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The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith

 
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Raptelan wrote:
I was vegan for a years until finally being convinced otherwise by reading Sally Fallon's book Nourishing Traditions. 



That book as well looks to be poorly researched at best and dishonest at worst.
 
steward
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Storm wrote:
it is damned expensive to be a healthy vegetarian!



I haven't found this to be true.  money is one of the main reasons I still eat vegetarian.  the meat that I would ethically be alright with eating is way beyond my means, but maybe that's just a regional issue.  plant food that I'm alright with is still expensive, but nearly as bad as meat.  I recently left a job growing food to retire to growing food, so I guess I don't really have an excuse for not raising my own animals.  it's in the works, but I'm not there yet, so veggie it is.

for folks that aren't comfortable killing things to eat, whether animals or plants: I don't see a problem with this, and I have yet to see a compelling argument that it is a more detrimental lifestyle than other dietary choices.  I've heard a few folks say that it is, mostly on this website, but their arguments haven't been at all persuasive to me.
 
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tel jetson wrote:
I haven't found this to be true.  money is one of the main reasons I still eat vegetarian.  the meat that I would ethically be alright with eating is way beyond my means, but maybe that's just a regional issue.  plant food that I'm alright with is still expensive, but nearly as bad as meat.



You've got a good point there.  Quality food is expensive any way you slice it and at the end of the day, it's all fairly questionable unless you know the people and environment producing it or you grow/raise it yourself.  Most meats on the market are pretty scary to me, not only ethically but health-wise as well.  Organic pasture-raised, dry-cured beef from an ethical family farm is a lot different than McDonald's in terms of price.  I also would like to raise my own animals one day but don't, yet, either.  Need to save up to buy land first...

I have yet to see a compelling argument that it is a more detrimental lifestyle than other dietary choices.



Check out the research done by Weston A. Price (and others) - studies show that the longest-living, healthiest cultures past and present had diets rich in animal fats.  There's some more detailed reasons I don't remember off the top of my head but were compelling when I read them - compelling enough to convince me to give up veganism after years of it.  I'm not sure that vegetarianism is inherently unhealthy, but it very often is, especially with those who consume a lot of refined soy products (and well, refined products in general).  As far as what's more detrimental for the environment - I'm not really sure on that, either.
 
gardener
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it's about options
like to eat meat but don't like to kill it yourself
like to recycle?
try roadkill!!!

http://www.alternet.org/environment/141595/road_kill:_it%27s_fresh,_it%27s_organic,_it%27s_free/


Road Kill: It's Fresh, It's Organic, It's Free
Even some hardcore vegans have found solace in scavenging. Here's why.
July 28, 2009  | 




How broke would you have to get to eat roadkill?

Don't freak out. This isn't a sensationalist necrophilic bizarre fetishized kind of thing. It's legit. Actually, depending on several factors, it can be perfectly safe (and entirely affordable) to eat meat that has been left by the side of a highway or county road.




 
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I've been vegan for 9 years and I have to say, its CHEAP. I eat well (nuts, grains, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and average about $3-5 per meal, and thats omitting the vegetables I grow.

IMO Veganism only gets expensive if you buy a lot of fake meat and soy products, or if you don't compare prices at different grocers.

The meal I had for dinner: ( approx. costs = 2 onions = 75 cents  , handful of broccoli = 50 cents, two portabello mushrooms= $1.60)  Grand total of $2.85, round it up to $3.00.

 
C Shobe
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duane wrote:
it's about options
like to eat meat but don't like to kill it yourself
like to recycle?
try roadkill!!!



Great suggestion (and for me, a reminder of something I should look into doing myself)!  A self-sufficient guy I knew when I was a kid used to collect roadkill, and would preserve the excess meat.  It's nice when things like this that are normally wasted go to good use.  Thanks for posting this!
 
tel jetson
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Raptelan wrote:
Check out the research done by Weston A. Price (and others)



I've read a fair amount of Weston A. Price Foundation stuff, though far from all of it.  I think there's something to a lot of it.  they clearly have an agenda, though, and their literature reflects that agenda.

