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I’m cured, no more meat

My wife is a vegetarian, and I’ve mostly cut meat out of my diet, too — I’ll indulge a bit when I travel, but that’s about it. But I’m done now. It makes no sense: it’s not sustainable or economical, but worse, it’s brutal and cruel. Rolling Stone has just published a remarkable expose of Big Meat, the factory farms that abuse animals.

I made the mistake of watching the videos, too. Fortunately, my dinner had been vegetarian already, or I might have lost it. So be warned.


Really, everyone, this is a small step. We’ve been cutting back on meat for years — I might have a small portion, once a week, if that. We’ve already got all the recipes we need, my wife is already fully vegetarian, this is just making a little more commitment on my part. It’ll be an easy transition.

Comments

  1. says

    Watch the video of dairy cows getting milked by machines while their oozing sores dribble pus on the floor. It’s kind of off-putting — hey, kids, what’s in that ice cream?

    Oh, yeah, but we don’t have much dairy already. My wife gets soy milk, and I just don’t have much use for dairy in my diet anyway. Wait…except for yogurt. Uh-oh.

  2. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    There must be some local alternatives for dairy products from humanely treated livestock in your part of Minnesota.

  3. says

    Also a good argument for being insanely picky about where you get your meat, dairy, and eggs, but that’s also expensive enough that going vegan ends up being cheaper.

    I’m dealing with this issue myself. At the moment, I’m still an omnivore, largely out of necessity because I’m a broke college student and I was recently hired as a Shift Coordinator/Assistant Manager at a franchise Burger King and I get food for free there (and I refuse to eat their veggie burger, which smells like peanut butter cookie dough gone bad, and I don’t really trust it to not actually have animal products in it). I’m not liking being an omnivore, however, because the ethicist in me is constantly making me feel guilty for it.

    So I’m slowly cutting animal products out. I know for a lot of people going vegan is easy, and I already feel bad that it’s actually kind of hard for me, due to circumstance and my insanely addictive personality and so on… but I’m finding a way…

  4. ibbica says

    To be entirely fair, it isn’t necessary to become a strict vegetarian to avoid participating in animal cruelty. I myself worked on a dairy farm, albeit not a ‘Big Farm’ one… and saw nothing even remotely close to anything like the sort of thing that’s on those videos. I even still drink milk and eat eggs and meat… as long as I know (and approve of) where it/they came from.

    I also recognize that even that’s a luxury not everyone can afford; keeping track of your food sources, like replacing meat protein with vegetable protein (especially when you haven’t grown up with it), can take more time, energy, and resources than a some people have available. Would be nice if the energy directed at abusing animals in some of these places was directed at developing viable alternatives that were just as readily accessible…

    Hm… What exactly would it take to get research-lab-level scrutiny directed at livestock farms?

  5. Marcus Good says

    I went vegan a few years ago, in response to the shocking footage from Australian live export to foreign markets; haven’t regretted it yet. I am back to the weight I was when I started university, have less physical ailments than I did before, and I feel that I’m having a better environmental impact. I applaud you, PZM. But also, inb4 someone decides to start throwing around “Mmmm bacon” memes in immediate response – this is my daily experience. Suggest an alternative – people freak out.

  6. says

    It’s a good thing you’re doing!

    You’ll make a huge difference. Of all of the blogging and teaching and writing you’ve done, this will be among the most important.

    (And…go vegan.

    It’s only a matter of time, anyway, and you don’t want to read/see those exposés…)

  7. thunk: she'd rather be on a train says

    Keep in mind vegetarianism is not for everybody; plenty of people have sensory/nutritional/cost/time/cooking ability issues that conspire to actually make it impossible to not eat meat.

    See here (Atheism+): atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=3720

    As for myself, I try to not eat too much meat (other sensory issues with it mostly). But if you can avoid it entirely, that’s great!

  8. unbound says

    Does make me wonder if these exposes are produced by Big Ag. Been a few years, but I’ve never seen anything remotely that bad on the farms I’ve been on.

  9. thewhollynone says

    Way to go, PZ! You will be much healthier and happier, and the dishes are much easier to wash. Watch the carbs though; they will get you.

  10. magistramarla says

    I found out this weekend that I even have to be very careful when buying fresh vegetables in the produce section. I bought much more at local farmer’s markets when we were living in California, but that is much more difficult for me now that we’re back in Texas. I can’t drive due to my disability, and the few farmer’s markets here are much more expensive than anything that we saw in California.
    I was grocery shopping on Sunday, and I had picked up a couple of heads of garlic that were from the bottom of the display and didn’t look at all fresh. A bit later, I saw the produce section employee dumping a new box of garlic into the display, so I went to switch out my two heads of garlic. I asked him if the garlic came from Gilroy, Ca. He laughed and pointed out the lettering on the box that clearly stated that the garlic came from China. China!!! We’re three hours from Mexico. Why couldn’t it come from there?
    He told me that more and more vegetables are being shipped from China.
    I walked over to the organic section and found a package of garlic that stated that it came from Christopher Ranch in Gilroy, Ca. That was more like it! I showed it to the employee, so that hopefully word can get to the management that some consumers are refusing to buy vegetables that have been shipped halfway around the world.
    I’ve learned to check where everything comes from. There was a recent problem with dog and cat treats manufactured in China harming and even killing pets here in the US, so I’m even careful about what my dog and cats get to eat.

  11. says

    I’ve been doing meatless Mondays for a few months, but like eggs, cheese, and milk too much to go Vegan. And can’t stand soy based stuff as a substitute… Leaves me with few choices.

    On the article, while I know there are some horrifying things out there in food production… the fact that Mary Beth Sweetland was one of the primary sources makes me a lot more skeptical than I would be otherwise…

  12. says

    Keep in mind vegetarianism is not for everybody; plenty of people have sensory/nutritional/cost/time/cooking ability issues that conspire to actually make it impossible to not eat meat.

    Bizarre post, culminating in this nonsense:

    Yeah I don’t see anyone ever meeting this challenge.

    And have decided anyone who tries to tell me to reduce my meat intake can go fuck themselves.

    Astonishing how little care is shown for the other animals. None, really.

    There are in fact hundreds of sites that could help a person with difficulties change to a vegan diet, and asking would help.

    There are people living in food deserts who have difficulty going vegan (the answer is to fight for social change and support local access to vegan foods). Most commenting on the internet?

    People making this argument: Imagine if you were talking about how difficult it was in practice as poor men to support feminists. The answer is solidarity. It’s always solidarity.

    Sure. let’s talk about the difficulties of going vegan. But honestly, and with the suffering and lives of our fellow animals always at the center of the conversation.

    FFS, click over to the story at the OP.

  13. only lal says

    Being completely vegan is unnatural, that’s not the way we evolved to be. We became human by killing animals and eating meat. In fact brutal predation & killing is part & parcel of nature. Our bodies still depend on animal products. So the optimal thing to do is limit the intake of meat instead of avoiding it entirely.

  14. brett says

    We all make varying degrees of moral compromise in our life-styles. Do you live in a suburban area? Drive a car? Run your house at a high temperature during winter? Donate more than a little bit of money here and there to charity in your neighborhood and more importantly abroad?

    I’ve read the piece, and seen similar documentaries before (such as the one narrated by Joaquin Phoenix). It’s a gruesome business (although it doesn’t have to be), and there’s certainly no excuse for some of the more repugnant stuff. But I’m not going to stop eating meat over it.

    Good for you, though. Going vegetarian has a number of health benefits if you do it right, and it sounds like you already have the “life-style” hump done since your wife is a vegetarian (and the whole “only eat meat occasionally while traveling” means you’re already a vegetarian in your life most of the time anyways).

    @Jafafa Hots

    really now?

    It’s a stupid argument, not least of which because the present way we do animal husbandry for meat isn’t ancient either – the evolutionary environment in which we consumed meat was through hunting. But I have heard arguments that meat consumption was a boost to hominid development.

  15. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    only lal @ 24:

    Being completely vegan is unnatural, that’s not the way we evolved to be.

    Sitting in comfy chairs clacking away at a keyboard to spout mindless naturalistic fallacies is just as unnatural. I wish you would have taken your own advice.

    Aaaanyway.

    I’ve been trying to limit red meat intake myself, largely because I notice a stark pulse difference when I eat what average people would consider an average amount of red meat. Now I’m going to probably stay away from it even more. Sickening.

  16. says

    Well done! When I started thinking about ethical matters I became increasingly uncomfortable eating meat. Now I’ve been a vegetarian for a little over two years and very happy like this. It can make eating out at certain places difficult though.

  17. huffysnappy says

    Ibbica @8.:

    To be entirely fair, it isn’t necessary to become a strict vegetarian to avoid participating in animal cruelty. I myself worked on a dairy farm, albeit not a ‘Big Farm’ one… and saw nothing even remotely close to anything like the sort of thing that’s on those videos. I even still drink milk and eat eggs and meat… as long as I know (and approve of) where it/they came from.

    I myself …. grew up (in part) on a couple of dairy farms, not ‘Big Farm’ ones, but two in bucolic Gippsland (green grass for miles, no feedlots in sight) – first my grandparent’s farm, and then that of my uncle and aunt, where my dad was milking as a sharefarmer whilst he and Mum decided if we would all go into dairying ourselves.

    I also saw nothing even remotely close to anything like the sort of thing that’s on those videos. As a four year old, I used to love feeding the bobby calves milk in the morning, although I did wonder why they had to be fed by humans.

    Perhaps you’d like to investigate what ultimately happens to a ‘spent’ dairy cow, or what happens to her male calves, and more importantly, *where* this happens. Because most of the time it isn’t on the dairy farm itself (even if it’s an organic farm), which may be why you never saw it.

    (And another question, if one is enamoured of organic dairy produce – what happens to a cow on an organic farm who requires treatment with antibiotics?)

    ‘Slaughterhouse’ by Gail Eisnitz is an excellent book that investigates the brutal abuse of farmed-for-food animals in United States industry. Even if you’re not in the US (I’m an Aussie), it is still worth a read, and to ask oneself “Exactly how different is the industry in my country likely to be?”

  18. madtom1999 says

    Grow your own. I keep pigs, sheep, chickens and ducks. They are largely fed on the waste from my vegetable growing.
    Its fun, informative, makes use of some ‘marignal’ land and causes minimum distress to the animals.
    And it will save you a fortune too – if you are a meat eater you will have a lot of trouble eating out after a while as even in high quality restaurants you will find the meat there substandard quite quickly.

  19. Bicarbonate says

    I became a vegetarian more than 40 years ago after reading Frances Moore Lappé’s Diet for a Small Planet (1971), but have had to alter that depending on the country and people with whom I lived. I didn’t raise my kids strictly vegetarian because I didn’t feel I knew enough about nutrition to guarantee they would be getting everything they needed without meat (and they were served meat at school, at friends’ and at relative’s houses). One of my daughters is now a strict vegetarian. In my other daughter’s household, fish or meat is an occasional ingredient (in chile con carne for instance) or flavoring agent (lentil soup).

    In general, I continue to avoid meat for reasons of ecology and sustainability. But if ever I get a hankering for a meat dish, which is rare, a few times a year maybe, I don’t deny myself because I figure that that hankering is there for a reason and that my body has a better idea of what I need than I do.

  20. only lal says

    ///It’s a stupid argument, not least of which because the present way we do animal husbandry for meat isn’t ancient either – the evolutionary environment in which we consumed meat was through hunting. But I have heard arguments that meat consumption was a boost to hominid development.///

    I agree that animal husbandry practices should be improved and made more humane. But cutting animal products entirely from one’s diet is not the way to react, simply because humans are omnivorous and require a balance of both plant & animal foods for proper health.

  21. only lal says

    #29

    ///Sitting in comfy chairs clacking away at a keyboard to spout mindless naturalistic fallacies is just as unnatural. I wish you would have taken your own advice.
    Aaaanyway.
    I’ve been trying to limit red meat intake myself, largely because I notice a stark pulse difference when I eat what average people would consider an average amount of red meat. Now I’m going to probably stay away from it even more. Sickening.///

    We’re all sitting on comfy chairs & clacking away at the keyboard. That doesn’t make any difference to the fact that we evolved to consume both plant & animal food and our bodies are adapted to such a diet. Cutting red meat from your diet is good, cutting all animal food is not.

  22. dongiovanni (Because I had to try this function sometime) says

    Why must life be so… wretched? Surely we as a society can do better than this. Instead we treat each other despicably, cause untold amounts of animal suffering and can’t even discuss these issues in a civilised manner.

  23. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Being completely vegan is unnatural, that’s not the way we evolved to be. We became human by killing animals and eating meat. In fact brutal predation & killing is part & parcel of nature. Our bodies still depend on animal products. So the optimal thing to do is limit the intake of meat instead of avoiding it entirely.

    We evolved having parasites. Clearly the optimal thing to do is drink unfiltered natural water.

  24. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    only lal @ 35 <blockquote>Quote someone like this.</blockquote> turns into

    Quote someone like this.

    Cutting red meat from your diet is good, cutting all animal food is not.

    Really? I don’t believe you. Mainly because of this.

  25. says

  26. hugo says

    meh, I don’t care what you eat as long as this blog doesn’t become a cooking blog and as long as you don’t base your science or view of atheism on what people eat then good luck to you. I do find it surprising that you’d choose a hyped popularity appealing video depicting large “cute” animals as the thing that changed your mind, you do know that a complete vegetarian society would need a lot more agriculture which would kill a lot more animals in much crueler ways (and it would be less able to regulate those atrocities) but they’re not the animals that show well on video (more mice, rats, moles, not to mention insects… will get killed, maimed etc.). I’m being brief here because I don’t have time, someone wrote a paper on the number of animal killed by agriculture if it had to replace the entire meat industry. The farms, slaughterhouses, etc. around me do not treat animals that way, it is illegal to treat animals that way and people do get prosecuted in my country if they do.

  27. Koshka says

    Hugo,

    You claimed that the agricultural industry kills more animals than the meat industry. The article you linked to did not claim this. It did point out that a vegan accepted that agriculture does in fact kill animals.
    It is unfair to claim that vegitarians and vegans are claiming that their lifestyle has no impact on animals. Certainly none here have done so.

  28. Dunc says

    And another question, if one is enamoured of organic dairy produce – what happens to a cow on an organic farm who requires treatment with antibiotics?

    Then they are treated with antibiotics. Organic standards do not forbid the use of antibiotics for specific animals when they are actually required, they just forbid the routine, indiscriminate use of antibiotics as growth enhancers and prophylactics.

  29. Alex says

    Well, welcome to the club. I must say that this thread is somewhat less terrible than I would have expected. Some years ago, the mere existence of vegetarians seemed deeply offensive to people, and provoked strong reactions and accusations of having a smug sense of superiority and holier-than-thou attutiude. While that is of course true, it seems to have become less offensive and more normal in the past 10 years.

    That being said, the naturalistic argument still rears its head every time the topic comes up? “I must eat heaps of meat because evolution!!!!11″ How convenient :D
    Also, we all must die a gruesome death at the age of 30 after a short and brutish life on the savannah, congratulations.

  30. =8)-DX says

    Meh… chicks are to be treated like humans? What next, are they gonna outlaw the aborted-fetus-sandwich?

  31. says

    Hugo:

    you do know that a complete vegetarian society would need a lot more agriculture

    Citation needed – one that shows its work and justifies the numbers in contrast to the other available data.

    The ratio of [mass of animal feed] to [mass of edible animal product] is always strictly greater than one, and is far higher for some animals (e.g. cows raised for beef – ~10:1 ) than for others (e.g. chickens – perhaps as low as 2:1). Replacing the crops grown for animal feed with a mix tailored for human nutritional needs is very far from a 1:1 swap*, so the calculation is complicated, but what I have been able to find says that a completely vegetarian society would require somewhat less crop area per capita as compared to current United States food habits. Also less pesticide, less fertilizer, and less fossil fuel use; primarily from eating cutting out beef. A reference: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/89/5/1699S.full .

    That doesn’t necessarily mean that said society would kill fewer animals in agricultural settings. Answering that question requires estimating the populations of different critters as the distribution of crops changes. And the significance of that relates to the ethical weight we attach to the welfare of different organisms – do you value the quality of life of a grasshopper as much as that of a pig?

    I personally have some dietary restrictions that make it difficult for me to cut out meat from my diet entirely, at least right now, but I have been minimizing my consumption of beef – monetarily cheap beef comes at the expense of a huge environmental footprint.

  32. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    you do know that a complete vegetarian society would need a lot more agriculture which would kill a lot more animals in much crueler ways/

    ….uh, what exactly do you think it is that all those animals raised for meat now eat? Are you under the impression that cows fucking photosynthesize?

    Seriously. Yes, I know this is so laughably sophomoric that fielding it is a red flag visible from orbit for “I am utterly unfamiliar with the idea that I ought to subject ideas to any test other than ‘is it consistent with what I already really want to believe’ before positing them,” but let’s do this exercise anyway.

    Let’s say we know absolutely nothing about trophic levels, or even the fact that it takes a substantial prey population to support one predator, w,and that this could possibly mean something.

    Does it seem remotely reasonable to suppose that it takes more plant-based energy to feed one animal, than it does to feed an animal twenty times its size that the first will eat only a part of?

    Feel free to ask something smarter – perhaps on its way to a grain lot. Or a produce bin.

