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Vegetarians and Vegans Read Free the Animal and I Have No Idea Why

Seriously.

Is any-Paleo-one more prolific than I in trashing veg*ans? Yet they read, some, and stick around. If you’ve been paying attention you’ll see them in comments, and I get emails, too. Plant based gluttons for punishment? OK, let me not get off on the wrong track because I have something to share. And this in advance of the vegan trashing Dr. Mike Eades’ blog that I may hammer tomorrow. But no promises. I may feel differently in the morning.

Erin rings in:

I am a vegetarian- but I’m not writing to complain.

I find many issues with vegetarianism, but I feel that holes could be poked in any diet. I hate the cultish feel generated by all of them, when all I’m trying to do is eat rationally and not join some bullshitty new-age group.

In an ideal setting, I would have my own plot of land with varieties of vegetables and fruits. There would be laying hens wandering around, and I suppose at least one annoying-ass rooster. (I am on a temp work assignment in Hawaii and roosters are everywhere. They are god-damned annnoying animals).

That being said, I work as a Combat Exercise Planner and essentially use my war expertise to help train troops to more effeciently engage in combat. I have no real problems with humans killing humans, but humans killing animals just seems unnecessary to me.

(My doctor assures me I’m not a sociopath. I am just an "INTP")

I don’t think my life is less important than an animal’s. I do believe, however, that animals would prefer not to live miserably on shitty farms- which I think rational people could agree with. If obtaining food were a game of cat-and-mouse, I could probably get behind it- just like war. But raising and systematically killing milions of malnourished animals for our own food seems like cheating to me.

I know that people in your camp are offended by wiping out perfectly good ecosystems by planting soy/wheat/corn – as am I. This is where most of my problems with vegetarianism arise. My question for you is, other than meat- what is included in your diet? I ask because I am genuinely curious to know. I’d like to cut out soy from my diet but it is seemingly unavoidable. What carbs do Paleo-dieters eat, other than plant sugars? What protein do you eat, other than meat?

I read that you went to DLI- cool- me, too. But then I got out of the marines and studied visual arts at Columbia University. Maybe that’s why I’m such a confused girl… ha

OK, yea, soy is crap (use the search function as I have entries with references). Since you’re vegetarian, why not get your protein from dairy? Other than milk, you have cottage cheese, whey powder and many other ways. And hell, you could do a dozen eggs a day and that wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Y’know, come to think of it, I could probably pretty easily be a vegetarian, which actually means that as someone pointed out in comments some time ago, the real distinction is in those who eat animal products vs. those who don’t. Vegans against the rest of the world.

And now I’ll leave it open to comments

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

50 Comments

  1. Mike on September 30, 2010 at 23:06

    Your correspondent remarks:

    “… humans killing animals just seems unnecessary to me.”

    It doesn’t surprise me that she said this, but this just seems such a strange attitude to me.

    I think most of the intelligent things that can be said about animals and our duties to them were said by Professor Scruton in “Animal Rights and Wrongs”.

    That’s a short book – not much over a hundred pages. That sets that issue, among many others, in the wider context of a thought-out philosophical position. But what can any of us say in just a few words on the Web?

    I will say think this comment just makes all too much of death. I think that’s revealing itself. It’s probably that the writer, like any human being, thinks about and worries about death. That’s what people do – but not animals, because they are not self-conscious beings and have no concept of it. I think death is much more of a problem for modern people than for our ancestors – and there’s a lot that could be said on that topic. I think vegetarianism may be much more to do with the vegetarians and their own unconscious fears for themselves than it is to do with the animals. One of Scruton’s points is that we shouldn’t make to much of the deaths of animals – and should accept our own lightly when it comes.

    Of course, we should treat them kindly.

  2. Nathaniel on October 1, 2010 at 10:14

    I like to borrow a line from this hilarious sketch by Mitchell and Webb (I hope it is all right to post this):

    As to why I oppose veganism:
    “It’s an ethical thing. I don’t think humans should be treated like this.”