Raptelan wrote:
I'm not sure that vegetarianism is inherently unhealthy, but it very often is, especially with those who consume a lot of refined soy products (and well, refined products in general).



I can't argue with that.  easy to say roughly the same for omnivory, though.

Raptelan wrote:
As far as what's more detrimental for the environment - I'm not really sure on that, either.



I'm not sure, either.  but if we're talking about typical North American diets, I would guess a vegetarian diet would come out on top.  if the choice is between eating biotech wheat, corn, and soy grown in vast industrial settings, or eating animals that eat biotech wheat, corn, and soy grown in vast industrial settings and a heaping dose of hormones and antibiotics, I think cutting out the middleman (critters) probably causes less trouble.  obviously neither of those options is desirable for the folks 'round these internet parts, but that's the argument in the slightly wider world.
 
C Shobe
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tel jetson wrote:
I've read a fair amount of Weston A. Price Foundation stuff, though far from all of it.  I think there's something to a lot of it.  they clearly have an agenda, though, and their literature reflects that agenda.



What do you feel that agenda is?  Outside of trying to motivate better health practices, I'm not sure I can guess.  I definitely haven't read all of it either - mainly the Nourishing Traditions book by Sally Fallon and bits and pieces of other stuff.  I've been researching and trying different dietary stuff for a long time, and have a hard time believing anybody has a perfect notion of what's best, so I'm definitely open to hearing valid criticism.

I can't argue with that.  easy to say roughly the same for omnivory, though.



True.

I'm not sure, either.  but if we're talking about typical North American diets, I would guess a vegetarian diet would come out on top.  if the choice is between eating biotech wheat, corn, and soy grown in vast industrial settings, or eating animals that eat biotech wheat, corn, and soy grown in vast industrial settings and a heaping dose of hormones and antibiotics, I think cutting out the middleman (critters) probably causes less trouble.  obviously neither of those options is desirable for the folks 'round these internet parts, but that's the argument in the slightly wider world.



I completely agree!
 
travis laduke
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Here's a TED talk on the cultures where people live to be older than 100

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-jk9ni4XWk


We're way off topic.

 
tel jetson
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Raptelan wrote:
What do you feel that agenda is?  Outside of trying to motivate better health practices, I'm not sure I can guess.



pushing the particular diet they recommend.  I don't think it's a nefarious agenda, I just think there's some confirmation bias in their work.  nothing that roughly the entirety of humanity isn't guilty of, too.
 
C Shobe
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tel jetson wrote:
pushing the particular diet they recommend.  I don't think it's a nefarious agenda, I just think there's some confirmation bias in their work.  nothing that roughly the entirety of humanity isn't guilty of, too.



Well, they do push some things they feel strongly about - e.g. raw milk versus pasteurized - but I think that's a sane move for any diet that includes milk.  They do suggest, actually, that it's not even so much a question of which specific diet - as the cultures Dr. Price found most healthy had very diverse diets since they were located all over the world - but that it's a question of how close those diets are to pre-industrialization - i.e. how close they are to what nature provides, whether there is a majority of raw/fermented foods, etc.  If anything, I'd say they strongly support the trends they found, rather than any specific diet.  Honestly it seemed very in line with permaculture concepts to me.

In the past, I pursued macrobiotics, but this involved purchasing specialty foods that weren't at all local, but that were standard parts of the diet that originated in Japan.  That was a lot more agenda-ish IMHO.
 
C Shobe
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travis laduke wrote:
That book as well looks to be poorly researched at best and dishonest at worst.



What are you basing that on?  It's backed by a lifetime of scientific research and cites a whole slew of external references and studies.  It may not be 100% correct - what ever is? - but I do think that it has a great wealth of valid knowledge worth knowing.
 
tel jetson
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Travis Philp wrote:
I've been vegan for 9 years and I have to say, its CHEAP. I eat well (nuts, grains, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and average about $3-5 per meal, and thats omitting the vegetables I grow.

IMO Veganism only gets expensive if you buy a lot of fake meat and soy products, or if you don't compare prices at different grocers.