  33. Arawhon, a Strawberry Margarita says

    SC @ # 18

    As someone who uses and comments on the internet, I take umbrage at your suggestion that everyone who has access to the internet can go vegan. As someone who borrows internet from a friendly neighbor and has to live on $189 in food stamps, the vegan options are ridiculously expensive at anywhere I can afford food. Just getting good nutrition is tough enough, but cutting out animal proteins and the various vitamins found only in animal products/meat would kill me. Yes it fucking sucks what goes on in farms part of Big Meat, and I wish it was far more humane (note: Im not saying they can ever be completely humane), but there are some of us who simply can’t make that change. What change I have made, cutting out nearly all beef products, is the best I can do.

  34. huffysnappy says

    Dunc @ 43.:

    Then they are treated with antibiotics. Organic standards do not forbid the use of antibiotics for specific animals when they are actually required, they just forbid the routine, indiscriminate use of antibiotics as growth enhancers and prophylactics.

    Yes…

    Electronic code of Federal Regulations (Current December 9, 2013) PART 205 SubpartC-Organic Production and Handling Requirements (subpara. c. points (1) & (7) in particular)

    …and what do you think is the likely fate of such a cow *after* she is treated with antibiotics?

  35. says

    Good for you PZ, if it works for you, there is no reason whatsoever not to make that choicea and I applaud and support it.

    I understand and agree with most (not all) the arguments for going vegan for moral reasons. However I think that treating animals humanely and killing them swiftly and painlessly is equally moral from societal point of view.

    Ad “cows photosynthetise?” the answer is obviously no, and saying it mockingly borders on strawmanning the underlying argument. Dairy cows (and sheep and goats) can digest cellulose, so they can be raised on marginally lands, where growing crops for direct human consumption is economically and/or environmentally unsustainable. It is of course anecdotic, but I actually live in one such area. The math tells, that mostly vegetarian diet with occasional meat consumption is the optimal option for both environmenta and the average health. It is only slightly better than vegan, and of course hugely better than average US/EU diet. I know the link to such study is to be found on PubMed and I will try and find it after I come home from work.

    And to use words to the effect “everybody can this and that because I can and I found it easy” is, frankly, stupid. Especially on blog, that spends so much time dissecting privlieges and variation in populaces.

    As far as my diet goes, I consult only with my physician, not with anonymous people on the internet. And she does not recommend going vegan to me at all. Which I have no problem to accept, since even with protein/fat rich diet I weigh about 10 kg less than would be healthy for me and when I try to eat strictly vegan food for one single day, my hands start shaking and I feel dizzy (and no, legumes and suplements simply do not help, except in making me gassy). I have to at least drink milk/eat cheese and eggs, when no meat or fish are available. I do not know why. I am not happy with it, but I refuse to feel even more miserable than I already do because of some quirk of my metabolism I have no control over. I am trying to go mostly lacto-ovo vegan. That at least seems achievable for me without endangering my health.

  36. Alex says

    you do know that a complete vegetarian society would need a lot more agriculture which would kill a lot more animals

    Oh good Azkyroth, I completely missed that one, hehe. Maybe I can sell hugo some shares to my new water fauced company which is going to solve the water shortage problem in the sahara.

  37. huffysnappy says

    Following on from my comment at 51. – here is the relevant info I was attempting to link to:

    (c) The producer of an organic livestock operation must not:

    (1) Sell, label, or represent as organic any animal or edible product derived from any animal treated with antibiotics, any substance that contains a synthetic substance not allowed under §205.603, or any substance that contains a nonsynthetic substance prohibited in §205.604.

    (7) Withhold medical treatment from a sick animal in an effort to preserve its organic status. All appropriate medications must be used to restore an animal to health when methods acceptable to organic production fail. Livestock treated with a prohibited substance must be clearly identified and shall not be sold, labeled, or represented as organically produced.

    This is from the ecrf.gov website

  38. hugo says

    Granted that was the first link I found here’s more info http://theconversation.com/ordering-the-vegetarian-meal-theres-more-animal-blood-on-your-hands-4659

    Published figures suggest that, in Australia, producing wheat and other grains results in:
    at least 25 times more sentient animals being killed per kilogram of useable protein
    more environmental damage, and
    a great deal more animal cruelty than does farming red meat.

    Now as I said, I don’t care what anyone eats as long as we’re free to do the same. And I’m all for proper treatment of our livestock. While there is a difference between individual vegetarian and vegans I find it is another one of those difficult to pinpoint positions, at what definitive point is one a vegetarian/vegan, I know vegetarians who eat fish, is that right? do vegans kill flies? What about bacteria? Where is the line?

  39. Dunc says

    @huffysnappy, 51 & 54: OK, so it turns out that US organic standards are horrible. My knowledge is of UK and European organic standards, which allow sick animals to be treated without losing their organic status (provided proper records are kept). I had (incorrectly) assumed that US standards would be roughly equivalent. Chalk it up as yet another example of the completely fucked-up nature of US agriculture.

  40. azhael says

    I have been tittering on the brink of vegetarianism for years. I have reduced my meat consumption and have narrowed my criteria for what i will consume. I´ve never crossed the border, though, and become a full fledged vegetarian/vegan. My main reason is that i´m largely satisfied with the criteria that i currently have but also, importantly, is that i see what i think is a great big hole in the vegetarian/vegan argument which is that agriculture causes untold animal death, often in brutal ways. If the goal is to not be responsible for animal suffering and exploitation, then what about the toll that pesticides and other forms of pest control takes, not to mention the animals that are killed while terrain is being prepared or during harvesting. Billions of animals dying of poisoning, being mutilated by machines, trampled, etc…
    Vegetarian/vegan diets are not animal suffering free. It´s just that for the most part the animals that suffer are small and inconspicuous. Just in case anybody is thinking of making the argument that annelids and nematodes are not the same as cows, consider that it´s not just earthworms, grasshopers and beetles that are destroyed by their millions, it´s also mice and voles, sparrows and starlings, toads and frogs…all quite capable of feeling pain and suffering just like a cow does.

    I also have a problem with people who make the case that any form of exploitation or sacrifice methodology is necessarily barbaris and inhumane. These people seem to be under the impresion that if we didn´t kill animals through specific methodologies aimed at nullifying suffering, these animals would be jumping and skidding on green pastures until they grew too bored of being happy and they just died. Without methologies that eliminate suffering, what you get is animals dying of natural causes…which is predation, disease, famine…etc…
    Animals die…constantly…and in hideous, horrific ways. I´m not convinced that´s better than dying quickly and painlessly after having had a life free of predation, parasites, etc.
    Personally i think the focus should be in getting people to reduce their meat consumption, making sure that the entire industry is subjected to extremely strict control and that only the most painless methologies are used as well as garanteeing a sufficient quality of life for all the animals involved. I don´t think that´s impossible although it´s not going to be easy (educating people to reduce their consumption and raising consciousness so that there is a strong societal pressure to do things properly, as well as allowing meat prices to go up which in return allows for more expenditure per animal, etc, etc…). To me, that would would make meat/animal product consumption acceptable. Then again i´m still young and trying to figure this out (just like everything else). I´m willing to be convinced that my position is mistaken. What do you think?

  41. saganite says

    Yeah, neither vegan nor vegetarian (nor expected to be one soon), but I try to buy organic products. Obviously you can’t get rid of all the discomfort of the animals, but with proper, strict regulations, things can be much better for them at least. A lot of the horror stories about how chickens are treated for example (chopping off beaks, declawing and whatnot) are not applicable to places with good regulations on the farming industry. I wouldn’t be surprised if (parts of) the USA were particularly bad, though, what with the common obsession with deregulation and short-term profits. Actually, I’d be very interested to see the differences on a state-by-state level!

  42. huffysnappy says

    Charly @ 52. (and to anyone reading who would like to go vegan, but thinks they might not be able to)

    I’m not trying to tell you what you ought to do, or what you are physiologically capable of doing, or even presume your level of knowledge in these matters, but if you are actually interested in going vegan but think you cannot do so, I would like to make a suggestion (on the chance that it might be helpful), which is that you may find the writing of Virginia Messina and Jack Norris, who are RDs and vegan, and who specialise in vegan nutrition, to be of use and /or interest. Both maintain a presence on the web.

    I hope you have a great doctor who really knows alot about vegetarian nutrition. My personal experience is that the practitioners I see, as well as those I teach medical school with (best medical school in the country, reputedly), tend to know alot less about vegetarian – and general – nutrition than they think they do. And their lack of actual knowledge (as opposed to myths or outdated hypotheses) is no barrier to their giving confident advice to patients and students in these matters.

    I’m pretty sure Jack Norris a while back, at his Jack Norris RD webpage, indicated that he was interested for people to contact him, if they were wanting to go vegan but felt they couldn’t, to see if he could make any suggestions, if such were sought from him. (Sorry, I can’t find the actual post).

    IMO, I generally find Jack’s approach to vegan nutrition pretty good – he is always trying to keep up to date with the latest literature, and take an evidence based approach. Neither Jack nor Ginny take a vegangelical stance, or imply that unsuccessful vegans are lazy-ass fakers.

    And with that I must bow out of this discussion. Good night all.

  43. tsig says

    Sad to see you’ve joined the holier than thou veggie brigade. Will you also be adopting cleansing diets? I hear that orange juice is a cure for what ails you.

    As a scientist I’m sure you have scientific proof of the evils of eating meat.

  44. Space Monster says

    I’ve been wanting to reduce my meat consumption but I’m finding it difficult. I love meat, don’t really feel satisfied without it, don’t really like most greens and vegetables, and worst of all, I don’t really know what/how to prepare meatless meals beyond throwing some basic raw vegetables together with some iceberg lettuce. (That last point may very well explain some of the earlier points.)

    But I’ve been becoming increasingly more unhappy with the treatment of the animals that make up my food, even before this expose, and want to take my desire to cut way back on meat into an actual practice. So, can anyone recommend some very basic vegetarian cookbooks/idea books? (Preferably ones that don’t rely on meals really heavy in starches. )

  45. Lofty says

    I wonder how much of this is age related? Up to about age 35 I used to eat anything and everything and not gain weight or ever feel ill from food. As I aged chronic low level discomfort led me to give up in turn, citrus, caffeine, sugar, beef and pork, and lately wheat products. Still to come are dairy, fish and chicken, if I need to. Tolerance to food stuffs has changed in me, at least.
    As for the ethical stuff, I’ve long known that intensive meat raising is an environmental stuff up, making me keep my red meat intake to locally sourced meat, not factory farmed where possible.

  46. Suido says

    I’ve been meaning to reduce my meat intake for a while, for environmental reasons only. I decided this year to stop buying tuna or any seafood that doesn’t come from a sustainable fishery – there aren’t many of those. The final straw on that one was the story in October of the dramatic reductions in observed sealife in the pacific ocean.

    Currently living in the the beef capital of Australia though, where steaks are delicious, reasonably priced, and sourced locally if you buy from the right places. So that’s enabling my red meat eating ways.

    Next year I’ll be moving elsewhere, and I’ll probably restart the reduction in red meat that I’d been doing before moving here.

    I don’t know that I’ll ever go full vegetarian, I’ve never been a fussy eater and always eaten whatever is in front of me wherever I am, but I definitely feel the need to reduce my carbon footprint and increase the sustainability of my lifestyle.

  47. Suido says

    A side note on the local beef industry where I currently live: I’ve had some interesting conversations with farmers in the area this year, which is very flood prone.

    Many prefer to farm cattle rather than crops due to the reduced losses when floods hit and the fragile soils that can be easily exhausted after a few years of planting. Obviously livestock bring their own problems to the issue of fragile soils, but it did make me wonder how sustainable the beef industry could be if it was restricted to areas where planting crops is not a sustainable farming practice anyway.

  48. sumdum says

    Though vegetarian food might not be suffering free because agriculture kills voles, molls, birds and what not, let’s not forget the cows, pigs and other animals are fed large amounts of corn, which is also agriculture with the aforementioned deaths of voles, molls, birds etcetera.. AND the cow, pig or what have you in addition.
    Personally, I just could not afford to go vegan. Way too expensive.

  49. praxis.makes.perfect (Just call me Prax. It's easier to type) says

    I’d like to thank all the folks abpve who have equated being vegan and vegetarian with “being a good person”. It’s so wonderful to know that because I can’t afford to be an organic obsessed vegan I’m a horrible person.

    Thanks ever so much.

    I hadn’t been here for a while due to a heavy work schedule and my mother’s health issues and today, the first morning I had in a log time to spend reading a blog I love I suddenly find out that I’m the worlds biggest asshole because I don’t have the purchasing power to participate in what, in my country, is a very privileged way to shop and eat.

    Thanks for helping me move on to greener pastures, folks. I’d rather spend what little free time I have participating in conversations where my lack of economic privilege isn’t seen as evil.

  50. says

    #55, Hugo:

    That link was just stupid. It completely neglects the environmental cost of turning Australia’s natural environment into a grazing range for cattle. If you think using the land to feed your herd is free meat, I’ve got a word for you: rabbits. Just turn them loose and they’ll eat whatever food is lying around, no problem.

    And singing mice? Oh, brother. Fruit flies also sing.

    #60, tsig:

    Sad to see you’ve joined the holier than thou veggie brigade.

    Did I hector you in my post? I said I have made a personal decision for me. It seems to me that you’re the only one taking offense at someone else’s diet choices.

  51. carlie says

    PZ – what are some of your favorite go-to vegetarian meals? Part of what stymies those raised on meat is exactly what to do/have to put all of those foods together, and veg. cookbooks often skew to the more fancy/involved side of menus.

  52. doublereed says

    Also, wtf #60? Where did that come from? Are you just embracing your stereotypes? Asshole.

  53. hugo says

    Thanks for the answer PZ.
    Like I said, the deaths on the fields can be easily discarded as stupid and dumb because the animals do not have the same cuteness factor as little piggies and fuzzy cowies.
    I guess you will not be giving up your fish tanks and start protesting against scientific animal testing, certain animals can be held captive and slaughtered if they satisfy your interests.
    Anyway enjoy your lunch, just remember there’s no such thing as a free one.

  54. says

    #67, Prax:

    I suddenly find out that I’m the worlds biggest asshole because I don’t have the purchasing power to participate in what, in my country, is a very privileged way to shop and eat.

    What? Where did this happen?

    First of all, I have no contempt for people who do eat meat. The meat industry is heavily subsidized in the US (as is all agriculture), and it’s also ready to exploit and process anything — pink slime, anyone? — to make it easily accessible. I don’t blame the consumer, if I’m going to blame anyone it’s the meat industry.

    Secondly, I’ve been there. When we were grad students, my wife and I went vegan for a while…and then we started having kids. It’s really hard to get through pregnancy and to keep kids happy without using cheap protein. We were also poor, and it was pretty much impossible to study, raise children, and invest the time and money in good quality meals without meat.

    I also see that a lot of money gets sunk into meat substitutes as vegetarian food: here’s this expensive box of processed soy that tastes just like pork ribs, or chicken, or hamburger. I don’t get it. It increases the perception that vegetarian food has to be a lot more costly to be good, because there’s this extra effort to turn a bean into faux animal products. I’ve been really happy with vegetarian curries — they don’t try to emulate anything, other than what they are. I’ll marinate vegetables and roast them in the oven — they’re delicious, and they taste like carrots and potatoes and rutabagas and cauliflower and onions, which is what they are and what I want.

    I haven’t seen one comment here that says anyone is a bad person for eating meat. There does seem to be a rising tide of resentment from people who feel snubbed that others are making choices that they can’t or won’t.

  55. dianne says

    Query: Is anyone working on simulated milk? Not just soy milk or almond milk but a full milk substitute which could be made into cheese of a similar texture and melting consistency as regular milk cheese, etc? Or even lower-cruelty cheese made from milk from cows that are free range grazers and keep their calves with them until weaning time (with only the extra milk from natural overproduction being harvested for use by humans. I’d be interested in either product but have never seen either even proposed, much less in production–the only option seems to be to go straight to veganism, which I haven’t yet been able to make myself do, or just blow off animal suffering as long as you’re not personally killing them outright.

  56. tariqata says

    Space Monster @61: I highly recommend checking out 101cookbooks.com. There are a whole lot of really good vegetarian recipes that are very vegetable-centric. The author has also written two cookbooks, both of which are also good, but I’d recommend Super Natural Every Day as a good starting point.

  57. carlie says

    Eh, fish and seafood is more delicious anyway.

    Fish and seafood is meat. If you eat fish and seafood, you are not a vegetarian. Fish/seafood is subject to the exact same arguments re: pain and suffering, and the same arguments re: environmental destruction. There is nothing different between land meat and water meat, except possibly that fish/seafood are worse because much of it is depleting the world’s stocks rather than specifically creating them for consumption.

  58. mouse says

    I read this last night. I woke up this morning still thinking “this is wonderful.” It’s just refreshing and wonderful to have someone whose voice carries so well acknowledging the suffering and cruelty inherent in producing meat and milk and that, maybe, it’s ethically preferable to stop facilitating that cruelty.

    Yay!

  59. Jeff K says

    I eat lower on the food chain. Being worried about animal suffering is noble, though it seems we can’t even treat each other with respect, no surprise we have a hard time with other critters.

    My “beef” is with the holier than thou’s, (#77 for instance) who want to guilt trip us into eating EXACTLY the way they do. My food choices have more to do with the environmental disasters that factory farming creates than cruelty to animals. Supporting small farmers is also win/win, better treatment of livestock and boosts the local economy instead of Monstroso, er Monsanto.

  60. ludicrous says

    Carlie @ 70,

    Exactly so. Your comment inspired me to google veg cooking for dummies, thanks. Happily lots of links. I need all the help I can get. Meat is starting to taste fishy to me and fish more stinky lately. Chemical odor on meat now or no odor at all, equally suspicious. And the bright red color, it ain’t blood.

