5 Brain Nutrients Found Only in Meat, Fish and Eggs (NOT Plants)

Man Eating Raw SteakThe human brain is the most complex object in the universe.

It is also the organ that consumes by far the most energy, compared to its weight.

The brain is only about 2% of our body weight, but uses 20% of the energy.

This remarkable organ has evolved over millions of years. During this time, humans were omnivores. We ate both meat and plants.

There are many nutrients in these foods that are absolutely critical for the proper function of this very delicate system.

Unless proper care is taken to supplement, going vegan and eschewing animal foods may lead to a deficiency in some of these important substances.

Here are 5 nutrients that are very important for the brain and only found in animal foods.

1. Vitamin B12

Meat

Did you know that not a single population in the history of the world has ever willingly adopted a vegan diet?

That’s because before the era of supplements, such a dietary shift would have started killing people within a few years.

The most well known vitamin that the body can’t produce and can only be gotten from animal foods, is Vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is involved in the function of every cell in the body. It is tightly involved in the formation of blood and the function of the brain.

Deficiency usually results in anemia, impaired brain function, symptoms of mental disorders and a smaller brain (1, 2, 3).

There is also evidence linking B12 deficiency to Alzheimer’s Disease, which is the most common cause of dementia in Western countries (4, 5).

The only good food sources of B12 are animal foods like meat, fish and eggs.

A deficiency is widespread among vegans and vegetarians, who avoid these foods. In one study, a whopping 92% of vegans and 47% of lacto-ovo vegetarians were deficient in this critical brain nutrient (6).

Being deficient in B12 can cause irreversible damage to the brain. If your levels are just slightly lower than they should be, you may have symptoms like poor memory, depression and fatigue (7).

So even if you’re not suffering clinical symptoms of B12 deficiency, you may still be less sharp than you should be.

If you choose to avoid animal foods, then make sure to supplement with Vitamin B12 or eat foods that have been fortified with it.

Algae are a potential plant source of B12, but whether they can be effective at correcting B12 deficiency in humans is not known at this point (8, 9).

Bottom Line: Vitamin B12 is critical for the health of the brain and nervous system and is primarily found in animal foods. A deficiency can cause all sorts of adverse effects on brain function.

2. Creatine

Woman Eating Meat

Every athlete, bodybuilder and gym enthusiast knows about creatine.

It is the most popular muscle building supplement in the world, for good reason.

Scientific studies consistently show that creatine supplementation can increase muscle mass and strength (10).

The way creatine functions is that it forms an energy reserve, where it is able to quickly recycle ATP in our cells.

ATP is the “energy currency” of cells, what the energy from our foods and body fat stores ultimately get turned into.

During workouts that consume a lot of energy in a short amount of time, creatine gives us more strength and helps us last longer (11).

Creatine is actually not an essential nutrient, because the liver can produce it out of other amino acids. However, this conversion process appears to be inefficient.

About 95% of the creatine in the body is stored in skeletal muscle. However, creatine is also concentrated in the brain.

The same way that our muscles require energy to do work, our brain needs energy to do various things… like thinking.

Vegetarians who take creatine supplements see improvements in cognitive performance, especially in more complex tasks, while there is no difference in non-vegetarians (12, 13).

This implies that vegetarians have a deficiency of creatine that is adversely affecting their brain function.

Vegetarians also have a lower amount of creatine in skeletal muscle. Creatine supplements are particularly effective at improving athletic performance in this group (14).

If you must avoid meat, consider supplementing with some Creatine Monohydrate. It will definitely make you stronger and may even make you smarter as well.

Bottom Line: Creatine is an important nutrient in muscle and brain that helps to supply energy. Studies show that vegetarians have a deficiency in creatine that leads to adverse effects on muscle and brain function.

3. Vitamin D3

Woman Sunbathing

I’m sure you’ve heard of Vitamin D before… it has received massive attention in the past few years.

Vitamin D is produced out of cholesterol in the skin when it is exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun.

Today, a large part of the world is deficient in this critical nutrient, which actually functions as a steroid hormone in the body.

Many people live where sun is basically absent throughout most of the year. But even in countries where sun is abundant, people tend to stay inside and use sunscreen when they go outside.

There are two main forms of Vitamin D in the diet: Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol).

D2 comes from plants, D3 from animals. Studies show that D3 is much more effective than the plant form (15, 16).

There are few good sources of Vitamin D3 in the diet. Cod fish liver oil is the best source. Fatty fish also contains some D3, but you’d have to eat massive amounts of it to satisfy your body’s need.

A deficiency in Vitamin D is linked to all sorts of diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancer (17, 18, 19).

Low blood levels have also been associated with various disorders of the brain, including the autoimmune disease Multiple Sclerosis, depression and cognitive impairment (20, 21, 22).

If getting enough sun is not an option, the only way to get D3 from foods is to take cod fish liver oil or eat lots of fatty fish.

The alternative is to take a D3 supplement, which is highly recommended for people who have a diagnosed deficiency.

Bottom Line: A large part of the world is deficient in Vitamin D3, which is only found in animal foods. A deficiency in this critical nutrient is associated with depression and various diseases.

4. Carnosine

Carnosine is a very important nutrient that you may never have heard of before.

The prefix Carno- is the latin term for meat or flesh, like Carni-vore (meat eater).

It is strictly found in animal tissues, meaning that vegans and vegetarians aren’t getting much, if any, from the diet.

A Little Girl Eating Meat

Carnosine is created out of two amino acids and is highly concentrated in both muscle tissue and brain.

This substance is very protective against various degenerative processes in the body. It is a potent antioxidant, inhibits glycation caused by elevated blood sugars and may prevent cross-linking of proteins (23, 24, 25).

For this reason, Carnosine has become very popular as an anti-aging supplement.

Carnosine levels are significantly lower in patients with various brain disorders, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s – the two most common neurodegenerative disorders (26, 27, 28).

Many researchers have speculated that animal foods may protect the brain and body against aging due to their large amount of carnosine (29, 30).

Bottom Line: Carnosine is found strictly in animal tissues. This nutrient can reduce damage caused by elevated blood glucose and may have strong anti-aging effects.

5. Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)

Fish

Everyone concerned with nutrition knows that Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important.

The human body can not make them, therefore we must get them from the diet.

This is why Omega-3s (and Omega-6s) are termed “essential” fatty acids – if we don’t eat them, we get sick.

There are two active forms of Omega-3s in the body, EPA and DHA.

DHA is the most abundant Omega-3 fatty acid in the brain and it is criticial for normal brain development (31).

Low intakes of DHA can adversely affect various aspects of cognitive function and mental health, especially in children (32, 33).

It is also very important for women at a childbearing age, because a woman’s Omega-3 status can have profound effects on the brain of the offspring (34).

Many people who avoid animal products supplement with flax seed oil instead, which is a great source of ALA… a plant form of Omega-3.

However, ALA needs to be converted to DHA for it to work. Studies show that this conversion process is notoriously ineffective in humans (35).

For this reason, vegans and vegetarians are very likely to be deficient in this very important fatty acid (36, 37).

The best source of DHA is fatty fish. Other good sources include grass-fed and pastured animal products. There are also some algae that can produce EPA and DHA.

Bottom Line: The Omega-3 fatty acid DHA is critical for proper function of the brain. It is primarily found in animal foods like fatty fish. Studies show that vegans and vegetarians are often deficient in it.

Just Eat Some Animals

Girl Disgusted by Vegetables

Humans evolved eating both animals and plants. However, we can function in some cases without either.

The Inuit, for example, survived mostly without plants, but they had to compensate by eating lots of organ meats.

In the 21st century, people can survive and function without animal foods if they make sure to supplement with critical nutrients.

Before the era of supplementation, completely removing animal foods would have lead to a slow and painful death due to B12 deficiency.

But even though functioning without either plants or animals is possible… neither is optimal.

In the same way that a meat-based diet is healthier with a little bit of plants, a plant-based diet is healthier with a little bit of animals.

I highly recommend that people who choose to avoid meat for ethical reasons (because there is NO proven health reason) at least include some eggs and fatty fish. A little bit goes a long way and it is possible to choose natural, humanely raised sources.

But to those who really decide to remove all animal foods from their diet… make sure to be very prudent about your diet and supplement, or you may end up very sick with a poorly functioning brain.

144 Comments

  1. I was vegan for 5 years and vegetarian at varying levels for several years more than that. I now have hypothyroid and some other wacky endocrine hormones. I suspect the high starch vegan diet may have greatly aggravated this condition. Unfortunately, there is a lot of pro vegan propaganda out there making claims about the health benefits based on fake science.

    • Almarie de Villiers says:

      I went vegan for a short time – about a year and a half. The first two months I was euphoric and felt really good, but after that I started feeling tired and irritated all of the time, despite taking a handful of supplements. I now believe that eating the right foods in the right amounts is the best to do. I am still reading up on low carb diets, as I need to lose weight, but realize that leaving out a whole food group is the wrong way to go.

      • Another great article. I’ve both heard and read a red meat-free (heme iron source) diet can make conception difficult. Food for thought if you’re trying to get pregnant.

        • Jenny,

          Indians consume near zero read meat and the biggest problem they face… population!!!

          I wouldn’t believe that a red meat free diet would have an effect on conception, just eat healthy and avoid stress/smoke.

          • When you say Indians I assume you do not mean Native Americans because their native diets consisted of red meats, especially organ meats.

            Indians in India were not one of the healthy populations that Weston Price studied. That is because they had a large population of people with diseases! They have lots of cancer from their high carbohydrate diet intake and many camps where there people go who have serious diseases. These people are shunned from Indian society.

            There are no healthy vegetarian or vegan societies! Not back before the 1930s and not now.

            I was vegetarian for 24 years. Of those years, 2 1/2 of them I was raw. I now have a degenerative disc that may never heal.

            Now I’m studying nutrition and realize that a lot of the people that I listened to like David Wolf, etc… didn’t know what they were talking about. They know nothing about health, they are philosophers. You will be the one to pay with your health.

          • Fish and chicken are not red meat, so your point is what exactly?

      • I have been on the Atkins Diet for more than 9 months. Lost 25 pounds and have added no more than 60 carbs per day when I am maintaining.

        I absolutely feel better than I have in quite some years. I am in my almost mid 60′s, exercise quite frequently (between 3-4) times a week, mostly walking on the treadmill and walking the dog on a daily basis. I am on no medications and my blood pressure usually runs around 123/67.

        I believe that strictly limiting carbs in the diet has done incredible things for my digestive system. I no longer have the bloating issues, gas and the general feeling of being stuffed all the time. I also believe I had an intolerance to flour products but really didn’t realize it until I was on the Atkins. I also believe that Atkins is NOT a diet, it is a lifestyle change and one for the better, for me anyway!