The meal I had for dinner: ( approx. costs = 2 onions = 75 cents  , handful of broccoli = 50 cents, two portabello mushrooms= $1.60)  Grand total of $2.85, round it up to $3.00.



3$/meal is well over what I can afford.  fortunately, I have access to plenty of lovely land to make up the difference.  which beats trying to earn more money by a long shot.

and while soy gets a bad rap, I'm way into homemade miso.  unfortunately, I seem to have developed an allergy to tempeh, so that's out.  I'm not above occasionally buying the organic sprouted tofu that's been showing up in the local grocery, either.  soybeans seem to play well in the garden on a small scale, and I like growing them.
 
C Shobe
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tel jetson wrote:
and while soy gets a bad rap, I'm way into homemade miso.  unfortunately, I seem to have developed an allergy to tempeh, so that's out.  I'm not above occasionally buying the organic sprouted tofu that's been showing up in the local grocery, either.  soybeans seem to play well in the garden on a small scale, and I like growing them.


Miso should be okay, as it's fermented for a long time.  I have never made it myself though...

For some interesting points on soy by the author of the book I referenced before, skip ahead to 4:45 in this video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmwVVkfZ3LY
 
tel jetson
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Raptelan wrote:
Miso should be okay, as it's fermented for a long time.  I have never made it myself though...



pretty easy to do.  just takes some patience while it matures.
 
travis laduke
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travis laduke wrote:
That book as well looks to be poorly researched at best and dishonest at worst.



You can start with the amazon reviews.
http://www.amazon.com/Nourishing-Traditions-Challenges-Politically-Dictocrats/product-reviews/0967089735/ref=cm_cr_dp_hist_1?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&filterBy=addOneStar


Does that book really say you should put brains into your food?
 
pollinator
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travis laduke wrote:
You can start with the amazon reviews.
http://www.amazon.com/Nourishing-Traditions-Challenges-Politically-Dictocrats/product-reviews/0967089735/ref=cm_cr_dp_hist_1?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&filterBy=addOneStar


Yes there are som negative reviews but out of 450+ reviews, 366 are 5 star.  I have the book and have found it to be useful.  It was the catalyst I needed to get back to real untampered with food (untampered by commercial gainers that is).  However, as with anything that one reads or is told, I took the bits that made sense for us (most of it) and left the rest (like I was disappointed that fruit juices were spurned - we don't have lots of them but in the autumn we press our apples and enjoy that juice in the winter.  How can that be 'bad' for you?)

travis laduke wrote:

Does that book really say you should put brains into your food?


Well the book is 675 pages long and there are 3 brain recipes.  I'm struggling with the notion at the moment as yesterday we slaughtered our first ever animal - one of our pigs.  It seems a poor tribute to her to say 'oh yuk we don't fancy that bit or this bit' but it's a challenging thought to us.
 
C Shobe
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Alison Freeth-Thomas "heninfrance" wrote:
Yes there are som negative reviews but out of 450+ reviews, 366 are 5 star.  I have the book and have found it to be useful.  It was the catalyst I needed to get back to real untampered with food (untampered by commercial gainers that is).



Ditto for me!

However, as with anything that one reads or is told, I took the bits that made sense for us (most of it) and left the rest



Here here!  This is what I try to do as well...

(like I was disappointed that fruit juices were spurned - we don't have lots of them but in the autumn we press our apples and enjoy that juice in the winter.  How can that be 'bad' for you?)



Well, fruits in and of themselves are not the problem so much as A> how sugary the modern hybridizations have become, which is quite a bit different than what nature provided in the first place, and B> the regularity and quantity that we consume them with.  The guy being interviewed in this video is spot on about that stuff, I think:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_fta0-93Ms

Well the book is 675 pages long and there are 3 brain recipes.  I'm struggling with the notion at the moment as yesterday we slaughtered our first ever animal - one of our pigs.  It seems a poor tribute to her to say 'oh yuk we don't fancy that bit or this bit' but it's a challenging thought to us.



Likewise, I believe in making full use of anything you kill, one way or the other.  If it's too bothersome to eat yourself, then perhaps there's a carnivorous animal that would enjoy it.  But organ meats, brain included, have a lot of nutrients.  It's a challenge for me to overcome the mental "yuck" factor on them, but it's something I want and intend to try.
 