    Easy for PZ to say, having a vegan partner.

  61. ludicrous says

    PZ notes a rising tide of resentment. Boy howdy, if we could just become aware of what’s going on in our preconscious just before that resentment explodes. What was that thought there, just before the feeling?

  62. says

    PZ, @74,

    I wonder if Prax was referring to this comment (from craigmcgillivary, @16),

    Glad to hear that you have decided to be a good person.

    ,which, I suppose, could be interpreted as saying that people who have not made the same decsion you have, are not good people. I don’t think that was what intended, but I can imagine some people read it that way.

    Anyway, congrats on going veggie and doing what you feel is right. I’m not vegetarian myself, though I have been cutting back my meat consumption considerably in recent years and I try to buy locally produced meat from small scale farms.

  63. D says

    Azkyroth @ 37

    Not disagreeing with the general point you were making, but was amused you used parasites. There seems to be increasing evidence of late that having (certain) parasites is associated with reduction in some immune/inflamation type diseases. Though perhaps you knew that and used parasites b/c of it.

    @ the larger topic.
    Diet is individualized. Reducing/eliminating meat has its benefits, but people are going to make that choice based on their own circumstances. And if someone doesn’t have the priors that has already led to them to conclude eating meat/killing animals is morally wrong, arguing from the conclusion it is wrong probably isn’t going to do much to change their mind.

  64. Nick Gotts says

    As a scientist I’m sure you have scientific proof of the evils of eating meat. – tsig@60

    How about you first provide the “scientific proof” of the evils of slavery, genocide and rape? Then we’ll know what you mean by “scientific proof” in this context.

  65. doublereed says

    Fish and seafood is meat. If you eat fish and seafood, you are not a vegetarian. Fish/seafood is subject to the exact same arguments re: pain and suffering, and the same arguments re: environmental destruction. There is nothing different between land meat and water meat, except possibly that fish/seafood are worse because much of it is depleting the world’s stocks rather than specifically creating them for consumption.

    I’m not a vegetarian. But it looks to me that PZ is more disgusted with the meat/dairy industry than anything else. And a lot of that goes away when you’re eating fish and seafood. And it’s more delicious.

    Depletion is a serious issue though.

  66. Alex says

    here’s this expensive box of processed soy that tastes just like pork ribs, or chicken, or hamburger. I don’t get it.

    Oh AMEN to that! There is no need to go to unnecessarily processed stuff imitating meat in order to get a great vegetarian meal. I actually find the stuff a bit repulsive.

    @tsig

    From your comment I get the impression that PZ was holier than thou long before he turned vegetarian

  67. says

    ibyea:

    @SC
    Wait, who said that they can fuck themselves in the comments here?

    It was a quote from the link @ #12. You would think that if someone really wanted to go vegan and was having problems, they would go to one of the thousands of vegan sites and ask for help. (If they did, they would be overwhelmed with suggestions and resources.)

    ***

    Arawhon:

    SC @ # 18

    As someone who uses and comments on the internet, I take umbrage at your suggestion that everyone who has access to the internet can go vegan.

    I did not in fact suggest that.

    ***

    My go-to sites for vegan recipes are Post-Punk Kitchen (she also has cookbooks and now a video series) and Vegan Yumminess (she’s, unfortunately, religious, so you have to ignore that part). But it’s worthwhile just to google “vegan ____ recipe” – you’re likely to come up with several hits for any reasonable query.

    Erik Marcus has published a guide to going vegan. It’s very inexpensive, and he’s also made it available free online for those who can’t afford to buy it.

    The Food Empowerment Project, which advocates for ethical food and its availability to poor people, also has resources.

    Animal agriculture is heavily subsidized in the US. Its products aren’t actually cheaper to produce (quite the contrary, and that’s not even taking into account the environmental costs) – they’re just paid for with tax money. That’s a political struggle and not something that can be addressed at the individual level.

    Even so, I haven’t found eating a vegan diet to be more expensive than a nonvegan diet. I think in many cases, and this was true for me, people just don’t know about real nutritional needs and the nutritional content of various foods.

    Anyway, I’d stopped commenting here. I wanted to applaud PZ’s decision, so I have, but I think this will be my last comment.

  68. voidhawk says

    “Did I hector you in my post? I said I have made a personal decision for me. It seems to me that you’re the only one taking offense at someone else’s diet choices.”

    get used to it, PZ. There are some meat-eaters who can’t hear the word ‘vegetarian’ without giving a blood-boiling rant . Oh, and cue the oh-so-funny people who say things like “Don’t worry, a bacon sandwich will cure you.”

    Adding to the people who don’t understand the economic argument against vegetarianism. Veggies tend to be much, much cheaper and if you’re in serious food poverty, they can be eaten raw. The only way vegetarianism becomes the more expensive option is if you replace all your meat with quorn or similar.

    Finally, just a tip, you can replace mince meat with mixed peppers and mushrooms chopped really fine or blended together. Delicious fruity taste and costs about a third of mince beef.

  69. randay says

    Vegans and Vegetarians are NOT more ethical than meat eaters. See Natalie Angier, a vegetarian herself, on the “Science of Plants”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76k0TXFu2iE

    Eating plants rather than animals is just a prejudice because plants are further back as our evolutionary cousins. In addition, most likely Homo-Sapiens’ brains only developed because they and their ancestors started eating meat.

    Though I eat meat and make no excuse for it, I don’t eat Kosher nor Halal which are particularly cruel. I don’t eat ground beef either, as hamburgers or in prepared foods, as that usually comes from mechanical recuperation of animal left-overs.

    So hate me if you wish, but your supposed superiority is fictitious.

  70. Ewan R says

    Hope you enjoy it PZ… I’ll third (or wherever we’re up to) SC’s suggestion (demand? (I know, not really…)) to go vegan (particularly as your distaste extends beyond killing to milk production etc) – I went veggie probably… 9 months ago, and fully vegan 3 months later, for essentially the same reasons (made easier by the fact my wife preceded me in both moves by approximately 2 months).

    Meat, milk and egg substitutes available now are ludicrously good. My own suggestion for someone taking this track is to check out the “Happy Herbivore” series of cookbooks – I’d say I eat 5+ meals a week sourced entirely from these books and frankly I haven’t looked back. Also, based on our pre-vegan and post-vegan food budgets – if you’re comfortably middle class then you’ll probably save money by making the switch – we certainly did despite getting all tofu heavy and whatnot. I fully realize that said switch isn’t necessarily economically viable for all, or indeed necessarily easy in terms of health etc (I have a colleague who is practically allergic to every sort of reasonable plant based source of protein (practically anything cultivated to be honest… why he became a plant physiologist I don’t know, although I expect it was to exact revenge) but I would strongly urge anyone who has the means and the physical capacity to at least give vegetarianism/veganism a shot for a while… you too can alienate all your friends and get utterly preachy entirely without meaning to! (or something more positive if that isn’t how you get your rocks off)

  71. says

    randay,

    Noone is claiming to be superior. Jesus H. Christ, I still eat meat, but I’m tempted to become vegetarian just to annoy people like you.

  72. says

    The issue I have being full vegetarian (I am an ovo-lacto piscetarian) is that the majority of restaurants have the shittiest menus for vegetarians and vegans. There are those great and delicious cuisines (I love Indian, Lebanese, and Ethiopian foods) whose restaurants very well are based on the vegetarian diet and can easily fulfill my desires for a good meal.

    But if you go to a place and ask for a vegetarian menu and they look at you like you have two heads, you’re in for trouble. Besides a dull salad (mostly lettuce, goddammit I hate lettuce) the only other options for vegetarians tend to be roasted vegetables (boring) or some kind of pasta dish that was designed for a picky child without a discerning palate.

    I order seafood at those places because I want something tasty. If the restaurant has a delicious vegetarian option or a vegetarian menu, I’m very happy and will gladly order their stuffed mushrooms or rutabaga cole slaw or some other meal like that. But I’m not ordering a fucking house salad or spaghetti and tomato sauce.

  73. Nick Gotts says

    randay@90,

    This particular piece of stupidity crops up reliably every time vegetarianism is discussed. Plants do not have a central nervous system. It is therefore as certain as any empirical claim can be that they are incapable of suffering or enjoyment.

    I don’t hate you, but I do despise you for using such a dishonest, fuckwitted excuse.

  74. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    For awhile now, motivated by both my pocketbook and by my unwillingness to be more invested in a gross and exploitive industry than I have to be, I’ve been reducing my meat intake. At this point, meat (of most types) is a “special occasion” splurge. When I buy meat, I try to go to the local farmer’s market, where I can look the farmer in the eye and buy from the one who treats the animal with the minimum amount of cruelty. I know that no cruelty is impossible in meat production, so I do the best I can. The biggest difficulty with me is that I absolutely detest soy. Seriously, it is revolting to me. Probably because I grew up surrounded by soybean fields, where the smell just got everywhere. I’ve gotten to the point where I can tolerate sitting at a table with someone eating tofu – I didn’t used to be able to do that (seriously, my gag reflex at the smell of soy was that bad) – but I still can’t eat it. So my protein intake is chiefly (1) nuts (2) cheese (more on this later) and (3) various protein-rich veggies.

    My one weakness, right now, is in dairy. I have tried every milk-substitute I’ve seen, and they all make me retch. Maybe someone will come up with a milk-substitute that doesn’t taste like ass, and I’ll pursue it. Milk-free cheeses similarly gross me out. So I eat a lot of cheese. I rarely buy eggs, and when I do they go into things I’m baking.

  75. Alex says

    Why do people of otherwise high intelligence not hesitate to use the most obviously dumb arguments when confronted with a vegetarian, or atheist (and I’m sure there are other examples). It’s as if there is a insta-defense-rage-reaction which overrides everything and grabs the first argumentative straw it finds, no matter how silly, just to avoid further discomfort.

    @randay

    Lol, if you think that there was a coherent argument, you may need to down a steak really quick, your big homosapien brain is obviously dangerously undersupplied.

  76. Jacob Schmidt says

    Eating plants rather than animals is just a prejudice because plants are further back as our evolutionary cousins.

    Ay, ’tis just my prejudice that let’s me observe that plants are incapable of feeling pain or suffering.

  77. Ewan R says

    The issue I have being full vegetarian (I am an ovo-lacto piscetarian) is that the majority of restaurants have the shittiest menus for vegetarians and vegans.

    I find dining out to be a bit of a chore also, although not necessarily too terrible (I’m not averse to roasted veggies however….) – it does require a bit of prior research I’ve discovered, and frankly I don’t go overly high end so haven’t encountered anything in that sphere. Thus far I’ve had no issues with Indian food, haven’t attempted (much – nothing outside of chains) Chinese, know of one Thai place where there are a handful of dishes available and then have a list of more mainstream places where there are a few options…

    CPK has quite a few pizza options which if not already vegan can be made so.
    Red Robin (wtf a vegan is doing eating at a burger joint I dunno… but I do…) has a vegan burger, although one must generally painstakingly explain that you want vegan rather than veggie, and that the bun should not be toasted with butter.
    Noodles & Co has a number of dishes
    PF Changs has a number of good tofu dishes and vegan options.

    If I ate out more I’d probably have a better listing, but in my experience it is hard, but not that hard with a little legwork.

    My one weakness, right now, is in dairy. I have tried every milk-substitute I’ve seen, and they all make me retch.

    I tried soy-yogurt and it seriously tasted like Pam (the non-stick spray, not the other Pam) – so bad I spat it in the trashcan… almond milk does pretty well for me (I can eat it on cereal, and make oatmeal with it when I am bored making it with straight up water (also nice in that I’m pretty sure when we buy in bulk it winds up cost effective compared to milk) but that’s about it – other milk substitutes tend to be pretty gagworthy for me also.

    I rarely buy eggs, and when I do they go into things I’m baking.

    There are a lot of ways to avoid eggs in baking… if I remembered any of them I’d bring them up (I think applesauce, for instance, makes a good replacement… and there are other things to help with binding and whatnot – I haven’t noticed that removing eggs has altered the awesomeness of my baked goods)

  78. Rob Grigjanis says

    randay @90: Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and The Little Shop of Horrors are not documentaries.

  79. Reginald Selkirk says

    Next they should do an expose on the treatment of vegetables at factory farms. That could put you off food entirely – except vegemite.

  80. falstaff says

    PZ Myers wrote “I haven’t seen one comment here that says anyone is a bad person for eating meat. ”

    From comment 16: “Glad to hear that you have decided to be a good person. Giving up meat is pretty easy really.”

    That certainly seems to imply you were a piece of shit before.

  81. hugo says

    Ah the good old appeal to yuckiness, pink slime ha, it’s a lot more appealing and healthier than what I saw going in to jam pots when I worked at the jam factory eeuw, still I guess all of you make your own jam, lucky privileged you, guess you’re all pink too.

  82. says

    So hate me if you wish, but your supposed superiority is fictitious.

    <mega-facepalm>

    What is it with you guys? I send you to an article about the nastiness of factory farming, I tell you it was the final straw for me and I’m going to take meat out of my diet, and suddenly there are these meat-eaters showing up at the behest of the voices in their head or something to chide me for hating them (I have no idea who you are) and prancing about trumpeting my superiority (I made a decision after reviewing the evidence, that’s all).

    Some people are a wee bit oversensitive, I think.

  83. says

    My wife and I are “meat reducers” (a term I saw on the BBC once), but we do eat a lot of cheese. Probably five dinners out of the week are meatless, with the exception usually being fish or chicken. Beef is generally a dining-out treat, other than the occasional locally-produced burgers from the farmers’ market.

    The impetus for our shifting was that, almost ten years ago I found out the unpleasant way that I have diverticular diease, for which a high-fibre diet is good management strategy. That, and the then-impending half-century mark (meaning CV issues are no longer something one can dismiss as Can’t Happen To Me).

    As a life-long fussy eater, I was surprised how easy it was to change. There are umpteen different kinds of bean, ditto soy products (TVP is quite an acceptable sub for ground beef in pasta sauces), lentils, chickpeas, throw in some broccoli and you’re good. It helps that my wife is the sort of cook who can look at a pile of vegs and say “I could make a good stir fry out of that. Or add some lentils and turn it into a curry. Or pasta and make something Italian-ish…..What do you feel like eating tonight?”

    Yes, there’s no doubt some economic privilege at work there. Though I don’t think our grocery budget is *that* high.

  84. says

    From comment 16: “Glad to hear that you have decided to be a good person. Giving up meat is pretty easy really.”
    That certainly seems to imply you were a piece of shit before.

    Glad to see you making comments here.

    Of course, I’m only saying that to snidely imply that you were an illiterate piece of shit five minutes ago. Did you pick up on that?

    This is absurd. It’s like being back in first grade. “The teacher gave Mary’s arithmetic assignment a gold star — that must mean I’m stupid. Boo hoo.”

  85. dianne says

    I have this fantasy in my mind about a cookbook called “The Decadent Vegan” which is full of recipes that are vegan, tasty, and not particularly good for you. The reason I want this cookbook is to point out that veganism is about not eating animal products. Period. It is not, in essence, about eating healthily and certainly not about suffering and giving up all the good foods. My idea is to have three basic rules for recipes: 1. must be vegan (duh) 2. must be tasty 3. no “fake foods”, i.e. no tofu or seitan pretending to be meat. If you use tofu, seitan, or other vegetable sources of protein in a recipe, it should be as tofu, seitan, etc. I prefer a really well prepared tofu to meat anyway.

  86. tsig says

    PZ your title “I’m cured, no more meat” implies that anyone who eats meat is sick and certainly reflects a “healther than thou” attitude of superiority.

    The comments are full of people who are full of themselves because they don’t eat meat.

    Reminds me of a celibates attitude towards sex.

  87. says

    @108: Indeed. It’s like watching the dude-bros come crawling out of the woodwork because some mere chick politely said: “Guys, don’t do that”. Only with even less provocation.

    Human behaviour is…..remarkable, sometimes.

  88. David Wilford says

    I’m a happy meat eater myself, but I agree that large-scale confinement “factory farms” are a problem both in terms of how the animals are treated and the health concerns because of the overuse of antibiotics to deal diseases that are endemic in such crowded conditions for the animals. At least the FDA is looking into the issue of antibiotic use now:

    http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/235398811.html

  89. dianne says

    The comments are full of people who are full of themselves because they don’t eat meat.

    How is this an argument for eating meat? Would the animal suffering in factory farming be more compelling to you if people here were less “full of themselves”? What would be the best way to demonstrate not being full of oneself?

    Incidentally, in the interest of full disclosure, while I haven’t eaten mammals since I was in my mid-20s, I do occasionally eat chicken, mostly to avoid being “that vegetarian” who restricts the group’s ability to go to certain restaurants and makes cooking for a group difficult.

  90. tsig says

    @108: Indeed. It’s like watching the dude-bros come crawling out of the woodwork because some mere chick politely said: “Guys, don’t do that”. Only with even less provocation.

    Human behaviour is…..remarkable, sometimes.

    So true because eating meat is exactly like being pro rape.

    Human behavior is…..remarkable, sometimes

  91. Jacob Schmidt says

    dianne

    I have this fantasy in my mind about a cookbook called “The Decadent Vegan” which is full of recipes that are vegan, tasty, and not particularly good for you.

    I dunno about that last bit, but I have had delicious vegan chili.

    Unfortunately, vegan food around here is considered a “healthy” option, so the prices are arbitrarily jacked up.

  92. ludicrous says

    Somebody should think up a catchy name for this condition; the condition of living with the constant fear the someone somewhere might decide to do something good which will require me to compare myself and use his/her decision as evidence that I am a piece of shit. And then would require me to judge that person as a real asshole for making me do this to myself.

