woodlands, plains, etc.

      He purchases his grains from a neighboring farm, although the grain is used only for 3 months out of the year to keep his stock cattle fed through the winter. During this time, the meat cattle are not bred/raised.

      For the literal TONS of meat that his ranches produce in a year, a comparable amount of nutrients from soy, corn, beans, etc. would require stripping pretty much his entire acreage to grow. And frankly, not only does the beef taste better, but it’s CHEAPER to produce this way. Unless you’re one of the major “meat factory” industries producing sub-par beef in the North (which still don’t have the majority of the beef production market) most ranches use this very method. The kicker here is, on the hundreds of acres of land my grandfather owns, the owls, hawks, eagles, deer, coyotes, foxes, etc. etc. etc. all continue to live as if it’s a sanctuary.

      When you try to argue that “Meat production requires more agriculture than plant production” it again shows the sheer ignorance that the vegetarians hide behind. She said it best herself: “I was on the side of righteousness, and like any fundamentalist, I could only stay there by avoiding information.”

      • Ah, it looks like she covers this in the first 14 pages of her book, too…

        “Frances Moore Lappe says it takes twelve to sixteen pounds of grain to make one pound of beef. Meanwhile, Salatin raises cattle with no grain at all, rotating ruminants on perennial polycultures, building topsoil year by year. Inhabitants of urban industrial cultures have no point of contact with grain, chickens, cows, or, for that matter, with topsoil. We have no basis of experience to outweigh the arguments of political vegetarians.”

      • Excuse me, you are one situation and you ignore the millions of dairy cows that never see the sunshine or feel the grass under their cloven hooves. And what about the billions of chickens, both layers and ‘meat’ birds that spend their entire pathetic lives in sheds. The food they eat is grown somewhere and you wind up getting the plant nutrients second hand. Not to mention these animals must have B12 added to their feed so that they don’t sicken and die because after all, their bodies don’t automatically produce B12 any more than yours does.

    • “…simply because meat is produced by first producing plants. Meat production requires more agriculture than plant production.”

      Not necessarily, if you feed cows, pigs and chickens on what they’re supposed to eat, instead of cramming them full of corn and soy, which only serves to increase their fat and therefore weight (and price). You don’t have to plant grass, and pigs and chickens can be fed on veg scraps and peelings.

      Further, the impact of meat eating is huge not because there is a demand for meat, but rather there is a bigger demand for a specific kind, i.e. prime cuts, steak cuts and basically anything that isn’t offal or had contact with the ground (feet, anyone?). In other words, at least in most western countries, no one eats the whole hog, ruminant or bird anymore. This is a huge waste, and definitely unsustainable.

      My personal philosophy as an omnivore is that you gotta eat the whole animal to appreciate the sacrifice of its life. And that means everything. If you’re gonna eat meat, eat the whole cow, not just the prime cuts or the steak cuts. Meat would last longer that way, and you would kill far less animals for your meat needs. If you’re gonna balk at offal, you don’t deserve to eat meat.

      • I appreciate what you have to say, JYC, but it simply is not realistic. You state that “you gotta eat the whole animal to appreciate the sacrifice of its life.”

        That’s all well and good, but until you go out and kill and clean your own meat, when are you personally going to do this? My apologies if you are a hunter. Theoretically hunters do this and therefore, I have more respect for them then those who pick up prime rib from the grocery store. Deer, Elk, et. al. lived a much more humane life and death (if they were shot and NOT if they were killed with a bow and arrow) then a pig or chicken ever did.

        So grab your rifle and head out! Hunting season is right around the corner.

        • I kill and eat my own meat. Not only is it an excellent source of clean protein, but it’s a way of reconciling with myself the fact that meat requires dirty work and if I want to be willing to eat meat I had better be willing to do my own dirty work. However, to eat a diet of 100% game meat would be infeasible, although wonderful. There are laws stating when hunting is permitted, and how many animals a hunter can take, in my country. They basically make year-round subsistence hunting impossible except for those who are certain ethnic origins. So in order to live healthy by eating meat, at some point I need to eat meat raised by someone else. Where possible, I get it from farmers I know who raise animals in sustainable and humane ways. However, this is also expensive. My income is not endless. Because of financial pressures I am forced to eat factory-farmed meat sold at grocery stores.

          Get grocery stores to source from providers that don’t use the factory-farm system, and you’ll have solved a GREAT DEAL of the problems associated with meat eating.

      • “If you’re gonna balk at offal, you don’t deserve to eat meat.”

        Erm… none of this “offal” goes to waste. It either winds up in pet food, or fertilizer, or plastics, or any of a thousand other products made from inedible animal byproducts.

        Price blood meal someday and you’ll see why it’s not dumped down the drain. Price fertilizer at the level needed for large crops (hint: we’re talking millions of tons here) and you’ll realize why anything containing nitrogen (any protein source including manure) is valuable.

    • What disgusts me is people who feed grains and sugar to their cats and dogs. This includes practically the whole pet food industry. Read the label on your pet food; gluten, cereal grains, glucose. No wonder pets get “lifestyle diseases” too. If we are maladapted for grains, they are not adapted at all. And so-called vets support these products; really, a qualification these days is a certificate of ignorance, present company excepted, as always.

      • Okay, that’s just ignorance too. Wild canids largely eat small rodents, guts and all. Those small rodents mostly eat seeds from maize/corn and wheat/grass type plants. Gluten is just the protein from grain (or other grass seeds). So… a natural canid diet contains a goodly amount of partially digested grains, as part of the small whole rodents they eat (such as mice). We emulate that partial digestion via cooking the grain that goes into pet food.

        BTW I am a longtime professional in this field, I’m not just pulling this out of my ass.

        • I really question how much gluten you would find in the stomach of a mouse in the wild. There would be bugs in there too, all sorts of stuff. Much of the grain, if present, would be properly digested with peptidase (not cooked, which is not the same thing). The animal would probably defecate before being killed. The gluten content of the grains would be much lower, and would vary between strains (unlike commercial wheat). Many non-gluten strains, and nuts, seeds, etc. would also be eaten.
          In any case the grain content of a whole mouse would be small, whereas the grain content of petfood is huge; carbohydrate is the major calorie source. Are mice mostly carbohydrate?
          It seems to me this argument was evolved to justify the feeding of grain to cats and dogs, rather than that dogfood was designed to emulate the nutrients in a rodent plus stomach content.
          You won’t find much grain in the stomach of a rabbit, possum, or that of many other animals on the canid menu.

          • Further to that, did canids eat as many mice in systems where larger game and larger carnivores (that brought down game for canids to scavenge) were not exterminated by human intervention? Do hyenas eat mice?
            Does a hyena eat the stomach contents of the animal it kills? Would a dog if it had the choice, if the animal was bigger than a mouse?
            My dog will eat sheep poos occassionaly. Coprophagy in animals can be essential for probiotic transmission (mice eating cereal get vitamin K deficiency if coprophagy is stopped). There are no probiotics in dog food cereal.
            Except for some vegan dog food; the makers know that what they are doing is so unnatural that they introduce enzymes, prebiotics etc to help out the poor animal forced to eat it.

          • I now realise that this whole debate about what canids eat in the wild is misguided. Dogs are only distantly related to wild canids. For millions of years they have accompanied humans and humans have fed them from the carcasses of the beasts that dogs have helped us to hunt or herd.
            Even the rodent-killing ability of terriers only became important, and may only have been developed once humans started storing grain.

            I see global warming as equivelant to the carbohydrate theory of disease. We have messed industrially with the food supply/atmosphere and are paying/will pay the price. If government espoused the carb theory instead of the lipid theory of disease, you wouldn’t oppose it on that basis, would you?
            But big govt would get the answers wrong with the carb theory, just as they have with global warming. The answer is not to buy and sell the right to pollute.
            That’s like treating obesity by allowing lean people to sell permission to eat carbs to the overweight.
            Somebody in government is probably working on a carb calorie trading scheme right now.

            BTW, if both the icecaps are melting and almost every glacier is receding, and Pacific attols that have been above sea level for many centuries are sinking in unison at a visible rate, then the planet is definitely warming up, even if it snows in your back yard for the first time this year.
            Unless you have an alternative theory of why ice melts that’s more plausible than the “heat theory”.
            Perhaps radiation from cell phones is destabilizing the ice crystals, causing them to melt at lower temperatures?
            Perhaps the melting point of ice is not a constant, but oscillates over time like other so-called constants?

          • The ice caps are not melting, the atolls are not sinking (they float, for God’s sake), and every glacier is NOT receding. There are a quarter millions glaciers on this planet, and any any given point in history, some are receding and others are advancing.

            http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/12/14/global-sea-ice-trend-since-1979-surprising/

            http://iceagenow.com/List_of_Expanding_Glaciers.htm

            http://iceagenow.com/Arctic_Ice_Thickening.htm

            http://iceagenow.com/Pacific_Ocean_sea_levels_falling.htm

            http://iceagenow.com/Indian_Ocean_sea_levels_are_falling.htm

            http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/can_co2_cuts_save_artic.html

            Get with the program;

            wattsupwiththat.com
            climaterealists.com
            joannenova.com.au
            climateaudit.org
            bishophill.suarespace.com
            icecap.us
            co2science.org
            greenhellblog.com
            climatesanity.wordpress.com

          • Dogs have only been domesticated, at the most extreme estimate, about 30,000 years. Most estimates are closer to 10,000 years. NOT “millions of years”. Genetically, dogs are essentially wolves with some cosmetic changes: Dogs are quite closely related to wolves and coyotes; in fact all three readily interbreed and produce fertile offspring. And there is some backcrossing; the black gene in wolves comes from the domestic dog; coyotes have been found to have dog DNA from about 2000 years ago. (Foxes, hyenas, etc. are more distant cousins.)

            Wolves don’t *intentionally* eat stomach contents, and don’t generally do so on large kills (it’s hard to avoid with small rodents; my dogs that catch mice snarf them down whole). A side effect of this in winter (when only large game is readily available) is malnutrition. Know what the wildlife service feeds captured starving wolves to get them healthy again? Ordinary dry dog food.

            Yeah, some dog foods are too heavy on the grain and too light on the meat, but that doesn’t mean a certain amount of balance isn’t good. And before commercial dog food, what did we feed our dogs (if they didn’t hunt for themselves)?? Offal, and yesterday’s crusty porridge or dried-up bread. No, we shouldn’t be eating the modern level of carbs, but that doesn’t mean we have to avoid them entirely (at least in a diet reasonably well-based on animal proteins and fats).

            BTW the notion that Pacific atolls are being inundated has been discredited. The “sinking” islands are really just large sandbars, and ALL sandbars are volatile. And I remember when the big fear was “Global cooling” — based on the exact same evidence. Make up my mind! :)

        • Most rodents are omnivorous, and unless they live near grain fields, they’re eating vegetation, insects, small reptiles and amphibians, and scavenged meat from dead animals. Grains are nowhere NEAR the primary component of rodent diets, and even if they were, they make up only the tiniest fraction of the mass of the animal. This means that to match that, commercial cat food would contain less than 5% grains, and most contain significantly more than 50%. Not only that, fermentation and digestion are NOT mimicked by cooking. Cooking doesn’t improve the digestion of gluten for example, whereas fermentation definitely does.

      • Tell me about it.Back home I always fed my dog my leftover steak, chicken, etc., and now I’m rooming with a jerk who not only feeds his dog that crap (grain based food) but also refuses to let me give him my leftovers. He also mistreats the dog, but that’s another story.

    • With a veg’n population (who use soy and wheat) totalling perhaps 3% in North America, and I think that is a generous estimate, the remark about the agriculture that provides wheat and soy for vegetarians causing a lot of bad stuff simply shows an uninformed bias and/or an inability to think anything through. Almost all of those products grown are used by meat eaters, either because it is fed to the animals they eat, or is turned into food products that that majority group eats more of than the small numbers of vegetarians do. Our impact on that market is miniscule by comparison. Ms. Keith is dishonest in many of her remarks and that dishonesty is regularly mirrored in discussions of this sort.

    • @ Pimpernel – discredited by whom? Just because some disgruntled “expert” has a theory about sandbars, that doesn’t overturn the experience of people who live on low-lying islands or coasts. Attols are not sandbars but coral reefs around slowly-sinking volanic islands; the rate at which they normally sink has allowed them to remain inhabited for centuries. No sane person inhabits a sandbar. But people will believe or disbelieve what suits their own agendas. People who want to race cars guilt-free can buy experts to tell them that pollution is good for the planet.
      I am old enough to remember “global cooling” and I can assure you that no-one took it seriously but a few cranks, and the media breifly during the silly season. There is no comparison with global warming today. The mainstream climate concern then was with “nuclear winter” not fossil fuel. Nuclear winter is still on the table. No doubt the wars that result from climate change migrations will end in a nuclear winter that will save the world.
      Also how could people in the 1970’s have had the “exact same evidence” we have today? As far as I recall, time travel wasn’t invented then. Nor were half the gadgets used to measure climate change today. If the polar ice caps were still growing in the ’70’s, and they are smaller now than at any time in recorded history, doesn’t that suggest some sort of accelerating change in something?
      Climate change is a good example of something that can only be proved beyond all reasonable doubt by allowing a preventable disaster to take place.
      If someone says there’s a bomb on a plane, the plane gets stopped from taking off. No-one says “it’s probably a hoax, fly it and see”. But that’s exactly what the climate change denialists say, and there are a lot of people on that plane.

      re: dogs. Are you seriously saying that wolves starve in winter because the game is too big, so they don’t eat the stomach contents and get the nourishing grain?
      Wolves starve in winter, most likely, for one of two reasons; wolves have always starved in winter (survival of the fittest and all that), or humans have so denuded the game herds that easy prey is hard to find.
      And wardens save the starved wolves because humans have wiped out so many wolves that even starving wolves are valuable.
      They feed them dried chow because the food budget is not generous, they are environmentalists and don’t want to kill game, they don’t know any better, and they are only fattening the wolves for release, not supporting them for the rest of their lives.
      My dog’s vet told me to feed it commercial dogfood, then advised me to have her neutered to reduce the risk of cancer. He doesn’t seem to realise that for a dog to get cancer is an unnatural event. It will only get cancer if the vitamin C it produces can’t get into the cells because there is too much glucose going into them. The glucose will feed the tumour that the ascorbate would have inhibited in the wild, or on a low-carb diet.

  6. “Ms. Keith was a practicing vegetarian (vegan) for twenty years, driven by her passion for kindness and justice for all creatures. She couldn’t bear the thought of even killing a garden slug, or, for that matter, even removing a garden slug from her garden to a place where something or someone else might kill it.”

    Well, guess that rules out a Yard-a-pult.

    Indeed it does. Rules out a slug-o-matic, too.

    • I’m not sure what the point of this post is.

      Even though zebras (and horses) “lack the complex forestomach of a ruminant, unique characteristics of its large intestine, or hindgut, allow the horse to utilize cellulose and other fermentable substrates in much the same way as ruminants.”

      Are you just picking apart the semantics?

    • Surely no animal’s digestive system is inefficient if it is eating the diet it evolved to eat? Otherwise it would have been de-selected. The zebra’s digestion has to be efficient to survive; the horse’s may be inefficient today if it is fed more grain than it evolved to eat. In the wild or in the early days of horsemen it wouldn’t have eaten much dried grass or cereals.

      • Horses are inefficient *compared to ruminants*. That’s why horses require better-quality hay (or if they’re fed pure roughage like straw, they require some other source of nutrients, such as grain), while cattle and sheep can get by on moldy, deteriorated, low-quality stuff without supplementation.

  7. This sounds like a great book (aside from the feminist politics). Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it! Few nutritional stories are as convincing as those from former vegans and vegetarians. However, many of them are based on the poor health that can result from such a diet and it’s refreshing to hear about one that’s based on logic.

    I had to laugh about the part suggesting that all animals can live on grass. My cat eats grass too, but promptly regurgitates it afterward. Anyone who thinks a cat, or any other animal, can thrive on an unnatural diet should read Pottenger’s Cats.

    • Any chance that you would be interested in reading books that discuss good veg’n nutrition or do you just like this one because it confirms your own biased opinion?

      Why not do some reading about multiple winner of triathalons, Brendan Brazier or body builder Robert Cheeke, both of whom are vegans. Probably not likely that you will do that right, because it would completely refute that little cozy fantasy about all meatless diets being the worst thing one can do for the human body.

      In fact, I’ll even make it easy for you to really research this a little more completely from both sides of the discussion and provide you with a link so that you can see what a vegan diet can accomplish in an athlete. http://www.bestveganguide.com/vegan-athletes.html

      • Have you read “The Vegetarian Myth?” Until you do, you can’t exactly go around complaining about the hypocrisy of the other side. You first. Read something outside your comfort zone. We’ve had enough proselytizing– your side is good at that. Be open minded for once and be willing to consider another opinion.

  8. Great review, Dr. Eades! I *wish* my vegetarian friends would read this book, but I’m afraid the title alone would put them off due to the cult like thinking you mentioned – they don’t want any information that will dispel their beliefs.

    I, however, will be reading it. :-)

  9. Ok, I bought it, and your book, and Fat Head the movie using your portal. Thanks for all the wonderful work you and your wife do for us. Can’t wait for September 1. 0.0

    Thanks very much. We do appreciate it.

  10. Amazing.

    Most environmentalists often appear to lack an appreciation of complexity, which is highly unfortunate as it leaves the movement circling around simplistic and reductionistic ideas about “sustainability”. I mean, everyone has heard about unintended consequences, right? It is brilliant that someone has finally stepped forward and really taken a cold hard look at it and gone above and beyond, taken it to a new level. Hopefully Lierre Keith will receive wide respect for this, and open minds.

    But her point is very simple too. Hopefully that will help. I remember one morning on a trip to a French farm owned by a spiritual teacher, when we were woken early to kill an animal. It was done early as a sign of respect. But they didn’t call it killing, they called it “transforming”, in a matter of fact kind of way.

  11. One problem I have with the YouTube excerpt is that she equates “agriculture” with “grain growing.” Agriculture is also the raising of animals and vegetables.

    The real problem is overpopulation. There simply aren’t enough wild animals out there for everyone who is now chowing down on grains to go out into the forest and shoot their own.

    Does she address this in her book?

    Yes.

  12. Its interesting that her vegan ideals led to her realization that the solution of veganism was inconsistent with those same ideals. Its a wonderful example of self-examination. If she casts that same critical eye on her other areas of belief she may find herself questioning them as well.

  13. hey doc,
    i’m a big fan of yours but i gotta say i’m not a denier. first, global temperatures have not been falling. 1998 and 2005 were the hottest recorded global temps. you could say temps dropped between 1998 and 2004 and then rose even higher in 2005, but the general trend has been increased temps; there’s not denying this. further, they don’t call it climate change because temps have been dropping (they haven’t). they call it climate change because the major increases in greenhouse gases don’t only affect temperature, they affect precipitation and sea level, which may have a more profound impact on humans.

    • The real temperatures are not rising, only the “adjusted,” homogenized ones, and those averaged after deleting thousands of previous thermometer stations in colder regions, and relocating many of the rest to incredibly hot places, like airport tarmacs and next to air-conditioner exchange units.

      Two weeks ago, NASA took a map showing increasing ice worldwide and colored the cold areas red, to make it look as if everything was heating up. James Hansen, who runs the NASA rubbish unit, personally involves himself in “correcting” temperature readings, constantly readjusting those in 1950s and earlier down, and everything else up.

      Take away the “adjustments” and “corrections,” and compare existing temperature stations with past records, and suddenly there is no temperature increase. It’s all rigged.

      But, keep spouting the party line. This winter should go far to disprove an unworkable hypothesis. H2O only increases temperatures to a point, after which, its heat-abortion stops dropping, and in any event, the planet is perfectly capable of regulating its own temperatures, which it has been doing from the get-go.

  14. Thanks for the fantastic review, Mike!

    I’m in the middle of the Nutritional Vegetarians section, and it is indeed a great read.

    I understand your objections to Ms. Keith’s politics, but I doubt she could have written the book any other way. Her passion for her beliefs is branded on every page. She doesn’t just wear her heart on her sleeve. She sets it aflame and runs it up the flag pole!

    As a former True Believer in the vegan feminist religion, it is crucial that she puts every decision up against that standard. She holds on to her feminist ideals but realizes that veganism fails the acid test… is this the most kind thing to do? …is this the sustainable thing to do? …is this the right thing to do? The answer to veganism is no. A resounding NO! that Keith had ripped from her against her will. But her commitment to her personal quest for a more just world required it for her to maintain her personal integrity.

    To me, the politics of this book are exactly what makes it great. College campuses are echoing with the ideas Keith discusses. Young ladies are making wrong nutrition choices made on moral grounds that will poison their bodies and the bodies of their unborn children as well. Asking them to change their politics is pointless. Pointing out the error in the nutrition choices that have glommed on to their politics has hope.

    In the end, the book isn’t for us, Mike. We’re guys. Keith’s not really worried about us. She’s trying to save a few of her sisters. And darn it, I think she’s going to succeed!

    Be well,
    Ben Fury

    Great comment. You’re probably right. I doubt that it would have been the book it is without the politics, but I still found it intrusive. But I do think she’s after saving her sisters.

    • For you too Ben, check out the following link and see what a vegan diet can accomplish. http://www.bestveganguide.com/vegan-athletes.html Poison their bodies, get real please. The vast majority of people in the US and Canada are meat eaters, and there is an obesity epidemic. Apparently you guys haven’t got a clue either. At least qualify your statement by including the words, “a poorly executed veg’n diet”. That is at least honest. As for her saving a few of her sisters, only if those sisters are too dull to think for themselves.

    • Just want to echo Ben’s comment… I’ve been familiar with this book since its release, and I think Keith’s audience isn’t intended to be the general public, so much as it is her former peers in vegetarian/vegan circles. The politics are necessary to communicate effectively with those folks within their own realm of understanding.

      What she’s done is really quite brave. She’s basically a recovered cultist returning to her cult to save whomever she can. The hostility of the vegan/vegetarian comments here at your blog is likely just a small taste of what Keith herself deals with every day. I wouldn’t be surprised if she lives with constant death threats and the like.

      I don’t much like feminist politics either, but man what a courageous public stance to take. Whatever disagreements I may have with her politics pale in comparison to my respect for her journey and her work.

      • Paula, there are hostilities on both sides of the argument. There is no vegan cult. People have biases on both sides of the argument and a bias, or a belief system is hardly a cult. That’s actually a pretty harsh and hostile thing to say.

        • I’ve been vegan and part of the vegan community. Though there are certainly lots of nice folks in the community, there is a cult-like feel to the community at large. When you go to this community for advice because you’re not feeling well, be prepared to have the flesh whipped from your bones if you suggest you may be one of those people disillusion enough to think you may need animal food in your diet to be healthy. You will be called names like, gluttonous and lazy- you’ll be accused of “failing veganism”, you’ll even be told that it doesn’t matter whether you die or not, that the food animal’s life is more important than yours. That is most definitely cult-like, and it kept me from getting the help I need for MUCH longer than it should have.

          • That’s pretty crazy if you actually experienced that but I wouldn’t assume that people will react that rudely and insensitively in all vegan groups.

            I don’t know any vegans that would say an animal’s life is more important than a human’s but I’m sure there are some people crazy enough to say that. Anyone who killed a human with their car would have a much harder time dealing with that than hitting an animal with their car but some vegans, like all people, could be deluded enough to deny that.

            If you base your need to eat meat on the blood-type diet then I would disagree with you as that diet has been torn apart more than any diet, according to my doctor (who isn’t vegetarian or vegan). I’m still not convinced that there’s anything produced by animals that you can’t get elsewhere.

          • I’m not making an assumption- I’ve been to dozens of groups, if not more than 100- my experience was ALWAYS the same. It’s cult-like. The Blood Type diet?! lol Noooo.. that was utterly and thoroughly debunked. I base it on the fact that as a whole-food, organic vegan I gained 65lbs, developed type II diabetes, GERD, had chronic depression, cholesterol over 300 and skin like the constellations. Now I eat a low-carb primal diet with naturally raised animal foods, no starches/grains/beans, and I’m healthier than I was as a teen. The GERD is gone, the diabetes is gone, my skin is clear and my cholesterol hovers just over 100. (plus I lost 100 pounds) Human beings evolved on a diet that included animal food. There’s no getting around that.

          • This whole “cult” view of vegans is interesting. Perhaps because I live in cattle country and I’ve only met… I don’t know… 3 other vegans, but I’ve never experienced that. I would imagine it comes from people who really need the support and encouragement of others to feel that what they’re doing is right.

  15. I just bought this book a few weeks ago, along with some professional reading. I’ll have to move it higher on my reading list

  16. Dr. Eades, I have a nutrition question that I have been researching for a long time and trying to get a definitive answer on, but keep finding mixed research. It has nothing to do with your current post, so I apologize for that. I agree with your research and have followed a low carb/ intermittent fasting lifestyle for almost a year now, I excercise multipe times during the week and only eat natural foods.
    My question is concerning carbohtdrate distribution and sleep. I am aware that the brain is most active at night… so are carbohyrdates needed right before bed to supply your brain with glucose during the sleep?? If anything, I would think they would be more important before bed than during the day. But there are so many variables to the story……

    1. Insulin is needed to shuttle all of the other amino acids into the muscles leaving tryptophan to produce serotonin and melotonin…which brings us into a deeper sleep. correct??

    2. On the other side of the story Growth hormone release peaks in the beginning hours of sleep, so wouldn’t an insulin response blunt this growth hormone release?

    Fat has been shown to blunt growth hormone, Protein can cause an insulin response, and of course carbohydrate does. So wouldn’t eating anything before bed blunt this release?

    So I would thnk that the answer to this senerio would be to stop eating a few hours before you go to bed, but I have experimented with this in the past, and I would wake up before my alarm clock went off with my heart racing feeling like I could fly out of bed. Which I was told was a sign that your blood sugar dropped in your sleep resulting in cortisol and adrenaline production to bring your blood sugar back up.

