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Heated Debate with a Vegan
August 5, 2013
10:24 pm
Immigrant
Forum Posts: 9
Member Since:
February 22, 2012
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Hey there, I'm a devout paleo subscriber and I'm extremely confident that my grass fed beef consumption is helping me perform at a very high athletic level.

 

At Whole Foods Market today a man started to probe me about my eating style, in which I proudly layed out that I eat strict paleo.  I could see him internally combusting as he started to unroll an onslaught of pro vegan ideologies etc.  Now, this guy looked emaciated to me; however he swore that he was a high level endurance athlete and could run circles around most other men.  He could not for the life of him grasp that human beings are a predatory species, and especially kept pointing the finger at all the water we're wasting by raising cattle, blah blah blah. 

 

I wanted to escalate some of his points here to hear a very strong rebuttal from J Stanton or whoever else would like to contribute.  Some of his points were mildly fascinating enough for me to want to hear a cogent retort.

 

Here were some of his conclusions:  (Mind you some of his points seem juvenile, but he was actually articulate and an intelligent man; thus why I'm bringing it up)

 

1.  He routinely resorted to the fact that chimpanzees, our closest relatives; are only semi-carnivorous and only 3% of their total diet is meat-driven.

 

2.  Incessantly denied that humans are a predatory species, and expressed that the work to gain ratio was not worth actually killing, skinning, cleaning, and finally eating ungulate animals when you could simply pick up a potato or pick a fresh fruit from a tree.  He harped on the fact that it was too laborious for us to actually hunt and that it was much more efficient from a input/output standpoint to just pick shit that sprung from the ground or the trees.

 

3.  He peddled fruit as the absolute reason why human brains have grown so large over the last 3 million years.  He kept pushing the notion that no matter if you eat fat, protein, or a carbohydrate; it all turns to glucose anyway.  He also genuflected to the evolutionary strategy of humans eating fruits and excreting the seeds elsewhere to help wild plants propagate.  (aren't winged insects much better candidates for this, as they have flight on their side?)

 

4.   Said that I couldn't possibly be a caretaker of the planet or have any sense of ecological harmony if I support the slaughtering of innocent animals.  

 

5.  Bragged that his heavy fruit/bean consumption also afforded him the ability to go long stretches without eating in between meals.  

 

Nonetheless, I want to hear your thoughts on these points, and especially how you guys personally handle an aggressive vegan jumping down your throat.

 

Can't wait to hear feedback!!

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August 6, 2013
8:16 am
Alex
Guest

If I were approached in such a manner, I would tell him, "What I eat is none of your business. I don't care what you eat, how athletic you are, or how much you disapprove of my diet. I came here to shop, not have debates with drooling fanatics. If you don't approve of people buying meat at stores that sell meat, then don't go to those stores." At which point, I walk away.

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August 7, 2013
5:19 pm
First-Eater
Forum Posts: 2105
Member Since:
February 22, 2010
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Barricade:

First, my approach will be "Don't ever shop at Whole Foods, because their corporate mission is to promote veganism." 

Their "Scientific Advisory Board" is entirely composed of old male vegans, they use the deliberately misleading ANDI scale to promote vegan foods, they heavily promote the vegan "Engine 2" diet -- even for kids, which is dangerous and irresponsible -- and they prohibit their employees from giving information on any other diet!  I buy most of my meat by the side from local ranchers, and I buy my produce elsewhere.  (Costco has a surprising selection of organic produce, FYI.)

 

That being said, my approach to a debate depends on who else is listening. 

The person I'm debating is never going to change their mind, because otherwise they wouldn't have the religious conviction necessary to confront me!  I'm only concerned about the effect on anyone who might be listening.

In the case of being confronted by a random vegan at Whole Foods or any other public place, you'll maybe have a couple random people overhearing you -- so it's not worth arguing and I'd just be looking to shut them down quickly, e.g. "What makes you think it's appropriate to accost random strangers and insult their food choices?"  If they still insist, "I eat this way because I've found it's the healthiest way for me to eat.  Good day."  Then leave.

If it's an Internet argument among people who might be convinced, you can point out:

1. Chimpanzees have tiny brains and haven't left the tropical forests in six million years.  Eating more meat than chimps is, quite literally, what made us human: it allowed us to survive outside the forests and support the calorie requirements of our big human brains (3-4x the size of a chimp's).  (See my series on "Big Brains Require An Explanation".)  This is not a matter of debate in the scientific community: it is an established fact.

