Ex-Vegans and Cholesterol Skeptics

Once again ex-vegans are causing a stir. This time it’s Tasha of the quite popular foodie blog VoraciousEats (formerly VoraciousVegan). In a recent post she describes her health problems of depression, fatigue, dizziness, and other troubles, her subsequent abandonment of veganism, and near instantaneous recovery “My first bite of meat after 3.5 years of veganism was both the hardest and easiest thing I’ve ever done. Tears ran down my face as saliva pooled in my mouth. The world receded to a blank nothingness and I just ate, and ate, and ate. I cried in grief and anger, while moaning with pleasure and joy…I had only eaten a small piece of cow flesh, and yet I felt totally full, but light and refreshed all at once.” Excuse me if I’m a bit skeptical.

I dont wish to disparage someone with genuine health problems but given the context and tone of the post it is clear that more than just a necessary dietary shift for health reasons has taken place but a total change of philosophy. Tasha arrives at the same “epiphany” as numerous new “happy meat” advocates, that a vegan diet is destructive to personal health and the environment.

That numerous ex-vegans mention reading the likes of Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith(discussed earlier), or even the long de-bunked Secret Life of Plants just prior to their conversion makes me a bit suspicious. Especially when people sometimes appear to self-diagnose by matching their non-specific symptoms to those of a writer with lifelong chronic health problems. The symptoms described by many ex-vegans are reminiscent of “symptoms of life” experienced by imagined sufferers of chronic fatigue, Lyme disease, or gluten intolerance all of which actually do afflict some people but have in recent times become widespread self-diagnosed fads. The non-specific nature of the symptoms mean we must be very careful in ascribing them to any particular pathology. While people can have genuine vitamin deficiencies and medical issues, these things need to be confirmed with a doctor (as Tasha appeared to do) and preferably a dietitian not a nutritionist as the latter is an unregulated title. If you do have a nutrient deficiency you can usually work with a dietitian to find out how to modify your diet or what supplements you need while still remaining vegan.

Importantly we must remember to not put put too much stock into anecdotes about health on the internet. Keep in mind, the plural of anecdote is not data.

Another thing that raises a red flag for me is that many are abandoning veganism not for a traditional western diet but for raw, gluten-free, or paleo diets which are themselves on the fringe with mostly controversial evidence to support them. The attitude of these ex-vegans also does not seem to reflect an anguished anti-speciesist forced into consuming flesh, rather they revel in it as noted by Ginny Messina, The Vegan RD, “I understand that someone who believes they require meat may need to tweak their overall perspective to make it feel ethically okay to eat it. But, there is a big difference between choosing to include small amounts of meat in your diet for health reasons versus absolutely reveling in meat consumption as is reflected in Tasha’s recent twitter post: “Bacon, bacon, bacon…how did I ever live without you for so long?” Or this: “Lunch – bacon egg cheese and jalapeno quesadilla. I’m so happy to be eating food that I love.””

Tasha removed all doubt as to her bias when she dropped this hammer, “I know that the lipid hypothesis is completely fallacious, these animal foods won’t hurt me or cause me ill health in anyway, in fact, the vitamins and minerals they provide, along with the nutritious cholesterol and wholesome saturated fat, will restore my health.” Nutritious cholesterol!? Wholesome saturated fat!? Im sorry but as already stated in this vegan dietitians review of The Vegetarian Myth, “we have no dietary need for either saturated fat or cholesterol—there is no RDA for either. The liver makes all the cholesterol our bodies require. And the two essential fatty acids required by humans—both unsaturated—are found in plant foods.”

The Vegetarian Myth is likely where Tasha got this idea. In her book Keith writes mockingly, “The Lipid Hypothesis—the theory that ingested fat causes heart disease—is the stone tablet that the Prophets of Nutrition have brought down from the mountain. We have been shown the one, true way: cholesterol is the demon of the age, the dietary Black Plague, a judgment from an angry God, condemning those who stray into the Valley of Animal Products with disease.” The resources Keith sites are less than impressive being mostly non-scientific and pseudo-scientific popular sources with little reliance on the medical literature. The lipid hypothesis is the now well supported hypothesis that a major factor in heart disease is the accumulation of lipids on the arterial walls or more generally elevated blood cholesterol levels but Keith is part of a wider movement of “cholesterol skeptics” represented in part by groups such as the Weaston A Price Foundation (“butter is a superfood”) and the The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics (THINCS). In stating their *clearly* unbiased scientific opinion on their home page THINCS had this to say “For decades, enormous human and financial resources have been wasted on the cholesterol campaign, more promising research areas have been neglected, producers and manufacturers of animal food all over the world have suffered economically, and millions of healthy people have been frightened and badgered into eating a tedious and flavorless diet or into taking potentially dangerous drugs for the rest of their lives. As the scientific evidence in support of the cholesterol campaign is non-existent, we consider it important to stop it as soon as possible.”

Just like Anthropogenic Global Warming skeptics, THINCS are skeptics in name only. They place themselves at the fringe of science ignoring vast amounts of peer reviewed literature in the name of supporting or tearing down a hypothesis often seemingly with political or economic bias. Their web page is filled with emotionally charged language alleging a conspiracy to cover up the “truth”. The overreaction from the global warming alarmists or in this case health-nuts doesn’t help matters when they make unfounded health claims of their own or present flimsy evidence such as the China Study. Contrary to what the cholesterol deniers would have you believe there is plenty of evidence for the lipid hypothesis, though they do raise some reasonable concerns about over-prescription of statins and the need for much more research in nutrition, they come off as ideologues.

The debate over the evidence for the lipid hypothesis is still very complex, so we need to be careful about any health claims we make. The most rational position is to not make positive health claims but to just stick with the ADA, “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life-cycle including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence and for athletes.” What we need is a measured and rational approach to nutrition, be skeptical of health claims for particular foods and to not overstep the literature.

I highly recommend this article by Harriet Hall over on Science-Based Medicine and this follow up for an in-depth look at cholesterol skeptics by a knowledgeable doctor.
The Skeptic’s Dictionary review of Uffe Ravnskov’s The Cholesterol Myths is also well worth the read

Please go read Theo’s post on our companion blog VeganSkeptic about this incident and how it illustrates a greater need for skepticism in the animal rights and vegan community.

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66 Responses to “Ex-Vegans and Cholesterol Skeptics”

  1. Bill Clinton, Vegan Poseur « Skeptical Vegan Says:

    [...] and authors of The China Study, T. Colin Campbell and his son, Tom Campbell as inspiration. Ive previously mentioned the China Study as an example of poor evidence for the nutrition argument and it has been [...]

  2. Born Again? | VeganMilitia Says:

    [...] about their experiences, and while there have been a number of good responses, including this, this, this and this.  I wanted to address a different [...]

  3. Fabien Says:

    youre delusional !!!

  4. beforewisdom Says:

    I’m starting to group ex-vegans, at least the ones who make a hobby out of it, with TEA Party members, global climate change deniers, anti-vaccine people and raw foodists.

