Are Vegetarians Living a Lie?

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

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

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