  93. Ewan R says

    I have this fantasy in my mind about a cookbook called “The Decadent Vegan” which is full of recipes that are vegan, tasty, and not particularly good for you.

    I’m pretty sure such a book exists… “Bake and Destroy” by Natalie Slater is one such, it has some fuggin amazing recipes in it (there is a breakfast pizza one that we pretty much have every 2nd week) – according to my wife there are a whole slew of others out there also, it doesn’t take an awful lot to find them (apparently also Chloe’s kitchen and Chloe’s Vegan Desserts are also good) – sure, they aren’t overly likely to be in your local bookstore next to Martha and Ina, but that is why Jesus built amazon for us.

  94. David Wilford says

    ludicrous @ 119:

    I think the reason some may be a bit put off by PZ’s declaration is that it equates eating meat with the cruel treatment of animals, when the fact is that the former does not require the latter.

  95. consciousness razor says

    PZ your title “I’m cured, no more meat” implies that anyone who eats meat is sick and certainly reflects a “healther than thou” attitude of superiority.

    The comments are full of people who are full of themselves because they don’t eat meat.

    If he had stopped doing something he thought was wrong, anything at all other than not eating meat, would you have the same nonsensical concerns about that? Is there some problem with thinking you should do good stuff and shouldn’t do bad stuff? Is it just that you can’t actually make an argument to support meat-eating? Is it that you assume you don’t need to?

    Reminds me of a celibates attitude towards sex.

    Why does it remind you of that? Tell me if I’m wrong, but since you don’t offer any reasoning, my only choice in making sense of it is to toss out one possibility: because sex is a “natural” thing that “everyone” does, and that is supposedly what makes it okay?

  96. doublereed says

    PZ your title “I’m cured, no more meat” implies that anyone who eats meat is sick and certainly reflects a “healther than thou” attitude of superiority.

    I actually thought it was a pun on “cured meat.”

  97. consciousness razor says

    I think the reason some may be a bit put off by PZ’s declaration is that it equates eating meat with the cruel treatment of animals, when the fact is that the former does not require the latter.

    Unless you’re scavenging it or euthanizing it, yes it does. And I don’t believe that’s the case for anyone here.

    You’re aware that eating meat requires that the animal die, right?

  98. Ewan R says

    I think the reason some may be a bit put off by PZ’s declaration is that it equates eating meat with the cruel treatment of animals, when the fact is that the former does not require the latter.

    Ignoring SC’s arguements that killing something in order to eat it is essentially by definition cruel (apologies if I am boiling this down incorrectly) while it may not *require* cruel treatment of animals in order to eat meat (by definitions which not everyone will agree on, but hopefully I’m seeing it as you do here rather than as I do) in the US, at least, the vast majority of meat consumed has been produced under conditions that the vast majority of people would agree are cruel (to varying degrees) and arguing over the fraction of a percent of available meat that is produced “cruelty free” is rather a distraction.

  99. ludicrous says

    Ludicrous @ 19 Left off part of ‘the condition’

    After judgeing the person who made me do this to myself as a real asshole, I then am unable suppress the urge to convey my judgement on line in front of the gods and everyone else thereby proving that I am truly the inane shithead that I have been trying to hide.

  100. ludicrous says

    doublereed @ 126

    …..pun. Me too, but then some days I tend to think that everything is a pun. Helps me relax.

  101. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    @123, Cynickal,
    I also went to Sinclair’s “The Jungle”. I think it is worth pointing out that Sinclair originally wrote it to highlight the plight of poor workers in the meatpacking industry, with a hope of promoting unions and better working conditions. Instead, it led to Congressional hearings and the first food safety and standards legislation.

    Sinclair responded: “I aimed at the public’s heart, and by accident, I hit it in the stomach.”

  102. David Wilford says

    Ewan R @ 128:

    It depends on how you define cruel in the context of the care of livestock. A cow standing in a feedlot that’s not suffering by being knee-deep in mud and manure isn’t being treated cruelly just by being kept in a feedlot. This from Temple Grandin, who has spent much of her life coming up with better ways to work with livestock is perhaps a good a take as any:

    http://www.grandin.com/welfare/animals.are.not.things.html

  103. Dunc says

    You’re aware that eating meat requires that the animal die, right?

    Everything dies. Death is absolutely guaranteed as soon as you start living. Now, it’s entirely true that not rearing animals for meat means that fewer will die, but only because fewer will live in the first place.

    There’s plenty to be concerned about with the specific conditions of life and death, but death itself is inescapable.

  104. ChasCPeterson says

    PZ your title “I’m cured, no more meat” implies that anyone who eats meat is sick

    well, either that or he’s been salted, smoked, or dried.

  105. dianne says

    @127: I thought that animals killed for consumption were supposed to be euthanized. I don’t see any point in killing them in ways that are not essentially euthanasia-does the adrenalin released at the fear of death improve the flavor or something?

    @126: I saw that too and wondered whether it was deliberate.

    Question to all: Are we all in agreement that factory farming of animals in ways that result in animal cruelty is bad? I can see the possibility of a debate about whether it is better to not eat meat at all or to eat only meat from animals raised in a safe and humane way, but really don’t see an argument for continuation of the current system at all. Apart from that it produces nice high incomes for the factor farmers.

  106. carlie says

    randay at 90:

    Eating plants rather than animals is just a prejudice because plants are further back as our evolutionary cousins.

    NO. That is an entirely dumbass statement.

  107. eveningchaos says

    PZ. Have you done any research into the China Study? If so what are your thoughts on the findings from a biologist’s perspective?

  108. consciousness razor says

    dunc, #133:

    Everything dies.

    I realize that. I’m trying to find out how inane David Wilford is going to be in this thread, so please just work with me here. Let’s hope this one lasts less than a month.

    dianne, #135:

    @127: I thought that animals killed for consumption were supposed to be euthanized. I don’t see any point in killing them in ways that are not essentially euthanasia-does the adrenalin released at the fear of death improve the flavor or something?

    I mean killing them to prevent their own further suffering. I don’t mean setting them up to die and making them die in a particular way. I meant the same thing everyone else means, when they talk about euthanizing a human being.

  109. says

    PZ your title “I’m cured, no more meat” implies that anyone who eats meat is sick and certainly reflects a “healther than thou” attitude of superiority.
    The comments are full of people who are full of themselves because they don’t eat meat.

    Jesus fuck.

    OK, there’s nothing I can do about your persecution complex. You’ll have to live with it.

    Perhaps you can spend your time writing letters to people who have done something nice, blaming them for making you feel inferior? It would be a hobby.

  110. Richard Smith says

    In fact, there some debate about whether photons display intelligence. Some of them are actually quite bright.

  111. perplexed says

    PZ…not sure what you were cured from. You may have a perspective that not eating meat is some disease, creates health issues or is unethical because of CAfOs, millions would agree…millions would disagree.
    From an ethics perspective, Michael Polan has a definitive work called, “The Omnivore’s Dilemna” that explains in detail slaughterhouses and how business and politics got us there. Liere Keith on the other hand writes a definitive work on the vegan/ vegetarian lifestyle called , “The Vegetarian Myth”. Clearly, the national obesity and diabetes issues in current society relate directly to so much misinformation about how we eat. The carbs epidemic driven by politics and big business has made us so unhealthy. Just look on the street and see so many overweight folks walking around. This is not about body shaming, it’s about health. Regardless, based on a variety of experts from Cordain, to the Drs. Eades to Drs. Finney and Volick (all with significant credentials in nutritional science) and on and on, the body needs a minimum of .7 grams per every pound of lean muscle per day. Vegans and vegetarians can’t get that with their diet and the maladies that occur because of this deficience are significant. I reference the Keith book above. Lastly, is there an ethical difference if something big with brown eyes are killed for food as opposed to rodents in a field or worms or bugs or rabbits and so on. Tractors and combines kill thousands more in prepping and harvesting a field and changing habitat than all the CAFOs combined but if you want to categorize what is killed and how, and it makes you feel better because a rodent is chewed up in a blade instead of a cow with a bolt, well that’s convenient rationalization. And lastly, because we are overusing the land to grow the mass vegetables and fruits without the basic replenishment it used to get, (rotated natural animal manure) the top soil on the earth is diminishing at an alarming rate and the nutritional value is all but diminished. So congratulation on your cure, I guess.

  112. perplexed says

    Sorry, in the above note meant to say…. a minimum of .7 grams of protein per 1 pound of lean body mass daily.

  113. says

    @145: How hard is it to get the point that growing meat, as it is done today, involves plowing and planting huge swathes of land to grow animal feed? And that this presumably kills just as many rodents/hectare as if we grew human-grade food directly on that land? (Which would require less area in total).

  114. chigau (違う) says

    perplexed #145
    In case you actually read comments rather than just making them:
    Read the 144 comments before yours.
    Learn to use the Return Key.
    Provide actual citations.
    Thank you.

  115. eveningchaos says

    @only lal Your first post is a classic example of the Naturalistic Fallacy. One cannot derive what aught to be from what is. This is David Hume 101. To think that evolution has some teleological component is just plain wrong. There is not an endgame in mind for an organism’s evolution other than not to die before reproducing. I have been vegan for 5+ years now and feel just fine. I’m fine with people making their own dietary lifestyle choices, but don’t invoke fallacies to try to justify what you want to be true.

  116. says

    @146: Thank you for untangling the word, um, salad. You are aware that plants have protein, aren’t you? Yes, you have to understand about “complete proteins” requiring selection of complementary items in a meal, what has which vitamins etc, but there is no reason why one can’t have a complete, nutritious diet from plant-only sources. (Exceptions for some medical conditions, personal aversions, etc.)

  117. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    it’s like I said before, I can’t stand the vegetarians and vegans in my FB feed because I know they’re right. Can’t deny it, can’t refute it, and it’s a little hard admitting that – despite that – it won’t change my diet in the least. I love veggies, but I’ve never once felt full or satisfied when eating veggie meals (i’ve tried, ineptly, to go vegetarian twice). And they can pry my cheese from my cold, dead hands.

    having said that, if anyone has recipe suggestions I’m willing to keep trying!

  118. Ewan R says

    the body needs a minimum of .7 grams per every pound of lean muscle per day. Vegans and vegetarians can’t get that with their diet and the maladies that occur because of this deficience are significant.

    Interestingly due to my wife’s desire to track her nutrition I essentially have a breakdown of her (and if I multiply things by about 2-3 mine I guess) nutrient consumption for the past 6+ months. She has a little program that tracks RDA of each nutrient. The first one filled, every day, easily, and utterly murdered, even on a restricted calorie intake…

    Protein.

    There are a couple (I forget which) vitamins which can be a little harder to hit RDAs on, but again, this is covered easily by popping a supplement or two (and were it not for calorie restrictions it would be no issue at all).

    But yeah, why not propagate the ridiculous myth that vegetarians (who can eat eggs and cheese to their hearts content anyway… so phooey to your odd animal protein rant) have issues getting enough protein when it is utterly trivial to do so as a vegan, so long as it does whatever it is for you who cares what is or is not true? Right?

    Tractors and combines kill thousands more in prepping and harvesting a field and changing habitat than all the CAFOs combined but if you want to categorize what is killed and how, and it makes you feel better because a rodent is chewed up in a blade instead of a cow with a bolt

    And yet every cow killed with a bolt is fed a steady diet of grain produced from fields harvested and… ah yes wait, your point is meaningless, Peter Rabbit is chewed up by a combine either way, although Betsy the cow doesn’t wind up with a bolt through her brain in the vegetarian scenario, and hundreds of millions of male chicks aren’t thrown to the grinders for being useless wastes of flesh who produce not a single egg (Also due to trophic levels for an equivalent(ish) level of production Betsy requires 10x (ish) the harvested land to net the same end result in beef as if you’d just utilized the land for the original plants)

    And lastly, because we are overusing the land to grow the mass vegetables and fruits without the basic replenishment it used to get

    In 2002 the USDA reports that in total 130.8 Million acres were used for the production of food crops. 155 Million acres were used for the production of feed crops. Remind me how we’re overusing the land to grow basic fruits and vegetables rather than cows and chickens?

    586 Million acres, on the flip side, were used for grassland pasture and range… what a terribly awesome use of land… be a shame if some nature happened right there (but hey, nothing environmentally disruptive about big herds of 1000lb+ mammals trampling over everything.

    Land has nutrients replenished… just rather than using the pretty inefficient redistribution system of a cow (cows don’t fix nitrogen, nor do they spontaneously generate potassium or phosporous) it is rather simpler to apply the nutrients directly (there are issues to this, but self same issues exist with, and are exacerbated by, animal Ag, so your point here is moot at best)

  119. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Well, perplexed has clearly demonstrated that it’s impossible to survive on a vegetarian diet. That’s why no one exists in the culturally vegetarian South of India… Oh, wait.

    Southern India has one of the most wonderful cuisines on the planet! They have thousands of years of recipes waiting for you to discover. Rice and lentils, along with other legumes, provide complete protein, and the vegetable curries are wonderful. These are some of the cheapest options for protein on the planet. Many of the dishes are even vegan. The real crime of vegetarians in this country is not so much their smugness, but rather the fact that they cook their fare so badly!

    The one caveat is that if you want to go vegan, make sure you are getting enough vitamin B-12 (cyanocobalamine), the one nutrient for which there isn’t a good vegetarian source (note: tempeh and spirulina algae claim to have B-12, but I have heard that it is chemically different and may not fulfill the function properly). You can get B-12 supplements or a multivitamin will also usually give you enough. Other than this, there is no physiological reason why you need meat–not protein, not iron…none.

    Note that I consider myself to be a nonobligate vegetarian. I will eat meat if it is served to me or if it’s the only option in a restaurant or if I get lazy in the kitchen. I prefer eating vegetarian.

  120. eveningchaos says

    @151 I commend your honest answer to this perplexing issue. I remember ridiculing my sister for adopting a vegan diet. I wanted to prove her wrong so I embarked on a vegan debunking mission. I eventually fact checked her information and read the rebuttals and found myself willing to try out this new lifestyle based on the evidence that pointed to it’s benefits. Over time I learned to cook a variety of great tasting vegan meals that are both delicious and satisfying. Here are some great cookbooks that helped me…

    http://www.amazon.ca/Veganomicon-The-Ultimate-Vegan-Cookbook/dp/156924264X
    http://www.amazon.ca/Vegan-Yum-Decadent-Animal-Free-Entertaining/dp/0757313809/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1386786524&sr=1-1&keywords=vegan+yumyum
    http://www.amazon.ca/Rebar-Modern-Cookbook-Audrey-Alsterburg/dp/0968862306/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1386786565&sr=1-1&keywords=rebar
    http://www.amazon.ca/Chinese-Vegan-Kitchen-Meat-free-Dairy-free/dp/0399537708/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1386786698&sr=1-1&keywords=chinese+vegan

    Rebar is the only cookbook that has some non-vegan recipes, but they can easily be altered to suit. I hope this has been helpful. Give it a try and see how you like it. Your body may take a while to fully adjust, but I can assure you that you will eventually feel satiated after a good balanced vegan meal. But start slow and let yourself adjust. Cheers!

  121. perplexed says

    @147…well, because it doesn’t. Look up Poliface Farms and you’ll get a pretty good understanding of this.

  122. perplexed says

    @148…I did thanks, but as usual more important to insult than educate yourself. Read the books I noted or read the information from the scientists I listed or don’t and remain,well, you.

  123. perplexed says

    Trying to get about 100 grams of protein, about an average daily allotment, from vegetables, fruits and eggs on a daily basis is incredibly difficult. However the amount of carbs ingested is off the scope and those with hyperinsulinism will have a real difficult time with side affects.
    @152… It takes about 4 gallons of petroleum to harvest an acre of grain and get it to market. That’s not replenishable. Grass fed beef farms are not part of the model which was the natural way beef should be raised. The grain beef we have come to know is an atrocity. Cows are not grain eaters by nature they are ruminants, and that is why they are given loads of antibiotics to offset their sickness. 80% of antibiotics are used on animals we eat. Not so good for us. The land would ultimate heal itself if we let nature take it’s course but we would never be able to feed the population and of course, businesses would lose money.

  124. Ewan R says

    Look up Poliface Farms and you’ll get a pretty good understanding of this.

    Salatin himself openly admits that he uses bought in grain to feed his chickens and livestock. Are you suggesting that this is all perhaps hand harvested? Or do they run special harvesters with little rubber bumpers to nudge rabbits out of the way? Below stolen shamelessly from http://saywhatmichaelpollan.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/the-free-lunch/

    According to Salatin’s Pastured Poultry Profit$, the broilers have a carcass weight of 4 pounds, and the chickens require 3 pounds of feed for each pound of carcass weight (page 185). That comes out to 144,000 pounds of feed each year. Salatin writes that he uses a feed consisting of 52% corn, 29% roasted soybeans, 11% crimped oats, and the rest consisting of fish meal, kelp and nutritional supplements.

    Maybe Salatin is lying about his production methods in order to discredit himself though? These sustainable Ag types are tricksy like that.

  125. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Perplexed. No one needs 100 grams of protein per day. NO ONE! CDC recommends 56 grams for men aged 19-70, slightly less for teens and women. Where the hell are you getting you 100 grams figure?

    Poliface farms is amazing. However, the techniques used there could not supply meat to every American in the quantities they currently eat. Most people have no access to any meat but that produced by agribusiness.

  126. Ewan R says

    Trying to get about 100 grams of protein, about an average daily allotment

    WebMd figures (doctors are notorious liars of course)…

    Infants require about 10 grams a day.
    Teenage boys need up to 52 grams a day.
    Teenage girls need 46 grams a day.
    Adult men need about 56 grams a day.
    Adult women need about 46 grams a day.

