Are Vegetarians Living a Lie?

| 5/22/2009 3:57:31 PM

Tags: Environment, vegetarianism, veganism, diet, sustainability, agriculture, nutrition,

The Vegetarian MythWhen an author comes out with a book called The Vegetarian Myth (Flashpoint Press), as Lierre Keith has, you know she’s not treading lightly, and the book is every bit as hell-raising as its name suggests. Keith comes from an ex-vegan perspective in this takedown of vegetarianism and veganism, and she acknowledges right away that she’s in for some pushback:

It’s not just the amount of information that makes the discussion hard. Often the listener doesn’t want to hear it, and the resistance can be extreme. “Vegetarian” isn’t just what you eat or even what you believe. It’s who you are, and it’s a totalizing identity. In presenting a fuller picture of food politics, I’m not just questioning a philosophy or a set of dietary habits. I’m threatening a vegetarian’s sense of self. And most of you will react with defensiveness and anger. I got hate mail before I’d barely started this book. And no, thank you, I don’t need any more.

Keith goes on to make her case, which basically is this: 1) Vegetarianism will damage your body. It damaged mine. 2) Our bodies are made to eat meat. 3) Converting to a vegetarian or vegan diet isn’t healing the planet if all you’re doing is eating veggies, fruit, and annual grains grown by large and distant megafarms, as most food is—even the stuff at the “natural” food store.

She is ultimately a radical environmentalist, which isn’t surprising since the book is published by Flashpoint, the imprint run by radical green author Derrick Jensen, who is quoted on the jacket front saying, “This book saved my life.” Keith suggests that as important as food choices are, bigger steps are needed to stave off environmental collapse. Namely, refrain from having children; stop driving a car; and grow your own food.

Oh, and by the way:

“Agriculture has to stop. It’s about to run out anyway—of soil, of water, of ecosystems—but it would go easier on us all if we faced that collectively, and then developed cultural constraints that would stop us from ever doing it again.

clingon nunn
11/25/2011 5:31:39 PM

I am in the process of being veganized by my older daughter. I can see limiting ones meat consumption as well as eating what is in season. However if one needs to create imitation meat or cheese you may as well give up and just have the real thing. The V.A. does not advocate a vegan diet but rather a balanced diet. My son wound up with health issues after being vegan for a year. Frankly, I agree with Kieth we are hunter gatherers by nature. We need to regain the respect that was shown by our ancestors for the planet the forests and the animals. take only what you need with respect and use all of what you take and leave enough to replace what you take.

3/31/2011 2:13:16 PM

I was a mostly low-meat, high veg+whole grain eater for many years. health declined, cholesterol and weight went up (even with lots of bike riding). switched to low carb and weight and cholesterol went down. fast forward 10 years, slid back into the vegetarian lifestyle and developed diabetes. why? best answer was I ate too many carbs. 25 grams carbs per meal and my blood sugar stays in the normal range. I eat meat and oils to bring my calorie intake to healthy levels, something you can not do on a vegetarian diet. in my family, life length did not correlate to carnivore vrs vegetarian but was more a function of how big an a**hole they were. I suspect this holds for the population at large.

11/7/2010 9:24:25 AM

Lierre Keith does not have credentials in or an education in the topics she writes about in her book. People who have educations and credentials in those fields disagree with her and are starting to point out that she gets even many of the basic facts in those fields wrong. Judge for yourself as to whether or not you should trust the material in Lierre Keith's book. Review #1 Review #2

11/7/2010 9:22:16 AM

Lierre Keith does not have credentials in or an education in the topics she writes about in her book. People who have educations and credentials in those fields disagree with her and are starting to point out that she gets even many of the basic facts in those fields wrong. Judge for yourself as to whether or not you should trust the material in Lierre Keith's book. Review #1 Review #2

6/25/2009 7:37:04 PM

continuation from below It takes courage to put aside old boring mantras and really study Lierre's information. It is helpful to be progressive, not stagnant in your sustainability teachings. Hope for humanity is a natural foods diet with many translations based on the complicated nature of people's health today due to the chemical soup we are living in. No one escapes the chemical soup; not even the vegetarians and vegans. Environment will play a role in what people eat in different parts of the world. No one will escape the dire results of large scale agriculture that is currently responsible for feeding our overpopulated world. Lierre is just trying to help move us in a direction of understanding to help alleviate suffering and rightfully so. It is desperately needed now and for the future.

