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"Death by Veganism" NYT opinion piece - Page 14

post #261 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by Selesai View Post
Have you read the Omnivore's Dilemma? Pollan discusses Joel Salatin and his idea of sustainable farming, or "beyond organic." It's pretty interesting. And, I recently learned that Salatin sells his meat/eggs in my town through a buying club.
There are also farmers that try to implement Salatin's methods.
Sorry, yes. I have read OD. What I meant is that I haven't found a farm within driving distance of myself that works that way. I've looked.

Reading OD was one of the things (there were many reasons) that changed my mind from being a vegetarian to being a moderate omnivore.

Aven
post #262 of 275
I've been lurking here awhile trying to make sense of what everyone is trying to say. Something that hasn't been mentioned much (maybe once that I can remember) is the possibility of raising some of one's own food.

There are acres and acres of good soil going to waste in suburbia and the outskirts of towns where chickens, and maybe even a cow or goat depending on the amount of land, could be raised for eggs, milk, and meat. So many people with sufficient land for raising food seem content to run to the grocery store, or in the case of environmentally responsible citizens, the farmer's market or out to the farm (which there is nothing wrong with at all)

It seems like so much of this dilemma could be a non-issue if more people who have the time and resources would make the effort to use some of their own land for their dietary needs. People seem to have the idea that they need a farm sized plot of land in order to raise any food. Or that they have to be free from having to make a living in order to have the time. That's just not true. A family of 5 could theoretically raise nearly all their own food on one acre, rotating the garden and the animals over the land periodically. And even busy people can raise a few chickens and some veggies.

I'm not saying everyone in the world has to grow all their own food, or even that most should. I'm just putting it out there that the Earth's land is not being put to very good use when so much of it is in lawns. This is another issue that needs to be looked at when your talking about the ethical and environmental impact of your diet.
post #263 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plummeting View Post
But you're clearly basing this opinion on what has worked for you. I cannot be healthy eating meat only once or twice a month. It seems there's no point in me attempting to convince anyone who is sure that ALL human beings can survive on one specific dietary plan, but it's simply true. I cannot survive on that little meat without suffering health problems. I have major blood sugar issues when I don't eat meat. Beans are not a good protein source for me at all. Regardless of what other plant foods I eat them with, they leave me feeling lightheaded, sweaty and confused within an hour if I don't eat some animal protein. Nuts do the same, exact thing and I'm sensitive to almonds and pecans anyway (almonds give me a rash on my face and pecans make my mouth burn like hell). Seeds aren't much better. I think you have been very reasonable throughout this thread, so I hope you don't feel like I'm jumping in and getting nitpicky, but I really, really don't understand it when anyone decides that what has worked for them is what will automatically work for everyone. It's not true. It's never true - about any topic!

I definitely think many (maybe most) omnis eat too much animal protein. I can agree with that. I cannot, OTOH, agree that everyone needs to limit it to less than 3 times a month, just because you feel comfortable with that. If I did that, I would be ill, all the opinions of others aside.

I tend to agree that the ideal human diet matches the primate diet. That's ideal. The problem there is that human beings have removed themselves (largely) from the process of natural selection. A primate with your dietary issues never would have survived to adulthood. Neither would a human several thousand (or even several hundred) years ago. Humans used to eat what grew in their region whenever it grew, and eat meat and dairy as it was available. There really wasn't a lot of choice. We who live in developed countries are lucky to be having this argument at all. Eleven years ago I chose to be vegetarian. Nine years ago I chose to be vegan. I was lucky to be able to make that choice. Sometimes I feel guilty that I get to choose what to eat, that I get to refuse a major source of sustenance because, as an American, I'm rich enough to disapprove of factory farming and processed food. We obsess over nutrition and supplements and whether or not to give our babies DHA supplements, and these are discussions worth having, but don't lose sight of our context. We're talking about this because we're lucky enough to have abundant food, advanced medical technology, and a lot of education. Humans (in developed countries) since the mid twentieth century are unique in history. Of course no diet will work for everyone. If one diet doesn't work for us, it's not like we're going to run out of options.
post #264 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by slowtime View Post
I tend to agree that the ideal human diet matches the primate diet. That's ideal. The problem there is that human beings have removed themselves (largely) from the process of natural selection. A primate with your dietary issues never would have survived to adulthood.
What would you consider an "ideal primate diet?" And why? Just curious, because it seems from the tone of the rest of your post that you consider it to be close to vegetarian. I think that this is a fallacy for several reasons.