    People in these groups don’t bother with facts or hearing out both sides of a story. They don’t respect people who spent years of their lives getting educated to become experts, yet they will take some buffoon at his/her word on the basis of the force of their personality and them telling people what they want to hear.

  5. Amy Says:

    Thanks for your blog, Skeptical Vegan! I have been very interested in reading your opinions and points of view as you seem very intelligent and well spoken.

    Ummm… yeah some ex vegans are drama queens that just bounce around to the next thing, Paleo, Raw, Gluten free, whatever seems to be trendy, they will do it.

    I honestly do not know what to make of Lierre Keith but she does not quote very reputable sources in my opinion. I agree that Weston Price Foundation and Anthony Colpo are not reliable sources of health information at all and I would not consider Dr. Eades to be at all unbiased either.

    I am not a scientist so I cannot speak to the lipid hypothesis being debunked but I agree there are plenty of scientific studies to show that high cholesterol is not good for your heart, I think Dr. Joel Fuhrman can speak volumes on that subject.

    Anyway thanks for your thoughts!

  6. Myths of The Vegetarian Myth « Skeptical Vegan Says:

    [...] *for a little followup please see the post on cholesterol skeptics [...]

  7. carlos Says:

    what i don’t get is how someone goes from vegan back to meat eater. i can get the vegetarian to meat eater, especially if they are not aware of the killing and brutal testing, but vegans know better. they’ve seen it with their own eyes, so to speak. if they went from vegan to vegetarian and started to use animal products, again i would ask why, but even that could have a better chance of happening.

    there is a group on facebook that follows a diet plan called, “the diet solution.” they do exactly that, eat tons of meat, feast on saturated fats, and believe that cholesterol is a myth. i’m surprised that someone hasn’t dropped dead and that they haven’t been shut down.

    i’d really like to put them out of business just on principal alone. if someone wants to do anything on their own, more power to them. but when one person gets tens of thousands to follow them and encourages them to do something contrary to what all modern science, study, doctors, nutritionists and the like say, that in my opinion is tantamount to “drinking the kool-aid.”

    their data and information is so far off base that it could be used as satire! i’ve listed several of the books i’ve read and other articles that were relevant to the topic. the “hunter-gatherer” claim is misused so much in an attempt to justify their eating habits. it is more likely that our ancestors were “scavenger-gatherers.” (pre-history man) i added a paper about the inuit’s in there too (reasons for health among the inuit contrary to a diet largely based on only fat). they try using them as their proof that pure animal fats are necessary. of coarse, they forget to mention the 10,000+ years of aculturation to that diet, among other things

    http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-full-story/index.html

    http://www.mesacc.edu/dept/d10/asb/origins/hominid_journey/scavenging.html

    People of the Earth: An Introduction to World Prehistory (12th Edition)

    People of the Earth: An Introduction to World Prehistory (12th Edition)

    Buy from Amazon

    http://www.vegsource.com/news/2009/11/the-comparative-anatomy-of-eating.html

    http://www.mesacc.edu/dept/d10/asb/origins/hominid_journey/optional4.html

    http://courses.washington.edu/bioa101/articles/article41.pdf

    The Heretic's Feast: A History of Vegetarianism

    The Heretic's Feast: A History of Vegetarianism

    Buy from Amazon

    Romanticism and the Materiality of Nature

    Romanticism and the Materiality of Nature

    Buy from Amazon

    thanks,

    –c

  8. carnivorousCrossFitter Says:

    Sorry Carlos, but we don’t use the hunter-gatherer term to ‘justify’ what we eat. We eat that way because we simply started listening to our bodies and feeding it with what it craved. And a funny thing happened: we started to feel really really good.
    And all this science you’re talking about? You are in the dark about the most important health issues in our country. Maybe you should just start looking at the reasons why us Paleo people started to eat the way we do instead of just spitting on it without reading any information? I too was a staunch vegetarian and then vegan for most of my life. But then I read, and read, and read, just like I’m doing now. On BOTH sides of the spectrum. And the choice was clear, for me. I’m not trying to change your mind, Im simply saddened by how many people out there are terribly misinformed.

    “You can be sincere, and you can be sincerely wrong.”

  9. carlos Says:

    with that logic, drug addiction would be a healthy practice because those that drink and drug, “feel really really good.”

    the same could be said for rape and murder. rapists and murderers thrive off the adrenaline they get after raping someone or killing someone. your logic would conclude that since it makes them feel good, it must be good for them.

    if you’ve read, and read, and read, then your scientific consensus wouldn’t be that meat is good for you, but i’m not going to argue these positions anymore with anyone.

    we’ll just wait until we’re in our 70′s… the one with the least medical disorders wins.

    • paleo_huntress Says:

      The culture with the highest number of centenarians (the Okinawans) eats a significant amount of pork and lard. So much so that they call their own island “The Island of the Pig”. ~shrugs~ When you reach your 70s, be sure to hit one of them up for a chat. =)

      • skepticalvegan Says:

        That’s funny cause the authors of “The Okinawa Program”* (gerontologist Makoto Suzuki, Bradley J. Willcox, & medical anthropologist D. Craig Willcox) attributed the longevity to “the consumption of locally grown vegetables and huge quantities of tofu and seaweed, rigorous activity and a low-stress lifestyle.”
        Another point that should be noted is that figures for per capita meat, fat, and soy consumption in Okinawa vary along with descriptions of their traditional diet. When the correlations aren’t even clear we should be even more wary of drawing a line to causation. This piece seems even handed and is peer reviewed, though I question some of the discussion of herbal medicine within http://apjcn.nhri.org.tw/server/apjcn/Volume10/vol10.2/Sho.pdf

        *I want to note that I do not actually endorse this book or its nutritional claims as it is certainly flawed in at least some aspects, it is presented as a counter point

        • Paleo Huntress Says:

          I’m not attributing their longevity to meat eating- I’m refuting the suggestion that the inclusion of meat shortens their lives. The fat of choice is lard- and those sweet potatoes and other veggies are cooked in it. The Okinawan diet is known for being extremely greasy. Also, the tofu they eat is fermented, something other soy eating cultures do not do- and it is a tiny fraction of their diet.

          • skepticalvegan Says:

            The most common figure I found for soy consumption among Okinawans was 60-120 grams of soy protein daily compared to 30-50 in mainland China. Not really tiny in relative terms.

            • paleo_huntress Says:

              “The main meat of the diet is pork, and not the lean cuts only. Okinawan cuisine, is very healthy-and very, very greasy. And the whole pig is eaten-everything from “tails to nails.” Local menus offer boiled pigs feet, entrail soup and shredded ears. Pork is cooked in a mixture of soy sauce, ginger, kelp and small amounts of sugar, then sliced and chopped up for stir fry dishes. Okinawans eat about 100 grams of meat per day-compared to 70 in Japan and just over 20 in China-and at least an equal amount of fish, for a total of about 200 grams per day, compared to 280 grams per person per day of meat and fish in America. Lard-not vegetable oil-is used in cooking.”