        I might add that my brother-in-law started my sisters on this “lifestyle change.” He lost 85 pounds on Atkins and through regular visits with his doctor, all his vitals have changed for the better. Cholesterol levels, blood pressure levels and other vitals.

        So, my sisters and I went on the Atkins. My twin has lost 35 lbs, and our younger sister has lost 20 lbs and me 25 lbs. There is definitely something to this “new way of eating.”

    • Julia – sorry to hear about the results of your previous diet.

      Maybe it wasn’t related, and instead is something middle age related? I have several female relatives that started getting whacky endocrine issues in their 50s.

      Kris – Any idea how efficiently nutrients are absorbed by the body when taken in supplement form?

      I know a while back they did that resveratrol study where it showed very poor bio-availability of the nutrients, but i’d be curious to see it done in regard to other supplements.

      Cheers
      Alex

    • Julie, if you were a meat-eater, and had some health issue, would you automatically assume it was because you ate meat?

      • That’s like asking if you were walking down the street and someone stabbed you, if you’d blame it on walking.

        Eating meat is what we are supposed to do, biologically. Vegetarianism is not. Since an improper diet is a major factor in most illnesses, it makes sense for it to come under scrutiny first.

        And, for the record, many doctors DO examine diet first for a plethora of issues. It’s just more obvious to check first when you’re doing something insanely stupid, like cutting out an entire food group.

    • Daniel Huertas says:

      It looks like you abused a bit too many soy based products… did you stop drinking soda pops? Did you stop eating processed foods? Did you have enough servings of fruits and vegetables per day? You got enough omega 3s from a plant based diet? Did you supplement with B12?

      If your answers were NO… yeah, it sounds like a legit experience from a bad omnivore diet into a bad vegan diet.. I would recommend you to try it again and do it the right way… for you, the animals and the planet.

    • Daniel Donchev says:

      My dear, this article is ‘fake science’. Every second sentence raises a false statement. I feel compassion for your health problem, believe me. I study medicine and I am familiar with biochemistry, physiology etc. I am absolutely sure your health problems are related to any other aspect of your life, rather than your vegan food diet. That is of course if your diet was balanced, which requires a lot of knowledge.

      Accept my apologies for my softless language. I hope you resolve your health problem.

      Daniel Donchev

      • “I am absolutely sure your health problems are related to any other aspect of your life, rather than your vegan food diet.”

        Someone who studies medicine and is “absolutely sure” about a person’s health problem based on a blog comment… is dangerous.

        • Daniel Donchev says:

          I appreciate your worries, sir. Believe me they are groundless. I have the knowlege to raise a statement like this. I search and find every day proof that an all plant based diet is enough for a healthy and worthy human life.

          With all my respect,
          Daniel Donchev

          • John Smith says:

            “I search and find every day proof that an all plant based diet is enough for a healthy and worthy human life.”

            This is the kind of sentence I would expect to find in a religious tract, if I changed ‘plant based diet’ for ‘jesus’.

            Be aware of ideologies that are fact-averse, sir.

          • Well, of course you’re going to find it if what you’re looking for is just stats to back up your preconceived notions, rather than looking for unbiased information.

            The point remains that in nature, you would be dead. You’re just using pills to cheat the death you are earning from your improper diet.

            Ergo, you are living an unnatural life by eating a diet goes against our biology and physiology. There is no impartial science on the planet that would back up such a thing.

      • “That is of course if your diet was balanced, which requires a lot of knowledge.”

        If the vegan diet requires “a lot of knowledge” to implement properly, that is a signal it is not the natural diet for a person.
        Yes, it can be done, but it is not we are evolved to consume.

        • Any diet needs knowledge. I know soooo many people – vegetarian or not – that eat like crap and are in a bad shape. I think everyone should learn what they need – for real – and what a nutrient deficiency can cause to their bodies.

      • Firebird says:

        Nothing as “fake science” as the “science” behind a vegan diet.

  2. Great article and sure to annoy a few of the die hards in the anti-meat world.

    But that’s what we all love about science. Its true whether you believe it or choose not to believe it.

  3. Very sensible advice, restricting one’s diet for no understandable reason is taking a risk. However I do take issue regarding world populations, there are millions of Buddhist and Hindu who elect to be vegan. A good friend is Hindu, she is descended from countless generations of vegans, they must know how to do it right, she’s really fit and full of energy and bright as a button.

    Another friend used to be a butcher, he was so offended by the meat on offer, in his words had it not been slaughtered it would have died anyway, so he turned vegan. He bounces about like a jackrabbit, and again is mentally very sharp. These two people have challenged by belief that to be vegan is both unnatural and unhealthy.

    • Ann Griffin says:

      No – it’s actually true that those Indian and Buddhist populations living in India and Nepal are NOT vegan, even though they believe they are, and they eat with the intent of being animal protein-free. Their grains, beans, and other pulses have been found to contain enough animal protein by way of insect contamination that they are actually getting enough animal protein to remain healthy. Their intent is to be animal-foods free, and they cannot be faulted that their diet isn’t, but it simply isn’t. So they really aren’t vegan at all.

      This was discovered several decades ago in the UK when populations of those groups moving to the UK to live were seemingly maintaining the diets they had eaten in their native countries, but were falling ill after a period of time in the UK. When the source of their illness was investigated, it was discovered that a truly animal-protein free diet, which was what they were eating in the UK since their food sources were so much cleaner, was actually not adequate to keep them healthy.

      To me this speaks volumes as to the inappropriateness of a truly animal protein-free vegan diet. So even in populations that may have WANTED to be vegan, it’s unlikely that their living conditions were ever truly clean enough to keep their food from being insect-contaminated. And we all know that insects are some of the highest quality animal protein that exists!

      Anthropologists have unanimously concluded that if there ever were truly vegan cultures anywhere in the world, they likely weren’t around long enough to leave any traces of themselves behind, and the consensus on this is that they simply didn’t survive long enough as a culture due to poor health. Most cultures around the world may have eaten a predominantly plant-based diet, but all knew the value of eggs and insect protein, and many also have kept animals for milk. They all knew the value of those items in maintaining the needs of pregnant and nursing mothers, children, and the elderly or sick.

      • Hey, I eat meat LOL. My Hindu friend was born in the UK as was her son(a child protégé), insects, yes a valid point, even in flour in the UK there are weevils, are you certain that this isn’t stretching the point?

        • Why is it stretching the point? The argument made by vegans is that a completely animal-product-free diet is sustainable over a lifetime while still retaining perfect health. I disagree. Complete vegans – no animal protein whatsoever – no fish, no eggs, no dairy, no meat — are rare. According to many naturopaths, healthy vegans are even MORE rare.

          Most vegetarians eschew *flesh* but will eat eggs and dairy. The point there being that *most* are getting animal protein. Vegetarianism is simply a style of eating – no different from any human omnivore because they really aren’t excluding “meat” per se – just flesh. So they ARE still getting the nutrients they need from animal products.

          Vegans, on the other hand, don’t eat animal protein of any kind, and having a friend who is a naturopath, and seeing a naturopath myself, they concur that they’ve treated former vegans with a great deal of food-related health problems, and have seen a lot of those conditions heal with the addition of grass-fed and pastured meats, eggs, and dairy added to their diets. They were eating well, but were missing those critical nutrients that are only found in animal flesh.

          So, my question is, as humans, do we want to survive, or do we want to thrive and be in optimal health?

          • Karen G says:

            Most Hindus and Buddhists are not vegan. They eat dairy products. They just avoid meat, fish and eggs. So they are getting animal proteins.

        • Steven Ryan says:

          You mean a child “prodigy”? Protege is an apprentice, prodigy is a child that is highly gifted in one or more intellectual areas.

          Also, keep in mind that many parents want their children to be prodigies to make up for their own insecurities – and because of this they push the child very hard and they can burn out before they reach adulthood.

      • The other factor is chemical fertilizer utilized for western production of vegetables. We produce much higher carbohydrate to nutrient ratios than Asian agriculture, but what do I know.

      • Actually, those who inadvertently eat insects living on plant foods are vegan lol! In a natural, non sterile environment, B12 would be found in the correct amounts in the soil and other nutrients found in insects on the plants. Also, we don’t have proper canine teeth or digestive systems for the consumption of meat in its natural form (raw) therefore, I am not so sure that a carnivorous is as natural as people say…

        • “We don’t have the digestive systems for the consumption of meat”

          Wrong. Our stomach acid contains numerous enzymes perfectly capable of breaking down animal flesh. Pepsin, trypsin and chymotrypsin amongst others do a very good job of breaking down animal based foods into their component amino acids. We do a better job of this than we do breaking down plant based foods which are broken down further along the digestive tract.

        • We don’t have the canines to CATCH prey with out mouths. That means nothing, as not all predators catch prey with their mouths.

          Our teeth are more than efficient at cutting up raw flesh, however. And our stomachs are more than capable of processing it. The problem is disease, which non-human animals combat by eating raw flesh from birth.

          We’ve been cooking ours so long that we _no longer_ have the capability to fight the germs, because we have evolved past needing it.

          If a segment of society grew up eating raw flesh, within a few short generations, all of them would have the ability to deal with it just fine.

          Isn’t this obvious? Or, do you think that humans have no place wearing clothes because now we can’t survive in the wild without them? It’s the same principle. Our habits have changed our way of doing things, but our biology does not lie. We require animal-derived nutrients, and we require warmth. Just because we cook and wear clothes now doesn’t mean we never ate raw and walked naked.

          • Molly Malone says:

            As Willis points out, we can so digest raw meat, my sons and husband do it all the time – sushi and sashimi anyone? My hubby has eaten some pretty strange (to me) meals in Asia, and has never once returned ill.

            I don’t really know if ThatGuy is correct, that it takes a long time to be able to safely eat raw meat or not; compared to a canine’s gut ours is a lot longer so the food has more transit time to make us ill if it is infected. However, if we freeze it for a time first, that will kill a lot of problematic pathogens. I know it’s not fresh then, but it’s the best I can think of right now.

            Great article!

    • Very few hindus (in India) are vegans. Almost all the Indians drink chai with milk around 5-6 times a day.

    • That’s two people that seem to be fine compared to all of the other people, here included, who have had some sort of issue that could be caused by a vegan/vegetarian diet. You can almost always find an exception to something like this. I bet that at least someone out there could eat cyanide (in a reasonable amount) and not die from it, but I won’t be doing that any time soon.

      • Indeed. There’s an entire show (“My Strange Addiction”) on TLC dedicated to showcasing people who eat things they shouldn’t, and often defy explanation as to how they’re not dead from it.

        I don’t mean things like, eating a thousand gummi bears a day. I mean eating rubber, toilet paper, Comet cleaner, drinking bleach, eating Vap-o-rub and more.

