This morning, I enjoyed bacon, eggs and black coffee for breakfast while I browsed through emails and news headlines. That’s when a blog post published on Huffpost Lifestyle United Kingdom caught my eye. Titled, “Stop fighting veganism, it has already won” and written by Damien Clarkson, a vegan and environmental “campaigner,” I was interested to see how the vegan crowd spun the popularity of one of the most unnatural diets on the planet.
Sure enough, Clarkson took the usual jabs at meat-eaters. Among them: Vegan products are so popular. Eating meat destroys the planet. Veganism slows climate change. It’s not ethical to eat meat. Millennials are more aware, thanks to “hard-hitting documentaries.” It’s a more progressive diet. Yada. Yada. Yada.
These old claims get tiresome after a while, and it’s unfortunate that meat has become the punching bag for everything from diabetes and cancer, to climate change and more. And it’s unfortunate that so many will take the diet advice of the vegan crowd, only to lose their health and vitality.
Take, for example, Staci Giani, who spent 12 years as a strict vegetarian only to suffer from anemia, chronic fatigue syndrome and stomach pains after every meal. As reported by Hal Herzog, Ph.D., for Psychology Today, Staci completely overhauled the way she ate, moving to a diet centered around meat, and she quickly regained her health and lust for life.
Herzog writes, “According to a 2005 survey by CBS News, three times as many American adults admit to being "ex-vegetarians" than describe themselves as current vegetarians. This suggests that roughly 75% of people who quit eating meat eventually change their minds and return to a diet that includes animal flesh. It seems that for most people, vegetarianism is a phase rather than a permanent change in lifestyle.”
Herzog then conducted a study of ex-vegetarians, asking them why they added meat back to their diets. He gathered the thoughts of 77 former vegetarians, average age of 28, and 35% said their declining health was the primary reason they brought beef and bacon back to their diets.
One survey participant wrote, “I was very weak and sickly. I felt horrible even though I ate a good variety of foods like PETA said to.”
READ: Are vegetable proteins equal to the protein found in beef?
You may have noticed at the beginning of this blog post that I called veganism the most “unnatural” diet, and I don’t think that’s a stretch of the imagination.
Georgie Ede, M.D., for the Diagnosis Diet, recalls various diets from around the world and how the healthiest populations ate a diet that centered around meat.
Ede writes, “To the best of my knowledge, the world has yet to produce a civilization which has eaten a vegan diet from childhood through death, whereas there are numerous examples throughout recorded history of people from a variety of cultural, ethnic and geographical backgrounds who have lived on all-meat diets for decades, lifetimes, generations.”
Ede listed the populations that focused on meat-heavy diets, including:
- The Inuit of the Canadian Arctic thrived on fish, seal, walrus and whale meat.
- The Chukotka of the Russian Arctic lived on caribou meat, marine animals and fish.
- The Masai, Samburu, and Rendille warriors of East Africa survived on diets consisting primarily of milk and meat.
- The steppe nomads of Mongolia ate mostly meat and dairy products.
- The Sioux of South Dakota enjoyed a diet of buffalo meat.
- The Brazilian Gauchos nourished themselves with beef.
In her articled titled, “The history of all-meat diets,” Ede addresses common concerns such as lack of fiber through an unbalanced diet and several misconceptions regarding meat and heart disease, obesity and blood pressure.
Certainly an all-meat diet seems extreme to most, but if we take a few notes from these healthy societies of years gone by, it’s interesting to note that they weren’t getting healthy on tofu, lentils and salads.
So to the Huffington Post blogger, vegan products may be all the rage in grocery stores right now, but the real story is how long do these hip, twenty-somethings stick with the vegan craze before going back to a tradition meat-based diet?
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Penton Agriculture.