    CDC – again, notorious liars

    Recommended Dietary Allowance for Protein
    Grams of protein
    needed each day
    Children ages 1 – 3 13
    Children ages 4 – 8 19
    Children ages 9 – 13 34
    Girls ages 14 – 18 46
    Boys ages 14 – 18 52
    Women ages 19 – 70+ 46
    Men ages 19 – 70+ 56

    Why are you hell bent on eating twice the recommended amount of protein? I can easily get 15.6g of protein from the 2 slices of tempeh “meat loaf” I have for lunch today which is well in excess of 1/4 of my daily recommended dose, and I’m pretty sure when I gorge myself on breakfast pizza this evening (with tofu scramble no less) I’ll be right where I need to be.

    Is there a particular reason you’re lying and inflating numbers?

  127. perplexed says

    Last note and I’m out…
    I’m 63 years old and have been an athlete all my life…and sick all my life with high blood pressure, rosacea and high cholesterol. I have done years of research on nutrition only to find myself getting colds all the time and brutally run down all the time. I was a vegan and have tried high carb diets. My weight was controlled but my blood values and health sucked.
    I went on a high protein minimum carb diet a few years ago. I eat grass fed beef, free range chicken and only sustainable fish. Minimal fruit and vegetables. No processed foods or sugar or potatoes or rice or grain. My blood values are all normal, the rosacea disappeared along with my high blood pressure. I never get tired or sick any more. I was taking a shitload do meds, now I take none.
    Carbs in any form fruits or vegetables have a dramatic effect on me. Probably not on others. But for someone to infer “I’m cured” by not eating meat without any metrics to support they are cured of anything and potentially may have a negative consequence for someone was a concern for me.

  128. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Perplexed,
    It would appear that you changed a “whole bunch of shit” all at once and found you were healthier. I’m truly glad you found a solution, but who can say which were the most effective.

    Seriously, have you been tested for diabetes? You might want to consult your doctor?

  129. says

    A_Ray:

    Most people have no access to any meat but that produced by agribusiness.

    Oh yes. This is a massive problem. I’m lucky in that regard, being in ND, but most people aren’t in Norf Dakota, and don’t have the options I do.

  130. Richard Smith says

    perplexed (#163): Well, then, it’s obvious that your diet should be followed by everyone here. Well, at least by everyone here who’s 63, athletic, and communicating under the ‘nym ‘perplexed’.

  131. perplexed says

    For the sake of brevity I gave a high level description. These issues were over a 30 year period and I was tested for everything and had blood pulled annually.
    The last several years I have gone on a progressively higher protein low carb diet and got progressively better. The last 3 years I have been off all meds with normal values. I kept journals of my activities and diet religiously (if I can say that).
    A few weeks a go I ran a half marathon without any training at all. I stopped running about a year ago for long walks daily and bike rides. I finished in two and a half hours. Never got tired. I was beat up for a few days after but recovered pretty quick.
    Last nutritional note, inflammation and the foods that cause inflammation which are sugar, grains, processed carbs and so on are what nutritional scientists are finding cause cvd, high blood pressure and on and on but high quality protein found in grass fed beef, and free range chicken and sustainable fish are the answer. They were for me…and my family.
    So when I see someone prominent say they are cured and that may have an impact on others that potentially is detrimental, even though I knew I’d get beat up I though I needed to chime in because of the different experience I had.

  132. Anthony K says

    But for someone to infer “I’m cured” by not eating meat without any metrics to support they are cured of anything

    I’m cured of my religiosity. Got doctor’s notes and everything.

  133. Anthony K says

    Come on Richard…there is no need for this type of dialogue.

    I think we’ll let the doctors decide what’s needed and what’s not, won’t we?

  134. lostintime says

    Good for you PZ, vegetarianism isn’t something to be feared at all, and it’s often the starting point of discovering a much more varied and exciting cuisine (it was for me, anyway.)

  135. perplexed says

    @170…even though I have been working at this for years everything I have referenced came from nutritional ph Ds and doctors from their books and in person including the Ancestral Health Symposium I attended in Atlanta that included the doctors and scientists on the cutting edge of nutritional science.

  136. Anthony K says

    @170…even though I have been working at this for years everything I have referenced came from nutritional ph Ds and doctors from their books and in person including the Ancestral Health Symposium I attended in Atlanta that included the doctors and scientists on the cutting edge of nutritional science.

    Did you discuss your inability to understand English with them? Because that’s the only possible relevance this comment could have to what I wrote in 170.

  137. says

    Anthony K:

    Warning: I’m inflammatory. Consult your physician before interacting with me.

    I’m stuffed full of anti-inflammatory meds right now, so I’m good.

    Perplexed, what’s annoying people is that you’re using incorrect stats and information, and attempting to extrapolate your personal situation onto everyone else. It’s great that you’ve found what works for you, but that doesn’t apply to everyone else.

  138. perplexed says

    You mean the doctors who for years prescribe statins because of big pharma with horrible side effects, or the doctors that prescribe large doses of blood pressure meds because of the diets they promote. Take a look at what doctors offer for diets after they give bypasses. The shit that got the patient in trouble in the first place. Or look at what the diet is for a diagnosed diabetic. Those doctors. No thanks. But you should feel good about them if you want, have at it. And quite frankly, there is no need to be insulting, if you want to challenge just do it, save the bullshit. It diminishes the argument.

  139. Jacob Schmidt says

    Anthony K

    I’m cured of my religiosity. Got doctor’s notes and everything.

    Heh. I should get one of those. I’d present it any time someone tried to push me in to doing some religious nonsense.

    chigau

    Honestly, a diet based on a bunch of assumptions pulled out of someone’s ass, handily sculpted atop the naturalistic fallacy.

  140. perplexed says

    @177…please be good enough to share just one inaccurate piece of information that I have noted. Thanks.

  141. Anthony K says

    You mean the doctors who for years prescribe statins because of big pharma with horrible side effects

    I cannot tell you how often I’ve been accused of covering up data because I’m ‘in the pocket of Big Pharma’. The joke’s on them: I don’t cover up anything to do with disease. But I did wire the twin towers with thermite.

  142. Richard Smith says

    Argument (splashed with bullshit): I’m melting! melting! Oh, what a world! What a world! Who would have thought a little bullshit could destroy my beautiful argumentativeness? Oooooh, look out! I’m going! Oooooh! Ooooooh!

  143. says

    Perplexed:

    big pharma

    Oh my. You do realize you’re sounding like someone ready to buy into any line of woo, right? Also, the topic here is diet, so try to stick to that, and try to do a better job defending whatever it is you’re defending.

  144. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Suggestion for a veggie meal: Masala Dosa with Sambar.

    This isn’t really that hard. A dosa is a crepe-like pancake made with a fermented batter of rice and lentils (no eggs or anything else of animal origin). Soak 2 measures of rice to one measure of urid dhal (the small white lentils) overnight. Grind the mixture in a blender with enough water to process and make a fairly thick batter. Allow to ferment in a warm spot for ~8 hours. To make the dosa, spread a thin round layer of batter in a large, hot fry pan–often they will use clarified butter, but you can use oil in the pan.

    The masala filling is potatoes prepared with garlic, onions, seasoning lentils, curry leaves and tumeric. You can find recipes on line.

    The sambar is a thick veggie stew flavored with tamarind. I could fricking live on these things.

  145. Ewan R says

    Oh, we’re doing anecdotes?

    A year ago my cholesterol was through the damn roof (well 200+) and doctors etc told me if I was 10 years older I’d be on cholesterol meds… since going vegan…. cholesterol is something nuts like 140. Switching away from animal products turned my bloodwork around completely.

    However I don’t claim veganism is an instant ticket to good health… I’d suggest anyone who wants their blood numbers (particularly cholesterol) to give it a shot if they’re up for it (economically, healthwise and so forth) but refrain from making any broader claims.

    At least now we have a rational explanation for why you’re making crap up though. You see promotion of a move away from meat as a direct slam because a move to meat worked for you… one might almost suggest you should have just said this rather than outright lying about what a vegetarian or vegan diet entails.

  146. Ewan R says

    please be good enough to share just one inaccurate piece of information that I have noted

    That 100g of protein per day is recommended by anyone respected in nutrition…

    That it is hard to get enough protein without eating meat (there’s some ratio of protein to carb to fat that is often pushed, and on a vegan diet it is easily attainable (hell we don’t even try… and right there, there it is))

    Twofer. You’re welcome.

    Your concern on tone, by the by, is duly noted.

  147. chigau (違う) says

    Are those things that cause fermentation plants or animals?
    (please don’t tell me to google, I’m trying to be wry)

  148. Anthony K says

    Ooh, thanks, ARIDS. I’ve been wanting to make dosa for a long time—it’s not easy to find here. I’ve got some vacation time coming up; so I’ll be making holiday dosa!

    (For those who’ve never had it; dosa has a slightly fermented sour mash flavour: if you enjoy njera, you’ll probably enjoy dosa.)

  149. says

    A_Ray:

    A dosa is a crepe-like pancake made with a fermented batter of rice and lentils (no eggs or anything else of animal origin). Soak 2 measures of rice to one measure of urid dhal (the small white lentils) overnight. Grind the mixture in a blender with enough water to process and make a fairly thick batter. Allow to ferment in a warm spot for ~8 hours. To make the dosa, spread a thin round layer of batter in a large, hot fry pan–often they will use clarified butter, but you can use oil in the pan.

    I think I’ll stick with frybread.

  150. perplexed says

    @189… Your wrong…see how easy that is without citation. Mine is in the books I mention by the way and whenever you can’t win an argument go for that tone thing. Always works.

  151. urmensch says

    I haven’t bothered with the appeals to nature and other logical fallacies trotted out against vegetarianism; this site has plenty of people well equipped to despatch them.
    I did laugh heartily at Perplexed at #145 claiming that as we need .7 grams of protein per 1 pound of lean body mass daily, we “vegans and vegetarians can’t get that with their diet and the maladies that occur because of this deficience are significant.”
    That’s news to me. I became a vegetarian at the age of 13, am now 47, and am basically vegan though when in difficult situations, like travelling in France, I will eat eggs and dairy.
    I weigh 76 kilos and most of that is lean muscle because I started lifting weights a year and a half ago. I never worried about protein intake before that as I was obviously getting plenty. It was only since starting going to the gym I started monitoring it, and I can easily get 1.5 grams of protein per kilo without a problem. In fact, I usually make sure I’m not eating too much protein as I want to hit that spot where I get enough protein for rebuilding without peeing away the excess and wasting protein, along with putting unnecessary burdens on my kidneys. Also, the recommendation is that endurance and strength-trained athletes have between 1.2 and 1.7 g/kg (0.5 – 0.8 grams per pound) of protein for the best performance and health. Not your average person. If anything the evidence is there that meat eating often leads to too much protein in peoples diets.
    So, sadly that old protein trope is still around after all this time. The same nonsense I heard growing up in the ’70s in Ireland.

  152. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Caine,
    But with frybread how can you ever hope to get your 1 gram of protein per lean kg of body mass? Answer me that! ;-)

    Seriously, I’m trying to get back into vegan cooking–there is some quasi-substantiated research that it might help with Rheumatoid Arthritis–with which my lovely wife has just been diagnosed.

    If you make it to a South Indian restaurant that serves them, try a Dosa. They really are tasty. It is one of the two dishes that I use to calibrate veggie Indian restaurants–the other being palak paneer. For non-veggie Indian restaurants, it’s tandoori shrimp–if they can get the shrimp to be caramelized on the outside without drying out, you have yourself one helluva restaurant.

  153. Ewan R says

    @193

    Your wrong

    My wrong? What of it?

    see how easy that is without citation

    My cited figures come from a quick internet trolling of WebMd and the CDC, so they are hardly uncited, they’re freely available to anyone. I do not, however, have access to your bookshelf, so your citations are, well, not quite so easily checked. Given that they exceed RDA from medical experts (I know… WebMd isn’t actually medical expert, but their figures are, I strongly presume, sourced from such… google U isn’t always wrong, certainly not as wrong as doubling the RDA for protein and crackpot claims that its hard to get enough protein eating vegetarian or vegan)

    whenever you can’t win an argument go for that tone thing

    I agree utterly, and presume you haven’t been around these parts. You’re ignoring content and focusing on tone entirely because you’re losing the argument. It’s something of a trope on pharyngula.

  154. Anthony K says

    and whenever you can’t win an argument go for that tone thing. Always works.

    Holy fuck, this is the worst chatbot ever. Turing test fail.

  155. says

    A_Ray:

    If you make it to a South Indian restaurant that serves them, try a Dosa.

    I’d love to do that, but if I want Dosa, I’ll have to make it myself. This is Norf Dakota, hardly a haven of diversity. I probably will make them one of these days, we both love that kind of cuisine, but I’m a lazy ass cook these days, because I’m alone most of the time.

  156. Eristae says

    Hi! I would like very much to increase the amount of vegetarian/vegan food that I’m eating, but I’ve been having some issues. I’m hoping that people here will be able to give me some pointers.

    One of the biggest problems I have is that I have irritable bowel syndrome; this results in a plethora of unpleasant side effects, but the one that most concerns this particular subject is that eating too many vegetables makes me sick. There are some things I can do to minimize this (for example, some vegetables are less likely to make me sick than others, and cooked vegetables are less likely to make me sick than raw ones), but the simple fact is that vegetables are a trial for my system and ultimately I haven’t been able to figure out anything that fixes this other than limiting the amount of vegetables that I eat. Eating simple carbohydrates (like bread) is the easiest on my system but dairy and meat are also relatively easy. Fruit is generally okay unless it’s highly acidic (like pineapple) and I go too far with it.

    Another problem is that if I don’t eat meat, I get hungry really fast. This is compounded by the fact that I have depression with extreme fatigue and don’t generally have a lot of energy to spend on making food. My final problem is that I also very much like the taste of meat and need help with finding/creating recipes that don’t have meat or dairy in it.

    So, I’m hoping that someone would be able to help me out. Any advice?

  157. says

    perplexed: It’s nice that your health is so good — I hope mine is as good at 63 (only seven years away). However I note that you while you disparage about high carb diets (no argument there — AFAIK that’s an accepted risk factor for diabetes), you completely fail to mention legumes as a food choice (actually, an entire class of foodstuffs). In doing so, you have set up something of a straw vegan. If some fool tries to subsist on rice, potatoes, whole grain bread and the occasional apple, well they’ve only got themselves to blame if they wind up diabetic and anemic. But that hardly exhausts the possibilities of a no-meat menu.

  158. randay says

    Since Nick Gotts # 94, No One including him has countered my arguments. All I have received are childish insults including from PZ who should know a bit human development. I feel for Perplexed # 167 because I am 66 years old and have never paid particular attention to my diet, but following medical examinations I am in great health for my age. Sorry Perplexed, but Statins for cholesterol, though not perfect, are better, well let’s say less worse, than other Big Pharma products on the market. Some say taking CQ-10 with them is better. I am not a doctor, so I can’t give you medical advice.

    Apparently NO ONE has watched the video of Natalie Angier nor read her article in the New York Times.

    So fuck you all, you self-righteous plant murderers.

  159. consciousness razor says

    perplexed:

    So you need protein. Let’s say you really, desperately need animal protein. Because doctors. That’s probably bullshit, but let’s say it anyway just for the sake of argument. You need meat, because of reasons. So what? Does that mean that hamburger for lunch, that pork chop for dinner, probably more than enough of it every day? Or aren’t there lots of different animals to pick from, which you could consider eating and not eating, only to the extent that you actually need to for health reasons? You probably wouldn’t eat a monkey, for example, and among the reasons is presumably that you take it seriously that they’re capable of suffering. Maybe not. Maybe you’re a sociopath or even a cannibal. I don’t fucking know, but I’m trying to be generous in my assumptions.

    Why not extend this same reasoning to other species? Do you think there’s a big difference between eating a cow and a clam, for example? However problematic both of them might be, I think there is a difference, because it’s incapable of suffering in the same way as a cow. And even if it could experience a significant kind of suffering, I don’t think the living conditions of a clam (again, for example) in an agricultural environment need to be so fucking torturous just for someone to turn a profit from it. That’s just one way of thinking about this, which would indicate you’re at least trying to seriously engage with some of the ethical issues, rather than disclosing your medical history and other anecdotes to random people on a blog. But however you do it, if you want to have a productive discussion about this, first you have to stop acting like you’re so fucking persecuted by fucking vegans/vegetarians of all people. It’s utterly ridiculous how much people lose their shit any time this comes up. And your conclusion can’t be that “if I really need to eat meat, then … ah, fuck it, anything goes” — but that’s exactly where you leave it, because it seems you’re not interested in doing anything other than making yourself feel better.

  160. Bicarbonate says

    Arawhon @ 50

    As someone who borrows internet from a friendly neighbor and has to live on $189 in food stamps, the vegan options are ridiculously expensive at anywhere I can afford food.

    Been there. What people don’t realize when they think about food and people in such situations is that for the same reason that you’re borrowing internet and living on food stamps, you also probably don’t have much of a real kitchen. Maybe two portable burners, a tefal frying pan and one aluminum pot. Maybe a microwave, maybe a refrigerator. And of course, no good knives (so when you try to slice mushrooms, you smash them instead). At best, you’re equipped to heat stuff up but not to do any actual cooking which requires counter space and equipment. It’s not like you can make vegetarian lasagne in large quantities (to save time and money) because you don’t have a baking dish, regular oven or freezer. So, when you really are poor, all those nifty money-saving things that more fortunate people can do are not doable. If you’ve got a regular kitchen and know how to cook well, then, yes, going vegan or vegetarian is feasible and probably not more expensive.