    In many jokes there is some truth. People shouldn’t be ashamed of putting their own well-being ahead of other animals; after all, this is NATURE here. That’s how it works. You look out for number one. If the situation were reversed, do you think any predator would have mercy on us just because “killing is wrong?”

    I would say more, but I don’t want to spoil my entry to the rant contest in case I win. 😀

    • Tony on October 1, 2010 at 11:31

      Nathaniel, I like your comment on opposing veganism. Regarding your question about people putting themselves first, I’d like to use that as a launching point for some thoughts/comments.

      What happens when the alpha predator becomes too successful? They run low on quality food, become diseased, etc. and begin to die off. We humans may or may not have already have reached that point, depending on how or where you want to measure it. At the very lest we are well on our way to that state. Always “looking out for number one” will rush us there faster. (I know you didn’t say “always”, this is just for the sake of dialog.) And if we thought and acted the same as (other) predators, we wouldn’t be as advanced as we are.

      Now, I admit that I like to root for the underdog and appreciate a sense of balance, but I am not saying we should kill off a lot of our population or not defend ourselves against an attacking bear. However, there might be a lot more we can do to sustain animals. Especially since we depend on them and are one of them. We should try to avoid the simplistic attitudes of needing to put one or the other first. Otherwise we’ll be just as ignorant as some of those among the vegans who deride meat consumption because of factory-farming and ignore humane, sustainable animal raising methods.

      Don’t religiously latch on to some simple black and white rule or mindlessly follow the latest fad. Evaluate what you are doing and why. And continue to do so. There is a time and place for killing people or animals. If the time comes for you to do so, then hopefully you not only will not feel ashamed, you’ll also not do so needlessly.



  3. Matthew Perry on September 30, 2010 at 21:23

    Humans killing animals is technically unnecessary. Why could “technically” just live in a comatose state with catheters feeding us synthetic vital nutrients. But instead us “primal/paleo” folks choose to get those nutrients from the plants and animals that comprise our ecosystem in which we have lived for millennia. How dare we have the audacity to kill things in order to survive – its as though we admit to being a mammal just like any other 🙂

  4. Adam | SEE on September 30, 2010 at 21:41

    Nice post –

    Agreed roosters are annoying. You know what’s worse ducks. Living with ducks is awful. I swear they get up half an hour before the rooster.

    …you have cottage cheese, whey powder and many other ways. And hell, you could do a dozen eggs a day and that wouldn’t be a bad idea. Throw in some mushrooms and this pretty much captures how I do it.

  5. kellgy on September 30, 2010 at 22:54

    How someone does not have a problem with killing another human being but has a problem with killing an animal (rat, cow, fish, whatever type) I cannot understand.
    We kill other people usually justified through warfare because they are considered an enemy combatant that we want to subdue and/or conquer, but to kill an animal in order so we can eat and remain alive and healthy? Tell me which seems more reasonable. For preservation of life, they both do. Sociopath is definitely not the first description that comes to my mind . . . and I am an INTP also, but that really doesn’t matter. The other thing I find confusing are people who call themselves vegetarians while continuing to eat animal products. We were born eating animal products.

  6. Grok on September 30, 2010 at 23:47

    Why is soy unavoidable on a vegetarian diet? I’ve been pretty much a vegan for the past 6 months and 100% raw vegan for the past three months. Other than trace amounts of soy in my 4th July go-for-broke holiday-time-binge junk food, I have not had even one molecule of soy. Soy is the devil.

    Please don’t ask “where I get my protein.” Protein is pretty overrated, and plants have quite a bit of it.

    • David Csonka on October 1, 2010 at 06:33

      Grok, do you ever do any strength training, or do you primarily just do ultra-endurance work?



    • Richard Nikoley on October 1, 2010 at 06:52

      Is this a temporary experiment, or a permanent sort of thing, Grok?



    • Grok on October 2, 2010 at 03:34

      @Dave, been too lazy to lift really lately, but will probably start up again soon.

      @Richard, Probably just a reeaaaally long trial. Even when I go back to meat, I think I’ll keep the consumption much lower. This has really changed my perspective on things.