              “Okinawans also eat plenty of fibrous root crops such as taro and sweet potatoes. They consume rice and noodles, but not as the main component of the diet. They eat a variety of vegetables such as carrots, white radish, cabbage and greens, both fresh and pickled. Bland tofu is part of the diet, consumed in traditional ways, but on the whole Okinawan cuisine is spicy. Pork dishes are flavored with a mixture of ginger and brown sugar, with chili oil and with “the wicked bite of bitter melon.” ~Kazuhiko Taira, Gerontologist

            • paleo_huntress Says:

              It would take 6 CUPS of firm tofu a day to equal 120 grams of soy protein. That’s 1128 calories from soy alone. Considering the average TOTAL calorie intake per day is 1,100 calories, and that the 200 grams of pork and fish alone would provide more than 200 calories- and we haven’t even looked at the lard and sweet potatoes yet, I’m suspect of that claim.

            • paleo_huntress Says:

              Now if you meant 120 grams of TOFU, that’s about 4oz, (1/2 cup) and contains only 10 grams of protein, a good part of which is not assimilable due to protease inhibitor content. The pork and fish contain approximately twice (each) as much protein (4 times overall) and it is highly assimilable. So relative to their meat consumption, the soy protein is nominal.

            • skepticalvegan Says:

              It is commonly reported as “soy protein” but it more likely refers to legumes (soy being primary) in general from the research I have seen so far, the 1949 study lists Okinawans as consuming 71 grams of legumes daily, along with only 3 grams of land animal flesh and 15 grams of fish flesh. Which sounds a bit different than the diet you describe. I would prefer some peer reviewed sources for your figures on the Okinawan traditional diet, the 1949 study could certainly be flawed or incorrect but I wanna see peer reviewed and published sources for the numbers.
              I would also like to point out that according to the 1972 Japan National Nutrition Okinawans consumed 17% less calories than the average Japanese and this could be one possible cause if not the main cause of their longevity since research into calorie restriction shows that it can significantly increase life span.

            • Paleo Huntress Says:

              I’m posting from my iPod tonight, but a quick google search of the gerontologist I cited will easily provide you with the current data you’re seeking. Frankly, it’s quite funny to me that a debate over the merits of veganism with regard to longevity was so quickly sidetracked to a discussion of soy. I suppose it’s a simpler matter to debate it than to debate the very obvious reality that the longest lived people in the world eat flesh.

            • skepticalvegan Says:

              But you are isolating flesh only, rather than their high soy intake, high sea vegetable intake, social structure, calorie restriction ect. Its that that I take issue with, it only one of several correlations.

              I dont claim in my blog post “you shouldn’t eat meat because its bad for you”, the post was dealing with the specific claim of cholesterol skepticism (which contradicts decades of clinical and epidemiological research) and why some abandon veganism(please especially the last few paragraphs). If you read some more of my writings you’ll see that I don’t advocate veganism on health grounds or believe that it is an optimal diet. I advocate veganism on ethical grounds and only make the claim that it is a nutritionally adequate diet. So while I think someone can have a very healthy diet that includes even a decent amount of meat I am arguing about the specific example of Okinawans because there seems to be other confounding and possibly larger factors at play and saying “the longest lived population eats lots of lard” is far too simplistic. If you really wanna get into it about health arguments you might want to find someone else, I’m not interested in proving meat is poison (cause I don’t believe it to be), I am however interested in dispelling myths about veganism itself being unhealthy and promoting veganism as an ethical response.

            • Paleo Huntress Says:

              I’ll add too, that the longevity results from calorie restriction were later duplicated through restriction of carbohydrate alone. As insulin is the primary aging hormone, this makes sense.

  10. paleo_huntress Says:

    I’m an ex-vegan. My symptoms weren’t imaginary, nor was my recovery. In my two years of whole-food veganism, I gained 65 pounds, developed type II diabetes, GERD, watched my cholesterol climb to over 300 and looked in the mirror at my pizza face every day. Add to that the general sense of malaise and fatigue and I was one very miserable vegan. Less than 3 months after adopting a primitive diet, my cholesterol had come down 200 points, there was no trace of diabetes or GERD, I’d lost 45 pounds and my skin cleared up. The fatigue and malaise wasn’t quantifiable by my doctor and endocrinologist, but the rest most certainly was.

    The difference in the treatment of animals isn’t as much in the slaughter as it is in the LIFE the animal leads. As “inhumane” as CAFO slaughter is, it’s light-years away from the death that a wild animal will suffer at the jaws of the carnivore that has begun eating it’s flesh while it’s still screaming. With very few exceptions, ALL wild animals die a death far more violent that that at the hands of a human.

    I say go for animal foods from animals raised ethically and humanely on organic, sustainable farms, eating their natural diets. Cut out the grains and beans- and you’ll take fewer lives for your proteins. Accept that to have life, you have to take life. The only difference is, will you take responsibility for the life or will it’s mangled corpse rot in the sun while you pretend you had no part in it?

    ~Huntress

  11. paleo_huntress Says:

    I forgot to add, all in all, I lost 100lbs… it took about 10 and a half months. Five years later I am still disease free and my cholesterol hovers around 100. (I eat 2-4 eggs/day) My last CRP was 1.7ml/L.

    ~Huntress

  12. paleo_huntress Says:

    (Response to this comment http://skepticalvegan.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/ex-vegans-and-cholesterol-skeptics/#comment-580)

    @skepticalvegan

    I’m NOT isolating flesh at all- I’m not isolating anything. With the exception of observational studies (which are good only for forming hypotheses), there haven’t been any studies done on non-Okinawans eating the Okinawan diet.

    My comments on YOUR blog-post specifically, were kept separate. The debate we’re currently having began as refutation of Carlos’ insinuation that vegans are longer-lived/healthier than those who include meat in their diets. The fact is, there is no data to support that hypothesis. They definitely are NOT longer-lived.

    I don’t claim that the Okinawans are longer-lived because they eat animal food- in fact, I’m not even suggesting it. My point is that eating animal food clearly hasn’t made them shorter lived as was implied (by Carlos). And that was the point to my comment. All one needs to do is look at the cultures around the world who eat ONLY animal food and who do NOT suffer the aforementioned “medical disorders” to know that that claim is bunk.

    As for it being “nutritionally adequate”? Boy that’s a bandwagon to jump on! Hey everybody!!! How many of you are looking for “adequate” health? How ’bout “adequate” beauty? Well I say, come join me in the nutritionally “adequate” vegan diet… Hooray! Falls a little flat, eh?

    Veganism wasn’t nutritionally adequate for me, it was killing me. But let’s say some can get by on it “adequately”… Is that really something to aspire to? I want vitality and beaming good health. There are always so many comments at vegan sites about the ‘supposed’ long term impact of animal foods: high cholesterol, cancer, digestive issues, diabetes. And yet the scientific evidence doesn’t support that hypothesis at all, nor do my own experiences.

