Veganist: Will Eating Plants Save the World?

By Jim F

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Kathy Freston’s new book Veganist is about “leaning into” the vegan diet. This is a welcome approach after the almost militant coercion from groups like PETA.

Freston is previously known for the book Quantum Wellness – an holistic detox diet that is also vegetarian. Freston now has the backing of Oprah Winfrey, who has challenged all-comers to go vegan for a week.

Veganist: The 10 Promises

The Veganist is more than going on a diet, and far more than losing weight. Freston makes a number of “promises” or outcomes that will arise from your choice to go vegan.

  1. Your body will find and maintain its ideal weight
  2. You will lower your risk of health issues such as: cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
  3. You will live longer and better.
  4. You will take yourself out of harm’s way
    Here she is addressing the industrialized food machine that makes it easier for bacteria to enter the food chain (think pig and cow factories).
  5. You will save money
    The true cost of animal protein is much higher than what we think it is.
  6. You will be helping provide food for the global poor
  7. You will reduce your carbon footprint and help the environment.
  8. You will reduce animal suffering
  9. You will be following the wisdom of great spiritual traditions
  10. You will evolve and take the world with you

There is a strong case for following a plant-based diet, and as the world continues to over-exploit its resources, the call for vegan-type diets will become louder. We cannot support every person in the world eating a 8 ounce steak every night.

However I struggle with the need for dogma and rigid rules around dieting. I, for example, go fishing. I occasionally catch a fish (and abide by all fishing regulations and limits). I prepare the fish and eat it. Even though I agree with many of the principles of veganism, I will not stop fishing to satisfy the requirements of dietary dogma.

Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World by Kathy FrestonAvailable from Amazon.

28 Comments

  1. Last5

    The last 5 things on those promises is a bunch of hippy bullcrap. More people would try becoming vegans if they didn’t have to hear those last 5 every time vegans are mentioned. Why does choosing to become a vegan have to be some brave and noble gesture towards mankind. I am a vegan because I want to eat healthily.

    Reply
    • Allison

      Actually, it’s not just hippy propaganda. As illustrated in the Veganist (using this as an example as it is the text in question. However these facts can be found in numerous other vegan literary sources, such as Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, or at idausa.org, a website for the animal rights group: In Defense of Animals USA, just to name a few) a vegan diet dose reduce your carbon foot print. The animal food production society is an industry that emits “the equivalent of 7.1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide per year,” 18% of the total greenhouse gas emissions according to the UN (p. 156). These emissions result from factors ranging anywhere from the tons upon tons of excrement produced by the animals each year, to the fossil fuels burned by high power tractors tending to the billions of acres growing crops to feed livestock. Thus, by not further supporting the meat industry, you are doing your part for our environment.

      Not convinced? Raising and farming for livestock not only detrimentally affects the ozone layer with the high CO2 levels, but also plays a big part in the water crisis our world is consumed with. Freston presents us with the statistic, “water used for livestock and irrigating feed crops: 240 trillion gallons per day”(p. 156), a volume which I personally found obscene. 240 trillion gallons is equal to the amount Europe, South Africa, and South America use each day, COMBINED. Yet, it wasn’t until I compared the aforementioned stats with those of the World Water Council, that I truly grasped the obscenity of our water usage. “More than one out of six people lack access to safe drinking water, namely 1.1 billion people, and more than two out of six lack adequate sanitation, namely 2.6 billion people (Estimation for 2002, by the WHO/UNICEF JMP, 2004). 3900 children die every day from water borne diseases (WHO 2004)… these figures represent only people with very poor conditions. In reality, these figures should be much higher,”(http://www.worldwatercouncil.org/index.
      php?id=25).

      When nearly 4,000 children die each day (and to think that that average is from 2004, meaning it has more than likely skyrocketed within the last 8 years) I find that unsettling, to say the absolute least. As we are showering the crops exclusively for livestock with the usual 7.5 million gallons per second -or the equivalent of everybody on this planet taking 8 showers a day (p. 156), just to paint you a picture- a mother’s infant, a son’s father, a loving sister, or a dedicated spouse dies from dehydration or water borne disease. A terrible fact of life.

