Monday, December 5, 2011

The Vegetarian Myth: A book review

While listening to the back catalog of the Peak Moments TV podcast a while back, I was surprised by an episode called "The Vegetarian Myth" The author, Lierre Keith, is a "recovering" vegan. She didn't eat animal products for 20 years. She suffered through many, many health problems during this time including Degenerative Disc Disease, hypoglycemia, ceased menstruating, depression, anxiety, exhaustion, skin problems, and gastroparesis(a stomach ailment in which the stomach is unable to completely empty, causing near constant nausea.)

After all the years of promoting the vegan diet, feeling proud that her diet didn't harm a living creature, she had an epiphany. She visited a Chi Gong master who, upon feeling her pulse, declared that she had no Chi, her life was not there. She joked about being dead, and he didn't laugh. She had been going to doctor after doctor trying to find out what was wrong with her, and the Chi master told her that she needed to eat animals. She left and purchased a can of tuna. It took her all her strength to eat the fish, and her body came to life. The animal protein and fat awoke her cells. It is amazing the transformation. I can not describe the event with justice. She now eats meat and other animal products, she avoids carbohydrates and grains. The belief is that human beings get all they need from animal products, vegetables and fruit as this was our traditional diet dating back thousands of years.

My eyes were opened by reading this book. I have been interested in diet and proper nutrition for many years. I have read numerous books on sustainability and local eating from Pollan and Weber and Spurlock. I know how bad industrial food production, Big Agriculture, mono culture, fossil fuel fertilizer, and globalization of the food industry. I know that grass fed beef, free range chickens and wild fish is very good. The big difference to me, what I learned the most, is that we don't absolutely need to eat vegetables, grains, seeds, roots, or greens. Everything we need nutritionally is in an animal. That means organs, bones, blood and fat. I know it isn't something for everyones palate. Agriculture is horrible for the environment with mono culture crops, top soil loss, and run off that kills estuarys and pollutes fresh water. Free ranged animals eat green plants, build topsoil with manure, and cut down green house gas emissions. No fossil fuels are needed to fertilize the ground to grow the natural browse of ruminants.

This book isn't too preachy. It is chock full of information on nutrition and explains how the body uses what we put in it. I would recommend this read if you are interested in learning about what makes the human body tick. If you are considering going vegetarian or vegan, read this work first. You may change your mind. I know I did........


  1. And how does Sheena feel about this one??? :)
    Really interesting viewpoint. I can see where her viewpoint is on eating animals, but I also think it would be a pretty hardcore person who would be able to eat all the parts necessary to be able to get the necessary vitamins. Like wouldn't you need to eat the stomach contents as well, to ensure you are getting adequate vitamins?

  2. Its always fun to find out who people are who comment on the blog...I know your true identity bsd haha.

    She knows that protein from animals is more complete and easier to absorb. Plant protein isn't properly utilized by humans, and many of the nutrients we need are only available in animals, including vitamin d, a and k.

    The issue could be argued both ways for decades, I found it interesting because I had never read anything from an ex-vegan. Most things I have read are from pro-vegetarians. If you eat dairy and eggs I believe that you avoid much of the problems the author endured. If you are interested in reading the book, I could lend it out..... Oh yeah, I would never eat the stomach contents. Spinach tastes better haha.

  3. the guy that created the Salsbury steak claimed that three steaks a day, with coffee was all the human body needed to survive. I am still a firm believer in variety and culinary creation. Regardless of what any nutritionist says the most important aspect of food in my view is flavour. The care, attention and love that is put into a meal refuels the mind, body and soul no matter what the ingedients.

  4. Well said. I also believe that variety is key, as is culinary creations. Whole foods are the only way to eat, the more processed the more they poison. I am looking at different philosophy's to try to deal with an aversion to many bean products. I know that I cannot be a vegetarian, because the main protein source is from something I should avoid eating.