    For every cancer risk lessened by not eating meat, there is another different cancer risk that is increased. When it comes to metabolic issues, there is NO BETTER DIET than a low-carb, omni diet. It has been proven over and over again. And contrary to the fear-mongering over elevated cholesterol and heart disease, the people who follow these diets have IMPROVED lipid profiles, improved energy and a reduction or elimination all of the disease markers including inflammation, hypertension, obesity and arterial plaque.

    As for the ethical piece of it? My ethical omni diet (pastured beef) takes fewer lives than my former vegan diet (grains and beans) did. That’s a big deal… to ME anyway.

    ~Huntress

    • skepticalvegan Says:

      I see now that your comment was responding more to Carlos and where some confusion may have come from on my part. I too disagree with Carlos’ on that point. I would be fully willing to admit that vegans are no live no longer than meat eaters generally and even given the right evidence that we on average are shorter lived.

      Again I don’t care to promote veganism for health reasons or any type of “health foodieism”. I am more concerned with the ethical impact of my consumptive habits than my health. After 12 years I’m still very healthy and active and when it comes to eating like most people I eat whats yummy and available, not what I think is healthiest.

      • paleo_huntress Says:

        Well that’s refreshing. =)

        What is your position on the number of collateral deaths suffered at the hands of row-crop farmers? If your dogma is based on saving lives, how do you reconcile the number of lives taken for your vegan proteins?

        • skepticalvegan Says:

          That is a quite common question so I’ll direct you to previous discussions of it here, here, here, here, here, and here

        • paleo_huntress Says:

          Awwww… how disappointing. As I mentioned to Anna, you really would rather take MORE lives than take responsibility for the deliberate deaths.

          I was hoping for something more original.

          ~Huntress

          • skepticalvegan Says:

            If you actually read the comments I linked to you will see there have been calculations done for field deaths, I and another person both linked to it. On average a plant based diet still takes less lives even calculating in field deaths. Until you can refute that point with adequate evidence then your argument has no merit being based on an assumption. You may also notice in a previous comment that I advocate for research & technology to reduce field kills as well.

            And the difference between intentional and unintentional killing is not in out come for the victim but in the moral culpability of the actor. In the legal realm we rightly make a distinction between first degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.

            • paleo_huntress Says:

              “we rightly make a distinction between first degree murder and involuntary manslaughter”
              Yes- but the individual that dies is dead either way. They don’t care about your distinctions. So let’s get back to our diets- I’m not talking about world diets, or vegan versus omni in general- I’m talking about yours versus mine.

              I get my beef, raw dairy, and butter from a small family farm two towns away. One cow is raised on 1.5 acres of pasture. The mature animal provides me with over 1000 lbs of high quality meat and fat, as well as significant naturally occurring minerals and vitamins. For all of that, ONE life is taken. I don’t eat grains and beans so there is no additional life lost for my diet. (well perhaps I stepped on an earthworm or swatted a mosquito here and there)

              According to Young VR. J Am Diet Assoc 91:828, 1991, cooked soybean’s proteins are 60% digestible, whereas beef’s are 88%.

              The average yield for soybeans is 2640 pounds. Each pound of soybeans contains 49.4 grams of assimilable protein, or 130,416 grams per acre.

              The average yield for beef is 630 “finished” pounds of beef. I also eat the cartilage, the organs, the marrow, the tallow, etc. But we’ll just count the meat itself. 92 grams per pound or 57,960 grams of assimilable protein per cow. (38,640 grams per acre) as the cow used 1.5 acres.

              One and a half acres of soy produces 3.35 times as much assimilable protein as the beef. And yet, it will take literally dozens of lives in the planting and harvesting. I’m sorry, even against the highest yielding protein legume, my diet will take fewer lives.

            • skepticalvegan Says:

              So would you advocate not distinguishing socially or legally between different degrees of homicide since the outcome is the same in order to be consistent? Such a position I would find to be ethically unjust, impractical, plain nonsensical. As I said there are good practical and philosophical reason why society distinguishes between intentional and unintentional acts including killing. It is not to justify the death of the victim but rather to assign a just and proper amount of culpability to the actor. As a society in general, for good reason, we do not accept killing homeless people for organ harvesting simply because their organs could save the lives of others, or more simply we don’t accept as ethically unproblematic the killing of even one innocent person to save a greater number of innocent persons. If you disagree with such distinctions then I believe our ethical differences run far deeper than could easily be hashed out on the internet.

              If you personally are not actually interested in the ethical impact of your diet but rather the health impact and its historical roots you may instead wish to talk with The Humane Hominid over at the PaleoVeganology blog as you may find him more engaging on the topic.

    • Anna Says:

      As for it being “nutritionally adequate”? Boy that’s a bandwagon to jump on!

      Well, not all vegans want to appeal to magical thinkers who are easily lured by promises of clear skin, abundant energy, and well-toned muscles. There are actually those of us who cringe every time Alicia Silverstone claims that adopting a vegan diet will make your skin glow while the excess pounds melt away. It seems like you’re saying that we “should” be marketing our diet in such a manner. But those kinds of claims should be a red flag, whether they’re being used to promote veganism, Adkin’s, the paleo diet, or whatever else. Furthermore, those kinds of claims are more likely to attract fad dieters — types who think that diets can be magical — who won’t stick to anything for the long term.

      Don’t be fooled by the word “adequate.” It doesn’t mean “mediocre,” it just means it will get the job done. And that’s what I want — I want to get a good array of nutrients while having most of my ethical concerns met at the same time. I don’t really give a crap about the magical health claims that the more woo-woo vegans like to make.

      • paleo_huntress Says:

        @Anna: I’m with you on the ethical concerns. I believe my diet is more ethical now than when I was vegan. I’ve heard folks say there is a difference between killing an animal by mistake and killing it on purpose- but I’d guess the animal doesn’t make that distinction. For all the extra little lives that are taken for row-cropping, I wonder what that would like like if you had to face them all and explain that more of them will die so that you don’t have to take responsibility for killing any of them on purpose. (Not you specifically.)

        • Anna Says:

          I don’t know the exact numbers, and would be interested in seeing a quality analysis, but anyone who eats produce would be on the line for the lives inadvertently taken by tilling the soil (unless no-till methods are used — which funnily enough is common for things such as Roundup Ready crops, which means that GMO soy would apparently adhere more to the vegan ethic). This includes meat eaters, and the vast majority of meat eaters would be on the line for a lot more lives than a vegan because the vast majority of the livestock are fed plant foods that were cultivated in this manner. I would wager that just eating a small proportion of factory farmed meat (even if the majority of meat eaten was from grass-fed cows, etc.) would bump a meat eater up past the levels of a vegan.

          A more “pure” vegan, I suppose, would have to eat plants that were grown without insecticides or tilling. A meat-eater wishing to cause as little animal suffering as possible would have to obtain all his/her meat from either hunting or buying from a source that lets animals graze what is already there. This may be more practical for some people than others.

