Most Vegetarians Become Ex-Vegetarians?

Well, this is a positive development:  a reader sent me a link to an article about people who originally became vegetarians for ethical reasons, but are now converting to being “ethical” meat-eaters:

A feisty vegetarian since age 12, Berlin Reed was a self-described “punk” who swore to abstain from supporting corporations that he believed profited from mistreating animals, abusing labor practices and “destroying” the environment.

“I have ‘vegan’ tattooed on my neck,” said Reed, 29. “You could say I was a little passionate about it.”

Today, however, he’s known as “the ethical butcher,” a title which might seem odd for someone whose friends once arranged a “bacon intervention” to sway him to omnivorism.

Must’ve been some party tray at that bacon intervention.  Apparently the intervention worked, but I can’t help but wonder if the ethical butcher’s customers ever spot that “vegan” tattoo on the back of his neck and suspect he may secretly be handing them tofu steaks.

The article goes on to explain that “ethical” meat-eating means different things to different people, but that’s not what caught my attention.  This did:

According to a recent study by Psychology Today, most vegetarians return to eating meat.

I didn’t know that.  I’m an ex-vegetarian, I know other ex-vegetarians, and of course many readers of this blog are ex-vegetarians, but this is first time I’d heard that vegetarianism is a temporary condition for most who try it.  Even before I checked the Psychology Today study, I could guess the reason.  This paragraph gives a pretty strong clue:

For those who are physically unable to keep up with the challenges of the vegetarian life, ethical omnivorism is a liberating conscience-saver. Nutritionist Julie Daniluk, 38, was plagued by guilt when she returned to eating meat, but 13 years of vegetarianism hadn’t suited her immune system.

Okay, I have to admit:  that first sentence rubs me the wrong way.  “Unable to keep up with the challenges of the vegetarian life” sounds a bit like “unable to keep up with the challenges of boot camp.”  The more appropriate description in my case would be “sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.”  The nutritionist obviously found that going meatless wasn’t doing wonders for her health  — somebody call T. Colin Campbell! — so she quit.

That’s what the Psychology Today article named as the number one reason vegetarians go back to eating meat:  poor health.

Staci wasn’t always so fit. In her early 30’s, Staci’s health started going downhill. After twelve years of strict vegetarianism, she began to suffer from anemia and chronic fatigue syndrome, and she experienced stomach pains for two hours after every meal. “I was completely debilitated,” she tells me. “Then I changed the way I ate.”

“Tell me about your diet now. What did you have for breakfast today?” I ask.

“A half pint of raw beef liver,” she says.

Ok….Staci is a bit extreme in her carnivory — these days she prefers her meat raw, and she eats a lot of it. But the transformation from hard-core vegetarian to meat-eater that Staci illustrates is surprisingly common. Indeed, according to a 2005 survey by CBS News, three times as many American adults admit to being “ex-vegetarians” than describe themselves as current vegetarians.

This is a point I’ve tried to make to the vegetarians zealots who occasionally troll this blog and preach to me about how much healthier vegetarians are compared to population as a whole:  vegetarians are a self-selected group.  It’s a lifestyle that attracts health-conscious people to begin with — that’s why I tried it — but then the people who experience negative results usually give it up.  Those left standing are health-conscious people who didn’t experience health problems going meatless.  Of course they’re healthier on average than a population that consumes pizza, burritos, deli sandwiches, sodas, french fries, Little Debbie Snack Cakes and Chunky Monkey ice cream.  Compare the vegetarians to a bunch of people who consciously chose paleo diets, then we’ll see who’s healthier on average.

The authors of the Psychology Today article gathered their own data from an online survey, so it’s hardly a scientific study.  But the results are interesting:

Thirty-five percent of our participants indicated that declining health was the main reason they reverted back to eating flesh. For example, one wrote, “I was very weak and sickly. I felt horrible even though I ate a good variety of foods like PETA said to.” Another wrote, “My doctor recommended that I eat some form of meat as I was not getting any better. I thought it would be hypocritical of me to just eat chicken and fish as they are just as much and animal as a cow or pig. So I went from no meat to all meat.” The most succinct response was by a man who wrote, “I will take a dead cow over anemia any time.”

One-quarter of the ex-vegetarians said they grew tired of the hassle (whatever that means) of the lifestyle, and one-fifth said they developed an “irresistible urge” to eat meat again.  As far as I’m concerned, we can add that group to those who started eating meat again for their health.  Those irresistible urges were messages from their bodies … something along the lines of “Give me the nutrition I need, you dumb @#$%!”

Many of us (if not most) who try vegetarianism eventually end up feeling lousy for good reason:  we evolved as meat-eaters.  As it happens, another reader recently sent me a link to an article that provides yet another clue about what our ancestors ate:

Stone Age barbecue consumers first went for the bone marrow and then for the ribs, suggest the leftovers of an outdoor 7,700-year-old meaty feast described in the July issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

The remains, found in the valley of the River Tjonger, Netherlands, provide direct evidence for a prehistoric hunting, butchering, cooking and feasting event. The meal occurred more than 1,000 years before the first farmers with domestic cattle arrived in the region.

