the best anti-veganism argument I’ve ever read

I’m not vegan, but I’ve been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for 18 years, since I was 15 years old. I sometimes wonder whether the relatively minor health problems I deal with are linked to my dietary decisions, which is why this post by a former vegan hit extremely close to home. The author, advised by her physician that veganism was slowly destroying her body, decided to try eating meat again after all alternative efforts fails. She writes:

The changes that I experienced were manifold and occurred so quickly and decisively I almost couldn’t believe it. Within one week I was able to stand up without seeing black spots in my eyes, and I was sleeping peacefully through the night. To my relief, my constant stomach pains and bloating completely vanished. Within 2 weeks I noticed my allergies were diminishing, even at a time when all the trees and flowers in our community were beginning to bloom. Also at 2 weeks I no longer needed a sweater just to sit on the couch, my toes and fingers had stopped feeling like perpetual icicles. At 3 weeks I could complete a light 20 minute cardio workout without feeling dizzy or nauseous, something I had been unable to accomplish for months. At 3 weeks I also noticed the most amazing change of all: my depression was diminishing. Days would go by when I wouldn’t succumb to hours of sobbing or listlessness. At 4 weeks I noticed three very strange things: my mysterious lower back pain that had been bothering me for nearly a year had vanished, even though I hadn’t changed my shoes or done any physical therapy; the skin on my face was plump and full and the fine lines that I had figured were just a sign of being nearly 30 had faded so much they were barely discernible, even though I had not changed anything about my skin care routine; and finally, I noticed my hair was thicker, shinier, and much fuller than it had been in years, even though I hadn’t changed anything about my hair care routine.

At 5 weeks I noticed a steady, permanent buzz of energy that carried me throughout the day. I started being able to run errands, work out, and do my writing, all in the same day without needing frequent rest stops. I kept waiting for exhaustion to sneak up on me…but it never once reared its ugly head.

I mean, you just can’t tell, can you? About what is ‘feeling normal’ and what shouldn’t be tolerated. Of the above symptoms (among others listed by the author), I have had regular encounters with the following:

  • heart palpitations
  • difficulty gaining and maintaining weight
  • low energy level
  • exhaustion
  • sensitive skin / dry skin
  • back pain
  • increasingly severe allergies
  • inability to sleep through the night
  • stomach pains and bloating
  • coldness in extremities
  • inability to maintain body termpature
  • lightheadedness upon standing

But what’s normal, and what’s a ‘symptom’? And even if these things are symptoms, what are they symptoms of? Who’s to say the problem is that I haven’t intentionally consumed animal flesh in over a decade and not, say, the fact that I almost never eat breakfast and sometimes wait until 4 or 5 p.m. to eat my first meal, a meal that’s often comprised primarily of bread products?

I dressed as the 12th Doctor Who for Halloween this year. I'm frequently surprised at how sickly I look in photos, compared to how I actually think I look.

But here’s something else worth chewing over: The author, Tasha, makes the best argument against political veganism that I’ve ever encountered. She considers whether the vegan movement is perhaps one of the most effective ways of keeping angry women from agitating for change:

As a revolutionary feminist and anti-imperialist, veganism seemed to be yet another way I could fight the injustices we are facing. But as the years wore on and my body began devouring itself for the sustenance that my vegan diet couldn’t provide, I began to lose the will and the energy to do the vital work I had so loved. I no longer had the mental clarity to write my famous scathing exposes, or the physical energy to teach, organize, and build solidarity. I was sputtering out, grinding to a screeching halt. I realized that veganism, my choice to buy ‘cruelty free’ foods, was quickly becoming my only avenue for activism. It was the only thing I really had energy for anymore. As a staunch radical I’ve always been opposed to capitalism’s emphasis on the personal solution, I refuse to buy into the mainstream myth that we can shop our way out of catastrophe. And yet…with my dwindling energy reserves and devastating health problems I realized that was exactly what I was doing. When I stumbled along this quote about veganism by Megan Mackin it seemed as if it had been written for me: “It begins, eventually, to look like a very effective way to co-opt a movement: take the most passionate activist-minded, girls especially, and get their focus on a way of living that drains energies and enforces conformity in others. The Big Boys still run things, but now even more freely – with out much interference.”

Okay, so what do we do with that? Is it an obvious defense for a lapsed vegan, or is it an argument for ethical–and omnivorous–dietary habits?

And, really, with all of these confounding variables, how can we ever tell the difference? How do we even know anymore what it means to ‘listen to our bodies’?

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  • Carissa

    November 23rd, 2010

    This is a thought provoking post for me, thanks! I was always told I looked gaunt and that it was probably because I was a vegetarian. Now that I am older (and wiser of course) I am asking myself not what to fight for, but how far do I want to take the fight? Because for me it’s always been a fight, fight for animals, fight for the environment, fight for human rights….But at what cost to me? Do I stop when I am anemic? Do I stop when my hair starts falling out? Do I stop ever?

    I’ve been a vegetarian for 15 years. My reason started out as an pro-environmental statement that was later amended to being an animal cruelty statement. Both are still legitimate and valid in my eyes but I’ve started listening to my body (cravings) which is to say, I’ve started eating meat again.

    I don’t eat it every day or every week, just whenever it seems like I need to. And when I do eat meat, I go to great lengths to make sure it’s “friendly” meat, that is, environmentally friendly, animal friendly and human friendly.

    It is definitely weird to go against the principles I so fiercely defended for the last 15 years but I too am concerned about my health. i wonder if my “ailments” can be attributed to my dietary choices. However, I do think the same should resonate for meat eaters.

    Anyway, thanks again for posting this~I’ve said waaaay more than I needed to!

  • Sarah

    November 23rd, 2010

    For what it’s worth, I never noticed any significant changes in health when I started eating meat again, and I am actually slightly thinner now than I was in my veg days. I do think vegan diets can be healthy–but it requires a tremendous amount of knowledge and effort to maintain.