6/25/2009 7:00:10 PM

As someone who has witnessed thousands of vegetarian/vegan natural health counseling cases; The Vegetarian Myth book is a blessing. Nutritional deficiencies are widespread in the vegetarian/vegan communities as well as cancer and other illnesses. We see it regularly. The positive benefits people achieve on a balanced vegetarian/vegan diet are usually more attributable to the elimination of certain medications, dietary toxins, processed foods, sugar, and incorporating helpful lifestyle changes than being vegetarian/vegan. In some cases, depending on an individual's health history, the elimination of animal foods for a period of time can be beneficial. Long term abstention can and will eventually pose various problems in varying degrees depending on the person, their particular diet, and individual health. As someone who has been deeply immersed in the vegetarian/vegan world of study, research and natural health care professions for decades, I am grateful for Lierre's hard work and courage. Her research covers a wide variety of sources often lacking in the vegetarian/vegan very limited, and old hat, research mantras such as the China Health Study. You will find the China Health study is far from perfect if you are willing to honestly critique it, but it is now used as the bible of the movement - pretty boring. Vegetarian/vegan diets and research is now a profitable market niche which means corporate controlled and full of lies. We think we're so smart when we see soy advertised everywhere as though the world finally got our message, but once again the joke is on us. Remember, agriculture corporations rule the world and we mean no more to them than the cattle that are raised on factory farms. We are not people, we are profit centers for corporations. And by the way, there are many unscrupulous people in the natural health care field cashing in on the vegetarian myths that really do know better, but do not want to lose their market niche. It takes courage to

michele mangione_1
6/12/2009 12:12:49 PM

My, my everyone is passionate! I begin eating a Paleo diet years ago after being very ill as a long term vegetarian/vegan. Absolutely the best switch for me personally. I suggest people research how humans ate and the health we enjoyed for eons as hunters and gatherers. Now that's a long term study on local, non-agroculture, seasonal eating. Go to for more info.

6/10/2009 3:06:08 PM

I was ready to fight, but I see many of you took the words right off the tips of my fingers. And THANK YOU for that!

phil brown
6/5/2009 7:17:08 AM

Hmmm, let's see if there are any essential truths to be distilled from this quasi-religious debate: Local = good Corporate/distant = bad Well, duh. And that's about the only point on which there seems to be anything resembling consensus. Too bad not everyone can live in the Bekaa or San Joaquin Valleys or some other zone suitable for providing a year-round supply of healthful and diverse foodstuffs. Too bad as well for the vegetarian contingent that meat is so worth pursuing as a means of sustenance -- not to mention so delicious.

phil anderson
6/1/2009 10:16:51 PM

(this is the fourth and last part of my response tonight; please read the other parts below starting with oldest. And I promise no more lengthy responses) ...If that Polyface pasture and feed crop land were converted to a Veggie garden, much more human nutrition could be produced –health-giving, compassionate and climate friendly nutrition. I like these discussions but I’ll probably bow-out for lack of time. Please visit the websites of and And read The China Study, or at least (we’re all pressed for time) read some of the readers’ comments on You’ll find lots of pros, and a few cons, especially from members or supporters of the Weston-Price foundation (check out that foundation for nutrition authority and integrity; and check the publisher of the Vegetarian Myth)

phil anderson
6/1/2009 10:14:06 PM

(dang, ran out of room again. this is another continuation: please start at the latter of my two comments below) .... There is simply no getting around the resource extravagance of the meat diet and its ill-effects on health. Regarding human health and food, the link of meat to cancer, proven in The China Study and others, has to do with animal protein, not the carcinogen's imbedded in the animals flesh which organic Meat AG probably reduces. Animal protein, and only animal protein –not veggie protein- triggers tumor formation in the promotion stage of some cancers, from carcinogens not associated with farming. There’s a BIG animal protein link to breast cancer, really BIG. Heart disease: I understand that organic beef has less fat than the cruelly-fattened animals of industrial farming, but that only means there will be less but still unnaturally elevated saturated fat and cholesterol in the meat eaters’ bodies, which is unquestionably tied to heart disease. Heart disease is substantially less in the vegetarian population and the veggie diet was proven at the Cleveland Clinic to reverse heart disease quickly and permanently for US meat-eaters who switched to the veggie diet --people recommended for multiple-bypass heart surgery who took the veggie diet instead, fully recovered within a year and lived 20+ years in better health than before –every time!; those who opted for surgery, if they survived the ax in the chest, lived only about 5 years or less, and their families were burdened for life for the medical costs. If I find that organic Meat AG is so efficient that it will stop and even reverse deforestation, I’ll post the data here, but I seriously doubt it: those are big animals, much bigger than a human, and they produce nutrition from veggie matter much less efficiently than humans, so there’s just no way that a pasture as a garden wouldn’t support more people. If that Polyface pasture and feed crop land were converted to a Veggie garde