        If those people can function on their “diets”, obviously we’re not going to keel over and die from eschewing meat, if you pop supplements. But it is one HELL of a leap from “not deadly” to “healthy.”

    • Buddhists and Hindus are NOT vegan. They all drink milk, and some eat eggs. Some are not even vegetarian.

  4. B12 is found in yeast spreads is it not?

    • Chrystalbell says:

      According to the University of Maryland’s Medical Center Website,

      “Brewer’s yeast is often used as a source of B-complex vitamins, chromium, and selenium. The B-complex vitamins in brewer’s yeast include B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid), and H or B7 (biotin). These vitamins help break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, which provide the body with energy. They also support the nervous system, help maintain the muscles used for digestion, and keep skin, hair, eyes, mouth, and liver healthy.

      Brewer’s yeast does not contain vitamin B12, an essential vitamin found in meat and dairy products. Vegetarians sometimes take brewer’s yeast mistakenly believing that it provides B12, which can be lacking in their diet.”

      • Veganbetty says:

        Nutritional yeast (and marmite) both contain B12 and all the essential B vitamins. Nutritional yeast is a major component of vegan cooking and pretty much all vegans know about it, use it, and love it. It has a cheesy nutty flavor that is excellent on many different foods.

        I would also point out that many, many of the vitamins and minerals that are important are missing in the majority of diets, including anyone eating animal flesh.

        Vegans are usually a lot more mindful of their dietary needs than people who aren’t veg/vegan so it’s not necessarily true that our diet should be considered lower quality.

        • “Vegans are usually a lot more mindful of their dietary needs than people who aren’t veg/vegan ”

          That’s a pretty arrogant generalization. I know plenty of vegans who eat like pigs. “Junk food vegans” they’re called. They think meat will kill them but they don’t have a problem scarfing down an entire jar of Peanut butter.

          • Steven Ryan says:

            Exactly. I remember the first time a fat girl told me she was vegetarian while she was scarfing down animal crackers…LOL.

          • Peanut Butter (depending on what kind it is your referring too) is anything but junk food so long as it’s actual peanut butter and not something like Jiff. Almond butter (again as long as it’s actual Almond butter) is a much better choice through and through.

            A lot of the “junkfood” vegans you’re referring too eat the vegan deserts and sweets because they want that immediate energy rush from the sugar/chocolate to make themselves feel better.

            I would agree with Vegan Betty that vegans generally have to be more aware of their diet than others due to many reasons. Just as someone who is gluten free is going to be way more aware about what they are eating as opposed to someone who isn’t gluten free.

        • Firebird says:

          Yeah, I’m really ignorant about my dietary needs. Must be the bacon.

  5. Big picture. The way we raise our livestock now is non-sustainable. Massive cattle and chicken farms filled with chemically altered animals that grow much faster and much more unnaturally than they used to. Too much land is used, too much pollution is created for the amount of food that is produced.

    Eat what you want now. Knowing what I know and have seen I personally will never eat another piece of meat knowing how these animals are raised and slaughtered is pure filth. It’s pretty gross. If modern day slaughter houses/hen houses had glass walls we would all be vegans. Just my two cents, not putting anybody down, or trying to argue with anyone.

    • Entirely irrelevant to the point this article mentioned.

      It is making the claim that a meat based diet is healthier from the POV of the individual human faced with an individual choice.

      Pointing out that a meat based diet is or isn’t healthier for animals and/or the planet or some other POV is irrelevant.

      • Veganbetty says:

        Not true Evan. The article specifically refers to ethical eating and any discussion on veganism must take into account the ethical side of diet.

        • Actually, the article says that veganism is not sustainable in the long term without supplementation. The only point where ethical veganism is mentioned is to say that ethics are the only valid reason for most people to follow a vegan diet.

    • This is why supported free-range and grassfed livestock operations is so important. The industry goes where the money does, as sad a fact as that is. Only by supporting farmers who are willing to do the humane thing with our dollars can we improve things.

      • I must say I support all farmers as long as they are doing what should be done and what comes naturally. I have done plenty of research and yes, people are getting fed up with all of this so called meat that is pumped full of what shouldn’t be in them.

        If I had to invest in anything it would be the farmers around the world who want to see us being fed the right way with the healthiest food raised, rather it be any type of meat or plant based, heck I would even get on the farm and do some manual labor just for the fun of it and to know my food is being done the right way!

        At least I would know who I can get my healthy food from instead of just buying or trading and not knowing what’s in it like the Indians were poisoned before this land in America was taken over.

    • Ann Griffin says:

      Perhaps you haven’t heard that there is a huge movement in this country promoting locally raised livestock living on pasture and eating what nature intended them to eat. They are given no antibiotics or hormones, and are not corn or grain “finished.” Do not assume that all meat eaters are satisfied with the corporate swill that is raised in confinement lots, shot up with drugs, and fed diets inappropriate for their own health, nevermind ours. The folks you find here are aware of the garbage being passed off in Walmart Superstores as *meat*, and I’m sure we here would all steer quite clear of that.

      Do you really think that anyone here reading this is the kind of person who doesn’t care what they eat? You are making an assumption from a moral standpoint where all you see is the status-quo of everyday, poor Americans who know no more about where their food comes from than they do about their own health and bodies. You won’t find those folks on a forum like this – I know exactly where my meat comes from, how it was raised, what it ate, and how it was butchered and processed, as does anyone else who cares about their health.

      Go preach your meat scare stories somewhere else – Like the Walmart Facebook page, if you can get any of those people to listen to you….

      • Will Earl says:

        We have heard many of the urban disciples of veganism preach about “the kind diet.” Disconnected for generations from the earth where their food grows, few vegans understand the cycles of birth, life, death, decay and renewal that have always allowed the earth’s thin layer of topsoil to feed us well and sustain all life. Eliminating the 10,000-year-old influence of domesticated livestock from human life and human nutrition is unkind in every way. Farmers like us who raise the grass-fed meats that Ann Griffin discusses do understand the full cycle of nature, and the vital necessity of good stewardship in the complex equations of good nutrition.

        Humans did not evolve eating grains or grain-fed meats and milk. Grains became part of the human diet in order to support large urban populations in the days before refrigeration. With modern refrigeration, human beings can now conceivably return to the diet of grass-fed meat and milk that allows optimal brain and body function. The meat and milk of grass-fed ruminants (cattle, sheep and goats) provide much higher levels of Omega 3s (with naturally high DHA), plus beta carotene (which converts to vitamin A), vitamin E, and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) than grain-fed meats and milk. The five brain nutrients discussed here are also abundant in grass-fed meats and milk.

        By using modern methods of management-intensive grazing controlled by solar-electric fencing, herds of domesticated ruminants fertilize the soil naturally as they graze green grass. The soils rest and rejuvenate before they are grazed again, much as when huge wild herds of bison, elk, antelope and other ruminants did when they freely roamed the earth’s grasslands, naturally herded together and controlled by wild predators, before humans crowded them into near-extinction. The soil profited from the hoof action and manure of the animals, the grass thrived and grew back stronger, the animals proliferated, and human beings as hunters and gatherers had the proper balance of animal proteins and plant nutrients to evolve their enormous brains. It is now time for us to put our big brains to work making the connections we need to survive our own overpopulation.

        Healthy soil is vitally important to the production of healthy food. Green grass is the best food for ruminants, not the grains modern cattle have been fed in feedlots since the end of World War II. We can save the world and save the planet by allowing our domesticated grazing animals to live as they evolved to live, grazing, fertilizing and resting the grasslands.

        At the same time, our human populations will be healthier in mind and body if we eat well-balanced diets including grass-fed, not grain-fed, meats and milk, as we evolved to eat. We will need more people living out on the land tending to that livestock, providing more opportunity for people to have meaningful and rewarding work that will allow them to make a better living.

        Our present industrial food system is built around enormous acreages of grain that use anhydrous ammonia for fertilizer. (Yes, that’s the stuff used in the Boston Marathon bombings, and the chemical fertilizer that blew West, Texas off the map). The vast quantities of industrial food we eat made from these chemically-fertilized grains lacks micronutrients, many of them most likely still undiscovered, as was CLA, for example, until 1987.

        Chemically fertilized foods leave us craving what we lack. They starve our brains and make our bodies obese as we try to satisfy our hunger with unfulfilling foods. Read Sir Albert Howard’s “A Famine of Quality,” written in 1947. Unfortunately, most people have forgotten his wisdom, ignored it, or never heard of An Agricultural Testament or Soils and Health.

        Human overpopulation and overuse of the land without renewal has always altered weather patterns. Plagues and extremes of weather have killed human beings by the millions over the millennia. As we have overpopulated, regional climates have altered from river delta gardens to deserts, and civilizations have fallen.

        Look at the website of The Savory Institute, and listen to Allan Savory’s TEDx talk on the subject of Climate Change. Mankind will do much better to work in co-operation with nature rather than against it. The hubris and cynicism of disbelief and denial offers nothing to save mankind from our own historic generational greed, which has brought plagues, droughts, and desertification to local microclimates since the days of Moses and Egypt’s Pharaohs.

        Only holistic management of our planet can save mankind from his own hubris. If we want good health, we must be good stewards of the thin layer of topsoil on this planet that feeds us.

        • Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Earl. I sincerely hope you have found ways to pass on your knowledge to others – it is so important!

        • “few vegans understand the cycles of birth, life, death, decay and renewal that have always allowed the earth’s thin layer of topsoil to feed us well and sustain all life.”

          You know what all vegans understand do you? Have you conducted research into what vegans understand, or are you just making things up?

      • Diva Dahling says:

        Being poor doesn’t necessarily mean that one is ignorant about good nutrition. It means that there isn’t enough money for or access to pastured meat and organic vegetables. I’m sure that most poor parents would love to give their children the best food possible, but they simply cannot afford it.

        • “I’m sure that most poor parents would love to give their children the best food possible, but they simply cannot afford it.”

          I just went to Superior Market (a Hispanic market in Southern California) and filled my refrigerator with a 30 pound bag of carrots (for $7), apples, beets, mangos, bananas, pineapples, cucumbers and a variety of other fruits and vegetables for under $35. Enough to last me two weeks of healthy juicing.

          Unfortunately the poor that I know are 100% addicted to the taste and effortlessness of McFast food. Very similar to a Frontline report where salads and healthy foods were introduced to a poor inner city school and 95% of it was thrown away on a constant basis. The “can’t afford it” is purely an excuse.

          • Christelle says:

            It can be hard to find the right places to shop, and the right discounts to find, and the right assembling of healthy stuff to bring together to have good food that will taste good: if your parents have not been making this kind of meals and if your education did not really include cooking (in the family or in school), then you can expect that these poor people will not go for raw food.

