Veganism is difficult

Vegans are 40 per cent more likely to suffer from a bone fracture due to a lack of calcium and protein than meat eaters, a Oxford University study has found.

The study of more than 50,000 British people tracked over two decades found that giving up meat can weaken bones and even trigger osteoporosis.

It requires rather more attention to what is being eaten than most think.

To trot out one of my favourite stories – vegans coming in from India, a place where there are a lot for religious reasons, do, often enough, start to suffer from deficiency diseases in England. They’re eating the same diet as always but start to show obvious signs of lacking certain nutrients.

The answer being that they’re not eating the same diet. They’re missing the bugs and insects and the like that are in the Indian pulses, lentils, rice and so on and aren’t in the more industrially produced and packaged English.

14 thoughts on “Veganism is difficult”

  1. A friend of mine has been Vegan for maybe 30 years now, and she freely admits you have to pay attention to ensure it is a healthy diet – and she’s certainly healthier than I am. But it’s something she’s willing to do as part of her food acquisition processes. She put her veganism on hold while she was pregnant and breastfeeding.

  2. “The answer being that they’re not eating the same diet. They’re missing the bugs and insects and the like that are in the Indian pulses, lentils, rice and so on and aren’t in the more industrially produced and packaged English.”

    Any reference for that Tim? I’m sceptical since I would be surprised if there’s enough insects to make a difference – and moreover I would be surprised if the difference is that great, bearing in mind pesticides are common enough in developing countries while some insects will still make it into UK grains etc.

    Veganism in the Western sense is actually rare in India. Even Jains drink milk though they avoid eggs (and as noted on threads passim, root vegetables). Some Jains living in the West have gone fully vegan because they see the modern dairy industry as more harmful than traditional sources of dairy (their argument is that historically in India, dairy didn’t require the killing of cows) but as I understand it that’s a minority view. I wonder if that might account for changes from India to UK.

    (Incidentally the bug in your food thing is an indication of how even high-horse vegans both consume animals and, unless they live on wild foraging / produce of vertical farming / zero-pesticide, no-tillage farming à la Masanobu Fukuoka, take part in an industrial system resulting in the destruction of billions of animals. If a vegan starts nagging you for doing the same, one can always counter at their hypocrisy for eating monocropped food and not restricting themselves to e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_farming)

  3. . . . an industrial system resulting in the destruction of billions of animals.

    Billions of animals that wouldn’t exist, and reproduce, but for that industrial system.

  4. @PJF

    You’ve slightly missed my point, I fear. Vegans complain that non-vegans do that, sure. Hence your point that without the meat industry there wouldn’t even be so many cows, sheep, chicken etc. My point is slightly different. Almost all vegans are partaking in the destruction of billions of animals. And they don’t even have the advantage of saying “but those animals wouldn’t be there otherwise”. Quite the reverse in fact, millions of acres of monocrops that most vegans eat will sustain far fewer animals than the equivalent area of natural habitat. But even in those croplands, the use of pesticides results in the death of untold number of insects and small birds/rodents. Tilling the soil and mechanised harvesting likewise. Vegans care enough about insects that they refuse to eat honey (a fact that surprised me when I first encountered how passionately anti-honey they are – they seem to consider it grossly exploitative) so the far greater harm to insects done by industrial agriculture ought, by rights, to send them apoplectic and swear off conventionally farmed crops (even most “organic farming” produce too) for life.

  5. The easiest way to upset a vegan is to ask her if she knows how many bunnies had to die to protect her lettuce.

  6. I’ve heard this trotted out a lot and sniff bollocks. Sure, the highest-grade stuff gets exported because it secures the best prices, but Indian cooks and housewives deal with it by picking over. You should make at least a token attempt at this even with pulses bought in Europe, if you don’t want to feed your guests the occasional tooth-breaking rock with their dal.

    Besides which, insect infestations in pulses, rice, and so on are just eating the same damn pulses and rice. There is some biochemical transformation of course (thermodynamics tell us the transformation makes the foodstuff generally less, not more, valuable), but elements like calcium will be entirely unaffected. Maybe they are more bioavailable from dead moths than the rice the moths ate, but not to any significant degree.