      Do I believe that if more people chose to boycott the meat industry and go vegan, the world’s water source would magically replenish? That we would instantaneously have ample, clean water for children from Guatemala to Mumbai? No, I’m not that naive, and neither is Kathy Freston, or Ingrid Newkirk, or any other vegan activist that makes the claims in points 6-10. It’s that we know the simple fact that change has to begin somewhere. While my lifestyle choice will not have a direct impact the worlds hungry, or the water supply in Africa, it could have an impact on those around me. I have the ability to help others see our world more clearly. Expose the torture and cruelty animals endure for our gallons of milk, pounds of ground beef, or shed light on the very real environmental problems we face (which are not as futuristic as many believe). Even if I only ever inspire one person, but a person who changes their ways as a result, I have done my part in getting the ball rolling.

      I realize this is a very, very, very, VERY long response, and I have so much more I could say, but I will wrap it up here (if you even made it this far lol). Bullet points 9* and 10 do have a very airy, flower child feel about them, I can admit that much. However, know that being vegan -and I do know you are- makes a difference for not just your health and animal rights, but the environment as well. If nothing else, I hope you take away from this the understanding that those “bullcrap” ideals were not just fabricated by a wistful, unwashed, strung out on a few grams of cannabis, “tree hugger”, trying to instill a holier-than-thou mentality on those who chose a vegan lifestyle. Those ideals, not just the last five, but all ten have actual weight, and truth behind them. Each reason as concrete as the next (even if it does read like hippy propaganda at its finest). While the personal rewards of veganism are tremendous for an individual, the benefits the world reaps from our community as a whole are undeniable.

      I gather that you believe one sole contribution does not and could not make groundbreaking, world changing differences, because, let’s face it, when was the last time one person changed the world? Yet your impact, the one you envision to be nothing more than infinitesimal at best, combined with mine, combined with the other 4 million plus vegans in America alone (according to the 2008 US census) all of a sudden have a voice, a pretty loud one if you ask me. You are a small part of a big movement. You are a key factor in our mission. Your contribution is vital to getting that ball rolling, vital to bring forth change. As the Dali Lama said, “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a closed room with a mosquito”

      Peace and love, my child. Namaste.
      Jk (;

      *Though 9 has more to do with the fact that people say veganism is “unnatural” and that hunting is and always has been an inherent part of society, whereas ancient hunters and gathers were vegan. Gathering was the main food source, as hunting was not always a certainty or due to whatever earthly conditions were at hand: storms, blizzards, the migration or malnourishment of their prey, etc. etc.

      Reply
  2. CharleyGirl

    You have got to be kidding! I’ve been a vegetarian for 40+ years, through two full term pregnancies. I still have a full head of hair, minimal bone loss and my yearly physical exams show no indications of cancer or other disease.

    Reply
  3. Erica

    None of the things you describe are guaranteed from a vegetarian diet. you can certainly obtain eating a well balanced diet with all the essential nutrients while being a vegetarian. So you should probably get your facts straight before you start telling people that terrible things are going to them. you have absolutely no authority to say things like that to people.

    Reply
  4. Erica

    OMG I KNOW! She looks like she should be holding a poison apple or something. I thought I was the only one who was freaked out by it. lol

    Reply
  5. phil.e.rupp

    Vegetarianism is great Joana,but in a couple of years just keep an eye out for hairloss, bone loss, breast cancer, and many more goodies.

    Reply
  6. Dan

    Another thing that occurred to me is that organic farming doesn’t deplete the topsoil as commercial farming does, such as with the use of chemical fertilizers, insecticides and so on. I don’t know all the ins and outs of it, but I know that organic farming uses crop rotation as well as composting to enrich the soil. Crop rotation seems to be crucial to avoid depleting the soil.

    Reply
  7. Dan

    It is interesting that Selene Yeager, who wrote “Riding your Way Lean” about how to lose weight riding a bike said she came from a Paleo perspective. She didn’t advocate an ultra low carb diet. However, she did recommend a lower percentage of the total number of calories to come from carbohydrates than that which is usually recommended for athletes. I am not a Hindu, but I do know that Vegetarianism is a natural offshoot of their religion. I think this study states that it isn’t location that helps Seventh Day Adventists, but rather the higher vegetable intake with their phyto nutrients, and fiber and lower saturated and higher unsaturated fats consumption that leads to their higher life expectancy. It seems like the Paleo diet, at least the one according to Loren Cordain, emphasizes consumption of vegetables and leaner as opposed to fatty meats, as well as high consumption of unsaturated fat from nuts and therefore it could offer similar benefits.