    I was pescaterian for 10 years, and flirted with true vegetarianism several times during that period (the main reason I didn’t give up fish from the get-go was that my parents honestly wouldn’t have known what to feed me). My reasons for giving up meat were ethical: I abhorred the slaughter industry (still do) and refused to contribute to it. As time passed, I reached a point where the rationale presented by my 15-year-old self could no longer really hold up to the challenges posed by people who advocated, say, eating fair-trade, local, ethically-slaughtered meats in moderation–especially in light of the horrendous environmental and humanitarian problems created by the exponential growth of the soybean industry over the past decade (probably resulted in the death of more animals than slaughter has done, due to loss of habitat to slash-and-burn farming). Still, I clung to my defense of my vegetarianism because it had become part of my identity.

    I started eating meat again when I decided to come to Deline. To be veg in the rural (sub)arctic, you’ve got to be both really rich and not at all motivated to have a social life (people up here wouldn’t know what to feed you if they couldn’t feed you fish, caribou, or moose). As a folklorist, a social life is of professional importance (not to mention personal), and money is thin. It was really, really hard. Put it off for months. Finally I went to B’foods and got a piece of chicken from the hot bar and ate it alone. I couldn’t do it in the presence of anyone else. I was afraid my body might react badly–but it didn’t. I didn’t feel a thing.

    Then I came to Deline, where I have had the opportunity to eat the most ethical food I’ve ever consumed. I went along on a caribou hunt and watched how careful the hunters were to minimize suffering–it generally took two shots to lay the animal down, and the third, carefully aimed at close range, killed it instantly. The vast, vast majority of the animal was brought back to town and shared among family and friends of the hunters. The few parts that people couldn’t use were neatly piled up and left on the land to feed ravens, wolves, and other scavengers.

    Those animals never experienced human-caused suffering except in the 20-30 seconds before they died. No land needed to be slashed so that they’d have pasture space, or so that grain could be grown to feed them. The meat travelled about 30 miles by motorboat from where it was shot to where it was consumed. In a community where a gallon of milk costs about $17 and is flown in from god-knows-where down south, and where there are no jobs, the availability of wild meat is essential to human survival. People know this, so they don’t hunt wastefully.

    With all of this in mind: I am absolutely not one to turn my nose up at vegetarianism/veganism, as long as people who practice it have a clearly articulated reason as to why they do so. I mean, I still live pretty much vegetarian down south, because I still hate the slaughter industry and do my best to avoid factory-farmed meat. But I’m of the opinion that the most ethical way to eat in Bloomington, honestly, would be to get a deer-hunting license and to set rabbit snares in my back yard.

  • Sam Rose

    November 23rd, 2010

    “But what’s normal, and what’s a ‘symptom’? And even if these things are symptoms, what are they symptoms of? Who’s to say the problem is that I haven’t intentionally consumed animal flesh in over a decade and not, say, the fact that I almost never eat breakfast and sometimes wait until 4 or 5 p.m. to eat my first meal, a meal that’s often comprised primarily of bread products?”

    It sound like the latter could be the problem! Supposedly you can get the protein you need from Soy products (and cheese if you eat that). But, if you only eat one meal a day, wait all day to eat it, and it’s mostly bread, you are probably going to experience frequent pounding headaches! :-)

    You replied in facebook:

    “Yep. But you know, even when I’m being very careful, even when I’m doing all the things they say I’m supposed to do, fruits and vegetables and three meals and all, I still don’t feel any better. Which is why I’ve always been so skeptical of people who say how important it is to eat well. ”

    Yeah, I could be totally wrong. I’ve come to know that it is usually important for *me* to eat well, or I quickly feel like garbage. But, that does not mean that eating well is going to help anyone/everyone else of course.

  • Jenna McWilliams

    November 23rd, 2010

    Carissa, Sarah, thanks for your comments about the ethics of vegetarianism. It’s certainly easy to claim the moral high ground when you don’t eat meat, even if your dietary choices lead (as I suspect mine do) to even greater environmental degradation and perhaps even greater suffering. The problem, of course, is that it’s also not easy or cheap to be an ethical meat eater in 21st Century America. We don’t grow our own food. Even if we could set rabbit traps (is that legal? why didn’t anyone tell me?), we don’t have the resources or knowledge or wherewithal to butcher the meat efficiently. Boo.

    Sam, your comment makes me want to make another go at ‘eating well.’ It’s possible that I don’t know what ‘eating well’ means, or that I haven’t given it enough time to affect me.

  • Greg McVerry

    November 23rd, 2010

    I was vegetarian for 5 years and then vegan for an additional 7 years. I added fish to my diet and it was a slippery slope from there. Soon eggs and dairy followed. I now eat white meat ( and even the occasional burger from a local grass fed farm).

    My reasons for being vegetarian were mainly political (I find or food industry abhorrent) and personal (it impressed girls) and slightly philosophical (although this is the hardest argument to sustain).

    Yet after years of moral dilemma I lost the good fight. I really do not know know what the answer is.

    As far as health. Sustaining veggie diets is tough. I was cooking all my beans, ( a pressure cooker a must) relying on way too much soy, and had to consume a large amount of calories to get enough protein. It is very easy to become a starchatarian living on bread and pasta.

    When I began to eat protein life got easier (not just eating with the relatives). Energy levels increased, I could actually exercise and see results (if I actually exercised).

    Yet there is still some guilt as I eat. this guilt is relative to how much time and treasure I put into heating a sustainable diet.

    On the political side of things our food industrial complex is destroying the environment, our economy, and our way of life. I hold this as a fact. Yet what is sustainable about eating organic fruit packaged and flown in from Chile?

    So I decided to put more effort into eating local rather than vegetarian. I joined a CSA, hunt out local produce, try to eat only locally caught seafood or sustainable aqua-culture.

