How many poor vegans do you know?
No, I’m not talking about those with the luxury to fake lives of minimalism and austerity — all the while knowing they can run back to mommy & daddy any time if…like…the tie-died, dreadlocked, barefooted grunge thing doesn’t work out on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz.
And while not Santa Cruz, California, this is still a pretty decent display of vegan affluence. I give you the 30 Bananas a Day crowd at a raw food retreat in Australia.
Now, before I show it, I do want to be fair. These are whole foods. They are concerned about their health and well being, they have some trepidation about how the modern rat race might not be good for you. But all in all, I have to conclude that they are on a fool’s mission. Body composition is almost uniformly awful. They actually have high body fat percentages owing to the stick figure low lean mass they carry, especially in the men. Observe some of those twigs they pass off as arms. And don’t even get me started on what they refer to as "workouts." I’m 50 years old in January and just this morning pulled 305# for 4 reps in the deadlift, followed by 275# for another four. That’s a workout. Less than six months ago I was at about 165#. I didn’t make those gains on raw fruit, I can tell you.
OK, let’s get to the video which, I do have a fondness for on some levels, so let’s be fair.
And whether it’s 30 bananas a day, or 70, as Durianrider claims to eat, that’s one hell of an extreme diet. Even at 30, about 3,000 – 3,500 kcals depending on the size of the bananas, that’s a whopping 780g of carbs, about 130g of it being fructose — highly associated with fatty liver. Unlike other sugars, fructose goes straight to the liver to be metabolized pretty much exactly like alcohol.
All that said, it must be acknowledged that they are grain and processed food free, just as we paleos. And if you suspect, as do I, that it’s the grains, modern frankenfats, refined sugars and processed foods in general that create the chronic inflammatory environment upon which high carbohydrate diets act upon to cause disease, then, well…who knows?
This is why I don’t pursue "health" directly, per se. I pursue pristine body composition within the framework of a real foods, omnivorous, largely "paleo" diet with a mixture of cooked & raw foods. And since there is such a strong evolutionary basis for the way I eat and express genes in other ways such as episodic fasting and brief, high intensity workouts I’m willing to bank on my "health" just taking care of itself, which should be the natural and logical assumption.
…In the meantime, there’s this wonderful guest post by Willis Eschenbach at Anthony Watt’s blog, courtesy of a reader alert to me this morning: Vegans are not from Vegas. Do read the whole wonderful story, but here’s a few excerpts.
For the host of reasons I listed in the previous post, people around the planet have found it advantageous to domesticate and keep (and eat) animals. Perhaps some random vegan knows more about how to scratch out a living in a hostile world than do all of the billions of poor farmers and householders around the planet, maybe they’re all wrong to keep chickens and pigs and such, maybe we might be able to feed more people if we were all vegetarians … but I doubt it very much. The farmers and the poor around the planet aren’t that stupid. […]
Once when I was working in Liberia, in West Africa, they were burning a local sugar cane field. The whole village came out with clubs. They surrounded the fire in a long line. When the fire chased the cane rats out of the burning cane, they clubbed the rats and took them home and ate them. […]
Here’s the reason why cane rat is a delicacy, why kids lined up to get some of the meat. The villagers that eat that meat are stronger and healthier and more resistant to disease and quicker to heal and faster growing than the villagers who don’t eat that meat. Simple as that. The chance to eat meat doesn’t come up often. When that chance comes up, those people that eat the meat improve their chances of living compared to those who don’t eat meat.
Our bodies know that and have known it since forever. You could see it in the kids’ eyes, they could smell it, they wanted it, their bodies responded without conscious thought. Meat makes you stronger, it provides a host of vitamins and minerals, it is powerful food. Which is why people eat meat, in Africa and around the planet. It increases their odds of survival in a harsh and unforgiving environment. So they ate cane rats.
And then there’s the story of the 7-year-old boy and his 4-year-old brother in Mexico.
He searched around, picked up and discarded a few stones, finally settling on exactly the right one. He put it in the pouch of the slingshot, and started walking around and gazing intently up into the tree branches above us. He stopped, pulled back and let fly.
There was a “poof” sound up in the tree, and a bird the size of a small robin, that I didn’t even know was in the tree, tumbled down at my feet. He and his tiny brother both jumped on it, and he twisted its neck in an economical, practiced fashion.
I told you. You’ll want to go read the whole thing.