phil anderson
6/1/2009 10:11:21 PM

(continued comment --read the beginning below) ...Nor does it remedy the problem of global warming: nearly 50% of today's anthropogenic global warming is from the meat diet and is caused primarily from the methane gas in the animals' flatulence, not their feces or urine on the ground, so ALL meat AG, organic or inorganic, is a MAJOR cause of Global Warming. This methane gas flatulence and deforestation are the reason for the alarm of the FAO. Do you have data on the amount of land required to produce organic meat versus land required for conventional meat production? I suspect it is not lower enough to ease the pressure on our forests or to restore existing grazing and feed crop lands back to forest, especially with the international demand for meat growing rapidly as more people in developing countries can afford it. There is no question that local organic veggie AG is WAY more efficient than local organic meat AG –you can feed more people from the land, more cheaply, with veggie AG, 4 to 20 times more, depending on land fertility and latitude and who is reporting the data. I wonder, could we produce organic meat locally, especially around the big cities? –there is already a farmland shortage there, and that would compete with veggie AG which is necessary even for omnivores. And could we do it affordably? Meat is cheap not only due to industrial farming but because it is heavily subsidized --75% of US farm subsidies between 1995-2004 went to meat and dairy farming so meat-eaters wouldn’t have to pay the $30 real cost for one of those “Billions and billions sold” burgers. The advantages of a global shift to the organic Meat AG regime are questionable, but there is no question about the results of a shift to a plant-based diet, due to its efficiency and health-saving /health-giving virtues. There is simply no getting around the resource extravagance of the meat diet and its ill-effects on health. Regarding human health and food, the link of meat

phil anderson
6/1/2009 10:08:58 PM

(Utne & readers: I apologize if I am exceeding any Utne comment length restrictions –I see no rules or word counter on the site). Read about Sustainable AG? thanks Claire, I agree it is important to know about Nature’s exquisite life-support system and all aspects of benign sustainable living, and indeed, I think knowledge will become common literacy during the paradigm shift --people wake up when they feel a pinch. I have read extensively on sustainable living and thought long and hard about “benign” sustainable living. And I am a permaculture designer, although I advocate “compassionate” permaculture which excludes violence to animals while still partnering with them as garden co-workers sharing in the bounty, and as beautiful, innocent companions. I’m a major re-localization advocate in all spheres of life-support –especially all farming- to protect us from oil decline and to return prosperity to the grassroots and local economy and to restore the local small-family self-sufficient benign (organic) farm with a living wage, so I know that it’s “not all about transportation”. We have a local farm here in Virginia called "Polyface" which is an ideal example of "sustainable" meat production, and that’s great for preventing manure, toxin and soil runoff, and it enriches the soil rather than depletes it, and it involves kinder-raising and questionably pain and fear-free killing of the animals. Though this is substantially sustainable with minimal inputs in regards to the utility of the land –meaning you can keep killing and eating the animals ad infinitum without destroying this particular farmland- the Polyface organic regime still does not remedy the violation of the sanctity of life and the compassion of our heart, especially for the sentient animals who want to live, and who feel pain and terror, devotion and grief. Nor does it remedy the problem of global warming: nearly 50% of today's anthropogenic global warming is from t