                          
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Alison Freeth-Thomas "heninfrance" wrote:
I'm struggling with the notion at the moment as yesterday we slaughtered our first ever animal - one of our pigs.  It seems a poor tribute to her to say 'oh yuk we don't fancy that bit or this bit' but it's a challenging thought to us.



Well, I've never heard of tanning pig hides, but maybe you could do that? I am for using as much of the animal as possible, but since pigs are omnivores wouldn't they have diseases in their brain?
 
Alison Thomas
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Why would they have diseases in their brain if they're omnivores?  Wasn't it just when folk were being unscrupulous that diseases crept in to just a few animals (and the world pasted them all with a tarred brush)?  We personally don't feed them meat but they maybe find grubs in the soil.

We will be using the skin as a gelatine provider.  Meat pies etc.

Sorry, is this de-railing the original thread?  If folk want to talk more on this then let's start a different thread.
 
travis laduke
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Alison Freeth-Thomas "heninfrance" wrote:
Yes there are som negative reviews but out of 450+ reviews, 366 are 5 star.  I have the book and have found it to be useful.  It was the catalyst I needed to get back to real untampered with food (untampered by commercial gainers that is). 




It's not so much the ratio of good to bad review, but the kind of criticisms in the reviews that concern me. If it's really the case that "many of Fallon's claims are based upon secondary research references, as well as references to flat out folklore and unpublished studies." and that when she does use real studies, she reaches different conclusions than the authors of the studies, then it's not a book I myself would put much faith in, especially when she makes such bold claims; The product description says it is: "A full-spectrum nutritional cookbook with a startling message--animal fats and cholesterol are vital factors in the human diet, necessary for reproduction and normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease and optimum energy levels."

I can't find a good review of that book specifically, but that book is cited a bunch in The Vegetarian Myth (hey I'm kind of back on topic) has had a few good criticisms. I posted one earlier* and here's a blog with tons more articles. http://vegetarianmythmyth.wordpress.com/

Why I'm typing all this I don't know; Most of this tread will probably get nuked by Mr. Wheaton.
Diet and human health is probably harder to pin down than the environmental comparisons between diets which is probably what we should be focusing on...

*http://www.theveganrd.com/2010/09/review-of-the-vegetarian-myth.html
 
          
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The negative review that was posted a while back stated the
Weston Price Foundation is a " a non-credible group that bases its recommendations on the opinions of a dentist who wrote up his observations of indigenous populations in the 1930s."

First of all, Weston Price conducted scientific studies and wrote about his finding - these were not merely opinions.
Granted, the way studies are conducted now has changed since the 1930's. However, WEston Price recognized that these studies needed to be post haste, because he realized that the information was soon to be forever lost - as more and more cultures were being
infiltrated with a Western diets. 

It is sad that his work does not stand up to the scrutiny of modern methods - but it's the best we will ever have, and it's better than nothing, IMO.

I am a former veg that has converted to a traditional diet much like the Weston Price Foundations.  I came to it by learning from raising animals.

The first thing I learned was that adaptation to regional foodstuffs is a very important and powerful phenomenon - one I saw a strangely ignored by modern nutritional "experts".  WE all know you can take an animal breed that is adapted to lush pastures, put it on the range or desert and watch it starve, while breeds of that  same species who adapted to range, will thrive.
WE can put the range species on the lush pasture and watch it die of bloat or worms... 
Why do we acknowledge these differences among animals but not humans?  Why do the experts keep insisting they will find "THE" optimal one size fits all diet? I believe they have not and never will because it is a figment. 

Second, I learned that adaptation takes time, but not thousands of years!  I don't see any sense to go back to a caveman diet.
I just need to go back into my own ancestry a bit - to see when my forebears were healthiest. 
In my case,  my healthiest and longest lived ancestors ate  very much a Weston Price style plan. To my delight, I  have found that eating this way suits me better than any of the crackpot dietary plans  I've followed in my lifetime. 
I'm content, satiated, and feeling very healthy.