Marrow and ribs … the good, fatty stuff.   Sounds yummy.

Although basic BBQ technology hasn’t changed much over the millennia, this prehistoric meal centered around the flesh of an aurochs, a wild Eurasian ox that was larger than today’s cows. It sported distinctive curved horns.

Whaddaya mean BBQ technology hasn’t changed?!  We have propane grills and aluminum tongs now.  Not to mention cool aprons.

According to the study, the individuals skinned the animal and butchered it, reserving the skin and large hunks of meat for carrying back to a nearby settlement. Chop marks left behind by the flint blade show how the meat was meticulously separated from the bones and removed.

Niekus told Discovery News, “The people who killed the animal lived during the Late Mesolithic (the latter part of the middle Stone Age). They were hunter-gatherers and hunting game was an important part of their subsistence activities.”

According to a nitwit I spent part of today debating online, this means the stone-age people had high rates of type 2 diabetes.  What happens, ya see, is that if more than 10% of your diet comes from animal fat, the fat stacks up against the walls of your cells and then the cells can’t absorb glucose –- which is the energy source for every cell in your body, ya see — so you become a diabetic.  Yup, that’s what happens.  Yes, it does.  Yes, it does!  It does too!  Well, you’d understand these things if you’d just read The China Study!

But back to our prehistoric ancestors:

Aurochs must have been good eats for Stone Age human meat lovers, since other prehistoric evidence also points to hunting, butchering and feasting on these animals. A few German sites have yielded aurochs bones next to flint tool artifacts.  The aurochs couldn’t escape extinction, though.

“It became extinct due to the destruction of the habitat of the aurochs since the arrival of the first farmers in Europe about 7500 years ago,” Prummel said. “These farmers used the area inhabited by aurochs for their dwellings, arable fields and meadows. The aurochs gradually lost suitable habitat.”

Figures … friggin’ grain farmers had to show up and ruin the natural-meat supply.  Perhaps if enough vegetarians convert to being ethical meat-eaters, we can do something about that.


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247 thoughts on “Most Vegetarians Become Ex-Vegetarians?

  1. TiggerLady

    First off, really enjoyed watching “Fathead” movie last weekend. Great job!

    Watched “Supersize Me” again this weekend and was even more struck by the strong agenda-purporting to show that “Fast food is horribly unhealthy” or “McDonalds is horribly unhealthy” but actually showing “gorging until you puke on 5000 calories a day is horribly unhealthy” as clearly he was eating far more than what Dean Ornish describes as a “typical fast food dinner: quarter pound cheeseberger, milk shake, small order of fries” (p46 EMWL). Every time we saw Spurlock carrying his meal, he had both a large soda and another beverage container (milkshake? frozen lemonade?). It fascinated me that he was clearly eating horrendous amounts of high-GI carbohydrate (double qp with large fries, milkshake, and large coke ~500g carb), yet his physician was completely focused on the fat. And the fallacies in the argument “local restaurants and home cooking have been around for hundreds of years so they’re clearly not the problem, fast food is” – eeep!

    Thought question: I wonder if someone were able to eat 5000 calories a day on a 10% fat, vegan diet while severely limiting their exercise – what the 30 day outcome on their weight and blood sugar would be?

    Pet peeve: reading undocumented assertions. One of the things I really like about “Good Calories, Bad Calories” is how well documented and factual it is – it doesn’t come across as smug or anecdote laden.

    I really enjoy reading this blog. I think folks of all viewpoints need to consider if they’re putting too much weight (ha! ha!) on anecdotes, or allowing statements they agree with to pass less documented and challenged than viewpoints they disagree with. I find those aspects of this blog and its comments less enjoyable.

    I have seen a number of low-carb dieters who eat the diet in an unhealthy way (all fat and meat, no veggies) and become ill or give it up because it’s not sustainable for them. I imagine many here think “well, that’s not the diet Atkins actually wrote” and would say they shouldn’t let such anecdotes discourage them from low-carb in a healthy way if that works for them. On the other hand, I’ve been a vegetarian for 40 years and am lucky to have a vegetarian child (by choice, we don’t moralize at her) who towers over her class at school and shines with energy. And I know many healthy vegans who have been vegan for years. So I read anecdotes here and think “I wonder what that vegan son was actually eating?” (maybe the vegan equivalent of the bacon-and-cream-only, few veggies “atkins” dieter).

    Clearly it’s possible to follow different dietary principles in both a healthy and an unhealthy way. Ornish has quite a bit of scientifically sound documentation of the health of his devotees (I wish he were a little more factual and open-minded in his assessments of low-carb diets and the actual evidence linking saturated fat to disease, but whatever).

    Smugness is unattractive in support of any viewpoint. On the other hand, poking fun is, well, funny – so keep up the laughter! The commodities-based government diet recommendations deserve to be laughed at.