6/1/2009 1:33:32 PM

There is no such thing as vegan - every plant-based food contains insects, insects parts, larvae and eggs (yes, things with faces that live and breathe and did not "want" to die). Just check the FDA's "Food Defects" page of allowable insects/parts in foods such as pastas, fruits, and veggies (ex: 225 insect fragments in one box of macaroni, 120 aphids/thrips in a box of frozen broccoli, etc.). Note that "defect" for insects is merely "aesthetic", and insects contribute some nutrition to food, such as protein, calcium and fats. Because of grain/plant-based diet, vegans and vegetarians eat more insects than other diets. Even if you didn't eat anything, there are still animal parts in items such as hydraulic brake fluid, airplane lubricants, car polishes and waxes, steel ball bearings have bone charcoal, photographic film, linoleum, ceramics, paints, piano keys, plastics, and much more. People who won't eat honey because it is "bee slavery" are still eating fruits, veggies and nuts that are pollinated by those bees (non-native species that are managed by humans). Up to 90% of produce needs honeybees for pollination. Cornell University states that the best diet for the planet (lowest carbon footprint) is one based on what most cultures did 100+ years ago - locally grown produce with some rotation-pastured animals. Pastured animals beat out complete vegan because of less tractors/fuel to grow the large field grain crops and letting the soil rest and renew between pasture rotations. These pastures, if done organically, also provide habitat for insect pollinators and wild animals such as songbirds, snakes, barn owls, etc. The locally grown pastured animals I know of do not use electric fences - they have large open pastures segmented with regular fencing the way our forefathers did. Of course, as with anything, any factory farm operation can claim "pastured" or "free-range" an

5/31/2009 10:34:44 PM

Here's the link to an article with a more in-depth expose of the pro-meat/dairy, anti-vegetarian weston price foundation, which is the major influence on this book, as well as the primary source of all the agenda-based vegan & soy-bashing of the past decade...

5/31/2009 10:23:27 PM

This book is pure weston price foundation propaganda, and basically just a regurgitation of all of their various soy/vegetarian-bashing of the past decade wrapped into one. This "foundation" is a Washington DC-based lobbying group whose members are "farmers", which of course means they confine, breed and kill animals in order to sell their parts and fluids for profit. Their main agenda is to scare/discourage caring, thoughtful people from considering/choosing the vegetarian lifestyle, and instead continuing or resuming their consumption of animals. If they truly gave a damn about our planet they certainly wouldn't be bashing the 5% of the population who are actually trying to do less harm by choosing vegetarian, they would instead be infiltrating the mainstream supermarkets and restaurants where 90% of the population actually shop and contribute to the overwhelming majority of unsustainable, destructive and brutally violent meat/dairy-centered food production. The vast majority of "industrial agriculture" exists only to supply the meat and dairy industries. The vast majority of all "monocultures" exist only to supply the meat and dairy industries. Sadly the weston pricers do not focus on this because that is not their real concern, and instead focus their wrath on the more sustainable and compassionate vegetarian lifestyle, thereby allowing themselves to rationalize and feel better about what they personally are contributing to. Operating under the guise of being "eco-conscious", they lure otherwise well-meaning people (such as Lierre) into their web and then fearmonger/demean the veg way of life to the point of becoming permanently hostile to it. It's a very sad, selfish agenda, and is yet another strike against our precious planet. The meat industry is laughing all the way to the bank. If the environment was really their main concern, Lierre's book would be called "The Agricultural Myth", as

5/30/2009 9:21:50 PM

Please educate yourself on sustainable farming. Read read read. Eating local is not just about concerns over transportation- when you eat locally raised meat youre dealing with small farms..farms that dont overtax the land they use. Theres effort and concern in regards to keeping the soil/land healthy. Responsible farmland has some of the richest soil one can find (animal waste= fertilizer). If this is done on a small level theres no harm done- theres actually good. Thats what the whole anti factory farming idea is about. There is so much more information when it comes to small farms..I cant even begin. All examples cited in regards to how meat is tearing down the planet, our health etc. is in regards to factory farming and big business. All problems stated are not an issue when dealing with sustainable farms. There is a right and a wrong way to do things and I think thats what Lierre Keith is trying to convey with this book. I agree- dont support the meat "industry"..hell dont support "industry"- support folks that are doing things responsibly and consciously. We ve all heard the veg argument maybe its time we hear someone else out.

