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We are all surprised, aren’t we?

Eggs, milk and meat offer vital nutrients that cannot be easily obtained through a vegan diet, a major United Nations report has warned.

I mean we knew this – as those amusing stories of vegan influencers having to eat liver extracts to keep their anaemia at bay prove – because we’re sensible and informed people. It’s possible to be healthy and vegan, just difficult. But anyone who has ever met a selection of vegans would also know this without any of that heavy tech stuff.

It’s a bit like Randites, or MMTers. The frothmouth and swivel eyes reminds that there’s something not quite right here…..

21 thoughts on “We are all surprised, aren’t we?”

  1. I have mentioned this before, but a friend of mine has two girls, about two years apart. The eldest has been vegan since she was 12 and is perfectly healthy AFAIK, but she is also four inches shorter than her younger sister.

  2. We did know this, but I didn’t expect the UN to admit it. I would have thoguth they were in favour of sacrificing all the cows to the climate god

  3. Ever since I did O level biology a hundred years ago and was discovered how rabbits had to supplement their diet, I’ve never found a vegan diet at all attractive…
    For readers who are aiming to be politicians and have no knowledge of most things, it gives you extreme halitosis. Mind you, it doesn’t seem to affect a rabbit’s sex life, so perhaps there’s a deeper point here…

  4. @Grist,

    Rabbits don’t shag in the Missionary position, so bad breath isn’t an answer.

    Mind you, vegans want us to eat their shite, so it isn’t that much different to rabbits, who eat their own!

  5. I’m a bit surprised, yes, but then again this is from the United Nations.

    I’ve been vegan for well over half my life (I have my bus pass!) and I seem to be in pretty good nick without having thought too hard about it. I know omnivores who spend lots of time worrying about micro-nutrients and the like. As Anthony Giddens pointed out in the 1999 Reith Lectures, most people are “on a diet” (i.e. eating for some purpose rather than what gets put infront of them) these days. Most of my ailments are down to anno domini and injuries picked up in my more active days. My mum always said I would get anaemia, but the nice lady who checks my blood when I donate tells me I’m not.

  6. A family member of mine learned this the hard way. It’s not enough to get iron. Humans need heme iron as well, which only comes from animal flesh. No amount of spinach or kale will provide that.

    After years of a vegetarian diet, she ended up with an iron deficiency, which affected her immune system. Her hair began falling out in her teen years. Had to get her tonsils taken out at age 20. One night during the healing process, she almost died as she began hemorrhaging blood from the back of her throat. She became a pescatarian after all that, but is still experiencing kidney issues before the age of 30, and it doesn’t appear they will ever go away.

    I won’t even engage with vegetarians or vegans anymore.

  7. Don’t suppose there’s anything particularly harmful in being vegan. There’s plenty of cultures eat little or no animal products & they survive. On the other hand, they don’t seem to run to many tall people. Although they’re also a testament to the infinite carrying ability of shrivelled little old ladies.
    Human cultures have thrived on eating no meat & on eating little but meat. The body really doesn’t care where it gets the stuff it needs. As long as it gets it in sufficient quantities. As suggested in a recent post, dietary science is the preserve of the profoundly ignorant and/or grifters.

  8. As with many things it is down to wiring and partially genetics. I’ve known high caste Indians who eat no meat ( not even fish ) but do consume dairy products ( ghee of course ). Needless to say these guys have been doing it for thousands of years.

    My neighbour is a very fit vegan, but again his parents were too and he has carefully studied the right techniques and foods.

    Something that surprised me when I went to Japan 20 years ago was how tall the boys were compared to their parents. The last couple of generations have had much more meat in their diet.

  9. When butchers start selling dietary supplement pills, multivitamins, calcium and iron supplements like all the “Health food” shops I’ve seen in the last four decades, I may start believing claims that vegans/vegetarians genuinely have a healthy diet.
    Marathon runners can get enough protein from a vegetarian diet while consuming double or more the average person’s calorie intake but those with an average calorie intake seem to have problems.

  10. Humans evolved as hyper-carnivores, which is really all you need to know. For optimum health eat a species-appropriate diet, just like every other animal on the planet. For humans that means (mostly red-) meat and fat, with zero-to-minimal plants.