  2. Bullinachinashop

    I found GCBC to be a page-turner too. As in constantly going back 2-3 pages because I kept getting lost in the details. but I could not stop reading it, no matter how hard a time I had at it.

  3. David I

    I’ve been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for…let’s see…43 years now. At age 14, appalled by what I’d seen of factory farming, I decided to stay as far away from the slaughterhouse industry as possible.

    (Does eating dairy and eggs cause suffering, too? Sure. But if you are selective about what you buy, you can minimize it. I try not to let the perfect become the enemy of the good.)

    Ironically, at the time I began eating vegetarian, it wasn’t touted as a healthy lifestyle. Indeed, I was warned repeatedly that I would probably die!

    As I got older, however–especially when I followed the 1980s gospel of trying to avoid fats and eat more “healthy, complex carbs,” I began packing on pounds at an alarming rate.

    I’m now a low-carb lacto-ovo vegetarian. I’m muscular, with 12% body fat. Could I do that as a vegan? I dunno, and I’m not tempted to find out.

    I cordially dislike vegans and vegetarians who, generally after a few months of years of adopting their diets, show up and lecture people about the evils of carnivory, whatever they deem them to be.

    On the other hand, I also dislike the degree of venom that tends to be spewed toward vegetarians by so many low-carb and Paleo folks.

    Why are so many people so hostile and self-congratulatory? Out here in the diet blogs, it’s getting as polarized–and about as intelligent–as Congress !

    I don’t see paleo and low-carb folks trolling vegan blogs to lecture the readers, but perhaps it happens. Mostly I see us responding to trolls who showed up on our doorsteps to preach to us.

  4. Marilyn

    “I have read both Why We Get Fat and Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes.. You may not expect this type of book to be a page-turner but I certainly found them so. Gary is a talented writer and both books are well worth reading.”

    I agree completely! I’ve read all of GCBC thee times, and some parts of it still more times. I just got WWGF, so have only read it once so far. . . 🙂

  5. Peggy Cihocki

    @Layla, “vegetarianism has a different meaning in Holland; you still eat cheese and the occasional egg.” Actually, I think that definition of vegetarianism holds elsewhere, as well, including here. Only vegans, as I understand it, don’t eat any animal products at all. As long as they are eating a decent amount of cheese, eggs, and good fats, a vegetarian diet could (COULD) work for some genetically gifted people. Not me, though.

  6. Kay

    Hi, My name is Kay and I’m addicted to carbs…Hi Kay 🙂

    I was once a vegetarian and very short timer vegan. I’ve become fatter, depressed and more addicted to carbohydrates. I’m a meat eater now (and no longer depressed) and I still shop at the local co-op, where a lot of V’s shop. Unfortunately, there are a lot of grumpy and tired looking shoppers. If I need to get by someone, I always say excuse me and smile, but when I do, I get rude or no looks at all. Twice I’ve had shopping carts bump into me with no apology or even a word from the person controlling the cart…they just glare at me and walk away.

    I didn’t realize how vastly different it was until I went to a regular grocery store right after shopping at the co-op. Everyone was nice, said excuse me and was considerate. I still experience this same difference every time I shop.

    I don’t know why it’s different, maybe the V’s vitamin B-12 supplements aren’t working as well as they hoped. Maybe that’s why there are a lot of former vegetarians? Either way, I’ll continue shopping the co-op because they have a great local organic veggie selection……and the checkers are usually pretty nice.

    PS Has anybody ever researched how much mold and mildew is in high-carb diets versus low-carb diets? It seems like I’m finding more and more mold and/or smelly breads, nuts, and pastas than ever before…benefits of the global economy?!?

    PSS I just finished reading Good Calories, Bad Calories….wow is all I can say. Not sure how many more things I need to read until I start the low-carb diet and live better…but it’s time.

    They can glare at you all they want. If they get violent, just stick out a pinky finger and knock them over.

  7. Rob

    Once you see the commercial meat industry from beginning to end you might think a little differently.

    That’s a trouble with how the meat is raised and processed, not with the effects of meat on health. If we were treated to documentaries about how growing crops destroys the soil and the waterways, we’d all think differently about those amber waves of grain as well.

  8. Peggy Cihocki

    @Layla, “vegetarianism has a different meaning in Holland; you still eat cheese and the occasional egg.” Actually, I think that definition of vegetarianism holds elsewhere, as well, including here. Only vegans, as I understand it, don’t eat any animal products at all. As long as they are eating a decent amount of cheese, eggs, and good fats, a vegetarian diet could (COULD) work for some genetically gifted people. Not me, though.

  9. Luke

    I watched a Rhett & Link video where Rhett states that he is giving up dairy (nothing to complain about there as humans weren’t meant to consume dairy through adulthood). The thing that hit me as stupid is that they were complementing Cheetos because they don’t use dairy. WHY DO YOU BELIEVE CONSUMING CHEETOS IS MORE HEALTHY THAN CONSUMING DAIRY?!?!? Cheetos weren’t put on this earth. Man made Cheetos. Dairy is made from Mammals and is mostly unprocessed. Cheetos has additives, preservatives, vegetable oils, and a number of other frankengredients. Geez, I think that it is so stupid (Its on youtube, vegan ain’t easy).