            To know how to make something awesome out of a few veggies, flour and this or that produce, you need to know how to cook. Hard for the poor or poorest parts of middle-class. Little money, little food education, big families to support, little time to research how to make tons of green veggies taste good to a five year old – and you get people who take out from McDonalds because they don’t have time. They don’t have the right knowledge and experience (and sometimes they don’t have the right resources, as has been shown by the “food desert” phenomenon).

            And when you start going with this, this gets taught to the kids, and the sugar and fat is easy to get addicted to. At school, they can choose from a menu – if at home, they had no choice but to eat what’s on the table, it would be a good point to start eating healthy. But yeah. To say that good stuff got wasted in food is not really the most important point, to me. Cafeterias in general don’t serve such good food, in my experience. So yeah.

            I’d say poor people don’t benefit from the tools and sometimes the knowledge to be able to make the right choices. And that should be changed.

          • @ Christelle. I agree with you 100%. The problem IS more lack of knowledge than anything else. On one hand, the biggest problem in this country, rich or poor, is the obesity problem that stems from people wanting to eat something tasty, regardless if it’s poison. The short term satisfaction and addiction to high sugar, high fat and low grade diseased animal flesh.

            I treat my body as a temple and view food as fuel (for training MMA). Looking at the physiques of most people I see on the street, I am the exception. Having been fed meat growing up by my parents and not knowing any other way, I will be the first to say today I have an addiction to meat. A little meat is fine, but I realized I was having meat three times a day, seven days a week.

            Since giving up meat after visiting Taiwan and seeing how they emphasize rice and veggies first, meat second, (and personally giving up red meat completely), I have kept my weight down to 190, down from being stuck at 230. But I really believe the problem is the big and powerful meat industry has tricked us into believing eating meat 21 times a week is healthy and normal, and add to that, America is addicted to tasty poison.

      • Thank you !!!

    • Agree that feed lot raising of meat is unsustainable. However, pasture fed animal meat is the only way to get human food from most of our land. Only 9% of the world’s land surface is suitable for growing crops. There is no way 7 billion and more people can be fed on 9% of the land and some seaweed from the ocean. I’m happy to eat pasture fed animals and also relish kangaroo meat. We need to eat some meat, not just for our health, but because if no one ate any some people would starve.

    • The odds are very high that anyone reading this article understands the devastating nature of the factory farm. It is bad for everyone and everything, all around. It’s a horrific industry which needs to be stopped. And yes, it’s enough to make one go vegan. But it’s not the only way to raise animals for food. A great example of this is what Joel Salatin is doing at Polyface Farm. He’s successfully raising grass fed beef, pastured chickens and hogs AND restoring the soil at the same time.

      What is not sustainable is our current methods of factory farming for grains. This has destroyed the soil here in the US and has in fact been responsible for the destruction of the soil around the world. Agriculture started in the Middle East, in what is now Iraq and Iran. It was called the fertile crescent, but because of agriculture is now a waste land.

      Desertification on Earth can be reversed by the proper use of animals on the land. Joel Salatin has done this. Others are as well.

      Remember, life requires death in order to continue. You can be a part of the change toward better practices in farming or you can just on the sidelines wasting away because of malnutrition.

      • One thing that I have seen no one mention is, according to a Mother Jones article, somewhere in the area of 70% of the meat slaughtered in the United States goes to China. Not only are we destroying our soils trying to sustain our people, but billions of Chinese as well.

    • So we change the practices at those places, or get rid of them entirely and switch to small farm processes.

      Looking at it with common sense, giving up meat is actually working against the goal of getting better treatment for factory-farmed animals. Who is the factory farmer going to listen to? His consumers, or people who actively try to take away his livelihood?

  6. I was sugar free, gluten free, dairy free vegan for 14 years, and had fibromyalgia and migraines, and depression. Finally gave up the vegan fad, and am now fibro-free. I eat a plant-strong omnivorous diet but avoid grains and most legumes. Works for me.

  7. Baudolina says:

    That meme about Hindus inadvertently eating lots of bugs probably stems from an unfortunate publication called Nourishing Traditions which pulled that factoid out of the bum of a short-lived non professionally reviewed journal from the early 1970s. And Amy’s replies that there are people nowadays producing and buying ethical meat give a very misleading impression. Yeah, there are.

    BUT. Most people who eat meat make this a minimal portion of the flesh they consume. Sticking to that ethic requires exceptional self-restraint (when watching friends devour mass-produced meat in front of them) and also chutzpah, in refusing to eat it when others offer it. Telling people you don’t eat meat is one thing, but telling them you won’t eat THEIR meat because it isn’t good enough puts you in a whole new class of stuck-up snobbery.

    My conclusion is that MOST PEOPLE WHO TALK THAT TALK are either millionaires who only hang out with others of their kind – OR THEY ARE NOT WALKING IT. (Or they are homesteaders who manage to hunt or raise all their meat, like some of my neighbors in the village where I live. Those people would maybe be entitled to some smarmy talk, but they refrain.)

    • When we decided it was time to support ethical/sustainable food production practices we did indeed switch to purchasing all of our animal products such as meat, milk, eggs from pasture raised ethical sources. The overwhelming majority of the large community of people that I know that made that decision do so also.

      When I am eating at someone else’s house then no, I don’t demand that everything served to me be produced and obtained by an agenda I set for them. That would be ridiculously dogmatic and rude. But my own dollars support the products and practices of my choice.

      Even if those who feel that way can’t afford or obtain 100% of their food that way, just changing a portion of what they purchase from the better sources would make a tremendous difference.

      • If you pay taxes your “own dollars” support products and practices that are not of your choice.

    • Or are very sick and don’t have a choice. People become very understanding of even the most obscure food restriction after the third time you end up in the hospital. *shrug*

      But no, of course, super-humans are rare, and sometimes I eat a conventionally raised animal. I work hard not to, I know lots of restaurants that serve humanely raised animals. We tilt it with trends, and traditionally raised animals have so many perks to them, beyond just food, that just washing our hands of animals because it’s icky (when conventionally raised vegetables are just as bad, if not worse) is silly.

    • Molly Malone says:

      “Most people who eat meat make this a minimal portion of the flesh they consume.”

      That’s not true at all. My family only eats grass-fed and pasture raised, and raw milk and raw cheeses. I shop at farmer’s markets and occasionally go directly to the farm for milk. We either eat meat raised right, or none at all. Believe it or not, there are quite a few farmers who know what they are doing and how to do it.

      If you can’t find any where you live, you can even mail order meats – I’ve done that, too.

      Because of the way we eat, there are very few restaurants we are willing to eat at – so what? What price health?

  8. Rebecca-Oregon says:

    Excellent article! What I’ve learned personally over the years is that our bodies are miraculous creations that can survive on almost any provided food we choose to consume. If a certain nutrient is most abundant in a particular food source, be it animal or plant, why fight it? Let’s relax, go easy on ourselves and put into our bodies the best that is provided for us. Thanks and looking forward to your next article!

  9. Im pretty sure B12 is found in yeast spreads?

  10. How can you tell whether you are short of these nutrients?

    I eat a predominantly vegetarian diet with fish occasionally and I do worry that I might need to be taking some supplements.

  11. Neither plants nor animals make vitamin B12. Bacteria are responsible for producing vitamin B12. Animals get their vitamin B12 from eating foods contaminated with vitamin B12 and then the animal becomes a source of vitamin B12. Plant foods do not contain vitamin B12 except when they are contaminated by microorganisms or have vitamin B12 added to them. Red Star nutritional yeast has b-12. Supplements are easy to find. Largest consumers of b-12 supplements are meat eaters.

    Very few food sources naturally contain vitamin D and the general population as a result fail to meet their vitamin D requirements. Many forms of vitamin D are present in several plants according to Division of Food Chemistry National Food InstituteTechnical University of Denmark.

    When it comes to omega 3 and DHA the traditional way that vegetarians were encouraged to raise EPA and DHA levels was by increasing ALA and decreasing linoleic acid (LA), a short chain omega-6 fatty acid. The body can convert ALA into EPA and DHA.

    According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vegans who eat no fish or fish oil and eschew animal products have the same blood levels of Omega-3 as the heavy fish eaters, and HIGHER DHA levels.

    There have been many studies on meat-eaters’ conversion rates, and for the most part they have shown good conversion of ALA to EPA, but very little to DHA.

    Laboratory cultivated DHA and EPA are made from microalgae, which is a pure source of omega-3 fatty acids without environmental contamination or animal products. You have to have the right nutritional knowledge before going vegetarian or vegan.

  12. -B12 can be supplemented, of course, so I’m not exactly sure what point the author is trying to make. It’s not like those who supplement suffer from a deficiency unless there’s something more serious going on.

    -Creatine. Here’s an explanation of a similar study on brain function of vegetarians vs non-vegetarians:
    http://nutritionfacts.org/video/creatine-brain-fuel-supplementation/

    Basically both groups had similar cognitive function to start which is a key point but the vegetarians received a higher boost from supplementation. There’s some further explanation in the vid as well.

    -D3 can be plant-based. I take a plant-based D3 supplement and my blood work showed a great improvement after doing so.

    -Carnosine. Not really familiar with it to be honest so I’m not going to speak on it.

    -DHA. This can also be supplemented from a plant-based source (algae). In essence it’s going straight to the source since this is where fish get it from and it’s a hell of a lot safer.

    • Yes, a vegan diets most definitely needs careful supplementation.

      A more natural, healthier alternative is to just eat some animals.

      • Do you believe drinking an another species’ milk is natural? Believe me, if eating dairy WAS natural, all animals would do it. Humans are actually the only species that drinks another species’ milk. Being that cow milk actually contains hormones for the growth of their own kind, it’s hard to imagine that stuff doing good to humans.

        Besides, I do know that you’re coming off from how people evolved eating animals. And yes, that was natural. People used to hunt and kill and eat. In this age, it’s hard to call eating antibiotic fed, mass slaughtered animals natural. Sure, some people go for organic, grass fed animals. But seriously how many people do that? I for one doubt that you do that on an occasional basis.

        Let people eat what they want. Just because people are thriving on a vegan diet does not mean you should feel bad about eating animals and badmouth vegans for doing so, especially when you have the same choice and may not have the strength to pursue it.

        Last but not least, b12 deficiency isn’t a vegan or vegetarian thing. Guess what, most of the population who have that disorder aren’t even vegan or vegetarian. Look it up.

        • It seems to me it would kind of hard for animals to milk another animal, or to get another species to sit still long enough for them to drink from the nipple/udder…. Maybe that is why they don’t drink it?

          Not try to be a smart fanny here, but that argument for milk consumption has always bothered me as it just isn’t a valid, logical one. We do many, many thing animals don’t do that are critical to our health and survival.

        • “Just because people are thriving on a vegan diet does not mean you should feel bad about eating animals and badmouth vegans for doing so, especially when you have the same choice and may not have the strength to pursue it.”

          The point is they aren’t thriving on veganism. They will never thrive on veganism because it’s poor human nutrition. The vegan story is always the same: I felt good for a couple of months (coming off of a standard American diet). After that, it’s a long slow slide into impaired joint and immune function, tiredness, and cognitive issues.

          There are only two types of people who claim to thrive on veganism: the newbies and the ideologues willing to fool themselves into thinking they, of all the animals of the earth, get to choose what they eat.

          “Last but not least, b12 deficiency isn’t a vegan or vegetarian thing. Guess what, most of the population who have that disorder aren’t even vegan or vegetarian. Look it up.”

          This is true. The primary population is elderly people. Why? Because of POOR NUTRITION. Elders (particularly in nursing homes) don’t eat enough of *anything* healthy. It should be a huge warning to vegans and vegetarians that they highly likely to share the same deficiencies as a population known not to eat well.

          • I am most honestly looking for unbiased information on diet but cannot say I have found it here in the article or the comments. Everyone seems to have their own bias and that is fine, everyone is entitled but if anything doesn’t convince me it is people’s angry and/or rude comments.

            “The point is they aren’t thriving on veganism”. Where is the scientific evidence of this please? What about “The China Study” or Ironman Triathlete Brendan Brazier who is only one of many athletes who are thriving on a vegan diet. What about vegans like Annette Larkin, Mimi Kirk and 108 year old Barnando Lapallo?

            Personally I believe that every body is different and what works for one may not work for another. We each have to find the right balance for our body. Even centuries ago meat was not eating in the quantities that is eaten today.

            Industrialization has deteriorated the nutritional value of all our food and it is in all our best interest to demand better quality farming and food practices as it will be irrelevant whether one chooses to be omnivore, vegan or vegetarian.

      • Eating animals makes getting certain nutrients more convenient. But owning slaves made a lot of things more convenient back in the day, and would certainly solve a lot of problems now. So why don’t we do it? Because we recognize that it’s immoral to enslave. Raising animals for food is the slavery of non-human species (animals which have the same desire as humans to avoid pain, death, confinement, etc.), and the killing of an animal against its will is what we readily call murder when talking about humans.

        There is no “humane” way to do this. Saying, “Just eat some animals,” is the easy answer that allows people to ignore the issue. People think that finding any nutritional reason why meat is helpful frees them from the moral dilemma, which I’m guessing is why meat eaters are so excited to find flaws in the diet; but it doesn’t.

        To the extent that eating animals provides some convenient benefits to humans, it results in disproportionately more suffering in the non-human animals we exploit. A pig is as smart as a 3 year old child, and cows and chickens are highly intelligent as well. Would you eat a toddler if it gave you some boost of vitamins? Freeing slaves and creating civil rights wasn’t easy. And neither is going animal product free. But some things are worth the effort.

        • What a twisted argument.

          Does a praying mantis feel bad when it kills and eats a month? Does a bear feel bad when it kills a dear? Do you feel bad that your own bodys white blood cells eat and kill bacteria?

          The cycle of life is natural. I still have respect and compassion that the animal lost their life so I can continue mine.

  13. Wenchypoo says:

    Will there be an article on heart disease and heart nutrients only found in animal proteins, such as taurine? Vegans are woefully low in taurine, among other things.

  14. I definitely DON’T need to worry about not getting these nutrients as MEAT is at the fore-front of my diet!! I am not sure how vegetarians or vegans live!

  15. I found the title of the article to be misleading. Nutritional yeast and similar products (like Marmite) contain B-12, walnuts and flax contain omega-3s, and sunshine provides vitamin D3 (which the article even admitted). It makes it very hard to take anything else this article says seriously.

    • The title is not misleading. These are nutrients found in commonly consumed animal foods, not plants.

      If you’re eating a specific type of yeast to get a nutrient, I’d consider that as supplementation. This organism is not something you would be eating otherwise.

      Sunshine provides D3, yes… but sunshine isn’t available for everyone. I, for example, live in Iceland where there is little sun 9 months out of 12. I need to supplement.

      Walnuts and flax contain ALA, not DHA. It’s not the same. Did you even read the article?

    • I also live in the Pacific Northwest, and I can tell you that if I relied on the sun to provide D-3 I would be seriously deficient.

      The only reason that traditional, ancestral peoples of the North survived and coped as well without the sun was due to their copious intakes of D-3 rich grassfed animal foods, and naturally fished and gathered seafoods.

  16. I really like your articles but cannot feature them on my blog or facebook as you do not seem to have the courtesy to link back when sharing on carnivals. Too bad.

  17. If the point of this article is to educate vegans, the tone is way off point. The pictures alone are enough to make a vegan not want to read the article.

    If the point of the article is to make people that eat meat feel superior to those that choose not to eat meat, then that’s a big HIT!

    And thank God if it is because we need yet another article to make one group of people feel superior to others.

    FYI. I’m not a vegan or a vegetarian.

  18. Patrick Brett says:

    Vegan here.

    This article is /very biased/.

    The facts themselves can point either way. But this article has them pretty damn twisted. I won’t rebut every point, because that would be a waste of my time and yours. Instead I recommend that you watch this speech: http://gary-tv.com/en. If you still want to eat meat after watching that, I dare you. And no, it’s not a PETA video.

    Above is the speech that converted me from being a meat eater to a vegan. At the time my thoughts went a lot like those of many of the people who have posted above. I challenge you to watch this speech and really think about it. If you still want to be an omnivore afterwards, make that decision consciously. But don’t let fear and denial dictate how you live.

    • But this speech is STILL an alarmist, shock vid that is meant to shame meat eaters into becoming vegans by showing them animal cruelty, and making claims about meat being bad for their health.

      IF VEGANISM IS SO DARN HEALTHY, AND *EVERYONE KNOWS IT*, THEN WHY DO VEGANS NEED TO POST CRAP LIKE THIS TO GET PEOPLE TO CONVERT? Could it be because the actual health claims are pretty flimsy to *anyone* with any common sense, knowledge of human bio-chemistry, and critical thinking skills? Hmmm.

      Don’t you see that you are commenting on a post that was written from the standpoint of a blogger who already thinks those opinions and attitudes are irrelevant?

      If you knew anything about the “ancestral health” movement, you would realize that we don’t agree to how industrial meat is farmed, fed, butchered, or sold. Most of us seek out ethical farmers who treat their animals well, feed them the diet they were meant to eat, and kill them quickly and as painlessly as possible. The cruelty videos you ask us to watch are lost on us, because we know we don’t eat meat that was treated that way.

      We also believe that life takes life. In other words, something else would kill and eat us – we are part of the food chain. Our killing to eat is very much a part of our belief system. So your claiming it is unnecessary is also lost on us, as we believe that eating meat enhances our health and vitality. Humans have been including meat in their diets for around two million years, and it’s impossible to most of us that meat is *suddenly* unhealthy or unnecessary. More likely the recent additions of industrial vegetable and seed oils, and the movement by the medical community to get us all eating less saturated fats, but more carbohydrates and sugar are what has caused the health epidemic in the U.S.

      You realize, don’t you, that ANY evidence that meat or saturated fat causes heart disease, diabetes, or gout was never really there to begin with, and that it has been dis-proven, especially recently, again and again?

      And lastly, DON’T assume we are in fear and denial. Many of us raise, butcher, and process our own meats. We’ve seen death and are aware, and VERY grateful, for the lives that are given for our nourishment. Many of us, particularly those that raise our own animals for food, are very, very aligned with the earth, the land, and the animal life inhabiting it. We follow many tenets of the Native American way, which honors all life, yet takes what it needs for life and vitality.

      • Patrick Brett says:

        Bozo said: “IF VEGANISM IS SO DARN HEALTHY, AND *EVERYONE KNOWS IT*, THEN WHY DO VEGANS NEED TO POST CRAP LIKE THIS TO GET PEOPLE TO CONVERT?”

        Because not everyone *does* know it. My aim is not to convert you, it’s to show you alternative viewpoints and to get you to think about them. Most people who eat meat don’t do it because they’ve done so all their life, or because society says it’s the normal thing to do. If you’ve consciously looked at the facts and decided that eating meat is the right thing to do, even in the face of huge evidence otherwise, then kudos to you. At least you’re making the choice consciously.

        If you’re happy to do the killing yourself, I actually commend you on that. Not the fact that you have no qualms in killing animals, but the fact that your choices are in line with your values.

        By the way, most people can strive with a diet free of meat. I have friends who have been vegan for years with no health problems whatsoever, and I know of health experts who have been vegan for decades and never felt better. (check out http://www.johnrobbins.info/about-john for a good example.)

        Bozo also said: “You realize, don’t you, that ANY evidence that meat or saturated fat causes heart disease, diabetes, or gout was never really there to begin with, and that it has been dis-proven, especially recently, again and again?”

        True meat eaters cannot get clogged arteries. Nor do they require that their food be cooked. They also kill their prey without tools. If you can do all of the previous, again, kudos to you. ;)

        • “By the way, most people can strive with a diet free of meat. I have friends who have been vegan for years with no health problems whatsoever, and I know of health experts who have been vegan for decades and never felt better.”

          My experience is that vegetarians and vegans have a very low standard of what healthy means. My vegetarian friend reacts to bug bites so badly she takes Benadryl after being outdoors. She’s almost always getting over a cold or illness.

          My vegan friend complains of feeling spacy most of the time and I absolutely believe her.

          Having actually experimented with low fat vs. vegetarian vs. Paleo, there’s no comparison. I have no reason to believe an “expert” who hasn’t eat meat in decades but probably is mainlining anti-inflammatory products like they are going out of style. Show me a 6 month daily log and let me decide for myself if they are really the picture of health.

          “True meat eaters cannot get clogged arteries. Nor do they require that their food be cooked. They also kill their prey without tools. If you can do all of the previous, again, kudos to you. ;)”

          This is just non-sense. You’re really telling me that a vegan diet is “natural” compared to eating Paleo? At any rate, there is a great deal of reason to believe that our brain development went hand in hand with better hunting and cooking techniques. (ie. Some early hominid with a slightly larger brain developed a tool or technique and their offspring thrived. Rinse, lather, and repeat)

    • So you’re telling me you’re throwing away the best of what we know of human anthropology and nutritional science based on *one* Internet video?

      I’ve spent years reading blogs and nutrition books and experimenting on myself. I think I’ll pass on this one life changing video, but thanks anyway.

    • Christopher says:

      “Habit, tradition, convenience, taste.”

      This is the most subjective description of why humans eat beef, cheese, eggs, or animal products I have ever heard.

      Case in point, if the world suffered a major catastrophe and a small portion of the population remained, — and in order to survive, meat was available to find and kill — survival would outweigh those four descriptions the speaker made. I want someone to sit and stop another person from doing what that person needs to do to survive — due to a philosophical view of an anti-carnivorous diet.

      And I find his tone of voice arrogant and haughty — a real teacher/scholar approaches situations such as this with as much respect and non-bias as possible.

      While I think eating balanced, clean, and good, and being as respectful for your environment as possible is the best way to go — I wonder if vegans think it’s irresponsible to eat micro-organisms that grow on many of the plants and vegetables that grown in the world. If the purposed sanctity of respecting “any life” is the philosophy of some vegan circles, then aren’t microorganisms a “form of life?”

      I’d like to a step further and ask — if it’s been proven that plants respond to music and other external factors that cause them a positive life cycle and/or growth, and are a form of life — why is it ok to eat anything that has life, such as plants? The argument to not eat something that has life — makes no sense to me as our ecosystem is a self-sustaining, great organism that is life that supports life.

      At any rate — I love fruits and vegetables and have health issues that require me to eat a very strict diet. I respect animals too. But I do hate the commercialization of animals and meat products. And I hate when, here in the southwest, farmers dump their chicken waste into local rivers and introduce negative bacteria into our water that could be deposited elsewhere, in a more efficient manner.

      I also hate how some of the people in the videos treat animals and I detest that form of action as well.

      Thanks for the video though — informative, but filled with propaganda.

  19. People, can we PLEASE get along???

    It pains me to see this continuing vegetarians/vegans vs omnivore battle. We both want the same things – to eat in a way that provides optimal health and to eat REAL food (not processed). We should be joining forces again Monsanto and food corps… not fight each other! As someone who has experimented with many styles of eating over the past 40 years I can tell you that the diet you follow today might well not be the diet you follow 10 or 20 years from now. Information changes, YOU will change and your needs will change.

    Don’t be too dogmatic or you may eventually have to “eat your words”. I used to teach macrobiotics, was a vegetarian for 20+ years, and now eat according to “Perfect Health Diet” which in a nutshell is paleo + potatoes. Everything we eat has pros and cons – even the healthiest plant foods can contain anti-nutrients, phytic acid or oxalates, for example. Everything we eat that is massed-produced damages the environment, plants included. It’s now what we raised by now it is raised that seems to make the bigger difference. As Lila points out traditional livestock rearing methods actually replenish the soil. Corporate growing of soybeans does not. So might grass-fed beef be better for the environment that store-bought tofu? Probably!

    I used to wave the “milk is unnatural” banner, too, but you know what? Cooking is unnatural, agriculture is unnatural, controlling foods through fermentation is unnatural. So is storing foods in cans, packages, and refrigeration or making them less perishable with dehydrating or pickling. If humans didn’t “do unnatural” there would be much, much few of us, our brains would be smaller, and we would not have culture and society as we know it.

    Obviously no one knows everything there is to be known about nutrition… even you! :) I certainly don’t – I learn something new every day! I implore everyone to look at new data objectively, keep an open mind, and never stop searching for answers.

    • Patrick Brett says:

      Of course we can get along. I don’t hate meat eaters by any means, and I accept that eating animal products works for some people. If I’m not being “politically correct” it’s because I’m pushing people to help them understand other viewpoints, not because I’m being rude or don’t know how to act otherwise.

      As for the unnatural argument, I completely agree that cooking, preserving, packaging and nearly everything else done at commercial food operations in general is unnatural. But when you explain that off to survival, I can’t help but cringe because if everyone ate only fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, there’d actually be much, much more to go around, and everyone I know who’s tried the raw food diet has thrived on it.

      ***

      I’m not against you, I’m just trying to help you see the other side of things.

    • “People, can we PLEASE get along???

      It pains me to see this continuing vegetarians/vegans vs omnivore battle. We both want the same things – to eat in a way that provides optimal health and to eat REAL food (not processed). ”

      Unfortunately, no we don’t all want the same things. Vegans and vegetarians are usually on some sort of moral kick along with the health one. They are the ones kindest to the planet and all the animals, etc. Us knuckle dragging meat eaters are the ones ruining the party.

      “Obviously no one knows everything there is to be known about nutrition… even you! :) I certainly don’t – I learn something new every day! I implore everyone to look at new data objectively, keep an open mind, and never stop searching for answers.”

      This is profoundly true with a huge provisio. :) I may not know everything about nutrition, but what is optimal nutrition does not change. There is a real truth that is constant. That’s why I get frustrated with what I call “Prevention” magazine nutrition culture. What my grandmother (correctly) knew to be true is still true today. The information doesn’t change even if the people are prone to fads. (Yet another constant of humanity.) :)

    • Jesse Mc Goldrick says:

      Best post so far.

      Articles like this only polarize the debate.

      The title of this article IS misleading – 5 Brain Nutrients Found Only in Meat, Fish and Eggs – implies that you NEED to eat either meat, fish or eggs to obtain these nutrients. You don’t. “The only good food sources of B12 are animal foods like meat, fish and eggs.” That simply isn’t the case despite what many may think although we can agree that it is MUCH harder to obtain these nutrients as part of a vegan diet. Marmite contains B12 which millions of people – vegan or otherwise – eat on a daily basis.

      And before anyone jumps on me, I am an omnivore and I love eating meat but it is simply wrong to suggest with this articles title that a vegan diet guarantees deficiency when in fact it simply makes it much harder to obtain certain nutrients. Most vegans admittedly don’t take the necessary actions to make up for this (I have known far too many ‘beige’ vegans whose idea of a balanced meal is noodles with tofu and chickpeas) but the ones that do including pro athletes like brendan brazier and vegans who live to be over 100, should not be ignored.

    • Sasa Salvaggio says:

      “It pains me to see this continuing vegetarians/vegans vs omnivore battle. We both want the same things – to eat in a way that provides optimal health and to eat REAL food (not processed).”

      This is where you’re wrong. This is what WE want, and we’re open to every kind of suggestion and discussion. What vegans (or even vegetarians) want, on the other hand, is, most of all, seeing all animals free from humans. See, there’s an obvious bias in their view that can’t work with an objective/scientific method, since their starting position is a different goal based on a subjective and inflexible ethical decision, based on an already set and dogmatic view of the world.

  20. I was a vegetarian for 15 years – vegan for most of that (about 10 years), and raw for a small portion of that. I started in my late 20′s. Now I’m in my early 40′s.

    It was a personal trainer who convinced me to start eating animal protein again so that I could put on some muscle mass. While I still haven’t warmed up to red meat, pork, or chicken, I’ve had a little. I do now eat a good bit of fish, eggs, and some dairy.

    People used to ask me when I was vegan – “do you feel any better eating that way?” I didn’t really feel much different. However, now that I have reintroduced animal protein, it was like someone flipped a switch – I feel dramatically better! I have lots more energy, I’m more clear-headed, and I have some muscle starting to fill in. I think that I had a gradual reduction in energy and focus over the years of eating like that. Was it the root cause? I think so, because my diet is the only thing that really changed.

    I’m not convinced (through years of living it) that we’re meant to eat a diet of strictly plants. It isn’t healthy. (And I took supplements for the whole time, too.) I’m also not convinced that a diet of mostly meat and fat is healthy either. We are arguably omnivores.

    The real issue for most vegetarians/vegans is the treatment of the animals. Animal treatment and human health (based on diet) are interrelated in many ways. A stressed, unhappy animal has different hormones in its tissues than a happy one. Don’t even get me started on feed, artificial hormones, and drugs. If fewer people buy animal products that are factory-farmed and opt for meat from more humane sources, then the treatment problem will also regulate to some degree. The meat from those sources (free of hormones and drugs) might likely be better for your body as well. It’s going to move in that direction as more people become aware of the issues and take control of their own health.

  21. 1. B12 supplements work far better than the b12 in meat, which is why the US IOM recommends all people over 50 take them …
    2. B12 supplements are far better for the planet than red meat production.

    So if you care about the planet (climate change), you get B12 from supplements. I’m guessing you don’t think about stuff like biodiversity, deforestation, climate change? Red meat also causes bowel cancer… well proven and also heart disease, less well proven but here’s the latest stuff:

    http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/new-study-links-l-carnitine-in-red-meat-to-heart-disease-201304176083

    As for the rest? Vegetarians live longer and have less of all kinds of diseases. Here’s a set of articles in the Medical Journal of Australia by people who have finished their medical training:

    https://www.mja.com.au/open/2012/1/2

    and if you’d like to go a few rounds with vegan MMA Mac Danzig, then be my guest.

    • There is no proof that meat causes anything, neither cancer nor heart disease! Correlation does not equal causation.

      Vegetarians may live longer, but that’s because they’re more health conscious overall and more likely to do things like exercise. It has nothing to do with avoiding meat, eggs, fish or dairy.

      There may be ethical arguments favoring vegetarianism (which I do not agree with) but the “superior” health benefits proclaimed by vegan fanatics are complete nonsense and there is NO real science to back them up.

      Low-carb, meat based diets are healthier than low-fat vegetarian diets. See the study covered in this article: http://authoritynutrition.com/low-carb-vs-vegan-vegetarian/

      Perhaps you would like to go a few rounds with the other 99.9% of MMA fighters, none of which are vegans?

      • Of course correlation isn’t causation, that’s why it took about a decade to track down the causal chains… look at the World Cancer Research Fund’s 2007 report and the many studies referred to therein… including a special section defining exactly how they assess “causality”.

        With bowel cancer, the trail began with the discovering of endogenous nitrosamines (the things that cause cancer in smokers) being produced during the digestion of heme iron in the mid 1990s, then working out how to isolate colon cells in feces and examine the damaged DNA and then identifying that the DNA damage was the same kind of damage found in human bowel cancer.

        The fact that you don’t read the research doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. If there is one smoking gun study in the bowel cancer train its this one: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16452248

        With red meat and bowel cancer there are multiple quite well studied causal mechanisms at work… an embarrassment of riches, you might say!

        • PS. Japan used to have about 20,000 bowel cancers annually during the 1970s and then it started to climb (about 20 years after the increase in red and processed meat in the Japanese diet). Now it’s up over 100,000 new bowel cancers annually. We (ie., people who pay attention to the research) now understand what caused this disaster and it’s being repeated all over Asia in the economies that are getting richer and eating more beef/pork.

          • Steven Ryan says:

            The bowel cancer comes from eating processed food, veggie and meat. The Japanese have been eating beef since the Meiji Emperor tried beef for the first time and declared it was delicious.