          Further, if there were a way for me to know what methods were used to grow my produce, other than growing it myself, that would help me take issues such as animal suffering, carbon footprints, etc., into consideration. Unfortunately this kind of labeling is almost always impossible to come by.

          I have not come across good information regarding what crops are most likely to use till agriculture, or the average number of ground-dwelling animals to die for every calorie of a given crop, etc. This information would be necessary to figure out how a vegan diet compares with a diet that includes meat that comes from animals that were not fed plants from tilled crops. I’d also want to know how many people who eat “happy meat” actually stick to that ethic 100% of the time, and never slip up by eating factory farmed meat at a restaurant. Given how much plant foods go into livestock, it seems that just eating a tiny bit of factory-farmed meat would cancel out any ethical intentions that were involved in the initial decision to eat “happy meat” instead of adopt a vegan diet.

          Sorry if this reply was incoherent; my computer is being wonky right now.

        • Anna Says:

          Anyway, based upon your above comments it appears you are operating under the assumptions that: (1) non-grain and non-bean produce (like greens, which I assume you eat) never involve tilling the ground; and (2) grains and beans always involve tilling the ground. Both assumptions are faulty.

  13. paleo_huntress Says:

    Tilling is the least harmful of the practices, especially since it’s done off-season- it’s the combines that do most of the damage. However, the two locals farms we get the bulk of our purchased produce from (we also have an extensive garden) use no-till farming. And since foods like greens don’t utilize combines for harvest, whereas grains and beans ALWAYS do, they are a significantly less-deadly food source. We buy baled cornstalks for mulch and we find the dessicated corpses of the field mice (killed in harvesting) in the bales all the time. I should add too that with the exception of a single place that raises their own pastured cows (and even then only on special occasions because it’s expensive) I personally don’t eat meat out in restaurants- I choose grain/bean-free vegetarian meals and occasionally wild-caught seafood or shellfish.

    • Frank Says:

      “occasionally wild-caught seafood or shellfish.”

      If you cared about the number of lives you take, you wouldn’t eat seafood. Especially shellfish since they’re so small. Not to mention to ludicrous by-catch and waste involved.

      • paleo_huntress Says:

        @Frank: The lives taken is not MY first concern. The quality of the lives the animals led before they die is much more significant to me. My argument about lives taken is for those who eat vegan diets thinking they’re taking fewer lives. MOST animals will die to feed another animal- even without humans eating animals. The bulk of them will be babies… To imply that killing animals accidentally while trying not to kill animals on purpose is more “humane” is a twisted logic born of human arrogance… “humane” is a human construct that rarely respects nature or any kind of natural order. It’s almost as bad as suggesting we separate carnivorous animals from herbivorous animals to “prevent deaths”. The net product is that vegan diets take MORE lives- the intent is only relevant to you, not the animals.

        • skepticalvegan Says:

          Sorry but your back-of-the-envelope calculation of soybeans versus beef is not enough to support the assertion that a vegan diet takes more lives nor is it an adequate refutation of the actual data available on the question which has already been presented.
          http://www.animalvisuals.org/projects/data/1mc/

          • paleo_huntress Says:

            Your “data” is looking at calories, not protein. We can get calories anywhere- very few of us are suffering from caloric deprivation. Also, it calculates beef based on the finished sale-able weight in steaks and roasts- which excludes hundreds of pounds of solid fat per animal- fat that is twice as high in calories than are the lean meat or carbohydrate.Your data is still using CAFO animal products and talking in “probablys” about pastured beef.

            There is no “probably” in my diet. I KNOW where my meat comes from… I KNOW what the animal eats and how it lives. Do you know how your grains and beans were grown? The eggs my family eats come from my neighbor a few doors down- her hens roam around the yard scratching and pecking all day- eating insects and small snakes and lizards from the garden. At night they’re protected in a cozy coop they return to with enthusiasm. To be clear, I’m not suggesting that this is possible for everyone- but it’s about as feasible as a diet completely devoid of animal foods- it’s a healthier option for me, and it takes fewer lives overall.

            • Frank Says:

              How do your precious cattle ranches deal with predator problems? Do they not have any predator problems since the USDA takes care of them on their behalf? Do they have a $500,000 electric fence that further displaces wildlife in the area? You’re asking vegans to look deeper into their own diets but not looking deeper into your own.

              The USDA’s “Wildlife Services” kills (brutally, through horrible poisons) 120,000+ carnivorous predators every year on behalf of the grazing livestock industry. Untold others are killed by the farmers themselves. Predator populations are dwindling across the United States. With the loss of predators comes overpopulation of prey, starvation, and overall decrease in the “quality of life” for animals in nature that you supposedly value so highly.

              You also ignore the number of downed cows who are killed but not consumed; the number of herbivorous “pests” who are killed or displaced by cattle ranching; and quite simply the vast inefficiency of growing grass for animals to eat before being killed as opposed to simply growing tree crops.

              If you want the least animals harmed per gram of protein, eat some tree nuts or tree legumes. You clearly don’t give a shit though, so feel free to disregard.

          • paleo_huntress Says:

            I have to comment on this laughable statement as well- “cattle grazing is destructive to the environment in numerous ways, including soil loss to erosion, reduced survival of seedling trees, and loss of species diversity”. When a field is mono-cropped with a single plant, how many seedling trees and how much species diversity do you suppose we get out of it? And as for soil erosion? That is one of the primary issues with vegetable agriculture. That the author of this article would present this as an argument for planting crops over grazing cows is utterly ridiculous.

            • paleo_huntress Says:

              I don’t know how cattle ranches deal with predator problems, I don’t buy my animal food at a cattle ranch- I buy it at a small, well-run, sustainable family farm. As I said, there is nothing “deeper” to look into- I know exactly where MY food comes from. What you are describing isn’t my food… and as is often the case, vegans like to make it black and white with good at one end and bad at the other- but the fact is, there are many shades of gray in between.

              I’m not ignoring “downed cows”, there aren’t any in the farms I purchase my foods from- and if you think herbivorous “pests” are only killed by ranchers, BOY are you ignorant about farming. Hell, people are shooting dear for eating their azaleas! I live in New England- it is hilly, rocky and quite difficult to grow field crops- but grass grows EVERYWHERE. This makes raising ruminants here especially efficient.

              As I wrote originally, I care more about the LIFE the animal leads than it’s death. We are ALL going to die- but leading a good LIFE isn’t something we will all be afforded. For me personally, nuts contain too many anti-nutrients and carbohydrates to be healthy. They may be a good option for some people though. Though it’s hard to imagine getting them in an environmentally responsible way year-round. I’m an omnivore, and my diet takes fewer lives than yours. =)

      • paleo_huntress Says:

        I replied to your last comment below.

    • skepticalvegan Says:

      Taking subsoil species into account and the immense environmental impact of tilling (and how it in turn affects sentient life) I think its something that is best avoided when possible and as Anna notes I too am hopeful and interested in the impact of GM soy and other crops in reducing the problem while still providing an adequate food source.

