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    • As an animal lover I am a pretty dedicated vegan. It is not always easy or pleasant to be a vegan around non-vegans. So I was so happy to find this article:

      And, yes, I am confident in saying that veganism is better for animals, for the environment, and for health.

      The author, an omnivore, writes about the big event of the Popeye's chicken sandwich. And says ..."the irony of the sandwich going viral at the same time as heartbreaking pictures of the Amazon rainforest on fire. Many of us, myself included, engage in painless, performative environmentalism. We’ll give up plastic straws and tweet passionately that someone should do something about the Amazon, yet few of us make space in our worldview to acknowledge the carcass in the room: the irrefutable evidence that our addiction to meat is killing the planet right before our eyes. After all, it takes only a few minutes of investigation to learn that there is one overwhelming reason the Amazon is burning — to clear ground for cattle ranching and for the cultivation of soy, the vast majority of which goes not into tofu but into animal feed, including for fast-food chicken."

      And let's remember.... "the squalid, overcrowded, constantly-lit, 40-day life span of the typical factory-farmed, fast-food chicken."

      This author is asking..."as a fellow omnivore and a person concerned about the planet’s future, I want to ask you to do something much more simple: to alter how you think about vegans."

      He says, "I want to urge you to give vegans a chance — to love and to celebrate them instead of ridiculing them. We need more vegan voices, because on the big issues — the criminal cruelty of industrial farming; the sentience and emotional depth of food animalsthe environmental toll of meat and the unsustainability of its global rise — vegans are irrefutably on the right side of history. They are the vanguard. Climate scholars say that if we are ever to survive a warming planet, people will have to consume far fewer animals than we do now. We will all have to become a little more vegan — and if we are to succeed in that, we will have to start by saluting vegans, not mocking them."

      Apparently vegans are viewed more negatively than atheists and immigrants, just slight better than drug addicts.

      I can honestly state that I often do not mention I am vegan because of the response I get. I am not trying to be smug or anything when I admit it. But inside I might be feeling a bit like I want to start arguing about how much better off I am because of my veganism. I am slender (most of my friends are always trying some new fad diet because they are so overweight), most of them have to take medications (none for me), they have more aches and pains than I do, and I have lost some friends and family members who did not eat healthy and died too soon.

      I think my friends know that veganism is healthier. How could people not know that when the studies out there are pretty conclusive? And same thing for the environment, veganism is better and could help save the world. And don't get me started about animal cruelty.....

      So why do people still eat meat? Is that momentary pleasure worth hurting your body, the earth, and the animals?

    • I support and respect any diet a person could have chosen of their own volition. I am also very much open to consensual civilised debate, preferably backed by science and untainted by hype and hysterics.

      At the same time, I fully reserve my right to mock people who go out of their way to excessively proselytise towards me, especially if it happens without solicitation or against my explicit polite wishes; said mocking has a risk to intensify if such people make quack science, grandiose, unverifiable and/or in other way senseless claims. And it doesn't have to be about diets, mind you. Could be Flat Earth society, to think of an example.

    • I wonder if this isn't an early adopting zealots thing. It feels like we saw this with Apple in the early days and Tesla now. I was in Utah last month and some of the guys there have fun coal-rolling Teslas with their diesel pickups. I asked a couple of people why and they said Tesla drivers are pompous and judgemental and exaggerate about the environment.

      I feel like plant-based eating is gradually catching on, especially with the Impossible and Beyond Burgers, and there hasn't been so much zealotry around them, so maybe this fades in time.

    • I spent some time pondering whether to respond to @ILoveAnimals question "So why do people still eat meat? Is that momentary pleasure worth hurting your body, the Earth, and the animals"

      With respect, because they have eaten meat all their lives, as did their parents, their grandparents, their great grandparents, their great great grandparents, etc. Not saying they cannot change, but this is why they are slow, reluctant, and don't readily change their life habits overnight. If the science is really as 100% certain as you profess, then they gradually voluntarily will. Over time.

      When I google the percentage of people in the US who are vegan or vegetarian, the answers seem to vary more than I would have thought - somewhere between 1/2 % vegan to 2% vegetarian in some links and as high as 6 or 8 % in others. I am surprised at the variations reported.

      As to why humans eat meat.....