    Is there a senario that you beleive promotes the most healthy and rejuvenating sleep including time of food consumed and what type of food (carbs, protein, fat ,etc)? Any help would be greatly appreciated, please correct me if I am wrong on anything. Sorry for the long post. —- Jerome

    There are many variables. Most studies I’ve read show that carbs will eliminate the growth hormone spurt that normally occurs just after falling to sleep. It is true that anything that raises insulin levels will provide a relative abundance of tryptophan, which converts to serotonin, which can lead to deeper sleep. And, yes, the insulin will blunt the growth hormone release. I don’t recommend that people eat right before bed for these reasons. Plus, eating right before bedtime has a tendency to induce GERD and/or make it worse in those who already have it.

  17. Wow – very compelling review. Thank you for bringing it to my attention – I had never heard of this book and would have likely not given it a second thought even if I had, since I’m already a ‘believer’, you know… I have a friend who is struggling with health issues most likely caused by her veganism. I hope she will open herself to reading this book, which I plan to recommend by sending her your blog post. Thanks!

    Oh, and I plan to recommend to everyone who is linked to me on Facebook and Twitter.

    Keep up the GREAT work!!

    I hope your friend follows your recommendation and reads the book.

  18. What took the author twenty years took me sixty years. From the age of 13 (when I sang at a vegetarian conference) to 73, when I read Protein Power, I was a devoted vegetarian. I was also active and athletic and devoid of health problems. However, I was fat.

    I am now 76, eating zero carbs, losing weight (slowly) and enjoying the simplicity of my life. Now when people question my becoming carnivorous, I’ll simply recommend Keith’s book.

    Off to enjoy my breakfast of beef tongue.

    Marly

  19. i will definitely be buying this book as i have many friends and acquaintances who call themselves vegans or vegetarians. if anything, this book will expose why we shouldn’t have strong opinions about complicated issues (e.g. climate change, the economics of universal healthcare), without a firm grasp of all sides of the those issues and the science or research that supports them. everyone wants to have an opinion, but what are those opinions really worth without extensive knowledge?

  20. While I’m glad that she’s discovered the dietary facts, for the sake of her own health, she still holds tightly to the most destructive, anti-human ideologies of the vegetarian/vegan/PETA/environmentalist movements. In the beginning of the video, she states that “…the underlying values of the vegetarian ethic are not at issue. …anything that questions human entitlement or human hubris… that’s the motivating ethic of my life.”

    The idea that human beings are some kind of virus to be physically restrained lest they destroy everything in their path is far more destructive to human beings than a grain-based diet. Reading the quotes from the book, the pervasiveness and strength of her anti-human ideas were obvious and sickening to me. Now that she’s had this dietary revelation, I fully expect that instead of campaigning against raising animals for food and convincing (or ideally forcing) everyone to be a vegetarian, she will now go forth and try to campaign against agriculture, force farmers (politically) to limit their farming, and implement government subsidies for animal farming.

    It’s great to advocate eating meat rather than grain for the benefit of human health, but to damn all agriculture because the leveling of a field kills mice or a local “ecosystem”? What about other beneficial, non-food uses for the plants that are grown (whatever those may be)? Can we not dam a river (for whatever reason) without being evil? Like I said, I’m glad she’s going to get some meat in her stomach, but her core worldview (that humans must be controlled and restrain from acting in their own best interest) remains as destructive to her and to others as ever.

    Interesting points, all. I’m not sure she’s advocating not growing plants because harvesting them kills field mice; I think she’s simply saying that even a vegan diet is associated with death. I think she does go a little overboard on the innate evil of humans (at least those who aren’t radical feminists), but as another commenter pointed out, she probably has to to reach her target audience, which I think is young women already enmeshed in or contemplating the vegan life.

  21. thanks dr mike will pick up the book.

    in regards to climate change and sustainability- i don’t think the real argument is whether the planet is warming or cooling- or even whether the change is caused by man (while i do think the data isn’t as complicated as some make it).

    just the fact that there CAN be so much debate about climate/temp change and it’s causes shows how complex and interdependent the systems of the earth truly are. the debate should be focused about why we shouldn’t change the variables of systems so drastically when man can’t predict the end result, which potentially could be a drastic irreparable outcome.

  22. Thanks for pointing out this book – can’t wait to read it! I was a vegetarian myself for several years. I’m enjoying the new TV show “The Goode Family” with the miserable vegan dog. At least I didn’t inflict my vegetarianism on my pets!

  23. As a former vegetarian, I find much of the argumentation presented here weak. That billions of small animals may be killed through agriculture doesn’t change the fact that the grain is then fed to larger animals who are then killed for our food. That eating vegetarian causes the death of animals doesn’t change the fact that eating meat causes the death of many more. That the vegetarian doesn’t prevent the death of all animals doesn’t mean that it doesn’t prevent the death of many, so from that point of view vegetarianism is ethically better. And the fact that the buffalo have been wiped out to make room for agriculture doesn’t make the consumers of agriculture any more guilty than the fact that I live on land once occupied by Indians. The argument proves too much.

    Likewise for the environmental aspect: production of meat consumes *more* grain and land and water than grain production in itself.

    As for the nutritional argument, I believe that Dr. Eades himself recently reported on a low carb vegetarian study, so vegetarianism needn’t necessarily be bad for health.

    That vegetarians on a message board somewhere are ignorant means nothing.

    The reason I quit being vegetarian was, like the author, health problems. And since I care about animals the choice wasn’t trivial. The reasoning is this: we couldn’t help but be born human, and for humans, meat is the diet of choice. Going without meat is like asking the hippo to give up the river.

    I look forward to the day when we have vat-grown, tissue culture meat. Maybe not in my lifetime, but when it happens, people will be aghast at how we managed to kill so many animals for so long.

    People rationalize their choices and believe what they want to believe.

    • The fact that the author didn’t deem it fit to reply your intelligent comment speaks volumes.

      Indeed, people rationalize their choices and believe what they want to believe. Our brain is unfortunately hardwired for denial and this is our biggest limitation as a species.

    • If you had read the book, you would see that what she is advocating is a pasture fed approach to raising cattle, not on grain. There is a big difference. Same with other sources of protein. She devotes several chapters to this logical fallacy and her work is full of citations to primary and secondary sources.

      Further, her entire argument is that we are out of sync with the natural cycle of things. We have too high a population to support using either traditional agriculture or meat production schemes.

      I argue with her politics extensively and it’s taken me quite a while to read the book. However it is very much worth the read. If you want to argue the book, read it.

  24. I think it’s appropriate that your book is coming out during National Cholesterol Education Month.

    Yeah, isn’t it though. Steeped in irony.

  25. I think Joel has hit on an important issue — what is the best and most efficient way to feed billions of people? It’s well known that many Hindus in India (I believe particularly in southern India) are vegetarian. Their reason for being vegetarian is supposedly religious, but there is a non-religious reason for it – there is no way India could traditionally (or even now) supply enough meat for everyone to be meat eaters. Related to that is why cows are considered sacred — if you eat the cow, then you don’t have the milk and milk products that the cow can provide. So milk becomes the major protein source for many people.

    Also, one of the arguments against meat in the supermarket is how the animals that become meat are fed. Is meat from an animal fattened up with corn and soy OK or not? Obviously, an animal that eats strictly from a pasture would be better, but go to a food store that sells pastured beef and note what the price per pound is. It might stop you in your tracks.

    I’m not making any excuses for factory farms, but take the cattle, pigs and chickens out of them and you have much less (and more expensive) meat available to an increasing population. It’s possible that reverting millions of acres of corn and soy back to pasture could help out, since the animals could revert back to eating what they’re supposed to. But then again, this could be wishful thinking, I simply don’t know.

    I think one of the more important things to focus on is where to find the Omega-3s and how to produced them. Fish is becoming scarcer and supermarket meat has a fraction of the Omega-3s that pastured animals can provide. Are Omega-3s from plant sources that we eat adequate for us, or is it necessary for an intermediate animal/fish to give us their Omega-3s from the plants they eat?

  26. I can’t remember where I heard about this book, but I got it and read it a few weeks ago.

    One part that made my jaw drop was the anecdote about the woman who depended on soy for her protein source, and what it did to her memory. (Can’t remember the chapter) The story makes you want to laugh and cry.

    Yes, I contemplated quoting that part, too. But if I had quoted everything I wanted to quote, I would have ended up putting up the entire book.

  27. Dr. Mike, I know that you are a fan of Jameson. I like it, too, preferably in the form of an Irish coffee (Jameson, cream, and black coffee). That preference has, this week, given way to another Irish alcohol-containing beverage. You or some of the readers might enjoy it: in a mug, add cocoa powder, cream, and a liberal serving of Bailey’s Irish Cream, along with boiling water; a tasty, high fat, low carb beverage…I am drinking one at this very moment.

    Mmmm. Sounds great.

  28. Thx for the interesting article. I have really been examining my food sources lately, and find this very informative.

    On that note Doc, I wonder if you could consider blogging about your opinion of meat sources? For example, should we be eating grass-fed beef instead of grain fed-even if it’s organic and pastured? What about raw milk products-I’ve been reading about this subject and even tried some (expensive!) raw milk and cream. Is it worth the money?

    I ask these questions because I want to be a responsible consumer, but it’s hard to know what’s best and balance that with budget and ethical concerns.

    I’ll add it to my list of stuff to post on. Thanks for the suggestion.

  29. Squire thanks that post and link to her Tube of You book-talk.Very very nicely.

    Only thing i disagree with is the fight back.
    Info doesnt seem to change people.
    Intuition its powers and Perils by Myers has a super section on this partic.topic.
    I don’t think it means one shouldn’t try only that it’ll likely not do any good !
    This lass was changed i assume by her ill health ?

    It seems to be about identity and how we see ourselves in the grand scheme of things.
    Like the old Zen story of the Abbott and Novice with the fmr.eating fish, the latter noodles..there was one dish of each.The novice is fumng mad as his hero has committed the awfulness of betraying his vow of compassion.About to explode he glances oer to see the Abbott very carefully leaving his leg outside of the mosquito net so that the beats can eat him.
    Deep and meaningless in one aspect ! but we do seem to forget literally that we are all somethings food
    Now what was the name of that American fella who was belived to have been eaten in 30/40’s by a komodo ?!
    Again thanks the post…super

  30. I read this book a couple of months ago and it was fantastic. One of the best books I’ve read this year. I am a former raw vegan (gave it up last year) and I sent my copy to another raw vegan who I’ve never met but have corresponded with via email and raw vegan forums. She is struggling and I think if she reads this with an open mind it can help tremendously.

    Kim

    I hope it works for her.

  31. So now I’ve got two more books to put on the reading list? I just (pre)ordered yours, and now I’ll need to add this one! I also need a sabbatical from teaching to get caught up to where I was on that list before discovering PPLP and your blog a year ago. Thanks, of course. I’ve already read “Mistakes Were Made (but not by me)” and enjoyed it immensely. I regularly recommend it; indeed, I plan to slip a few choice parts of it into my Fall courses (Ethics) for discussion. And for what it’s worth, I’m also a climate skeptic/anti-radical-feminist. Not exactly popular positions in my field.

    You and MD would get along fine.

  32. A fence in Africa? That is taking vegetarian stupity to a new level. They’d have to put up a lot more fences all over the world to separate carnivores from their prey. Plus, I doubt they’d have much success hearding the carnivores to the carnivore side of the fence and might even become dinner. :)

    Sounds like a great book and I’ll have to get it. Thanks for the review.

  33. Oprah and friends keep harping on the emotional components of why people overeat (“What’s eating you?”), but what of the psychological influences over what we eat? For my family, it’s not the quantity of food, but the sanctity of the carbs. Grains border on holy. Some members seem to think that it’s a rejection of God to not want to eat bread. Muffins, cakes, cookies, pasta, apple pie (throw in some vegetables for health), all tied to family identity, morality, goodness, American values, God, peace in the world; they derive psychological satisfaction from all of this as well as the physical pleasure from eating. Forget about the physiological need for protein and animal fat. It’s difficult to fight.

  34. Let’s see . . .

    Humans are innately evil and there are too many of us.
    Humans need to eat flesh.
    Killing animals for food is regrettable but necessary.

    I’ve got it!

    SOYLENT GREEN!

    What could go wrong??

  35. I really don’t want to read this book because I don’t feel I can trust the author’s credibility. That forum thread that she was talking about, the one where the vegans wanted to put a fence in the Serengeti to divide predators from prey? It was a joke. Here, you can read it yourself: http://www.postpunkkitchen.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=19376

    If she can’t see through the sarcasm in that, it makes me distrust her BS detector and I can’t see myself reading her book without questioning every idea she puts forth. Maybe I’m throwing out the baby with the bathwater here.

    I’m not sure the link you posted is to the website the author was talking about. I posted the entire quote that she pulled from the website she saw. It was much more extensive than the one line posted in the link you sent.

  36. Great review, Dr. Eades. I learned about this book from Sally Fallon Morrell who highly recommended it. I contacted Lierre Keith for a Podcast interview and she sent me a copy to read. It is beautifully written and full of great scientific information, including your research and that of Gary Taubes and the Weston A. Price Foundation. Lierre read one of my favorite sections aloud. We had a great discussion. Our interview and blog will air next week. I will probably link to this review. We would love to have you and Mary on our show, as well. We are scheduling an interview with the producer of Fat Head this fall.

    We would be happy to be on the show. Just let us know when.

  37. Sounds like a great book, am putting it on my list of to read. Have you seen the the following article. I don’t have a link to it, so here it is as it was sent ot me. I would be, but it’s an assumption on my part, the link in the association between both cognitive decline & Dementia risk & adherence to the Mediterranean Diet is the grain aspect. I suspect this because of the link between the rise of agriculture (grain) & the shrinking brain mass in humans. As well as the link between insulin insensitivity & Alzhiemers. But again I’m assuming. Here’s the article, would like to here your opinion.

    Study today published in JAMA

    The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
    Vol. 302 No. 6, August 12, 2009

    Adherence to a Mediterranean Diet, Cognitive Decline, and Risk of Dementia

    Catherine Féart, PhD; Cécilia Samieri, MPH; Virginie Rondeau, PhD; Hélène Amieva, PhD; Florence Portet, MD, PhD;

    Jean-François Dartigues, MD, PhD; Nikolaos Scarmeas, MD; Pascale Barberger-Gateau, MD, PhD

    JAMA. 2009;302(6):638-648.

    Context: Higher adherence to a Mediterranean-type diet is linked to lower risk for mortality and chronic diseases, but its association with cognitive decline is unclear.

    Objective: To investigate the association of a Mediterranean diet with change in cognitive performance and risk for dementia in elderly French persons.

    Design, Setting, and Participants: Prospective cohort study of 1410 adults (≥65 years) from Bordeaux, France, included in the Three-City cohort in 2001-2002 and reexamined at least once over 5 years. Adherence to a Mediterranean diet (scored as 0 to 9) was computed from a food frequency questionnaire and 24-hour recall.

    Main Outcome Measures: Cognitive performance was assessed on 4 neuropsychological tests: the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Isaacs Set Test (IST), Benton Visual Retention Test (BVRT), and Free and Cued Selective Reminding Test (FCSRT). Incident cases of dementia (n = 99) were validated by an independent expert committee of neurologists.

    Results: Adjusting for age, sex, education, marital status, energy intake, physical activity, depressive symptomatology, taking 5 medications/d or more, apolipoprotein E genotype, cardiovascular risk factors, and stroke, higher Mediterranean diet score was associated with fewer MMSE errors (β = –0.006; 95% confidence interval [CI], –0.01 to –0.0003; P = .04 for 1 point of the Mediterranean diet score). Performance on the IST, BVRT, or FCSRT over time was not significantly associated with Mediterranean diet adherence. Greater adherence as a categorical variable (score 6-9) was not significantly associated with fewer MMSE errors and better FCSRT scores in the entire cohort, but among individuals who remained free from dementia
    over 5 years, the association for the highest compared with the lowest group was significant (adjusted for all factors, for
    MMSE: β = –0.03; 95% CI, –0.05 to –0.001; P = .04; for FCSRT: β = 0.21; 95% CI, 0.008 to 0.41; P =.04). Mediterranean diet
    adherence was not associated with the risk for incident dementia (fully adjusted model: hazard ratio, 1.12; 95% CI, 0.60 to
    2.10; P = .72), although power to detect a difference was limited.

    Conclusions: Higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with slower MMSE cognitive decline but not consistently with other cognitive tests. Higher adherence was not associated with risk for incident dementia.

    Author Affiliations: Research Center INSERM U897, Université Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2, Bordeaux, France (Drs Féart, Rondeau, Amieva, Dartigues, and Barberger-Gateau and Ms Samieri); INSERM U888, Université Montpellier 1, Montpellier, France (Dr Portet); and Department of Neurology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York (Dr Scarmeas).

    Looks interesting. I’ll pull the actual study and take a look. But I don’t much stock in these kinds of studies for a whole lot of reasons.

  38. Dear Dr Mike
    First of all, I’d like to thank you for Protein Power, and for all the work you and MD have done to promote the low carb way of eating. I am now a firm believer in the benefits of a low carb diet, and truly appreciate the trouble you took in your books, and continue to take on this blog, to give us properly referenced scientific explanations.
    I am a believer in low carb. But I am also a vegetarian.
    My decision to be a vegetarian has nothing to do with any of the reasons you talk about in your posts (or that apparently Lierre Keith refers to in her book). I have never been comfortable eating meat, simply because the idea makes me feel ill – presumably in the same way that some people are revolted by eating witchyetty grubs or goats eyeballs. I have no problem with anyone else eating meat, and in fact make every effort to ensure my kids get enough meat every day. After all, as an overweight vegetarian, I am certain that my years of high carb/low protein consumption has significantly contributed to my weight problem.
    However, the tone of your post today has left me feeling hurt. Not all vegetarians fit the profile of those that you seem to feel so happy to disparage. I would never go around preaching anything to anybody. And I don’t like being automatically clumped into a group of people idiotic enough to think up the idea of putting a fence down the middle of the Serengeti to separate carnivores and herbivores!
    I gather that as the authors of Protein Power you have probably been under attack from the type of people you are describing, and no doubt enjoy an opportunity to strike back. But surely they are just a self-selecting, highly vocal, aggressive subset of vegetarians. I am sure there are plenty of other vegetarians out there who go quietly about their business, without causing any trouble or offering any judgement on how other people choose to live.
    Maybe things are different in America from how they are here in the UK. I was absolutely shocked by the truly offensive billboard you posted the link to – I have never seen anything like that. But I just wanted to speak up for all the quiet vegetarians out there, many of whom could probably do with your help and support. As a vegetarian I know how badly my health suffered trying to follow a low fat/high carb diet – there just isn’t enough protein left to eat.
    I believe my health has benefitted, and I have lost weight from following your diet – my own vegetarian version, with protein boosted by micro-filtered whey powder. And I can’t help thinking there are more veggies out there who could also benefit from your programme – if only they are not alienated by sweeping assumptions that all vegetarians are driven by the same extreme beliefs.
    Sincerely,
    Sally

    I completely understand your point, and I wasn’t aiming any disparagement in the direction of people like you. MD and I have had a number of patients who were vegetarians that we worked closely with to help lose weight on low-carb diets while remaining vegetarian. I don’t like militant vegetarians who treat me like I’m a moron or am somehow morally deficient because I eat meat. Those are the people I intended my ire for.

  39. I wrote the one four-star review on Amazon. Though my review was more brief, I think that you and I noticed the same things and were disappointed by the same things.

    A great read for the first three chapters. Just enjoy those.

  40. Dennis Mangan is right about the faulty arguments presented in this book. Based on Mike’s review, Ms. Keith has swung full tilt from one extreme position to the opposite. This doesn’t contribute to a debate about what is the most compassionate and least environmentally impactful way to eat to stay healthy– it just comes across as polemic to fan the fire (and maybe sell books?). There are ways to be healthy, non-overweight and eat vegetarian–being one, I know. Agriculture is clearly not all bad just as some meat eating is not necessarily cruel. Cutting rain forests to grow more grain products is unsustainable and destructive and so is supporting (animal) factory farming to satisfy a taste for flesh and protein regardless of how it finds its way to our plate. Each is contemptible and needlessly destructive of life and environment. Between these two extremes is where a reasoned and compassionate future will arise. Let’s put more effort there.

    • Good point. Even though totally sold on Protein Power I still eat more vegetable foods than meat. I don’t think a high-protein diet would be as healthy without leafy greens, berryfruit, sesame seeds, nuts, mango, apricot, sweet potato, and legumes, just so long as the carbs are being counted.
      A compromise food seems to be spirulina; a vegetarian who ate substantial amounts of spirulina, chlorella, and natto (for K2) would be doing better. It seems to me that to be a healthy vegan you need to mainly eat superfoods, including high protein foods like quinoa and goji berries, sesame especially black sesame – anyone else into this tasty variant? – and avoid gluten like the plague it is.

  41. I definitely agree with the author about human attitudes towards death. In particular, I think we project our own fear of death onto animals rather than understanding that everything that is born will die. The lengths we have gone to prevent our own deaths and, in the past 30ish years, to prevent the deaths of animals have perverted our diet immensely. I wrote a post on this about a year ago: http://boozeandmescaline.com/post/attitudes-toward-death-and-killing-food/

    This really clicked after reading some of Ernest Becker’s work about how we deeply repress the idea of our own death. A damn good book to read: http://www.amazon.com/Birth-Death-Meaning-Ernest-Becker/dp/0029021901/

    • I was waiting for someone to post a comment about Becker and his works. He was a brilliant man, with a brilliant mind, and his work always has something to add to the discussion when it comes to the human experience.

  42. You state: “In Political Vegetarians she refutes the politics (predominantly liberal) of the vegetarian movement…
    ‘And it’s essentially a massive transfer of money from the US taxpayer to the giant grain cartels… – five billion dollars in subsidies for corn alone, straight into the pockets of Cargill and Monsanto.’ ”

    Actually I think we liberals (as well as you libertarians) would eagerly agree with her critique of corporate welfare here.

    Love your blog; just pre-ordered your new book. Best regards,

    Thanks for the book order. I was actually quoting her on that. She is saying basically that most vegetarian politics is liberal. Conservatives, by and large, aren’t vegetarians. I agree that both liberals and libertarians (and even free-market conservatives (if they have good sense)) oppose corporate welfare.

  43. Hello Dr. Eades,
    I actually found your website through Lierre’s book — my copy is also dog-eared, and I’ve been handing the book out left and right to all I know and love, vegetarian or otherwise.
    I’d like to respond to Joel’s earlier comment:

    “Whatever harm agriculture causes, the harm is greater by eating meat than plants, simply because meat is produced by first producing plants. Meat production requires more agriculture than plant production. It astonishes me that Ms. Keith seems to ignore this.”

    She does not ignore this, she skewers it. That argument is based on the erroneous assumption that cattle should be raised on grain or corn. With Dr. Eades’ permission, I’ll add another quote from the chapter Political Vegetarians.

    “‘The 4.8 pounds of grain fed to cattle to produce one pound of beef for human beings represents a colossal waste of resources in a world still teaming with people who suffer from profound hunger and malnutrition,” writes Jim Motavalli. Yes, it is a waste, but not for the reason he thinks. As we have seen in abundance, growing that grain will require the felling of forests, the plowing of prairies, the draining of wetlands, and the destruction of topsoil. In most places on earth, it will never be sustainable, and where it just possibly might be, it will require rotation with animals on pasture. And it’s ridiculous to the point of insanity to take that world-destroying grain and feed it to a ruminant who could have happily subsisted on those now extinct forests, grasslands, and wetlands of our planet, while building topsoil and species diversity

    -snip-

    The figure of two cattle might be true if you assume grain feeding, though I can’t make the math come out. By contrast, a ten acre farm of perennial polyculture in a mid-Atlantic climate could produce: 3000 eggs, 1000 broilers, 80 stewing hens, 2000 pounds of beef, 2500 pounds of pork, 100 turkeys, 50 rabbits. Not to mention a few inches of topsoil. This is the amount of food that Joel Salatin–one of the high priests of the local, sustainable movement–produces on ten acres of his Polyface Farm in Virginia. The chickens get some supplemental grain; everything else eats grass. That’s 6,800,050 calories.”

    I’d love to quote more, but it’s Dr. Eades’ blog (sorry if I’ve been too long winded). I hope you get the idea. I have honestly never seen such a comprehensive analysis of any subject, from top to bottom. It’s well worth a read.

    I agree. Thanks for the comment.

  44. Thanks David – I should have said that a “liberal” serving is for those who keep their carb count low throughout the day. Bailey’s contain carbs, on the order of 25 grams of carbs per 100 ml, along with 13 grams of fat and 3 grams of protein. For me, I find it is the perfect addition to cocoa/coffee and cream when I am looking for something sweet and very satisfying, yet low in carbs. Most people would probably receive satisfaction from as little as one-to-two teaspoons of Bailey’s added to their favourite beverage.

  45. Thanks for the recommendation. As an ex-vegan (nutritional, for 3 years) turned “primal,” I think I’ll find this an interesting read despite the politics, which annoy me as much as they do you.

    On another note, (call me snarky if you like), I can’t help noticing that despite all her research, the author failed to realize that zebras, like all equines, do not have rumens. 😉 Her point stands, however, in that equines do have other large-intestinal adaptations to make their herbivorous digestible.

  46. I know my comment did not pertain to the current blog, I couldn’t find any other contact links. I just was looking for a little insight. …. Very disappointed.

  47. sorry, I thought my comment was deleted :)

    Your comment wasn’t deleted, but it was for some reason caught up in the spam filter.