5/30/2009 9:14:39 PM

I'm curious about this; is being an omnivore so much more environmentally sound? eating meat produced on mega factory farms that not only use up resources but also create waste seems less sound that vegetables and grain which are produced admittedly on mega farms but use much less resources and create less waste. Is the author pointing out that eating meat is a better environmental choice, or that vegetarianism is not doing all it promised?

phil anderson
5/30/2009 7:52:57 PM

Back again - my comment got cut-off & continues here: There is a topsoil crisis in the US. Topsoil is the “foundation of civilization” as it is the foundation of agriculture. Topsoil takes 100 to 1,000 years to create. Percentage of U.S. topsoil lost to date: 75 %. Percentage of U.S. topsoil loss directly related to livestock raising: 85%.Amount of land needed to feed a pure vegetarian (Vegan) for one year: 1/6 acre. Amount of land needed to feed a meat-eater for one year: 3 1/4 acres (about 20 times as much. There is a water shortage crises developing in the U.S. and this may soon be magnified by the changing weather patterns of Global Warming. The meat industry uses more than half of all water used for all purposes in the U.S. Water needed to produce one daily American Meat Diet: 4,000 gallons. Water needed to produce one daily American Vegetarian Diet: 300 gallons. One-third of all fossil fuels produced in the United States is used to raise animals for food. Of the 10 foods most likely to cause cancer from pesticide residues, beef is number one. If you switch to a Vegetarian Diet, you can shrink your carbon footprint by up to 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide a year. Trading a standard car for a hybrid car cuts your carbon footprint about 1.0 ton, one-third less than taking a Vegetarian Diet. The Meat Diet is indeed the “SUV” of the dinner plate. “Other than not driving a car, not eating meat is the second most important positive environmental decision that a consumer can make.” — Union of Concerned Scientists. Albert Einstein: "Our task must be to free ourselves . . . by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a Vegetarian Diet.”

phil anderson
5/30/2009 7:42:11 PM

Only Lierre can evaluate her personal nutritional-health experience, which has many variables, but I feel she has not presented an objective picture of the Vegetarian Diet, and its purer Vegan form, which generally promote good health. As a Vegetarian of 41 years I have found the Vegetarian Diet to be in harmony with Nature, with human physiology and our Heart, and in harmony with our natural role in Nature as Stewards of the Earth -loving Stewards of a loving God, love or whatever you want to call that creative power. I hope that Utne readers will consider the relative virtues of the Meat and Vegetarian Diets before judging this benign, harmonious, health-giving and empowering way of eating and cultivating the Earth. Here's some info: Read "The China Study" or at least read the readers' comments on The American Dietetic Association on Vegetarian Diet: “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada that appropriately planned Vegetarian Diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” They further state that this includes the Vegan diet. There have been billions of vegetarians over time whose lives have been graced by the Vegetarian and Vegan diets, without the negative effects described in Lierre's “Vegetarian Myth”. Estimates of vegetarian populations today. Cattle and other livestock account for twice the amount of pollutants as from all U.S. industrial sources, and 10 times the biological waste of the human population. The international meat industry produces more greenhouse gas /global warming than all the world’s transportation combined. Switching to local meat will not solve the problem because only about 5% of this greenhouse gas is from transportation. The two most damaging things people in the United States do to our climate are driving cars and eating beef. There is a topsoil crisis in the US. Topsoil is

5/30/2009 2:23:06 PM

The question for me is this: Assuming the main goal is/was to entice (conservatives?) and provoke (progressives?) to look, at least momentarily, past our (relatively) superficial squabblings and consider (the) essential paradigm shifts--i.e. culling of both our population and our human-centric technologies--, then are the means, no matter how provocative, justified?

5/30/2009 2:17:45 PM

The question for me is this: Assuming the main goal is/was to entice (conservatives?) and provoke (progressives?) to look, at least momentarily, past our (relatively) superficial squabblings and consider (the) essential paradigm shifts--i.e. culling of both our population and our human-centric technologies--, then are the means, no matter how provocative, justified?