    All in all I am healthier, life is easier, my carbon footprint is probably equal or smaller, but I still flavor my food with a tinge of guilt.

  • Lindsay

    November 23rd, 2010

    Veganism can be healthy, I think, as long as the vegan in question is choosing the right things to eat. He or she would need to eat lots of fruits, veggies, nuts, beans, soy, and avocados. Too often I meet vegans and vegetarians who subsist entirely on bread. I had a vegetarian friend who lived only on bread and cheese. It’s no wonder she was so sick all the time! I never saw her pick up an apple or a stalk of celery. I don’t think you can call yourself a vegan or vegetarian if you never eat fresh produce. There’s gotta be a different word for that – breaditarian? Cheeser?

    I’ve never been a vegetarian myself. I don’t think it’s worth my time to make a social statement by altering my diet – I’ve got other battles to fight (this is my personal choice, and I respect those who feel that passionately about animal welfare). But I do purchase organic free-range meats from Bloomingfoods. It’s worth the extra cost since it has a positive trickle-down effect.

    Bottom line – if you’re vegan, healthy, and happy, cool. I have no reason to tell you what to eat. I simply ask for the same respect in return.

  • Lindsay

    November 23rd, 2010

    P.S. Jenna – you do not look sickly at all! Aside from your angsty “oh hey” pictures, you look happy and healthy ;) But I do suggest, as Sam recommended, to try to eat your frist meal before late afternoon. You might feel a little better.

  • Aimee

    November 23rd, 2010

    Hi Jenna,
    I saw the thread relating to this on your facebook and couldn’t resist finding out what you were talking about. I’ve been a vegetarian (ovo-lacto) for 18 years, and have never felt any negative effects in relation to my health. in fact, the main craving i have noticed is that if i feel cruddy and grouchy and like i haven’t been eating well, broccoli with spicy garlic sauce is my magic mood-altering food. (Seriously. Gets me high. AAAmazing.)
    My simplest reason for being a vegetarian is that I am not willing to kill an animal in order to eat it, when there’s no need. I believe in living consciously, and if I couldn’t actual make myself kill an animal, I don’t believe I should buy a dead butchered animal at the store where the killing and the fact that that chunk on styrofoam was a living being has been conveniently washed away. This is why if I were not a vegetarian I think I would be one of those hardcore survivalist hunter dudes (ok, apparently I’d be a guy in this scenario!).
    Multiple studies have been done on the Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda, CA, because of their vegetarian diet, showing that they are healthier and live longer than meat eaters. In fact I believe some have said a vegetarian diet will increase your lifespan by 7 years.
    In addition to mentioning you eat mainly bread, i didn’t hear you mention anything about supplements. I don’t take many vitamins, but always take B vitamins, which can sometimes be lacking in a vegetarian diet depending on what you are eating, and which are great for energy.
    What I find interesting is that the post you mentioned, your symptoms, and the replies which agreed with you all mentioned other similarities other than vegetarianism. I’ve never been a person who tends to be underweight or has trouble gaining weight. I wonder if there is something relating to your body type that means you have specific nutritional requirements that may be different than those of the average weight person. In addition, I know gluten-intolerance and celiac disease seem to be increasingly common, and I know bloating and some of your other symptoms fit with that. (www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/celiac-disease/celiac-disease-symptoms).
    What I’m most leery of, however, is the fact that the former-vegan’s doctor told her to eat meat. I don’t know what alternative efforts she tried, or what she was eating as a vegan. But in general, doctors have LITTLE TO NO training in nutrition. It’s seriously frightening. Most doctors just sort of assume that vegetarianism is bad for you, without having any training or evidence to back that presumption. For an interesting discussion of this, watch the documentary “Food Matters”.
    Lindsay – I thought it was interesting that you ended your post asking vegans not to tell you what to eat. Has this happened to you a lot? As a vegetarian, I feel that my food choices are very often a subject of discussion/mocking/discontent for many meat eaters. Friends, lovers, strangers, and pretty much all of popular culture have mocked or harassed me for not eating meat. In general I feel that meat eaters are much more obsessed with what vegetarians eat than vice versa. What has your experience been?

  • Aimee

    November 23rd, 2010

    (ok – just read more of the former-vegan’s post, and am glad to hear her doctors actually studied nutrition – maybe because they weren’t doctors in the U.S., where such training is definitely not the case!)

  • Jenna McWilliams

    November 23rd, 2010

    Aimee, any time you want to deliver broccoli with garlic sauce directly to my mouth I will be ready for it.

  • Lindsay

    November 23rd, 2010

    Aimee – I’ve had any number of vegans and vegetarians give me unsolicited information on the food industry, slaughter house conditions, and the consequences of hormones pumped into cows. They usually whip this information out right as I’m biting into a big, juicy burger. It’s incredibly irritating. I completely respect an individual’s right to be a vegetarian or a vegan. I always accommodate my guests when I cook for them and don’t complain about meatless dishes. I even happily ate at a vegan restaurant in Chicago recently and thought the food was quite tasty. I’m not one of those ‘Murricans who insist you have to be a carnivore to be a valid US citizen. I just think it’s incredibly rude to be judged for what one eats.

    I see you must understand, if people give you a hard time for not eating meat. If I were you, I’d just say “I’m not asking you not to eat meat. Why are you so concerned about my diet?” (I think most people comment and judge your vegetarianism because they want to validate their own choice to eat meat. It’s easy to feel guilty for eating meat when you’re around those who abstain. It’s the same reason why I never drink alone at a restaurant).