    • anonymous chris on October 1, 2010 at 08:31

      Six months – BFD.

      You are running on the muscle you developed via animal protein consumption when you still ate a human diet.
      Boast when it’s six years or sixty; not mere months.



    • Michael Simpson on October 1, 2010 at 09:00

      Dude get real and check out The Mighty Joe Rollino, who was able to live without meat to the ripe age of 104, and would have lived a lot longer if he had not been hit by a car while taking a walk. Pound for pound he was purported to be the strongest man that ever lived. YOU DON”T NEED MEAT TO MAKE MUSCLE!

      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/nyregion/12ironman.html



    • David Csonka on October 1, 2010 at 09:08

      If Joe Rollino was the rule, and not the exception, that would be a useful point. Body builders are the most voracious adopters of “tried and true” methods for building muscle. If the vegan route was really the most effective way to gain strength/muscle, I’m sure more of them would adopt it.



    • CPM on October 1, 2010 at 09:22

      If he was pound for pound the strongest man that EVER lived then he might not be a good example of “normal” human physiology. One could possibly suggest that his muscles were different than everybody else’s whoever lived.



    • anonymous chris on October 1, 2010 at 10:21

      There is a 96 year old, pack-a-day smoker at the convalescent hospital where my wife volunteers. Outliers prove what exactly? Are you really that thick?

      Centenarians eat meat. Therefore chances are (“probability”) that unless Grok is one in million, like your Rollino example, well then he will not thrive after many years of veganism.



    • Sonagi on October 1, 2010 at 14:56

      Joe Rollino didn’t eat meat, but he may have gotten animal protein from eggs and dairy. Online news sources identify him as vegetarian, not specifically vegan.



    • Grok on October 2, 2010 at 03:54

      The classic anonymous person with too much to say. That comment sounds as ignorant as a bunch of the vegan dribble I’d read. I could toss in some nuts, seeds, or just eat more melon tomorrow and probably consume as much protein as your average paleo.

      Hey Chris… I had more muscle when I was eating SAD than paleo. Maybe as paleo eater I was running on my SAD muscle? I’m performing better now and never feel the need to cheat. So maybe paleo is the inferior diet?

      Get real dude. I’m eating fucking plants (and a lot of them) not Ho-Hos. Elephants, gorillas, and gazelles must still be “running on muscle” they build eating animal protein to.



    • Antlers on January 5, 2011 at 18:06

      You are neither an elephant, nor a gorilla or gazelle.



    • Grok on January 5, 2011 at 20:27

      I’m not a raccoon or bear either.

      Guys like Dave Scott, Scott Jurek, and Carl Lewis seemed to waste away when they adopted their plant diets. Oh wait, I think I’m mistaken… they began wasting the competition.



  7. Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later on September 30, 2010 at 23:58

    I think vegans and Paleo folk have an awful lot in common, and this leads to the phenomenon of vegans having a curiosity, sometimes that they can’t quite understand themselves, with Paleo. Both want to see animals treated better (albeit for different reasons), both resent that the modern world expects them to eat garbage, and both seek a diet more in tune with ancestral living (however misguided the approach may be) by resisting convention.

    • Dan Linehan on October 3, 2010 at 02:33

      I think you nailed it. And although many vegans eat junk food many avoid processed food.



  8. andrew on October 1, 2010 at 00:01

    Protein isn’t overrated. Sure, you can eat as little protein as you want, but your metabolism is going to slow down, and health problems will start appearing. It’s about thriving, not just surviving. Most of my vegetarian friends have health problems that I think could be easily fixed if they just ate a lot more milk, cheese, and eggs. And milk and cheese probably have better amino acid balances when compared to meat.

    • Grok on October 1, 2010 at 00:08

      Most vegetarians have a shitty diet.



    • Alex on October 1, 2010 at 03:40

      And, the raw vegan diet that’s perfect for one individual may be metabolic hell for another. There is no one-size-fits-all diet.