    • Anna Says:

      Thank you for clarifying your point about the combines. These are all very tricky issues. For me personally, this particular issue is moot in a way because I don’t think a low-carb or grain-free diet is adequate; I feel this way about any diet that omits (or seriously marginalizes) a macronutrient. I would be interested in learning more about the technology used on farms. While mice and other “pests” have been hanging out in our granaries since the beginning of agriculture, I would be intrigued to learn if modern technology could be put toward mitigating collateral deaths. This is not my field, though!

      • paleo_huntress Says:

        “I don’t think a low-carb or grain-free diet is adequate”

        That’s a misconception that many people quote- and is generally the repeating of government agencies everywhere. Just imagine what would happen to our economy if people stopped eating grain? Wheat is worth twice as much as gold- we’d be in a state of economic unrest in no time. First, grain-free diets can be quite high in carbs through fruits, tubers, nuts and seeds – just ask the paleo athletes. Second, up until 10-12,000 years ago, MOST people ate a low carb diet- 20-30 grams/day. Not only was their diet adequate, it kept them robust and in phenomenal health. I invite you read The Late Role of Grains and Legumes
        in the Human Diet, and Biochemical Evidence
        of their Evolutionary Discordance (http://www.beyondveg.com/cordain-l/grains-leg/grains-legumes-1a.shtml)

        Just because we CAN eat something, doesn’t mean we should.

        • Anna Says:

          I’m not basing my opinions on what government agencies are saying. I’m basing it on, like, science. (And not all science is government-funded, and not all science is done in countries with “bad” agricultural policy.) I’m not going to forgo a major nutrient based on speculation about the health of stone-age people.

          I have no idea what calculation you are using to proclaim wheat to be worth twice as much as gold. I’m guessing you are taking government subsidies into account. But already this is striking me as conflating public policy with biology. Just because government policies toward crops such as soy or corn might be unsound doesn’t mean the foods themselves are bad. These political issues are all very interesting, but ultimately do not inform a rational discussion on nutrition. They are separate issues.

          Look, I’m glad you feel better than you did before. When you first started posting here you gave a lot of numbers, and they sounded impressive. Of course, without knowing the greater context or any confounding factors, I can’t really make any kind of judgment about the relative disadvantages of your vegan diet compared to your current diet. I have suspicions of course, and wonder if you could have remained vegan if you’d made an adjustment of some kind, but that’s in the past and you obviously have no desire to go back to whatever vegan diet you were following before. But the magical language you use to describe the shift from one diet to another is a red flag for me — and I would say the same if you were describing a change to veganism. (As I’ve mentioned before, when people describe the magical effects veganism had on their skin, weight, energy levels, and whatever else, I roll my eyes.)

          I haven’t been able to keep track of this thread very well, and apologize if I’ve missed anything, but based on my studies of nutrition, metabolism, and physiology, and the consensus of mainstream science, I’m not going to make myself feel like crap by eating a grain-free diet, nor will I risk further and more severe effects of a low-carb diet. If you are healthy and feel that you are making informed decisions, I’m not going to quarrel with you.

          • paleo_huntress Says:

            Awww… at least Skeptical Vegan does me the courtesy of reading the link. The data provided only touches on the lives of primitive people. What it looks at is how deleterious grains are to modern people- and if you’d read it, you’d know that. THIS is the kind of thing that always made me crazy about the vegan cult- they were quite literally afraid to encounter data that didn’t support their ideology. If you offered me evidence that supported yours, I’d read it because it’s more important to me to be educated than to be right.

            So can I ask, what is this “major nutrient” that only grains contain? I’ve been studying nutrition for years and I have yet to discover anything that grains contain that you cannot get a higher quality version of in other foods- well, except for empty carbohydrate calories. They sure do have an abundance of those. ;-)

          • paleo_huntress Says:

            @Anna: May I ask how low your low-carb diet was and how long you followed it?

  14. Frank Says:

    Replying here from above.

    Just because the farm you buy your meat from is small does not mean that they do not benefit from Wildlife Services. If they don’t have a problem with predators, it’s not because they live in a magical land without foxes or wolves, it’s because the population has been steadily eliminated on behalf of grazing livestock producers for decades by ranchers and the US government. You can plug your ears and pretend YOUR meat is exempt from these issues, but go ahead and ask your “family farm” what they would do if a predator was continually killing their cows. They might not need to deal with it now, but 50 years ago they would have had to.

    I never said pests are only killed by ranchers. However, pests are included in the crop statistics that SkepticalVegan has been posting. Since pests are killed for both grassfed cow ranching AND crop production, your “headcount” rises far above your claim that only one life is taken for your food while the statistics for crops remain the same.

    Grassfed beef is harmful to surrounding ecosystems and only is possible/profitable due to the continued killing of predators. You ignore several factors when you make claims about the statistics provided; yes the beef stats are regarding CAFO cows so the harvest stats will be different, but 1.7 cows for every 1,000,000 calories remains a reliable statistic. For your entrails-eating sake, let’s say it’s 1.25 cows. The plant agriculture stats are reliable — the highest protein stat being grains at 1.65 animals per million calories.

    Now, factor in the “pests” killed, the predators killed, the prey who starve from the decrease in predators in the ecosystem, the downed cows (*every* farm regardless of scale has downed cows — are you seriously contending that your farms cows stay healthy 100% of the time and are never born with defects or illness?), and potentially small mammals trampled by cows in the field. These types of issues have already been considered for the 1.65 grain statistic. If you don’t think all these factors would bring the (estimated) 1.25 grassfed cows number up well above 3 or 4 animals, you’re kidding yourself.

    And again, your precious farm is not immune to any of these issues.

    I also care about quality of life. I trust that wild animals caught in turbines had good lives beforehand because they were not brought into this world by humans and lived freely. I do not trust any farmer to give a domesticated animal a good life because that farmer has emotions and faults like any other human. They could have a bad day and take it out on their animals. We’ve all known people who act differently in “private” who are at some point caught doing something horrible. Small farms still face economic pressure and the interests of the animals will always come second.

    It’s funny that you bring up anti-nutrients and carbs when nuts are discussed, especially since nut and legume trees are one crop that CAN be grown in rocky, northern terrain. Permaculture is possible in any non-arctic climate. It’s always the same with you paleo folks, everything returns back to your narcissistic efforts to live forever, regardless of who or what is harmed along the way. I only came here to comment to make sure these true colors were displayed.

    You’re an omnivore and your diet takes far more lives than mine and you can shut the fuck up already with your disingenuous concern.

  15. cavall de quer Says:

    Frank’s quite right about farmers’ policies towards wildlife that threatens their profitable livestock: in Castilla/Leon there are currently proposals to exterminate wolves, thought to be a danger to cattle, and of course, in the UK, badgers are facing enormous culls because of a link to TB in cows (despite the fact that cows originally spread TB to the badgers, not vice versa). In Australia, flying foxes are in danger, too, because of a link with Hendra virus which can infect domestic (valuable) horses.

