I think it’s interesting that two books came into my hands at the same time: My Beef with Meat, by Rip Esselstyn was recommended to me by a vegan co-worker, and The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith was given to me by my supportive husband, who tries to show an interest in each of my latest “things.” Each of these are at the opposing extremes of the diet spectrum. I found Keith to be very intelligent, thorough and a bit scary. She is a sensitive soul who would like to be able to sustain her own life without harming anything in return, the impossibility of which came as a huge shock to her. Yes, even a vegan diet requires that (sentient?) plants must die, habitats must be plowed over; slugs must be sacrificed. Her “solutions” are radical and impossible: 1) Refrain from having children. [There’s too many of us to feed at the local level Keith advocates] 2) Stop driving your car. (ok. sure. All of us??) 3) Grow your own food. If it doesn’t grow in your corner of the universe, you don’t get to eat it. No employing fossil fuels. for anything.
As for Esselstyn, he gives selective truths and some misinformation in the bargain [about cholesterol and saturated fats, to name a few; they are NOT the bad guys, folks…]
As I neared the end of Keith’s tome, I had already decided to rely on revelation from a prophet of God, and just live the Word of Wisdom when I came across this paragraph on p. 242:
I remember absorbing the “fact” that vegetarians lived longer…and of course it’s not true…People who choose vegetarianism are a health-conscious group: they also don’t smoke or drink and they exercise. Those are the variables that create a longer life span. Compared to the average US American, Seventh-Day Adventists have lower rates of hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and death from all causes. Because Seventh-Day Adventists are supposed to refrain from meat, politicized vegetarians have raised these numbers as a battle cry. But comparing Seventh-Day Adventists to the average US American is absurd, because they are also forbidden to drink alcohol and coffee and they aren’t allowed to smoke. They eat substantially more fresh food and substantially fewer doughnuts. Of course they’re healthier. If you want to claim that their health is a function of their vegetarian diets, you need to find a cohort to compare them to: a group of people whose diet and lifestyle match that of the Seventh-Day Adventists except for the meat. Guess what? Those people exist. They’re called Mormons. Mormons also abstain from alcohol, coffee, smoking, and lots of the generalized junk of SAD [Standard American Diet]. But they eat meat. Guess who lives longer: Surely you’ve guessed the punchline: Mormons.
Another good reason to spend this weekend listening to the prophets’ voices.