  • Andy Blunden

    November 23rd, 2010

    It has always seemed to me, Jenna, that where entire historical communities have such and such kind of diet (which is always the case) then that diet is tested and refined down the generations, and the general health of the entire community is testimony to the validity of the diet and the entire lifestyle to which it belongs.
    But we moderns, especially those of us who are educated, we now make an *individual choice* to adopt this or that diet, sometimes from a book (!) sometimes from ideological preference, We don’t know what is behind it, and we probably don’t even like the other aspects of the lifestyle (if any) to which the original model was linked. We continue to participate in all aspects of modern life and engage in social practices which are foreign to the diet we have chosen for ourselves.
    *This* is something quite different. We only get to find out whether our invented diet is viable by experimenting on ourselves. Then we adjust things. Trying to replace the historical experience of an entire community with our own educated self-experimentation is OK, but we have to take it seriously, rather than mixing a diet up with lifestyles also chosen individually.
    All those of us (I include myself!), who make our life-decisions without regard to the norms of the society to which we belong, are always taking a risk. A risk which has to be taken of course. Otherwise we are blindly reproducing the rotten lifestyles and values of this rotten capitalist system.
    But we have to be aware of that risk. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Just mak the necessary adjustments.
    For example, in my school days (1950s) there would generally be one fat kid per year group, i.e., about 1% of people were obese. And yet no-one thought about what we ate. I ate doughnuts for lunch every year for a decade, for example. Others ate sandwiches, and there was only refined white bread to eat. Everyone ate greasy meat at home. But no-one got fat. Nowadays people fret about their diet, eat grass and what not and still get fat. Do you see what I mean?

  • PrinceTapion

    January 16th, 2012

    Here ye, here ye, vegans:

    You know, after years of selective breeding, cows, chickens, etc. have changed genetically.Like it or not, all those thousands of years of selective breeding have made farm animals as dependant on us as we are on them. They are not fit to live in the wild or be pets. If you had a cow, you would have to milk it all the time, because they get sick if they don’t get milked, & if they feed all the milk to calves, the calves get diareah because cows produce so much milk. I know because my grandparents owned a ranch in Mexico, & no hormones or drugs. So veganism actually hurts cows. Just drink milk not from cow torturing places. Trust me, not all farms torture animals. But too many veggs are under the illusion that animals are tortured at all farms,& no, just factory farms.(Evil, yes, factory farms are evil) And for those of you who say that humans are not meant to eat meat because we have no “claws” & “Fangs”, here:”Vegans say we have no natural adaptions to eat meat,but do we have special adaptations to graze and get fruits from trees?No,we use tractors and tools to get our veggies/fruits out of the wild.We have a special adaptation most animals do not have:high intelligence. And you say we marinate meat with veggies to make it taste like veggies, no, we marinate it to give it flavor because we have intelligence & food is no longer just survival, taste and formulas matter,&,humans used to eat raw meat and dirty fruit, but we evolved so much to our tool filled enviroment that we now can only eat cooked meat since we invented fire,& cleaned and harvested veggies since we made the hoe and used work animalslong ago. And and try to rip a potato out of the ground, & eat it, right there & then. Not very good, is it? Whats that? Why of course you got sick from the dirt and germs. But we have these things called tools & intelligence, & from evolution to make things our bodies are not adapted to bearable. But evolution forgot you, it seems. “Kill with your fangs”. Graze and eat from trees with your super long neck, toe fingers, monkey tail, and 5 stomaches, dumbass. Oh, and another animal that eats like people? The otter. I see no fangs, claws, or crushing strenth on those. But they are intelligent, and use rocks to crack open clams. You can’t say it is not natural for otters to eat clams.”
    I do not hate veggs. I just am angry at the militant ones who give false evidence for their cause, say they are superior, & guess what? Scientific studies prove that plants do feel pain. And read these. http://voraciouseats.com/my-ex-vegan-story/ http://voraciouseats.com/2010/11/22/vegan-defector-talks-back/ One is the story, one is answers to your questions.Don’t be douches.While humans are healthiest eating large amounts of frsh fruits/veggies, but it is an unintelligent generalization to give up the small amount of animal products our bodies need.And remember,all food causes animal death. We are omnivores, & so cannot eat without killing. When you buy veggies, you are not dircectly killing & eating animals, but you are eating food that came from land that had to be farmed, cleared, & many animals died for that. So you don’t care, just because you don’t have to see them dead? You don’t have to see pigs die in farms, so stop caring. That simple, by your logic. All food production kills animals, not eating animals that are useless for anything but to be consumed makes no difference. You say meat production causes pollution, but what doesn’t, these days? The car you drive, the food you eat, the house you live in, the clothes you wear: they all caused pollution to be produced. Also, soy messes up your hormones & was never meant to be an edible plant. It is not nearly as healthy as the wonder food it is made out to be, look at this & other similar sites: http://www.optimumchoices.com/Soy.htm
    “I was looking over a menu in a restaurant the other day when I saw a section for vegetarians; I thought to myself “boy, I sure am glad that I’m not a meat-hating fascist” and I skipped on to the steak section (because I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay $15 for an alfalfa sandwich, slice of cucumber and a scoop of cold cottage cheese), but before I turned the page something caught my eye. The heading of the vegetarian section was titled “Guiltless Grill,” not because there were menu items with fewer calories and cholesterol (since there were “healthy” chicken dishes discriminated against in this section), but because none of the items used animal products. Think about that phrase for a second. What exactly does “guiltless grill” imply? So I’m supposed to feel guilty now if I eat meat? Screw you.

    What pisses me off so much about this phrase is the sheer narrow-mindedness of these stuck up vegetarian assholes. You think you’re saving the world by eating a tofu-burger and sticking to a diet of grains and berries? Well here’s something that not many vegetarians know (or care to acknowledge): every year millions of animals are killed by wheat and soy bean combines during harvesting season (source). Oh yeah, go on and on for hours about how all of us meat eaters are going to hell for having a steak, but conveniently ignore the fact that each year millions of mice, rabbits, snakes, skunks, possums, squirrels, gophers and rats are ruthlessly murdered as a direct result of YOUR dieting habits. What’s that? I’m sorry, I don’t hear any more elitist banter from you pompous cocks. Could it be because your shit has been RUINED?