  48. It seems clear that the people at postpunkkitchen *think* that their snarky thread about the fence in the Serengeti is the one she referenced, as per this followup thread on their board:
    http://www.postpunkkitchen.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=90752

    And it just goes to show that if someone is totally committed to an ideology (such as veganism) then an entire library of books like this is not about to change anyone’s mind. Just some of the quotes on that thread above make it clear that they think non-vegans are nutcases that they can make fun of, and that Keith is the Queen of nutcases. Sample quotes:

    ” I think it’s good to be familiar with your enemy’s arguments, in order to shoot them down more effectively.”

    Or one who quote’s Keith’s sentence: “Let me introduce you to Weston Price” and then says that immediately “Interest: lost” about this book, and later goes on to say:

    “Oh, yeah. Weston Price was a dentist who made a number of weird claims about diet, and food conservatives everywhere embarrass themselves on a daily basis by promoting his dilettante bullshiitake.”

    I have a lot of sympathies with vegetarians (though not vegans especially) and I’m not even that crazy about meat, but I do eat it because I feel it’s better for my health. But clearly the folks who think they were being quoted have no use for Keith!

    A weird bunch of bozos on that site, that’s for sure.

  49. By the looks of PETA’s present advertising, depicted in the billboard posted, I’d have to say they just might be losing supporters. Granted, I’m sure they couldn’t get a fat celebrity to pose nearly naked near words such as whale and blubber, but everything about this ad is subpar. The message is confusing. Is it – “Save the Whales… go vegetarian” – meaning whale as in the fat polka dot bikini clad chick … or “Save the Whales… loose the blubber” as in don’t eat whales … huh? I don’t get it. I think the “loose the blubber” was added as an afterthought since otherwise it portrays the message – vegetarianism causes obesity and we’re still promoting it. I think subliminally the ad still sends that message because the words whale, blubber and vegetarian are paired with the image of an obese woman. Funny how the truth always comes out.

    And why is it always a woman targeted in their advertising? Obviously the majority of vegetarians ARE young women and hence the direction of their advertising. Instead of focusing their advertising on health, visuals are used to stimulate the desire for sex appeal or play off the fear of not having sex appeal as in the billboard illustration, both are captivating, especially to young women. Check out this PETA advertisement rejected by NBC due it’s inappropriate sexual nature:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/27/petas-veggie-sex-super-bo_n_161180.html
    Is it not hard to believe that PETA’s founder and leader is a self-proclaimed feminist.

    On the other hand I have to give PETA a lot of credit for doing an excellent job raising awareness against animal cruelty. No one wants animals to suffer regardless of how they serve our needs. This is where PETA should keep their focus.

    I’d like to see the studies they reference in their banned ad when they say, “studies show …”

    I agree. If they focused their efforts on preventing animal cruelty, they would be much better served.

  50. Anna G, thank you for the quote and for informing me and others that Ms Keates indeed discusses the issues I wrote about in my previous comment (Joel, 12. August 2009, 5:26). I would love to see a thorough comparision of the yield of agriculture vs. pasture in a large perspective. The numbers from Joel Salatin’s farm in Virgina is inadequate to me, since they are not related to anything else, and I have no idea how representative they are on a global scale. Perhaps that information is in the book, which I have not read.

    I do not have any numbers myself to contradict that pastures and grazing animals could replace modern agriculture, so it may very well be that it can, and also giving a better environment and better food for us all. Even without numbers of my own, I want to question the idea that it could, and ask for strong evidence in support of it. it seems to me that it clashes with what I believe to be commmon knowledge about the food system of the world, and its history.

    Why haven’t pastures and game become the primary source of food if it does not have the drawback of lower yield per area compared to grain production?

    The comparative advantage of pastures must have been even greater in the past, before pesticides and chemical fertilizers. It just doesn’t make sense to me. If there are better numbers than the impress-me-enumeration from Salatin’s farm, I would love to see them and be convinced that my critique is wrong.

  51. Your quote: I’d like to see the studies they reference in their banned ad when they say, “studies show …”

    Well I can attest to the fact that their “studies show” claim is not true; I was a vegetarian for around 10 years and sex is definitely better as a meat eater — perhaps better to say low-carber. :)

    I’ll gladly believe that study even with an n=1

  52. hi dr. mike, i’m new to this website…….i really like your blogs and this book you reviewed is an excellent tool for new or present meat eaters. a past blog you said you agreed with the weston price about 90%…..what 10 % dont you agree with? whats your opinion on calcium sources and do you need to get them from raw dairy or bone broths to be healthy?

    Paleolithic man didn’t get a lot of calcium in the typical way, i.e., cheese and other dairy, yet he had a cortical bone thickness that was about 11 percent greater than ours, which tells us that we don’t need to eat dairy to have healthy bones. I’m reasonably certain that Paleo man got a lot more sun that we did (vitamin D), a lot more magnesium, and probably a lot more protein, too, and these are all substances that build bone. I’m not really sure how much calcium is in bone broth, but I certainly love to eat it. I can’t remember what I had in mind when I wrote what I wrote about Weston Price, so I can’t tell you right now precisely what the 10 percent I disagree with is. I’m sure if I picked up his book and thumbed through it, it would prick my memory.

  53. Joel said:
    “Why haven’t pastures and game become the primary source of food if it does not have the drawback of lower yield per area compared to grain production?”

    A better question is why have we chosen agriculture over hunting when hunting was a successful strategy for thousands of generations? You live in this small bubble of industrial agricultural time and see it as normal instead of the unsustainable fossil fueled anomaly that it really is.

    What builds soil? That’s what we need to do. That is what builds the future.

  54. Joel said:
    “Why haven’t pastures and game become the primary source of food if it does not have the drawback of lower yield per area compared to grain production?”

    Depends on how you define “yield”. If by yield you mean calories, then it’s possible to extract more calories (generally empty carbohydrate calories) per acre for a limited time from monocropped, mechanized industrial farming _if_ you have enough other inputs (fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation). Of course this is not sustainable in the long term, and the damage to the local and downstream ecosystems is not part of the equation.

    Another way to define “yield” is by profits. Again, mechanized monocropping wins (for a limited time) because the per-calorie profit is higher from grain products, especially if you factor in the massive government subsidies to industrial grain farming.

  55. Ben Fury said:
    “A better question is why have we chosen agriculture over hunting when hunting was a successful strategy for thousands of generations?”

    Why is that a better question? We live now, not in the paleolithic age. We have to make decisions about what to do given the society we have now. Being hunters and refraining from agriculture is not an option for us. The suggested question is not even a relevant question. If a step from the current food system to another is proposed, I would just like to see some numbers that it would not cause mass starvation.

    Further:
    “You live in this small bubble of industrial agricultural time and see it as normal instead of the unsustainable fossil fueled anomaly that it really is.”

    I assure you I do not live in a bubble, and I am very aware of peak oil problems the agricultural sector, as other sectors, face. But wishing that the hunters 10,000 years ago hadn’t settled down and became farmers isn’t very constructive. That ship has sailed.

  56. I raise sheep (or used to; I no longer breed them and sell the meat), so I have a slightly different perspective on all this. My animals grazed all summer on land that couldn’t be used to produce grain. But I also fed them grain after they lambed and were producing a lot of milk, plus just a little when they went out onto pasture. I didn’t wean them, so the lambs nursed until they went to the slaughterhouse when they were teenagers. Some ram lambs would try to mount their mothers one minute and try to nurse the next. Talk about Oedipal. I always had the feeling the moms were relieved when their lambs left. The result was tender lamb that had more flavor than grain-stuffed lamb.

    If you don’t feed grain, the lambs grow a lot more slowly, and in today’s world when labor is the most expensive part of any enterprise, slow-growing animals mean very expensive meat.

    Also, they can’t graze in the winter, so you need some land to produce hay and a lot of machinery to harvest and bale it.

    I agree that one thing those people who say it takes less energy to eat grain directly than to produce the grain to feed an animal don’t take into consideration is that you can graze animals on marginal land that would never be used for grain production. Here in Vermont, where animals are no longer grazing, forests have regrown because except for building houses, the land has no other use, and it’s often too steep to mow.

    Then there’s the question of tenderness and taste. I’ve had good grass-finished beef and I’ve had organic grass-fed beef that was terrible: tough and tasteless. Have you ever had tough hamburger? That’s what those girls were. But they were a breed designed to produce very lean meat.

    I once went to a workshop given by a woman who marketed lamb to Middle Eastern clients who came to the farm and did the slaughtering themselves, using every bit of the animal. They had been raised on grass-finished animals and said that’s what they wanted. But once they tasted grain-fed lamb, she said they wouldn’t go back. The flavor of meat is in the fat.

    Then there’s the question of methane. Ruminants burp methane, and they say this is a big contributor to the global warming that many on this list don’t believe in.

    I’m a carnivore myself, but I have no idea if the world with its current population could support an all-carnivore population. So many factors involved.

  57. Great book review Doc, thanks.

    The CEO of Whole Foods wrote an article published today in the WSJ titled “The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare”. I read it with some interest as a lot of his points are right on, then in the second to last paragraph he states:

    “Recent scientific and medical evidence shows that a diet consisting of foods that are plant-based, nutrient dense and low-fat will help prevent and often reverse most degenerative diseases that kill us and are expensive to treat. We should be able to live largely disease-free lives until we are well into our 90s and even past 100 years of age.”

    It’s gotta make a guy like you sigh Dr Eades. The battle goes on I guess.

    Article here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204251404574342170072865070.html

    Yes, I read this and did sigh when I got to that paragraph. I love how he writes that “recent scientific and medical evidence shows…” as if it really does offer proof. I would love to have him show me these studies that supposedly prove his premise. He can’t do it. He at least can’t do it to someone who knows how to read and interpret the scientific literature.

  58. Gretchen, I’ve never understood the concern about ruminants and the methane they produce; they are part of a short-term, closed loop system where the greenhouse gasses they burp up are re-absorbed into the food they eat. The problem with fossil fuels is that plant matter from millions of years ago is suddenly having its carbon byproducts dumped into today’s ecosystem, overloading the system (if the theories are correct, that is; I remain agnostic on the issue).

  59. Gretchen said:
    “I have no idea if the world with its current population could support an all-carnivore population.”

    It cannot. Yet that is how we are designed to eat. Fighting it is pointless. So how can we transition to a sustainable carnivory?

    We are far above carrying capacity. We need to create the blueprint now to reduce our population by a factor of somewhere in the neighborhood of 20. This goes against acculturation and yet it is what we must do if we’re to return to health and wholeness as a species. The next several hundred years will be difficult and challenging ones. If we make good plans now, the suffering will be much less.

  60. Sorry to change the topic, but the NYT (yes, Tara Parker-Pope again) has for everyone’s amusement, “Fatty Foods Affect Memory and Exercise.”

    “Eating fatty food appears to take an almost immediate toll on both short-term memory and exercise performance, according to new research on rats and people.

    It’s already known that long-term consumption of a high-fat diet is associated with weight gain, heart disease and declines in cognitive function. But the new research shows how indulging in fatty foods over the course of a few days can affect the brain and body long before the extra pounds show up.”

    Be heartened that there are many commenters who are not only objecting, but telling her why she and the research are off-base.

  61. @Jonathan Powers

    I gather the philosophy that leads to these odd ideas about humans being a “cancer”, comes from a sort of “systems view” of ecology. When we look at the world as a “natural system”, it looks like the planet is a vast system of plants and animals, and we humans are just one species in that system. So environmentalists end up thinking that the planet is more important (it represents the total system), and the best we can do as just one species, a small part of the system, is to limit our consumption.

    But what the systems view completely ignores (because it isn’t in its gaze) is the social and cultural side of the world. Humans may be just one species in the system, but we’re the species with the greatest depth of culture and intelligence on the planet. Environmentalists like to say they won’t put themselves above an ape, but many environmentalists are Buddhists and there are no Buddhist apes. There are also no environmentalist apes. Apes destroy as much as anyone, it is just they have more limited means. Apes cannot form social groups as large as the ones humans form (hundreds of millions of people who identify as American and part of one nation). At the most, apes form small tribes (something we were before we evolved our culture further).

    But the basic problem remains, that because environmentalists look at everything as a system, they ignore culture, even though it is a cultural movement that they themselves are trying to promote by trying to persuade us all to become better humans (better apes), by promoting vegetarian culture, environmentalist culture, green living, and so on. As soon as you bring culture into the picture, it is obvious that humans are the most advanced and superior species on the planet. That is not arrogance, that is just the way it is. And it is nature that created us that way.

  62. For a cool, sane view of Ms. Keith’s own food-related psychodrama – and why it shouldn’t be taken seriously – I’d suggest looking at this site. The critique is far more convincing than Ms. Keith’s own recidivistic self-justifications.

    http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/06/12/18601536.php

    You can argue all you want about the “psychodrama” of Ms. Lierre’s conversion from vegan to meat eater, but the fact remains that everything she wrote in the Nutritional Vegetarians holds true. Nutritionally, veganism isn’t the best diet for a species that is basically carnivorous.

  63. Ben Fury wrote: “We need to create the blueprint now to reduce our population by a factor of somewhere in the neighborhood of 20.”

    Watch Idiocracy. You statement may be true, but if implemented, it would likely be the best and brightest who voluntarily cut down on having children, and the net talent level of the globe would go down. Not sure that is the best prescription for the future of mankind.

    Precisely. Most people who will voluntarily limit children are intelligent, conscientious, egalitarian, ‘enlightened, ‘non-violent types. The very people who like to think they elected our current president. And the very kind of people who make up much of the population of Europe. In Europe the overall birth rates have declined to below replacement levels in Spain, France, Italy, Germany, and a few others. But despite falling birthrates overall, the birth rates of other groups of people who have migrated to Europe are on the rise. (There is some evidence that these birth rates are trending more toward overall European birthrates, but as it stands now, the Muslim birth rate is about three times that of non-Muslim Europeans.) If these disparities in birth rates continue, Muslims will reach majority status in Europe. I doubt that radical feminists, or US liberals (or US conservatives, for that matter) or any women raised in the Western tradition would like to live under Muslim rule.

  64. Regardng climate change, I could go on and on about how the controversy in this country is completely manufactured by certain corporations, about how Royal Dutch Shell says one thing in this country, but does completely different things in others, including being completely immersed in the Netherlands’ multi-billion dollar effort to prepare for the coming rising sea levels.

    But what should give everyone pause, is that our VERY OWN Department of Defense is preparing for the coming catastrophes, because as sea levels rise, the coastal refugees will number in the hundred of millions, and this represents a major security scenario for the United States.

    I cannot stress enough that we are the only country that has any deniers. Every other First World country is mounting preparations.

    A number of major technical books have been written by deniers both in Britain and Australia, so it is not true that we (the US) is the only country who has deniers.

    And, certainly, you, of all people, LC, can’t argue that because the nincompoops in the government are promoting something, it’s valid. Think about what Obama said: would you rather trust your package to FedEx, UPS or the US Postal Service?

    I don’t want to reveal a confidence, but I have a friend who is a major climatologist (who is responsible for making me a denier) who is also a friend of one of the primary pushers of GW/climate change, one of the founders of the whole notion, in fact. My friend went to graduate school with this person. And, in private conversations with my friend, this GW/climate change poobah has said that after careful consideration of the evidence, he has begun to wonder if it isn’t all bogus, but he can’t say that publicly because his books, speeches, etc are making him so much money right now. So, make of that what you may.

  65. There’s a difference between the scientific method (which works when applied) and the culture/social organizations that scientists and researchers belong to. Knowledge of man made global warming was advertised as a virtual certainty, but the decision to advertise it that way was a cultural/political one, not a scientific one. Scientifically there is plenty of room for alternative hypothesis, but they decided that they needed to persuade us and they decided that the precautionary principle mandated that they must persuade us even if they didn’t have enough evidence. And what evidence there is in reality, is very much open to interpretation. If the temperature goes up in 1998 it is advertised as a record warm year, but if it doesn’t go up in subsequent years it is dismissed as short term weather. The bias is plain to see for anyone who isn’t part of that culture or social club where scientists and environmentalists believe that the climate is the most important issue. The ice core record was advertised as proof that CO2 causes temperature rise, until a higher resolution record showed the temperature rise preceeding CO2 rise by 800 years. Now they claim that something caused the initial rise, and then 800 years later the CO2 caused the rest of the warming. This is speculation. It is not the scientific method. It is the social club of the scientists with an interest in their careers that keeps the theory going, and all sorts of political and business types who are expecting to spin it to make a buck. Is a big energy company building concrete and steel wind farms any better than a company pumping oil? Is the nuclear industry waiting in the wings for the day we all realise we can’t decarbonise without nuclear and everyone accepts nuclear as a necessary evil? Environmentalists are keen to point out that if a scientist is funded by big oil, then he or she will produce bad science. Well then, scientists can lack objectivity! Their research may be suspect! And this includes pro-AGW scientists too.

  66. Stefan, the “great depth of culture and intelligence” will be moot if we trash the planet. As Keith elucidates in her book, modern petroleum based, monoculture farming is unsustainable and we will starve to death when we run out of petroleum.

    Culture and intelligence are irrelevant to a systems view, as is stating that we are the superior beings. That slot belongs to bacteria. Heh.

    Dr Mike, as a person who would have no access to technical books on climatology, it’s informative to know that there are deniers on the technical side. What I was primarily referring to, are the media pundits who are specifically hired to shill denial. If you could link to such in Britain or Australia, I would appreciate it. In trying to google “australia climate change denial” I came across this
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pv2v4S4sRM&feature=PlayList&p=3658225FE4BBD342&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=5

    Why, if deniers have information on their side, would the Bush Administration reduce themselves to this? When Republicans have info they can use, they shout it from the rooftops until they are hoarse. Not so in this case.

    The Dept of Defense isn’t promoting climate change, it’s planning for it, which is a difference. It could be that they are covering all their bases for the sake of security.

    I use UPS every workday, and we have a person assigned to deal with damages incurred by UPS.
    There’s no getting around human error in any system.

    What everyone seems to miss except Keith, is that it behooves us to act responsibly right now and take care the planet, regardless of our opinions on climatology, or laissez faire capitalism.

    Republicans (as well as Democrats) in congress are clueless as to the reality or lack thereof of any scientific basis for man-made climate change. They are politicians, not scientists. The Democrats have taken charge of the debate, primarily because of Al Gore’s movies and position on the subject, while the Republicans are trying to play catch up. And because public opinion – until lately; now it has moved in the opposite direction – seemed to be firmly in the camp of man-made-global-warming-is-real-and-is-worrisome, the Republicans (I’m guessing here because I’m not a Republican) didn’t want to go against a popular position.

    Things are changing in the GW world, however, because the data that virtually everyone has relied upon to make their predictions is now suspect because the outfit keeping the records is claiming to have lost or misplaced all the raw data. And is refusing to release the raw data available. See here for more info (from a UK publication, no less).

    This quote from the article pretty much says it all:

    The CRU [Climate Research Unit] has refused to release the raw weather station data and its processing methods for inspection – except to hand-picked academics – for several years. Instead, it releases a processed version, in gridded form. NASA maintains its own (GISSTEMP), but the CRU Global Climate Dataset, is the most cited surface temperature record by the UN IPCC. So any errors in CRU cascade around the world, and become part of “the science”.

    Professor Phil Jones, the activist-scientist who maintains the data set, has cited various reasons for refusing to release the raw data. Most famously, Jones told an Australian climate scientist in 2004:

    Even if WMO agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.

    Why, indeed? Because that is the specific reason scientists publish data: so that others can look for errors in it. If there are no errors, then the science is deemed correct and the conclusions valid. Can you imagine if I published a study concluding that low-carb diets are vastly superior to low-fat diets but justified refusing to reveal my data that this conclusion was based on by saying that others would try to find something wrong with it. Gary Taubes thinks that nutritional ‘science’ is the worst science out there, but I’m beginning to think the ‘science’ of climate change is much worse by a long shot.

  67. Dr Mike, my mom was recently diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic colon cancer which had spread almost all over her liver. While going through treatments and stress she developed diabetes and chronic fatigue. Needless to say I have been doing everything in my power to get her to the best hospital and start fighting this sucker. While at Memorial Sloan Kettering the surgeoun implanted a pump and catheter through hepatic artery. It might help her chances as oncologists will be able to administer much more chemo drugs in hopes to shrink the tumor enouph so she would qualify for surgery. I did put her on your protein power diet and ”miraculeosly” her sugar BG was under 100 even with an occasional low carb bread from Julian’s bakery which doesnt seem to upset her BG. While being at Memoroial Sloan Kettering she was offered a low carb menu with a list of carb grams for each meal? I was shocked and kudos to MSKH for doing it! The food was excellent and low carb. They were giving her egg and cottage cheese for breakfast’ grilled chiken or fish for lunch with a big salad and soup and fruit salad of mainly berries as desert.

    I recently found out a breathing device called Frolov’s breathing device. A friend of mine claims that his parents swear by it and that it cured many people of asthma and chronic diseases. I found a website that explains the technigue.

    Do you know anything about it?

    http://www.intellectbreathing.com/

    I’ve never seen it nor have I heard anything about it. Sorry to hear about your mom.

  68. Hi Dr. Mike,

    News for you. Surprise, you are a feminist. Here is what you said. Which is the definition of a feminist.

    I’m not particularly pro-feminist. And I certainly don’t hang around with any self-proclaimed radical feminists. I have a wife who is smarter than I am, who is more talented than I am, and who, pound for pound, is probably a better athlete than I am, and I’m not bad. (In my defense, I can read much, much faster than she, but, she has better comprehension.) I long ago gave up the idea (if I ever really considered it seriously) that men are superior to women in any ways other than brute strength. Having said that, however, I do believe that men are better suited to certain endeavors than woman and vice verse, but that doesn’t mean either men or women should be denied the opportunity to give whatever it is they want to do a whirl just because of their sex. I guess I consider myself an egalitarian. But from what I’ve seen of radical feminists, I’m not sure that I would count myself a big fan.

    I have been a self proclaimed feminist and have no idea what a radical feminist is. Maybe you should get out of your preconceived notions and rethink this one. Or ask your wife.

    Having said that. I am a big fan and can’t wait to read your new book.

    Hmmm. You mean you want to read a book written by a radical feminist and his wife? :-)

  69. I’m also an evil ‘denier’. Along the lines of what Stefan was saying. My skepticism is based on the loose application of the scientific method when it suits one’s beliefs.

    The data we have are temperature measurements over a couple of centuries, ice core samples and a few other things. That is data and nothing more.

    The hypothesis of AGW is only supported by computer models, not by any experiments.

    It would be impossible to support the hypothesis by experiment, you would have to have a copy of earth in a copy of our solar system in a copy of the universe (and make sure they could not interact) to actually try experiments to support the hypothesis.

    The basis of the AGW hypothesis is based on computer models. I love computer models, I’ve developed them, I’m an engineer, they’re cool. But a model is meaningless until it’s predictive ability can be compared to the real world.

    I don’t think this is well understood in the general public, but the whole AGW thing hangs on computer models. Do the models exactly account for cosmic rays, sunspots, water vapor, ocean currents, wind patterns, geothermal activity, etc? No, of course they don’t. It’s like the butterfly effect, if one input to the model changes slightly the output can change significantly. We can’t even predict the weather 10 days from now with computer models, I’m not going to rely on those models to predict climate change.

  70. One thing people need to understand about the term radical is that it is every bit as mythologized as the cholesterol-heart disease “link.” It doesn’t mean “crazy person who bombs buildings and shoots politicians.” In political terms it means a person who tries to get to the root of a social/cultural/political problem in order to solve it.

    It’s not enough to possess vague assumptions about a political movement or to dismiss it by way of mythology. Real feminists never hated men, nor assumed that men and women are the same. And your assumption that radical feminists are the worst of the breed tells me you haven’t been privileged to see some of the crap coming out of the liberal feminist camp. Not because they’re liberal, but because they really do believe women are just undersocialized men with uteruses, and the worst offense a woman can commit in front of a liberal feminist is to “demean” and “undervalue” herself by actually wanting to raise her own kids.

    But I’m not pulling this out of my rear end. I’ve *seen* it, because I’ve *read* feminist literature, up to and including magazines, books, and blogs.

    Educate yourself if you’re going to be against something. While you’re at it, you might be interested to know that quite a bit of the stuff coming out of the leftist-radical community in general actually sounds rather libertarian, especially anarchist stuff. Sometime when you’ve got nothing better to do, check them out. My big grievance with them is they speak over average people’s heads, though.

  71. ” Nutritionally, veganism isn’t the best diet for a species that is basically carnivorous.”

    I’m assuming the above comment was added to my post by the author of this site – there is no attribution.

    If so, then you need to become far better informed. There is a wealth of peer-reviewed information available for the open-minded – which I suspect from your tone does not include you.

    My own book is one place to start; but many others have covered this area quite effectively.

    http://www.amazon.com/You-Dont-Need-Meat-Peter/dp/031227761X

    The shrill trilings of a former vegan should not be allowed to mask the truth.

    It was indeed appended on to your post. That’s the way I answer comments on this blog. I add my response to the bottom of those comments I choose to respond to and put them in italics.

    And I fear that it is you, my friend, who need to become better informed. I would be willing to bet that I spend far more time (vastly far more time, in fact) reviewing the peer-reviewed medical literature than you. (You can roam through the archives of this blog to read many of my analyses of said literature.) You should spend some time with the real scientific literature as opposed to the drivel that passes for scientific literature purporting to show the superiority of the vegetarian way.

    I’m sure you will feel compelled to respond to this comment. Go for it and I’ll post it, but I’m not going to involve myself in a back and forth debate on this issue. Obviously your mind is made up and no amount of scientific reasoning could possibly change it. My mind is considerably more open, but if somehow you managed to bring me around to your way of thinking, we would then both be wrong.