Firstly, our closest relatives - the chimps - can and do eat meat. They form hunting parties, take down smaller creatures, and even use meat as a bargaining chip to get mates. Chimps in zoos used to fare very poorly and not breed well because their feed was vegetarian. Once it was discovered that chimps in the wild eat meat, and chimps in zoos started being supplemented with meat, they started to fare much much better and reproduce much more easily.

Second of all, even though we are closely related to chimps, we are not chimps. We are humans. I'm a big supporter of the idea of evolutionary biology. There is a lot of work done in the field of hunter-gatherer studies (both extant groups and paleolithic studies) and all available evidence points to the emergence of H. sapiens as a dominant big-brained species only after meat-eating was widely adopted as a staple food source instead of a supplementary food source. Humans in the wild before the dawn of agriculture had no access to the foods that many vegans consider staples - fresh year-round vegetation, grains, and legumes (and dairy in the case of lacto-veg). We have only had access to these foods for approximately the last 10,000 years which is a drop in the evolutionary bucket. We still have the same basic adaptations and metabolisms as pre-agricultural humans. In any areas where we have both remains of pre-agricultural hunter-gatherers as well as their post-agricultural descendants, the newer remains show evidence of stunting, cavities, and disease that are absent in the older remains.

Here is an interesting paper that talks about something called the "expensive tissue hypothesis" which backs up the humans-as-meat-eaters argument. The paper relatively short and quite readable even for a lay person: http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=...pt=sci_arttext

I'm not trying to pick on you personally, Slowtime, just using your discussion of an ideal primate diet as a springboard into evolutionary theory.
post #265 of 275
Aven, Charlestown Cooperative Farm in Charlestown is in the beginning stages of building a symbiotic farm like Polyface. In fact, I saw Salatin speak there, and part of his lecture was a walk through CCF's fields to talk to them about how to plan their pastures. They're already chicken tractoring, and I recall seeing turkeys there.

I've been impressed with what I've seen at some of the biodynamic farms - Sankanac, Kimberton Hills Camphill Village. Both are experimenting with these symbiotic relationships. I believe Maysie's Farm may be starting to do some of that too, I haven't been down there in a while.

I've been on Amish farms that use many of Salatin's principals. Not as incredibly experimental as him - his descriptions of overwintering multiple species in his hoophouses was really amazing. But the basic principals, they've implemented. Strip grazing. Pasturing pigs. Chicken tractors.
post #266 of 275
Thanks, Tara. We have some camping trips out that direction this summer. I hope to check some of those out!

Aven
post #267 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by meowee View Post
True, but the non-vegan percentage of their diet is no more than 10% and usually closer to 2%. And what you say about dairy is exactly my point... I don't know how you would adjust the years, but human children need dairy (preferably mother's but a substitute animal if not possible) for the same ratio of their lifespan as other primates.

Frankly, I think the ideal human diet matches the primate one. Heavy on dairy in childhood, mostly vegan with a small amount of animal intake in adulthood. But neither vegans nor omnis want to accept that, because 1) it would mean vegans would have to accept eating a small amount of animal products and 2) omnis would have to abandon meat as a frequent meal staple and eat it much more rarely (as in once or twice a month), and, they would have to give up dairy foods as adults.