So if you're happy living naked in the dirt in a tropical forest with no telephone or medical care -- without even shelter, fire or sharp rocks! -- by all means advocate chimpanzees as your dietary model.

2. Fruit is seasonal.  Anyone who doesn't understand that is ignorant of basic reality and has no standing to lecture anyone on diet.  Q: Where do all the fresh fruit and fresh veggies in the store come from for much of the year?  A: Either greenhouses or the Southern Hemisphere. 

The reason chimps eat meat is because there's no fruit around in the dry season -- even in tropical forests, let alone any climate with winter!  Sheesh.  Again, veg*ans are often completely ignorant of how food actually grows.

3. Vegetarians are sources of the most incredible falsehoods, like "Nothing can be burned for energy without first being converted to carbs".  Anyone who says that has no standing to lecture anyone on diet, because they're ignorant of basic, uncontroversial freshman biology.  Beta-oxidation produces ~80-90% of your energy at rest if you're healthy and haven't eaten recently.  Also see 2. fruit is seasonal, and the article series in 1.

Again, you can't reason with these people, because their arguments are based on crazy falsehoods with no basis in reality.

4. He's slaughtering innocent animals by existing: agriculture kills all the animals that used to live where crops are grown.  Just because you don't see them die doesn't mean you didn't kill them!

Next, the water figures commonly bandied about by veg*ans are wild exaggerations, based on the incorrect idea that even industrially-raised animals spend their entire life in a feedlot eating grains.  (They only spend the last few months of their lives there, getting fat...all cattle grow up on grass, because they have to!  Grains aren't a natural diet for cattle any more than they are for us.) 

Then, any animal raised on pasture returns all the "wasted" water it drinks to the earth in the form of urine and feces -- e.g. fertilizer.  Animals are a necessary part of this cycle, without which the dead plants simply build up.  Think about it: if grazing destroyed the land, the Serengeti and the Great Plains would have blown away into dust tens of millions of years ago.  The Dust Bowl was created by agriculture -- destroying soil that took millions of years to create.

More info here, and in Lierre Keith's The Vegetarian Myth.

5. These people talk about "juice fasts" a lot.  PROTIP: it isn't a "fast" if you're drinking liquid sugar.

Read Lierre Keith's The Vegetarian Myth for a long exploration of these issues.

Again, though, I don't bother contradicting them unless there's an audience in danger of being convinced.  Otherwise I just shut them down as mentioned above.

JS

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August 7, 2013
10:26 pm
Immigrant
Forum Posts: 9
Member Since:
February 22, 2012
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J,

 

your response made my spine tingle all the way through.  Reading TGC and browsing your articles has ameliorated my backbone like no other material i've encountered in my entire life.  I used to seek refuge in the pages of James Joyce, Wittgenstein, Marshall Mcluhan etc.  The stuff you write about is the truth in the truest sense. 

 

I feel such a strong kinship to my brothers who fought hard on the plains.  Everyone likes to pay gratitude to our founding fathers for producing the declaration of independence, but the hunters of our past are the true heroes in my eyes.  

 

I saw the same guy again the following day and I was baffled to see him yet again feasting on 4 or 5 large-sized papaya.  I asked him precisely what he eats on a daily basis.  He doesn't even eat grains.  Every single thing the guy puts in his body is pure fruit....He said sometimes at dinner he will rarely add in some leafy greens, but other than that he sticks to a pure fruit diet.  He claims that in 3 years he's never felt better.  He boasted of his endurance and his stable moods.  Completely confounding to me.  The guy clearly has very little muscle mass but he's super passionate about his model of eating.  I see a fire in his eyes when he speaks of eating a pure fruit diet.

 

Unfortunately, I have noticed the vegan agenda of Whole Foods.  The caveat that really works for me and the reason why I shop exclusively at Whole Foods is the fact that they cook my meat on the spot free of charge and apply ample grass fed butter to top it off also free of charge.  This just makes it so fun and delicious to eat there; as I basically have a private chef cooking for me every day.  It keeps my house and kitchen super clean and smelling great because I never have to cook at home.

 

Again, J; I cannot show you enough gratitude for all you do for our community.  I have recommended your book to so many people and it's a mainstay on my coffee table for guests to peruse when they come over.