5/30/2009 10:29:49 AM

I just picked this book up the other day- having been vegan off and on for the past ten years it definitely perked my interest. Im a huge supporter of local farms and will only eat meat/consume dairy from places I have visited personally ( I detail my visits, adventures, foods etc on my site- ). That being said I still eat predominantly vegan. Personally, I dont think theres a right or wrong answer to the vegan arguement- some folks feel good as omnivores, others do not. Whats most important- to me anyway, and what I think Lierre Keith is trying to say is to source your food well. That means dont support factory farming of any sort (animal or vegetable). Spotting Derrick Jensens quote on the cover instilled some confidence in me that this would be a worthwhile read- Im a big big fan. Slowly Im making my way through the book and so far Im really enjoying it.

r cree
5/30/2009 12:05:52 AM

It is interesting that the Utne email article on medicalized sex had very few comments, yet vegetarian/nonvegetarian debate is generating lots of comments--I guess it is a safer topic :)))! Well having listened to the morally superior pronouncements of a number of vegetarians over the years, I have determined that being a vegetarian seems to have a physical component, a technology component, a social context, a thought perspective and a spiritual belief aspect. On the physical side, I can see that the medical community does not have a clue about what nutrition is required to maintain health except to prevent scurvy and rickets. I see farm animals being given better nutrition than humans. I wonder if the 3 Indian Ayurveda constitutions or body types would give us a better understand of who might or might not do better with a more vegetarian diet. For years, I have taken vitamin and mineral supplements to make up for not getting enough fruits and vegetables in my diet and to counter the poor quality and low or no nutritional value in fruits and vegetables. Until it became apparent that vegetarians needed Flax oil Omega 3 for joint problems to replace meat Omega 3's, I believe that even vegetarians will have to use the technology of nutrition to supplement their diets--just like meat eaters. Now, as far as the social issue, I and many others around the world have insufficient incomes to be able to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables--even if they are available and fresh enough to have any nutritional value. Sometimes, I get the sense that vegetarians are food elitists and look down on the rest of us because we were not blessed with enough income, enough time to eat like they do. In addition to the above points, I see vegetarian/nonvegetarians perspectives as similar to the Prolife/Prochoice debate. Neither side will understand each other because one side is coming from a mental perspective and the other side from an emotional or physical perspective. Ma

5/29/2009 7:52:08 PM

I have experienced extremely good health since becoming vegan, including better skin, some (healthy!) weightloss, fewer illnesses, etc. It's too bad one person had a bad experience with it and is now denouncing the way of life to all others...

louisa dell'amico
5/29/2009 5:22:36 PM

Valerye, Could you please enlighten me by sharing the titles of "all the well-researched books" which dispel the myths about vegetarianism being better for the health of humans and/or the planet? Thanks so much. Louisa P.S. If they were written by laypersons or people with no scientific expertise in medicine, nutrition, agriculture, or the environment, or for that matter, people with a financial (as opposed to scientific) interest in disseminating their information, please omit them. Louisa Dell'Amico

corey-jan albert
5/29/2009 4:23:09 PM

Oh, for goodness sake. Human beings are not identical machines. Some people's bodies thrive on a vegetarian diet. Others crave red meat. Others are "flexetarian," "Pescaterian," or some other melange. We can find scientific evidence to support any of these choices. Some choose to be vegetarians to honor fellow members of the animal kingdom. I know someone else who is vegetarian much of the year because she won't eat anything that she doesn't kill herself. Me? I'm mostly vegetarian because that's what tastes best to me and I feel good eating that way. So, what's the right answer? Know what works for you and keeps you feeling healthy and strong. And respect others who do the same. Why must we attack each other for our choices?

5/29/2009 4:19:22 PM

Being an omnivore who enjoys vegetarian food very much, I don't have strong feelings about this book. However, You have to question its reliability when the author claims flat out "Vegetarianism will damage your body." If that were true India wouldn't be the largest democracy on the planet. Would it?

5/29/2009 3:55:46 PM

Why this book is getting all the attention is beyond me. Though I admit I haven't read it, the excerpts indicate that Ms. Keith is very passionate about her views, but probably doesn't base them on much sound science. There are many more books, with better research behind them, that have dispelled the range of myths about vegetarianism being healthier for your, better for the planet, the "natural" human diet, etc. Though one can be healthy on a vegetarian diet, the lack of meat is not the reason some studies show that vegetarians live longer. When compared to adherents to a whole food diet that includes meat, vegetarians fare no better and in some cases fare worse. If you want to learn the facts, learn about basic statistics and how scientific studies are done and look at the studies yourself. Otherwise you will be at the mercy of passionate activists who have an agenda.