      Human have been omnivores since before they left Africa over a 100,000 years ago. Our basic anatomy is that of an omnivore, not a carnivore or a vegetarian.

      I submit that one compare the gastrointestinal tract in humans with that of vegetarian apes, or of cattle, and human mouths, teeth, stomachs, and intestines are much smaller, like those of most omnivores such as wolves, bears, and other omnivores, and decidely different from strictly vegetarian mammals, which usually have much larger flatter dentition, sometimes ruminant stomachs, and much larger longer bowels, to digest and process the much larger volume of vegetable material to obtain adequate nutrition. I understand that a food processor can do that mastication for one now, but not 10,000 years ago.

      The meat in human diets provided portable, compact, dense, nutrition that with a fire, for beginning external digestion via cooking, allowed humans to spend far less time sitting and chewing than gorillas typically do, and provided the greater number of calories/fuel for the larger human brains to begin dealing with language, group structure, tribal hunting techniques, etc, which ultimately, let a small 150 pound mammal become the most successful dominant predator on Earth. Think about that a moment, it really is quite remarkable that the most successful predator on Earth weighs only about 150 pounds, has no large teeth or claws, and developed in Africa among many much larger far more dangerous predators - lions, wild dogs, hyeenas, etc. It is the larger brain of humans, fed via a high protein high calorie diet, which lead to their successful predator skills. Domesticating wolves may have helped humans a great deal in this quest also. Wolves are also omnivores, carnivores.

      Today, humans can decide to change their diets to a vegan diet, but this was not a choice available to humans in the far past. Without meat, most primitive cultures would have starved in the hard times in the past. Modern refrigeration, transportation, and production may mean this is no longer true now, but in winter in stone age cultures, I submit, humans could not have found adequate nutrition in the northern climes. Humans have always been omnivores - even hunter-gatherers had about half their calories from vegetation.

      I do know in Arctic climates - high north in Alaska, Svalbard, Siberia winter leads to a serious risk of scurvy due to no plant matter being available to people living in the high Arctic. Not a choice but simply no plants present amid a freezing climate.

      I don't want my readers to think I am being disrespectful to the vegan/vegetarian choice for a diet. I think it is fine for any one who chooses to live in that manner. I read that it has many advantages.

      But I think there are real biological reasons, more than just ignorance or culture, that make the transition to a vegan diet a slow thing for many people.

      Would you support making an omnivore diet illegal???

    • Looking at trends, veganism has all the signs of an important emerging trend. Plant milks are displacing dairy and cities that lead trends like New York, San Francisco and Hollywood are seeing significant rises in their vegan populations. Large investments in money and publicity are being directed to meat substitutes. An increasing number of celebrities and star athletes are going vegan. It is trending with youth and the stars they follow like Ariana Grande, Zac Efron and Greta Thunberg.

      Food is very emotional and we have long, beloved traditions surrounding meat dishes so it will take time and generate a lot of heated discussion.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Pathfinder. You make good points.

      I wouldn’t like to see eating meat become illegal, but it would be wonderful to see us eat less of it and figure out how to raise animals in a more humane and environmentally less harmful way.

      It appears that global meat consumption is still rising dramatically.

    • Thank you for your gentle response. My post could easily have been misintepreted, and I tried to present it as a polite and courteous response.

      It is true, that as 3rd world populations become relatively wealthier, some of that greater wealth is spent on what is perceived as a "Better diet" which means significanly more meat - they may be getting taller as a result. As I said above, humans evolved as omnivores, and may not all be easily convinced to abstain from animal products.

      The killing of animals for human consumption has been part of human culture for countless generations, but in my reading about many indigenous cultures, and many stories written by hunters about the hunt, the killing of animals should always be done with the greatest reluctance, bordering on regret. The killing was one of necessity, not entertainment.

      There was once a time when harvesting game for one's very survival was dangerous, even potentially fatal, but necessary. Frequently acccompanied by tribal rituals to purify, and maybe fortify, the hunters. Now animals are herded down cattle chutes, and appear to consumers as red packages clothed in transparent saran wrap. Modern consumers are not threatened in their quest for protein.

      What was once a necessity, may no longer BE necessary. Or even desirable.

      After composing my post I began rereading Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma" published in 2006. It has long expositions about what you and I were conversing about in our posts.