    Now that’s just plain funny.

  10. Elliott Smith

    Vegetarianism a ‘temporary condition’, eh? Doesn’t surprise me all that much, to be honest. Also doesn’t surprise me that you fail to mention the mother of ALL temporary conditions in the world of diet/nutrition: low carb!

    I haven’t seen statistics on how many people go low-carb and then quit. My guess is that those who give up a low-carb lifestyle do so because they miss their potatoes and pasta, not because they feel lousy and gain weight.

  11. Heather K.

    I did this (vegetarianism) for a short period of time in my late teens and gained weight and had to stop due to severe anemia and complete exhaustion that landed me in the hospital after passing out. Never felt so bad in my life. I am thinner and healthier than I have ever been on a carbohydrate restricted diet. So I like to call myself a Recovering vegetarian. Glad to hear I am not the only on to make the switch.

    Sounds as if we’re in the majority.

  12. Luke

    I watched a Rhett & Link video where Rhett states that he is giving up dairy (nothing to complain about there as humans weren’t meant to consume dairy through adulthood). The thing that hit me as stupid is that they were complementing Cheetos because they don’t use dairy. WHY DO YOU BELIEVE CONSUMING CHEETOS IS MORE HEALTHY THAN CONSUMING DAIRY?!?!? Cheetos weren’t put on this earth. Man made Cheetos. Dairy is made from Mammals and is mostly unprocessed. Cheetos has additives, preservatives, vegetable oils, and a number of other frankengredients. Geez, I think that it is so stupid (Its on youtube, vegan ain’t easy).

    Now that’s just plain funny.

  13. Elliott Smith

    Vegetarianism a ‘temporary condition’, eh? Doesn’t surprise me all that much, to be honest. Also doesn’t surprise me that you fail to mention the mother of ALL temporary conditions in the world of diet/nutrition: low carb!

    I haven’t seen statistics on how many people go low-carb and then quit. My guess is that those who give up a low-carb lifestyle do so because they miss their potatoes and pasta, not because they feel lousy and gain weight.

  14. Heather K.

    I did this (vegetarianism) for a short period of time in my late teens and gained weight and had to stop due to severe anemia and complete exhaustion that landed me in the hospital after passing out. Never felt so bad in my life. I am thinner and healthier than I have ever been on a carbohydrate restricted diet. So I like to call myself a Recovering vegetarian. Glad to hear I am not the only on to make the switch.

    Sounds as if we’re in the majority.

  15. ethyl d

    The only problem I have with saying it doesn’t matter if other people damage their health through choosing vegetarianism is that their choice does impact others who are not vegetarian. Vegetarians’ choice to eat this way makes them stupider, and the rest of us who have to deal with them are impacted in various ways by their stupidity. They make their children weaker, stupider, and sicker, which not only is a shame for the children themselves, that they’ve been cheated of developing to their full potential and have to suffer illness they might not otherwise experience, but the rest of society will have to deal with these malnourished, brain-starved kids throughout their school years and into adulthood. Vegan parents have been known to malnourish their babies to death due to their misguided beliefs. It’s not too strong to say that imposing vegetarianism on kids is a form of abuse. And a lot of anorexic youth disguise their illness by going vegetarian, which everybody thinks is so cool.

    And it really gripes me that there is a prevalent belief even among those who eat meat that vegetarianism is an acceptable choice and one to be admired and respected. How many times do we find options on restaurant menus specifically catering to vegetarians, or reassurances on food packages that the product is okay for vegetarians? Recipe articles in magazines with vegetarian adaptations? I get really tired of seeing these people extolled in the media as if they’re sooooo special.

    I don’t admire the lifestyle, but as with people who choose to eat junk or serve it to their kids, I don’t want anyone prohibiting them from that choice.

  16. Mark

    I’ve been a vegetarian for 10 years now, and I think it might be time to switch back to meat. I have been dealing with fatigue, anxiety, acid reflux for years and a stomach pain that has not gone away for 1.5 months. I had a CT scan done and nothing abnormal showed up so they want to do a colonoscopy to see what’s going on. I’m only 36 and was attributing everything to getting older and living a sedentary lifestyle. We have a 2 year old and he hasn’t slept well since he was born and I just attributed the fatigue to that and only getting around 6.5-7 hours of sleep. I remember feeling like I was superman when I was younger and just brushed that off as being in my 20’s. I have had blood tests done and they never showed anything concerning, and I have told my doctor over and over that I am a vegetarian. I’m just wondering now if all of my symptoms could be because I don’t eat meat.

    Sounds like time for a personal experiment. Put some meat back in your diet and see what happens.

  17. Firebird

    “Veggies use the ethical argument as if it applied only to the animals we kill. I.e. Killing animals for food is unethical.”

    I once had dinner with a vegetarian who ate mushroom burgers. He got annoyed when I told him that several mushrooms gave their lives so he could be nourished.