    Reply
  8. musajen

    Dan, thanks for the information. The 7th Day Adventist study is intersting. I was looking at the original paper on it and noticed that when comparing the the 7th Day Adventists to other countries, including the U.S., the researchers specificed California Adventists Vegetarian, and California Adventists Non-vegetarian. However, they did not show California non-adventists. This makes me wonder if increased wellness of California Adventists is more an issue of location than it is of diet. I think what would have been more telling is if they’d studied adventists all around the world. Of course, it’s easy to pick out flaws if we don’t like an idea, and I confess to being opposed to a vegetarian diet for health.

    I did come across an interesting blog post referencing a study on vegetarians vs omnivores that provided a more even playing field between the two diets (very few confounding factors). If you google “Vegetarians and Heart Disease: Will Ditching Meat Really Save Your Arteries?” – this is a post on the blog Raw Food SOS written by Denise Minger. Not sure if you’re familiar with her but she’s a numbers geek and really get’s into studies, working with their data, and exploring all the ins and outs of the studies.

    An interesting point she did make is that often times vegetarians will say, in regards to studies that question the positive health benefits of their diet, ‘they didn’t do vegetarianism right.’ The same can be claimed by the meat eating population… ‘They didn’t to omnivorism right.’ Obviously there’s a right way and a wrong way to do each of these diets.

    About my comments on India and diabetes… I apologize if there was offense. Non was intended. I do realize religious beliefs are a part of the diet divide there. It doesn’t change the prevelance of diabetes.

    On exercise and low-carb diets, training Lance Armstrong is world’s apart from the average human being getting in a workout. Very few of us endure that kind of training regimen so it would be natural for him to use carbs to refuel his body since that is what he has always done. What would the results be if he refueled differently? We don’t really know except for those few, rare, people who do run marathons and triathalons on low-carb diets. I think this is one of those examples of doing what we’ve always done because that’s what we’ve always done. It’s not necessarily the best way, it’s just the way we know and it works well enough, so why change?

    The logic in veganism reducing the need for cropland is a bit flimsy… In one instance, yes it does because you’re not eating meat, on the other hand, you’re eating more grains and plants so nothing is really offset. But the key issue here is still topsoil. Animals replenish topsoil with their waste. Crop production doesn’t. If crop production practices don’t change, we lose our topsoil. If crop production does change, there a chance we won’t be able to feed the entire population (reference to the idea that organic crop production practices can’t feed the world).

    Reply
  9. Jim F.

    Why should I call myself anything? Why do I need a label. I think some of the promises Freston makes are excellent, and I would like to move towards a more holistic way of eating… but I think I can do that without necessarily needing a label.

    Reply
  10. Jim F.

    Why can’t you say “I want to lose weight, but still want to eat chocolate”? That’s perfectly legitimate. Just like you can focus on eating more plant-based foods without becoming completely dogmatic about it.

    Reply
  11. Dan

    It occurred to me that not eating grain fed meat reduces the need for cropland. Remember it takes several pounds of grain to make one pound of meat. So actually, both Paleo and veganism reduce the need for cropland. Also, Paleo can offer similar benefits to the vegetarian diet, since it has some limit on saturated fat and includes vegetables with their phytonutrients and fiber and includes healthier fats from nuts and fish. Instead of arguing that vegetarian or vegan diets are unhealthy, you could argue that the Paleo diet offers the same health and environmental benefits.

    Reply
  12. Dan

    I would like to preface this by saying that I don’t think either ultra low fat, nor ultra low calorie nor ultra low carbohydrate diets are that healthy. The body needs fat, carbohydrates and calories to function properly. A person can lose weight by ample exercise just by moderating the intake of these elements, but they would be spared the necessity of sharply limiting any of these elements.
    Chris Carmichael, who was Lance Armstrong’s coach, in his book “Food for Fitness” stated that fat is the fuel for like endurance, slow paced exercise. He did state that for intense exercise, the body’s preferred source of fuel is carbohydrates. A person needs glycogen stores in their muscles to fuel this exercise and once the fuel is gone, they tend to “bonk.” His finding was that persons on low carbohyrate diets tended to “bonk” far sooner than persons who were not on low carbohydrate diets. He doesn’t advocate an ultra low fat diet, but about 16% of calories from fat during the time when a person is doing intense training, and about 22% from fat when their training is lighter.