  72. @LCforevah

    Yes we need to look after the planet, but to do that you need good knowledge, good advice, and good expertise. Do we have these available? It looks to me like we don’t. And as the years go by we’re getting less, not more, confirmation of man made global warming (for example, models predicted a hotspot, but that was never observed, and researchers blame the measuring instruments rather than their models).

    But scientists have professional authority and professional bodies putting forward consensus opinions. That’s just a lot of peer pressure. The problem remains, what if they are wrong?

    For me, I discovered Gary Taubes’ work via a “denialist” global warming site. It seems that people who are open to questioning scientific authority are able to be open minded about global warming, and they are able to be open minded about nutrition too. (And since I cut the carbs a year ago, my energy and mood has improved immediately, significantly, and has remained good over the year, so for me the evidence is clear).

    And the big lesson here with nutrition is that bad scientific advice can do a lot of damage. And that’s the problem with climate science. CO2 is a trace gas that’s essential for plant growth. But we’re getting a lot of bad advice from environmentalists who’ve decided that human consumption is a sin and they want to reduce CO2 emissions because that’s where our energy comes from, and so by cutting CO2 we’ll be forced to consume and produce less, we’ll be forced to be “less greedy”. (That’s what an environmentalist told me, their very words.)

    I used to think that pollution (real pollution like mercury) was an environmental problem we had to do something about, and yet CO2, an essential trace gas for plants, became this huge evil gas. What’s that about? Why instead of cleaning up industry and making things safer, are we on a crusade to ban CO2?

    And no, I’m afraid that culture is not irrelevant to a systems view, because it is culture that influences things like material aspirations and family size. And the first world cultures are the places where you find the nicest, most enlightened people, who care about the environment, and who have the lowest birth rates (we’re so terribly nice that we’d sooner blame ourselves than anyone else). And meanwhile it is the third world where you find the largest families with the most impoverished means, the most racism and conflict, the most gangs and warlordism, ethnic cleansing, fundamentalist religions. In Sharia law women can be denied food by their husbands if they don’t do their sexual duty (news just in from The Guardian). That’s not an isolated case, there is a whole spectrum of antiquated culture throughout the third world, right down to those sorts of extremes. And they really don’t care about the environment. So if you want to save the world, you have to save the people. You have to worry a lot about cultural development.

    And the West’s environmental message to them has been… try not to develop too quickly. Please stay poor and having enormous families with short lifespans where the only prospect for salvation is signing up to a fundie religion. And all because some researchers decided that CO2 could cause a little bit of warming that would be amplified by a water feedback, a feedback that has never been observed in real life.

  73. You might be able to sell more books & products if you get your web guy to fix a problem with the Discussion Forum page, http://www.proteinpower.com/forum/
    Once we go the the Forum, we are stuck there and can’t quickly get back to the pages with advertising.

    About two weeks ago the header menu that allows us to link back to the Home Page, Products, Blogs etc. disappeared (it is present on all your other pages). This is true on all three browsers I tried on three different computers.

    We’re working on all that. I hope that the new site (complete with much easier navigation features) will be up within a week or so.

  74. Basically, I count myself as a denier of global warming too. Lawrence Solomon has a book out titled The Deniers which elucidates the fragility and falsehood of the global warming claim and those who advocate it. It’s a good bet that as soon as anyone proclaims, as the global warming/climate change lobbey does, that the science is settled, they have something to hide and that the science is clearly NOT settled. Much of the same type of political hysteria accompanied the warnings about acid rain back in the 60’s and 70’s. By those accounts, life on earth should have been terminated a long time ago. Interestingly, this applies to nutrition and the food pyramid also.

    Long ago I gave up the posibility of ever becoming a vegetarian. Not due to low carb, at that time. I just like meat, fish and poultry too much. Fortunately, as a low carber I can take advantage of the high quality protein and fats that meat and meat products offer and the lack of carb in them. I also like animals and wouldn’t consider eating my cat or dog or my tropical fish. I also don’t hunt, though I have nothing against it in particular.

    This is a well written book review and it sounds interesting. However, I don’t have any interest in male-bashng radical feminist hype. So, I’ll probably give this book a pass.

    You made a statement that there is no politics in your book (T6WC I presume). Actually, I can’t say I ever found any politics in any of your work. The same is true of Atkins’ book, which was my intro to low carb. That fact played a big part in my continuing to follow not only your writing and TV appearances, but this blog too (though you do express yourself here more openly). That’s what a blog is for though, as you state. Regardless of the fact that your attitudes and mine seem to run parallel, I get information and knowledge from you, which is what I want and need. So, thank you. When she eliminates the politics from the book maybe I’ll have a go at it.

    It’s jot really the male bashing kind of feminism at all, so don’t worry about that.

  75. I sincerely hope the folks driving the global warming bus come to their senses before they drive the whole human race over a cliff.

    One piece in a recent National Geographic (I read it in the airport…don’t know where it is now to reference it) suggested that since volcanoes cause global cooling through the ash and other stuff they put into the atmosphere, we should develop a means to put similar material into the air to shield the earth from the sun’s warming.

    Good grief!

  76. On a low carb diet now for 7 months and I just got my labs back and cholesterol is 337 !
    Thought I’d check in with experienced folks and ask for advice and education.
    Could you point me to a few links to help educate me on this issue.
    Here is the link to my labs.
    Is Cholesterol Myth true for this level?
    Thank you

    Sorry for the delay in response, but you got hung up in my spam filter. When I have a patient who had a lab result that seems strange, I recheck it. The odds of having a lab error are often higher than the odds of actually having some lab results I’ve seen. You might want to consider doing that. Not too many years ago, long before today’s cholesterol hysteria, a cholesterol level of 337 was considered in the normal range. So, take that for what it’s worth. If you are concerned about heart disease, I would find someone who has an EBT machine and get a calcium score. If that turns out okay, then I wouldn’t worry about the cholesterol.

  77. “the drivel that passes for scientific literature purporting to show the superiority of the vegetarian way.”

    Enough said. You’re damned out of your own mouth.

    This is a funny little corner of the internet, to be sure. A place where facts are only useful when they serve to reinforce prejudices – otherwise, they’re “drivel”.

    “I would be willing to bet that I spend far more time (vastly far more time, in fact) reviewing the peer-reviewed medical literature than you.”

    Really? How much do you bet?

    “I’m not going to involve myself in a back and forth debate on this issue”

    Of course not. You risk losing – or even worse – learning something new.

    “if somehow you managed to bring me around to your way of thinking, we would then both be wrong”

    I marvel that you don’t see both the unconscious humor and the sad parade of ignorance in this remark. It’s actually quite funny.

    Why so angry, Michael? Can’t you live and let live?

    I’m not angry at all. And more than willing to live and let live. In fact, I don’t recall clicking onto your website or blog uninvited and taking you to task for your beliefs. Beliefs, by the way, that can be demolished by the scientific literature.

    You should spend some time with a few good books on critical thinking. Start first with “Mistakes Were Made” and learn about the confirmation bias. Then read some of the scientific literature on vegetarianism. Not the stuff put out by PETA and the PCRM, but the real scientific literature. Think critically – don’t knee jerk.

    And I’ll bet any amount of money you want to bet on which of us spends the most time reviewing the medical literature.

  78. Not sure I’m going to run right out and buy this book. In the first place, she’s described on the Amazon site as a “farmer.” I’m quite sure she fits in the category of “hobby farmer”—someone who can afford to have a little place in the country and can supply some, but not all, of her own needs from farming. And do little, if anything, to “feed the hungry”—one of the noble reasons for her being a vegan in the first place:

    “…To feed the hungry. At the very least to refrain from participating in the horror of factory farming…”

    She later states:
    “But the first mistake is in assuming that factory farming—a practice that is barely fifty years old—is the only way to raise animals. Their calculations on energy used, calories consumed, humans unfed, are all based on the notion that animals eat grain.”

    I think at this point, it would be instructive for all who read Keith’s book to also read something you pointed out on Twitter a while back (thank you!!), “The Omnivore’s Delusion.”
    http://www.american.com/archive/2009/july/the-omnivore2019s-delusion-against-the-agri-intellectuals

    There are two very significant things that she and others in her camp seem to overlook:

    1. In the 50 years since the beginning of “the horror of factory farming,” the world population (based on what I can find on the internet) has increased from 2 billion to over 6 billion people. How on earth would we feed all those people using the farming practices so many idealists recommend?

    2. While I’m a meat-eating low-carber, and probably most reading this blog would agree that’s the way to eat, there are millions—possibly billions—who, for various reasons, do not eat meat. If we are going to “feed the hungry” among them, we need grain farming—efficient grain farming.

  79. Your narrow minded view of the effects of global warming ( such as the change in ocean currents and temperatures) that effects climate changes everywhere cast a doubt on all your any of your health research. Glad I never bought anything of yours.

    I’m glad you didn’t either.

  80. Only slightly off-topic: liver contains a decent amount of vitamin C, which shows that we could thrive on a mostly animal products diet, and that our ancestors avoided scurvy despite not eating boat loads of oranges and broccoli. Even when cooked, hardly any vitamin C is lost from liver.

    But all the liverwursts, liver cheeses, and pates have little to no vitamin C. Is there a simple explanation for why they retain all the fat, cholesterol, vitamins A and D, etc., from their liver base, and yet lose all vitamin C? Is it that vitamin C is water soluble, while A and D aren’t? But the wursts still have plenty of water, even if only 66% of the water levels for liver.

    I’m really perplexed.

    I’m not sure myself, but I would guess it is because vitamin C is water soluble and easily lost in the processing. Maybe others can help.

  81. Thanks for the steer on this one, Dr. Mike. I got to maybe your third paragraph before I had it 1-clicked into my Kindle. Spent time at the pool yesterday on the first couple of chapters and I can hardly put it down.

    What a writer she is.

    Glad you enjoyed it.

  82. I have been reading your blog regularly for more than a year. Shame on me, I did not know that you had a forum. I guess it takes old dogs longer to learn new tricks. Thank you deirdra.

    Sorry. It will be more visible when we take the new site and blog live in a couple of days.

  83. Why I Believe in Global Warming and Why You Should Prepare For It
    (Whether You Believe It Exists or Not)

    There are really only two types of men in the world when it comes to bad trouble,’ Andy said, cupping a match between his hands and lighting a cigarette. ‘Suppose there was a house full of rare paintings and sculptures and fine old antiques, Red? And suppose the guy who owned the house heard that there was a monster of a hurricane headed right at it. One of those two kinds of men just hopes for the best, the hurricane will change course, he says to himself. No right-thinking hurricane would ever dare wipe out all these Rembrandts, my two Degas horses, my Jackson Pollocks and my Paul Klees. Furthermore, God wouldn’t allow it. And if worst comes to worst, they’re insured. That’s one sort of man. The other sort just assumes that hurricane is going to tear right through the middle of his house. If the weather bureau says the hurricane just changed course, this guy assumes it’ll change back in order to put his house on ground zero again. This second type of guy knows there’s no harm in hoping for the best as long as you’re prepared for the worst. ‘I lit a cigarette of my own. ‘Are you saying you prepared for the eventuality? ”Yes. I prepared for the hurricane.

    From Stephen King’s Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption

    This sums up the way I think about Global Warming. It may not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, but it’s more prudent than not to reduce its potential effects.

    There are 2 problems with these discussions. One is that like evolution, global warming is a scientific hypothesis that cannot be proven absolutely (at least until the predictions come to pass). The other is that the solution to global warming is the same as the solution to our dwindling fossil fuel reserves, which is to find alternate energy resources. While it may take somewhat longer (say 100 years) to run out of coal than for global warming to become a serious threat, there is no good reason not to make research and use of alternate energy sources a priority. Also I’ve never seen anyone say that the physics of the greenhouse effect is incorrect, i.e. that carbon dioxide is not a greenhouse gas (Venus for example) only that the effects haven’t been observed. One other thing that bothers me about the comments is the lack of scientific references. So I provide one of my own – http://www.aip.org/history/climate/

    Differences between Low Fat, High Carb and Global Warming

    Low fat supported by Corporate Interests very publicly

    Global Warming opposed by Corporate Interests (e.g. Exxon) through nearly secret donations to Organization with Orwellian names like globalwarming.org a project of the Competitive Enterprise Institute which is funded by Aequus Institute, Amoco Foundation, Inc., Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Coca-Cola Company, E.L. Craig Foundation, CSX Corporation, Earhart Foundation, Fieldstead and Co., FMC Foundation, Ford Motor Company Fund, Gilder Foundation, Koch Family Foundations (including the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, David H. Koch Charitable Foundation, and Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation), Philip M. McKenna Foundation, Inc., Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation, Philip Morris Companies, Inc., Pfizer Inc., Precision Valve Corporation, Prince Foundation, Rodney Fund, Sheldon Rose, Scaife Foundations (Carthage Foundation and Sarah Scaife Foundation), and Texaco, Inc. (Texaco Foundation).

    ExxonMobil Corporation was a major donor to CEI, with over $2 million in contributions between 1998 and 2005. [9] In 2002 the company gave $405,000;[10] in 2004 it gave CEI $180,000 that was earmarked for “global climate change and global climate change outreach.” [9] In 2006, the company announced that it had ended its funding for the group.[11]

    Global Warming believed by researchers closest to data and opposed by those father away from data, i.e. Weathermen, climatologists.

    Although most researchers believe in Low Fat, High Cholesterol hypothesis, significant groups who do actual research do not (Nutrition and Metabolism Society, THINCS)

    P.S. Side comments unrelated to GW. One is that Joel Salatin’s farm will feed 10 people for a year based on my back of the envelope calculations. One US farmer can feed more than 130 people according to Wiki answers. That’s a big gap to fill. Along those lines is one other comment. If voluntary population control reduces the numbers of the best and brightest, then the corollary is the current system reduces population through starvation and poverty and disease, but also breeds terrorism. If you have no hope of doing anymore than barely surviving, it’s tempting to sacrifice yourself to a greater cause.

    Thanks for the time and space (maybe too much) to comment.

    Hey Mark, looks like your approach to AGW is a variant of Pascal’s wager. The difference is that if Pascal were wrong, there’s no harm, no foul. With AGW, if the believers are wrong, it will bankrupt us.

    I think your calculations on Salatin’s farm are incorrect. Based on my back-of-the-envelop figuring, he can feed about 10 people per acre, not per his entire farm. And these are good calories versus the bad calories that most large farms produce. I don’t know what the figures are per acre for the standard Big Agro wheat or corn farm.

  84. PJ Noir..I suggest handbags at dawn.
    Mikes got long legs and looks cracking in leopard print stilettos. MD will attest to this.

    3 throws at 6 feet followed by eye scratching by the seconds.

    Now this is nowt to do with me but ‘phuq it’ i have to say something.

    See you’re sure you’re right..no question.
    You are absolutely convinced..sure as eggs is eggs.Convinced of yr rectitude.
    I put it to you Sir that you are very dangerous..really very dangerous.

    If you do have doubt as any sane person would and dare i use the word ‘should’ then you’d don’t convey it in which case i apologize.
    And if you don’t as you certainly seem not to.Well you’re just a little too sure of a world that fibrillates who knows when and for who knows what reasons..one can never ever de-lineate history and anyone who says one can is..well living in a world of thought and rather divorced from what i might stupidly dare to call physical reality.

    Please adopt best Belfast accent and repeat after me ” Yee feking eejit”

  85. I’m looking forward to reading this book, even though it’s a bit preaching to the choir in my case. The thing that finally put me off vegetarianism was reading “Becoming Vegetarian”, which is a quite thorough and well-written nutritional guide to vegetarian eating. It became clear to me as I read that a good, healthy, vegetarian diet is quite fragile and requires many more food miles than an equivalent omnivore diet. There may be unique environmental niches where vegetarian (or, more likely vegetarian + fish) makes more sense than an omnivore diet, but with the modern Western vegetarian diet this is definitely not the case.

    As far as the feminist portion of the book goes…I can’t speak for it until I’ve read it, but given how vegetarianism is so firmly interwoven into the feminist culture AND how popular it is for women who may not consider themselves feminist but are party to vague hybrid ideas that come out of that corner (like the notion that vegetarian diets and “cleanses” are the best choice for weight control), it would be almost criminal for an author who is aware of that culture and ethic to omit that facet in a book like this.

  86. pjnoir, skepticism doesn’t mean closed mindedness. After all, it was skepticism that freed us from the tyranny of myths from the Dark Ages, by allowing us to think for ourselves. It is the essence of open mindedness. It is the ability to step back and look at the evidence without being forced to adhere to traditional ideas and authorities. The key to freedom is to ask for yourself, what is the evidence, what is the logic and reason of it? Does it make sence? And you know what I find? The more I listen to climate scientists, the less their theories make sense. There just isn’t anywhere enough evidence. And just so you know, politically I’d be for a one world system where an Ethopian kid gets the same opportunities in life as a Frenchman. Nationalism is a form of global Apartheid. But global warming, climate change? There isn’t enough evidence, and for all we know we could go cool just as likely as we go warm. Climate scientists have a career, and they had some evidence to begin with, but the precautionary principle says you must act even when there is insufficient evidence, and the climate scientists said they must feign certainty to persuade the public. But they are not certain. And as the decades have gone by, the theory has become weaker. Remember that it is a new science and nobody has ever successfully predicted the future climate decades out. It has never been done. As I say, we have to end global apartheid, but that has nothing to do with the climate.

  87. Dr Mike

    Have you already written a post on the two pathways to fat storage? I would like to see a description of the fructose pathway through the liver and the glucose through the blood stream with insulin if you haven’t already done it. This seems such an insult to the body that it’s no wonder that so many Americans are morbidly obese–not just slightly plump–way over the top obese.

    Dr Andrew Weil, whose books I consider interesting but iffy, explained in one of his books that fructose isn’t used in intravenous feeding because the human liver can only process so much fructose within a 24 hour period. After WWII it was tried in American hospitals and several deaths occurred from liver failure. And now, we find HFCS being put in every food product possible!

    No, I haven’t written a post on the difference between glucose and fructose storage pathways. I probably should. Thanks for the suggestion.

  88. I read through as much of the ‘look inside’ sections as were available on Amazon, and the author does indeed turn a pretty phrase, but there is a shrill emotionalism that has to qualify the book as propaganda. Propaganda on our side, to be sure. While I hope Ms. Keith has her facts in order, this book would go on the shelf next to ‘Silent Spring’ etc. (where it would be a welcome counter-influence).

    Like you though, I wish it didn’t show her anti-male bias. I don’t have any qualms feeding my little girls anti-vegetarian propaganda, but I draw the line at planting ideas in their heads that men are a “toxic masculinity” only interested in sons and dinners. That doesn’t fly in my house.

    It’s not that bad. It’s more pro-feminism than it is anti-male.

  89. Speaking of books (ok, really off-topic), do you know of a good book focusing on non-pharma approaches to rheumatoid arthritis? My mother just had a knee replacement and has to discontinue the drug she’s been taking for her RA (Enbrel) for several months and is very worried about managing the pain and inflammation. I’ve managed to convince her to go gluten-free – she even requested a gluten free diet while in the hospital, and is generally on board with prevention, though she would probably find a book more convincing than web sites.

    I don’t really know any good books on non-pharm approaches to RA other than one MD wrote years ago. MD’s father had bad RA, so, almost as a tribute, she wrote a book about the various arthritides titled: If it Runs in your Family: Arthritis. It’s out of print now, but I’m sure you can find the book through used-book sources; it has a fair amount of info on the non-pharm approach.

    • Just heard a very interesting case report (n=1) of a lady with RA who had testosterone pellet insertions done at the same time as starting an HCG diet. Her symptoms immediately improved. When she went off the HCG, her symptoms came back. SHe restarted HCG and symptoms abated. I have never heard of that before but am following her case. Not sure if the testosterone had anything to do with it or not.

  90. Comment on my previous comment – I just realized that my request for a book recommendation is possibly going over the line asking for medical advice, so I’d like to retract it.

    BTW, I also appreciate your recognition that being “anti-male” is not a core value of feminism. Many folks don’t seem to understand that feminism is at its core pro- equality and justice for all.

    Sorry, I wasn’t ignoring your earlier comment, and I didn’t take it as a request for medical advice. I’ve just been incredible busy and the comments have swarmed on me. I’m sitting in a meeting right now in Seattle kind of halfway listening to what everyone is saying while I catch up on as many of these as I can.

  91. There has been a lot of misinformation posted about Polyface and Joel Salatin. I ran some numbers some time ago and came up with the following:

    According to Michael Pollan, in one year Joel Salatin can grow the following on his Polyface Farm of 450 acres (someone here said his farm was 10 acres, that is incorrect):

    20,000 dozen eggs
    10,000 broilers
    800 stewing hens
    50 beeves (25,000 lbs beef)
    250 hogs (25,000 lbs pork)
    1,000 turkeys
    500 rabbits

    Also, America grows 90,000,000 acres of corn. If all that corn magically disappeared, that ninety thousand acres could turn into 200,000 450 acre farms.
    If all those farms were managed the same way, there is a potential to grow:

    4,000,000,000 dozen eggs
    2,000,000,000 broilers
    160,000,000 stewing hens
    5,000,000,000 pounds of beef
    5,000,000,000 pounds of pork
    400,000,000 turkeys
    100,000,000 rabbits

    Total 2004 US beef production was 24.5 billion lbs, with 25% exported. So we’d have a deficit of beef by about 19.5 billion pounds.

    Well that’s rather disheartening, but that does not take into account the acreage taken up by wheat (60,000,000 acres) or soy (70,500,000).

    If the acreage were put to good poly-species animal husbandry rather than grain production, we could most likely feed ourselves. I often wonder how much of our grains are squandered upon the rest of the world in the name of charity, when those governments often deny the donations to the citizenry.

  92. Oh, and PS: none of that grain acreage that I listed above includes pasture raised/organic farms. That would need be included as well.

    Best to you… great blog!

  93. Mike, this is a magnificent read, thank you!! I read the intro on Kindle, had to get the book, cannot put it down. If we had an ‘education system’ that educated, this would be required curriculum so folks would know how the world worked. If we could teach this, economics, and civics without the Keynsian/Statist sales pitch, we’d have real freedom back on the menu. Paul

    I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  94. Joel, 12. August 2009, 5:26

    Joel – she makes a completely compelling case that agriculture is far far more damaging to the environment than meat eating – assuming that we are talking grass fed meat eating, which is what she advocates. Read the book, like Mike said, it will open your eyes.

  95. Dennis Mangan, 12. August 2009, 11:08

    Dennis – all of those questions are more than covered in the book. It is well worth your read. I don’t disagree with your conclusion, but the facts she presents are convincing to those who desire to find the most truth they can.

  96. Dr: Mike:

    Man, am I ever loving this book.

    Amazing that you didn’t even know you were featured in it.

    BTW, because of my own part 1 review, I’ve had a couple of nice email exchanges with the author. She’s pretty amazing. I’m sure she’d love to hear from you (I can get you the email address if you don’t have).

    Well, I guess there’s one bright spot. Her 20 years of veganism may have damaged her body, but it certainly left quite a sufficient amount of her mind intact — though one has to wonder what literary achievements she might have made otherwise. Something about good female writers for me… Maybe why I’m such a Rand fan.

    What I think is that brutal honesty and allegiance to reality makes one smart, obviously, but they also appear smart because they are identifying real things for people. That’s because the whole world rewards rejection of reality and punishes allegiance. And that’s because those who run the world are reality’s enemies.

    I have been in email contact with her, too. She indeed has plenty of mind left irrespective of what vegetarianism has done to her body.

  97. paul bowers, 12. August 2009, 8:56
    Paul, check your facts. The thirties were four of the five hottest years on record, with 98 being only one of the five hottest and a peak – every year since has been cooler.

    The 2005 number was released before NASA realized an error in their calcs which required a restatement. If you dig into the numbers much at all, NASA’s numbers and their entire methodology is questionable. The margin of error for measuring and reporting temps, expecially those taken as far back as 75 years ago or more, exceeds the change in average temps.

  98. I just finished reading the book, and boy am I ever impressed! I’ll start rereading over the weekend to make sure I didn’t miss or misread anything. Keith’s writing really deconstructs both Big Agra and the motives of vegetarians.

    Peter Cox, I went on amazon to check on your book and read the available pages. If you really have been a vegetarian since the age of two, then you are much more exceptional than you realize. Most two year olds need a relatively large amount of saturated fat so that their brains and nervous systems work. Unless your mother was cooking your veggies in lard or tallow without you knowing, the fact that you are coherent and not in physical pain IS exceptional.

    I tried being vegetarian in college for political reasons, at a time when I barely knew anything about any kind of nutrition-Dr Atkins and Dr Tarnower’s Scarsdale diets were just the latest fads as far as I was concerned. I tried vegetarianism for about two to three weeks and in that short amount of time, I became light-headed, grumpy, constantly hungry, and spacey–I was not able to concentrate on my course work.

    Peter, you need to understand that the nutritional needs of billions of human beings are found on a very long continuum, and that you may be a true outlier. When I eat large amounts of animal protein, I am calm, happy, optimistic, assertive, able to handle any situation thrown at me–I could go on and on, but you get the picture. I can’t utilize the advice of vegetarians as it does not work for me, and I am confident that many commenters here feel the same way about the positive physical and mental developments they experience when switching to high fat(animal), moderate protein, low carb.

    You are a literary agent, and it’s a bit iffy on your part to challenge a medical doctor who’s seen some ten thousand patients in more than twenty years. Dr Mike and his wife Dr Mary Dan, have practiced metabolic medicine for most of their careers, doing the requisite research–something I think you can’t hope to match.

    As part of their research they came across a fact that I have always considered interesting–that approximately 25% of human beings do better with more plant matter in their diets–near vegetarians, as it were. As a member of the other 75%, I consider it interesting that we have no way of knowing which member of which group is giving advice to the other in any conversation, and I suggest to you that your book no matter how well or badly researched, simply can’t be utilized by 75% of the human population.