It is common for the young of a species to eat differently from the adults of that species. I believe there is a type of ant that is carniverous as young but vegan as adults.

Kallyn, this was the quote that I agreed with. My post wasn't a defense of vegetarianism or veganism. I don't think the choices I've made are the right choices for everyone to make. I don't think humankind is meant to be vegan.

My choice was made in response to the post-WWII food economy. I'm reluctant to get too far into what I really think because my opinions are a little extreme, and my heart doesn't always agree with my head. What it boils down to is, the way I think humans should eat and shop and live would require a much smaller human population. I don't want people to starve to death. I don't want plague or massive die-offs. On a personal level, I like living in a big city, I like getting to choose what I eat and never worrying about hunger due to crop failure (or scarce wildlife for hunting), I like using the internet and watching television. But I think we've gone a little out of control, and humans would be better off if there were fewer of us, living in smaller settlements where we were intimately connected with the plants and animals we used for sustenance.

There are disadvantages to that way of living (reduced access to quality health care, increased tribalism, increased xenophobia,) but I think that as far as care of the planet and our species is concerned, the pros outweigh the cons. A large proportion of the human population is completely divorced from all knowledge of food production. We're dependent on oil and dependent on the corporations that rule the global economy. It's dangerous. When the oil supply runs out (or just gets too expensive to use) we're going to be in big trouble. Never in history have the stakes been so high. In the past, if an area experienced drought or plague, or a government fell to war, the danger was only regional. There might be a large loss of life, but it was limited. Now, with developing nations depending on our food supply, and with our country depending on other countries for medical supplies and other imports, billions of people will starve when we run out of oil to run the machines that plant and harvest our crops, not to mention transport them across the country and around the world. What will we do when the grocery stores are empty? We don't know how to make our own food. Most of us will die.

Full disclosure: I don't garden. I've never grown a plant in my life. I have a black thumb, and manage to kill all the plants I bring home, no matter how hard I try. And I do live in a big city, where I'm dependent on grocery stores and produce grown in California and South America. If what I think of as the worst-case-scenario happens, I'll be among the first in this country to starve out of poor location and sheer ignorance. Like I said, my opinions are a little extreme, and my heart doesn't always follow my head.
post #268 of 275
I actually agree with almost everything you just said, but I didn't post my opinion for fear of opening up that can of worms.
post #269 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by kallyn View Post
We still have the same basic adaptations and metabolisms as pre-agricultural humans. In any areas where we have both remains of pre-agricultural hunter-gatherers as well as their post-agricultural descendants, the newer remains show evidence of stunting, cavities, and disease that are absent in the older remains.
I've read about that, and find it compelling, but OTOH, according to Price those groups who ate grains and prepared them "properly" seem to do fine with eating them. Do you think there may be other factors that separate Price's healthy grain-eating groups from early non-healthy agriculturists?


Quote:
Here is an interesting paper that talks about something called the "expensive tissue hypothesis" which backs up the humans-as-meat-eaters argument. The paper relatively short and quite readable even for a lay person: http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=...pt=sci_arttext
Thanks for that. I think I kinda get it.

Quote:
I'm not trying to pick on you personally, Slowtime, just using your discussion of an ideal primate diet as a springboard into evolutionary theory.
I'm extremely interested in reading about evolutionary theory, especially because I know very little about evolution and diet.
post #270 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicharronita View Post
I've read about that, and find it compelling, but OTOH, according to Price those groups who ate grains and prepared them "properly" seem to do fine with eating them. Do you think there may be other factors that separate Price's healthy grain-eating groups from early non-healthy agriculturists?
I have two theories on that, neither of which I know how to verify! 1) Price's modern indigenous groups were healthier compared to us, true. But were they healthier compared to their hunter-gatherer ancestors? I liken this to modern studies that show various diets are the "healthiest" but the only standard of comparison is the SAD - yes, they are healthy compared to SAD but are they healthy compared to whatever the optimal diet is? Just about anything is healthy compared to SAD. 2) The first agriculturalists had not yet figured out how to make these agricultural foods completely edible (didn't know to soak, ferment, etc) and suffered, but then later they learned how to adapt these new foodstuffs to themselves. This would only be true if the first agriculturalists remains were markedly more stunted and diseased than later agriculturalists, but I don't know of any specific data that would let us compare. I DO know that the mummified remains of Egyptians (who ate little meat and lots of whole grains) show a lot of disease including cavities, obesity, and arthritis, so I would be inclined to suspect that this particular hypothesis might be wrong.

