Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Columbus, Ohio
| | A few issues w/ the propaganda here
Overall I find this site useful in terms of personal development advice. But the dietary stuff is really starting to annoy me.
1. Just because someone eats meat does not mean they never eat plant foods. I'm tired of seeing meat-eaters slammed for "not eating healthy" when some of the healthiest people on this planet eat mostly meat. If you look at the Inuit and the Masai on their traditional diets they put even the most conscientious vegan to shame.
2. You need fat in your diet to maintain cell walls, nerve cells, hormones, and a whole slew of other stuff. Until the Agricultural Revolution human beings preferred fat as an energy source, and it is the body's second-most preferred source of energy after glucose, especially in the form of triglycerides and ketones (which come from fat).
3. You're right that a high-protein diet is a bad idea, but any good low-carb diet is going to be high-fat, not high-protein--even Atkins. Dr. Atkins always advised his patients not to skimp on their fat intake or there wouldn't be much point to them doing Atkins because if the body gets more protein than it can use, it turns almost half its protein calories into glucose. (By contrast, even with excessive fat intake--rather difficult to attain, as fat causes the satiety response sooner than other macronutrients do--the body only turns about ten percent of fat calories into glucose and must burn calories in the process of doing so.)
3a. We DO need protein: we need the essential amino acids. We make most of the amino acids we use but there are eight we need to intake because we can't make them. In short, we will DIE without them. Vegetarians get away with not eating animal protein sources precisely because they have figured out how to get those essential amino acids from a wide variety of food sources.
4. Dr. Atkins had a heart attack because he had a viral form of cardiomyopathy. He struggled with his weight his entire adult life but found that he controlled it better with controlled-carbohydrate eating. (In fact his weight problems were what sent him looking for a realistic weight-loss program in the first place.) When he hit his head on the sidewalk he went into a coma and his body suffered from edema as a result of all the IVs and the drugs they had him on at the hospital. That was what caused his kidney failure. His medical records have been released to the public both by some vegetarian wacko (who released them illegally) and by his widow, and they show he gained a significant amount of weight during his hospital stay. That was all water weight, and it severely stressed his kidneys. All of this information is available on the Internet and I don't know why you didn't check for it.
5. And by the way, I've done Atkins, and I find it hard to continue not because of the meat intake but because I have never been a big veggie eater and doing Atkins correctly requires a significant vegetable intake, as that is the healthiest way to incorporate carbohydrates into one's diet. Yes, even Dr. Atkins said that. His books are available at the library, so I don't know what the problem is here, and you aren't the only one who consistently misrepresents his diet. But I would have expected better from you because you're a smart man who knows how to read and does it often.
But. While I'm on Atkins I feel better than on any other kind of diet--including a vegan diet, which contributed to my seventy-pound weight gain after my daughter was born, and this while I was exclusively breastfeeding her. Now I did not choose the healthiest vegan foods to eat, but I was also very poor at the time, and I had to make do with what I could afford. See also what I said about not being a serious veggie person. I eat more vegetables on Atkins than at any other time. But I also eat more fat than at any other time, and I find that between the fat and the animal protein I keep my blood sugar a lot more even. I don't get enough calories on vegetables alone. Carbohydrates are an unacceptable source of calories for me because I am borderline diabetic, and every type of carbohydrate except fiber and a couple of oddballs like glycerin raises my blood sugar. They're supposed to. All carbohydrates ARE sugars, but some are more digestible than others.
And there you go, for what it's worth. Also, there's a trend toward metabolic typing in the altmed community which I think you should look into. It might explain why some people thrive as vegans (although I have a hard time believing this, but I'm not going to get into it right now, because I don't have enough knowledge to argue convincingly) and some develop persistent anemia unless they can have heme iron (of animal origin) and some can't control their blood sugar unless they have some meat every day. Some natropaths think it has to do with blood type, and some think the story is more complex than that. It'll be interesting to see what they find eventually.
The other reason I don't eat vegan is the environmental arguments do not convince me. You kill more animals plowing and planting an agricultural field than you do slaughtering one cow. About the best thing they've got going is that cows put off methane, but gee, so do termites--and cutting down forests to plant fields is a great way to encourage termite mounds. And you don't need to cut a forest to raise cattle, contrary to current industrial ag practices. I've heard of people herding them in forests, which seems eminently sensible to me.
The compassion bit doesn't do it for me, either, since we can't turn back the clock and make our domesticated animals be wild again. We treat them better than they'd face in the wild at this point, and if we use the old methods we kill them better than, say, a lion would. Industrial ag notwithstanding, of course; I want to see that done away with as much as you do. And not just because of food poisoning either, since I'd be just as much at risk of it from eating veggies as from meat. (At least you can cook the germs off of most cuts of meat, unlike with, say, alfalfa sprouts.)
OK, enough of that. It's probably nothing you haven't heard before anyway; it'd just be nice if you'd change your tune just a bit to, "Veganism works FOR ME but might not work for everyone," because that'd be closer to the truth, which I think we'd all prefer to read here.