    Dr Mike, I’ve always wanted to ask you how you came across that statistic in your original book. I have come across two or three people, including now P Cox, who really seem to thrive on vegetarianism and have had to politely decline their well meant advice, and not getting understanding in return, as these individuals cannot believe that I and others can’t handle something that make them feel healthy.

    The study you’re referring to is one Gerald Reavan’s group did at Stanford a number of years ago. (I’m on the road right now and don’t have access to my files or I would get you the citation.) The researchers took young, normal subjects who had normal glucose tolerance tests and normal fasting blood sugar levels. He then checked insulin levels on these people and found that 25 percent of them had normal insulin levels that kept their blood glucose normal. The other 75 percent had elevated insulin levels to some degree or another in order to keep their sugar levels normal. Therefore, it appears that about 75 percent of people are intolerant of carbs to some degree.

  99. I’ve been reading all the comments as they’ve come along, and this is truly a fascinating discussion. I’ve been thinking about why this is such an emotional issue for some people, and not just a logical evaluation of the scientific info. that is available. I really think that people who don’t want to let go of the notion of global warming are confusing the issue with pollution and global responsibility. Perhaps if they back down or acknowledge that the facts don’t add up, then people will just go into full polluting gear and make the environment worse, or no one will want to protect animals in danger any more, etc.

    They are separate issues that I think in the minds of many people are all the same issue. Maybe what we need is to publicly separate these issues so people won’t feel their mission to save the animals, or end pollution, or whatever issue is creating the emotional obfuscation here.

  100. Dr. Mike said:
    “The study you’re referring to is one Gerald Reavan’s group did at Stanford a number of years ago. (I’m on the road right now and don’t have access to my files or I would get you the citation.) The researchers took young, normal subjects who had normal glucose tolerance tests and normal fasting blood sugar levels. He then checked insulin levels on these people and found that 25 percent of them had normal insulin levels that kept their blood glucose normal. The other 75 percent had elevated insulin levels to some degree or another in order to keep their sugar levels normal. Therefore, it appears that about 75 percent of people are intolerant of carbs to some degree.”

    Fascinating. Please find the reference when you get home. Reaven has over 400 published papers and I wasn’t able to track it down by sifting through them. Key word advanced search didn’t help much since most of his papers are of this sort.

    I went ahead and searched it out. Here is the abstract for the article.

  101. That book is really an entertaining read. It also is very enlightening.

    Almost everybody around me is vegetarian. We have been vegetarians for a very long time, at least for a few centuries. Vegetarianism though not very healthy, is not bad if done the right way.

    Problem with most vegans and non-traditional vegetarians is that they don’t know what to eat and how to eat. There is the problem of completing protein. The problem of getting the fat soluble vitamins. The problem of getting the nutrients. It was a solved problem, but modernization destroyed it.

    Now people in India have vegetable oils instead of grass fed butter/ghee/milk, and don’t get the fat soluble vitamins. People don’t eat complete protein foods, and rely on too much fast food. People eat too much sugar.

    I would like to read your comments on the evidence that we evolved on a meat + tuber diet. This would mean that we did not evolve on a low carb diet. I do agree that people with high insulin resistance must have a low carb diet.

    Please see the post at http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/2009/08/primal-potatoes-part-1.html

    Interesting link. Thanks for posting.

  102. I can see it now: urban hipsters going back to nature to slap the fish out of a native person’s hand “you killed it!” Vegans seem to want to remove themselves from the cycle of life. The fact that we all must kill each day to stay alive is simply a fact. Life begets life. But we don’t all murder everyday. As we know, energy is only transformed. It never actually disappears. This vegan notion seems to suggest that they are terrified of death! Like they want to find that found-of-youth that helps them live forever –all the while not killing.

    It’s like with the Israel/Palestine issue when someone says they are against the state of Israel. Someone always responds with: “oh, so you’re anti-Semitic”. Which is nonsense. The same way that I can be vehemently against factory farming yet still see mutually beneficially relationship of me consuming animal flesh. Torture is not killing. Torture is torture.

  103. Thanks for reviewing and sharing this book with people. I got it and loved it.

    I initially learned about this blog and your books through Fred Hahn and Serious Strength (my brother-in-law is a trainer there) and have been a regular reader ever since. I really enjoy reading your stuff on health and nutrition. I do have almost nothing but distaste for libertarian politics as applied to reality, but then again health is critical for us all, so it’s nice that you reviewed a book written by someone whose politics I gather are even further from your own than just the radical feminist stuff. So yes, thanks again!

    Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the book. I loved it. I’ve had an enjoyable email correspondence with Lierre since the review. She and I may not see eye to eye on things politically, but that doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. She seems like a lovely person, and she’s written one heck of a book. I try to look beyond an individual’s politics when I’m evaluating what said individual has to say about things having little or nothing to do with politics. I’m always stunned when I get comments from people saying they can’t possibly believe anything I say anymore about nutrition because I’m so off base from their particular political opinions.

  104. I finished the book and thought it was an eyeopener. The author has a knack for explaining science and issues in a down-to earth fashion that people can relate to. Thank you for publicizing this book!

  105. Karen J – Just wanted to worryingly ask how are we going to feed the world with meet and then I saw your interesting calculations. But still one question pops to mind – What are the cows going to eat???

    One part of me want the world to “see the light” and the other part is slightly afraid of the meet frenzy consequences. Would it be ecologically good or bad?

  106. @Ron: the cows will eat their natural diet: grass. There would be a lot more of it if we let the prairies come back. We could get at least 6 million acres of natural, high quality rangeland back, enough for millions of cows, just from the land wasted on high fructose corn syrup.

  107. ” the cows will eat their natural diet: grass. There would be a lot more of it if we let the prairies come back. We could get at least 6 million acres of natural, high quality rangeland back, enough for millions of cows, just from the land wasted on high fructose corn syrup.”

    Actually, cows aren’t so well suited to the American Great Plains; cows are imported and not native. The Great Plains are too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter.

    Bison, antelope, deer, on the other hand, are perfectly suited and should be brought back to graze on the native prairie grasses. Think back to grade school when you sang, “Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam, and the deer and the antelope plaaaaay…”

  108. @Lark – I hope that you are right and that we are not in the “cult like” mode like the poor folks from the veg forum thinking about fencing the animals. (Making our own simplified logic and shielding ourselves from the reality)

    I hope we can feed the world with meat. (At least until scientist will be able to create an exact or even improved meat replica from thin air :> )

    Till then maybe fish and sea farming might be a good solution too.

    • We cannot feed the world even the population we have at the level we do today, because we are using irreplaceable resources to produce food. Water for one thing, Indian farmers are being driven to poverty and even to suicide because of falling water level in their wells raises their electric bills and we have lots land in grain agriculture in America which is also mining the aquifers for water, not to mention the use of natural gas for fertilizer and petroleum products for transportation, tillage and pesticides etcetera.

  109. We already have fish farming! One report I read said that currently 40% of the fish we consume is farmed, and another said that almost *all* the salmon we eat is farmed. We think salmon is a healthy fish to eat, right? Well how about this: “Almost 100 percent of all farmed salmon is artificially colored with either canthaxanthin or astaxanthin, a process sometimes euphemistically called ‘color finishing.’ Responding to an ever-increasing demand for salmon–which must, however, be pink — several major chemical companies produce canthaxanthin and astaxanthin for color finishing. Swiss chemical giant Hoffman La Roche synthetically produces canthaxanthin and an astaxanthin called Carophyll Pink from petrochemicals and provides customers with its SalmoFan — much like an artist’s color wheel but in various shades of pink–to help salmon farmers and buyers create and/or order a color that sells well.” — as opposed to wild salmon who acquire their pink flesh naturally from the food they consume. Without the artificial dyes they are fed the salmon flesh would be greyish in color.

    Or as Wikipedia says: “Because of parasite problems, some aquaculture operators frequently use strong antibiotic drugs to keep the fish alive (but many fish still die prematurely at rates of up to 30 percent[9]). In some cases, these drugs have entered the environment. Additionally, the residual presence of these drugs in human food products has become controversial…The very large number of fish kept long-term in a single location contributes to habitat destruction of the nearby areas…Vegetable-derived proteins have successfully replaced fish meal in feeds for carnivorous fishes”

    So farmed fish are fed chemicals to color their flesh, often fed on heavily grain-based diets, fed massive antibiotics — gee sounds a lot like the feedlot farming of cattle I think many of us would like to get away from!

    Or as Wikipedia says:

  110. Yhea I know that…

    Surely not ideal in its current form.

    Also I bet the Omega-3 ratio in these salmons is also vastly decreased as the majority of omega-3 comes from cold-sea plants that animals in the sea food chain eat and is not available for man raised fish.

    But the discussion was less of the quality the healthiness of modern age farming err.. food industry, rather the question was whether its possible to feed humanity with more meat instead of more grains.

  111. One point both Eades and Lierre Keith make is agriculture, especially grains, is war on the planet. I notice how much of what I eat as a different kind of vegan is sea algae and wild fruits and herbs. I hardly eat grains. And I agree with the destruction ensuing from modern monocropping agriculture; I eat as absolutely much as possible from permaculture, edible foresting, biodynamic, and at least organic sources. That point can bridge Keith and Eades’ view and mine a lot. A lot of vegans just don’t know these more appropriate ways to eat, and that is part of my educational role.

  112. Yikes! Just read this over on the Science Daily:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090824151300.htm

    Could you please explain for me/us what is possibly going on here?

    Thanks in advance, Dr. Eades!

    SkyKing

    Too long to deal with in the comments. The short answer: don’t worry about it.

    WOAH. I wasn’t even gonna get involved in this whole discussion, but DUDE. You write fucking essays to the pro-global warming and pro-vegetarian criticisms, but when someone posts a scientific study attacking the diet you have proposed as a “miracle cure” to all of our dietary ills, the answer is “too long?” COME ON. The least you could do is throw a couple of intelligent-sounding facts or statistics his/her way to try to salvage your career and reputation.

    DUDE, it’s not my job to immediately crank out a rebuttal to every study the press decides to report on just because someone writes me a comment asking about it. I do have a day job, which isn’t dealing with all these comments. I deal with them when I have the time – and it’s going to come to a screeching halt because I’m spreading myself too thin as it is right now.

    Many studies can be dealt with in a sentence or two. Others – for various reasons – take more time. Those that I can deal with briefly, I do so in the comments if someone asks about them. Those that I can’t, I give an answer such as the one I gave that you so objected to. If the study is of enough interest and is of any significance, I’ll write an entire post about it, which, I suppose falls under the rubric of “f**king essays…to criticisms,” as you put it. As it happens, I did write an entire post on this very study a couple of weeks ago. So there was really no reason for you to have had to get “involved in this whole discussion.”

  113. Wouldn’t a diet of locally grown vegetables and eggs and milk from small scaled farms be the best both for humans, animals and ecosystems? Why, and for whom would it be better to eat industrialised, tortured meat than locally grown food (except for people making money of treating living creatures as “products”?)

    About the whole meat vs. veg food – you can feel good and be healthy eating either one. Especially if you EXERCISE! I can’t understand why so many people think it is so hard, but maybe it is in the culture (from society to family) you are raised in. If you consume more energy than you use – of course you’ll get fat and feel bad. That energy can come from carbs, fat OR protein.

    You don’t have to feel bad, get tired, skinny, fat (or whichever myth) by stop eating meat. If you only eat french fries and ketchup you’ll eventually get sick, yes.
    But you also will if you eat big steaks with gravy every day.

    (sorry if there are any grammatical errors or bad spelling, english isn’t my native language.)

  114. What I find annoying about that sign are clouds above it – they appear to be geo-engineered, just like the food we are eating.

  115. “How anyone who can read these 14 pages and not purchase and read this book is beyond me.”

    It is beyond me how can anyone find anything profound in that incoherent blabber. Okay, she used to think that the meat eaters are evil. Now she has had the revelation that all people are evil. So what?

  116. Dr. Mike, consider putting a link on your homepage to a list of the books you’ve recommended. It just took me awhile to find this. I’ve had great luck (enjoyment) reading many or most of your recommendations, and would love to have easy access to a list of them.

    Thanks,
    Cathy

  117. @Dennis

    “But you also will if you eat big steaks with gravy every day.”

    Well, maybe. I suppose it’s how you make your gravy. I eat this way nearly every day and have lost 60 pounds. I make my “gravy” from my own bone stock, reduced, and thickened with butter, cream, coconut milk and sometimes, a little sprinkle of potato starch — but never flour of corn starch.

    Food Porn (with plenty of pics):

    http://freetheanimal.com/food-porn

  118. She convinced a lot of young women to become vegetarians. She was 100% sure she was correct. Today she wants to stop women from being vegetarians. She taught girls to hate men, she hasn’t seen the light on that one yet. She wrote about girls with eating problems. lFeminsts taught us that 150,000 women died a year from anorexia and they blamed men. Two problems. Men like women with boobs and butts, not skinny as sticks. The other, well, it was really 100 deaths a year [OOPS] and it turns out that some men are anorexic- just like women for the same reasons – body imagery issues, some men and women are anorexic because of genetics, some men use steroids to get huge because of body image problems. She is as wrong about gender issues as she was about her past diet.

    The one in three or one in four statistics abut violence and rape she repeats unaware of how Moss got those statistics after MS magazine paid her to find theW. Check out Myths about men, Independent women’s Forum or go to RADARinfo (Domestic Violence issue) I have looked at diets for decades and gender issues too. Don’t trust bigots or people who are selling hatred … go to the source. Read “The War Against Boys” by Christina Hoff Sommers.

    The author was able to leave one extreme view about food for balance but that left her standing on one leg – the Misandry leg – she can’t risk losing that one. I loved the book except for the glaring MSinformation and false statistics about violence. Does she even know that lesbians have as much DV as heteros? Does she know how many women beat and kill their own children? Evidently in her land of men are pigs and women angels there is no room for that…. I recommended her book to my daughter but lucky for my daughter she knows women who are brilliant that don’t hate men (Hatred- based on Feminist Phallacies/Feminist porno. Getting off with each other on trashing men.) The book didn’t need her gender bias to deal with the problems of food Really, she writes of Indian men burning a wife’s vagina as if some Indiand women didn’t slice balls off from captured men from other tribes during torture? She knows food, she doesn’t know men.

  119. Thanks for your advice, sounds very interesting!
    I love meat, but I can confess this documentaries really touch my heart….

    http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-680850334709745513&ei=EVM9S7G5BZ3IqgLE_5DWAg&q=meat+is+weak&hl=en-GB#

    If I wonder about someone who became a “vegan”, it is that: or you are an obsessive person to follow all the rules and that easy trap you in a almost religious life style, from that to deny a rational thinking it is a small step.
    We all will end up being a bit hypocrite, the vegan believing they are saving the planet or the “normal” denying what actually we are building to the next generations.

    I like to Analise, why the “vegans” need to avoid the pain from the animals? what do they want to save on their own selves doing that? what do they think is the death? What do they think is the ferocious side on them selves? How do they deal with their own aggressiveness? Why they like to be different ones?

    It is true any kind of agriculture will damage the planet, but do you need to produce meat food on those speed, (we can do faster with soya / grains), with all the hormones and chemicals to achieve better prices and increase farmers money?

    I am glad she is giving some thinking, any religious group can be dangerous, as they can easily deny reality.

    Although I still think vegans have a point. This movie it is from Brazil and it was filmed in models farms. I always wonder can we imagine what happen in that ones we are not allowed to film?

    Thanks for your advice, I will read it!

    happy new year!

  120. I have to say that I have spoken with some of the world’s leading climate scientists from NASA and NOAA, and I only wish that they could directly explain to you how profoundly ignorant your claims about climate change are. In reality, an overwhelming 97.3% of all actively publishing climate scientists believe that the evidence for anthropogenic global warming is incontrovertible, and virtually all of the remaining 2.7% are paid huge sums by the world’s worst polluters to create a smokescreen of disinformation. The consensus behind global warming is based on hundreds of thousands of research papers by tens of thousands of scientists in dozens of different disciplines, and if you paid attention to the real science instead of a bunch of Ayn Rand obsessed, mouth-breathing, paranoid delusional conspiracy theorists you would know that.

    I agree that the Vegetarian Myth is a great book. I actually liked your book as well, but reading your asinine pseudo-scientific climate change denier rhetoric makes me seriously question the integrity of your book now. Denying climate change isn’t skepticism, it is pseudo-scientific intellectual dishonesty at its ugly worst.

    Let me respond to your charges.

    1. You vastly – and I mean vastly – overestimate the number of studies showing any kind of real evidence for AGW. Hundreds of thousands?!?!? Give me a break.

    2. The studies that have been done all use climate modeling, which lends itself to all kinds of fudging to make whatever point the researcher wants to make.

    3. What’s worse, the vast majority of these studies have used data stored at the CRU, which has just been shown to be totally unethical. Plus, the people at the CRU won’t release the raw data because they fear that people who really want to investigate it might come to opposite conclusions than they. They really said this. I’m not making it up. If you are the expert on AGW that you claim to be, you should know this.

    4. The latest cock up at the IPCC shows just how sleazy and unprofessional those desperate to ‘prove’ that AGW really exists can be.

    5. You would probably like for the thousands of scientists who are skeptical of global warming to be on the take, but that’s not the case. Princeton professors William Happer and Freeman Dyson spring to mind.

    6. I’m old enough to have lived through another scare similar to the AGW one. Google Paul Ehrlich and Population Bomb to see how the last on turned out

    7. I don’t really give a rat’s ass whether you think the credibility of my new book has been besmirched because I haven’t bought into this foolishness. It’s your loss.

    8. Your comment almost crossed the line into out and out rudeness and hostility. I’ve deleted only a handful of such comments in the years I’ve been blogging. Yours came close to being added to the list.

    9. I don’t mind at all when people argue or dispute my point of view as long as they do it with civility. I don’t want this blog to become like many I’ve seen that are filled with vicious, spiteful comments. Develop a little class before you post another in the same vein or it will be deleted.

  121. Sorry if I ruffled your feathers, but that sort of climate change denial quackery is seriously dangerous. You have been severely misguided.

    1. Perhaps this link can help you a bit: http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1389 Here is a quote: “Even if every bit of mud slung at these scientists were true, the body of scientific work supporting the theory of human-caused climate change–which spans hundreds of thousands of scientific papers written by tens of thousands of scientists in dozens of different scientific disciplines–is too vast to be budged by the flaws in the works of the three or four scientists being subject to the fiercest attacks.”

    2. Again, the science is overwhelming.

    3. Citing the email-gate CRU scandal is just plain silly. There are many pieces by notable climate scientists detailing this. The notion that it in any way negates climate change is beyond ridiculous. What you won’t find in the CRU emails is anything whatsoever to contradict the evidence behind climate change. You are misinterpreting their frustration with unscrupulous people that have been creating smokescreens for industry as something more than it is.

    4. I see it as the exact opposite. You are aligning yourself with conspiracy theory quacks like Alex Jones, who have confabulated smokescreen after smokescreen.

    5. Freeman Dyson and William Happer are intelligent people for the most part, but that doesn’t make them knowledgeable about climate science. Happer’s claims that increased C02 is good for the planet is outright quackery. An overwhelming majority of the world’s most accomplished climate scientists believe that the evidence is incontrovertible.

    6. No, you are not, because you are conflating two very different things.

    7. I think you do. I don’t think you would have written the book if you didn’t care about your arguments being convincing. You clearly know a lot about insulin etc, but your global warming denier rhetoric is absolute nonsense. I cannot be alone in feeling that your embracing of such complete quackery makes it harder to trust in your arguments in general. I’m not saying that your dietary arguments are wrong, but you are undermining the ability for thinking people to trust in your arguments, because any intelligent person who has honestly sifted through the science on global warming will know that climate change denier rhetoric is extremely misguided.

    8. Again, I’m sorry if I ruffled your feathers. I think your use of right-wing extremist climate change denier rhetoric is a very serious threat to life on Earth, which makes it hard to be gentle.

    9. Very well. I don’t really expect to convince anyone from the Libertarian or tea party set. I am not a climate scientist, but I have taken the time to learn enough about the issue to know that climate change is indeed a very real, and very serious threat. It’s not a liberal or conservative thing; it’s a matter of science. I am sure you are an intelligent person, and I don’t doubt that if you took the time to communicate with accomplished climate scientists, outside the world of conspiracy theory Libertarians and right wing extremists, you would change your mind.

    Think of it this way, if you are taking the side of the world’s worst polluting global megacorporations, you are probably on the wrong side. With all of the resources that they have poured into climate change denial, they certainly would have come up with a heck of a lot more convincing arguments if there was any truth to their confabulations. There is not.

    • You have missed the point completely. You didn’t ‘ruffle my feathers’ because of your argument, but because of your lack of civility. I don’t have a problem at all with people disagreeing with me, but I do have a problem with people wandering onto my blog and attacking me in hostile terms. You are verging on it again with your opening paragraph claiming with great certainty that “that sort of climate change denial quackery is seriously dangerous.” And by telling me that I have “been severely misguided.” It implies that basically I’m an idiot who has bought into some sort of cultish nonsense without bothering to think much about it. Or that I am so stupid as to have been led astray by other idiots who clearly aren’t as sophisticated as you and are unable to have a grasp on the perfect truth as you do.

      A famous French essayist and novelist, Andre Gide, once said: “Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.” I am a believer in Gide’s thesis. It seems you have found the ‘truth.’

      I don’t have the time nor the inclination to debate this issue on this blog. I have said repeatedly that I’m not convinced that a) AGW is really taking place; b) that if it is taking place, it is human driven; and, c) that if it is taking place and is human driven, that we can do much about it.

      I have a real problem with the models used to predict AGW, and I have a greater problem with the data most predictors use. And I’m not the only one. Just yesterday and today The Guardian, the UK’s most liberal newspaper, came out with these two articles (here and here) expressing doubts about the CRU data. And just because I have my doubts about the data (and other aspects of the AGW prediction model) doesn’t mean that I’m in the pay of giant multinational polluters.

      As I say, I’m not going to spend the time engaging in debate on AGW on this blog. Feel free to respond as often as you like, and I’ll post your comments with one proviso: that they be civil and not indulge in name calling. If I detect even the slightest hint of hostility, aggression or condescension, I’ll hit the delete button very quickly.

  122. “Each US American now eats sixty pounds more grain per annum and thirty pounds more cheap sugars, mostly from corn. [Is it any wonder we’re all fat?]”

    What about the fact that each US American is also eating 46 pounds more meat per annum? Might that also explain why we’re all fat and unhealthy? But this fact is neglected.

    “Lions and hyenas and humans don’t have a ruminant’s digestive system. Literally from our teeth to our rectums we are designed for meat. We have no mechanism to digest cellulose.”

    There is so much wrong with this statement. Last time I checked, we are neither lions nor hyenas. The only obligate carnivores that exist are the felines, because they lack enzymes to make taurine and must get it from an animal source. It is true that humans cannot digest cellulose, and so cannot survive on a diet of grass, but we most certainly can digest plant protein, starches, fruit sugars, and vitamins and minerals from plant sources. B12 is the only vitamin only found in animal products, and can readily be obtained from eggs and cheese. So a vegetarian diet, at least, can provide everything a person needs to be healthy; to suggest that it is not based on her own speculation goes against many emerging studies that show that vegetarians have lower incidences of common diseases and longer lifespans.

    So, her views on agriculture aside, I am not impressed with her take on vegetarianism and health.

      • haha, perhaps not! since you seem to know her mind, what is wrong with my take on it? being omnivorous means we can adapt to many different diets, both plant or animal. to say that we cannot be healthy on a vegetarian diet is simply not true. please note that i am not saying that one cannot be healthy on a diet that includes meat, i am saying that one CAN be healthy without meat. to say we are “designed” for meat is, in my opinion, untrue; we evolved, and we evolved from species that consume very little meat. since she implies we should look to the physiology of our digestive system for clues, “from our teeth to our rectums”, i point to the fact that we lack cutting teeth (our canines are quite dull in comparison to carnivorous species), and we lack the digestive capacity to digest raw meat and handle the various pathogenic organisms within it (dogs and cats are very resistant to infection with such organisms as salmonella and other meat-borne pathogens). to eat our meat, we must cook it, which is quite an unnatural thing to do.

          • There is no need for personal attacks. I am not attacking anybody for eating meat. If you find me so shockingly ignorant, go and eat some raw meat and see how you fare. I am not talking about fish, but red meats or fowl. This is not to say that I do not believe you can still eat red meat and be healthy, which I plainly stated. We are omnivorous and can be healthy on a variety of diets, including both vegetarian or meat based.

            This is what I hate about the internet. You might have taught me something interesting if you could have a grown-up discussion and said, you know, actually we can eat raw meat and here are some rather interesting examples. Instead you come off as a pompous ass and I am really no longer interested in listening to anything you have to say. Too bad the internet will does not seem to foster meaningful discussion, but instead fosters anger and defensiveness. I often feel that people who say things like “you should cure your profound and shocking ignorance” say things like that because they actually don’t have a good argument; if they did they could be civil.

            @gretchen – B12 is available from eggs and cheese, which vegetarians eat.

          • As I said, I’m not responsible for your education. I don’t mind when people come on and ask reasonable questions – especially if those questions haven’t been asked or answered either in the numerous posts on this site or in the multitude of comments – but when people come on and trot out all the tired old vegetarian nonsense (that has been refuted countless times) about tooth shape and GI tract configuration and pass it off as intelligent questions, it really gets under my skin. Sorry if you were offended.

            BTW, vegans don’t eat eggs and cheese.

          • No, you’re not responsible for my education, but so far your contribution to discussion has consisted of hand waving and dismissing arguments without providing any counter argument at all. Examination of tooth shape and GI tract physiology was not my argument, it was yours (and the author of this book’s); it was a poor argument, and I explained why. If you don’t want to compare us to carnivores, perhaps we should compare ourselves to other omnivores. Look at tooth configuration of the pig, the raccoon, or the bear, all omnivores. All have canines that can handle meat. Ours just don’t. Sorry you are tired of hearing the same old argument, but you are hearing it because it makes sense. Please, instead of a lot of gesticulation about how this has been refuted countless times, make a good argument to me. Perhaps you will convince me and others and then you won’t have to hear the argument anymore.