Here's a link to an article from Discovery about some human remains from Mesolithic Britain (8k years ago) that showed almost complete carnivory. 8kya is after the agricultural revolution that took place in the fertile crescent, but agriculture had not yet reached the British Isles by this point. The link goes to a blog because the article was taken down from its original news site and the blogger reposted it: http://wisewitch.blogspot.com/2007/0...ke-wolves.html

Anyway I'd love to talk more later but I've got to run - company's here!
post #271 of 275

The scientific relevance of Price's work

I've been thinking a lot about criticism in regard to Price's work being "old" and supposedly not up-to-par with recent nutrition research.

Unfortunately, it seems like the criticism comes mostly from those who haven't even read NAPD. I wish someone who has actually read the book would comment on what specifically they find outdated or objectionable by today's supposed cutting-edge research. It would be nice if that someone had a clue about nutrition, too, because then maybe I could learn something new!
post #272 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by kallyn View Post
I have two theories on that, neither of which I know how to verify! 1) Price's modern indigenous groups were healthier compared to us, true. But were they healthier compared to their hunter-gatherer ancestors?
I have a feeling that they were. Take a look at the pre-Columbian skulls at the bottom of the page (dunno if pre-Columbian is old enough to compare with hunter-gatherers, though).

Here's a couple of pictures, comparing Australian Aboriginal skulls with that of the Peking man.

Price wrote, "The age of the Peking skulls has been variously placed from several hundred thousand to a million years. A distinguished anthropologist has stated that the Australian primitives are the only people living on the earth today that could be part of the first race of mankind. It is a matter of concern that if a scale were extended a mile long and the decades represented by inches, there would apparently be more degeneration in the last few inches than in the preceding mile. This gives some idea of the virulence of the blight contributed by our modern civilization."

Quote:
The first agriculturalists had not yet figured out how to make these agricultural foods completely edible (didn't know to soak, ferment, etc) and suffered, but then later they learned how to adapt these new foodstuffs to themselves. This would only be true if the first agriculturalists remains were markedly more stunted and diseased than later agriculturalists, but I don't know of any specific data that would let us compare.
I wonder if there are data about that?

Quote:
I DO know that the mummified remains of Egyptians (who ate little meat and lots of whole grains) show a lot of disease including cavities, obesity, and arthritis, so I would be inclined to suspect that this particular hypothesis might be wrong.
Didn't they eat a lot of refined grains? I thought I read that they ate the equivalent to our white bread (at least the rich Egyptians). Here's a link to a chapter called "Curse of the Mummies" from Protein Power.

Quote:
The link goes to a blog because the article was taken down from its original news site and the blogger reposted it: http://wisewitch.blogspot.com/2007/0...ke-wolves.html
I love Emma's blog! I thought this was an interesting comment:

"The reason we are salicylate sensitive as a species is not because there is something terribly wrong with a small minority of us, but because we evolved to eat fresh meat, and very little else."