  16. Gopiballava Says:

    Quick comment re: murder vs. manslaughter. I can’t speak for others, but I don’t think there is the inconsistency that skepticalvegan thinks there is. Paleo_huntress believes that first degree animal murder is acceptable in some circumstances. This immediately makes analogies to human somewhat challenging, to put it mildly. She is being very speciesist – applying a fundamentally different moral code for non-human animals. I think that, once you decide that intentional killing is not unequivocally wrong, the rest of her conclusions follow as quite possibly the only rational ones. Now, figuring out how to weigh farming deaths of wild animals is interesting – we don’t bear responsibility for the animal’s lives up until their death. I’m going to have to read through and think about some of the other comments – and I really need to visit some local farms and figure out if my impressions are as accurate as I hope they are. I wonder how often slaughterhouses get people asking if they can visit…

  17. cavall de quer Says:

    Gopiballava: Interestingly enough, slaughterhouses – at least in the US – used to have regular tours: Simon de Beauvoir took one; there were viewing galleries, walkways, the whole shebang. I don’t think this is now the case and it would be fascinating to hear from the slaughterhouses why not (I imagine we would hear “hygiene”, “security etc”).

    As to the different code “She is being very speciesist – applying a fundamentally different moral code for non-human animals.”, as you put it, quite correctly IMO. Surely this is the whole point of instituting the category of generalised non-human versus human animals: drawing a line so as to create a class where what Derrida calls “a non-criminal putting to death” is OK. This allows people not only to override their feelings about depriving non-humans of their lives, but sets up a handy-dandy category into which dispreferred humans can be popped “vermin…acting like animals…rats…” when the normative (dominant, “fully human”) class wishes to dispose of them or to re-assert domination over them.

  18. paleo_huntress Says:

    @Frank:

    I never said pests are only killed by ranchers. However, pests are included in the crop statistics that SkepticalVegan has been posting. Since pests are killed for both grassfed cow ranching AND crop production, your “headcount” rises far above your claim that only one life is taken for your food while the statistics for crops remain the same.

    
Let’s consider this for a moment- if there were no fences, wouldn’t the predators be KILLING the prey for food? Does your dislike of killing even go so far as to count the lives naturally taken in an eco-system? I stepped on an anthill on my way to the garden yesterday… I suspect I took several lives.

    Grassfed beef is harmful to surrounding ecosystems and only is possible/profitable due to the continued killing of predators.

    
Provide a source for this claim, please.

    *every* farm regardless of scale has downed cows — are you seriously contending that your farms cows stay healthy 100% of the time and are never born with defects or illness?

    
Of course not- but even wild animals die of disease- well, they may die because they were too ill to escape a predator too… the ones being raised in sustainable farms are far less likely to become ill, and are more likely to survive an illness and become healthy again. I’ve “downed” 3 companion animals in my lifetime, and I held one in my arms while she died. All four lived three times longer than a wild cat would have lived. =)

    potentially small mammals trampled by cows in the field.

    
Have you ever seen cows in a field? Animals are trampled by other fast-moving animals. Except in a Western film, or in images of CAFO farming, have you ever seen a cow move fast?! Even if we could concede that the issues that come from protecting fields, illness, etc. is a wash between the two types of agriculture, the harvesting of a single field will kill HALF the voles (field mice)- the average vole population ranges between 200 and 500/acre… and as much as 4000 per acre. Just think, two THOUSAND lives lost for that acre? At the very LEAST, 100 lives lost. This is ON TOP OF the other deaths that occur pretty equally in both types of agriculture. Do you really want to split hairs?

    I do not trust any farmer to give a domesticated animal a good life because that farmer has emotions and faults like any other human. They could have a bad day and take it out on their animals.

    
Do you ever leave the house? lol I think you may be safer inside where the humans that have had a bad day can’t take it out on you. ~rolls eyes~

    nut legume trees are one crop that CAN be grown in rocky, northern terrain.

    
Yup, they’re part of my diet too. Unfortunately, they’re also exceptionally high in starches- which are very detrimental to ME- and they contain significant amounts of protease inhibitors and chelators- meaning as a sole source of protein I’d have to eat more of them- which means I’d be consuming more starch again, and it is detrimental to me- and SO MANY OTHERS as well. And though there are some trees in the legume family, most don’t produce anything edible.

    I only came here to comment to make sure these true colors were displayed.

    
I know, us folks who want to live long and be healthy really suck, don’t we? I mean, how freakin’ selfish to want to be healthy. Ahem.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    @cavall de quer:

    Frank’s quite right about farmers’ policies towards wildlife that threatens their profitable livestock: in Castilla/Leon there are currently proposals to exterminate wolves, thought to be a danger to cattle, and of course, in the UK, badgers are facing enormous culls because of a link to TB in cows (despite the fact that cows originally spread TB to the badgers, not vice versa). In Australia, flying foxes are in danger, too, because of a link with Hendra virus which can infect domestic (valuable) horses.

    
I don’t get my animal food in Castilla/Leon, in the UK or in Australia. The blanket claims that a vegan diet is more humane than an omni diet are erroneous. There are lots of omni diets that are more humane than lots of vegan diets. There are those of us who go out and hunt wild animals for food- they don’t contribute to commercial agriculture in ANY way.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    @Gopiballava :

    figuring out how to weigh farming deaths of wild animals is interesting – we don’t bear responsibility for the animal’s lives up until their death. I’m going to have to read through and think about some of the other comments – and I really need to visit some local farms and figure out if my impressions are as accurate as I hope they are.

    
I appreciate your willingness to give the argument some consideration. Consider this- if you KNOW that the animals are dying collaterally for your non-animal food, and you’re still choosing this food and thereby supporting the industry causing the deaths of these animals, do you truly bear no responsibility in their deaths? Think about the things that we may boycott for this reason, like tuna-production because of the collateral porpoises killed. Clearly, some people ARE able to see and recognize their indirect roles in the the deaths of these animals. Why should grains and beans be any different?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    @Skeptical Vegan:
    Something else that occurred to me to share is this- do you approach your diet from a personal perspective only, or do you want to change the whole machine? Consider the person who wants their local ordinances and laws to change, they’d have more success from inside the political system than as a “citizen”, and so they often get involved in the local government where they have the power to affect change.

    Similarly, people who demand ethical animal foods will do more to protect animals than those who simply stop eating it. Industries don’t notice the absence of your dollars unless they see them going elsewhere. If you want to change the life of food animals, demand ETHICAL animal agriculture and start supporting it.

    • skepticalvegan Says:

      “Think about the things that we may boycott for this reason, like tuna-production because of the collateral porpoises killed.”