 

One thing I also noticed about my personal diet is that perhaps I'm not eating enough quantity of grass fed beef.  I'm 6'1 190lbs.  I'm a powerlifter, and I'm most attracted to the diet because I absolutely love going long stretches in between meals without worrying about when I can hit the "fridge."  However, I think i've put too much stock in tubers and vegetables as I usually only eat about 8 - 9 ounces of meat in one sitting, and the rest of my "calories" are coming from potatoes or a nice leafy green salad soaked in olive oil.  Perhaps I should tip the scale the other way and consume a lot more meat, and cut back the carbs/salads?  I assume this will only improve my performance?

 

Thanks brother!

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August 8, 2013
12:56 am
Immigrant
Forum Posts: 9
Member Since:
February 22, 2012
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And...just to dispel more conjecture.   I was recently asked by a friend of mine I've beens showing your material why it is that the Japanese are oft very healthy into their older years despite their small meat consumption.

 

Again, this could be conjecture on his part as I have no idea if the Japanese eat little beef or not, but do you care to weigh in?  Thanks!

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August 12, 2013
4:05 pm
Halifax, UK
Gnoll
Forum Posts: 365
Member Since:
June 5, 2011
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Gosh! This was a long exchange ... gotta say, slightly before point 1 I would simply have said, "I eat naturally." and walked off.

Thoughts? He's wrong.

1. Oh, so our nearest relatives (which we bear little in common with, actually ... more commonality with pigs) eat meat. Well, what? Yeah? They eat meat. Presumably to supplement a piss-poor diet of fruit, ants, grubs and bogies?

2. This is why we ... with our big brains ... developed tools. Guess why we have big brains? Because we eat meat ... and because meat gave us big brains. It's a self-fulfilling cycle. J has an article on this.

3. Dog shit! He's a fucking idiot ... he's a fucking idiot because he doesn't eat meat*. It's that simple.

4. Ah, bless ... even the poor little field mice who get caught up in his INDUSTRIAL soy crap. Won't someone please think of the field mice? Please!

5. The guy has his facts quite clearly wrong - FAT permits fasting. I won't bother with the rest. FAT permits fasting. Eat fat ... real fat, from animals (includes milk, cream and butter, for veg-heads ... vegans lose out ... more for the rest of us) ... and you can fast.

Personally, I'd have just walked off ... what a bell end!

I have no time now for folks that just won't help themselves. Folks like this are weak. Poor adverts for the human race. Thankfully, when real predators are about we just have to be a little quicker than them ... or kick them in the nuts and see how he loves all the animals now with a grizzly gnawing away at his kidneys.

I have no time for them. Live, die. Doesn't matter to me ... doesn't even matter that my taxes will ease them through painful twilight years (if they're lucky), 50s onwards otherwise. That's real humanity. But, I don't care. I'll be alive, well, healthy and doing my thing.

Selfish? Well, yes. Me and mine will be fine.

* or fish. I'm not, generally, a meat eater. I'm a predator. I eat fish. When meat production becomes fully sane, as in rearing AND slaughter are right, I'll eat meat.

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Living in the Ice Age http://livingintheiceage.pjgh.co.uk
August 24, 2013
1:21 am
First-Eater
Forum Posts: 2105
Member Since:
February 22, 2010
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"Every single thing the guy puts in his body is pure fruit….The guy clearly has very little muscle mass but he's super passionate about his model of eating.  I see a fire in his eyes when he speaks of eating a pure fruit diet."

Of course...he's on a constant sugar high!

And of course he's got no muscle mass...he's eating no protein.

Most of those people crash and burn after anywhere from a few months to a few years unless they supplement or secretly cheat...the nutrient deficiencies catch up.  They also usually lose teeth from all the acidic, sugary fruit.  But just as there are a few people with the genetic gifts to run a four-minute mile or deadlift 3x their bodyweight, there are a few people with the genetic gifts to survive on that sort of diet. 

As far as your own diet, are you trying to gain mass?  Make more stews.  Jamie at Chaos and Pain has a great series on stew going right now...you'll find it much easier to get plenty of meat down the hatch, and you'll be able to start with cheap cuts like chuck roast instead of expensive steaks. Plus you can make huge batches, freeze them, and defrost as needed = less prep time, more eating. And veggies taste much better in stew than they do on their own.