    Still, Arawhon, you don’t have to buy specially prepared vegan products to eat better and reduce your carbon footprint. If you can, shop in more than one place. You can go to the Health Food store (if they accept food stamps) to buy whole grains that are more expensive than discount supermarket grains, rice for instance, brown rice, but still not too costly. Just don’t buy anything else in the Health Food store. Brown rice pilaf and beans is very satisfying, healthy, good protein, not too expensive and ecological. Latin America and India survived for centuries on rice and beans (or lentils, dhal). Canned beans don’t taste as nice as homemade but have pretty much the same nutritional value. Add hot sauce for vitamin C and when you can, cheese or vegetables.

  161. says

    randay @ 204:

    Since Nick Gotts # 94, No One including him has countered my arguments.

    You have to present an actual argument in order to get counter arguments. That’s like a rule and stuff.

  162. Ewan R says

    No One including him has countered my arguments

    The bizarre idea that eating plants and eating animals is even remotely ethically on the same playing field? So far fetched that it doesn’t deserve being countered. However…

    Angiers arguments rely on a personification of the automaton like processes. The fact that my immune system reacts to something (that is in essence what is being described, the immune type responses of plants to various environmental stimuli) says nothing of the ethical virtue or lack thereof of the situation in which I find myself (if it did then I have an entirely unethical GI tract as my immune system is in a perpetual state of warfare with it). It is hokum, it has no place in a discussion of the ethics of suffering whatsoever.

  163. urmensch says

    #204 Randay. Actually, I started listening to that youtube video featuring Natalie Angier, and she first gives an example of a plant that responds to a chemical signal from female moths to release volatile chemicals that ‘solicit’ the help of parasitic wasps that will come and lay their eggs in the larvae of the plants enemy. Then she says something along the lines of….”This seems to me like a form of, I don’t want to say conscious behaviour, but it certainly is far more elaborate than we would have suspected 10 years ago.” She then starts talking about the ability of plants to call for help. It seems she can’t quite get away from attributing agency to these plants, even though she baulks at outright coming out and saying it. She keeps describing evolved behaviours as if they are the result of planning or calculation on the part of the plants when that just isn’t the case. It is one thing to use metaphorical language to describe plants ‘calling for help’. It becomes a problem when you fall victim to thinking they actually ARE doing. Some vegetarians might rightly be accused of anthropomorphising animals. She seems to be doing the same with plants.

    This seems to be another case of really awful science journalism, not to be confused with actual science.

  164. perplexed says

    The science that the CDC and Webmd have regarding protein is no less accurate than the food pyramid from the 90′s endorsement. All you have to do is look at the rise in obesity in our country which is considered at epidemic proportions to know the guidelines are wrong. The myths about meat and eggs and their negative effects on health could have come right from the bible.
    The science I follow is that you need .7 gms per lean lb of body weight to maintain muscle. This is substantiated in numerous nutritional articles and books from doctors and PhDs. I have listed above. If you don’t agree, don’t eat that much. If you don’t believe it, don’t. Do your own research. I gave you a few great books to start with. Tell me I’m wrong after you’ve read them not with a two minute search on the net with inaccurate outdated information.
    If folks want to be a vegan or vegetarian have at it. My issue is wrapped around the argument that meat is not good for you and you need some cure which the science I have identified proves demonstrably inaccurate.

  165. Jacob Schmidt says

    The science that the CDC and Webmd have regarding protein is no less accurate than the food pyramid from the 90′s endorsement.

    [You're] wrong…see how easy that is without citation.

    It’s always fun when one argues with oneself.

  166. perplexed says

    Randay@204… I’d recommend reading Protein Power by Dr. Eades and the Whole 30. If you follow their guidelines within 30 to 45 days you may be surprised and no longer need the statins.
    @205… The science I believe says that you need protein and the best sources are organs from animals. Any animals or fish. The point I was making about killing things for food is there is no difference. We kill food to eat it because we need to. For vegetarians or vegans to believe that there is an ethical difference has always been worthless argument. And by the way, I have a farm and grow most of my own food so please don’t lecture me on ethics. I did something about. And lastly I don’t feel persecuted by anyone least of all a vegan or vegetarian. Good for them. Just don’t tell me you’re cured because you don’t eat meat because the updated current science doesn’t support it.

  167. Jacob Schmidt says

    For vegetarians or vegans to believe that there is an ethical difference has always been worthless argument.

    Well, it’s been asserted, so it must be true.

  168. perplexed says

    @194…yup…me and about 400 cutting edge scientists and PhDs making that claim in peer reviewed books and articles but you keep believing what you want. After all you got that70s Ireland thing going for you.

  169. consciousness razor says

    For vegetarians or vegans to believe that there is an ethical difference has always been worthless argument.

    Why? At least give me a worthless argument to support this, not a nonexistent argument.

    And by the way, I have a farm and grow most of my own food so please don’t lecture me on ethics.

    I’ll “lecture” whoever I want. That includes both farmers and non-farmers. Last I checked, neither group was infallible.

    Just don’t tell me you’re cured because you don’t eat meat because the updated current science doesn’t support it.

    Don’t tell me such idiotic fucking things. Health isn’t the only concern. There are environmental reasons, as well as very basic, foundational ethical reasons for not causing them to suffer.

  170. perplexed says

    @189… You’re wrong about the protein and the science from Cordain, Eades, Finney, Volik, Wolf and numerous others proves it but don’t let those PhDs and doctors facts get in the way. As to calling me a liar, the internet certainly does allow it’s transgressions doesn’t it? As well as enhanced bravery.

  171. ibyea says

    I eat meat, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think the vegans/vegetarians aren’t right. I don’t like the way some of you meat eaters arguing against not eating meat with what seems to be some sort of resentment. No one here said they hate meat eaters or they think they are superior to meat eaters. What they want is more ethical life style, and PZ is just telling us why he gave it up, which btw, is a pretty damn good reason.

  172. Ewan R says

    USDA 2010 guidelines (which reference actual peer reviewed science) match the CDC values I gave.

    Tell me again how you follow the science?

    For vegetarians or vegans to believe that there is an ethical difference has always been worthless argument.

    Even most meat eaters I know will concede that in terms of ethics killing an animal and killing a plant are entirely different things, and that the killing of an animal is unethical (although generally not so much so that they’d stop doing it sadly…) – ethics isn’t a black or white thing. It is more unethical of me to have a stupidly large TV than not, but yet I have one – what’s with people’s failure to acknowledge that they are not ethically perfect? I find it quite liberating. I don’t, for instance, have to invent poor arguments to maintain a personal illusion of being ethically perfect. I chose veganism because it was one area where I could see I was being less rather than more ethical and which I felt I could change without being too impacted by it. Turns out I was right.

    . Just don’t tell me you’re cured because you don’t eat meat because the updated current science doesn’t support it.

    So long as you don’t tell me you’re cured because you eat more of it… the science doesn’t support that either (and if anecdotal personal tales are enough I see yours with mine and concede we’re at an impasse) (reducing meat intake categorically reduces, for instance, cholesterol – it is so bloody obvious that it would though that it is entirely boring)

  173. randay says

    Perplexed, I don’t know the book you mention, but I apparently have no argument with the rest of what you say. I don’t need statins. I was referring to people I know who have tried different things and to literature I have read which indicate as I said that they are less bad than other chemicals. I was not lecturing you, but the many others who think they are know-it-alls. I eat meat and don’t apologize for it. How could I live without carnitas or beef burritos or menudo? Though beans of all sorts are my favorite food, especially frijoles. I could also mention that I like peppers.

  174. Bicarbonate says

    Perplexed @213

    Protein Power by Dr. Eades may mention some scientific sounding stuff and give figures and percentages and graphs and everything. But that’s not science, it’s a diet book and its purpose is to make money for its author. You can find similar books suggesting any sort of diet you can imagine.

    The science I believe says that you need protein and the best sources are organs from animals.

    First of all, “best” is debatable. Maybe the sources you believe said organs were the most complete, or best one-stop shot of protein. That doesn’t mean all-around “best”.

    Medical professionals may be better sources of information but I wouldn’t bet on it. I have never met an M.D. that had more than 10 lessons on nutrition in all their years of study (this goes for France and the U.S.) Nutrition is not something they study seriously. Even nurses trained in nutrition generally spout whatever is the received wisdom of the day. In the U.S. the recommended daily allowances and so on of this and that are influenced by lobbies, they are not good independent sources of information. Meat and dairy lobbies have influenced the supposed pyramid of food groups that are presented to children in school.

    A couple of months ago, I had some question about nutrition (can’t remember what it was) and went about google-scholaring it. I was appalled by the studies I found, mostly in vitro additions of substances to cell cultures. then extrapolation to the complex organisms that we are.

    There is reason to be very skeptical of any information on nutrition. You don’t seem to be.

  175. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

  176. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    Gah! I totally borked my html!

    The recipe I was trying to link to is here.

  177. dianne says

    CR @ 139: Ah, I get it now. I’m used to the word “euthanasia”, as it relates to animals, to imply killing without causing pain or distress because the experiment is over, not killing for the sake of the animal suffering. People rarely talk about euthanizing a person any more. It’s either assisted suicide or simply withdrawing care. At least, that’s the local dialect.

  178. randay says

    Richard Smith # 211. I love that song. Thanks. 30 years ago my assistant manager boss had a poster in his office of a carrot or whatever with the text, “Be Kind to Plants, Don’t Eat Them”.

  179. Richard Smith says

    Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 (#222):

    Here’s one:

    Rice. I have a nice rice cooker. Dump some rice into it. I usually use jasmine, as I like the taste. Make a cup or so.

    Maybe not so great with pesto, but I sometimes replace half the water in the rice with orange juice.

  180. urmensch says

    @215, It isn’t that hard to actually point us to any of the research of those cutting edge scientists and PhDs.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1474076?ordinalpos=3&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum
    “A suggested recommended intake for S (sedentary) was 0.89 g.kg-1.day-1 and for SA(strength athlete) was 1.76 g.kg-1.day-1.” As that’s g/k it would be .40 g per pound for sedentary. This is the low protein (LP) = 0.86 g protein.kg-1.day-1. For S the LP diet provided adequate protein, and increasing protein intake did not increase WBPS (whole body protein synthesis). On the high protein (HP) diet leucine oxidation increased for S. These results indicated that the MP and HP diets were nutrient overloads for S.”
    This is what I was referring to above.

    As you are recommending US diet-book author and infomercial developer Dr Michael Eades. whose website apparently used to offer a weight loss solution called Metabosol™ Ultimate Success Pack, full of Diet Aid natural ingredients. And he sold it to you for just US$209.95. I suspect that what you call a cutting edge scientist might be what I’d call a quack.

  181. Jacob Schmidt says

    A simple soup I often make:

    100g of lentils per litre of water.
    bouillon cubes, add to taste

    It cooks much quicker when the lentils are soaked for an hour beforehand. Not necessary, but otherwise they take about 30 minuts to soften, as opposed to the 10 minuts they need when they’ve been presoaked.

    I started eating lentils more because I needed more protein and iron in my diet. Lentils have plenty of both. I like it, because it’s simple enough that I can throw in whatever random produce I happen to have. Lately, it’s been mostly carrots, potatos, and onions.

  182. chigau (違う) says

    From Dr. Michael Eades website

    Since 1986 Dr. Eades has been in the full time practice o baruatric, nutritional, and metabolic medicine.

    Spelling in the original.

    I won’t make a link but it’s here
    h ttp://www.proteinpower.com/about_dr_michael_eades.htm

  183. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    Here’s another tasty protein-and-nutrient-rich meal that is short on animal products:

    Esteleth’s Accidental Chili
    (1) 2 cans beans (I use a mix of black and pinto)
    (2) 2 cans chopped tomatoes
    (3) Chili seasonings to your taste
    (4) 2 cups cooked rice
    (5) Enough water to keep it damp.

    I’ll eat this either directly from a bowl or I’ll ladle it into a tortilla and eat it as a burrito. Excellent with corn bread.

  184. Ewan R says

    The institute of medicine of the NAS

    http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10490&page=R1

    has guidelines which eerily mirror those I’ve already expounded.

    There does not appear to be anything much of note in the actual, y’know, scientific literature in the past decade regarding drastic changes in actual protein requirements other than one piece which suggests that possibly older folk may need more protein (closer to 1g/kg rather than the 0.8 or so suggested as a one size fits all…) this could, I suppose, equate to somewhat closer to 100g.

    You realize that peer review actually means something right? Not just “hey I have Dr infront of my name and published a book that a couple of my friends looked at” (no worries there, much of the vegan movement is infested with similar thinking) – from what other comments are revealing it does rather appear you’ve bought into the work of a quack, which meshes well with your odd big pharma comments and misrepresentation of Salatin.

  185. dianne says

    @Esteleth: Caution on rice: White rice has a glycemic index that is very close to that of pure glucose. If that matters to you. Also, broccoli is yummy.

  186. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    @Dianne,
    Yep, rice is risky like that. But in moderation (and with my pancreas that is apparently made of steel), it’s pretty good for you, sugar-content aside. Brown rice isn’t quite so horrific on the glycemic-index scale, and I’m a fan of pilau.

  187. randay says

    Bicarbonate # 221, you piss me off because I think you don’t have an idea about what you are talking about. As with most people in France, I had my regular state-paid medical exam. After the results, I was referred to a nutritionist who talked about my results and suggested a diet suited to me. She had a booklet, but went through it point by point as to what applied to me. So don’t talk about things you are ignorant of.

  188. perplexed says

    @219…once again coach…it’s the same usda that believed the grain carb heavy diet that caused the obesity epidemic. They are wrong. Also, so you don’t know most meat eaters that’s a bullshit argument but if you want to understand the ethics read Liere Keith’s book “The Vegetarian Myth”. And lastly yes the science does support eating more protein in the form of meat as a major source and I have given you a list of names of cutting edge folks to read if you are inclined. Or don’t.

  189. Nick Gotts says

    Since Nick Gotts # 94, No One including him has countered my arguments. – randay@204

    You’re a liar. You claim that there is no ethical difference between eating animals and eating plants. I pointed out that since plants do not have a central nervous system, they are incapable of suffering or enjoyment. Most of the animals people eat clearly are capable of suffering and enjoyment. Hence, there is an ethical difference in relation to how people treat them.

  190. perplexed says

    @221…we disagree there is a lot if science in there but if you want more read Mark Sisson, or Finney and Volick who are nutritional scientists but it’s an extremely tough read or the Whole30. These have a little more science. The Eades did write a separate cook book.

  191. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    Protein is protein. The only signifcant differences in animal-sourced protein and plant-sourced protein are:
    (1) Taste, texture, and other aesthetic considerations
    (2) Ease of digestion
    (3) Ease of preparation
    (4) Relative proportion of the a various amino acids to each other.
    (5) Relative content of non-protein nutrients commonly found in meat (e.g. iron).

    I’m going to set (1) aside.

    (2) is relevant for obligate carnivores and the like. They lack the guts (and teeth, for that matter) to digest plants. Humans are omnivores, and our guts are excellent at pulling protein out of all manner of foodstuffs.

    (3) is a matter of education, food-access, and the like. In short, it is solvable in the short-to-medium term if we were to put our minds to it (individually and collectively).

    (4) is relevant for people with specific metabolic issues, where they lack the ability to synthesize a given amino acid.

    (5) is relevant for people with specific medical issues, such as anemia.

    In any case, the “you gotta eat meat because health!!!” people really should pay attention to the south of India and other places where meat is rarely, if ever, eaten.

  192. perplexed says

    @221…I have been to a few Ancestral Health Symposiums and met most of these folks and attended the lectures and seen the results. Plus the results I’ve had and my family. We all do it now. It’s easy for me to believe. Interestingly, we are all also Atheists and skeptics and have a high demand for proof which this science has met for us.

  193. Richard Smith says

    @chigau (違う) (#239):

    Would you define “cutting edge” for us?

    You know, like on a butcher’s knife?

  194. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    Perplexed, please actually say who it is you’re addressing, not just the comment number. Makes it easier to follow the stream of the conversation.

  195. Nick Gotts says

    Last note and I’m out… – perplexed@163

    But then we see quite a number of further comments from perplexed. His meat-heavy diet has clearly caused severe memory problems!

  196. perplexed says

    @239…really no need. You believe what you want, won’t affect my health. I have given several names of folks that have been involved in advanced nutritional research. They impact inflammation, leaky gut, hyperinsulinism and a host of things you probably never heard of or don’t give a shit about. Fine. Don’t read them and believe what you want. No skin off my ass. But if you take a minute a stop being a cynical ass and look these guys up and read some of their stuff maybe you’ll learn a thing or two. Maybe help you a bit. Maybe get you real curious and change your mind about some stuff.

  197. says

    perplexed @241: Interestingly, we are all also Atheists and skeptics and have a high demand for proof which this science has met for us.

    Anyone who, on a complex subject: repeatedly cites personal anecdote, blathers about “cutting edge science”, and enthusiastically cites a few particular authorities while ignoring counter-examples, doesn’t grok science or skepticism.

  198. perplexed says

    @244…I’m trying in good faith to answer. Then there’s assholes like you that need to enhance their sense of entitlement and add not one fucking thing to the conversation. If you can’t be productive and don’t have a contribution that’s worthwhile please get lost and fuck off.