    That’s right: the gloves have come off. The vegetarian response to this embarrassing fact is “well, at least we’re not killing intentionally.” So let me get this straight; not only are animals ruthlessly being murdered as a direct result of your diet, but you’re not even using the meat of the animals YOU kill? At least we’re eating the animals we kill (and although we also contribute to the slaughter of animals during grain harvesting, keep in mind that we’re not the ones with a moral qualm about it), not just leaving them to rot in a field somewhere. That makes you just as morally repugnant than any meat-eater any day. Not only that, but you’re killing free-roaming animals, not animals that were raised for feed. Their bodies get mangled in the combine’s machinery, bones crushed, and you have the audacity to point fingers at the meat industry for humanely punching a spike through a cow’s neck? If you think that tofu burgers come at no cost to animals or the environment, guess again.

    To even suggest that your meal is some how “guiltless” is absurd. The defense “at least we’re not killing intentionally” is bullshit anyway. How is it not intentional if you KNOW that millions of animals die every year in combines during harvest? You expect me to believe that you somehow unintentionally pay money to buy products that support farmers that use combines to harvest their fields? Even if it was somehow unintentional, so what? That suddenly makes you innocent? I guess we should let drunk drivers off the hook too since they don’t kill intentionally either, right? There’s no way out of this one. The only option left for you dipshits is to buy some land, plant and pick your own crops. Impractical? Yeah, well, so is your stupid diet. It is fucking IMPOSSIBLE to live without killing some form of life. You are just stupid, disgusted by the very idea of the cycle of life & death. I hope that when you die of stomach cancer( vegans have a SIGNIFICANTLY higher risk of stomach cancer) God sends you straight to the deepest, darkest, most burining pit the 9th ring of hell has to offer. “But I didn’t eat milk, cheese, or meat” you will say. So not liking certain food excuses years of irritating people, making it impossible for your family or friends to have a decent meal, preaching, & persocution of everyones lifestyle in violent, annoying ways?

    Even if combines aren’t used to harvest your food, you think that buying fruits and vegetables (organic or otherwise) is any better? How do you think they get rid of bugs that eat crops in large fields? You think they just put up signs and ask parasites to politely go somewhere else? Actually, I wouldn’t put that suggestion past you hippies. One of the methods they use to get rid of pests is to introduce a high level of predators for each particular prey, which wreaks all sorts of havoc on the natural balance of predator/prey populations–causing who knows what kind of damage to the environment. Oops, did I just expose you moral-elitists for being frauds? Damndest thing.

    A number of people have pointed out that the amount of grain grown to feed animals for slaughter every year is greater than the amount of grain grown for humans. So I guess the amount of grain grown for human consumption suddenly becomes negligible and we can conveniently ignore the fact that animals are still ruthlessly murdered either way because of your diet, right? Not to mention that the majority of grain grown for livestock is tough as rocks, coarse, and so low-grade that it’s only fit for animal consumption in the first place. Spare me the “you could feed 500 people with the grain used to feed one cow” line of shit; it’s not the same grain. You sya you would save lives by not eating meat, but guess what? Some people actually work on ranches, etc. And their families would starve if they lost their jobs because you dont like cheeseburgers. So the life of a cow that will get killed by wolves anyway is more important than family & hungry little children? ” Why did the mean people take the cows, daddy? ” Well, son, PETA sais that eating beef & cheese is evil. So they threw the cows into the woods to get eaten by wolves, & I lost my job, can no longer provide food or shelter for our family, & now we will all die a slow, painful death of starvation & exposure.”But at least your precious chickens got eaten by pumas & wolves instead people, right?( Oh, & PETA kills more animals a year than the organizations they commit arson towards, support aniaml rape, & say that arson, terrorism, & murder are ok as long as done in the name of sad chickens ) A quote from the president of PETA: The life of an ant & the lfie of my child deserve equal consideration” & ” Even if animal research found a cure for AIDS, we would still be against it”. You say meat carries diseases? So does every other food, in one way or another. Meat is only diseased when rotten, & it is never eaten rotten, unless you are starving, & you would also eat rotten fruit if starving. Vegetables carry parasites, soy messes up your hormones, etc. Dumbasses, stupid hypocrites.
    Then there are the people who jump on the bandwagon with “you could plant billions of potatoes on the land used for cows”–good point, except for the fact that not every plot of land is equally fertile; you think farmers always have a choice on what they do with their land? Also, many vegetarians don’t know (or care to acknowledge) that in many parts of the United States they have “control hunts” in which hunting permits are passed out whenever there is a pest problem (the pest here is deer, elk and antelope) that threatens wheat, soy, vegetable and other crops; this happens several times per year. Then some of you throw out claims that “we are trying to limit the suffering.” How about you limit MY suffering and shut the hell up about your stupid diet for a change; nobody cares.But you don’t eat the animals, & nobody gains anything from their death, so it is ok?Are you placing a value on life? Enjoy your tofu, murderers.
    And soemthing else: Don’t go around burining down steakhouses, saying moo when people eat delicious meat, or preaching over & over. Lets face it: what you eat is about as important to people as what kind of deoderant you wear. So stop talking about your axe or coolstick, or whatever. Like I said, no one cares. If you go vegan, fine, but dont expect the whole damb world to revolve around you & your choices.

    A perfect, antivegan argument, aside from voracious eats argument. And the purpose of this is to say that not everyone can be vegan. You may not feel sick( or may be ignoring it to try to make your ethics outweigh your logic & biology) but she was, & tons of people exoerienced the same thing. There is no “perfect lifestyle” Don’t go on the defensive to explain away all the logic in here because someone cannot survive perfectly how you would like them too. Idiot!

  • Palmer

    February 6th, 2012

    Wow! I sure hope you feel better soon, Prince Tapion. How’s your blood pressure?