    Here is anippet from the Naturalnews article “Study of Seventh Day Adventist Diet Means Good News For Vegetarians”
    Wednesday, February 06, 2008 by: Cathy Sherman, citizen journalist

    (NaturalNews) A study of Seventh Day Adventists, published in 2000, showed that several of their lifestyle factors increase longevity and quality of health…..
    Comparisons were made among the subjects according to several lifestyle choices, and secondly, the Adventist statistics as a whole were compared to the vital statistics of non-Hispanic Californians in general. It was found that there was more variation in longevity between vegetarian Adventists and non-vegetarian Adventists than between Adventists as a whole and non-Adventists. It appears that some of the factors studied are those which can add years to one’s life if adopted.

    Generally it was found that among the non-Hispanic Californian population, those identified as Seventh Day Adventists lived longer, on the average of 7.3 extra years for men, and 4.42 more years for women.
    Among the Adventist population itself, it was found that high physical activity, frequent consumption of nuts, vegetarian status, and medium body mass index each result in an approximate 1.5- to 2.5-years gain in life expectancy. Hypertension accounts for the loss of 4.2 and 3.2 years and diabetes for the loss of 4.6 and 8.6 years in men and women, respectively.

    The effects ascribed to “non-vegetarian status” are probably related to the greater intake of foods high in saturated fat and the lower intake of foods higher in unsaturated fat, fiber, antioxidant vitamins, and other phytochemicals. This may affect mortality due to cardiovascular causes and cancer. Similarly, those who consume more nuts have been shown to have 35% to 50% lower rates of coronary events in other studies. This is probably due in part to the blood cholesterol–lowering effects of nuts, and perhaps to their unusually high content of antioxidant vitamin E. Increased physical activity is associated with important reductions in the relative risks of coronary events, stroke, and cancers of the breast and colon.

    So, according to this study, both physical exercise and a vegetarian diet contribute to a higher life expectancy. Of course, nuts are not low in fat and contribute to a higher life expectancy as well- one reason an ultra low fat diet is not a good idea. Like I said in a previous posting, *lower* carbohydrate, or fat or calories can benefit some people, but it is best not to go *ultra low* on any of these.

    Reply
  13. Dan

    I don’t really intend to criticize your own dietary choices. However, I did find what you said about Vegetarianism in India to be disrespectful. Many persons in India are Vegetarian for religious reasons, just as Seventh Day Adventists are. This is a quote from Chris Carmichael entitled “Food For Fitness.” He was Lance Armstrong’s coach. He stated fat is ok to fuel lower intensity exercise but it is not as good as carbohydrates to fuel high intensity exercise.

    “One of the goals of low-carbohydrate diets is to chronically deprive the body of carbohydrates. However, we know that when you do not consume enough carbohydrate, you deplete your energy stores and cannot work out effectively. The idea of a low-carb diet is to force the body to rely on fat for energy, thereby burning away stored adipose tissue. As explained in Chapter 2, athletes can’t rely on fat for the majority of their energy because their activity level demands energy faster than it can be supplied by fat. Although fat is a contributor to all exercise intensities, it only supplies the majority of your energy for low-intensity (<50 percent of maximum intensity) exercise. Many recreational and moderately trained athletes work at intensities higher than that during their pre-workout warm-ups. Full stores of glycogen are needed to support the intensity levels that recreational and moderately trained athletes regularly experience during their workouts and athletic activities. When active people attempt to work out in a glycogen-depleted state, as happens when they are eating a low-carb diet, they cannot sustain the exercise intensity or duration as well as they could when they were eating more carbohydrate.... Not only do power, endurance, stamina, and strength decrease as a result of carbohydrate depletion; athletes sometimes feel nauseated, dizzy, and/or lightheaded, too. While most endurance athletes have experienced these symptoms usually associated with "bonking" or "hitting the wall" at some point, bonking usually occurs hours into a long workout as the result of low blood sugar. The symptoms of bonking catch athletes offguard when they appear within the first 30 minutes of exercise, but the body is reacting to the same scenario. Glucose is the primary fuel your brain and central nervous system can directly us for energy, so your body acts defensively to preserve whatever glucose it has left. Bonking is your body's way of forcing you to stop exercising while there is still enough glucose in your blood to maintain normal bodily functions. Athletes eating low-carbohydrate diets bonk much earlier than normal because they start workouts glycogen-depleted. As a result, they have far less fuel than they need to supply energy for muscles and the central nervous system." He did explain that at a lower intensity of exercise, the body is mainly burning fat as fuel, but for much higher intensity workouts, the main fuel are carbohydrates.

