BEING A VEGAN: MORE MISCONCEPTIONS!
This is the final installment of a series discussing a vegan and vegetarian diet, “Common Misconceptions Concerning Vegetarianism”.
Today, I will quickly review the first four misconceptions concerning vegetarianism that have detailed in the previous two columns.
MISCONCEPTION #1: Meat-eaters have higher rates of cancer than vegans and vegetarians.
MISCONCEPTION #2: Vitamin B12 can be obtained from plant sources.
MISCONCEPTION #3: The human body is not designed for meat consumption.
MISCONCEPTION #4: Vegetarians live longer and have more energy and endurance than meat-eaters.
Though I don’t want to delve into the “spiritual” and/or “ethical” aspects of why someone may be interested in becoming a vegan or a vegetarian (I would like to stick to anthropological and scientific studies/facts), I thought it would only be fair to speak on an issue that does involve the “spiritual” and “ethical” issues, but has far-reaching health ramifications as well:
MISCONCEPTION #5: Meat consumption contributes to famine and depletes the Earth's natural resources.
So, concerning famine and the earth’s natural resources; are feeding cows, buffalo, sheep, and any other animal that requires being raised in a pasture (as they were meant to be), less efficient than using the land for grains and soybeans?
If you have taken my advice in the past and read either of Michael Pollan’s books (The Omnivore’s Dilemma and/or In Defense of Food) you would have come across the concept that a grass-fed steer is the most efficient use of land concerning return to the land and to us humans.
The cow is eating something we don’t eat or need! GRASS!
Why waste all of that land on growing something that makes the cows sick and humans need very little of? Plus this idea has opened the door for genetically modified foods and I imagine it will ruin our health before we can shut it.
In a farming situation that is biodynamic, beyond organic, mixed or synergistic, and possibly organic, nothing is wasted and everything is used for benefit. All the animal life, vegetation, and water sources are used in a system that amplifies the return not only qualitatively (humans/animals/vegetation) but quantitatively as well. Sustainable farming is the goal.
Plus, another argument I have is that most countries that are struggling economically (or actually starving) are not going to thrive on grains and soybeans (beyond these foods being greatly deficient of valuable macro and micro-nutrients these poor people are not herbivores either!).
Personally, I have a real problem with the idea that we can just ship other countries our cheap and unwanted calories and think that is going to help these nations with their economic and health woes.
THESE COUNTRIES HAVE NOT EVOLVED TO BE ABLE TO EAT THESE FOODS! (And they won’t)
If a vegan has a problem with factory farms, I can understand that,
because truth be told; these farms are not beneficial for us (lowest quality food possible), the animals (far beyond inhumane treatment) or the environment (destroying water sources/developing greenhouse issues/huge emissions/large amounts of waste and pollution/etc.).
I often hear the argument for moving to a more vegan or vegetarian lifestyle to avoid toxins in our food supply. Though it is true that you can consume meat and/or dairy (milk and cheeses can be loaded with these toxins) products that have much higher toxin concentrations than that of a vegetable or fruit, my question would be; why are you consuming anything that is loaded with toxins anyway?
One major reason, if not THE reason, people can become so ill while consuming animal products is the way the animal is raised and what it is fed (this wasn’t an issue just a century ago). Are you consuming animal products that are consuming grains and vegetables that are full of toxins? Are you consuming animals that receive no sunlight and no exercise? Are you consuming animals that are unhealthy? Are these animals consuming a diet that is completely alien to them? (If you don’t know the answer to these questions, you should!) Well, expect to receive a toxin load (and worse!). But don’t think for a second that consuming grains, vegetable and fruit products that are not free of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides, are not going to add up and seriously affect your health as well. Because…they will!
So, what is the value in becoming a vegan or vegetarian?
Well, as a cleansing diet, vegetarianism can be a good choice. Though I am not a fan of cleansing diets per se, the majority of these diets are consumed over a very shot period of time, which will disallow the body to create the deficiencies that will follow with long term vegan and vegetarian diets. For example, people struggling with gout can often find relief with a temporary reduction in animal products.
But remember these truths: 1) We ARE omnivores (we are not made to go on a fully herbivore diet regimen), and 2) We ALL have our very own biochemical individualities (no one diet will work for everyone).
Concerning nutrition, shouldn’t we stick with what is “tried and true” (nutrition for omnivores)?
Why start consuming the “untested and new” (nutrition for herbivores)? All we have to do is follow human history to see that moving from a diet that consists of animal products to one that is void of animal products will impact the quality and quantity of our lives negatively.
Previous Vegetarianism Pages: