Since I’ve hit you with a pretty inflammatory headline about the hop topic of
vegan-izims this morning, we’re gonna leap feet first into this sh*t.
First, you can rank me with the health and spiritual rebels amongst us.
I began buying organic food over a decade ago, way before it was popular. Colleen
and I used to drive 40 minutes each way to buy organic eggs and veggies, and
we’ve been participants in a local organic food co-op for the last seven years.
Alan Watts introduced me to Buddhism, Hinduism and the philosophies of the East
when I was fresh out of high school, almost twenty years ago. Many of the religions and
philosophies from which I’ve drawn my ideas from… have a no-meat eating policy.
But regardless of what late-breaking health science says, or ancient religions suggest…
I still have my own eyes, brain and common sense for making decisions.
Ain’t no lab-rat, Hindu god or YouTube video is going to convince me otherwise.
Its with my own two eyes that I’ve seen friends and family members ravish their
health (body and brain), by blindly following some extreme practice, which promises
to be a simple solution to a complex issue.
About five years ago I was speaking with a friend who had been a practicing vegan
for several years.
He and I were good buddies, so we respected each other and never forced our
opposing lifestyle viewpoints upon the other.
I ate meat.
He did not.
One day he comes into the gym, after a big mountain bike race he completed in Utah
two months earlier.
During the race he had fallen off of his bike and hurt his elbow.
Normally, an injury like this would heal in a weeks at most… but for some reason he couldn’t
shake it. The healing process was taking much longer than usual.
I love my friend, so I studied his eyes and face as he spoke… and I couldn’t help but
notice the weary, almost morbid look on his face.
His eyes were dull and sunken.
His teeth had begun turning brown.
And most recently, he began losing his hair (at only 23 years old).
He had been a competitive athlete his whole life, and had taken up veganism as a way
to boost health and performance.
So I had to be up front with him…
“Dude, I think the vegan diet is killing you.”, I told him with concern.
He immediately rejected my suggestion, but soon he eased-up and began including
more high-quality (humanely raised) organic meats into his diet.
Not only did his elbow begin to feel better a few days later… his eyes lit up and his hair
stopped falling out.
Needless to say, he is DONE with the uneducated vegan peer-pressure stunt… and is
back to eating meat and enjoying a full head of hair.
Look, I am not against veganism.
In fact, there are not too many things that I am against; I realize we are all different and
we all have unique wants, needs, fears, hopes and dreams.
One thing I am against though, is the weak-mindedness which causes some people
to bend with peer pressure.
If you are vegan, and it’s working out well for you (it can take least 2 years before you
really know, since mineral loss takes time) that’s great.
I assume that you’ve done loads of research (including reading counter arguments) and are
well familiar with the meticulous food preparation practices associated with getting
complete nutrition with a plant-based / meat-free diet.
But when someone you know begins treating their diet philosophy like evangelical religion or MLM
(Multi-Level Marketing)… the rest of us need to beware.
Peer pressure is an insidious virus that preys on a person’s intelligence, intuition and integrity.
With enough brute force (repetition, celebrity endorsements, shaming, propaganda, etc) a once
grounded individual can easily get swept away.
It doesn’t matter if other people are Christian, Muslim, Zoroastrian or Republican.
It doesn’t matter if other people eat cats, insects, dandelions or dirt.
It doesn’t matter if other people smoke hookah, Roman candles or crack.
Peer pressure is a form of violence.
Have enough integrity to reject it when you sense it.
And before you jump on the vegan bandwagon, do a bit of research on the long-term
effects of following it blindly and lazily.
There is a science to eating a restricted diet which requires more than just the elimination
of certain foods.
You will need to study soil health, food combination, learn how to cook, and invest in
critical supplements that you MUST have…
Otherwise, you might end up like so many would-be vegans who are nothing more than
malnourished zealot followers who’ve never eaten a stalk of broccoli, but think tofu and
crackers will give them life.
Good health and blessing,
The Ethics Of Meat Eating (By Ezra Klein & Bruce Friedrich)
“50 years from now when it’s really easy not to eat factory farm meat because there’s all this lab grown tasty synthetic meat people will look back on the way we treated animals in this era, and judge us very harshly – we’re going to look very bad because were torturing a lot of sentient (conscious) beings.
With that being said I don’t think it’ good that the only way’s you can be ‘ethical’ is to become a vegetarian or vegan. One, it’s just to hard for a lot of people. Two, it’s actually not the right way to think about what your trying to do here – you’re not being consequential enough about it. If we get everyone to cut meat consumption by half, that is so much better than quadrupling the number of vegetarians. (Approximately 5% of the U.S. is vegetarian (16 million~ people) and about half of these vegetarians are vegan (7.5 million~).
It’s much smarter and more effective to think about meat reduction. The thing that Bruce explained was that people think what they should do is go vegetarian, that’s actually not a great equilibrium in terms of animal suffering. Particularly because egg laying chickens are arguably the worst treated of all animals. So if you cut out the majority of meats but your eating a lot of eggs than your still in the predicament of consuming one of the most tortured animals (unless you source from a backyard farm or something along lines of that).
Additionally, chicken’s can take a night to finish. It takes a family of 4 about a year to finish an entire cow. Bruce Freidrich who used to work for PETA and now does investing around ‘clean meat’ companies proposed if everyone solely ate beef you would reduce the number of animals killed for human consumption by around 95-98%~. So it actually really matters how big the animal is. Cow’s are generally treated better than other kinds of poultry.
It wouldn’t be that hard for people to switch to beef consumption instead of drastically changing one’s lifestyle in one fell swoop with some type of vegetarian diet. Which bring’s up the topic of behaviour change. We want to find the minimum effective dose. It’s about making changes that are not that painful to one’s lifestyle, but appear to have a really big first order effect on animal suffering. Creating a black/white vegetarianism/veganism makes it a lot harder for people to make the jump. The adherence is really low. If you try and take someone from 0-60 – the standard American diet to either of those sides the drop off your going to have is going to be around 90% after a few weeks. It’a a lot easier to get people ONE STEP FURTHER by saying, ‘let’s try moving to this protein instead’, ‘let’s try consuming fewer eggs’/’ let’s take a look at how your sourcing your animal product’.
It’s important to people to act in ways that are in accordance with the identities they have for themselves.
E.G. Ezra has gone back and forth between vegetarianism and omnivorism. ‘I would say I’m going vegetarian, and at some point I would fail. Having failed I would not go to 95% vegetarianism – I would completely collapse back into full on omnivorism. The reason in part was because, if I had set up the success structure such that ‘I was vegetarian’ or ‘I was not’, then ‘was not’, was almost the same kind of failure no matter how much meat or what type of meat I was eating. Instead, the way that worked for me to stick to vegetarianism was with a tremendous amount of caveats/exceptions. ‘I’m vegetarian except when I travel’, because I know when I travel I often have a lot of trouble sticking to vegetarianism. So if I travel and eat meat it doesn’t offend my identity at all. OR it can be, ‘when I’m at home I am vegan, when I travel I’m vegetarian’. There are also a couple points in the year I will make this exception. I’ve been having sushi with my best friends mother since I was a kid, it’s important to me that I’m able to continue that tradition. As opposed to going and having sushi with her twice a year and collapsing out of my eating habits I’ve this lifestyle choice as an exception.
Side note: Many would then argue whether a pound of beef is significantly worse for the environment than a pound of chicken/fish. That may have relevancy, but right now the conversation is directed to animal suffering.