    • Grok on October 2, 2010 at 04:01

      Sure. I’m diet agnostic.

      There are many layers to the raw vegan diet, just like paleo. Most people can fuck it up and blame the diet, just like paleo.



    • anonymous chris on October 1, 2010 at 08:36

      There is more and more compelling research concerning casein and cancer growth. And of course lactose is an issue for many. Dairy for muscle growth and performance? Perhaps. Dairy for longevity? I wonder…



  9. Chris G on October 1, 2010 at 00:01

    I get as much of my animal protein as possible from sources I know and trust – I know the animals are raised & killed humanely & are fed an appropriate diet. Also do mostly organic produce. I figure that puts me ahead of 99%, for what it’s worth. Can’t really comprehend the angst about killing animals. My cat still hunted birds even though I fed her every day – it wasn’t necessary, but she liked it. Life feeds on life – that’s life, folks!

  10. Russ Taylor on October 1, 2010 at 04:38

    I understand being against factory farming, I firmly believe that the better an animal is treated the more healthy it will be for us to eat. And that’s why a lot of the Paleo crowd will buy grass fed meat from local farmers when it is possible. And it seems to be working because my local farmers I buy from have gone from having to work to sell all their meat to this year really being spread thin to try and accomodate all customers. That said, everything dies to feed something, and humans are an animal just like every other beast out there. I will one day feed the soil (or a bear, guess that choice is kind of up to the bear) to continue the cycle and all the micro sized animals will give not hesitate.

    But THIS animal wants meat. Speaking of which, fasting time is over and it’s time to annihilate some bacon!

  11. Alan M on October 1, 2010 at 05:04

    I love raw veg*n food. But I also love my veggies cooked down in butter and steak grease. But I have to admit the best drug I’ve found is grass fed beef liver. I don’t know what it is about it but it’s packed full of life’s energy–at least for me.

    • Richard Nikoley on October 1, 2010 at 06:57

      Ruminant liver is the most densely nutritious food on the planet. Nature’s multiple vitamin.



    • anonymous chris on October 1, 2010 at 08:44

      Richard, are you picking up a grass fed split half with offal on 10/6? Morris Grassfed Beef from San Juan Bautista makes deliveries to San Jose. This instance, Doerr Park.
      Small local family farm raising and slaughtering grass-fed cattle humanely. And to top it off they deliver!



    • Richard Nikoley on October 1, 2010 at 11:28

      No place to store it, yet, but I will soon, once I get rid of some more stuff on Craigslist.



  12. anand srivastava on October 1, 2010 at 06:53

    To Erin.

    India is a traditionally vegetarian country. If you know anything about our country, you may know that Cows are sacred in the country. The reason is that cows give us milk. Milk is the most important food in a vegetarian diet. If you are intolerant to milk you cannot be a vegetarian, period.

    You can be on a mostly Paleo diet with the only non-paleo item being milk. If you can eat eggs you can make your diet even better. Avoiding grains/legumes is enough to be very healthy, with milk.

    Eat a lot of cheese, yogurt, ghee, and butter. To get the fat soluble vitamins, zinc, vitamin B12. You probably don’t need vitamin D, as you probably spends lots of time in the sun. You may not need magnesium either if you are in the country side.

    • Vanessa on March 11, 2011 at 22:55

      “Milk is the most important food in a vegetarian diet. If you are intolerant to milk you cannot be a vegetarian, period.”

      Hmm – most vegetarians I know do just fine on almond milk. It’s clear that vegetarianism is not monolithic. Buddhists, for instance, consume no dairy and do just fine, also.



    • G on November 18, 2011 at 10:21

      spent 9 months in india and from what i see cows don’t give milk, their milk is taken through constant pregnancies and male calves are a by product. also saw many adverts on telly highlighting diseases due to high cholesterol of ghee, milk etc

      cows are officially sacred, however i have seen horrific transportation and treatment of cows for india’s leather industry, in fact one of the largest exporters of leather in the world.



