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#1 Old 07-04-2015, 12:31 AM
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"Vegetarianism is not healthy" - what to answer?

I gave up meat one month ago, but even before that started a friend started telling me (and is continuously telling me even now) that vegetarianism is not healthy, that humans need meat because we can't get all the nutrients that we need only from vegetables, eggs and cheese (I don't want to image what she thinks of vegans). That she cuold never give up meat cause she likes it so much and it's healthy, not excessively, but it's good to eat it. That without meat, our body becomes weak, that this is why Japanese people (we are currently in Japan) were so weak before the foreigners came.


And all kinds of stuff. Basically, vegetarianism is not healthy and we shuold eat meat. She does have a valid point: if we don't eat meat, we don't get everything that meat and nothing else provides. Because humans are used to meat, so is it bad if we don't eat it?
I would like a response that can help me both keep healthy as much as possible and that I can also give to people who tell me that vegetarianism is not healthy.
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#2 Old 07-04-2015, 01:18 AM
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The only thing that animal products provide that humans need but not readily available in non-animal sources is vitamin B12. Vegans take a pill, or some get shots to be extra super careful.

B12 is synthesized by bacteria. Humans need an incredibly tiny amount of it. Deficiencies are pretty rare, but nasty when they happen. My read on it is that most deficiencies result from that person's body not processing it correctly, but like I said better safe than sorry.

Note that vegetarians who consume eggs or dairy will get B12 from those sources.

You'll hear stories about people falling deathly ill from following a vegetarian or vegan diet. Look a little closer at those stories. Dollars to donuts those folks' diets were technically veg*n, but were more accurately described as a STUPID diet. Feeding a toddler nothing but apple juice may be vegan by name, but I think we'd all agree it won't end well. Neither would it end well if you fed that kid nothing but bacon, yet we wouldn't see a media freakout over meat diets killing children.

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#3 Old 07-04-2015, 04:39 AM
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Plant foods contain all of the amino acids that meats contain. You just get them from a variety of plant food, not all in one plant food (though a few come close, such as quinoa).

There are many parts of the world where dairy and eggs are not consumed at all, where animal farming is next to nonexistent, and people live fine without this stuff. I also think it is incredibly racist to claim that people from countries that do not consume loads of meat are "weak" without foreign "help". I would take what that person says with a grain of salt.

I have been vegan for years and have had a lot of success without meat, dairy, or eggs. I went through three years of school and graduated with a 4.0 gpa without animal food to feed my brain. I landed my dream job and earned a certification. I workout five to six days per week consistently and outdo people half my age and twice my size. I cycle to work six months per year. I do all the things omnivores do. I have had various screenings and checkups and my health is fine give or take a few health problems I have had for many years as an omnivore and as a vegan (not related at all to being vegan). Teeth and gums are excellent. Cholesterol, glucose, triglycerides etc are optimal. Blood pressure is great. D levels good, B12 good. Hemoglobin smack in the middle of normal range (lots of iron in leafy greens, beans, soy, etc). I have even showed my test results to omnivores who claim I will get sick bla bla and end up with all kinds of deficiencies and I have proven them wrong thus far and they still stick to their beliefs and attitude that you need meat and dairy and eggs to thrive. Heck, even long term vegan athletes like Scott Jurek and Robert Cheeke who have outdone omnivore athletes by far and have thrived as vegans for twenty plus years still can't seem to convince some stubborn people that you don't need animal foods to thrive. Sighs.
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#4 Old 07-04-2015, 04:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chou View Post
I gave up meat one month ago, but even before that started a friend started telling me (and is continuously telling me even now) that vegetarianism is not healthy, that humans need meat because we can't get all the nutrients that we need only from vegetables, eggs and cheese (I don't want to image what she thinks of vegans). That she cuold never give up meat cause she likes it so much and it's healthy, not excessively, but it's good to eat it. That without meat, our body becomes weak, that this is why Japanese people (we are currently in Japan) were so weak before the foreigners came.
The Japanese were 'weak' before the foreigners came?

Given that one of the highest points of vegetarianism within Japan's history was during the Kamakura period, which is also the time when Japan repelled the Mongols twice..... I would say your friend might be misinformed.

The banning of eating animals was something many leaders, up until about the Edo period did. While it wasn't vegetarianism as we would see it today, your friend may not be entirely informed on the subject.

(I'm not saying I am, by the way. I know a little bit about Japanese history, but not much. In the process of learning though ).


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And all kinds of stuff. Basically, vegetarianism is not healthy and we shuold eat meat. She does have a valid point: if we don't eat meat, we don't get everything that meat and nothing else provides. Because humans are used to meat, so is it bad if we don't eat it?
I would like a response that can help me both keep healthy as much as possible and that I can also give to people who tell me that vegetarianism is not healthy.
Humans used to do a lot of things that were 'technically' good for us. I mean, invading another land gives you more land and resources, which is technically 'good' for us. But just because we can do something, just because it can benefit us, doesn't mean we need to keep repeating that action. This is especially true, if we're going to be able to get the same results, while minimising harm.