  • Regina

    April 1st, 2012

    I guess, both veg and meat are healthy, it’s just that you need to balance them. No meat and dairy mean you would lose Vit. B12, zinc, protein, calcium, and vit.D. No veg means digesting problem, vit. A, C and others.

    You just have to balance it, human are supposed to be omnivores.

  • Grateful Living

    April 21st, 2012

    Why is it always the case that people who are most violently angry towards veganism always close with: “If you want to be vegan, fine, but….”? Clearly you don’t think it’s fine. Why demonstrate so clearly in your words the very hypocrisy you accuse others of possessing in their diets?

    For anyone as polite as me who read everything that PrinceTapion said, I trust that you picked up at least twelve or thirteen of the several dozen patently false and/or unsubstantiated claims that he made. Stomach cancer? Please cite your references. And if you cite them, make sure they go to the actual article and not some random site with articles about email marketing, small business management and the importance of keeping up your blogging.

    I have been looking at articles to collect all the regular arguments that people have against veganism. Some are interesting and useful, but, most of them are fear-driven, unschooled cliches. Thanks to PrinceTapion I need look no further, he has put them all into one rambling diatribe for me to decipher at my leisure.

    As for the ‘best argument against veganism’, no-one who cares deeply about life wants someone to kill themselves over their diet. Any statement that vegans are in the wrong because people are dying by trying to stick to an impossible goal have missed the point. We do whatever we can to reduce, limit and (where possible – because it isn’t always) eradicate the suffering of all living and sentient creatures. (Though I also think twice before tearing branches off trees and stepping on flowers, no study has ever *proven* sentience in a plant. Or *feeling*. Just reflex. Static electricity also provides ‘reflex-like’ responses. The distinction is essential in the discussion).

    I have been vegan for almost a year and feel great. I admit that recently I have been more tired than usual. Run down. Feeling I should be eating more. Then I realised that I had worked 20 days straight, 16 hours a day, going to bed after 1pm every night, and swimming 100 laps a day. Oh yeah, that can be tiring. PrinceTapion? What do you do with all that energy meat gives you?

    I wish good health to all, regardless of their diet. But the days of eating conscience-free are gone for everyone. Perhaps we all need to bow our heads before a meal, and instead of thanking God, thank the meal. After all, it’s the one that gave up its life for us, sentient or not. We are beyond demanding people respect our *right* to eat whatever we want. It’s tie to respect what we eat, because despite what some people feel, we aren’t the centre of the universe, we are just a part of it. As a vegan I accept I will never be perfect. All I am trying to do is tread respectfully on this planet and live with gratitude.

  • Empatheticveghead

    May 25th, 2012

    Thank you, thank you thank you Grateful Living. I was worried I’d be typing up a very long essay in response to PrinceTapion’s nonsense but thankfully you covered all the bases.
    It’s nice to know there are compassionate, empathetic people in the world like you.

    Sadly there are a lot of self absorbed individuals in the world that don’t care about thier actions and would rather be willfully ignorant of the consequences.

    I have been a vegan for over a year and am feeling great. My significant other has been since she was eight and is currently carrying our child. Healthy and growing well on a plant based diet. Four more months to go!

  • Jenna

    May 26th, 2012

    I’m really glad to know that people are so interested in this issue–it seems like one of the more important nutrition-focused, and therefore social, issues of our era.

  • Stu

    May 28th, 2012

    A vegan diet should in no way hold back one’s health unless one is being stupid by not eating a good variety of plant based foodstuffs. I have been a vegan for 5 years and am in so much better condition than when I was a meat eater; I am fitter and more mentally capable than ever before.

    I cannot believe someone would be so narrow minded as to blame a vegan diet, full of nutritional potential, on their ill health. You should look at the choices you made within your vegan diet, you may have been limiting yourself to too few food types (plant based of course!).

    Let’s not forget the rationale behind most vegans choice: animal welfare, not health. Fortunately, with some thought, you can have both.

  • nicola

    August 6th, 2012

    first i apologize for my english but it’s not my natural language so i hope you will forgive some mistakes and typos.
    i have a small terrain i put vegetables on it and some animals like poultry and rabbits,no cows or pigs because i want my animals to be in large spaces,as if they are free.
    i kill animals by myself and even if it’s not a party time i don’t feel guilty about that when i take out the skin the organs or when i eat their meat.i try to not cause any suffering till their death(because there’s no need to torture an animal in order to eat it),my animals live well and eat well as long as they live.
    i don’t use any medicine on animals and no pesticide or poisons on my homegrown vegetables.

    i do all this for myself because i want to eat something with a good quality,a good taste and which is healty,but i try to respect animals because(again) even if you eat meat there is no need at all to make them suffer during life or when you kill them.

    what i don’t understand about all the discussions about vegans and anti vegans is that everyone pretend to really care about the animals as if they are humans…personally i don’t.
    if someone would tell me that my brother needs to eat 100 dog’s hearts to live i would kill the dogs for him,and don’t feel guilty about it,even if i love dogs,but if my brother needs to eat YOUR heart i would not kill you.
    If any of you (obviously a vegan too) tells me that the death of MY dog is required to save YOUR life (it’s fantasy don’t enforce on the sentences meaning) i don’t think twice and i kill my dog now.

    this is to tell that to me the death of an animal(even my beloved pet) or the death of a human (even an unknown one) have not the same value,to me humans are worth more.

    i don’t put my life on the same level of the life of an animal just because we both can feel pain,it’s not that i think they are lower,i just think that”TO ME” I am more important than they are.
    should i feel guilty because i’m “evil” and i care more about me than i care of an animal?i don’t feel guilty at all.

    people alwais talk about cows and pigs but what about other animals?i killed maybe 4000 cockroches out of my girlfriend house because it was infested and nobody ever told me that was cruel.
    cities spend money to kill rats and no one ever say nothing about that.
    just because they are ugly,infesting and bring diseases.
    if there’s a line to say animals above the line deserve respect and animals under the line don’t,who decided where to put the line?