Quote:
Anyway I'd love to talk more later but I've got to run - company's here!
Have fun!
post #273 of 275

not so sure

[QUOTE=magstphil;8193597] the thing is i don't care how someone gets to where ever they choose to be but i do care when the people are putting themselves in danger because they are less concerned about their health than they are not eating animal products.

absolutely, but oftentimes those who choose to eat with the 'mainstream' are putting their health at greater risk than many of those who conciously choose to eat a more well thought out diet. you can't say that it is irresponsible to raise a vegan child, only that it is irresponsible to feed your child a diet that is lacking in the nutrients that they need, which can apply to any diet, vegan or conventional, but does not have to apply to either.
post #274 of 275
I'm enjoying this thread tremendously, although I'm quite sad that most (all?) of the vegans seem to have dropped out . . . it seems everyone has different views about what constitutes good nutrition as well as different visions for what a healthy, sustainable world might be - and try as I might, I've never been able to picture a completely vegan, sustainable world (although I would truly love to hear how that might work, I honestly love hearing about different perspectives!)

Just wanted to say that. Oh, and Planck's article sucks - I'm kinda glad I never bought her book, I don't wish to support such a sensationalistic militant writer.
post #275 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by Individuation View Post
OK, since this ISN'T on the Veg*n board, I'm going to weigh in with my completely unpopular opinion. Bear in mind that what I post here is based entirely on anecdotal evidence rather than published studies (I've looked, but haven't found enough of them that didn't have an obviously pro-dairy-industry slant).

I've known a LOT of vegan children. I was raised by hippies, first of all, and then I ran a veg*n restaurant that had a really "family" clientele including lots of vegans. I've worked on organic farms alongside vegan families. I've been doing this for a long time. I've also been a private vegan chef, and studied a fair amount of nutrition. FWIW, I was ranting about processed soy several years ago and everyone told me I was CRAZY, soy was BY DEFINITION nutritious and healthy. I'm so glad there's a more reasoned view on that now.

Some more caveats here: I think veganism is the ethically ideal way to eat. I was raised Buddhist. I try to live as close to that ideal as I can. I do NOT scoff at veganism. I love and applaud people who raise their children with the ethical structure that veganism implies.

That said.

In my experience, I think it is difficult to the point of being nearly impossible to raise children with a nutritionally adequate vegan diet. (Here's where the flamethrowers start to get charged up, I'm sure.) Yes, I know some people can make a full-time job of it with supplements and perfect nutritional balance and can achieve near-adequacy. However, this is assuming a Herculean level of planning and a basically-healthy-in-all-other-ways child. Most parents do not have either.

When I ran the restaurant, it was an ongoing topic of conversation among the (almost entirely vegetarian) staff, several of whom decided they would not raise their children vegan given what they'd seen. It was scary. You could pick the vegan children out at a glance. They were shorter. They were spindly. They clutched asthma inhalers or had tremors. They were, for want of a better word, sickly. I stopped guessing ages, because I would be so wildly off with vegan kids "He's so cute, is he two?" "Actually, he's five."

I have never--not once--met a vegan child who did not have health problems, or who was not VISIBLY more unhealthy than his/her peers.

I'm assuming they exist, because parents on internet message boards are always telling me that their child is completely healthy, and is vegan. And I will not call such parents liars. But I have met many, many more vegan and vegetarian children than the average person, and based on my observations I do not consider strict veganism to be an appropriate diet for a child.

Sometimes a do see a normal-looking kid, and the parents will claim to be vegan. And this will make me very happy, as I want veganism to be healthy for children! Inevitably, it comes out that the family is vegan but the child was given raw milk until the age of eight, or the child is given fresh fish caught by the family in a stream, or the mother believes children should be able to eat eggs. SOME kind of animal protein is sneaking its way in there.

I really wish this weren't what I had observed. And hey--if you're in NYC and want to show me otherwise, please do! I'd love to see if I could transition my children to veganism. But I can't--won't--do so until I see something different than what I've seen so far.

So yes, I think this article is dealing with reality. If debate on this topic is not allowed, then this thread should be moved to the veg*n board. As I said, I would never post this there--I would consider it rude to invade veg*n space with debate. However, I do think this needed to be said.
I know this is old, but I really want to know more about this post.
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