OK that was a very longwinded way to say that I don't believe claims that vegetarian or vegan diets are "healthier"  because it's another one size fits all idea.

Animals are part of nature so of course we can't say they are bad for the planet. Only bad agricultural practices are bad for the planet. 

That leaves the killing part. 
But we can't live on earth without killing. Brushing your teeth or washing your hands  is a daily genocide, for example. So the killing point comes down to the great arbitrary line. Which things do we accept as Ok to kill, and which not? 
The one factor that remains, no matter who you are or what you decide, is that line will ALWAYS be arbitrary.  Whether it's ok to kill everything but other humans, or other humans and cute pets,
or nothing that is we define as sentient, or whatever. 



 
pollinator
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I just was talking to a friend about this idea that one diet fits all.  We agree that it's foolish.  Right now, she's on a vegetarian mostly raw diet, not for philosophical reasons (we are both philosophically opposed to vegetarianism, actually) but in the hopes that it will improve her health.  I am on a mostly animal foods diet for the same reason but with different health issues.  I know my diet is working for me; I hope hers will work for her.  IMO, everyone has a right to decide for themselves what they eat.  I do think that it's preferable to eat what grows close by and to eat stuff that is organically grown (by home garden standards, not by USDA standards), and if possible to use permaculture.  But I don't think that we or anyone else has a right to mandate all of that.  It just seems that people have an innate desire to try to mind other people's business for them, even if they aren't doing such a hot job of minding their own business!

Kathleen
 
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100% agree, Kathleen.  Everyone's physiology is different - a healthy diet for one person might kill another.    What makes sense for one group of people to grow and eat might not work at all in another part of the world.

 
C Shobe
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SmyO wrote:
...



Thanks for the wonderful post, SmyO!  It echoes everything I would write myself and I thought it was very thorough and concise.  I'm glad I'm not the only crazy out there that's gone from being veg to a diet like this and felt a lot of health benefit.  Didn't really expect to be discussing this topic when I joined these forums, but it's been fun!
 
pollinator
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Just a quick comment. I have read through most of the thread and one thing I have seen is the question about killing animals to eat. I personally don't feel it is wrong and I do eat meat. We buy a side from a friend once a year that is pasture fed on virgin pasture (not man planted). Our son is very sensitive to anything that has eaten antibiotics. It does make a difference.

However, the point I wanted to make is that being involved in the killing and gutting of game or stock tends to give a person more of a respect for life. It has been used (with seeming success) to help youth involved in gangs. It seems a lot of them have never seen death close up... or much wild life either. Gives them a really good idea what that stolen weapon in their hand is all about.

As for which to eat, just watch nature, what do predators eat? They generally don't eat each other.... there is a group of animals called prey, predators eat them. I don't know how intelligent they are, but saying thank you to the animal you eat for giving it life doesn't hurt... just the same as thanking their creator. I was watching a buck and a doe munching on a lawn together.... I had to go past them quite close (say 5 feet or so) as part of my job. I talked to them on the way through to tell them where I was going and which way they should go if they wished to avoid me. I do this because I have found they don't tend to spook and there is traffic in the area. Were they just soothed by the sound of my voice, or did they have more understanding than that?
 
C Shobe
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travis laduke wrote:
Diet and human health is probably harder to pin down than the environmental comparisons between diets which is probably what we should be focusing on...



Well back to that subject - I think there is validity in the environmental impact comparison, as well.  I may be a bit ignorant here, so please correct me if my speculations are wrong, but aren't certain minerals used as nutrients by various plants that cannot be replenished by a mixture of different plants and/or crop rotation alone?  It would seem to me that the only way to properly circulate all the nutrients necessary to both healthy animal and healthy plant life is for both to be involved in a symbiotic relationship.  It may seem that's not strictly true, as land tends to be more fertile near rivers, as an example, but again, that is due to animal (fish and other) byproducts that come with the water.

There are two ways I can see that possible - one is to just let nature take it's course (which humankind doesn't seem very inclined to do), or through responsible land management.  Were nature to run it's course, where there are higher concentrations of animals (and thus, animal waste), there grows more vegetation suited for those animals to eat.  Where there are few animals, there are fewer edible plants, or perhaps there are many edible plants simply because the fruits go to waste and thus the nutrients return to the soil in that manner.