  13. Grant on October 1, 2010 at 07:11

    Complaining about animals living uncomfortable lives and then being killed on factory farms is a little like complaining about the West not doing enough to help – or actually doing something to harm (ie: pollution) – people in the Third World: pointless. Just like, if not for advancements in medicine, agriculture, engineering, architecture, and political philosophy – to the extent that people in those parts of the worlds accept that knowledge – there wouldn’t be extra people around to be “victimized by the West”, so if not for Western consumer’s demand for them, there wouldn’t be extra animals around to be “inhumanely” killed.

  14. Paul C on October 1, 2010 at 07:29

    Why is the killing of omnivores and herbivores as part of growing and harvesting vegetarian foods left out of the debate. Upon trying to google some numbers behind this, I had to stop out of disgust, as the first thing I came across was a description of the egg-laying business, where useless male chicks are killed, and hens are killed after their laying production is not making a profit, then off to the soup factory for them. I’m sure some vegetarians take the time to stay out of this death machine process, but most probably are fueling it.

    • Alex on October 1, 2010 at 07:38

      And, even with pastured eggs and dairy from small farms, slaughtered animals are still a byproduct.



  15. Autsajder on October 1, 2010 at 09:06

    Human life will always be more valuable to me than animals’. While I am against abuse, factory-like farming, eating animals is natural part of the biology. That’s how we evolved, that’s how other animals evolved. The only thing we can and should do as animals with intelligence and conscience, is to make sure there is as little suffering and waste as possible.

  16. Aaron Curl on October 1, 2010 at 09:38

    After watching Food Inc. I felt sick, and it damn near made me a vegetarian, but i know we are designed to eat meat! I want to try and eat only grass fed animals because of the horrible condition of the animals but I’m tight on money at the moment. Grain fed beef is better than no meat in my honest opinion.

  17. Nathaniel on October 1, 2010 at 11:39

    I was simply referring to the fact that we need to eat animals to be healthy, as I believe the evidence shows. I am certainly in favor of finding new ways to do so in a sustainable fashion.

    I’m not insensitive to the needs of other animals. I am an environmentalist myself. However, unlike vegans, I am not willing to compromise my own health.

    • Tony on October 1, 2010 at 12:45

      Understood. I wasn’t countering your statement so much as using it as a stepping stone. Our health and the well-being of other animals go together. (In general, that is. Still making exception for the lone hiker meeting a hungry mountain lion ..). May you and your local fauna all be well-fed!



  18. Sonagi on October 1, 2010 at 14:42

    “I have no real problems with humans killing humans, but humans killing animals just seems unnecessary to me.”

    Humans have always been part of the food web. Eating animals fueled our evolution.

    “But raising and systematically killing milions of malnourished animals for our own food seems like cheating to me.”

    So eat humanely raised and slaughtered meat from small local farms like I do. The chickens, pigs, goats, sheep, and cattle on local farms would not exist if it weren’t for the farmers who raise them on pasture and shelter them from the elements and in the case of chickens, protection from predators like foxes and hawks. I am a public school teacher with a modest salary. I forgo cable TV, restaurant meals, and other nonessentials so that I can afford to buy nutritionally superior meat and produce farmed locally.

  19. Laurie D. on October 1, 2010 at 15:18

    Factory farming of animals is reprehensible from the abuse perpetrated on the animals to the meat tainted by hormones, antibiotics, and the animal’s own chemical makeup influenced by stressful conditions that we are left with to eat. So, instead, veggers turn to an equally reprehensible alternative, factory farming, where genetically altered crap crops are produced that eventually turn the land they are planted on into wastelands stripped of nutrients and minerals and salinized to the point of barrenness. Megalithic corporations hold the farmers that are left hostage to GMO seeds that produce tasteless varieties devoid of nutrition or worse, sell us by-products of corn and other grains that kill us. Oh, and of course, there is that little addition of using mega-tons of petroleum products to bring that junk to market. If vegans/vegetarians were really compassionate to the entire Earth, they would insist on eating animals raised in proper conditions that would return nutrition to the earth and rail against the millions of acres wasted on production of crap crops.