    “A vegan diet by definition would exclude dairy products, however.”

    So would the hidden protein created by bugs in the rice.

  18. ethyl d

    The only problem I have with saying it doesn’t matter if other people damage their health through choosing vegetarianism is that their choice does impact others who are not vegetarian. Vegetarians’ choice to eat this way makes them stupider, and the rest of us who have to deal with them are impacted in various ways by their stupidity. They make their children weaker, stupider, and sicker, which not only is a shame for the children themselves, that they’ve been cheated of developing to their full potential and have to suffer illness they might not otherwise experience, but the rest of society will have to deal with these malnourished, brain-starved kids throughout their school years and into adulthood. Vegan parents have been known to malnourish their babies to death due to their misguided beliefs. It’s not too strong to say that imposing vegetarianism on kids is a form of abuse. And a lot of anorexic youth disguise their illness by going vegetarian, which everybody thinks is so cool.

    And it really gripes me that there is a prevalent belief even among those who eat meat that vegetarianism is an acceptable choice and one to be admired and respected. How many times do we find options on restaurant menus specifically catering to vegetarians, or reassurances on food packages that the product is okay for vegetarians? Recipe articles in magazines with vegetarian adaptations? I get really tired of seeing these people extolled in the media as if they’re sooooo special.

    I don’t admire the lifestyle, but as with people who choose to eat junk or serve it to their kids, I don’t want anyone prohibiting them from that choice.

  19. Mark

    I’ve been a vegetarian for 10 years now, and I think it might be time to switch back to meat. I have been dealing with fatigue, anxiety, acid reflux for years and a stomach pain that has not gone away for 1.5 months. I had a CT scan done and nothing abnormal showed up so they want to do a colonoscopy to see what’s going on. I’m only 36 and was attributing everything to getting older and living a sedentary lifestyle. We have a 2 year old and he hasn’t slept well since he was born and I just attributed the fatigue to that and only getting around 6.5-7 hours of sleep. I remember feeling like I was superman when I was younger and just brushed that off as being in my 20’s. I have had blood tests done and they never showed anything concerning, and I have told my doctor over and over that I am a vegetarian. I’m just wondering now if all of my symptoms could be because I don’t eat meat.

    Sounds like time for a personal experiment. Put some meat back in your diet and see what happens.

  20. Alexandra

    @Mark.. don’t be afraid to add back a nice amount of fat too.
    From what I’ve read, it is common for vegetarians and vegans to claim that meat is difficult to digest but I would say that there is nothing that digests easier than meat and fat… I bet you’ll feel a world better after just a few days eating LCHF/Paleo… maybe read Dr Eades’ blog post about getting started: http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/ketones-and-ketosis/tips-tricks-for-starting-or-restarting-low-carb-pt-i/
    It’s been about 4 years for me but I remember feeling tired for about 3 days as my body switched to burning my own stored fat and then, wham!.. felt great ever since.
    Best of luck.. I hope you will post again with your results.

  21. Firebird

    “Veggies use the ethical argument as if it applied only to the animals we kill. I.e. Killing animals for food is unethical.”

    I once had dinner with a vegetarian who ate mushroom burgers. He got annoyed when I told him that several mushrooms gave their lives so he could be nourished.

    “A vegan diet by definition would exclude dairy products, however.”

    So would the hidden protein created by bugs in the rice.

  22. B

    Psychology Today is a magazine, not a peer-reviewed journal so I would be skeptical in quoting any “studies” published in it.

    It wasn’t a scientific survey, as I mentioned. The CBS survey likely was.

  23. Alexandra

    @Mark.. don’t be afraid to add back a nice amount of fat too.
    From what I’ve read, it is common for vegetarians and vegans to claim that meat is difficult to digest but I would say that there is nothing that digests easier than meat and fat… I bet you’ll feel a world better after just a few days eating LCHF/Paleo… maybe read Dr Eades’ blog post about getting started: http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/ketones-and-ketosis/tips-tricks-for-starting-or-restarting-low-carb-pt-i/
    It’s been about 4 years for me but I remember feeling tired for about 3 days as my body switched to burning my own stored fat and then, wham!.. felt great ever since.
    Best of luck.. I hope you will post again with your results.

  24. BenSix

    I can’t admit to knowing enough about nutrition to pass judgements on the yay/nay to carbs debate, but I loved this quote from one Dr Hazuda of the University of Texas’s Health Science Centre –

    What [diet] drinks are doing is potentially causing people to want to eat sweeter and sweeter foods…Which are usually high fat foods…

    A craving for sweetness makes you eat — fat. Is she suggesting that when people get 4am sugar crashes they sweep aside the cakes and cokes and make for the, er – cheese?

    I guess she is. That’s some interesting logic.

  25. B

    Psychology Today is a magazine, not a peer-reviewed journal so I would be skeptical in quoting any “studies” published in it.

    It wasn’t a scientific survey, as I mentioned. The CBS survey likely was.