      You might be interested to read my post on “dolphin-safe” tuna here http://skepticalvegan.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/the-tragedy-of-dolphin-safe-tuna-2/

      • paleo_huntress Says:

        Thank you. It is linked at the top of this page- I read it… last week perhaps? I personally don’t eat tuna- as much for the heavy metal toxicity as for the ethics. I have more issue with collateral lives lost than deliberate lives. And though I know many vegans think that all omnis are ignorant (I once was one of those vegans), often vegans are just as ignorant. I’m all for getting educated and informed and then making the best choice you can make for you. What I object to is the assumption that omnis eat meat out of ignorance (or gluttony, laziness, selfishness) when some of us research this very thoroughly and remain open to the new data, and to learning that something we used to believe was true, has been proved otherwise. Then, we make a conscious choice to be omnivorous because we believe it is the most ethical choice we can make.

  19. UKVegan Says:

    In answer to what was said about Okinawan diets:
    Whether or not the Okinawans eat differently to how they did in the 1940s, it is the diet of the 1940s that the older Okinawans – the ones who have lived a long time – ate. It remains to be seen if the young ones of today will live as long if their diet is what palaeo-huntress says it is.

    Palaeo-huntress said, on the 29th August, 2011, something about vegan diets (especially grain-based ones) being responsible for the deaths of more voles and insects.

    Frank beat me to it when he mentioned the killing of predators and herbivores that would compete with cattle and sheep. Do the grazing cattle graze all year long? Do they get hay in the winter? If given hay, how many insects and voles are killed in its harvest?

    How many insects, snails, nematodes and other creatures are eaten on the grass that cattle eat and how many millions of tiny creatures are in the soil they inadvertently ingest?

    You, palaeo-huntress, said that ‘Veganism wasn’t nutritionally adequate for me, it was killing me.’

    So you say. We weren’t there to check your diet. Who knows what you were eating or what your lifestyle was like? We can only take your word for it. But there are ex-vegans who seem to be like born-again Christians who denounce their former life as evil.

    On the 31st August, palaeo-huntress said:
    ‘What is your position on the number of collateral deaths suffered at the hands of row-crop farmers? If your dogma is based on saving lives, how do you reconcile the number of lives taken for your vegan proteins?’

    Well, much of those crops are used to feed farm animals. As is much of the land from the destroyed Amazon forest. A vegan-organic farm or vegan permaculture results in fewer deaths. It is the modern industrial harvesting that causes most deaths.

    Why are there so many voles in the crops? Because your kind have killed off their predators. Perhaps the combine harvesters are doing the job of predators and are killing the weak and slow witted so that the species will be stronger and healhier.

    I am going to make a shocking admission. I care more for the real suffering of vertebrates than for the supposed suffering of insects. As far as we know, insects don’t feel pain. I would rather kill 100 beetles than 1 mammal. I’m sure nearly anyone you care to ask would say the same.

    On the 2nd Sept, palaeo-huntress said:
    ‘her hens roam around the yard scratching and pecking all day- eating insects and small snakes and lizards from the garden.’

    The eggs you eat are the result of hundreds of insects, snakes and lizards being eaten. If you are more concerned about the quality of the life of various species rather than the fact that they die or are killed, don’t insects have a good quality of life before they get killed by someone harvesting wheat? By your reckoning, it doesn’t matter how many die – they had good, natural lives before that. More natural than cattle whose calves are taken away from them before they would naturally leave them. Cattle grieve.

    Palaeo-huntress, 7th Sep
    ‘There are those of us who go out and hunt wild animals for food- they don’t contribute to commercial agriculture in ANY way.’

    Would you complain if someone broke into your house whilst you were out killing those animals? If you think you have the right to go out hunting, thieves have the right to take your belongings.

    In a vegan world, no grains would be grown for farm animals as there wouldn’t be any farm animals. Any grain needed for bread, beer or porridge could be gathered by hand. I envisage a more rural life with more people working on the land. It is possible to harvest by hand and, if special crop breeding was carried out, it could be even easier.

    From ‘Impetus for sowing and the beginning of agriculture:
    Ground collecting of wild cereals.’

    Mordechai E. Kislev, Ehud Weiss, and Anat Hartmann

    Experimental Data. We found that hand gathering of wild barley and emmer spikelets from the ground in Korazim and Mount of Beatitudes (Israel) is simple and efficient. About 0.25–0.5 kg (0.337 kg on the average) of pure grain could be gathered per hour by a single person, which provides on the average between a half and a whole day of the nutritional requirements for an adult individual. Similar weights of glumes, awns as well as rachis fragments, and sometimes also two more parts of dry culms and leaves were collected with the grains. Several factors influenced the yields of our gathering outings. These include the density of the stands, which determines the density of the spikelet carpet; foliage cover on the ground, which prevents easy gathering; and winter rainfall (2001 was a drought year) (Table 1).

    Discussion
    Our results are in accordance with Harlan, who, after experimental hand stripping of pre-full-ripe ears of wild einkorn at Karacadag, southeast Turkey, claimed that in three weeks, a family group could gather more grain than it could possibly consume in an entire year (28). However, as noted above, in the southern Levant, collecting in this way is limited to a few days in most years, and therefore it is not a reliable long-term collecting technique.

    • paleo_huntress Says:

      For a moment there, UKVegan, I thought you actually had a cogent response going with the Okinawan discussion… but alas, more nonsensical rantings from a vegan cultist. How disappointing.

  20. UKVegan Says:

    Meat eaters are responsible for many more deaths and more suffering than are vegans. Don’t let your born-again Meatarian guilt blinker you. Look afresh at veganism and you will see the truth.

    • paleo_huntress Says:

      The sad thing is, so many vegans truly believe there are no animals dying for their dinner- when in fact, if their dinner includes grains and beans, hundreds of thousands are dying for it. It isn’t meat eating that’s destructive, it’s CAFO meat eating. And, it isn’t vegetable eating that’s so destructive, it’s row-crop vegetable eating. So, if you want to take the fewest lives, you eat animal foods from large pastured animals and you don’t eat row crops. Easy peasy. =) Every time I look afresh at veganism, I see the cultist… and you certainly don’t disappoint.

  21. Meat-Addled Minds « Value Time Says:

    [...] Link Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  22. UKVegan Says:

    All forms of meat eating are destructive – mainly of the poor animals who are killed so their meat can be eaten. But other animals are also killed. How many voles are killed in the making of hay to feed the cattle you eat? Vegans could avoid eating cereals but you can’t. You eat the cattle who eat cereals and you indirectly eat those cereals. Any deaths from crop production are incidental. Deaths because of meat eating are deliberate and unavoidable.

    Those who eat meat require that predators and competing grass eaters be killed to protect the favoured grass eaters whom meat eaters eat. And then hunters claim that they need to hunt to keep the competing grass eaters elsewhere from becoming overpopulated. And then kill the biggest, healthiest specimens they can find – which is not what predators do.

  23. Paleo Huntress Says:

    Who is “you”? I don’t eat any cereals, either directly OR indirectly. I’ll ask again, do you think the animals care whether their death is deliberate or incidental? Which does more to honor their sacrifice? Nourishing another living thing or rotting in the afternoon sun? Uh huh. ;-) 100+ lives minimum per acre of cereals… 1 life per acre for pastured beef.

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