            As for the quick google search to cure my ignorance about eating raw meat – I did that. So far I have not found any examples of people eating raw meat without some sort of processing. It may not be cooking, but it needs to be at least cured or tenderized so our teeth and digestive tracts can handle it. We simply cannot kill a cow and hunker down and eat it. It is true that we have evolved with brains, and that is an argument I actually agree with. That is why I believe we can be healthy on a diet of meat, because we have evolved methods to make it work for us and it has done so for a long time. But I do not believe we are designed in such a way that we require meat, and vegetarians can be healthy. You can find many examples of healthy vegetarians and even vegetarian body builders, just as you can find healthy meat eaters, so why you insist that you cannot be healthy as a vegetarian I do not know. As a person who has tried both I assure you, you can. A diet is a very personal thing and you have to do what works for your body as well as your morals. If you open your mind you will see that you can do either one and be just fine.

            BTW, vegetarians eat eggs and cheese, which is why I chose the word vegetarian and not vegan.

          • Alright, I am going to help with your education. Take a look here and here. There is a part III coming even more convincing than part II. It will lay to rest all this nonsense about the teeth, GI tract, etc.

          • Regarding raw meat….

            Obviously, you’ve never heard of carpaccio. Minimal processing, just slice the meat thin. And the Inuit also eat raw meat.

          • Ah yes, and before I forget, there are also vegetables we cannot just hunker down and eat after gathering because our bodies are not equipped to metabolize poison either. For example, taro root (which will make your throat itch terribly) wild cassava (which if not prepared properly will cause gastroenteritis and/or death) and rhubarb (if you eat the wrong part, you will die).

    • Along with vitamin B12, Vitamin A is not found in plant foods. And, IIRC, K2 is not found in plant foods except in natto, which is not much favored outside of Japan.

  123. “What separates me from vegetarians isn’t ethics or commitment. It’s information.”
    well i think the author needs more information on this subject. to breed animals to serve the non-veg population takes more of ‘agricultural’ land then food that is grown for vegetarian population.
    and kindly find out about organic farming it shall change your perspective abt wht agricukture does to the land.

    • How about read the book, shahveer?

      “to breed animals to serve the non-veg population takes more of ‘agricultural’ land then food that is grown for vegetarian population.”

      This is dealt with at length. And it’s false and agriculture is profoundly environmentally destructive. And so is “organic farming” that is not also integrated with polyculture that includes animals to build topsoil.

  124. We are omnivores, so our intestines, teeth, etc. are between those of herbivores and strict carnivores.

    The Eskimos eat raw meat; that’s where the name comes from.

    You can raise animals on land that is not suitable for crops. Think of mountain goats.

    If we were meant to be vegetarian, why can’t we produce vitamin B12?

    I have nothing against vegetarians. But it wouldn’t work for me.

  125. I’ve read Lierre’s book, am in the middle of Gary Taubes’ Good Calories/Bad Calories, and have read John Robbins…..all seem very well researched. I’ve interviewed Lierre in my radio show, she is very well spoken, and knows her stuff. The real issue, that comes to my mind is that agriculture has enabled us to overpopulate. Simple. Decrease population via natural disasters, diseases, and consious pregnancies, and then restore earth to balance. Thinking of opening a Paleolithic Cafe…Love the Book, love the concept. And I was an avid Vegan selling wheatgrass on the streets of Santa Barbara for years!

  126. Great review of an unbelievably good book, which I just finished.

    As for global warming (which I don’t support either), it strikes me that the eco-mental movement is similar to the low-fat brigade – zero hard evidence but driven by faith in an empty cause – a cause which does an awfully good job in scaring the uninformed and inducing them to hand over their cash. The windmilling monstrosities covering the hillsides near where I work and so-called ‘healthy’ cereal bars being pushed at us are two examples in my life alone.

  127. Interesting reading, thanks for the links. It is very good and compelling data, but I would not go so far as to say water-tight. You present very good comparisons between our physiology and that of our herbivorous ancestors, but not a very good comparison between ours and that of any carnivore or omnivore. How does our gut size compare to theirs?

    Here is an interesting paper that claims that the evolution of our small teeth and GI physiology is due to the development of cooking methods. While this certainly doesn’t exclude meat or at least animal protein from the equation, the theory does not place the same importance on meat as an ultimate requirement to our evolution.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VNH-48WJWGF-9&_user=10&_coverDate=09/30/2003&_rdoc=6&_fmt=high&_orig=browse&_srch=doc-info(%23toc%236179%232003%23998639998%23457178%23FLA%23display%23Volume)&_cdi=6179&_sort=d&_docanchor=&_ct=20&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=2de7868f2a6a1c501dc902f7d41d5a09 (gah, sorry for the long link!)

    Finally, while we may have evolved eating meat (and I do not agree that we evolved as strict carnivores – as you suggest – due to the importance of fiber and other plant nutrients in our diets) my whole point was that we CAN be healthy as vegetarians. There are papers out there showing no difference between strict vegetarians and their healthy meat-eating counterparts.

    So, you asked, if we evolved eating meat, why stop now? Firstly because we can be healthy without it. And some people have other additional reasons, such as the avoidance of meat-borne illnesses and antibiotic residues, unwillingness to support intensive farming operations or slaughter of animals, unwillingness to contribute to antibiotic resistance problems caused by intensive farming, sludge-spraying, contamination of our water tables with pathogenic organisms, or a recognition of the fact that it takes far more energy to grow meat calories as it does plant calories, which may be significant at a time when energy is a precious resource.

    This is a great discussion but it would be nice if people weren’t so condescending just because we don’t share the same views.

    • The tooth structure argument appears to hold great sway with you. How do you explain the giant gorilla canines? Gorillas are total vegetarians yet they possess fearsome canines. What gives?

      • The tooth argument matters, because it really doesn’t make sense with the rest of your theory. Primatologists can and have explained the large canines of gorillas – they are for behavioral displays and competition for mates. This is why the canines of the male are 4 times larger than those of the female, and why they do not fully develop until sexual maturity. Silverbacks possess the largest canines. But the canines are not the whole story, in fact, many herbivores and omnivores have large canines for fighting, and usually they show up more prominently in the males (horse, pig, etc). The fact that the gorilla is a herbivore is also the reason that they have large flat molars for grinding plant matter, just like other herbivores do.

        Now if we look at the carnivores (lets set aside humans), most of them have cheek teeth called carnassials, which are very sharp, shearing teeth set in the most powerful part of the jaw. This is for shearing tough materials like meat, sinew, and bone. Not all carnivores have these teeth but all carnivores, and herbivores for that matter, have very unique teeth that are extremely well adapted to their diet. There are hypsodonts, lophodonts, brachydonts, bunodonts, etc etc etc. All different types of teeth suited to all different types of diets.

        Now you say, our teeth are exempt from these evolutionary constraints because we evolved big brains to figure out ways of handling our meat. However, this creates a catch-22, the way I see it. If you say we were able to evolve our big brains because of our richer, meat-based diet, that would mean that the meat-eating came before our brains. So, without proper equipment to eat the meat before we developed brains, how did we do it?

  128. Of course we don’t need to eat animal muscle to become muscular. Otherwise, we’d be able to eat hair to regrow hair. Or grind up bone in a smoothie to combat osteoporosis. But I’ve read Lierre’s book and it’s really good. There’s no one diet for everyone. As Dr Jewel Pookrum points out: it depends on what your dreams are. Eat according to what your purpose is.

  129. Author Of The Vegetarian Myth Attacked By Militant Vegans

    March 13th, while speaking in the auditorium at the 15th Annual Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair, Lierre Kieth was assaulted by pie throwing goons. The 3 pies were laced with hot pepper and therefor had an effect similar to pepper spray, blinding the author for a time. The painful attack was was carried out by three masked, militant vegans unhappy with the substance of the authors new book, The Vegetarian Myth.

  130. Bill, what the vegans did to Lierre Keith was malicious, stupid, and will certainly hurt their reputation for pacifism. What were they thinking? That harming a fellow human being would make them look moral? It just makes it look like they have no counter argument–they actually don’t–as we know.

    When I first heard about the incident, I tried to get my head around their reasoning. I realize now that there is no reasoning. The vegans did something that will only hurt their cause.

      • Too bad that the person who wrote this rebuttal didn’t have the balls to put his/her name to it. At least Lierre doesn’t hide behind the anonymity of an unsigned critique. Of course, she doesn’t assault people and run either.

        • I don’t get it. You complain that Keith’s detractors must resort to pie throwing because they have no reasonable argument. Someone presents some very reasonable and intelligent arguments and you complain that because they didn’t sign their name, that they are just as bad as pie throwers.

          Keith on the other hand, can bend the facts, lie, and misrepresent people and you insist that she is just a stand up gal. For example, she ridicules a suggestion about a predator prey fence, using it as a demonstration of how ignorant vegans must be. Here is the original post, which is very obviously a joke. http://www.postpunkkitchen.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=19376
          The funniest part is how much she embellishes on the actual post to make them seem even dumber, and adds “everyone agreed it was a great idea”. Yes, only Lierre seemed to notice that idea was insane. Or maybe only Lierre didn’t get the joke. Or maybe Lierre was just trying to bash a group of people by taking their words out of context. She didn’t even leave a post asking if this was serious. No, because that would have made HER look stupid.

          • That link has been debunked on this thread several times. Obviously you trolls get your talking points from the same place…

  131. I think this whole debate with vegans is pretty silly. Face it: the bulk of the population will never go vegan just as they’ll never stop smoking, stop eating snacks, stop driving cars, stop watching TV, stop buying stuff they don’t really need, or stop having children.

    If we really want to save the world, we should stop wars and devote all that money to health care, education, and energy conservation. But humans seem to have a need to fight, whether about religion, territory, or the best diet.

  132. Having been mislead by experts before, I now go out of my way to seek the views of those who hold opposite views to them or to mine. My hope is that this will put me onto the path to the actual truth.

    Many years ago I listened to the talks given by Dr. T. Colin Campbell. He said basically what I wanted to hear, that is by simply avoiding animal products I could avoid cancer, heart disease and other health problems while at the same time saving the planet.

    Now after following his advice I now have Crohn’s disease and colon cancer. Lierre Keith’s book has the opposite view that I needed to read.

    I have also sought the views of climate warming deniers. So far none of their views have come anywhere close to being as convincing to me as those of Lierre Keith in her the book, The Vegetarian Myth or your views in your books and blog. I remain a climate warming believer and will continue to do my part in addressing the climate problem.

    Thanks for the book review.

  133. Great book review! I have read her book now and the information on how agriculture damages the earth and harms animals is incredible. (Being a Weston A. Price member, I already know that vegetarian diets don’t provide optimal nutrition for humans.) She is right that urban dwellers have no idea what it takes to get food to their plate. I also agree with your opinion on her radical feminist views, which don’t really have a place in the book. But since her views are entwined with her food values, she included them. I consider myself a feminist but she is way over the top, with her antagonism to male energy and patriarchy. I think one can be a feminist without bashing men and without being so judgmental. Both male and female energy should be respected. Also, her views are too apocalyptic for my taste. I don’t think the situation with the earth and our overpopulation is as dire as she paints. As grassfed farmer Abe Collins shows with his grazing model, there are ways to quickly heal land and build topsoil.

  134. In the The Vegetarian Myth Lierre Keith wrote about issues that many of us have strong views on such as food choices, the environment and the morality of killing animals. So I can the understand why Dr. Eades’ writing on climate change would result in a lot of ‘hot’ commentary.

    I appreciate the skepticism and critical thinking that Dr. Eades has applied to mainstream nutrition. I also, appreciate Lierre Keith’s opinion on environmental and moral views on diet. However, I must curb my desire for heroes who are right about everything. They simply don’t exist. Dr. Eades has applied a little skepticism and critical thinking to climate change but not even close to the same extent that he has applied this to nutrition. So I see no point in taking this climate change issue too seriously here. I see Dr Eades’ writing on climate change as just a segue into the rest of the book review.

    I have no problem holding the view that Dr. Eades is correct about nutrition and wrong about climate change. There is no cognitive dissonance here. I believe Lierre Keith has this view and my guess is that she also appreciates his review of her book.

    Ken C.

  135. It’s called global climate change, not global warming. The cooling is due to melting ice caps.. Vegetarianism is a personal choice and I have no idea why people get so offended about what I or other people eat.. If you don’t like it.. you don’t have to do it.. It’s as simple as that.. it’s not a “cult” as someone above stated. If you don’t like eating salad I don’t freak out and tell you how wrong that is.. Your body, your choice! Why can’t people see that????

    • Unfortunately, it is a cult to some vegetarians and they feel meat eaters are wrong and need to be “converted”. Some vegetarians do tell others “how wrong that is” when they see others eating differently from them.

  136. With so much praise I eagerly ordered this book (through the Eades portal) from Amazon, and read it in two evenings.

    I was intrigued by the story of this woman, who found her truth in true foxhole fashion – she ruined her health and spirit and finally had to face facts or, literally, die. It paralleled my story with compulsive behaviors around food and alcohol.

    However, the remaining 90% of the book was either tragic or vastly entertaining, depending on how you look at it. Keith’s is a politics born of the neuroses particular to the disordered mental state that besets many of the radical far left – especially the feminist and same sex attracted.

    To a nail, the entire world looks like a hammer. When one is so sensitive as a victim, a put upon woman, a lesbian who sees all enemies as a male and Father God, who wishes to be inert in the cosmos while powerful raging against masculinity and neutering males to lower the birth rate, rebelling against all domination yet refusing to cease female domination of the unborn child, and on top of it all wishes to reduce the human population by 90% and let’s start with western civilization – it strains credibility to offer this person much more than credit for realizing (against all hope given her silly state of mind) that she was killing herself.

    I dont regret buying the book, and I will probably think a little more about the agriculture and civilization issues she raised. But it is sort of like that tofu she rails against in the book – I have a big time aftertaste after this read, and it’s going to take a while to get the nasty death culture taste out of my mouth.

    PS – I hope you get a hefty royalty check from the chapter you basicaly wrote, Dr. E. I felt like I was reading your books and blog in the food chapter. She borrowed and quoted liberally.

    • Wow Tod! You are sure are worked up over this book. I don’t recall Lierre calling herself a lesbian and even if she did or is a lesbian that doesn’t change the value of what she has written. I would prefer to see the book be judged on it’s contents and not on your beliefs about the author.

      I am a white hetrosexual male (not a radical feminist lesbian). In the late 80s I was a founding member of Earthsave Canada in British Columbia because I believed in John Robbin’s view in his book, “Diet for a New America”. I fell hook line and sinker for the argument that being vegan (and to a lesser extent, vegetarian) could save the environment, our health and would be kinder to animals.

      I had Crohn’s disease and after I became vegan It became worse and continued to do so until last year when I was diagnosed with colon cancer.

      The writtings of Dr. M Eades, Dr L Cordain and others convinced me that being vegan (and vegetarian) was responsible for my deteriorating health. I’ve been improving since adopting a near paleolithic diet. Lierre Keith’s book has convinced me that being vegan (or vegetarian) is also not the best way to save the environment or to be kind to animals. I’m very grateful for the education I have received from these authors and I refuse to judge their contributions on their sexual orientation, political views or anything else irrelevant to the subjects they write about.

      Ken C.

      • Ken –

        Keith refers to her same sex attraction and lesbianism several times in the work. That is not the main point of my comment however.

        I think the 10% of the book that focuses on the solution to diet that she “discovered” (after being told by a Chinese faith healer that she was essentially dead) is worthwhile for politically misguided vegans to read and understand.

        However the remaining 90% of the book, mostly political, is marginal. The radical feminist viewpoint, the hatred of western civilization and all things masculine, the victimhood, the creeping moribund neuroses reflected in the authors liberal assumptions and hypersensitivities (ant babies and dying slugs)- those ARE the book – in the pages as reflected by the text. So its not an attack on the author, its an attack on the authors work, which reflects her political beliefs.

        Point being, the message about the diet and her ruining her health by being a vegan and then getting a clue is a good one, and I wish it could have been delivered without all the other noise. I think her politics and her message are way off base and symptomatic of an emotionally ill person – the type that would obsess over ant babies and contemplate being a breathatarian. But hey, that’s just my opinion.

        • Tod,

          I guess we all see what we’re looking for or what we focus on. I recall very little political commentary in the book, nor can I recall her saying anything about being lesbian or hating men, although she is critical of patriarchies and so am I. She does have a colorful and somewhat poetic way off expressing her views. I will have to read the book again for the third time to see her political and gender references.

          What I got out of the book was:

          1) vegetarianism will not save the world
          2) agriculture is a disaster
          3) we’re in overshoot on the earth’s resources (water, soil, energy, etc.)
          4) being vegetarian is unnatural and unhealthy
          5) death is a part of life and we can choose the death that supports life (ex. eating meat) or the death that destroys life (ex. agriculture and dependency on grains).
          6) the values of vegetarians (and vegans) are good but their actions are harmful and and based on ignorance.
          7) the earth can sustainably only support about 300M people and the best way to do this is by ‘gardening’ with polycultures and eating the animals that feed off of these polycultures and some of the plants.

          I think her book is the antidote to John Robbin’s book, “Diet for a New America”.

          Ken

        • I had the same reaction to the book. Yes, she did refer to being a lesbian on a number of occasions, she uses ‘she’ as her pronoun of choice, and has a very very left leaning political stance.

          Like you I though the nutrition aspects were most compelling. I also could have done without the liberal fluff, and the assumption that the reader felt the same way. I still recommend the book.

  137. Dr. Eades –

    Have you read a book called GRASSLAND by Richard Manning? Liane Keith’s book sounds like it’s sort of a feminist re-tread of Manning’s thesis:

    http://www.amazon.com/Grassland-History-Biology-Politics-American/dp/0140233881

    Highly recommended – it changed my attitudes towards agriculture, etc. It’s written from a firm environmental perspective but like Keith’s book – it’s not what you expect!!

    He’s also written further books about the devastation of agriculture, etc., which you can find on Amazon.

  138. I think the key here is to do your own research, listen to your own body and not rely on someone elses experiences, research, and so called evidence. Like most I sometimes read books for information that A) Makes me feel better about my choices, B) Provides arguments for me to continue living the way I live and believing the things I believe, and C) Provide arguments and “facts” to counter anyone who might disagree. I have not read this book but do intend to.

    As a vegan for 14 yrs I do not presume that the way I choose to eat is the best way, simply the best way for me. I also do not foolishly presume that my decision has no negative repercussions, nor do any veg/ans/etarians I know naively presume this. Every single thing we do has the possibility to harm/bother/upset someone or something. I live my life with intention not so I can feel superior to others.

    As a small farmer I know exactly what goes into agriculture and I know what does not. As a small farmer who knows many other small farmers I also know that the consumer can never know exactly what the practices of said farmer is. You may find comfort in believing your chicken is free range but if you really care, if you really want to know and not just take comfort in thinking you know, go visit a farm. I can assure you that a vast new education will follow.

    What is disturbing to me, and again I have not read the book, is the inflammatory title. Why bother to alienate well meaning folks and present them as dumb clots and not simply present the story and experience of being vegan? To propose an extreme opposite as being superior and health giving is just as naive. Perhaps she says this…I’ll know more soon. We have enough to argue about from moment to moment, don’t we? Is it just me or does anyone else want to strive to find some sort of commonality? Whether you are vegan or an intentional, well-meaning person who Really does her/his research, grows your own garden, lovingly raises and kills animals, don’t we all just want to get along? Honestly.

  139. I think the key here is to do your own research, listen to your own body, and not rely on someone elses experiences, research, and so called evidence. Like most I sometimes read books for information that A) Makes me feel better about my choices, B) Provides arguments for me to continue living the way I live and believing the things I believe, and C) Provide arguments and “facts” to counter anyone who might disagree. I have not read this book but do intend to.

    As a vegan for 14 yrs I do not presume that the way I choose to eat is the best way, simply the best way for me. I also do not foolishly presume that my decision has no negative repercussions, nor do any veg/ans/etarians I know naively presume this. Every single thing we do has the possibility to harm/bother/upset someone or something. I live my life with intention not so I can feel superior to others.

    As a small farmer I know exactly what goes into agriculture and I know what does not. As a small farmer who knows many other small farmers I also know that the consumer can never know exactly what the practices of said farmer is. You may find comfort in believing your chicken is free range but if you really care, if you really want to know and not just take comfort in thinking you know, go visit a farm. I can assure you that a vast new education will follow.

    What is disturbing to me, and again I have not read the book, is the inflammatory title. Why bother to alienate well meaning folks and present them as dumb clots and not simply present the story and experience of being vegan? To propose an extreme opposite as being superior and health giving is just as naive. Perhaps she says this…I’ll know more soon. We have enough to argue about from moment to moment, don’t we? Is it just me or does anyone else want to strive to find some sort of commonality? Whether you are vegan or an intentional, well-meaning person who Really does her/his research, grows your own garden, lovingly raises and kills animals, don’t we all just want to get along? Honestly.

  140. This is a real interesting debate! I do wish y’all were nicer at times, though. As I see it – hey, you are indeed entitled to my opinion – everyone (1) knows subconsciously what he or she needs at any point in their life; (2) then act on it; and then (3) feel a need to go to the wall defending it. It’s too bad about Part 3.

    Of course Lierre Keith did the right thing for her health! But let’s see if she can maintain that exact diet for decades and still feel & look good. Same with anybody with a “true believer” attitude who attains good health through a 180-degree change in diet and/or overall lifestyle.

    We have to be able to see where we are perhaps going wrong and where change is needed, instead of writing books that insult the intelligence of those of us who have not yet experienced the bad side of rigid vegetarianism.

  141. Pingback: Vegan diet?
  142. The author who wrote this article is a mangina. A pussified american male. No wonder his husband (yes, husband!) is smarter than him!

  143. I just stumbled across this post. You, Dr Eades, are entitled to your own opinion but you are not entitled to your own facts. “First, I’m not much of a believer in the notion of man-made global warming or climate change (as they now call it since temperatures have been constantly falling instead of rising).”

    And just where did you get that little gem of information? Fox News? I would have thought a doctor would be smart enough to do just a tiny bit of research before publishing such lying drivel for all the world to see. The first half of 2010 was the hottest ever recorded since records began in 1880. The first decade of 2000 was the hottest ever since records began. 9 of the last 10 years were the hottest ever. Sounds like cooling to me.

    These are facts – little things that you seem to ignore conveniently to suit your ideological predisposition. A little advice -do some proper research before you spout such nonsense.

  144. had i only read the chapter “The Nutritional Vegetarian”, i would have found the book to be good. some of the other chapters, however, were lame and sometimes ridiculous. the “save the world” chapter, for instance, was very poorly cited and had little evidence to support her claims. the “Moral Vegetarian” i found to be ridiculous. the more you read of the book, the more it becomes blatant that Keith seems to be more motivated to write the book based on her hatred for vegans than for a sincere interest in helping others improve their lives. her entire chapter on the “Moral Vegetarian” revolved around her theory that “for a human to live, something must die”, which made me snicker. so by that logic, i suppose we might as well become cannibals and start killing each other? and if something must die, then does it have to suffer a horrible life brought out by the factory farming methods? if an animal must die, can’t it still live a pleasurable life before it is killed? rather than take a “sucks to be you” approach, maybe we could work on changing the system so that death/suffering is minimized? also, i found it absurd for her to say that “vegetarians are hypocritical because they eat plants and plants are living things too”. obviously plants are not sentient beings and can not feel pain, so comparing plants to animals is ridiculous and makes her lose all credibility.

    in general, i tend to take a very open-mind to books and i rarely ever read a nutrition book that i can’t at least learn something from, but as i read The Vegetarian Myth, it became increasingly clear that Keith is a feministic nutcase and was more driven by hatred than anything else. I’d have to say I found “The Vegetarian Myth” to be about as helpful and unbiased as “The China Study”

  145. The information Lierre conveniently overlooks is a black hole that drags everything else away, but apparently only to the actual informed, and not the for convenience’ sake pseudo-informed.

    Most of the land that is razed and forced to grow single crops like corn, wheat and soy is to 1) feed the meat and dairy animals, 2) turn into processed dreck like zillions of McDonald’s buns. The greatest consumers of land, whether it be for crops, chickens or cattle, is the fast food industry and makers of packaged good and manufacturers of high fructose corn syrup (and other non-food or barely food corn products).

    It’s pretty stupid to overlook these things, and certainly not something vegetarians or vegans do in every day life. Veganism in particular, done right, is life fully though out. Grains and vegetables are purchased locally and organically. Food preparation is done to get the most out of nutrients.

    It’s just insensible to think that animal products and destructive ag are not inextricably linked and foisted upon mindless consumers in the form of processed dreck.

  146. I’m not vegetarian/vegan by any means, and I came into this post with a curious and open mind, but your snarky comments and replies to people you disagree with are seriously off-putting.

  147. To be honest, I think Keith’s book vilifies agro-industry and grain-heavy diets more than it does vegetarians. Let’s not pretend the meat industry does any better than the agricultural industry, but let’s also not ignore the fact that you can be a vegetarian and support ethical, sustainable, and practical agriculture. You can mitigate your exposure to grains and dairy, and you can still get the nutrition you need.

    Sure there are some cultish vegetarians out there, but there are also some intelligent ones too.

    • KellyBelly is the perfect example of the creationist fundamentalists I grew up with.

      Clinton REVERSED his heart disease? Oh, really? I think that would even be news to him and his physicians, having embarked on his experiment but months ago.

      Too bad you can’t reverse moron on a vegan diet.