  199. perplexed says

    @246…How kind of you to eliminate the folks and books I’ve mentioned that substantiate the belief. You remind me of the republican critique of everything, but don’t bring a thing yourself and avidly avoid the authors I’ve referenced. It isn’t’ my job to read the books for you, just to tell you where they are.Thanks for sharing.

  200. chigau (違う) says

    perplexed
    None of your “cutting edge” stuff is new. I don’t need to read up on these diets because they have been around for decades.
    You have failed to convince.

    And you really should try to copy-paste peoples’ nyms.
    It will make you seem slightly less obnoxious.
    see this
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/rules/

  201. erik333 says

    The choice isn’t really between killing a cow to eat it or letting it live. It’s between breeding them for food or not. But for us eating or milking them, they would not be. So if you can do it in such a way that the cows are happy enough, they’re no worse off than deer or antelope. Most likely, humans could (if we tried) give better lives for cows than wild animals get – even if we eat them.

  202. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    chigau,

    I have always made the dosa with urad/urid dal, also known as black gram–specifically the split, skinned variety, which is a sort of creamy white:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vigna_mungo

    They also use these lentils for seasoning some curries, along with chana dal, a sort of small chickpea.

    I’m not sure how these would be with French lentils.

    You can find all these lentils at Indian/Pakistani groceries or you can order them on the Intertubes.

    Also, Perplexed, you might want to look into how scientific truth is determined–finding a few PhDs who agree with you isn’t it. The field of nutrition is especially rife with charlatans. I’ve seen no evidence of any benefits in consuming a high-protein diet. It is wasteful and actually harder on your kidneys.

  203. perplexed says

    @243…Esteleth….sorry, my bad but I’ve had enough. This was fun but way to mean spirited. Opposing views are not really welcome. Interestingly, the point I wanted to make was I really don’t care what people eat. Have at it. Fruit, vegetables beans, meat…I don’t care. But, when someone of import says “I’m cured” that can have a dramatic affect on many others and because I have a different perspective on that science I wanted to present an alternative. I don’t do this much I am not as articulate as many here, but the atmosphere is so toxic it’s disconcerting. I entered in good faith. Leaving the same way.

  204. eveningchaos says

    I would like to point out the China Study by T. Colin Campbell which is one of the most comprehensive studies on nutrition and health. Specifically the relationship between animal products (including dairy) and chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancers. From what I have gathered it is one of the most comprehensive scientific studies done on the subject. I would like to know if anyone on FTB with a biology background has anything to add about this particular scientific study.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_China_Study

  205. Nick Gotts says

    perplexed@255,

    You seem to have the delusion that you have some right to tell others whether they should comment on PZ’s blog. Another symptom of the damage over-indulgence in meat has caused you perhaps. Randay seems to have acquired an inability to make any sort of coherent argument at all, presumably from the same cause.

  206. says

    randay @251:

    Perplexed #247, I knew from his first post that Nick Gotts was an ignorant twit.

    Is that why you haven’t responded to Nick Gotts’ comment @237:

    You’re a liar. You claim that there is no ethical difference between eating animals and eating plants. I pointed out that since plants do not have a central nervous system, they are incapable of suffering or enjoyment. Most of the animals people eat clearly are capable of suffering and enjoyment. Hence, there is an ethical difference in relation to how people treat them.

    You think the significant comments Nick makes here about your ridiculous position display ignorance? Refute them with your own arguments. Show how and why you believe plants have a central nervous system, and are therefore capable of enjoyment or suffering.

  207. Nick Gotts says

    Oh, I see perplexed is flouncing again@254. Will they stick the flounce this time? Bets, anyone?

  208. perplexed says

    @250…wow, another elitist asshole… And man…Finney and Volik and Wolf are gonna be pissed that all their work isn’t new. I’ll let them know some elitist schmuck with a pretty significant sense of entitlement on a random blog doesn’t hold them in high esteem. It will just fracture them.

  209. chigau (違う) says

    perplexed #254

    Opposing views are not really welcome.

    Yes. You made that very clear.

    I entered in good faith.

    Liar.

  210. perplexed says

    @256…no Nick…just that if you’re insistent on being an asshole be one someplace else and fuck off…please.

  211. perplexed says

    261…yep you got me…I’m a liar…came here just to get beat up…learned my lesson…

  212. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    perplexed,
    The thing you have to understand is that research in nutrition is particularly susceptible to being co-opted by quacks, charlatans and the self-deluded. Most of the results are not of rigorous statistical significance, not because of malice or incompetence of the researchers, but because it is damned hard to control the variables in the study. Scientific consensus of mainstream scientific organizations is important in such fields, as it indicates that research has reached the level of actually being persuasive.

    Again, finding a few PhDs who agree with you is not rigorous scientific consensus. If the diet works for you, great. However, I have never seen convincing evidence that a high-protein diet has benefits for an average human. Indeed, if anything, the CDC guidelines are likely conservative.

  213. says

    No one here said they hate meat eaters or they think they are superior to meat eaters.

    craigmcgillivary @ 16, to be fair, did more or less come out and say just that (the “gold star” example isn’t particularly good, since said star is associated with being exceptional, e.g. “great person”, rather than simply meeting a standard baseline, like “good person”). SC is the only other one that you could claim approached that, but I didn’t sense the typical sneering condescension from his post.

    I don’t mean to sound like I’m tone trolling though; the ones who give off that disgusting air more than anyone are the ones attempting to imply that vegetarians and vegans are Unnatural, Therefore Bad™, or equating animals and plants.

  214. Jacob Schmidt says

    I don’t do this much I am not as articulate as many here, but the atmosphere is so toxic it’s disconcerting.

    What do you expect? You had no evidence, and the entirety of your arguments was assertions and name dropping.

    So what do you want from us? Respect for yuor opinion? Agreement? Acknowledgement that you have a different opinion?

  215. randay says

    Nick Gotts # 256, “Another symptom of the damage over-indulgence in meat has caused you perhaps. Randay seems to have acquired an inability to make any sort of coherent argument at all, presumably from the same cause.”

    Now that is a reasoned scientific argument, based on what?

  216. perplexed says

    @264…a_ray…I understand completely. But, it’s a lot more than a few random PhDs and they convinced me. Regardless, folks believe what they believe but the CDC are the guys that brought us the pyramid and the obesity epidemic that went with it. You don’t have to look any further than the nearest crowd to know something is brutally wrong.

  217. chigau (違う) says

    ARIDS
    Thanks. I was going to try dosa tonight but I guess it will have to wait for a shopping trip.

  218. says

    @Perplexed:

    Mark Sisson is a proponent of the bullshit paleolithic diet, has published 6 books about the paleolithic diet, and has published 0 peer-reviewed papers regarding nutrition science.

    Loren Cordain is the founder of the paleolithic diet, has 4 books to his name and has three published peer-reviewed papers

    The others you mentioned (Finney, Volick, and Wolf) I couldn’t find without first names, but assuming you’re discussing paleo diet authors…

    Yea… bullshit from start to finish.

  219. perplexed says

    @268…no Jacob, just some common courtesy or uncommon here. If my arguments aren’t up to your standard then discount them , but the insults and name calling diminishes all of it.

  220. consciousness razor says

    perplexed:

    Before you go, I’m still a bit perplexed myself. Do you understand that this thread, and the “cure” mentioned in the title, is not a medical claim being made about meat consumption? Besides… well, the entirety of the thread before you started blather, one particular thing that should’ve clued you in on that point is the lack of any ailment it would have been claimed to cure, if it were claimed to be a cure of something, which it was not. There are these things called “metaphors,” you see. Perhaps you’ve heard of them….

  221. perplexed says

    @272…and it’s bullshit because…why?…you said so…some person on a blog…right…got it…thanks for playing..

  222. says

    Shockna @ 266:

    SC is the only other one that you could claim approached that, but I didn’t sense the typical sneering condescension from his post.

    That should be her post. Or, when in doubt, their post.

  223. says

    That should be her post. Or, when in doubt, their post.

    Indeed. If I could edit that post, I would. Thanks for the reminder though; I really should be better at catching myself by now.

  224. chigau (違う) says

    consciousness … razor … #274 … I’m … pretty … that … perplexed … is … not … aware … of … the … metaphor.

  225. says

    @perplexed:

    Because it has no basis in actual science, or actual anthropology.

    It assumes things that are clearly not true, and allows you to fudge certain things. It ignores that we’ve evolved beyond the need for the paleo diet (lactose tolerance, salivation for digestion of starches.) It assumes a constant population of people when we’re pretty sure there were tons of different populations with different cultural and nutritional capabilities.

  226. Bicarbonate says

    Randay @225

    You had a good experience. Good for you. It’s an anecdote. Doesn’t mean I don’t know what I’m talking about.

  227. says

    Nick @259: Damn, that didn’t take long, did it?

    Yo, perplexed: I’ve seen Nick around here a lot. I’ve never seen you before. So who’s supposed to go somewhere else?

  228. Suido says

    146 perplexed

    a minimum of .7 grams of protein per 1 pound of lean body mass daily

    171 perplexed

    but what are you metrics?

    172 Anthony K

    Yeah. You imperials?

    227 urmensch

    “A suggested recommended intake for S (sedentary) was 0.89 g.kg-1.day-1 and for SA(strength athlete) was 1.76 g.kg-1.day-1.

    Anthony K’s snark might have pinpointed the source of perplexed’s problem. I think perplexed has mixed his kgs and pounds, thus resulting in an approximate doubling of the daily required protein.

    That’s doesn’t explain his insistence that protein can’t be sourced from grains, legumes, dairy etc. I have no words for that, especially if he’s researched this stuff for 30 years.

    Also blaming the food pyramid for obesity? I’d give that more credence if I thought more people followed the food pyramids recommendations… alas, I think obesity is more likely due to the fact that a food pyramid showing most people’s eating habit would be not look like the recommended food pyramid. Oh, and ridiculously large portion sizes in restaurants shifting the dietary equivalent of the overton window towards the supersized, overfed end.

  229. chigau (違う) says

    Well, I just did extensive research (Pfffft).
    And it seems that the obesity epidemic is caused almost entirely by an epidemic of FastFoodJoints.
    Doesn’t surprise me.

  230. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    perplexed,
    Don’t know if you are still reading, but I would amend your indictment of CDC:
    It was the marketers at CDC who brought us the food pyramid–with a healthy bit of help from the processed food industry. There was never any science to it other than the emphasis on eating veggies to get vitamins and some source of protein. The rest was creative writing by the marketing types.

    My answer: listen to the scientists–whether they’re from NIH, CDC, NASA or DOE. The suits couldn’t even tell you what the scientists do.

  231. perplexed says

    @278 chigua….Oh it was a metaphor…got it…thanks for pointing it out…in the op when he says, ” It makes no sense: it’s not sustainable or economical, but worse, it’s brutal and cruel. “, that’s a metaphor too right and doesn’t lead to a non metaphorical conclusion. Thanks. Got it.
    @279…not sure where you got your information but it’s not what I believe. You are under an impression that we have evolved enough to eat the things you mention, like starch which is used to stiffen collars and cuffs in laundered shirts. I believe we haven’t but you go ahead and eat it.
    @282 studio…nope, not confused one iota and it’s lbs. and obeisity is directly linked to high carb, grain and sugar rich diets and hyperinsulinism and the food pyramid. There are other factors like fast food crap and high fructose corn syrup in a good portion of processed foods you find in the middle aisles of supermarkets.never said it couldn’t be sourced from legumes but it’s not the healthiest place to get it from and I can’t get enough from fruits or vegetables without a negative impact.
    284 a_ray…actually it was the usda that wrote and marketed the guidelines in the early 90s and were adopted from there. The science is ever changing, I agree. I know what works for me. I try to share. Looks like I did a poor job for some.
    @285 tony…ok…

  232. slatham says

    Perhaps someone has mentioned this already — getting half of heavy meat-eaters to reduce their consumption by half will have a much bigger effect than getting 10% of all meat-eaters to reduce their meat consumption completely. Unfortunately people think in very binary ways, and the nuances of such approaches are often interpreted as hypocrisy. I don’t know if that’s a factor in the failure of Meatless Mondays to penetrate the public dialogue. In public, I call myself a bad vegetarian or an aspiring vegetarian, and I hope this helps others to feel good about reducing their own meat consumption just a bit.

  233. Space Monster says

    tariqata @76 – thanks for that link. Just a brief glance showed a lot of very yummy looking recipes. They will definitely be helpful in reducing my meat consumption. I’m going to make the yellow split pea potstickers this weekend and am already drooling over it.

    slatham @288 – yeah, binary thinking lets people avoid difficult or disturbing issues and lets them feel happy about doing nothing.

    After catching up on this thread, I’ve found another thing that has helped cement my desire to greatly reduce meat in my diet and that is all these amazingly insecure and hyperdefensive meat eaters who have totally lost their shit over this thread. I damn well don’t want to part of that bunch.

  234. ChasCPeterson says

    It’s definitely true that the original 1992 food pyramid, as well as its bizarre 2005 replacement were produced by the US Dept. of Agriculture (not by CDC nor any other branch of Health & Human Services), and were heavily influenced by special-ag-interest lobbying groups. The Harvard School of Public Health issued a science-based version in response. The USDA has since abandoned the pyramid shape altogether and now uses MyPlate instead. Harvard SPS has a better version of that too.
    [5 links OK?]

  235. Bicarbonate says

    Chas @ 292, etc.

    I never did get how people could eat all of those servings on the pyramids in a day. You’d have to spend your day eating. Unless they consider a slice of pickle as a serving of vegetables or something like that.

  236. carlie says

    randay – I’ve encountered Natalie Angier. She has no idea what she’s talking about. Care to cite any actual botanists who agree with her?

  237. verimius says

    Veganism and vegetarianism are two branches of the same religion. I’m an atheist there, too.

  238. thelifeofbrine says

    Holy fuck the food pyramid is only as old as 1992? I thought for sure that I was shown it in elementary school. Mind blown.

  239. gjpetch says

    verimius, I can’t argue that every vegetarian in existence chooses their diet for rational reasons, I’m sure there are plenty vegetarians with silly ideas, but for me it’s about ethics and the environment. I’ll change my position in accordance with the evidence; so far as I can see animal suffering and the environment are probably real things…… In what regard are these faith based claims?

  240. says

    Verimius:
    Yours takes the cake for most ignorant comment in this thread.
    Being vegan or vegetarian is nothing remotely similar to being part of a religion.
    Where’s the holy text?
    Where’s the supernatural being(s)?
    Where are the sacred or profane objects?
    Where’s the moral code with supernatural origins?
    Where are the ritual acts?

    You’ve completely ignored the ethical and rational reasons presented in this very thread. You may not agree with them, but dammit, don’t come in here with such dishonest bullshit.

  241. Nick Gotts says

    You are under an impression that we have evolved enough to eat the things you mention, like starch which is used to stiffen collars and cuffs in laundered shirts. – perplexed@286

    Hilarious. Come on, perplexed, admit that you’ve been playing with us all this time, and you’re really a fanatical vegan out to make meat-eaters look daft. You’ve certainly succeeded in that aim!

  242. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    @279…not sure where you got your information but it’s not what I believe. You are under an impression that we have evolved enough to eat the things you mention, like starch which is used to stiffen collars and cuffs in laundered shirts. I believe we haven’t but you go ahead and eat it.

    This is idiotic. You have a mouthful of amylase, knucklehead. Starch digestion in mammals is incredibly efficient.

  243. ChasCPeterson says

    of course, there’s also elastase in there, so there’s no call for anybody to get all naturalistically fallacious.

  244. dianne says

    @303: Perhaps Perplexed is a regular commenter who has noticed that we tend to start tearing into each other over subtle distinctions in how to prevent animal suffering if left to ourselves and is giving us a more obvious target to attack to avoid this problem.

  245. eveedream says

    @Chigau #293 – I was REALLY EXCITED about Canada’s food rainbow… And then I looked at it… And it’s not in color order ><

    I'm super late to the party, but CONGRATS PZ!! It occurred to me just now that congratulating someone on adjusting their eating habits is a super weird thing to do and shouldn't be necessary, but on the other hand, I think we've all seen a few good examples here about just how much bullshit vegetarians have to put up with. So yeah, congrats are definitely in order for making the change despite the Biff Tannen-level bullshit flingers.

    This one time I went to a wedding and some dumb twat at my table tried to argue in all seriousness that plants have feelings. I'm sorry, but a radish is not on the same level of awareness as a cow, or a fish, or even a housefly. Nervous system and pain receptors.

    I always wanted to be vegetarian as a child, but the household meals were hardly conducive and the only vegetable I liked was corn, so it wasn't until I went away to college that I made the switch. It's been ten years now and there's no looking back. I even made the switch to vegan about five years ago. I didn't think it would be a big deal, but I felt SO MUCH better afterward that I was stunned.

    Recipes! Seriously, my favorite freaking meal is just brown rice, refried beans, spinach, garlic powder, Earth Balance vegan margarine, and Frank's hot sauce, all mashed up together. Best. Damn. Thing. Ever. and super fast and easy.

  246. Nick Gotts says

    eveedream@309,
    Please avoid gender-specific epithets such as “dumb twat”. They are not considered acceptable here. Thanks.

  247. perplexed says

    @255 eveningchaos…Denise Minger has written extensively about the subject refuting many positions of the study.

  248. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    As a follow up to Nick Gotts’ #310, please also know that “it’s not a gendered slur in the UK” is not accepted here either. Thank you.

  249. perplexed says

    @301…Kevin…food starch is starch…the stuff in potatoes and rice is what is used for making industrial paste, making some paper and the starch you put in clothes…starch is tasteless and mixed in processed foods with sugar or hfc…feel free to eat all of that you want.