With a vegan approach, it would seem that you need large tracts of land to grow a lot of edible healthy food where there are few if any animals.  A vegan friend of mine recently argued that any human interference with an animal's life is subjecting that animal to slavery - if that notion is followed then there is not even any way of gathering a sufficient quantity of animal waste to fertilize with.  So you could only grow a substantial quantity of food in places where it was coincidentally viable (what I refer to as "side effects" in the following example) - which isn't a bad idea for small groups, but frankly I don't think the current human population stands a chance of being sustained in this way.

With an omnivorous permaculture-based approach, you can intermingle plants and animals alike, both intentionally, and as side effects.  One example would be if you grow things under trees - there will inherently be more bird waste provided to the soil below.  One of Paul's videos shows a huge patch of nettles growing at the base of a large tree which is specked with bird droppings - I don't think that's any coincidence.  Whatever nutrients that nettles use a lot of, bird droppings apparently provide.  As for intentionally (probably pretty obvious), you could raise livestock on the same land that you grow produce on, and use the livestock waste to help fertilize the produce.

But now I've only observed two extremes, neither of which was the subject of this thread - in between veganism and omnivorism lies vegetarianism.  So let's consider a vegetarian permaculture-based approach.  In that case, you'd still have the side effects mentioned above.  If you then raised milk-giving and egg-bearing animals (well depending - the Indian definition of vegetarianism does not include eggs), you could then use the byproducts of those animals, as well as the animals themselves when they died, in an intentional fashion.  However you've greatly reduced the diversity of animals you'd be intentionally having involved in your ecosystem.

Returning to the beginning scenario, even a vegan permaculture-based approach could greatly increase the coincidental effects (e.g. trees to promote bird droppings, etc.) - it just would not be able to intentionally include or exclude animals from the ecosystem.  Maybe that would be sustainable on a large scale - but it would be harder if nothing else.  *OR*, we could just kill all animals including ourselves, and plant life might be able to sustain itself through it's own unused waste product!

I guess the moral of this story is - use permaculture-based approaches whatever you choose!
 
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There are few traditional cultures who don't eat meat for religious reasons Hindu and Buddhists. And As far as I know, Hindus allow the lower castes, those who work physically to eat meat. I think the simple reason is that humans are set up as omnivores. As far as I know there are no traditional societies which has lived purely vegan.
The simple reasons that we have this cruel factory farming is that we have simply too many people on this planet thanks to the Catholic church and others.
You cannot be vegetarian without killing animals, you must be vegan, or how do you think milk and eggs are produced?
 
travis laduke
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I know of one, not that it proves anything one way or another

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/life/2005/01/07/stories/2005010700080200.htm
5000-year-old tribe still on a vegan diet

 
Paula Edwards
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An interesting article.  Maybe there are not many animals to hunt at these heights.
 
          
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I wonder what they wear.  Cotton, Linen  and plant based fibers are not known for being warm enough in harsh climates, even if they would grow for these people.

 
                              
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Tel, if we compare apples to apples, rather than apples to oranges, *healthy* vegetarianism is far more expensive, provided you do not raise all of your own veg if you are even able. Comparing average veg to boutique meat is an unfair comparison. Compare the most expensive boutique veg to boutique meat and see how the calculation comes out. The four years that I was a vegetarian, I was comparing average veg to average meat, and certainly everywhere I lived during that time, to get the right combination of amino acids and proteins in order to eat healthy was much more expensive than picking up some ground turkey or almost any other meat.

Obviously there are other ways to make meat appear more expensive than veg, the most common being simply eating unhealthily. If you eat simple starches primarily, with no concern for the amino acids and proteins, then yes I will certainly grant that this is much less expensive than meat, but again we are not comparing like to like in such an instance.



 
                    
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Storm wrote:
Tel, if we compare apples to apples, rather than apples to oranges, *healthy* vegetarianism is far more expensive, provided you do not raise all of your own veg if you are even able.