  26. Jacob

    I am a Physician Assistant (PA-C) in Cardiac Surgery. The other day a surgeon I work with and an anesthesiologist were discussing the benefits of veganism and the China Study. Given that I follow the Paleo lifestyle, I couldn’t help but ask a simple medical question. I told them the vegan diet is fine but asked them “what about those people with celiac disease?” There was a 5 second pause then the surgeon, truly a dear friend, said, “well, they just can’t have celiac disease.” There were laughs all around.
    I write this in part to tell you that these are highly intelligent people and very accomplished in their fields or work. But when it comes to diet, they are helpess to explain why there is an disasterous autoimmune response for some people due to the very substance that is supposed to bring health, grain. There are many like this in the medical field. They point out the case studies of complete reversal of coronary artery disease after becoming a vegan. I would wager to say there are more people with documented reversal of disease due to a healing from God than there are with the vegan diet.
    This is the first time I have read your blog. Keep up the good work!

    The studies they’re citing were multi-factor interventions. Ornish, for example, had his subjects stop smoking, take up exercise, give up sugar and other refined carbohydrates, undergo stress management … oh and by the way, quit eating meat too. Then when their heart health improved, he declared he’d proved that meat causes heart disease. Ask your doctor friends to cite the studies where the only intervention was giving up animal foods.

  27. FrankG

    and I thought I was the only odd-ball who found GCBC to be a page-turner! It literally changed my health, my life and my attitude towards the “experts”.

    I was channel-surfing early the other morning and happened upon a recent show with Dr Neal Barnard on PBS. My immediate impression was not of someone glowing with health, but rather a thin, sad and worn looking individual. Doubtless he started out with fine bone structure; growing up on his family’s cattle ranch but now between his pale skin and tired eyes, I’m not sure he is such a great advert for what he preaches.

    I saw part of that one. He was promoting a vegan diet as a cure for diabetes. My first thought was, “Why would anyone take dietary advice from a guy who looks like a cadaver?”

  28. Lizzy

    @Mark You shouldn’t be feeling tired at 36. I am 39 and I am bouncing around like a kid. I eat low carb/paleo style. I recommend The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sissons. It’s all about eating, moving and resting the way our ancestors did with a BIG emphasis on eating UNPROCESSED foods. In fact, if I am asked what I eat I have started to say “just natural unprocessed foods like meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts and a little dairy”.
    The acid reflux will probably go away if you eliminate grains (especially wheat) from your diet.

  29. Seraph

    Watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=es6U00LMmC4

    Always nice to hear the “vegetarians are unhealthy” crap. 🙂 We are not natural meat eaters, period. We evolved in to wannabe meat eaters. We have ZERO meat eating instincts. None what so ever.

    We do not jump animals and eat them on the spot. We are pussies who torture and abuse animals in concentration camps and then pick and choose which parts we want to eat.

    And the people who are ok with how animals are treated, well, something is wrong in their heads and they should be treated the same way. Just to see how they feel about it.

    If we aren’t natural meat-eaters, explain these facts:

    1. Chimpanzees — our nearest relatives — not only hunt, they hunt in organized packs. (I guess they’re not natural?)
    2. Explorers who came upon what we would term “primitive people” never found a primitive society of vegetarians. But they found lots of hunter-gatherer societies.
    3. In many parts of the world where pre-agricultural humans lived, it’s impossible to live on plants all year … fruits and starchy vegetables are only edible in the autumn.
    4. Our brains didn’t become large until we started eating meat.
    5. Evidence of hunting and meat-eating — from cave-painting to hunting implements to barbecue pits — goes back hundreds of thousands of years.
    6. To obtain complete proteins without animal foods, you must mix plant sources that aren’t naturally available year-round in much of the world … unless you think my pre-historic Irish ancestors imported plants foods during the winter.
    7. Vegetarians often become ill without B-12 supplements … uh, were those available back in the day?
    8. I clearly do have a meat-eating instinct. It’s called “Holy @#$, that steak smells good!”

    If anything goes against our nature, it’s veganism.

    1. Walter Bushell

      Eating meat is a tradition in my family. A tradition that goes back 2.5 million years. There are marks on fossil animal bones that go that far back from stone tools. Stone tools were high technology for nearly all of hominoid existence.

  30. Seraph

    Watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=es6U00LMmC4

    Always nice to hear the “vegetarians are unhealthy” crap. 🙂 We are not natural meat eaters, period. We evolved in to wannabe meat eaters. We have ZERO meat eating instincts. None what so ever.

    We do not jump animals and eat them on the spot. We are pussies who torture and abuse animals in concentration camps and then pick and choose which parts we want to eat.

    And the people who are ok with how animals are treated, well, something is wrong in their heads and they should be treated the same way. Just to see how they feel about it.