louisa dell'amico
5/29/2009 2:45:33 PM

Why is it that so many people believe that their personal experiences are proof of cause and effect? If this were the case, then peer-reviewed scientific journals would be filled with anecdotal stories. There's no scientific evidence whatsoever that links a veg*n diet to degenerative joint disease, hypoglycemia, or gastroparesis. And of course, cessation of menses during childbearing years is only indicative that her body is in a state of starvation, regardless of the type of diet she is on. Second, the author claims to have "adult knowledge" and yet has no regard for scientific evidence? Now, there's a "knowledge" that has no credibility! Third, the author asks us if we would take the word of Joel Salatin versus Frances Moore Lappe. Thanks, but I'll take the word of Dr. David Pimentel of Cornell University, or Dr. Danielle Neiremberg of the Worldwatch Institute, or some other reputable scientists. Fourth, the author comments on a Zeitgeist blog that her body began to heal when she started to eat "nutrient-dense animal fats and proteins". Where on earth did you get your nutritional information? From The Roseanne Show? Your ignorance is laughable. How dare you write a book on this subject! And last, the author thinks that readers may feel "confusion, fear, or anger" by her assertions in this book. I feel only utter astonishment that such baseless assertions ever made it to a book! Do you have any interest in educating the public, or just sharing your far-fetched opinions? Louisa Dell'Amico

5/29/2009 2:30:47 PM

The real consideration for not eating the flesh of of other sentient beings is the honoring of them as fellow Spiritual beings. We do not need to consume as much food as we do; studies have shown that those who eat small portions are healthier that those who eat copiusly 3+ times a day. Being successful at switching from animal based to plant based diets is more about the mind than the body, respect for what you eat and commitment.

el torso
5/29/2009 1:36:18 PM

1. No, it won't. Not if you do your research, use your brain, and get the correct nutrients. There is far more evidence of the vegetarian and vegan diets being more than nutritionally sound than them not being so. 2. No, our bodies aren't made to eat meat, for reasons others have so eloquently pointed out. This is the typical (and lame) lame omnivore rationalization/justification. 3. I am vegan because I love and respect animals. Vegans don't believe, contrary to popular (read: lame) belief, that our diet and lifestyle will save the planet. But it certainly lessens the impact on it. The vegans I know are far better at putting their money where their mouths are when it comes to eating locally grown foods and not supporting those industries that exploit humans and animals alike. Want to talk about myths? How about starting with "happy meat"? And using specious "science" and a history of poor choices based on miseducation (sic), or a total lack of education period, to attack an entire lifestyle and movement is baffling, to say the least. Methinks the lady doth protest too much ... sad, sad, sad. As for abusiveness, I'd much rather abuse omnis with words than animals with my dietary choices.

5/29/2009 1:22:42 PM

Most people I know who are vegetarians actually keep that fact to themselves. And many times when we admit we are a vegetarian we get verbally accosted by a nearby meat eater. Although the thought of eating a cow or other animals flesh is repulsive to me I say to those who choose to are free to do as they like or "live and let live" so to speak. Although I became vegetarian for the sake of animals there are countless health benefits. On average vegetarians live a full 7 YEARS longer than their meat eating counterparts. Destroying the body yet letting it live longer...hmm there is an inherent contradiction. As a health professional every time i know someone who gives up meat they tell me they are feeling much better and have more energy. Further most animals are raised in factory farms and it requires 16 lbs of grain to build one pound of meat on the body of a cow, chicken or pig. So if we bypass eating the flesh we would be able to dramatically reduce the amount of land dedicated to farming. We will save hundreds of millions of bushels of corn and other grains we could use to feed the world or fuel or nation. Another great thing is we wold also save the lives of millions of hundreds of millions of animals. You are living under a rock if you do not realize that factory farms treat animals with extreme cruelty. In the end it is up to you but simply because this woman says vegetarianism is 'bad' for you does not make it so.

margaret rader_2
5/29/2009 1:17:05 PM

The Protestant denomination Seventh Day Adventists have been mainly vegetarians for many, many years. They have studied the issue and documented the health benefits. You have to be smart about being a vegetarian and, most importantly, figure out ways to get your vitamin B12, probably by supplements. Also you must figure out your best protein sources. If you are smart, if and only if, your health will benefit from being a vegetarian. I have been a "fishatarian" for about 23 years with no regrets. I'm not qualified to speak about vegans. I suppose you would need to be even smarter. margaret