  250. chigau (違う) says

    perpelxed
    what…are…these………supposed…to…indicate…?
    Incomplete thinking?

  251. says

    @perplexed:

    Yes, food starch is used to make adhesives and stiffens collars and processed into sugar.

    It’s also a natural sugar in root veggies and cereals.

    I am not eating wallpaper paste, I am eating potatoes, and the amylase in my saliva breaks the starch down into glucose. Glucose gives energy which helps you move.

  252. ChasCPeterson says

    the amylase in my saliva breaks the starch down into glucose.

    strictly and biopedantically speaking, pancreatic amylase is usually more important than salivary amylase (which is almost immediately inactivated by stomach acid upon swallowing), and amylase breaks starch (and glycogen) down mostly to maltose, which is further digested to glucose by intestinal maltose.
    But the point is the same.

  253. numerobis says

    My dietician-in-training girlfriend has convinced me that the Canada Food Guide is even less based on science than the USDA recommendations, which themselves often diverge pretty violently from what the science indicates (which she reads for her job). Most of the faculty teaching her don’t seem to care to keep up with the science — they certainly don’t do science themselves — so I’m unsure what value they bring to the world. The students themselves wonder, and the dropout rate would probably be very high if the economy weren’t so crappy; as is, they are toughing it to get the piece of paper at the end which is a ticket to a chance of a job. My girlfriend has also, in internship, been faced with claims that meat is required because vegetables don’t have protein… this from a hospital dietician. So there’s definitely a major problem: science does one thing, practice doesn’t care and spouts debunked nonsense in its place.

    Violently diverging from the flamefest, here’s my stack of favourite veggie cookbooks:
    http://i.imgur.com/5voCJqt.jpg

    In words:
    Vegetarian Times Cooks Mediterranean (recipes collected from the magazine)
    Paolo Gavin, Mediterranean Vegetarian Cooking
    Linda Fraser, The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Vegetarian Cooking
    – all three of these are largely about Italy/France vegetarian foods, with a few leaking in from Greece/Spain. They forget about the other side of the Med, and about the Levant, about which I own no cookbooks (but they have great veggie food).

    Madhur Jaffrey’s World of the East Vegetarian Cooking
    – mostly India, some Chinese and Japanese, and occasional showings from other coastal Asian countries.

    Moosewood
    – a whole line of cookbooks. Visit them when you’re giving a talk at Cornell (or don’t; their restaurant tastes exactly like what you’d make at home following their recipes).

    Crudessence
    – as you can tell from the title going the other way, it’s French, which may cause you trouble.

    In all cases, I’ve found that cookbooks give complicated directions. I make each recipe once following it exactly, then I work on figuring out what’s fluff and what’s critical. Most recipes I’ve worked I do on one or two burners, only ever adding ingredients: soup is all on one burner; the rest has one burner for the starch (typically whole wheat pasta or brown rice), the other burner for the taste.

    First step in almost every recipe: chop an onion and fry it in olive oil. Then figure out what continent you feel like eating from.

  254. alwayscurious says

    This one time I went to a wedding and some dumb twat at my table tried to argue in all seriousness that plants have feelings. I’m sorry, but a radish is not on the same level of awareness as a cow, or a fish, or even a housefly. Nervous system and pain receptors.

    I’m guilty of doing this kind of thing. Sometimes when I meet someone who is part of the “religious wing” of veganism/vegetarianism, I can’t help myself. Some people just won’t let you forget what their eating habits are, cruelty to animals, communing with nature, the evils of big Ag, and how their diet/fad diet solves all these problems and yadayadayada additional unevidenced BS. After polite attempts to change the subject or highlight egregious errors fail, out comes plant neurobiology. As much as I aspire to vegetarianism, I find it a total put-off to meet people who use fallacies & insults to support otherwise good ideas.

  255. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    Firstly; PZ, congratulations. You followed your conscience and achieved your goal, and that’s commendable.

    Secondly; Jesus fuck, why did I read the comments? I knew it would happen. On a thread about vegetarianism, there is always, always, at least one omnivore getting all defensive at the mere mention that someone has gone vegetarian. They rampage around whipping out laughable pseudoscience and appeal to nature fallacies in defence of their diet, and generally embarrassing the rest of us omnivores. Or you get idiots like tsig, who appears to be under the impression that becoming vegetarian will cause PZ to become “holier-than-thou”, automatically. Like the cellulose works it’s way into your brain and fundementally changes your personality, somehow.

    I will admit that vegetarians can be holier-than-thou. I have lost count of the amount of times that I have been having a conversation about animal cruelty and, when it has come out that I’m an omnivore, every veggie in the room has abandoned the subject in order to tell me I’m part of the problem and browbeat me into being a veggie. However, you will note that other than one egregiously arseholeish comment from craigmcgillivary at #16, and those odd commenters whose reaction to PZ’s news was “‘Grats! But not good enough. Now go vegan!”, the veggies and vegans on this thread have been perfectly logical, rational and not at all self-righteous.

    So, on behalf of omnivores everywhere without the persecution complex and the self-esteem issues, could you give it a fucking rest? It’s embarrassing.

  256. alwayscurious says

    @300 Tony
    I’ve met several people who are fanatical about their diet at a level that matches fundamentalist religions. It’s not that they are religious with ceremonies and holy books. It’s more along the lines of recruiting people to their world view through denouncing the values of outsiders and becoming irrationally defensive when challenged (see perplexed’s behavior for Exhibit A). I saw a vegan community break apart over the question of consuming soy (because it supported Big Ag & environmental destruction = bad; but was an cheap & available source of non-animal protein=good). Really, was this so important to abandon friends & roommates over the issue of eating soy/dairy/meat? The group involved ardently answered yes!

  257. eveningchaos says

    @311 perplexed I looked at this critique and found that Ms. Denise Minger has absolutely no understanding of statistical interpretation and a very limited understanding of biology . 23-year-old Minger lists her educational and professional qualifications on her Facebook page as writer, Catholic school teacher, summer camp instructor, and “Professional Sock Puppeteer.” Colin Campbell has a rebuttal to her critique on his work. He is very polite and explains her mistakes on interpreting his raw data. You can read it here…

    http://www.vegsource.com/news/2010/07/china-study-author-colin-campbell-slaps-down-critic-denise-minger.html

    I’m wondering if anyone with a real background in biology has looked into this study?

  258. perplexed says

    @kevin…there is an article, “Nutrition in the NBA” by Ken Berger. I tried to link to it but can’t. It talks about starch minimally but mostly about nutrition and the impact nutrition has had on not only on elite athletes ( The Laker) but the population in general. But it really encompasses most of the issues discussed on the thread. It’s an interesting read and I’d like to encourage you and others to spend a few minutes if you can.

  259. ChasCPeterson says

    Red Beans and Rice!

    Great tune, delicious dish, but (traditionally, at least) hardly vegetarian!

  260. fulfilleddeer says

    @326 – I looked into both the study and her rebuttal. I actually tend to agree with Ms. Minger on most accounts, despite the fact that I’m a vegetarian (and now, as of reading this post) vegan. I don’t feel like going into the whole thing right now (although maybe more when I’m home) but just to offer a dissenting opinion.

  261. perplexed says

    @326…I’ve read it thanks and I guess opinions vary as you can see by the comment @330…I’d also encourage you to read The Vegetarian Myth by Liere Keith…

  262. fulfilleddeer says

    I should clarify: I don’t think the science is really there for most of the health benefits of vegetarian -> vegan. I think the environmental arguments are interesting, but there’s still plenty of back and forth there. For me, it’s the ethics that show a distinction.

  263. dianne says

    From the RS article: “You’re a typical milk cow in America, and this is your life… you’re sick to the verge of total collapse from giving nearly 22,000 pounds of milk a year. (That’s more than double what your forebears produced just 40 years ago.)”

    A few weeks ago I saw a Facebook meme that started with “you have two cows…” and went on to describe what happened under different economic systems. The one labelled “American capitalism” said, “You shoot one cow and try to make the other produce enough milk for four cows. You hire a consulting firm to tell you why the cow died.” At the time I thought it was just an analogy. Apparently not.

  264. eveningchaos says

    @326 I’m surprised that you came to this conclusion given her obvious lack of understanding of statistical interpretive methods and her lack of credentials in the field that she is acting as an authority on. From what I can understand (and I have read as many critiques and assessments of the China Study as seem credible) Campbell’s study is one of the most comprehensive studies done on diet and correlations to chronic disease. What are your general misgivings about the data Campbell has compiled and the conclusions he has drawn? I’m not sure why Minger is given such high esteem and I was sure nobody on this forum would have suggested her interpretation of Campbell’s study to be anything short of pseudoscience.

    I’m a bit disappointed that on a skeptical/atheist forum the amount of confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance on this subject. It seems to be nearly impossible to get good science based reasoning for the omnivorous diet. I have truly spent a lot of time pouring over the counter arguments against vegetarianism/veganism and have yet to find any real credible studies that suggest that without meat one cannot possibly be healthy. Keep in mind, I’m not saying that a moderate omnivore diet will result in poor health (although there seems to be evidence that at least suggests that some chronic “western” diseases are at the least exacerbated by a heavy meat diet).

    Please, someone present something that is even remotely science based to back up the omnivore diet’s superiority. I am open to new information and will change my mind if there is good scientific evidence to support it.

  265. tariqata says

    @334 eveningchaos:

    It seems to be nearly impossible to get good science based reasoning for the omnivorous diet. I have truly spent a lot of time pouring over the counter arguments against vegetarianism/veganism and have yet to find any real credible studies that suggest that without meat one cannot possibly be healthy.

    I wonder if really credible data are simply too difficult to obtain because of the diversity of eating habits and patterns and the need for long term studies, combined with the fact that people’s diets may change over time and there are a lot of individual factors to control for?

    Purely anecdotally, I was a vegetarian for 14 years, but about 3 years ago I started eating small amounts of meat (once a week or less, and more frequently using it as a flavouring or side dish than a main course). The only real difference I’ve noticed in my overall health that I would attribute to diet is that I haven’t struggled with iron deficiency since re-introducing occasional red meat. (I still eat and have always eaten lots of iron-rich greens because they’re delicious, but apparently couldn’t eat enough to maintain a normal iron level, nor could I tolerate supplements.) My sister, who also happens to have type 1 diabetes, continues to be vegetarian (a tofu-hating vegetarian, at that) and has never become iron deficient or had any other ongoing health issue.

  266. perplexed says

    @334…I guess superior to what? We have been lied to so long about nutrition it’s like starting from scratch. The scientists that I talk to all agree there is no agreement and that nothing is clear cut. They also agree that the paleo diets are in their infancy but much of this movement started with Gary Taube’s article, “what if it’s all a big fat lie” and Atkins. The high fat high protein diet works for me. I am a fat burner not a carb burner. I am in ketosis or close to ketosis always because of my diet. I don’t bonk when I’m active and my fuel supply because I burn fat is almost limitless. My health has been great since I did the switch. I had high cholesterol, it’s gone. I had high bp, it’s gone. I had rosacea which was getting treated with an antibiotic, it’s gone. I had inflammation, it’ a significantly reduced. I used to get headaches regularly, they stopped. I used to get run down and sick a few times a year, no more. When I get an injury, I heal very quickly. It’s all anecdotal and It may not work for you. But I know plenty of people it has helped and it works great for me.

  267. fulfilleddeer says

    @334

    Still not home, and might not be for a while (i.e. might have to respond longer tomorrow). Try here: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/385/

    Yes, the China study is impressive in work. Yes, it is vast. But Campbell make claims that far outweigh his evidence.

    Just one example: one of his experiments on casein, that supposedly shows it causes cancer growth, gave wheat vs. casein to a tumor (mouse with tumor). The thing is, the wheat was missing an amino acid (lysine I think). He admits this in the paper. So the casein mice have their tumors grow more. Okay, not good. But then, and this is still in his original paper (that is, he mentions this himself), he adds in lysine to the wheat food, and lo and behold, no difference in growth in tumors. So what he shows is that being deficient in an amino acid is bad for tumor growth (and all growth depending on whether you can synthesize it and stuff like that) and having all will grow the tumor. BUT, and this is the important part, that’s not what he concludes. He concludes that casein = evil.

    Ah, looked up the citation: http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/81/16/1241.full.pdf+html
    Sorry if it’s behind a paywall, I’m on a medical center campus so I don’t get those (or even know if it’s there).

    Anyway, Minger is not perfect. She’s not an expert. But she doesn’t have to be. Campbell’s stuff is really pretty much that bad (overstated).

    “I’m not sure why Minger is given such high esteem and I was sure nobody on this forum would have suggested her interpretation of Campbell’s study to be anything short of pseudoscience.”

    I have no idea, given you can think along these lines, how you can listen to Campbell and hear anything but most pseudoscience alarms known to man. His whole ploy is that diet can cure, to an amazing, amazing extent, a lot of terrible illnesses. Cancer. He can cure (/prevent) cancer based on food. That’s….far into the woo.

    Dietary research is incredibly hard to do well. Seriously. Adding in epidemiology instead of experiments makes it even murkier. If you look at the primary papers for a lot of this you’ll be very underwhelmed. I’ve stopped paying attention for the most part – I’m becoming more and more convinced you nearly can’t do dietary research after a certain threshold of effect size and have it mean anything. Not to mention all the pseudoscience and woo out there (paleo, low gluten for non-celiacs, blood type diet).

    Again, not that it should matter, but I’m a former vegetarian for a bunch of years (10?) and now vegan. I should be supporting this. But it’s just not good science.

  268. perplexed says

    @chigua…@kevin…@eveningchaos…you may want to read, “The Art And Science of Low Carb Eating” by Phinney and Volek..
    Phinney has published over 70 papers and has several patents. He received his MD from Stanford University, his PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from MIT, and post-doctoral training at the University of Vermont and Harvard.
    Volek has a Ph.D. Kinesiology, from The Penn State University and an M.S. Exercise Science, from Penn State University, and lastly a B.S. Dietetics, Michigan State. He has written several papers on the topics of nutrition and exercise relative to health.

  269. fulfilleddeer says

    Whoa. Didn’t mean to reply that long. 2 more points:

    1. I disagree with perplexed on almost everything else they have posted.

    2. See 1.

  270. perplexed says

    @340fulfilleddeer…you sure your not one of my kids…regardless, I appreciate the effort of your post but disagree with your nutritional choice but am glad it works for you.

  271. says

    I went vegan awhile ago too. Its been awesome. I’ve been trying to find out how chinese restaurants make that awesome soybean chicken, can’t find any recipes that aren’t some kind of mushroom stuffed chicken roll thing. If anyone has any info please share.

  272. says

    So, on behalf of omnivores everywhere without the persecution complex and the self-esteem issues, could you give it a fucking rest? It’s embarrassing.

    so in a thread about videos of the routine problem of animal cruelty, of millions of animals abused, you are asking people to worry about looking too persistent?

    If you don’t want to hear it why do you keep talking to people about it? Do you want a sticker or something?

  273. says

    @124

    ludicrous @ 119:

    I think the reason some may be a bit put off by PZ’s declaration is that it equates eating meat with the cruel treatment of animals, when the fact is that the former does not require the latter.

    Lets say for the sake of argument that eating meat does not require the cruel treatment of animals.

    guess what? What could work in theory means jack shit when it comes to practical, ethical decision making. You have to look at the current circumstances and make a decision. Currently the vast majority of animals used in food production are treated inhumanely.

  274. says

    @151 illuminata (and anyone else who wants some of my recipes):

    my tempeh bacon (I make BLTs with this pretty often)

    1 tablespoon oil (plus more for cooking)
    2 tablespoon maple syrup
    3 teaspoons soy sauce
    1 teaspoon liquid smoke
    sprinkle of salt
    lots of pepper
    cut your tempeh up into strips
    Whisk together all the other ingredients in a container w a lid(or pour it into a plastic bag after whisking). Marinade tempeh strips for at least 45 minutes, checking occasionally to flip/baste them.
    Heat your skillet on medium (or medium low). You have to be careful because the sugar will turn the tempeh from crispy to black quickly.

    Cashew Ricotta:

    ricotta:
    1 c cashew pieces
    1 Tbsp lemon juice
    3 Tbsp water
    3 Tbsp olive oil (plus some extra)
    salt and pepper
    2 tsp imitation Parmesan (optional, could use nutritional yeast instead)
    1/4 tsp garlic powder
    1/4 c chopped parsley
    olive oil
    Soak cashew over night (or for 6 hours at least). Drain and rinse
    Toss in the food processor for 6 minutes, or until very ricotta-ey. Add olive oil if its too thick. You can use almonds if you don’t have a cheap source of cashews.

    You can stir this into pasta, put it on pizzas, or make lasagna with it. Its amazing. You can put spinach in it too if you want more dark leafy greens.

    There is more here:
    http://veganmealexperiments.tumblr.com/

    I’m just starting out as a vegan but I really love to cook so this has been really educational for me.

  275. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @skeptifem

    I’m confused by your #344. I am asking other omnivores to stop being defensive arseholes the second the subject of vegetarianism is brought up.

  276. Bicarbonate says

    Perplexed @ 339

    I don’t care what diplomas your author has. I’ve met plenty of idiots and dishonest people with PhDs. If they are selling something (such as a diet book) then they are not to be trusted.

    You seem to want to find some authority that will allow you to say this is right and that is wrong and by implication I am right!

    Take responsibility for your preferences and choices. Examine them.

  277. learninglate says

    Thanks for posting that, Nick Gotts @349. Not really surprising results, but maybe perplexed can loosen up just a little how tightly he’s clinging to his PhDs’ opinions.