    If we aren’t natural meat-eaters, explain these facts:

    1. Chimpanzees — our nearest relatives — not only hunt, they hunt in organized packs. (I guess they’re not natural?)
    2. Explorers who came upon what we would term “primitive people” never found a primitive society of vegetarians. But they found lots of hunter-gatherer societies.
    3. In many parts of the world where pre-agricultural humans lived, it’s impossible to live on plants all year … fruits and starchy vegetables are only edible in the autumn.
    4. Our brains didn’t become large until we started eating meat.
    5. Evidence of hunting and meat-eating — from cave-painting to hunting implements to barbecue pits — goes back hundreds of thousands of years.
    6. To obtain complete proteins without animal foods, you must mix plant sources that aren’t naturally available year-round in much of the world … unless you think my pre-historic Irish ancestors imported plants foods during the winter.
    7. Vegetarians often become ill without B-12 supplements … uh, were those available back in the day?
    8. I clearly do have a meat-eating instinct. It’s called “Holy @#$, that steak smells good!”

    If anything goes against our nature, it’s veganism.

    1. Walter Bushell

      Eating meat is a tradition in my family. A tradition that goes back 2.5 million years. There are marks on fossil animal bones that go that far back from stone tools. Stone tools were high technology for nearly all of hominoid existence.

  31. Nowhereman

    “1. Chimpanzees — our nearest relatives — not only hunt, they hunt in organized packs. (I guess they’re not natural?)”

    Yes, since our friend Seraph kindly posted a link to a YouTube video, I offer in turn this one (WARNING HIGHLY DISTURBING VIDEO OF CHIMPS HUNTING A COLABUS MONKEY!!):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1WBs74W4ik

    Remember folks, we share a close common ancestor with the chimps millions of years ago. So if chimps have been doing this for millions of years, and we’ve been doing this for millions of years…. what’s NOT natural about us eating meat?

    Chimps hunt, humans have hunted for hundreds of thousand of years, but apparently none of them were acting on natural instincts.

  32. Nowhereman

    “1. Chimpanzees — our nearest relatives — not only hunt, they hunt in organized packs. (I guess they’re not natural?)”

    Yes, since our friend Seraph kindly posted a link to a YouTube video, I offer in turn this one (WARNING HIGHLY DISTURBING VIDEO OF CHIMPS HUNTING A COLABUS MONKEY!!):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1WBs74W4ik

    Remember folks, we share a close common ancestor with the chimps millions of years ago. So if chimps have been doing this for millions of years, and we’ve been doing this for millions of years…. what’s NOT natural about us eating meat?

    Chimps hunt, humans have hunted for hundreds of thousand of years, but apparently none of them were acting on natural instincts.

  33. Firebird

    One last comment regarding eating meat and animal rights stuff. This comes from the beloved character in MASH, Col. Sherman Potter:

    “Ever look at a cow? They’re ugly? We’re doing them a favor by eating them.”

    Love it.

  34. Peggy Cihocki

    “He was promoting a vegan diet as a cure for diabetes. My first thought was, “Why would anyone take dietary advice from a guy who looks like a cadaver?” Not only that, but how can anyone with a functioning brain think that more of the very thing which causes diabetes (type 2, anyway) can cure it, too? It boggles the mind.

    This is what was funny about it: He gave a little talk about the glycemic index, then warned people away from meat … oh, you mean don’t eat a food that won’t spike your blood sugar?

  35. Peggy Cihocki

    @Seraph, “We evolved in to wannabe meat eaters.” Yeah, right. The desire to eat meat, without actually eating it, gives one a survival advantage over those who don’t want to eat meat? Sorry, that is not how evolution works.
    “And the people who are ok with how animals are treated, well, something is wrong in their heads and they should be treated the same way. Just to see how they feel about it.” Just because I eat meat doesn’t mean I am okay with the way animals in CAFOs are treated and, conversely, not being okay with that doesn’t mean vegetarianism is my only option. There are sources of meat that treat their animals humanely. And if you think killing any animals to provide food for you is wrong, what about all the animals that are/were displaced and die(d) to make room for acres and acres of farms to grow corn, wheat and soy? I

  36. Firebird

    One last comment regarding eating meat and animal rights stuff. This comes from the beloved character in MASH, Col. Sherman Potter:

    “Ever look at a cow? They’re ugly? We’re doing them a favor by eating them.”

    Love it.

  37. Peggy Cihocki

    “He was promoting a vegan diet as a cure for diabetes. My first thought was, “Why would anyone take dietary advice from a guy who looks like a cadaver?” Not only that, but how can anyone with a functioning brain think that more of the very thing which causes diabetes (type 2, anyway) can cure it, too? It boggles the mind.

    This is what was funny about it: He gave a little talk about the glycemic index, then warned people away from meat … oh, you mean don’t eat a food that won’t spike your blood sugar?

