Think a vegan diet is the ticket to personal and planetary health? Seen Forks Over Knives and become convinced that animal products will be the death of you and the planet? Then it’s time to lose your veganity!
Yes, lose your veganity. Let go of the wishful thinking that pervades vegan myths and open up to the complex truths. Yes, it might be painful at first, but it’s a crucial step to adult knowledge of how we really can honor animals, promote personal health and healing, sustain the environment and bring about world peace.
To start with, humans are omnivores with a mixed feeder’s teeth and digestive system. If we were meant to be herbivores, we’d have a mouth designed to chew cud and four big stomachs to hold and process it. Grazing all day not only wastes the time and energy omnivores need to live passionate and productive lives, but can lead to indigestion, bloated bellies, stupendous gas and prodigious poops. Worse still, herbivores put on weight like cows, allow themselves to be herded and act like good sheeples.
The anthropological evidence is also clear. An oft heard joke – but one with a lot of truth in it – is that the word vegetarian means “poor hunter.” In fact, cultures from all over the world traditionally thrived on diets rich in animal fats and proteins, and not just fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains. As omnivores, we are blessed to be able to enjoy these delicious foods, but must not rely solely on them. Vegans who try, tend to come up deficient in vitamins A, D, K, B2, B6 and B12; the sulfur-containing amino acids, methionine, cysteine and taurine; DHA and EFA fatty acids; and calcium, zinc, carnitine and CoQ10. Although the human body is theoretically capable of converting beta carotene into true vitamin A and omega 3 fatty acids into DHA and EPA, few people are healthy enough to do so. Sunlight might produce sufficient vitamin D – provided we are naked and live in the topics!
As to that vegan myth that animal foods cause the diseases of modern civilization, you gotta be kidding! The 20th century saw a decline in the consumption of meat, dairy and butter but a sharp increase in the consumption of sugar, corn syrup, white flour, liquid and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, artificial flavorings, preservatives and other known health hazards of processed, packaged and fast foods. All health problems associated with animal products – as well as cruelty to animals and threats to the environment — are the result of factory farming and other commercial and non-sustainable farming practices. In other words, The Naughty Nutritionist is not recommending factory farms or supermarket products.
But what of planetary health? Isn’t veganism the solution to world hunger and saving the environment? Sadly, it’s not. The true threat to our environment is not animals – which have been covering the earth with manure and emissions for tens of thousands of years – but the globalization and industrialization of agriculture with its unconscionable factory farming practices; toxic uses of pesticides, herbicides and commercial fertilizers; plundering of natural resources; draining of aquifers; depletion and eventual deadening of topsoil; and bankrupting of small farmers and cottage industries.
Vegan mythology to the contrary, only 11 percent of the land on earth can be farmed, a percentage that cannot be increased without severe environmental consequences. Old-fashioned, organic, mixed-use farms, and eating locally and population control are the only real solutions. Although vegan mythology holds we can somehow eat without killing, that’s an idea that can only be held by gardening virgins who haven’t dealt first hand with predators. And even vegetable gardens need animals for the manure, bone meal and other soil replenishments needed to keep soil alive and well. Furthermore, grains, soybeans and other foods grown by Big Ag lead to the death of billions of small mammals, birds, bees and other life.
To lose your veganity is to become an adult, a grownup with a full bred understanding of our living, breathing planet and its dependence on the cycle of life and death.
By: ©copyright 2011 Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN, The Naughty Nutritionista