It's all about the nutrients.
It's impossible to be vegan and get enough of the extremely important fat soluble vitamins: A, D and K2 that are the keys to mineral absorption. You can eat plants with lots of minerals all day and you simply will not absorb them if you don't have these key fat soluble vitamins. Just like you can drink skim milk all day and won't absorb calcium well without the saturated fat and natural A and D vitamins in the milkfat.
And for example, true Vitamin A found only in animal foods is not beta carotene found only in plants. According to the Institute of Medicine conversion of beta carotene to true vitamin A, a medium carrot will not even give you 1/5th the daily RDA for vitamin A. And Weston Price's research reveals the RDA to be a joke.
To compare with the one China Study, Weston Price visited over 40 traditional populations eating extensively varied foods across the globe. Yet the healthy, perfectly formed humans (no cavities, straight teeth, wide faces) all ate pretty much the same in terms of nutrients: 10x the amount of fat soluble vitamins and 5x the amount of minerals and water soluble vits b/c animal foods were heavily eaten. I find his research much more convincing.
When I was veg*n (mostly vegan sometimes vegetarian) I collected tons of cavities despite eating very healthy lots of veggies, fruits, whole grains, beans, soy and nuts. It ruined my health in other ways.
If you read Weston Price's book, he tried hard to find a healthy vegan traditional population, because he inherently thought plant eating was healthiest, but he couldn't do it. The ones he found were all sick. And the healthy vegetarian populations were ones that ate lots of pastured dairy including lots of butterfat, and pastured eggs. Or people who went out of their way, travelling great distances to get seafood/fish eggs but otherwise ate veg*n b/c of where they lived inland.
The biggest glaring error The China Study missed either intentionally or not in the traditional Okinawan diet: lard. It was not
low fat or low animal!
The instinctive nature of eating present in all these populations really spoke to me, even though their foods were so different they just knew what was most nutritious (such as super high nutrient dense organ meats which we modern humans with our worship of cakes, cookies, donuts, etc. turn our noses up at).
When Price asked why they ate certain foods (such as fish eggs or up to a dozen egg yolks a day to prepare for pregnancy) several populations answered in a way that was deeply moving to me: "So we can have healthy babies
We are having less and less healthy babies these days with the shocking amount of children today suffering from autism, asthma, allergies, etc. more than ever in our recent history.
Originally Posted by Kelilah
Personally I like Thomas Jefferson's description of meat as "a condiment for the vegetables" - small amounts of meat rounding out a lot of veg
This is true, most populations Weston Price studied ate little meat... but what they did eat daily from animals is lots of fat which supplied the important fat soluble vits. And high mineral content from bone broths and/or raw milk which provided amino acids in abundance which reduced the body's need for a lot of protein.
I think today people read Nourishing Traditions
and mistakenly conclude one has to eat a lot of meat, that's not true for most people... it's the animal fat that's most important. Organ meats, egg yolks, cheese, butter, cream, lard, tallow, fatty shellfish, fish eggs: these are the most nutritionally dense foods in our food chain and what traditional people across the globe used to stock their bodies with the nutrition it naturally is meant to run on.
As far as heart disease and cholesterol goes, high omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) oils such as corn, cottonseed, canola, safflower, sunflower and soy are the true culprits. The PUFAs are unnaturally incorporated into the cells and make the cell walls "flabby". We human animals are meant to eat saturated fats, most especially children with developing brains... the brain is comprised of mostly saturated fats.
And also the elephant in the room is sugar and processed foods.