    Here is something I found on the WEB that DOES ascribe the longer life expectancy of Seventh Day Adventists partly their being Vegetarian- it was also to physical activity and the eating of nuts.

    "Study of Seventh Day Adventist Diet Means Good News For Vegetarians"
    Wednesday, February 06, 2008 by: Cathy Sherman, citizen

    NaturalNews A study of Seventh Day Adventists, published in 2000, showed that several of their lifestyle factors increase longevity and quality of health. The study was conducted among 34,192 self-identified California Adventists. Subjects were asked to complete questionnaires that pinpointed demographics, medical history, diet, physical activity, and a few psycho-social variables. Subjects were evaluated for 12 years in regard to deaths and hospitalizations.

    Comparisons were made among the subjects according to several lifestyle choices, and secondly, the Adventist statistics as a whole were compared to the vital statistics of non-Hispanic Californians in general. It was found that there was more variation in longevity between vegetarian Adventists and non-vegetarian Adventists than between Adventists as a whole and non-Adventists. It appears that some of the factors studied are those which can add years to one's life if adopted.

    The factors evaluated for the study were: vegetarianism, body mass index, past smoking (there were no current smokers), exercise, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) in women, and eating of nuts. A vegetarian diet was defined as meat consumption, never or less than once per month; and semi-vegetarian as eating of meats more often than vegetarians, but less than once per week. All others are non-vegetarians. Few Adventist vegetarians are vegan. Meat was identified as beef (hamburger, steak, other beef, or veal), pork, poultry, and fish. Nut consumption was included in these analyses because of previously published evidence showing protective associations between nut consumption and deaths due to coronary heart disease. Unfortunately, the article did not define what was considered a nut for the purposes of this study.

    Generally it was found that among the non-Hispanic Californian population, those identified as Seventh Day Adventists lived longer, on the average of 7.3 extra years for men, and 4.42 more years for women.
    Among the Adventist population itself, it was found that high physical activity, frequent consumption of nuts, vegetarian status, and medium body mass index each result in an approximate 1.5- to 2.5-years gain in life expectancy. Hypertension accounts for the loss of 4.2 and 3.2 years and diabetes for the loss of 4.6 and 8.6 years in men and women, respectively.

    The effects ascribed to "non-vegetarian status" are probably related to the greater intake of foods high in saturated fat and the lower intake of foods higher in unsaturated fat, fiber, antioxidant vitamins, and other phytochemicals. This may affect mortality due to cardiovascular causes and cancer. Similarly, those who consume more nuts have been shown to have 35% to 50% lower rates of coronary events in other studies. This is probably due in part to the blood cholesterol–lowering effects of nuts, and perhaps to their unusually high content of antioxidant vitamin E. Increased physical activity is associated with important reductions in the relative risks of coronary events, stroke, and cancers of the breast and colon.

    The mechanisms are not entirely understood, but probably include effects on blood lipid levels, sex hormones in women, blood insulin level, the immune system, obesity and on the reduced risk of diabetes and hypertension. Whatever the mechanisms, it seems apparent that half of Adventist men and women are losing more than 4 years of life, apparently due to their less than optimal behavioral choices which are also not in adherence to their faith's dietary guidelines.

    Of the 5193 observed deaths, 1373 (26.4%) were ascribed to coronary heart disease, 1074 (20.7%) to cancer, and 531 (10.2%) to stroke. Almost half died of other causes which were not listed.