    Geez, that’s kind of a rant! Maybe I should have saved that for the contest. And lest anyone misunderstand, I don’t blame those megalithic corporations at all for doing what they do. We are the idiots that allow them to prosper by not using the brains that meat gave us to think for ourselves.

  20. Richard Nikoley on October 1, 2010 at 17:45

    “the brains that meat gave us”

    Oh, Im so stealing that phrase, going forward.

    • Laurie D. on October 1, 2010 at 19:21

      You’re welcome to it, Richard. I was wondering if anyone was going to catch that 🙂 I do think my little rant might go on my own blog though. I am so sick of the vegan nonsense. My husband and I went to Border’s tonight for a coffee and a saunter through the book store. I always head to the cookbook section. Seven shelves devoted to vegetarian cooking with little posted notes from the employees, one shelf to meat, no notes. Aargh. Unfortunately someone would have noticed if I started turning all of them spine backwards. I guess I could have inserted a few meat books here and there just to get the obviously vegan employees in a tizzy. Perhaps the next subversive action…



    • g on November 18, 2011 at 10:30

      well laurie, it’s called free speech, vegans have to tolerate being bombarded by kentucky fat chicken, obesity kebabs and anti-biotic turkey thanksgiving so why are you so offended by a few veg books? 95% of meat eaters couldn’t actually hack slitting an animal’s throat and most are squeamish about blood! when you offer to show them meat production they run a mile. so before bragging about animal flesh take a step closer to what you are actually eating and your other slave produced products.



  21. Vegan Warrior/Stud on October 3, 2010 at 13:09

    “Is any-Paleo-one more prolific than I in trashing veg*ans?”

    Heck, I don’t mind. Maybe I’ll learn something.

    I’ve been a vegan for only 4 years or so, and I felt absolutely great before I switched over and it’s no shock that I still feel absolutely great.

    I’d be a fool to think that I’ve learned it all. I’m always open to trying to learn more.

  22. Tonja on October 16, 2010 at 23:55

    Erin,

    I am an INTP too. I came into Primal eating because I cannot tolerate much carbohydrate… it gives me abdominal pain and really runs my energy into the ground. I am a huge animal lover, though. My dog is my child. Animals have an innocence that should be treated sweetly.

    In recent years, I have come to terms with the harshness of life. Every animal, including us, must die in one way or another, and it’s never pretty. Animals in the wild often die of starvation because they are too sick to hunt or they are eaten. Their deaths are more painful than the deaths of cows and chickens that are grown by and killed by people.

    But I am as mindful as I can be of animals’ quality of life and thus buy only grass-fed beef and free-range chicken, without sacrificing my health and life for a cow’s life. I am also very careful about the seafood I buy. I actually hardly buy any seafood between contamination issues and animal rights issues. For example, some dolphins are still caught in the process of catching “dolphin safe” tuna, and sharks and albatrosses greatly suffer in the process.

    Dolphins are our protective friends and probably the most intelligent species on the planet other than humans. I can’t bear the thought of being responsible for a dolphin death. Domesticated animals are here on this planet because of us, and it makes sense that they should die by our hands. Wild animals, on the other hand, are different, depending on the situation. I would have no problem eating a slain elk, but there’s no need to waste lives in the process of killing other lives for food.

    As for protein, dairy is a pretty good source of protein, especially if you are of Scandinavian descent. Only 5% of Scandinavians are lactose intolerant. I can’t imagine that dairy was bad for them if they thrived on it for tens of centuries. Dairy was more valued than meat and was not replaced by grains as the food staple until the Middle Ages.

    Most other cultures in the world have high incidences of lactose intolerance, but raw milk contains the enzyme, lactase, which is necessary in digesting lactose. Lactase is killed in pasteurization. Many people who are lactose intolerance can actually tolerate raw milk with no symptoms.

    Tonja

    • Grok on October 17, 2010 at 00:21

      Tonja,

      Have you looked into proper food combining to help your guts? It works. Possibly the best thing I’ve taken away from my trial of the raw vegan diet.



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