I'm not a vegetarian, but I save money when I substitute beans for meat and leave everything else in my diet the same.
 
Len Ovens
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travis laduke wrote:
I know of one, not that it proves anything one way or another

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/life/2005/01/07/stories/2005010700080200.htm
5000-year-old tribe still on a vegan diet



The original tree huggers.

According to the insurance people... your length of life will be about that of your father...(even if your lifestyle is markedly different) they keep track of these things.
 
                                          
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SmyO wrote:
I wonder what they wear.   Cotton, Linen  and plant based fibers are not known for being warm enough in harsh climates, even if they would grow for these people.




hemp grows naturally in the hindu kush mountains.  it's an indica with short bushy morphology.  i'd guess that this group uses natural fibers, but their prohibition against cutting down trees may extend to all plants.

interesting article!
 
tel jetson
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Storm wrote:
Tel, if we compare apples to apples, rather than apples to oranges, *healthy* vegetarianism is far more expensive, provided you do not raise all of your own veg if you are even able. Comparing average veg to boutique meat is an unfair comparison. Compare the most expensive boutique veg to boutique meat and see how the calculation comes out. The four years that I was a vegetarian, I was comparing average veg to average meat, and certainly everywhere I lived during that time, to get the right combination of amino acids and proteins in order to eat healthy was much more expensive than picking up some ground turkey or almost any other meat.

Obviously there are other ways to make meat appear more expensive than veg, the most common being simply eating unhealthily. If you eat simple starches primarily, with no concern for the amino acids and proteins, then yes I will certainly grant that this is much less expensive than meat, but again we are not comparing like to like in such an instance.



maybe I should have clarified what meat and produce I'm alright with purchasing.  the criteria are roughly the same.  I don't really have a problem with meat that is raised locally on pasture.  that meat is available here, but not commonly and it's very expensive.  likewise, I don't have a problem eating produce that is grown locally by folks taking steps to care for dirt by avoiding unnecessary soil disturbance and other bad behaviors.  that produce is available here, though I typically have to know the farmer to be sure and it's expensive, though not nearly as expensive as the meat I mentioned.

again, it's entirely plausible that this whole scenario would be different in different regions and it may be cheaper to eat more meat some places.  I've run numbers on several occasions: where I live, it's cheaper for me to eat vegetarian.  it might not be cheaper for somebody else living somewhere else to eat vegetarian.

comparing apples to oranges: apples are locally abundant, so I eat a lot of those.  oranges are not, so they don't qualify.  they're delicious, though, so I'm working on growing citrus here.
 
                              
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"comparing apples to oranges: apples are locally abundant, so I eat a lot of those.  oranges are not, so they don't qualify.  they're delicious, though, so I'm working on growing citrus here. "

Obviously not what I was referring to, but it deserved a chuckle..
 
travis laduke
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This article seems a little overstated in some parts. Anybody want to keep this going, have any comments?

http://vegetarianmythmyth.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/reality-checks-grass-fed-beef/
 
C Shobe
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travis laduke wrote:
This article seems a little overstated in some parts. Anybody want to keep this going, have any comments?

http://vegetarianmythmyth.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/reality-checks-grass-fed-beef/



This reminds me a lot of a vegan friend of mine who argues with me that there is no humane or ethical way to raise or kill animals.  I do agree with her that perhaps 99% of the time in the world today, that holds true, but I do think that it is completely possible to ethically and humanely raise, kill, and use animals.

My defense to her is that I view all life as sacred, and I feel just as sorry for the genetically-modified hybrid corn that must grow in horribly stripped soil with nothing else around and fed a bunch of chemicals, as I do a factory-raised cow or chicken.  Both are horrible forms of disrespect towards other forms of life.  But I don't believe that killing a cow is inherently any more inhumane than killing a kale plant.  One way or the other, all animal life must consume other life in order to survive.  Who's to say a plant isn't sentient?  Indeed, there's evidence to the contrary.

What I view as important is, with anything you are responsible for killing (e.g. by consuming), one should do their best to ensure that the life was treated with the utmost respect and killed with equal respect.  Furthermore it's sacrifice should be respected by utilizing as much of that life as possible rather than letting it go to waste.