          • Geoff Russell says:

            The 150 scientists who put together the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute of Cancer Research 2007 report (and updates) think otherwise. If you are anti-science and happy with stuff you and others just make up, then say so.

            Of course some people ate beef in japan long ago, but it’s the amount that matters. The dose/effect graph for red meat and bowel cancer kicks upwards at about 1 serve per week. http://www.dietandcancerreport.org/expert_report/

          • The report does not distinguish what source or quality of the red meat is. So the report does not deny what Steven Ryan says.

  22. Most of this article is not science. All of these can be found in the plant world except for B12, which actually comes from soil. B12 deficiency is a myth as well promoted by the cattle industry. And for all of you pushing the paleo diet, our ancestors did not eat cattle, chicken or and farmed meat. They ate lean venison and other not fatty animals.

    Your meat diet sucks, face it. Everyone talks about how not eating meat is unhealthy, but then you go to a bbq and look at all the massive meat bellies everywhere. Insanity. I lost 25 pounds of fat becoming vegan from a very heavy meat diet. Blood pressure is down, I feel great. You need to eat right to be vegan, it is an art. The alternative is stuffing a diseased fatty cow back down your throat to get a b vitamin. Come on guys.

    • @Jim: I eat meat and all my numbers are excellent. When for 7 months back in 2009-2010, my health took a sharp decline. And don’t give me the line “Well, you didn’t do the diet correctly” I knew exactly what I was doing. My girlfriend didn’t seem to mind a vegan diet. Which leads me to my point….YMMV. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa.

    • Well, I have lost 80 lbs so far going from a vegetarian (not a good one, I admit) back to eating meat in a low carb manner.
      Finally have energy, and lipids have improved (although they weren’t terrible before).

      I have no trouble believing one could be healthy being vegan, but as you said, it is an “art”.

      My life involves food, but it does not revolve around the planning and research one needs to be a truly healthy vegan. It just doesn’t work for me, but it may work for you.
      It is not a “meat diet”, it is a balanced one, like our ancestors ate before refined grains and sugars were so abundant, is all.

  23. Chrystal says:

    Jim,
    Those aren’t “meat” bellies, those are wheat bellies, guaranteed.

    Most primal or paleo (if it needs a name) meat eaters don’t eat your typical diseased animals. They eat humanely raised, pastured, grassfed animals. Those aren’t diseased, and they tend to be much leaner than conventionally raised animals. Surely you knew that though.

    • Geoff Russell says:

      Wheat bellies … meat bellies. Anybody heard of calories? Italy in the 1960s got 1200 Calories a day from wheat and the US currently gets about 600. Where was obesity highest? I’d suggest less time reading theories and more time looking at actual data. Also suggest more time over at nutritionfacts.org … the quality of evidence matters.

      • I’m not going to address the wheat comment. I’m not a partisan on the issue so I’ll leave it at that.

        Okay… At the core of your comparison is the issue of active lifestyles vs. sedentary lifestyles. Regardless of what you eat (even the Typical Western Diet), moving around regularly and going outdoors and using your body is always a good thing. 1960′s Italy was such a society. Another example… the average Victorian era Englander consumed MANY more calories than a modern day couchpotato yet rates of obesity were extremely low. Cancer rates were much lower than today. All markers of ill health were dramatically lower. These people were not vegans/vegetarians. They consumed meat, fish, eggs, cheese, fruit, vegetables, nuts. Everything.

      • Justin Alexander says:

        I lived in Italy for six years. While their diet was heavy in carbs the quality of those carbs is the differentiating factor. Italians make most of their breads at home or procure them from farmers markets from people who make it with no more than five ingredients. All their food is either grown in their front yard or sourced from the local farmers that supply grocery stores (COOPS) or the farmers market. Everything they eat is minimally processed, even the Nestle and Kellogg products in the grocery store. This is because the EU refuses to allow any of the bullshit American food practices to intrude on them. To include little things no one thinks of like chemical food dyes.

        Read the book “Rich Food, Poor Food”. The authors are paleo/primal whatever, but their information is sound and it’s geared to inform the general population about all the junk ingredients in typical American processed foods. Even vegan/vegetarian meals. It’s honestly shocking and I think everyone will be surprised by what hidden ingredients are in your food, that are known to cause all the diseases listed in previous posts. Yet the companies still put them there.

        Essentially, the point is this. Vegan, paleo, primal, vegetarian doesn’t really matter. The quality of all our food, and the American food system, and what we allow that system to get away with is what is responsible for our rampant poor health. Eat how you want, believe what you want, but the fact of the matter is none of us are healthy if we continue to eat heavily processed foods with numerous additives.

        • Geoff Russell says:

          The “I lived there so I’m an expert on the place” is almost as silly as “I eat so I’m an expert on food. ” … I don’t know when you lived there but you might like to check the FAO website on the Italian food supply … the food balance sheets. In 1970 Italy imported 6.6 million tonnes of cereals and in 2009, it was 10.2 million. In 1970 they used 10 million tonnes of cereals as animal feed … factory farms aren’t new … does that sound consistent with your “all their food … ” stuff? I’ve been to Italy also. Gosh that must make me an expert. I saw a zillion places with no front or back yards.

          I wish people would just check stuff before rushing in with their guess work.

  24. Hello Kris,

    I recently read a book called the China Study that advocates reducing animal protein because excessive animal protein consumption can lead to cancer, as well as other diseases.

    Have you seen other studies that confirm this claim?

  25. I have tried researching Vitamin B12 and a lot of it makes no sense to me. It states in the article that a lack of B12 (only found in meat) can cause alzheimer’s disease which is prevalent in western countries, where people consume the most meat. So why is the Alzheimer’s rate in the west so high?

    Also I read that too much protein is not good for you. There’s too much conflicting information out there from people paid by certain industries, I believe to push their products. Just like I believe the dairy industry pay scientists to tell people you can only get calcium from milk.

    One minute we are told slow down on the meat and the next eat meat for vitamin B12. It would be good if we had factual information from independent scientists so that we can all make sensible choices when it comes to our health.

    • Alzheimer’s is high for other reasons. Most people are eating plenty of crap (sugar/refined carbs/highly processed foods) with their meat.

      “Too much” protein can be harmful, but this is irrelevant to most people as you’d have to eat a ridiculous amount of protein for it to have any negative effect.

  26. What a great article, thank you. Now I know exactly what was happening to me when I went (raw) vegan, even though briefly. It almost seemed to trigger some sort of chemical reaction in my brain which really affected my thinking, or shall I be blunt, impaired it. Now, when I am happily back to the traditional whole food diet I am much more clear, focused, critical, analytical, grounded physically and emotionally AND nonjudgmental.

  27. B12 – available in sprouts.

    Creatine- produced naturally by the body, supplementation has known side-effects and is not necessary or advised for normal individuals outside of post-surgery recovery.

    Vit D – received from the body in interaction with the sun.

    Carnosine – Available in dairy produce.

    DHA – available from algae as noted.

    Not a great article.

    • To Matt: Your arguments don’t hold water…

      B12 is NOT naturally occurring in sprouts. It is absorbed by the plant from chemical or natural fertilizers used in the soil. Sprouts grown in natural soil contains no B12. Do your research.

      Vit. D produced only from the sun is wholly too low for proper nutrition. Need more to be ingested.

      Carnosine from dairy is an animal product. Hmmm?

      DHA: body can’t produce it effectively for proper health. Read: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9637947

      • Not strictly true.

        A B12 analogue is found in some plant foods, but not useable by us. B12 is made by bacteria out of cobalt – that is why it is found in spring water, in the soil and sometimes (in minute quantities) on veggie skins – It is not a strict animal nutrient and not made by them but by bacteria. Animal products may be the easiest source, but that doesn’t make them the best.

        Vitamin D – we see progressively more Vit D deficiency the further away from the equator we get – despite high animal consumption in places like northern Europe. 30 minutes in the midday sun in most places in the world will give you much, much more vitamin D than any animal product.

        DHA – Algae is the original source – the fish bioaccumulate – as well as the mercury etc. There’s also research suggesting that conversion from ala to dha changes depending on dietary amounts to ensure we always have the right levels of this important nutrient.

  28. Former Vegan says:

    After reading Fast Food Nation in the Summer of 2010, I became vegetarian, and shortly after vegan. I don’t regret the decision I made because it made me a more compassionate person towards animals, and other people. However, it took a toll on my body. I am very active, and I thought that I only needed to supplement with Vitamin B12, and Calcium, because that is what I read in the book Vegan Freak, and various vegetarian websites. I led the most exemplary vegan diet, eating a lot of fruit, and vegetables coupled with legumes, nuts, herbs, and oils. I ate starches every now and then, and I gave up junk food.

    However, the nutrients mentioned in this blog took me by surprise, and I felt misled, and betrayed after cross referencing with .edu/.gov/.org websites. What really bothered me though is that I found one vegetarian website ambivalently endorsing carnosine supplementation. Here it is: http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/carnosine

    Why continue on a dietary lifestyle that requires intense supplementation? That is why after reading the facts stated in this blog, and other websites, I gave up the vegetarianism that marked the last three years of my life.

    It was only a couple of months ago that I started eating organic dairy, and my athletic performance drastically improved. However, it was because of a knee injury, that I decided to question my diet. As I am writing this, I am in my bed practically immobile due to a partially torn meniscus. It was a week ago that I wanted to eat Salmon, just like I used to as a child. But, I just kept telling myself, I am not supposed to want that, I am a vegetarian.

    However, there comes a time when you question yourself, especially if you have the time to question yourself. I am glad I did, because yesterday I had three ounces of Salmon, with sautéed vegetables for dinner. I would like to think that I have made the right decision.

    I felt I should say one more thing before I discontinue my little harangue. After three years of on and off vegetarianism and veganism, I have weaker teeth, weaker joints, and a slower healing ability-I know this because I am currently injured.

    I am not saying that people should eat whatever they want, I am saying people should eat what their bodies need. That requirement is a balanced that diet that includes organic, pasture-raised animal products coupled with a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, legumes, nuts, and oils. Of course, we need more of the latter than the former, but we need to eat a controlled amount of meat as human beings.

    I am glad I came to this conclusion after exposed to this information.

    Cordially,

    Ann (A Former Vegan)

    P.S. I do not appreciate the picture of the little girl rejecting her vegetables repugnantly. Vegetables are an important part of balanced diet.

  29. Seriously?? I have been vegetarian for 26 years most of my life, I look & feel a lot younger than others my own age. It is possible to get all your requirements from a plant based diet. My bone density is great, so those of you who have had joint problems, it is more likely to be genetics rather than a plant based diet (unless of course you were not eating properly).