    To extend a currently popular hypothesis the osteoporosis is far more likely to be a result of vitamin d deficiency in efnicks.

  7. Ethical vegetarians crack me up. If someone wants to be a Vegan, I don’t care. But sanctimonious claims they are protecting life are just ignorant. Them peas they eat were just as much alive as the chicken I eat.

    In this realm, animals must eat other living things to survive. Things must die for us to survive. It is Creation. It isn’t good or bad, it just is.

  8. There is also the possibility that there are facilities to measure it after moving, that probably were not available to them previously

  9. I’d have to pay 20% VAT on a diet of chocolate, potato crisps, take-away pizza and cola. I don’t see why vegans should get away with 0% on their home cooking, pulses and legrooms. Got to treat all food the same. Nothing worse than one group saying they’re being subsidised by another therefore they should be excused some awful behaviour.

  10. This is a thing i don’t get with the vegans’ moral (as opposed to health or efficiency) argument: it’s circular. Bear with me. Meat eaters are described as complicit in a holocaust of animals. That’s actually a quite accurate statement. Pre 1950s meaning was exactly what you’d see if you walked into an abattoir (but obviously they’re also not unaware of the modern moral evil overtones of that term). However not to eat those animals means not to rear them in the first place. Which means the populations reared for that purpose won’t exist. Which somewhat alanismorrissetedly brings us full circle. To eliminate a population is the UN agreed upon definition of genocide..

  11. @big/@tm

    Both sound plausible. I’d also be surprised about diet being exactly the same, and certainly about it being vegan in the modern Western sense.

  12. @HB

    It is said that there are 100X more whitetail deer in the U.S. today than in 1492. Hunters make sure there are large stocks of deer. The paradox is that banning hunting leads to the extinction of animals.

  13. So Much For Subtlety

    Bloke in Wales November 23, 2020 at 12:55 pm – “The easiest way to upset a vegan is to ask her if she knows how many bunnies had to die to protect her lettuce.”

    Unlike a lot of vegans I grew up among farmers. It may be possible to farm without killing large mammals. But as others have said, ploughing involves killing insects. However I endorse the bunny question – what is a farmer to do if his dal crop is invaded by wild deer? Or pigs? Or rabbits? He is to sit there and wait for them to go away? Farmers need to protect their crops. Which means blowing Bambi away. There is no third option.

    That is probably why historically most Jains have been merchants.

    Hallowed Be November 23, 2020 at 9:00 pm – “Meat eaters are described as complicit in a holocaust of animals. That’s actually a quite accurate statement. Pre 1950s meaning was exactly what you’d see if you walked into an abattoir”

    A holocaust is literally a burnt offering. I am pretty sure, having grown up around abattoirs (but not worked in them I admit), that they do not burn the bodies of the animals they kill to glorify Ba’al.

    I could be wrong though.

    “However not to eat those animals means not to rear them in the first place. Which means the populations reared for that purpose won’t exist.”

    So animals should paraphrase Eartha Kitt and say they were glad their granddaddy got on that damned boat?

  14. SMFS- ok and imagining I’m in my no wifi pub which bars looking things up i grant that maybe the epistemological root is “burnt offering” but still want to say that there was an everyday, possibly metaphorical, use to describe a scene of mayhem/slaughter/carnage. I had an old encyclopedia (1950s) that showed a picture of a US air attack on a japanese held island airfield. Low level, there are spouts of water of different heights where rounds,shells and bombs are hitting the water, and puffs of ak-ak smoke in amongst all that are a several US planes (can’t remember the type)> the caption on the photo read “US fighters attack airfield amidst a holocaust of fire) something like that. – i concluded then that holocaust had a more general meaning at one point.

    Eartha’s grandaddy and Eartha had very different lives and that was enabled by a shift in the moral and legal techtonic plates. I can see a vegan insisting that is exactly what should happen. But it doesn’t apply and they can’t be equated anyway- there would be no eartha.

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