    everybody hates the slaughter houses and the farming industry but even if you can argue with what princetapion said pesticides and harvesting genocides are a fact.
    so i don’t understand:
    1)you(this time i refer to vegans) know eating meat bring much suffering.
    2)you also know that eating vegetables also produce suffering
    3)you choose to eat vegan not because it deletes all the pain but because this cause less pain,one little step is better than nothing(i also agree),right?

    in the last 4 monthes i ate 98% my own produced food for a total of 8 animal’s deaths(i obviously don’t consider the bugs eaten by chickens)and my poison clean vegetables din’t kill any insect or other animal at all(as your vegetables coming from mass production did).
    now here are my questions
    1)should i feel etically higher than you?
    2)should i come to you to shout that cultivation industry is killing the planet,spit on your face(it happened to me) and tell you are a fu***** murderer of the life?
    3)why if my behaviour is more healty and more respectful in terms of deaths and harm caused then just being vegan i should feel lower than you?
    4)why nobody on the planet thinks about my solution instead of becoming vegan?

    i don’t understand all this hate and rage especially now that the “vegan philosophy” is takin away from me one of my best friend.

  • Jake

    November 4th, 2012

    This is mainly anecdotal evidence. Some people might not be able to handle their vegan diet, others, like me, can maintain a vegan diet and stay healthy, happy, athletic and buff. :)

  • Linda

    November 29th, 2012

    I was vegan for several years from the age 11 on. It did nothing good for my health at all. I became extremely weak, tired, pale, had horrible rings under my eyes and no energy. I was eating tons of vegetables and fruit oats etc Still felt horrible, and looked horrible.

    I am no longer vegan and will never be one again. My brother discovered something called “the blood type diet” and it basically says that each blood type requires a specific diet. Some blood types need meat. Others may be able to successfully not eat meat. I am convinced it is a person by person situation. Some vegans are able to function properly. Myself and my brother tried and were miserable and sick for years on end.

  • Linda

    November 29th, 2012

    Stu, the only narrow minded person is you for assuming that everyones body is designed for the same diet. I ate a HUGE variety of food that was vegan and felt horrible and sick regardless. I don’t appreciate your ignorance suggesting that if someone wasn’t healthy on a vegan diet, that they “did something wrong”.

    Some people can’t eat gluten, others can. Some people can’t eat dairy or sugar, others can. In the same way, some people are able to go vegan successfully and others can’t. We humans are not all the same.

  • Anonymous

    December 10th, 2012

    This is very interesting to know, and something I will keep in mind once I gain my independance and become vegan.

    During the brief period I cut as much animal product from my diet as I could, I felt significantly better.

    Every symptom you described is in my family, and likely my genetics. None of us are vegan.

    What is in my family is alergies to beef, on the cattle – raising side, cancer and heart failure early in life, to name a few.

    Just because one person couldn’t maintaon a healthy vegan diet doesnt mean it is impossible or not worthwile.

    But like I said, it is good to know this.

  • David

    December 27th, 2012

    Having went through vegetarian and vegan phases in my life, I am so glad that it was difficult to maintain, thus prompting me to give up after 2-3 years. Looking back during that time, I never drew a connection between the physical and mental health issues I was having and the low-fat veg or vegan ways that I was eating. It seems clear in hindsight. But at the time I wasn’t thinking clearly. I wonder why?

  • Marie

    January 5th, 2013

    Thank you, Prince Tapion. Everything you entertainingly said is how I feel about veganism hence why I am not a vegan. I just hate when vegans try to convert you like its a religion and they’re all in your face about it, calling you names and saying you’re heartless for eating something that is completely normal for us to eat.

  • Pink

    February 12th, 2013

    I find this very interesting that so many of the issues here are covered for both sides. I respect a vegetarians or vegans choice of diet as they are not easy to maintain in our culture. Most people I have known to be veggs haven’t stayed on that kind of diet for more than a few years. Here is one point that I don’t think was mentioned. Many people become vegetarian to oppose the cruelty of conventionally raised meat. Honestly, I don’t think the producers of this meat care. As vegetarians are fewer than meat eaters in this country, and meat consumption seems to be rising or at least remaining steady, their lack of purchasing meat has little impact. The offensive manner in which many veggs spread their beliefs of food choice does not help the cause either. Each person has to discover what diet suits their bodies best. I wonder if many veggs that feel so great on their diets do just because they are paying attention to what makes them feel good and that they are trying to maximize nutrition, whereas much of our culture relies on processed and fast food.

    I think the greatest impact on changing the conventional meat industry is going to come from competition from the grass-fed and sustainable meat producing farms. Money is what talks in this country. Unfortunately, many people cannot afford to pay the more than double cost of this kind of meat. This is due to the heavy subsidizing of conventional farming. A change in public policy needs to come too.

    A change in how our food is produced will come a lot sooner if people work together instead of fighting over whether it is better to eat meat or not.

  • Raquel Bluhm

    March 5th, 2013

    I am doing a little research for an article that I’m writing about the common things people believe about Veganism (from both sides) and what is true and not true. I’ve been doing A TON of research personally, before I dove into the internet’s opinions, on basic nutrition and scientific studies on vegan and vegetarian diets and omnivore diets. I won’t get into that research too much here, because it is still incomplete, but one thing I did want to say is that there really are a variety of Vegans, and Vegetarians. I equate it with the fact that you can find people of certain religions hassling people who pass in the street with pamphlets and talking about the dooms day, all while quietly in the background you have a much bigger number of people of the same religion going about their daily live and not hassling a single person about their beliefs. The same type of person who is telling you you’re going to hell is the same type of person who is going to tell you that you’re slaughtering animals and show you pictures while you’re biting into a steak. It’s a personality type that creates it, not a set of beliefs. Maybe I’ll find a way to make that funny and put it into my article. = )

  • Gabby Borges

    March 22nd, 2013

    I HATE VEGANISM

  • Gabby Borges

    March 22nd, 2013

    You don’t eat no meat?!?!?!?!? WTF people.