      There are some Environmental Activists, who seem like they would be much happier if the human population on Earth was significantly smaller, a mere fraction of its present size, some even fanatsizing about abrupt declines in human population. The Malthusian population explosion, however, is just about over.

      The human population in most western countries is no longer growing, but contracting. As a direct result of women gaining control of conception. This trend is accellerating in the third world too, even in Catholic countries. The human population may well stabilize smaller than it is right now, if we avoid a third world war. If we don't, the environmentalists who dislike mankind may get their wish. One should be careful what they wish for....

      Yet, barring that, the natural world will become evermore dependent on the interests and desire of humans to care for it.

      One thing I took home with me after my third safari in Kenya in the Maasi Maara, was that it is entirely surrounded by farmland. Those farmers MUST desire the animals in Kenya, or they will be slowy pushed aside and destroyed. I hate to think of the world with out lions and elephants, and zebras, and all the other wildlife, but without humans to provide the land, the law, and the protection, they will dissappear. I say that as a sad fact, but a highly undesired outcome. And that would make me very sad indeed.

      I love seeing wildlife, even at the cost of 20,000 to 40,000 motor vehicle accidents a year in many mid western states due to the recovery of the deer population. Some of that recovery is due to white tail hunters, who value the deer highly.

      What I am rambling on about, I think, is that these issues are quite convoluted, and not easily solved to everyone's desire.

      They will, ultimately, require laws to resolve some of them, but that introduces a whole new set of issues we don't begin to grasp yet, too. People really don't like laws restricting their liberty. If one can, one needs to carefully convert the other side to the wisdom of the necessary laws without them being scolded, or told they are stupid, or evil, or all of the above.... There are never enough police to enforce laws really hated by most of the populace. The Soviets learned this, and we are still waiting to see if the Chinese govenment has in Hong Kong.

      Peter Beard wrote a great book about the need to greatly diminish the trophy killing in Africa called "The End of the Game" published I think in 1988. A very interesting, if very sad, tale of the relationship of humans with the wildlife in East Africa. It moved me deeply.

      If I can toss in a bit of humor, after the sad woes I talked about above, I saw a poster somewhere on the web that basically said "There are no cave paintings, nor pictographs, nor petroglyphs of salads".

      I thought it was funny, mostly true, but the levity might not be appreciated by folks who are truly offended by people who are not vegetarian, because of their concern for animals and their plights.

    • I have had a very simple hypothesis for 10 years and the more research studies that are published, the more compelling it seems.

      I think the one factor to rule them all is simply whether a food has fiber. So apples, not apple juice, brown rice, not white, coconut, not coconut oil, corn, not corn syrup.

      It’s the one nutrition plan that’s been demonstrated to cure 99% of heart disease, type II diabetes, constipation, high blood pressure...

    • I absolutely agree! I think one of the real advantages of the present time is the availability of fruit and vegetables year round at modest prices. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, sweet corn, beans, peas, are all major food groups for me.

    • The backstory for me is I knew 3 guys who died of sudden heart attacks in their 30s. One was an elite triathlete who had ridden on Lance's Tour de France teams. He was 36 and had 5 kids. Another was 38 and he had his heart attack on Christmas morning on the couch with his two young daughters and wife.

      So my wife and I held healthy eating groups at our house each week and watched prominent cardiologist lectures together on the TV, etc. Together we knew of roughly a dozen aging parents who had heart disease and we tried to evangelize them. About 6 of them fully embraced the plan to eat whole plants and they are all doing great, even the 90-year-old.

      Another 6ish said it wasn't for them and they continued with their health problems. 4ish have died, 3 too young. One just died a couple months ago, but although he enjoyed meat with most meals, he was slender and 95, in decent health until the end.

      But I have to admit we've slowed down our evangelism because when we were new to it and naive, we thought we had found this great thing and everyone should know, so we were those zealots people hate. The thing is, people who embraced it were so appreciative and felt we had helped change their lives, but the uncomfortableness it introduced in times when people didn't want to hear about it cooled our jets. I'm not blaming them, we just didn't want to lose friendships.

    • I’m currently driving through Southern/Central Utah. This truck was blasting out fumes of black exhaust. P.S. I’m not the one driving, so I’m not risking my life to bring you all this photo.