Finally, re: the Japanese, diet isn't a thing where you have to get everything right or you die young.  The Japanese did a lot of things right: no wheat, lots of fish and shellfish, lots of seaweed (iodine and minerals), and lots of mouth-to-tailfin eating.  (Note that the much-vaunted Okinawan diet is high in fatty pork, contrary to vegetarian propaganda.)  So the fact that lots of carbs from white rice isn't optimal was balanced by the nutrient density of the rest of their diet.

I, too, feel far more kinship to the hunters of the past: none of the agrarian utopias ever resonated with me, because many of my relatives were farmers and I know that it's basically drudgery from sunrise to sunset.  Imagining Head-Smashed-In still gives me chills.

Thank you for your work!  Keep making more gnolls.

Paul:

I've always found fruitarianism to be very childlike: "I want to eat nothing but dessert for the rest of my life -- and I'm going to construct an elaborate series of rationalizations for the fact that I love sugar highs and never want to come down."

JS

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October 6, 2013
3:49 pm
OdysseusUnbound
Guest

Awesome stuff here. And I love the shout out to Jamie @ C&P. He is a smart, funny (if very vulgar) guy. Silly vegans. I am Métis, which means that my ancestors were among those who lived on the great plains hunting bison. I can't help feeling a kinship with the great hunters of the past.

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October 11, 2013
9:04 pm
First-Eater
Forum Posts: 2105
Member Since:
February 22, 2010
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OdysseusUnbound:

Welcome to the fire!  Do stick around.  And read Imagining Head-Smashed-In, if you haven't already.

JS

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October 17, 2013
3:15 pm
OdysseusUnbound
Guest

J.

I plan to order it along with TGC soon.

Great site, btw!

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December 19, 2014
8:46 am
UK
Gnoll
Forum Posts: 49
Member Since:
June 14, 2011
Offline

You know, when I hear v*gans talking about the killing of animals, sure we could talk about 'ghost acres' and/or the footprint of eating out of season foods all year round, but instead I task them with browsing on their smartphone (always an Apple in my experience), to the issue of mouse plagues.

Yep, our cute little farm friend the Field Mouse is known to swarm in plagues on occasion in Australia. This is an inevitable consequence of mono-cropping on an industrial scale. Mouse plagues bring health risks to humans in the form of leptospirosis (which can lead to kidney damage, meningitis and bleeding in the lungs), and that is before we get to the risks posed by the main poison used to control them; zinc phosphide.

Death rates are in the millions per week range in a peak season. That is a LOT of death and suffering.

My 'favourite' quote from the film below, "If they drive [to escape the plague, farmers] risk skidding off the road!"

http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/infested/videos/infested-insane-mouse-plague/

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September 17, 2016
12:59 pm
Wanderer
Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
September 17, 2016
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About #2, it seems like a lot of people, particularly vegans and similar crunchy granola types, have a very poor understanding of the work required to harvest and process many wild natural plant foods. I have an interest in foraging as a hobby and the two biggest reasons people quit are:

- They DRASTICALLY underestimate the amount of work it takes to gather and prepare wild plant foods. They imagine that foraging is like a free buffet where you just wander in and pick up some food off the ground and eat it. This is largely not the case, aside from a few fruits and greens, which are not enough to sustain you by themselves. Even when fruit is in season, you usually won't find enough of it in a localized area for more than a few meals (perhaps the jungle is different). To sustain yourself you would need to supplement with fish, meat, or some of the more processing-intensive plant foods. It is much easier to set up a fish weir than to make cattail flour all the time.

- They DRASTICALLY underestimate the impact that thousands of years of selective breeding has had on the size, shape, flavor and nutritional content of farmed produce. Most plants you buy in the grocery store look as much like their wild versions as a poodle looks like a wolf. Wild foods tend to be much smaller and less sugary. This further decreases the energy and bulk yield of your gather, increasing the workload further. It also means that many people who are addicted to sugary store-bought fruits will complain that wild plant foods are too 'bitter' or 'bland' to eat.

I would recommend this vegan acquaintance of yours actually go out for a week and see how easy and great it is to live off only plant foods in the wilderness. Since he is so sure this is how humans evolved to eat worldwide, he can try it locally instead of in the fruit-heavy jungles. He might want to bring some beef jerky or pemmican as a backup, though. ;)

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