5/29/2009 1:16:55 PM

This book goes as far in the the "other" direction as those it seeks to counter. It is completely possible to eat a vegetarian or vegan diet that is healthy, responsible and sustainable. Just because a few people never figure out how to do this may make it more difficult than they thought it would or should be, but it hadly makes it a myth. This book is an interesting addition to the conversation, but hardly the last word or "at long last, the truth."

jeffery biss
5/29/2009 1:13:23 PM

1. Vegetarianism doesn't damage your body, a poor diet will. 2. The human body was not made to eat meat. We evolved as omnivores that can eat meat but do not need to. Our dentition is not evolved to tear through skin, flesh, sinew, etc. as a real carnivore's. We require tools to eat meat that are external to our anatomy. 3. Eating lower on the food chain does indeed lead to less environmental damage, even when the plant matter comes from a non-local source. The problem is how we operate our economies and overpopulation that is beyond the carrying capacity of the earth. The most important point that Lierre either ignores or is ignorant of is that the issue is not about us, it is about our victims. Vegetarianism ensures that those we do not value or value only as a resource for our use are not harmed, which is the most fundamental obligation of a moral being. That the moral being has the obligation to consider the well being of the least among us, without the use of one's personal value system, as a consequence of any given action also serves to consider the impact that having children, driving one's car, and growing one's own food has on every single other living thing on this planet. You don't have rights because you're a human being, you have rights because I am a moral being. To eat meat relegates rights to mere privilege, at the discretion of the powerful. To eat meat allows the perpetrator of any given act to determine whether it was good or bad without regard to the victim. This is indeed the world in which we live because it is far more convenient for those of us in control.

5/29/2009 1:04:58 PM

As a vegan for over two and a half years I haven't experienced anything but health BOONS! Just because one person can't eat properly (like the news frenzy trying to blame veganism on that kid that suffered severe malnutrition) doesn't mean the whole concept is flawed! She also cites that industrial farming is the problem. And while I wholeheartedly agree, for the majority of people to consume meat they can afford, factory farming is an inevitable conclusion. The fact of the matter still remains that the MAJORITY of grasses, corns and soya products actually go to feeding livestock! And for those who proclaim local grass-fed beef is somehow more humane, that's an equally absurd assertion. Cramming animals into electric fences where they would remain crammed close to as dense as factory farms: "It works this way: Graziers use the temporary electric fences to confine a herd of perhaps 50 calves or steers to an area the size of a small suburban front lawn for a short period, often as short as a half a day." From a supposed expert on the subject from the following source: To view my overall rebuttal to grass-fed livestock, I invite you to my blog: Further, if our bodies were made to consume meat, why do so many people NOT suffer health detriments by not consuming meat, but actually tend to live longer with less risk of disease? (The China Study) I don't understand why people feel so threatened by a small majority of people they have to resort to this campaign of misinformation as Ms. Keith does...

5/29/2009 12:21:36 PM

It's high time someone had the guts to write this book. There's not a great deal new in it, but the author is right in what she says about the audience that actually needs it. They are a difficult, even abusive, bunch when you begin to question their identities -- as we all are when it comes to our (pardon the expression) sacred cows. I gave up trying to preach that gospel years ago, about the time I gave up vegetarianism for the same reasons as Ms. Keith. I may buy a couple of extra copies to lend out, though.

5/29/2009 12:04:56 PM

I am also interested in reading this book. I used to be a vegetarian, but am now someone who eats some, although little, meat. I have started buying beef from a small, local farm that raises grass-fed beef. Their cows are not claimed to be organic, although they are not given hormones or antibiotics, so overall they are more environmentally friendly and healthy. I'm glad to see a new perspective.

5/26/2009 12:23:38 AM

I am very interested to read this book. Recently I decided to overhaul my diet as part of a life overhaul. I decided to go vegan because I am so utterly appalled by what the food industry does to the "product" (the poor animals that are tortured) I also am fed up with the whole agricultural industry and the impact on the environment, farmers and consumers. So it is relatively easy for me to find locally grown organic vegan foods. I would not have a problem eating some meat. (A healthy amount not the huge mainly American idea of healthy.) But I have decided that until I can know where and how my animal products are treated I will not be any part of it. By the way I feel the same about soy products. (genetically altered, workers not treated fairly and all that.) Can't wait to read it.