    The subjects of this California study enjoying the longest lives were the vegetarians. Other studies have shown health benefits from vegetarian diets, so one conclusion is that it is better for one's heart to eat less meat. A UK study found, for example, in comparison with regular meat eaters, mortality from coronary heart disease was 20% lower in occasional meat eaters, 34% lower in people who ate fish but not meat, 34% lower in lacto-ovo-vegetarians, and 26% lower in vegans. There were no significant differences between vegetarians and non-vegetarians in mortality from cerebrovascular disease, stomach cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, or all other causes combined.

    This would seem to say also that eating fish is better than eating meat. Even if the diet you follow is healthy, none of your criticisms of the Vegan diet have any validity, unless it was a junky, processed vegan diet, even is your own diet is valid. Besides, Scott Jurek is a Vegan athlete who runs ultra marathons, sometimes as far as 162 miles in 24 hours.

    Reply
  14. musajen

    Dan, do you have any scientific studies that point to 7th day Adventists having longer life expectancy than average? I would guess there are some confounding factors that could be in play. Generally, spiritual people live longer and are healthier because of that spiritual tie. Also, people who are vegetarian generally care about their health and are engaging in other behaviors that help contribute to health; exercise, taking vitamins, meditation, etc.

    As for exercise, how do you know that a person on a low-carb diet cannot exercise as much? Have you tried low-carb and exercise? The first week to month on low-carb can be a difficult transition as the body relearns how to function on ketones instead of glucose. But once that transition is made, exercise is quite possible and enjoyable. Many Cross-fitters are consuming low to moderate carb diets and the country of Sweden has a famous triathlete (Jonas Colting) who thrives on low-carb, high-fat. He’s even influencing the country to shift to low-carb dietary recommendations.

    Low-carbers are not opposed to exercise – mostly we believe and accept that it is an important part of health and fitness. Some of us disagree with the value of exercise in weight loss. I went low-carb Paleo and started jujitsu a couple weeks later with no detrimental effects to my energy levels. If anything, I’m more energetic now than I’ve ever been.

    Reply
  15. musajen

    Anya, I haven’t really read any articles online, at least that I can recall easily, about crop stats vs livestock stats and sustainability. I think a lot of it is overshadowed by propaganda decrying livestock operations; it’s effects on global warming, and animal life.

    A resource that I have read is The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith. She’s definitely not popular with the vegetarian/vegan crowd but she was vegan herself for around 20 years and has suffered dibilitating health effects from being vegan. She addresses the agricultural issue in her book and has tons of stats and an extensive bibliography in the back of her book. It’s really a very good read.

    One of the key issues she addresses is the loss of topsoil (you could probably google the loss of topsoil and find a ton of info online). Crops are destroying our topsoil. The more we plant, the more we lose, thus the less we can plant. Eventually, if not addressed, we may not have any viable soil left to grow plants.

    Example: Iraq used to be referred to as the fertile crescent and was a big agricultural mecca. It’s now desert because it was over-farmed and the topsoil eroded to such a state that it could no longer produce crops.

    Oh, one article I do recall is from March 2010. There was a news story that received very little coverage and corrected an often promoted statistic that claimed “The livestock sector is a major player, responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions….(google Cowgate for related articles) – basically the initial emissions from cows also included those emissions required to grow the cows food (mainly corn) along with a few other items. It’s an interesting read and could further demonstrate the impact of growing crops on the environment. In reality, cows only emit about 3% of the greenhouse cases. And in Keith’s book I believe there are stats that compare the emissions of grain fed cows to grazed cows – grazed cows produce even less gas.

    I could probably go on and on. But look into top soil. I believe Michael Pollen also talks about the issue of topsoil in some of his books and the documentary “Killer at Large” looks into the Ag industry quite a bit too.

    As for the Indian study, I’m sorry I don’t have references for it. Definitely socioeconomics play a role, but it seems to be that it is striking the middle class more than any other class (google India and Diabetes) My guess is with the growing westernization of India, and the availability of sugar laden products (that are still vegetarian in nature) this is likely to increase.

    Reply
  16. Joana

    Great post.
    I have become a vegetarian for 1 year now and still enjoying
    everyday.
    Veggies are the way to go.

    Reply
  17. Dan

    Seventh Day Adventists are Vegetarians and have a longer life expectancy than average. I also exercise a lot and know that a person cannot exercise very much on a low carb diet- that is the reason persons of your ilk are opposed to exercise- you cannot do it on your diet!