      • Just keep eating that double bacon cheeseburger, Richard (sans the bun of course).

        If calling me a moron makes you feel powerful, then keep it up. Dozens of studies have proven that ingestion of red meat causes cancer and contributes to heart disease. But don’t you believe a word of it. And definitely don’t read Ornish’s studies on the reversal of heart disease through plant based diets which he has proven through his own studies.

        Clinton hasn’t completely REVERSED it, Richard. He IS reversing it and has lost 24 lbs. in the process by eating a mostly whole food plant-based diet.

        You, by the way, remind me of Glenn Beck, that uneducated buffoon who takes one freaking word that Obama says and then lambastes him throughout his entire show because of that ONE WORD.

        • “Dozens of studies have proven that ingestion of red meat causes cancer and contributes to heart disease.”

          It’s always telling when someone uses phrases like “dozens of studies” and then proceeds not to cite a single one.

        • I’ve got to jump in here. There have been no studies that have proven that meat consumption causes cancer. None. If you believe there are such studies, I would like to see them. It’s easy to say ‘dozens of studies show’ but much more difficult to produce said studies. Believe me, they don’t exist. You may be confused by what constitutes real scientific evidence, and may be confused by the observational studies out there showing some weak correlation between meat consumption and cancer, but you are ignoring two issues: First, there are just as many observational studies showing no correlation or a reverse correlation; and, two, observational studies are not controlled trials and thus don’t prove causality.

          Having said this, if you can provide me with a link to a randomized, controlled trial in humans demonstrating that meat consumption causes cancer of any kind, I’ll gladly eat my words.

          • Where is your scientific evidence? How many studies have you done proving otherwise? All I can see from your “rebuttal” of the China Study is your quibbling with semantics.

            If you are so interested in disproving the China Study and others like it, then do your own study refuting them.

            Why should I supply you with links? You’re the doctor. You have access to all of the respected medical journals.

            Campbell was able to secure funding from Cornell all those years. Don’t you have access to anything?

          • I didn’t make the categorical claim that dozens of studies prove meat consumption causes cancer. You did. I merely said that there was no evidence that what you said is correct and asked you to show me even a single study. The proof isn’t on me – it’s on you. And you obviously can’t provide it. We’re I you, in the future I wouldn’t be making claims I couldn’t back up.

          • Here is some evidence of red meat causing cancer and heart disease: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/2012-releases/red-meat-cardiovascular-cancer-mortality.html. It is usually more about animal protein as discussed here: http://anticancerliving.wordpress.com/2010/04/13/animal-protien-feeds-cancer/. This study was replicated by Dr. Campbell as you may have seen in The China Study.
            Here is another study regarding heart disease:
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10555529?dopt=Abstract

          • Wait a second here…you uphold Denise Minger’s “research” (who by the way, who is she again? What degree does she hold? What scientific method does she use to refute the China Study? ) as solid because it goes with your narrative?

            You can sit there from your armchair and refute observational studies but you have no scientific evidence to stand on such refutations.

            Based on your logic, what’s the point of observing anything if we can’t make any deduction whatsoever?

            Where is the scientific evidence that a high-protein diet is healthier than a low protein diet? I assume that when you write a book that will affect thousands of people, you are doing so with their health in mind, first and foremost. Correct? Please provide the scientific proof that they won’t get cancer or heart disease. Impossible, isn’t it. We can only speculate, correct?

            Of course you are going to reject anything I throw in front of you Dr. Meades. The survival of your entertainment empire relies on it. So what’s the point of me placing it in front of you?

            The amount of observational studies surrounding meat, cancer, and heart disease is growing and coming out of many respected medical schools such as Harvard, Cambridge, et. al. These research institutions may not hold up to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, but they are close!

            Keep eating that meat.

          • I shall keep eating meat. And I’m disengaging from this debate because it is patently obvious that you are not able to back up your claims are are obfuscating the issue with all the BS.

          • @KellyBelly:

            Other than the fact that the appeal to authority (suggesting only an expert could see a flaw) is a logical fallacy, Minger doesn’t need any expertise because she isn’t presenting any argument. She is reviewing the data cited and showing us that it is being misrepresented. If you take a look at it, you’ll come to the same conclusion yourself.

          • Here is a link from The Cancer Project, complete with references to 32 peer-reviewed journal articles that show that the consumption of meat is associated with cancer, especially breast, colon, and prostate cancer. It has also been linked to kidney and pancreatic cancer.

            http://www.cancerproject.org/survival/cancer_facts/meat.php

            Studies indicating that meat is related to heart disease should be even easier to find.

          • Related to means correlated to. Correlation doesn’t equate to causation. That’s a scientific maxim. When you learn and internalize this, you may finally achieve a small measure of scientific enlightenment.

          • One more thing: this data cannot be hand waved away by telling us “but observational studies have no real meaning!!”. Epidemiology is a real field of study with real scientists who do this kind of thing very well. You cannot simply dismiss all observational studies as a group. Observational studies like theirs have helped us sort out that smoking is associated with lung cancer, that environmental pollutants can be teratogenic, etc. Admittedly there may be some bad studies out there, just as there are with any type of study, however, large sample sizes, well thought out control groups, and results that show a high degree of correlation, as well as many different studies whose results agree with each other, is a lot harder to pass off as, “just another useless observational study”.

            There are also some studies referenced in the Cancer Project that are not observational (ie cooked meat is high in heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are known to be carcinogens).

          • I’ll repeat: correlation does not mean causation. I agree that some observational studies are so strong as to almost be stand ins for randomized, controlled trials. But, those studies have to show a RR of at least 2:1 or greater, which the vast number of observational studies don’t do.

            Show me the non-observational human studies showing heteroclyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons cause cancer. Show me even one.

          • This is ridiculous. You are well aware that nobody can do a non-observational human study showing that anything causes cancer, because that would involve intentionally exposing people to what we strongly believe are carcinogens. If you’d like to sign up to be a test subject yourself, go for it. Did you read what the RR was in any of these studies yet? Or did you just dismiss them because you didn’t like what they were trying to get at?

            I love that you believe your pet theory is above the hundreds of studies done by cancer researchers and specialists, all of whom have accepted that heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are carcinogenic, as well as above the hundreds of people who have peer-reviewed their work and deemed it worthy of publication. Just do a quick pubmed search for “heterocyclic amines and cancer” and see what you get. Since I figure you won’t, here is a nice review article summarizing some of the non-observational research done (published in 2004 – lots more research has been done since) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15072585. You can see here that it caused cancer in *many* organs in rats, as well as hepatomas in monkeys in one study.

            Now then, show me your studies that show that meat is correlated to good health, decreased cancer risk, or decreased heart disease. Show me your non-observational human studies that show heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons do not cause cancer. Show me even one.

          • mreades: I remember learning in my organic chemistry class that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons cause DNA damage. In the 1700’s, young boys who worked as chimney sweeps would come down with skin cancer more often.

            Check it out:

            Balam Muñoz and Arnulfo Albores (2011). DNA Damage Caused by Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons: Mechanisms and Markers, Selected Topics in DNA Repair, Clark C. Chen, University of California, San Diego, USA (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-307-606-5, InTech, Available from: http://www.intechopen.com/articles/show/title/dna-damage-caused-by-polycyclic-aromatic-hydrocarbons-mechanisms-and-markers

            So, is this proof enough? It’s taught in college. I’m guessing if they put it in a textbook, then it’s gotta have some weight. Maybe they haven’t shown it in humans, but hey, we have DNA, just like those model animals. So…yeah. Just because there isn’t a study showing humans get it directly doesn’t mean there needs to be one. Isn’t that how most research is done? On animals? Because the assumption is that certain types of data, like how some class of compounds reacts with DNA, can be applied to humans as well?

          • Aren’t the studies that correlate cigarette smoking with lung cancer also observational?

          • No. There are actual studies with actual participants and real controls. Observational studies don’t have willing participants, they are simply comprised of data collected through observation- generally on a massive scale.

    • There are four elements in Ornish diet:

      1) vegan food
      2) give up smoking
      3) regular exercise
      4) yoga & meditation

      For some odd reason, a lot of vegans seem to put an awful lot of emphasis on the vegan part, forgetting that it’s not just about what you eat, but how you live. It would be interesting to see what results he would’ve got with a LC diet, especially after looking at these studies:

      http://www.annals.org/content/153/3/147.abstract?aimhp

      “Successful weight loss can be achieved with either a low-fat or low-carbohydrate diet when coupled with behavioral treatment. A low-carbohydrate diet is associated with favorable changes in cardiovascular disease risk factors at 2 years.”

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19082851?ordinalpos=9&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

      “The results support the use of dietary carbohydrate restriction as an effective approach to improve features of MetS and cardiovascular risk.”

      http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/297/9/969

      “In this study, premenopausal overweight and obese women assigned to follow the Atkins diet, which had the lowest carbohydrate intake, lost more weight and experienced more favorable overall metabolic effects at 12 months than women assigned to follow the Zone, Ornish, or LEARN diets. While questions remain about long-term effects and mechanisms, a low-carbohydrate, high-protein, high-fat diet may be considered a feasible alternative recommendation for weight loss.”

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061109095850.htm

      “20-Year Study Finds No Association Between Low-Carb Diets And Risk Of Coronary Heart Disease”

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19604407

      “Over a 3-month study period, a Paleolithic diet improved glycemic control and several cardiovascular risk factors compared to a Diabetes diet in patients with type 2 diabetes”

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19209185

      “Even short-term consumption of a paleolithic type diet improves BP and glucose tolerance, decreases insulin secretion, increases insulin sensitivity and improves lipid profiles without weight loss in healthy sedentary humans.”

  148. “Dean Ornish has proof”

    Of what? How to get a fat chubby face? I call it the “Dean Ornish Chubby Faced Diet.”

    Anyway, that’s a tail tuck if I ever saw one, KellyBelly. If my original charge of moron doesn’t stand – which is fine and I’d be happy about that – at the very least you are way out of your league.

    Come over to my place where comments are unmoderated, you can post what you like, and feel the fire.

    That is, if you’re sure about your dozens of studies.

    Now go away, or put up.

  149. Okay “Doctor” Meades…nothing causes cancer. NOTHING.
    No wonder you didn’t make it into Harvard Medical School.

    What an expert.

    • I followed a whole-food vegan diet for two years (1800 cals)- and though I initially lost about 25 lbs, I gained it back plus 65 more. I also developed type II diabetes, had cholesterol over 300, GERD, depression, cystic acne and S.A.D. Dumping veganism for a low-carb primitive diet quite literally saved my life. My cholesterol hovers around 100, I lost 100lbs, the GERD is gone, my skin is clear, and most significantly, I’m no longer diabetic!

      Yeah, I’d take a low-carb diet over veganism any day. I have to admit, hearing a vegan call ANYONE else “cult-ish” is a gut-buster. lol I’ve been a card-carrying member of that cult of personality and it’s definitely a matter of the pot calling the kettle black.

      ~Huntress

  150. I wonder when I’m going to begin seeing vegetarians and vegans — especially the junk food eating kind — start blasting sugar’s association with cancer cell growth with even a fraction of the intensity they shower on meat.

    “Potential Role of Sugar Transporters in Cancer and Their Relationship with Anticancer Therapy”
    http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ije/2010/205357.html

    “Growth of human gastric cancer cells in nude mice is delayed by a ketogenic diet supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids and medium-chain triglycerides”
    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2407/8/122

    “Cancer’s Sweet Tooth”
    http://www.newhope.com/nutritionsciencenews/NSN_backs/Apr_00/cancer.cfm

    “Can a High-Fat Diet Beat Cancer?”
    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1662484,00.html

    “Cancer & Ketosis”
    http://robbwolf.com/2007/09/23/cancer-ketosis/

    “Does sugar feed cancer?”
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-08/uouh-dsf081309.php

    “During the last 10 years I have worked with more than 500 cancer patients as director of nutrition for Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa, Okla. It puzzles me why the simple concept “sugar feeds cancer” can be so dramatically overlooked as part of a comprehensive cancer treatment plan.”
    http://www.mercola.com/article/sugar/sugar_cancer.htm

    ~~~

    Uh, no sugar in meat or animal fats

    In other news, it was Campbell himself, way back when who showed in controlled studies that “protein deficiency” (HIS term, at the time) causes all sorts of problems (he was using casein, an animal source) and most of all, that:

    “The China Study’s Best-Kept Secret — Protein Protects Against Cancer Initiation”
    http://www.westonaprice.org/blogs/the-curious-case-of-campbells-rats-does-protein-deficiency-prevent-cancer/blogger/CMASTERJO/

  151. You reveal your own cultish mentality in assuming that all vegetarians have the same level of knowledge and reasons for their choices and are victims of a cult. Pretty clueless on your part. You fall right in with the assumption that if a few vegans in a forum want to separate animals then all vegans are ignorant of the basic processes of nature. That’s obviously nonsense. So what if people want to be vegan? Why attack their choice? You’re obviously letting your emotions make your decisions for you. I’m glad you’re not my doctor. Also, the moral argument is nonsense. If you can justify slaughtering animals for food because something is going to die whatever you eat, then it justifies randomly killing animals for no reason at all. Oh also, temperatures are not constantly falling, if you read anything other than propaganda you would know that. You believe what you want to believe then pretend to be informed. You’re a fraud with agendas. Gross.

  152. Oh, and BTW, you call yourself a Libertarian, but attacking other people for their choices (Vegans), is completely counter to Libertarianism! As long as no one is trying to force you to be a vegetarian, why do you give a damn?

    • I don’t give a flip whether someone is a vegetarian or not, unless, of course, it’s someone I love. Then I try to show them the error of their ways. I don’t attack vegetarians, easy though it would be. I have never, ever gone on any vegetarian site and attacked anyone. I get in disputes only with those angry vegetarians who come on my site – uninvited and unbidden – and attack me. I could just do as my friend Tim Ferriss recommends and delete those hostile posts that come in, but I figure if anyone take the time to write, then I’ll post the comment. Which is why your previous comment ended up posted instead of in the trash folder.

  153. I like what vegan Dick Gregory has to say about the notion that changing your diet will change the world. Remember, that’s he’s a fruitarian (although currently on a two-year liquid only fast to bring awareness to 9/11 truth):

    “If you think vegetarianism, alone, is going to make you different… Hitler was a vegetarian! One of the most honest, beautfiul, compassionate human beings I ever met in my life was Dr Martin Luther King and he’d eat the booty out of a cow! When you fried chicken, if you didnt take the feathers off it, he’d eat it!” -Dick Gregory, vegan

  154. I stopped eating red meat two years ago in an attempt to slowly turn vegan one by one. Recently, I was about to cut out poultry, and the next step was going to be fish and seafood.
    I can say that becoming aware and really opening my eyes to what nature intended and how humans are to coexist with animals has spurred on a completely different mentally than the one I had just three months ago.
    I no longer agree that becoming vegan is the ultimate goal of every man, in fact, the more I look at the vegan diet and lifestyle, the more I see an unhealthy undernourished body plagued by guilt, hatred, and anger.
    It was only after discovering Joel Salatin’s polyface farming, that a deep serene peace came over my anger toward animal cruelty and injustice. I was able to see how it could work, if humans respect the earth and the animals, everyone can win, more or less.
    It was very refreshing to come across this book which presented such controversial ideas in present day diets. I really enjoyed the authors arguments and where she had come from herself in discovering the truth.

  155. Aside from fish, which I almost always eat raw, I also regularly eat beef, lamb, and goat raw, just cooked a little on the outside (and sometimes not at all, if I’m in a hurry) and stone cold in the middle. As long as I don’t eat a lot of carbohydrate with it, I have no trouble at all digesting raw meat of any kind. There are probably millions of Americans with similar tastes, restaurants that serve steak even have a name for it, “blue rare”, so the assertion that people can’t eat meat raw is just wrong. And by the way, our teeth (if we haven’t ruined them with excess carb consumption) are perfectly capable of cleaning raw meat off the bone.

  156. The insane idea that worldwide temperatures are dropping rather than rising just blew your entire article completely. It is difficult to bring myself to even read anything else you have to say, from that ridiculous claim alone.

    It’s boggling that you would make such a statement. 2010 was the warmest year on record, EVER. It is simple enough to find a source regarding average global temperatures and you didn’t even bother to do that. Here, let me help: http://tinyurl.com/2ahajb8

  157. I am a rancher’s wife. I ranch with my husband & am a science teacher.
    I would like to let you all know that no one is a better environmental steward of the land & animals than a rancher or farmer.
    It is true that some are better than others.
    I agree that gigantic animal operations lend to less than ‘happy’ conditions for an animal.
    But there are many large operations that are very good.
    Bottom line is folks, those of us in agriculture are not evil, we’re sure as hell not making much $$ off of it & we love the land, the animals we raise, as well as the wild animals that live on our property.
    We raise grass for our animals to eat & it is our husbandry practices that help the land flourish more so that wild animals can have some food, too.
    Information is am double edged sword bcs there is so much good info as well as bad info out there.
    Walk a mile in the farmer or rancher’s shoes 1st before you pass judgement.
    I was not born into this life. I married into it.
    Raising cows is a beautiful, wonderful thing. And yes, I eat them.
    But they are well cared for & even loved.
    Humans have a right to live on this planet.
    And we are not the only ones that change the ecosystem we live in.
    Animals & plants also change the ecosystems they live in.
    Take some time to study evolution in the plant & animal world & the ecosystems they live in.
    You will be surprised just how much of a right you do have to live here.

  158. If we were to restore nature completely, we would have to eliminate the human race. Since this is a rediculous idea it is also ridiculous to think that we are able to not influence nature. Simply by being present on planet earth we, by definition, influence nature. The only thing we can and must do is to not consume more than we personally need for our existence. If we do that we respect nature and the environment the best way we are able to.

  159. Joost, that is such a strawman argument and so many levels of wrong! We are animals and therefore part of nature. No one is asking to eliminate humanity, just diminish its numbers. It’s not enough to consume just what we need as individuals, it must become part of our lives to diminish our footprint on nature and the planet.

    Did you ever think how it evil it was to let industries throw their polluted effluvia into our rivers right from the start of the Industrial Revolution? What right did we ever have to pollute our country and our planet for our children, grandchildren and so on?

    Factory farming is a sixty-year-old practice whose elimination would make our environment instantly greener. As proposed in the “Vegetarian Myth”, returning the buffalo to the prairie would turn the United States into a carbon sink, not a carbon generator.

    There isn’t only “one thing we can do” there are myriad. No one proposed getting rid of humanity and that is totally unnecessary to improving the planet. It was nonsense to bring it up.

  160. I have not read all of the comments, so please excuse me if this has been said already:
    Though I too have recently identified with being against vegetarianism, and she most certainly has a number of valid points, I can’t help but want to talk to her about HER misunderstanding and failure to distinguish between modern agricultural practices and what she just refers to as “agriculture”. According to her definition, agriculture is the clearing and killing of everything on a piece of land, including the soil bacteria – this is a deep failure to understand that these are the practices that have been adopted in the last 75 years and have quickly caused serious problems of erosion, pest infestations, and soil nutrient depletion. There are, however, methods of agriculture that focus on soil health, biodiversity, and regenerative farming practices – it is strange to hear someone who claims to have educated herself on these issues to clearly have such a shallow understanding of agricultural practices and speak so misguidedly on the topic. This kind of over-simplification should be a big red flag to everyone.

    • something that i don’t think is properly addressed is that it takes 5 times the grain to feed the livestock than it would take to feed the human. ditto for water. and fewer end up being fed when we give the resources to the livestock first. the agricultural drain and damage on the planet would decrease substantially if we weren’t feeding cows, cars, etc. it’s not that the vegetarian diet is THE answer. obviously. but it does use LESS resources. when we eat meat at every meal, we’re causing an exponential increase in demand for grain (mostly soy and corn). but yes, we do have those canine teeth for a reason. i think the best study i’ve seen showed that the human body is healthiest when it eats meat about once a month. this mimics how our ancestors ate in nature (mostly gathering, but occasionally catching something). thoughts?

      • It doesn’t take any grain to feed livestock. Cattle are not designed to eat grain. They are only fed grain because it is cheap and fattens them faster (i.e., for profit). If people would buy grassfed beef, that eliminates the grain feeding.

  161. Jacob, she does make a differentiation between industrial farming and polyfarming, the latter being a reworking of ancient, more humane and holistic farming practices. Please read the book more carefully.

  162. Beja, you’re using the usual silliness (of the vegan religious/party line) that ALL land that is currently used for animals is equally usable for growing human food: please read this explanation of land use and adequate food supplies and the carrying capacity of the globe. It’s not terribly technical, but it’s very clear.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/11/animal-vegetable-or-e-o-wilson/

    A COW can turn five times the grain into proteins and amino acids to support humans (great bargain!) — a task that the HUMAN CANNOT DO on just grain. Yeah, you could quit feeding animals, and lots of humans would starve for nutrition! Bad idea!

    And cows are not designed to eat grain; that’s the poison the factory farmers feed them — keeping the unholy balance between growing them fast and not killing them BY food before they can kill them for food.

  163. Im a libertarian, so very far from the liberal democrat/socialist background of this author’s thinking…

    I realize she is right… human greed and shortsightedness is causing each generation to leave the next an even more depleted earth. This world will burn.

  164. I love Lierre Keith and her book. Self-sufficiency is necessary now to take care of ourselves, to be self-responsible. Lierre’s research and assessment is valuable to know what to do.

    And global climate change? Check out the oceanic conveyor currents. When the Atlantic conveyor stops from all the cold fresh water and dumping in from the North Pole glacial melt, the Atlantic is becoming so cold, and the equator will bulge, and in one night, the earth is expected to tilt 3 degrees. Water will slosh over the land, and Europe will be the new North Pole, and the East Coast will be very cold without the warm current from the Gulf of Mexico. Just check it out, be prepared, just in case!

  165. I’ve read Keith’s book and I LOVED it. Devoured it and am still digesting the incredibly rich prose and the equally rich trove of ideas. I agree with Eades’ positive comments completely. Whatever you do, buy this book!!

    I disagree with other comments, but I can’t help it, I’m a scientist. I have graduate degrees in physics, astrophysics, and environmental science. I’ve taught classes on the physics of the atmosphere, so I am perhaps a bit better informed than Dr. Eades on the topic of global warming. I fervently wish it was a myth; I would sleep better.

    But that’s not the topic I would like to address, rather the issue of “feminism”. Keith is definitely a feminist, but feminism is NOT the problem here….a feminist is not automatically a hater of men.

    The problem is that Keith’s negative views of the masculine half of humanity creep into the book and become very distracting. Her sexist comments draw attention away from her truly vital points about agriculture, etc., perhaps not enough to really make a difference, but I’m afraid her prejudice will undermine her credibility to certain segments of society. That would be a tragedy, because everyone should read this book!

    Please buy it, read it with an open mind, and try to ignore the anti-male stuff. You won’t regret it!

  166. Who, exactly, expects the earth to tilt 3 degrees overnight?
    Even in the periods of most intense climate change in the past this never happened. I don’t think that what happens on the surface of the earth matters that much on a cosmic scale.
    Dr Eades, have you read African Genesis by Robert Ardrey?
    This is to the point about man the carnivore. Even though he assumes our australopithecus ancestors had to adapt to eat meat, he makes some good points. Once our thin-enamelled ancestors divereged from the ancestors of apes, we couldn’t return to a fruit-eating lifestyle – the chimp and gorrila ancestors were evolved to keep us out of their territory. Even today a chimp can kill a human. We could make occasional raids into the forest at some risk, but we couldn’t live there except as meat eaters and hunters.

  167. Who, exactly, expects the earth to tilt 3 degrees overnight?
    Even in the periods of most intense climate change in the past this never happened. I don’t think that what happens on the surface of the earth matters that much on a cosmic scale.
    Dr Eades, have you read African Genesis by Robert Ardrey?
    This is to the point about man the carnivore. Though he assumes our australopithecus ancestors had to adapt to eat meat, he makes some good points. Once our thin-enamelled ancestors divereged from the ancestors of apes, we couldn’t return to a fruit-eating lifestyle – the chimp and gorrila ancestors were evolved to keep us out of their territory. Even today a chimp can kill a human. We could make occasional raids into the forest at some risk, but we couldn’t live there except as meat eaters and hunters.

  168. I try to eat as vegetarian as I can, but I do eat eggs and dairy. So I get lots of animal protein in my diet.

    It’s a question of balance.

    I don’t think anyone who has studied the paleolithic diet can claim that we are not created to eat plants. The ‘gatherers’ of hunters and gatherers gathered plant food. One can live one’s whole life on just plant products.

    I do agree that animal foodstuffs are an efficient method of getting calories into the body. And meat is very tasty.

    The solution for the ethical vegetarian is to get cracking on developing lab-grown meat, something that a number of researchers are investigating.

    If I do eat meat, I try to eat from large animals; ending the life of one beautiful cow is better than ending the lives of 1000 chickens, which would have the same food value (just a guess on the numbers).

    • Another way to look at it: We share 98% of our DNA with chimps so our digestive systems are virtually the same. What do they eat?? Well, they eat some meat, if they can get it and would probably eat a lot more if it were available. Their systems are really designed to eat mostly vegetable/fruits however. That truly is where we’re coming from in the big millions of years picture…..the primate line.

      Carnivores have very short, straight digestive tracts while herbivores/vegetarians have a much longer and winding route, they need fiber to clean that out. Fiber=vegetable matter.

      Dogs share 99% of their DNA with wolves and are definitely carnivores. I think it’s fair to say that humans are omnivores, definitely not carnivores and possibly vegetarians speaking strictly from a physiological perspective.

      • Chimps average about 2.5 oz of meat/day and at least that much in insects for a grand total of at least 5 oz a day- more than 1/4 pound. Last year, researchers found a new way to determine what an animal ate using ancient remains, and it was found that cro-magnon was FULLY carnivorous- he would be closer to us genetically than a chimp.