"Free range" indeed does not mean a whole lot, as it can be a legal label on chicken that has been raised inside a huge factory barn with a tiny door at one end that the chicken never actually managed to find or get to in it's life, and outside of that may be an overtrodden, dirty and uselessly small caged-in area.  So it is always better to know your sources directly, if you do not raise your own animals.  But the same is true of produce.  An "organic" label only means so much.  Was it raised and harvested with love and respect?

Saying "there's no such thing as humane killing and all human involvement with animals equates to slavery" sounds to me to be apathetic, and unrealistic.  My own "reality check" to counter this article - I would ask how it is that billions of people can exist on the planet without ever interfering with other animal life.  For that matter, how can even one?  Any natural environment where plants grow includes animals.  Not just large animals, but thousands of insects which are also animals.  Modern attempts at agriculture eliminate a large proportion of animal life, but A> this is inhumane or at least invasive, and B> it does not and cannot remove all of it.  There will still always be some life left in the soil, some flying insects to help the pollination process, etc.  We cannot harvest even a very sterile field of grain without causing the death of many of these animals.  When a tractor drives through the field, many insects in the soil die.  When the crop is harvested, many more insects die, both in the soil and on the plants.  When insecticides are sprayed, many insects die.  Vegans agree that insects are valid animal life as well, which is why they don't generally eat honey.  Yet they eat almonds, which are almost entirely produced in monoculture orchards requiring bees to be brought in temporarily for pollination during the flowering season.  Any way of producing and collecting food involves the lives and deaths of a lot of animal lives - unless they are grown in an isolated environment where no outside life is ever allowed to enter, e.g. a sealed greenhouse or hydroponic setup.  Keeping insects out is hard work, and so pesticides are usually used even in those setups.  On the opposite extreme, raising plants and animals together in a permaculture environment helps sustain far more life in harmony than could exist otherwise.  So the omnivorous person who eats mostly products of permaculture is causing less damage to animal life than the vegan person who eats mostly products of industrial agriculture.

Reducing the view of an animal to an object is bad, but so is reducing the view of a vegetable.  If the people taking such extreme stances about animals thought about the lives of plants with equal perspective, they would not be able to eat anything at all.  I think that the most important aspect is to be cognizant and aware of all life, trying not to cause unnecessary waste of it while also recognizing that avoiding all killing in life is not feasible.

One of the most bothersome arguments is that raising animals uses excess water and resources.  No matter how many animals might be raised for their meat in today's world, reality is that we as humans have severely reduced the overall number of animals in existence.  The only way to "save" those resources is to reduce it even more.  How ethical is *that*??  Points 2 through 8 on that link all argue the stance of "we need to reduce animal life even more so that there can be more supportable human population".  Personally, I think that A> human population could be supported very easily without reduction of any other life through better use of the land (e.g. permaculture!), and B> if it does come down to humans or other things, maybe we should stop reproducing so rapidly ourselves rather than needing to reshape the reality we exist in.

Be vegetarian if you want to.  Be vegan if you want to.  I was myself for a long time and I think it's a respectable thing to do.  Ultimately, I stopped being vegan because I ended up feeling that it wasn't the best choice for my health.  I think all views should be respected and neither should look down on the other.  The only thing I ask is that people don't try to claim that they're more righteous when than another for their choice - especially as it seems that those views may actually be *less* ethical and humane and caring of animal life in the grand scheme of things!  "Right" and "wrong" are something we can only try to figure out for ourselves, and the most important aspect of doing that is to be as aware of every detail possible that our life impacts.  But none of us ever have absolute certainty, so should not be dogmatic about our beliefs.
 
                    
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Alan Watts wrote an interesting article called 'Murder in the Kitchen' where he argued that since we cannot stick our feet into the soil and photosynthesize, we must kill and eat other organisms. Since we recognize animals as being more similar to us, we tend to value animal life more than plants and fungi (regardless of how genetically or evolutionarily complex those plants and fungi may be). If a plant suffers or feels pain, would we be able to recognize that??

It makes sense to ask questions about our diet, from the standpoint of health, humanity and religion.
 
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