    The body really doesn’t care where it gets the stuff it needs. As long as it gets it in sufficient quantities.

    Actually the body does care where it gets the stuff it needs, because not only is meat more complete and superior to plant alternatives, it is an elimination diet: you don’t get any of the inflammation, poisons, anti-nutrients, lectins, etc that come with consuming plants and which, unwittingly, cause so many problems for so many people. Spinach, for example, that well known super-food, is notoriously high in oxalates which can wreak havoc throughout the body, with a list of potential symptoms as long as your arm.

  11. Humans evolved as hyper-carnivores,
    What!? With these teeth? Humans evolved from a fruit eating tree dweller to an opportunistic omnivore. It’s one of the tricks of being human. Being able to gain nourishment from virtually anything & occupy multiple evolutionary niches.

  12. Think about it. Humans have neither the teeth nor the strength to penetrate the hide of anything but small animals. And lack the speed to catch them. You’d starve to death sitting next to a dead cow. Unless you hung around long enough for it to rot. And you don’t have the equipment to challenge an evolved scavenger who could. There’s no evolutionary path would lead to what you’re suggesting.

  13. @ bis
    Flint flakes cut through the hides and while early humans lacked the sprint speed of most decent-sized food they had the stamina to run them to exhaustion and then catch them – apart from the ones that got caught in their traps. As you said, early humans were omnivores – and most of us still are.

  14. @john77 Sure by tool use more things are possible. But tool use is comparatively recent. For a carnivorous ape, you’d have to be starting much earlier than that. And why would it invent tools? A carnivore doesn’t need them. Carnivores are tools.

  15. Humans are unique in that, for thousands of years, since the start of agriculture, the evolutionary correct diet has become lost and unknown.

    Until very recently all we had was comparative anatomy to try to guess at it: teeth, digestive system, cecum, etc.

    However, we now have the wherewithal to chemically analyse the remains of early and pre humans to determine what they ate: and they (we) are hyper-carnivores. No more guessing.

    We evolved first as scavengers, then as cooperative persistence hunters.

  16. @ wat dabney
    I hadn’t met the word “hyper-carnivore” previously. It seems to have been invented recently. Google says it means an omnivore that eats a lot of meat as distinct from a carnivore like wolves and tigers that only eat meat. Odd use of the “hyper” prefix.

  17. The more extreme version – cats, say, who must have taurine in their diets as they cannot internally generate this essential amino acid – is “obligate carnivore”.

    So, people are trying say the spectrum is omnivore, hyper-carnivore, obligate carnivore. I call that misleading myself.

  18. It’s bollox John because it’s meaningless. We’re talking about evolution not habit. Lots of otherwise normally vegetarian animals have the ability to derive nourishment from meat. They’ll eat the afterbirth, for a start. Pigs can & do eat carrion & fortuitous small game. And lots of normally carnivorous animals can derive nourishment from vegetable matter. Dogs happily can. So can bears. But evolving to where it’s necessary to consume the contrary sustenance is a different matter. What possible advantage could it provide to re-jig the digestive system without evolving the physical capability to supply the need? It’d be an evolutionary dead end. Although the nearest to the human line had a possible body plan could have were Neanderthals & look what happened to them. There’s nothing in the line leads to us has either the physique or the teeth to support a need for animal protein. Tool use doesn’t help, Tools that would enable dependable hunting are far too recent. You need more than a chipped hand axe. People who come up with these ideas have never tried to hunt. By the time it got to that stage the humans doing it were already us.

  19. Well bis, a couple of my nieces are vegans and they seem to be ok. I’ve tried vegan food, and it was reasonably tasty, but not really satisfying. Perhaps this was because I grew up on meat and vegs.

    Must admit I incline to your point of view, that humans evolved from a fruit eating tree dweller to an opportunistic omnivore.

    The abos had paleolithic technology, and they were both hunters and gatherers. The bloke’d bash a kangaroo on the head if they could get one, and they’d all eat the stuff the women managed to scavenge if the blokes didn’t have any luck.

    I’ve always felt that this scavenging tendency in the girls is what makes them so fond of shopping.

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