Having finally downloaded it via Torrent, I’ve decided to do a takedown of Lierre Keith’s The Vegetarian Myth ’04 Extended Discussion-style. For those of you unfamiliar with this method, basically what I’m going to do is take it (largely) line-by-line/page-by-page instead of making general overview points, like Myths About the Vegetarian Myth (also on my sidebar); I want mine to be more in the style of Slacktivist’s Left Behind review series.
However, the first thing to do is state the premise of the book, which is that Keith believes that eating an animal-product-heavy, post-agricultural diet is healthier for humans than a vegan diet. I don’t expect to take much issue with any anti-agricultural points—I am a primitivist, after all, and technology/civilization include agriculture and weaponry—but I am going to heavily include the rights/social justice aspects in this since, obviously, they can’t be disconnected.
Keith draws heavily from the notoriously racist Weston A. Price foundation and in fact, without their writings, this book would not exist. The WAPF is named after a dentist in the early 20th century named, obviously enough, Weston A. Price: he also had no connection with the WAPF, since he died 50 years before Susan Fallon started the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Price’s work, actually, doesn’t really support Fallon’s conclusions. He found, reasonably enough, that people eating their native diets (non-processed and actually pretty plant-based) had excellent dentition with very little tooth decay and various other things. When introduced to refined flours, oils, white sugar, canned foods, etc. they lost that and their dentition wasn’t so awesome anymore. I have absolutely zero qualms with this, since any decent vegan diet will steer clear of these things for the most part, and again wish to point out that most indigenous peoples not living in desertlike regions (whether sandy or frozen) eat quite a bit more plant products (especially fresh fruits) than the WAPF is willing to give them credit for. Weston A. Price also praised the similar health of indigenous humans eating ovo-vegetarian, lacto-vegetarian and pescatarian (but otherwise utterly plant-based) diets.
Please stop rubbing Dr. Price’s name in the dirt by assuming he has an actual connection to Susan Fallon and the WAPF; he’s an innocent victim of this bullcrap. (Well, as innocent as you can be if you’re dead, anyway.)
I have taken it upon myself to build a list of links and resources about protein, fat, and the WAPF:
A Brief History of Protein: Passion, Social Bigotry, Rats and Enlightenment is a newsletter article by John McDougall, M.D., who is not vegan and possibly not even vegetarian. [Note: the WAPF claims that they promote a high-fat diet rather than a high-protein diet. I do not believe this is completely possible without agriculture, which I will discuss later. However, this is an important article on the protein requirement misconceptions and realities, and I include it for that reason alone.]
Do Ex-Vegans’ Stories Make the Case Against Vegan Diets? by Ginny Messina, R.D.
A Critique of The Myths of Vegetarianism by Stephen Byrnes by Andrew (“The Myths of Vegetarianism” is a WAPF piece.)
Weston A. Price Foundation: Stupid Traditions from Dr. Joel Fuhrman who is, again, not vegan. A good list of links.
The Pitfalls of the Dr. Weston A. Price Diet from Leisa.
Reflections on the Weston A. Price Foundation by John Robbins.
Where Savage Rabbit Comes From
I’ve been vegan for several years—hell if I know how long; I don’t keep datebooks of this shit. Nevertheless, my life has been pretty… well, anti-vegan before I executed the one-fingered salute to the beliefs that had played an enormous part in fucking me over. I went vegan one day after about a six-month stint of vegetarianism in which I kept asking myself, “But that doesn’t make sense, does it?” re: cheese and eggs. In the last few weeks before I finally made the jump, I felt as though I’d always been progressing towards this. Veganism as an event in my life can’t be expressed in the words available in English, so I won’t try.
I’m sure that in some ways my veganism is almost miraculous to most anti-vegans and wannabegans: “the switch” was effortless. I was eating like this a day or week before, then I started eating like this and I never batted an eyelash about it. Utterly drama-free; I’ve seen carnists always make a bigger deal of going vegan than the vegans do.
I still feel better than when I was still embroiled in carnism. Lighter, more energetic, you know the shtick. Yeah. Sorry. No boo-hooing here; veganism has helped a lot of my complications, not exacerbated or caused them. I suffer from an eating disorder that I got when I was young and pregan; still working on that, but it’s not debilitating anymore.
My eventual goal is high-carbohydrate raw veganism, or more commonly known as “fruitarianism.” I’ve done it before for a few weeks at a time, but abuse and capitalism interfered. I feel best that way since my anxiety, anger issues, etc. basically vanish when I am eating that way—provided I get at least 1,800 (and preferably 2,000) calories a day. It has taught me the overwhelming importance of calories: that starving yourself, regardless of how “healthfully” you’re doing it, will fuck you up mentally.
Aslan has been vegan literally zeir entire life. Zie had a deadly dairy allergy as a baby, and because zeir mother refused to stop eating dairy even though it threatened zeir life, zie had to be raised on formula. However, because of some additional complications (preemie), zie was put on an experimental drug and had to be fed a formula specifically devoid of B6, vitamin A and vitamin D.
Zie was also raised vegan by zeir older brother who, for reasons that won’t be mentioned here, ended up being the “default parent” for zem (in addition to just a better one) along with zeir cousin Robin, who’d been a raw foodist since the eighties. However, their mother’s abuse forced Aslan to take to the streets of Denver at the age of eight. Zie continued living vegan while a homeless youth and a fighter. For those reasons, Aslan is one of my favorite trump cards, especially on the B12 front: zie has never had any kind of intake that would be considered “stable,” much less “adequate” by the medical establishment. And yet, zie’s not dead.
That’s a reasonable short summary of where we come from. Aslan will be commenting occasionally on the lines I’m debunking as well; stay tuned.