  • Rachel Coelho

    March 22nd, 2013

    Whaddupppp Gabby!!!

  • Patrick Keesy

    March 22nd, 2013

    Get out of here you, pig suckling meat lovers!

  • Babby Gorgeous

    March 22nd, 2013

    ummmm what is wrong with you people my coach is a vegan and is just amazing!

  • Jenna Mascenchi

    March 22nd, 2013

    BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!!!

  • Carrie Underwood

    March 22nd, 2013

    When people don’t eat meat, they’re effed up bitches. Just eat meat, eat dairy, eat an egg. Fuck it!!!!!!

  • Carrie Underwood

    March 22nd, 2013

    I hate PITA

  • Patrick Keesy

    March 22nd, 2013

    How would you feel if I ate your babies?

  • Roberto Woldridge

    April 17th, 2013

    I just want to say I am just newbie to blogs and truly loved your website. Likely I’m planning to bookmark your site . You actually have impressive writings. With thanks for sharing with us your web-site.

  • Ami

    May 3rd, 2013

    Um, yeah, I’ve been vegetarian/vegan for several years and have had exactly none of the health problems described (In fact, many things quite the opposite: I’m well known in my circle for never getting cold)…. I think it is possible that you both weren’t keeping a properly balanced diet , which is necessary for anyone, but can be harder for a vegetarian since this is a meat-eating world.

  • Jodie

    June 16th, 2013

    Many fat based vitamins are products of the slaughter industry as well. I don’t know how you avoid that.

  • Cari

    July 23rd, 2013

    If this is “the best anti-veganism argument ever” than I need not search anymore. I am officially going vegan

  • naturalny link wedlug google

    August 2nd, 2013

    Everyone can learn something for this blog.

  • Anonymous

    October 26th, 2013

    I am not vegan, and I have my reasons, many of which are stated here. I do believe that as intelligent humans, we have a choice regarding our diets. Veganism works for some, but not others. If you can ve vegan and healthy, go for it. If you can’t, there is nothing wrong with meat, especially if it benefits you. I was never fully a vegatarian, but several years back I ate less meat and suffered from it. Now, I eat meat daily and it leaves me healthier as well as happier. That’s just what works for my body. One diet doesn’t fit all.

    A side note that goes BOTH ways: don’t act superior because of what you consume. It’s rather silly. A reason many people hate vegans is because they feel the need to make others feel guilty or inferior, but of course, this doesn’t apply to all.

  • Janvier

    November 28th, 2013

    At the risk of offending the sweeping majority of posters on this article, all I seem to be hearing are cop-out arguments. I suppose that every one is different regarding what he or she is capable of doing to sustain his or herself, but since when did eating fresh fruits and vegetables become ‘too difficult’?

    The former ‘vegan’ that was mentioned in this article was most likely buying processed goods with an emphasis on chemicals and a lack of true nutrients. And why did this have to turn into a feminist argument? I concede that there are a lot of movements that pressure women to be so slight (physically) that they nearly become invisible, but I resent that veganism is mentioned as one of them. I hardly think that subscribing to a healthy, cruelty-free lifestyle should come between a woman and her right to speak her mind.

    I guess it all comes down to what the individual believes is important. I consider myself to be more of a cruelty-free activist than a feminist. Speaking as a woman and a vegetarian (in the process of becoming vegan), if it really, truly came down to choosing between my suffrage and the welfare of animals, I’d pick the latter.

  • heather

    March 21st, 2014

    Honestly, this is the worst blog I’ve ever come across. Einstein, Newton, Plato, Pythagoras, motherfucking Ghandi, George Bernard Shaw, and many more of the greatest minds of the mellinia where vegetarian. Herbivores have hands or hooves, flat teeth for grinding, sweat to keep cool and have long intestines, carnivores have claws, sharp teeth, pant to keep cool and have relatively short intestines so that meat can pass through there systems before fermenting. Which sounds more like us? There have been reports by athletes that say they improved while on a plant based (vegan) diet. Shaw lived to be over 90. The truth is, you looking for an excuse to kill animals because you enjoy the taste of their flesh, which js disgusting, because no animal need die for the sake of dinner. And if you’re only going to eat bread, you’re going to bloat.

  • Anonymous

    March 29th, 2014

    Omnivores have one stomach, a mid length intestinal tract, sharp teeth (incisors, canines) and flat teeth….. And can have hands. We evolved to eat both. Look at our closest relatives, chimps- also omnivores. Chimps eat ants, termites, and small animals which they hunt (they are even known to eat small monkeys). It goes against science (and is therefore patently false) to say that humans are herbivores. We are meant to eat meat. We have evolved to eat meat. The only reason that animals are domesticated at all is for our gain. We are the dominant species, like it or not. We have to control the populations of other species to preserve the Earth, like it or not. I am for the ethical treatment of animals and for better policy and policing of the animal and dairy industries, but animals are not humans (I will not buy into all of the anthropomorphic stuff that vegans put out there). Humans are superior, and if animals have to die either way for us to survive, I that is ok (even though I do not condone animal cruelty or suffering in the industry).

  • Charlie

    April 11th, 2014

    A vegan who does nothing else but sets an example does more to change the world for better than than the most active non-vegan. A non-vegan world will always be at war with itself – there’s no good reason why it shouldn’t be, and there are all kinds of war profits to be made.

  • Douchebag Mad Hatter

    July 7th, 2014

    Plants feel pain dumbass vegans. Just shut up for ONCE. THAT is the reason nobody likes vegans. SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!!!! http://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,,-83446,00.html

  • Michael

    July 22nd, 2014

    If you have animosity towards vegans and vegetarians then you may benefit from examining your own choices and conscience.

    Mine is clear. I hope yours is too.

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