  38. Peggy Cihocki

    @Seraph, “We evolved in to wannabe meat eaters.” Yeah, right. The desire to eat meat, without actually eating it, gives one a survival advantage over those who don’t want to eat meat? Sorry, that is not how evolution works.
    “And the people who are ok with how animals are treated, well, something is wrong in their heads and they should be treated the same way. Just to see how they feel about it.” Just because I eat meat doesn’t mean I am okay with the way animals in CAFOs are treated and, conversely, not being okay with that doesn’t mean vegetarianism is my only option. There are sources of meat that treat their animals humanely. And if you think killing any animals to provide food for you is wrong, what about all the animals that are/were displaced and die(d) to make room for acres and acres of farms to grow corn, wheat and soy? I

  39. Caroline

    I stuck to strict vegetarianism for…a month. A whole month. It was awful. But I’m a blood type O, and O’s need meat. Done. Blood type diet followers who are A’s do well as vegetarians, though.

  40. shutchings

    Regarding: “I haven’t seen statistics on how many people go low-carb and then quit. My guess is that those who give up a low-carb lifestyle do so because they miss their potatoes and pasta, not because they feel lousy and gain weight.”

    The last time I quit LC was because I wanted to be part of holiday meals and all the fun foods offered by friends and family. And I have to say since resuming LC, part of what I miss is wanting the food that I eat. Don’t get me wrong–the food I eat tastes good. I’ve been caught literally licking my platter clean. But I never really want anything I eat. (Okay, except this one pork tenderloin dish served with a little bit of unsweetened applesauce. It’s always lingering in the back of my mind. And don’t think I don’t know it’s because of the applesauce that I probably shouldn’t be having.) I miss really wanting food and then being satisfied. But I think I’m finally resigned to my fate. One other disappointment is that I don’t have any increase in energy like so many other LCers claim to have. Still, the benefits outweigh those two complaints.

    I hope that changes for you over time. I used to really miss the pasta dishes. Now I just don’t want them.

  41. Caroline

    I stuck to strict vegetarianism for…a month. A whole month. It was awful. But I’m a blood type O, and O’s need meat. Done. Blood type diet followers who are A’s do well as vegetarians, though.

  42. shutchings

    Regarding: “I haven’t seen statistics on how many people go low-carb and then quit. My guess is that those who give up a low-carb lifestyle do so because they miss their potatoes and pasta, not because they feel lousy and gain weight.”

    The last time I quit LC was because I wanted to be part of holiday meals and all the fun foods offered by friends and family. And I have to say since resuming LC, part of what I miss is wanting the food that I eat. Don’t get me wrong–the food I eat tastes good. I’ve been caught literally licking my platter clean. But I never really want anything I eat. (Okay, except this one pork tenderloin dish served with a little bit of unsweetened applesauce. It’s always lingering in the back of my mind. And don’t think I don’t know it’s because of the applesauce that I probably shouldn’t be having.) I miss really wanting food and then being satisfied. But I think I’m finally resigned to my fate. One other disappointment is that I don’t have any increase in energy like so many other LCers claim to have. Still, the benefits outweigh those two complaints.

    I hope that changes for you over time. I used to really miss the pasta dishes. Now I just don’t want them.

  43. Andrea

    shutchings,
    If you miss pasta you have to try this:
    Grill sliced zucchini brushed with a little olive oil (and pesto if you’ve got it)
    put low carb marinara over the top, maybe some parm. Crazy good!
    Another one of my favorites: swiss chard leaves sauteeed with Italian sausage plus that same marinara. Takes a bit longer than the zukes, though because the chard needs time to cook down.
    And if you miss Alfredo sauce, try that on broccoli.

    Trust me, after a while, pasta just seems bland and boring. And I used to be a major noodle freak . There’s Shiritaki pasta, but it just seems kind of pointless now.

  44. Andrea

    oops forgot to add- maybe you don’t want the food that you have because you’re in a rut? I used to do that too-I got to a point where I just couldn’t take any more polish sausage. In hindsight that wasn’t the best for me anyway. I’m not sure what your budget is, but see if you can branch out into fish, or different kinds of fish than your’re eating.

    Maybe this will work for an applesauce sub? http://www.genaw.com/lowcarb/fried_apples.html

    Low-carb doesn’t have to boring or repetitive by any means. There are great recipes all over the internet and in books.

  45. Andrea

    shutchings,
    If you miss pasta you have to try this:
    Grill sliced zucchini brushed with a little olive oil (and pesto if you’ve got it)
    put low carb marinara over the top, maybe some parm. Crazy good!
    Another one of my favorites: swiss chard leaves sauteeed with Italian sausage plus that same marinara. Takes a bit longer than the zukes, though because the chard needs time to cook down.
    And if you miss Alfredo sauce, try that on broccoli.

    Trust me, after a while, pasta just seems bland and boring. And I used to be a major noodle freak . There’s Shiritaki pasta, but it just seems kind of pointless now.

  46. Andrea

    oops forgot to add- maybe you don’t want the food that you have because you’re in a rut? I used to do that too-I got to a point where I just couldn’t take any more polish sausage. In hindsight that wasn’t the best for me anyway. I’m not sure what your budget is, but see if you can branch out into fish, or different kinds of fish than your’re eating.

    Maybe this will work for an applesauce sub? http://www.genaw.com/lowcarb/fried_apples.html

    Low-carb doesn’t have to boring or repetitive by any means. There are great recipes all over the internet and in books.

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