        Dogs are actually omnivorous, though cats are obligate carnivores. Speaking strictly from an empirical perspective, there has never been a SINGLE thriving fully vegetarian culture in the WORLD. To me that says that we are not possibly vegetarians.

        ~Huntress

        • Funny though that comparison seems, it just isn’t true. And for the record, mice don’t eat that stuff- they chew it up (to wear down the teeth that would grow too long otherwise) and nest in it. Mice are omnivorous too.

  169. FYI- Global warming describes large fluctuations in weather…”warming” is a misnomer, as side effects of global warming is also more severe colder weather in certain areas…

  170. ” I do believe that men are better suited to certain endeavors than woman and vice verse”

    I don’t.

  171. I have slaughtered and butchered, for my own consumption, chickens and goats. My family and I also enjoy eating chicken eggs and drinking raw goat’s milk.
    I have moved the goats in small movable pens (5 feet by 20 feet) to fresh patches of ground every day for many years. It is called intensive rotational grazing. I strive to mulch the chicken pen with enough grass clippings to attain a deep bedding for them. These are the soil building activities that I do on my little patch of land.
    My family and I also do humanure composting a la “The humanure handbook”. more soil building.

    Nothing destroys soil like tilling. Nothing builds soil like perennials.

    Peace.

  172. Lierre Keith has transitioned from an unthinking radical feminist environmentalist anti-capitalist anti-western vegan moonbat to an unthinking radical feminist environmentalist anti-capitalist anti-western omnivorous moonbat.

    If this woman could push a button and exterminate five and a half billion people, I have little doubt she would.

    Pay particular attention at 32 minutes in:

    http://www.disclose.tv/action/viewvideo/63430/Lierre_Keith_at_Berkeley_City_College_Video/

  173. There is something that I want to ask to those grass eating people. Every time that I hear a vegan speaking about balance and all that stuff it makes me sick. They don’t know about the true balance of nature. Sometimes with all they excuses they insult the indigenous people. Now they want to force us and force the other people to adopt they diet. Is that a new mechanism to subjugate the indigenous groups?. Did the vegans are planing to got to Alaska and convert a fellow Inuit brother to a way of life that is not his. Did the vegans are planing to go to the amazon and tell a Tupi Guarani brother to stop hunting?. They are crazy stealing our medicine plants and some icons of our cultures and putting them a price or perverting the true teachings. All the soy the eat came from vast land owned by the transgenic company that are deforesting thousands of acres of jungle every year to produce their soil.

    One other thing. A man with out a woman is nothing and vice versa. The Creator create us to be stewards of the land. No owners.

    That’s all that i want to say.

  174. So…somebody thought one post to a vegetarian website was whack, and so decided–because of that one post–that all vegetarians were whack, and then sought out other posts from other VWs (Veggie-Whacks) to prove her point, and wrote about how whack the Whacks are?

    Surely one realizes that blogs and posts are goldmines of whackness. One person writing something looney does not mean that that person speaks for everybody.

    And surely one also knows that most people who disagree with someone will not say anything. The silence is disagreement.

    Why would anybody actually reply to somebody who thinks “we” should build a fence down the middle of the Serengeti? That’s just whack.

    • I read it. In general, it doesn’t refute her; citing of random opposing examples, while a rebuttal, is not a refutation. The bottom line is still that the only thing making modern agriculture sufficient to support the world’s excessive population is petrochemical fertlizers and chemicals, and those only last as long as the oil does.

      • With the worlds population, modern agriculture does need chemical fertilizers and so on and when that runs out, there will have to be a scramble to find another way. On that we agree. But Keith’s suggestion that the world needs to return to the ‘hunter/gatherer’ arrangement of societies of the past is ridiculous and unworkable with the numbers of humans that live. Imagine all of these people, all armed and lurking in the woods, shooting at anything that moves and it seems that before long, there will be a failure of nature to keep up with the demand for meat as it exists today. Once upon a time, passenger pigeons darkened the skies and now they’re gone and the numbers of people alive were miniscule compared to now. So it just won’t work.

        The meat consuming world has ‘glommed’ onto Keith’s work because they feel that it is justification of their own ideas and habits. They also love it because she (a so-called ex-vegan) has joined in the name calling and contempt of anyone who dares suggest that there is a kinder, gentler way to live, and frankly, every mob loves reinforcements.

  175. Really enjoyed reading the articles on your blog. Found my way here doing research on ketosis.
    After reading this, I feel the need to inject my obviously biased opinion however :)

    The single thing that cannot be argued away is the fact the glaciers are disappearing and studies have shown the ice has been there FAR beyond anything that would suggest its a “cyclical” change. This combined with all the scientific data, the skeptics who have since converted, and the fact the opposition is funded solely by corporations with a financial interest in continuing to pump poison in the air, there really isnt much to “deny”.

    Other than that single statement in your blog, I really enjoy reading your thoughts.

    Thanks,
    K.E.

  176. Dr. Eades,

    Just saw a REALLY irritating documentary called Chow Down and came to your blog to see if you had thoughts on it. Instead, I found this review, which is more interesting, as is Keith’s book. I’m going to share this review on Facebook. Thanks!

    – Ed

  177. I do know that I’m commenting on a very old discussion, but who cares. What I would like is the actual link to the forum that Lierra Keith claims to have seen the ‘totally serious Serengeti fence’ discussion. I have looked for it, using every word combination I could think of, and I’m coming up with nothing. The fact that she includes such a ridiculous discussion as a pivotal moment in her book and then fails to provide proof that it actually occurred is suspect. I’m inclined to think that she made it up or took someones tongue-in-cheek remark, seriously because she has no sense of humor.

    • It was a post on a website called post punk kitchen, on their discussion board, and has since been removed when they changed their website a year or so ago. I have read the post; it was quite obviously a joke that Lierre Keith purposely took out of context.

  178. Why are all comments either totally pro-vegeterian or totally pro-meat. If we balanced our diet better, eating very little meat and eat foods that grow in the soil (legumes, nuts, whole grains, fruits, veggies) than not only our health would be good but we could menage our resources better. Everything in moderation and balanced is the best answer to me…

    • Some people (like me) cannot eat grains and legumes healthfully because they contain too many carbohydrates. Most folks aren’t “pro meat” as in pro-carnivorism- they’re pro OMnivorism. In other words, they support INCLUDING meat, not eating only meat.

      ~Huntress

  179. I have a question and I don’t know if it is discussed in Keith’s book or if it has been asked here before. I have heard veg*ns state that saturated fat is not necessary in the diet because your own body fat can be broken down and used for the synthesis of necessary compounds and the requirements of the cells and systems in the body. Is this true?

    • The body can synthesize saturated fats, so they are not required in the diet. The same is true for carbohydrates.

      The specific caloric nutrients that the body needs in the diet are essential fatty acids, which are unsaturated, and essential amino acids. The best sources for both are animal foods, though they are also present, in less balanced form, in some plant foods.

      • This is a massive oversimplification of nutrition and doesn’t account for diseases, anti-oxidants, toxins, acid-forming foods, etc. Animal protein is very acid-forming in the body which causes the body to pull calcium from the bones to balance the ph in the blood. EFAs can be acquired easily through plant foods since that’s where animals get them from anyways. The similarity of animal protein to our own causes the promotion of cancer at levels above around 6% animal protein in the diet. By this logic, the best source of protein is actually human flesh.

  180. Seems that people don’t realize that eating animals causes way more agriculture than eating plants. I’ve heard anywhere from a 7 to 1 to 10 to 1 ratio of grains to produce a unit of meat. That means, if vegans are causing destruction through agriculture, meat eaters are causing up to 10 times more damage (unless you eat cows that are cannibals and eat the organs of other cows (which happens in factory farming) or products from other animals even though cows are herbivores).

    I have had a very different experience converting to a whole-foods plant-based diet: I haven’t had a cold in over 3 years and I used to get around 5 per year. I’ve gained 10-15 lbs of muscle in the gym and my I never get that sluggish feeling that meat and processed foods causes.

    I think some people’s problems are caused by a failure to realize that you need twice the amount of iron if you get iron from plant-based sources as opposed to meat-based sources. That’s because animals, like us, store iron in a certain heme form, so, if you eat animals, you are getting the iron in the form that it would be had you eaten plants and had your body convert it to the way animals store iron. There is nothing special about the iron in animals and we all convert it to the same heme form. There may be certain people who are unable to convert iron but I would expect this to be quite rare and the exception rather than the rule.

    If you want to avoid all the western diseases like cancer, diabetes, auto-immune disorders, heart disease, etc. go on a whole-foods, plant-based diet. See the Forks over Knives DVD, The China Study for plenty of references or the documentary about Bill Clinton going vegan to save his heart on CNN called “The Last Heart Attack.”

    Concerning allegations that eating a vegan diet causes mental health issues: this is very dubious and I think someone should do a study to find out if there is anything to it. I know many people who have converted to vegan diets and have no mental health issues so I think this one should be left out of the argument until there is actually some evidence. I think the pregnancy one is the same thing. My wife is a vegan and we have a very healthy baby boy and there were no issues getting pregnant as we weren’t even trying to get pregnant. This is just another baseless claim.

  181. The figure is 7 pounds of grain for one pound of beef, or 3 pounds of grain for one pound of pork. Of course, you can also get grass fed beef, which isn’t dependent on agriculture at all.

    As for a whole foods, plant based diet, it didn’t help Steve Jobs. He started eating fish after he got cancer, but that was evidently too late.

  182. @Warren Dew: I didn’t say that a whole foods, vegan diet (WFVD) cures cancer. What I said was that a whole foods vegan diet prevents cancer and there’s a big difference between prevention and cure. The only disease that I can convincingly say that a WFVD can cure is heart disease because Dr. Esselstyn and other doctors are doing this all the time at their clinics. That’s not to say that a WFVD can’t cure or help cure other diseases in some cases.

    Also, Steve Jobs was neither a vegetarian nor a vegan when he got cancer so he could have had any kind of crappy diet. In addition, I did some research and it appears that Steve Jobs was a vegetarian for a while but then started eating fish. Most reports state that he ate fish and was on a macrobiotic diet and is, therefore, a pescetarian: “Jobs, who is a pescetarian (neither vegetarian nor vegan as is often reported)” – http://www.zdnet.com/blog/apple/jobs-gets-out-of-the-happy-meal-business/192. He was also eating a lot of ice cream so I don’t know how one could say his diet was healthy (http://9to5mac.com/2009/09/14/the-steve-jobs-diet-chocolate-ice-cream-and-lots-of-italian/).

    A whole foods, vegan diet doesn’t involve animal protein. In the studies Dr. T. Colin Campbell conducted, they were able to turn cancer on and off with animal protein and it is the animal protein that increases blood cholesterol, not the cholesterol found in food which people often mistake. Even vegetarians can consume a lot of animal protein through dairy products so I’m not advocating a vegetarian diet. Vegan diets aren’t necessarily healthy either because they could involve a lot of processed foods. What I’m advocating is a whole-foods plant based/vegan diet to avoid the common western diseases. There are parts of the world where these diseases don’t even occur and the consumption of animal protein is correspondingly very low but that’s not the only evidence.

  183. @Brian: Decades of veganism didn’t prevent “Cancer Proof Your Body” author Ross Horne, from developing and dying of prostate cancer. This claim, “In the studies Dr. T. Colin Campbell conducted, they were able to turn cancer on and off with animal protein” is something that is often touted by vegans, but I suspect it was a soundbite taken from a sadly misguided celebrity vegan. When you ask for the citations for the specific study, no one is able to provide them. Can YOU tell us which studies these were? I’ve read the China Study- and I’ve never seen them. If you intend to proffer this “evidence” repeatedly, you may wish to make sure your source is accurate before someone else calls you out on it.

    ~Huntress

    • I’ve seen a few studies where, by restricting individual amino acids, cancer growth is inhibited in animals. I think Life Extension Foundation have some archived. But cancer growth is just one, late, stage; the same restrictions in a healthy animal might have made the cancer more likely to begin with, for example by inhibiting DNA repair, if the amino acids were needed for polyamine synthesis.
      Folic acid supplementation can prevent cervical cancer from beginning, but increase the growth of existing colonic cancer.
      There are a few different stages in cancer, and the same nutritional factor can have different effects at each stage.

    • I’m not familiar with Ross Horne so I can’t really comment but vegan diets can be unhealthy if they involve processed foods. I’ll try to look into this later.

      “I suspect it was a soundbite taken from a sadly misguided celebrity vegan” – No, I heard Dr. Campbell say this when he was on CNN and he’s said it in other videos as well and there IS research to back it up. Also, the title of Chapter 3 is “Turning Off Cancer” which is pretty darn similar. I guess you must have read the book a long time ago and so forgot about this?

      “If you intend to proffer this “evidence” repeatedly, you may wish to make sure your source is accurate before someone else calls you out on it.”
      – Wow, thanks for being so presumptuous and assuming that it’s inaccurate before giving me the chance to respond.

      “Can YOU tell us which studies these were? I’ve read the China Study- and I’ve never seen them.”
      – There’s a whole chapter with references. Are you sure it was The China Study you read? I don’t know how you could miss this and it makes me think you must not have read the entire book or maybe you didn’t read it at all. I would suggest re-reading chapter 3 “Turning Off Cancer” and checking the references in that chapter. There are a lot of them.

      The original paper that caught Dr. Campbell’s attention was done in India and is reference number 16 in chapter 3:
      Madhavan TV, and Gopalan C. “The effect of dietary protein on carcinogenesis of aflatoxin.” Arch. Path. 85 (1968): 133-137.

      This study showed that, in the presence of a carcinogen (aflatoxin), the level of protein greatly affected enzyme activity that led to cancer. They compared 20% protein to 5%. This showed that lower protein intake “dramatically decreased tumor inititation” and, later, also shows that the carcinogen isn’t the problem because it requires high protein levels in order to promote the development of cancer. They compared different levels of aflatoxin with different levels of protein showing that the protein was the deciding factor on whether cancer would develop. They also compared animal protein to various plant-based proteins and found that the plant-based proteins didn’t promote cancer like the animal proteins did. These studies were done in the laboratory on animals. Obviously it would be unethical to do this with humans but the mechanisms are the same in humans. There are 55 references in chapter 3 so I’m not going to list them all here but, since you’ve read the book, I’m sure you can check them out yourself.

      • Brian,

        I don’t know how I missed this comment when you posted it, but as I was browsing through the thread today, I came across it. As I stated originally, the China Study didn’t include any data that proved you could turn cancer on and off, just a bunch of convoluted claims by Campbell.

        So first, let’s address a very obvious failing of Campbell’s protein research. He does the bulk of it with ISOLATED CASEIN protein, not real food. He also does it on rats whose natural diets would not include dairy even in its whole form.

        So, moving on,

        You referenced this study: “The effect of dietary protein on carcinogenesis of aflatoxin.” Arch. Path. 85 (1968): 133-137.

        –and had this to say about it-

        “This study showed that, in the presence of a carcinogen (aflatoxin), the level of protein greatly affected enzyme activity that led to cancer. They compared 20% protein to 5%. This showed that lower protein intake “dramatically decreased tumor inititation” and, later, also shows that the carcinogen isn’t the problem because it requires high protein levels in order to promote the development of cancer.”

        Now I have to hope that you took that as a sound bite from another site because if you’d read the study yourself, you’d know that the published paper specifically states that six months into the study they stopped feeding the daily aflatoxin because half of the low protein rats had died– and eventually the remainder before the two year mark. ALL of the high protein rats survived past 2 years.

        So tell me, how did the low protein diet help the rats? By not giving them cancer? LOL They were already DEAD.

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Let’s look at some of the other studies he offers as “evidence” of the cancer connection.

        In his OWN first study a few years later (J Nutr. 1972 Jan;102(1):53-60 | Effect of protein deprivation of male weanling rats on the kinetics of hepatic microsomal enzyme activity.)

        He writes-

        “The effect of protein deficiency in male weanling rats on the activity of the hepatic microsomal enzyme system was studied.”

        “A deficiency of dietary protein was shown to increase the toxicity of aflatoxin for rats.”

        This study also looked at levels of 5 and 20% protein from casein, though there was a second 20% group where he restricted calories as well. Typically a healthy rat will double it’s body weight (50-100 grams) in 2 years (and the 20% group did), but the 5% protein group only reached 75 grams. The low protein group also developed fatty livers.

        He writes:

        “[T]he normal rate of cell proliferation would have been decreased during protein deprivation, which is similar to the retardation of brain cell growth of young malnourished animals.

        So in his opinion, the low protein rats were “malnourished”.

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Campbell did another study in 1980 with aflatoxin (J Toxicol Environ Health. 1980 May;6(3):659-71 | Subcellular distribution and covalent binding of aflatoxins as functions of dietary manipulation.)

        In the 20% casein diet they added aflatoxin at five parts per million (5 ppm) aflatoxin, but the 5% casein diet with only half that– 2.5 ppm. the stated reason was,

        “5 ppm was found to be lethal for this dietary group.”

        So wait, aflatoxin is LETHAL for the low protein group? What?

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        In his 1983 study (Cancer Res. 1983 May;43(5):2150-4 | Effect of high and low dietary protein on the dosing and post-dosing periods of aflatoxin B1-induced hepatic preneoplastic lesion development in the rat)

        He finds:

        “Some degree of bile duct proliferation was observed in all animals dosed with AFB1. However, the groups fed the 5% casein diet during the dosing period had relatively severe bile duct proliferation and cholangiofibrosis [fibrosis of the bile duct]. In these groups, the architecture of the liver was often distorted by fibrous septa. Groups fed the 20% casein diet during the dosing period had mild bile duct proliferation and no cholangiofibrosis.

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        How about this one on drug metabolism-

        Campbell published a study in 1978 (Fed Proc. 1976 Nov;35(13):2470-4 | The effect of quantity and quality of dietary protein on drug metabolism)

        He writes:

        “The toxicities of several pesticides have been shown to be markedly increased, such as that of captan which is increased 2,100 times by protein deficiency.”

        In the summary of his findings he lists 3 toxins whose toxicity was decreased on low-protein (5%) diets and 18 (6 times more) whose toxicity increased on low-protein diets.

        His concluding sentence reads:

        “This observation suggests that the low protein intake was not sufficient to allow for tissue recovery from the acute toxic effects.”

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        So there you are, Brian, comments from a person who HAS checked them out herself to someone who clearly hasn’t.

        ~Huntress

  184. Whereas its true that vegetables, fruit, berries protect at-risk individuals against heart disease, it does not necessarily follow that animal protein reverses this protection. Consider other elements of the diet; grains, sugar, etc.
    I’ve read that for every person who lives on meat, hundreds can live on soy or wheat. If by living you mean dying in a hundred horrible ways. No thanks, I’ve tried that and it’s a lie.
    Take sugar, wheat, grains, potatoes and other high-carb foods out of the diet and you will be protected against cancer (as far as this is possible) and heart disease even if you do eat meat. Replace them with green veges, whole fruits and berries, eggs and fish, and you have extra protection.

    http://www.lef.org/newsletter/2011/1018_Study-Finds-Good-Diet-Overcomes-Bad-Genes.htm?utm_source=2011Wk42-1&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Article&utm_content=Header&utm_campaign=eNewsletter&l=0#article

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011. In an article published online on October 11, 2011 in the journal PLoS Medicine, Dr Jamie Engert at McGill University in Montreal and his associates report that the risk conferred by a gene variant known to be a strong marker for cardiovascular disease is minimized by consuming a diet rich in fruit and vegetables. “We know that 9p21 genetic variants increase the risk of heart disease for those that carry it,” explained Dr Engert, of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. “But it was a surprise to find that a healthy diet could significantly weaken its effect.”

    • “Whereas its true that vegetables, fruit, berries protect at-risk individuals against heart disease, it does not necessarily follow that animal protein reverses this protection.”
      – If you’re replying to my comment, this isn’t what I’m suggesting at all. Claims about animal protein are not based on this sequence of logic but on scientific studies.

  185. Breaking of DNA strands goes on all the time in the body; cancer eventuates when DNA is damaged, repair mechanisms fail, apoptosis fails, immunity is compromised, and a good cancer food source (glucose or fructose) is present. Cancer cells get most energy from fermenting sugars (warburg reaction), express many more glucose receptors than healthy cells, so a ketogenic diet is protective. Veges are protective because polyphenols stimulate apoptosis of cancer cells.
    High carb foods – wheat, sugar, potatoes, etc – strongly correlate with colon cancer incidence. Red meat does not. Eggs and fish, green veges and whole fruit are negatively correlated.

    • This is a straw man fallacy again. I’m not saying a vegetarian diet is necessarily healthy. Vegetarian diets can involve a lot of dairy and 80% of the protein in milk is casein which is the protein studied in Chapter 3 of The China Study where they were able to turn on cancer development with casein. Where did you see that Jobs was a vegetarian in 2003 anyway (not that it matters but I’m curious as to whether this is even true based on what I’ve read)?

      So, you found some blog that’s written by someone who’s an English major and has no background in statistics, nutrition, epidemiology or cancer and you’re going to take her word over someone like Dr. Campbell who has been on major cancer boards like the American Cancer Society and has a Ph. D in nutrition? You obviously haven’t read The China Study or you would know that much of the data from China was collected in 1970 by the premier of China and that there are hundreds of studies referenced in that book – it’s not just one study.

      Also, I don’t think Denise Minger is suggesting that Dr. Campbell cooked the data. That’s a pretty serious criticism and I don’t think anyone’s accusing him of making up data. I’m not going to repeat the flaws in Denise’s blog post and all her misinterpretations and errors. You can find some here http://www.30bananasaday.com/forum/topics/has-denise-minger-read-the and Dr. Campbell’s response here http://www.tcolincampbell.org/fileadmin/Presentation/finalmingercritique.pdf. After reading these responses to her post, it seems clear that, although, she’s obviously quite intelligent, she’s not qualified to understand the complexities in biology and statistics and makes some logical errors in infering causation where there is correlation.

      • If you’re going to talk about straw men, what about your bashing all animal protein based on casein alone? Casein is very different from the proteins in meat, and in fact is also different from the other major milk protein, whey – which is protective against cancer. If I used your logic, I could claim on that basis that “animal protein” protects against cancer, because whey is animal protein.

        As for Minger, I don’t take her word, or anyone’s word. I look at the data myself. For example, the data from the actual China study, as opposed to Campbell’s obfuscatory book by that name, consistently shows that wheat is the biggest correlate of heart disease, no matter how you analyze the data. Campbell conveniently neglects to correct for wheat when conducting his multivariate analysis indicting “animal” foods – which in this study is again mostly dairy, not meat. Why didn’t he pay attention to wheat? Well, either he was too incompetent to notice the biggest correlate in the data, or he carefully selected his variables so as to be able to blame milk for the problems associated with wheat. Either way, he’s a fraud.

        But hey, if you’re so impressed with Dr. Campbell’s PhD, maybe you should read what a real doctor has to say about his book. As an added bonus, this doctor writes in a blog that you find worth reading and commenting on:

        http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/cancer/the-china-study-vs-the-china-study/

        • This isn’t a straw man fallacy as I’m not misrepresenting your position here. You may call it an over-generalization but the rest of the book deals with other animal proteins. I was only talking about chapter 3 because someone was asking for studies about where they were turning cancer on and off with animal protein which happened to be casein. Also, where are the studies that show whey protein is protective against cancer when compared to plant-based protein?

          Where do you see that the data points of wheat are the biggest correlate of heart disease? I’ve heard of issues with wheat but I haven’t heard anyone claim that it causes heart disease. I really don’t think Campbell is trying to spin anything in order to ignore any wheat correlations – I think they probably just don’t exist. Am I supposed to believe you’ve looked over that entire database and made up all your own graphs? You must have a lot of time on your hands if you did that.

          Another thing is that he did compare wheat protein along with other plant proteins in chapter 3 and found that they didn’t turn cancer on and off like casein did. If you really looked at the China project (which is the real name for the study I believe; not The China Study as you claim). He probably didn’t pay attention to wheat because there was no reason to because there’s probably hardly any evidence, if any, to suggest wheat causes cancer or heart disease. Also, if you read the book, you’d know that he introduced animal protein in areas that were already eating mostly plant-based diets in poor regions of the world and found that people started getting the Western diseases of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc. and, therefore, had good reason to focus on animal protein as the culprit. It was also based on the study I quoted earlier from India that showed different levels of casein turn cancer on and off. You should look at the work of Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. Dean Ornish, or other clinics where they’re curing and reversing heart disease with diet alone – plant-based diets, just like Bill Clinton has recently done and seen big improvements. Also, check out The Last Heart Attack by Sanjay Gupta on CNN.

          I’m not so impressed with anyone’s PhD. There you go with your straw man fallacies again. There’s a lot of crazy people out there with PhDs. He also happened to be on the board of the American Cancer Society as well as the American Institute for Cancer Research and received many awards including:

          1998 American Institute for Cancer Research Award “in
          recognition of a lifetime of significant accomplishments in
          scientific research and his efforts in furthering scientific
          knowledge and understanding in diet, nutrition and cancer”

          This doctor you mention also happens to reiterate claims that vegan diets cause mental health issues: “please make this book available. It could be the most important thing you ever do for the long-term mental and physical health of a young woman.” This claim is completely bogus and really makes me question his critical thinking skills. I know many vegans, including myself, that never had any mental health or physical health issues after going vegan. There’s always some people who will go vegan and start eating unhealthy because our society doesn’t teach us much about vegan diets but that doesn’t mean you can accuse vegan diets of causing mental or physical health issues. Bill Clinton has certainly gotten healthier with his heart disease and isn’t showing any signs of other physical or mental health issues. All you meat-eaters who keep reiterating this are fooling yourself and making yourselves look really dubious so I would suggest you drop this angle. Most vegans probably read this and don’t even bother with the bogus stuff being said here.