    I do have osteoarthritis (as do many of my family members, all meat eaters) and to the amazement of my osteopath I have no problems with it, providing I eat foods rich in omega 3′s such as walnuts and flax seed. I take no supplements in my diet and my iron, vitamin B levels & vitamin D levels are great.

    So not a totally balanced article. I am not saying it is completely incorrect, all I am saying is that it is possible to be healthy on a plant based diet, and I am so sick of reading articles bashing vegan & vegetarian diets.

    • Former Vegan says:

      Kylie, I am glad vegetarianism has worked out for you, but it didn’t for me. May I ask, do you play sports or partake in intense physical activity? I was injured playing basketball, and no one in my family has a genetic predisposition to having weak ligaments, and osteoarthritis. I know what I ate, and I supplemented as a vegan.

      I don’t eat a lot of animal products now, but I do notice the difference and I feel a lot stronger. For me, it’s about balance. Also, everyone has the right to critique whatever they want, even you. Keep that in mind. Vegetarianism and veganism aren’t off limits. Again, I am glad this dietary lifestyle has worked out for you.

      Btw, I am 21 and everyone thinks I am 18. Looking young and being healthy is about leading a balanced diet coupled with exercise and proper self-care.

      - Ann (former vegetarian/vegan)

      • Ann,

        I have been vegan longer than you have been alive.

        21 and looking 18, well I’m 41 and people tell me I look in my late 20′s.

        Damaged ligaments at your age it would not have made a difference wether you were a vegan or not.

  30. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help having a giggle as I read this article. Actually I went between chuckling and the jaw dropping “is he for real?!” emotions. You see, I (and my partner) have both been vegan for many years…and guess what – we’re not dead! …or going nutty in the brain! Neither of us supplement – there really is no need if you do it correctly – and both of us are very active. We both pull our weight at crossfit 3-5 times a week, I’m a pilates instructor, he climbs for a living, I’m a circus aerialist AND training to become a paramedic.

    Being on the road as a paramedic, I can tell you now that I’ve not come across ANY vegans/vegetarians that need our help. None what-so-ever. NONE of our Alzheimer’s patients have been vegan/vegetarian either. EVERYONE that we pick up for chronic illnesses are meat eaters. ALL of them. My partner and I have a HUGE network of vegan friends and I can’t think of ANY of them that suffer from any of the ailments listed in this article. They are not only surviving – they are THRIVING! :D

    • Anna Cochrane says:

      …In addition, I just got my blood tests back this week, which I get annually. As always, all my iron, B12, creatine, etc are all FINE. No supplements!

  31. Kalani Shintani says:

    The world’s leading researcher on Alzheimers disease, Harvard Neurologist Dr. Rudolf Tanzi, MD says that all meat-eaters get Alzheimers disease if they live long enough. – And NO herbivores – i.e. those who don’t eat meat ever get Alzheimers. See him say it for yourself on Youtube. So if you want Alzheimers, – eat meat. If you don’t want Alzheimers – don’t eat meat. Simple.

    • Wrong. Every neuroscienist accepts that ANY person who could live long enough MUST get Alzheimer’s. It has nothing to do with veganism, especially if you consider plants are not enough to feed the brain.

  32. Sorry but no.

    B12 – comes from the earth, from soil, we no longer get this ourselves because it has been removed from our soil in agriculture, our vegetables are too sanitized, so yes we can get it second hand from dead animals but it is not something that is exclusive to meat! Supplements are a good idea, a poor argument as to why we should eat animals.

    Creatine – We produce this ourselves!!

    Vitamin D2 and 3 – Sunlight, MUSHROOMS can provide as much as supplements.

    Carnosine – not an essential nutrient and formed in the gut through fermenting, decreases with age whether you eat meat or not!

    Omega 3 – One ounce of flax seeds packs in 6388 mg of Omega 3 (nearly 6 times the RDA). You get 1655mg of Omega 6 in the process, totally balances out the omega 3 – 6 ratio.

    Was this article written for a joke? The only known supplement vegans will need to take is b12 but deficiency is common in meat eaters too because we no longer get it the way nature intended!

  33. If one has a vegan diet, and is considering introducing some minimal amounts of animal food like fish or eggs or meat, how much would be enough to make any difference nutritionally? How often and in what quantities?

    My goal would be to stay on a diet based almost entirely on plants, and the eat the least amount of animal foods to be nutritionally beneficial.

  34. Izzydoesit says:

    It’s no secret that the majority of Americans are increasingly obese, diabetic, and generally unhealthy because of the fast and processed food we devour. As addicts, we eat whatever makes us feel good and we’ll justify to the death our reasons for our habits so we don’t have to give up our lifestyle. Most people eat meat because it satisfies them, not because it’s good for them. If a definitive study came out proving you could live to be a vital 140 by eating only spinach and chick peas, how many people do you think would sign up? Most people eat what tastes good first and think about the health benefits later… if ever.

    If the commenters here were absolutely honest, I’d venture to guess that the meat-eaters have to tear down the vegans because in their hearts they feel a tiny bit guilty for wanting to eat the burger more than spare the animal. That’s cool: so just say it: I don’t care about killing animals in order to eat them. At least you’d be straight up. But trying to put a happy face on eating tons of meat and demonizing vegans makes you sound fascist.

    And the vegans feel superior and pious because they know they’re doing the right thing, but they have to get in their jabs at the selfish morons who still don’t get it. The truth is, you can’t change anyone who doesn’t want to change. You might as well accept that and live and let live. Being righteous will only drive away the minds you’d like to open.

    I’m not a nutritionist or an MD or a scientist, but I do know that half of what was said here was only partially true. For the past 30 years I’ve eaten way more plants than meat, but my weakness has always been cheese and sugar, two things I know are not good for you. Yeah, you can eat organic raw cheese which is not as bad, but who wants to? Give me that artery-clogging, mucous-producing brie, man, because it tastes so damn good! Who cares if I have to have a stent put in when I’m 70? And sugar, well, everyone knows it has ZERO nutritional value and that it levels your immune system, but who wants to give up that sugar high?

    Actually, me. I want to, dare I say it, give up the last of the dairy and not eat wheat or meat or sugar, but I know I won’t be perfect. I will try, when I feel the urge for beef, to only buy organic grass-fed. I will do my best to eat bread occasionally or eat gluten-free. I’m an EVO addict who loves fruits, nuts, legumes, grains, and veggies so I don’t have to make radical changes. I will continue to use balsamic vinegar even though it’s more sugary than the other kinds, and I won’t give up bananas because I love them. I will eat, very occasionally, full fat artisanal ice cream when I want to send my taste buds into the stratosphere, with the pinot noir balsamic glaze I make drizzled over it. I have given up so much, and regardless of the positive change that’s made in my life, I still miss some things. But I don’t partake because I know it’s not good for me in the long run. I also know that life is meant to be enjoyed as long as you take care of yourself in the long run. You gotta splurge sometimes.

    See? Everything in moderation. I read that somewhere. Yes, and live and let live.

  35. I agree with a lot of the stuff in this article. I tried (as correctly and completely as I could) a strictly vegetarian diet about 10 years ago and it felt like my body was literally falling apart. Diet and nutrition are a personal choice, but I can speak from experience that my body operates a lot better with animal protein.

    It operates better when I eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables too. Pretty obvious to me that both are essential. What’s important to me now is quality of animal protein… no doubt grain fed beef, and industrially raised animals in general are wreaking havoc on your body. That’s not the animal protein we evolved to ingest anyway, it’s a sad, sad replacement. Just as vitamins and supplements are a sad replacement for actual food. Leaving aside the bioavailability questions surrounding vitamins, I’d just much rather eat a pile of carrots than swallow a little capsule of Vitamin A anyway.

    The ONE issue I have with this article is the very first line: “The human brain is the most complex object in the universe”… I mean come on, how exactly do you know that? :) Really good read tho, thanks!

  36. Good article but not completely accurate information, both by the author as well as the commentators, with no references provided.

    Point 1

    Response to a commentator who proclaims that Indians, that is the people who live in India, have a high rate of cancer due to their high carbohydrate diet. Utter nonsense and not backed by any references or astute observations. The oral cancer rate in India is high because of the chewing of tobacco and betel nuts.

    Response to author’s claim that “no society has “willingly” taken to being a vegan one is, well just appealing to a fallacy in order to justify a certain point of view.

    I have been a vegetarian for over 40 years, and a Vegan for 22 with no significant health problems.

    The point is that when Americans/Westerners try to convert to Vegetarianism or Veganism, they have NO IDEA how to do it properly. The people living in India eat a variety of foods, some of which Westerners don’t have no idea even exist, or how to cook them or combine them in the right proportions and the correct strains etc.

    Eat want you want, but get off the bull.

  37. Michael Satt says:

    This article is false.

    You can acquire B12 from the most abundant source, which is plant based (chlorella). Also if you’re one of the people that went on a VEGAN diet and didn’t cut out all artificial products (starch and acids) I bet you did get sick because you’re switching up to a diet your body isn’t used to with things aren’t beneficial/just as bad for your health.

    Most people also don’t know the difference between a hybrid and non hybrid, may explain why people still believe spinach, carrots, potatoes, rice and other vegetables that are portrayed as “healthy” for a vegan/vegetarian diet but in reality they’re doing nothing but disrupting your homeostasis. If you intend on embarking on a plant-based diet, I recommend you do YOUR own research before falling victim to someone else’s. There are tons of herbs and vegetables that we aren’t even aware of. So if you do embrace this GODLY diet I recommend you do it properly and don’t let articles like this one deceive you.

  38. All of these nutrients are available in supplement form, so the title and premise of this article are incorrect.

  39. Great article Kris!

  40. Marie-Douce says:

    I’m vegan since december and before I was vegetarian for one year. Before that, I was suffering from anemia and had symptoms of that. Now, I don’t know if I still have anemia but I never had symptoms of that again. Plus, before I was getting sick (bronchitis) THREE times a year and now I get 2 colds per year and that’s all. I eat more fruits and vegetables so I’m more healthy.

    Don’t forget that we’re not in 1980 anymore. There are plenty of false meats and false cheeses made with soy. We can get all the nutrients we need, even B12 because there IS B12 in other things than meat! It’s like everything, we just have to check what we eat.

    And to people saying fish isn’t meat… Fish are sensitive animals too. They can feel fear. They can suffer. So killing them is as bad as killing a cow or a chicken.

  41. Geoffrey Mys says:

    Having a black man with no rights pick your cotton is infinitely better for your health than doing it yourself. But we all kinda agreed it was ethically wrong, and thus put an end to it. Same logic should be applied here.

    I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I use the words ‘ethically wrong’, when faced with the mind-blowing fact that we execute 65 times more animals than the amount of Jews that died in the Holocaust.

    Oh yeah, ahem, DAILY that is.

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