    Reply
  18. Anya

    Have you taken into account the wastage of food in developed countries – as much as 50% of the food americans buy ends up being thrown away.

    Unless the Indian studies have taken into account socioeconomic status (often a factor in whether meat is even affordable in India), and comparable living studies, I wouldn’t give them much credence.

    I agree with you that going vegetarian or vegan won’t automatically save your health or the world – there are healthy vegan and vegetarian diets but they require high attention to nutriotional detail & not just buying rice pops because they have no animal products!!

    Do you have links to the stats on farming land needed to support a vegetarian/vegan diet and that needed to support an animal based diet? I’ve been looking for some, but my google mojo must be off today..

    Reply
  19. Anya

    Actually “Chocolate makes you fat” is a dieting dogma, or at least an extremely gross oversimplification of the facts. I lost 80kg and never stopped eating chocolate.

    In any case I was not advocating either the vegan diet per se, nor saying that the claims in the book were to be believed or followed. I’m not a vegan, and although I don’t eat meat daily, I am also not even a vegetarian. I think there is much room for considered comment and the weighing of evidence of all of the claims.

    To dismiss the claims on the basis of personal whim, rather than evidence and reason, is childish at best.

    Reply
  20. Spectra

    While there are many health benefits to going vegan, I personally like certain animal products too much to give them up entirely–things like tuna, eggs, and yogurt. Even though meat can be a fairly expensive source of protein, eggs are pretty much dirt cheap and they’re a great source of protein. So I don’t think I’ll be giving them up any time soon.

    While she has a few valid points, you have to remember that veganism is like any other diet choice–you have to put into it what you want out of it. People who legitimately want to avoid eating animal products because of ethics or religion should go ahead and get their protein from plant-based sources. But I personally see nothing wrong with eating eggs or dairy or fish and they are a great, easy, complete way to get lean protein in my diet.

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  21. kim

    Ding ding DING. We’ve got a winner.

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  22. musajen

    The sad thing is, none of these promises are true. Yet people accept them without challenge because it sounds good. Going vegetarian or vegan isn’t going to save the world or your health.

    Growing all the plants necessary to sustain a vegetarian population requires a lot of land. That land has to be cleared for crops and it wipes out entire ecosystems. And don’t forget the fossil fuels and chemicals required to grow crops today.

    Animals still suffer at slaughter houses because you’ve chosen not to have a vote (at least one that counts). Vote with your dollars and buy grass-fed, humanely raised, humanely slaughtered animals and help shift market demand towards animals treated with diginity to the end.

    A 25-year vegetarian PhD from Standord (Christopher Gardner) did a study on vegetarian diets and low-carb diets and found, to his chagrin, that low-carb diets did more to improve disease markers than a vegetarian diet (video available on youtube).

    In India, part of the country is vegetarian. When comparing the health markers of the vegetarian part of India to the part who consumes more animal products, the vegetarian side has increased incidences of diabetes and heart disease.

    And food-borne illnesses/outbreaks – they happen in produce too. Or have you already forgotten the spinach recalls from a couple years ago?

    Before going vegan, exercise a little critical thinking and do your research. The truth is, it doesn’t do your body, or the planet any favors.

    Reply
  23. Lindsey

    You would be wise to try the vegan path. Although, you should definitely transition into it. If you still want to eat fish every once in a while there is no problem with that. You make the choices. You may just need to call yourself a flexitarian instead of vegan, or a pescatarian. I agree with Anya, though. Give it a shot and see where it takes you. Even adopting some of the habits of a vegan should prove to be advantageous.

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  24. Tjasa

    Well. Chocolate makes you fat – it’s a fact. Vegan promises are dogma. It’s good to be able to see the difference.

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  25. S Price

    LOL!!!

    Reply
  26. Amy

    Kathy Freston looks completely evil in that photo. She could almost be a Disney villain – does she have a secret coat made out of puppies??

    Reply
  27. Anya

    You know the ironic thing about your post is that it displays exactly the type of mentality you often rail against. You like the sound of the results, but don’t want to change your lifestyle or stop doing the things you like.

    I’m not saying you should be a vegan, mind you, only that “well I like fishing” is one lame reason not to become one. It’s akin to someone saying “I want to lose weight, but I like chocolate”.

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