We can be healthy, happy and strong on vegetarian and vegan diets. There's a lot of body builders and athletes who can attest to that. It does take some planning though and depends on what you have available to you, where you are.

This was the first website I found that helped me plan my diet-

http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/

I strongly recommend checking out the 'My Vegan Plate' link as that was the simplest way for me to see how to plan my eating.

I also recommend the book "Becoming Vegetarian". It's lengthy, but it can help you answer a lot of the concerns around going vegetarian and even vegan.

Given you're in Japan, why not tailor your response to the questions that might come your way while you're there?

The Okinawan diet is touted as one of the major contributing factors for why people from Okinawa live longer than anyone else in the world. Not only do they live longer, but they're healthier. Where someone in the West will have developed heart disease or stomach cancer, the Okinawans seem to be free of those things. Their diet is very close to vegan and vegetarian diets. In fact, I know of vegans who eat the way those from Okinawa do just minus the animals.


Congratulations on going vegetarian and PLEASE do let us know if you find any tips/tricks or things to look out for while being veg in Japan. One day, I intend on going over there but I'm still a little worried I'll be living off ramen and rice the entire time!
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#5 Old 07-04-2015, 05:32 AM
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@Tiger Lilly : Actually, our major is Japanese language and culture. We studied Japanese history. Though I can't point out exactly when Japanese people started getter bigger and stronger (because I agree that a long time ago, they were very fragile), I know that it was the foreigners who brought dairy to them and large animals. However, neither me or her know exactly how history was.

Well, unfortunately, I live far from Okinawa (and really, that's a very, very expensive place), but I will document myself on the topic of Okinawan diet. And thank you for the site and the book.

It's difficult to be vegetarian in Japan. When i go back to my country, I will see how difficult it is there, but in Japan people are just obsessed with meat. I swear. Everything has meat and if you wanna eat already cooked food from the store, they all have meat inside. There are so few options that don't have meat. I'm a student and I eat in the cafeteria a lot. They just like mixing vegetables with meat and don't give you the alternative of choosing. First of all, they don't see fish as meat. And by vegetarian they understand "no animal products" so they all the time ask me if I can eat cheese after I tell them I don't eat animal flesh (fish is not included for them). So if you come, I can tell you about some alternatives that you can find here and that don't have meat. But mostly, you have to cook for yourself and vegetables are expensive. And fruits are outrageously expensive.

But anyway... there is also that thing that our ancestors were hunters and fishermen and without eating meat, our brain would've never been able to evolve. And this is why humans should eat meat. A lot of arguments against it that I honestly don't know how to answer. I just know that I don't want to eat meat, so I don't.

@Naturebound : Yes, I know there are also many athelets and sports people who are vegetarians of vegans and are doing better than omnivors. But somehow, people tend to ignore them. They say that you need meat if you wanna get involved in sports, you need protein that you can only get from meat, stuff like that.
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#6 Old 07-04-2015, 06:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chou View Post
I gave up meat one month ago, but even before that started a friend started telling me (and is continuously telling me even now) that vegetarianism is not healthy, that humans need meat because we can't get all the nutrients that we need only from vegetables, eggs and cheese (I don't want to image what she thinks of vegans). That she cuold never give up meat cause she likes it so much and it's healthy, not excessively, but it's good to eat it. That without meat, our body becomes weak, that this is why Japanese people (we are currently in Japan) were so weak before the foreigners came.





And all kinds of stuff. Basically, vegetarianism is not healthy and we shuold eat meat. She does have a valid point: if we don't eat meat, we don't get everything that meat and nothing else provides. Because humans are used to meat, so is it bad if we don't eat it?

I would like a response that can help me both keep healthy as much as possible and that I can also give to people who tell me that vegetarianism is not healthy.

Just say, You are misinformed. There's plenty of studies that have been done on the topic. If you want to see evidence, I'll send you some links later tonight.
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#7 Old 07-04-2015, 08:09 AM
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@rasitha.wijesekera : Yes, I would like to see the links. Thanks for the answer!
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#8 Old 07-04-2015, 11:03 PM
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@Tiger Lilly : Actually, our major is Japanese language and culture. We studied Japanese history. Though I can't point out exactly when Japanese people started getter bigger and stronger (because I agree that a long time ago, they were very fragile), I know that it was the foreigners who brought dairy to them and large animals. However, neither me or her know exactly how history was.

Well, unfortunately, I live far from Okinawa (and really, that's a very, very expensive place), but I will document myself on the topic of Okinawan diet. And thank you for the site and the book.
I think looking further into the history would be good (like I say, I'm only just now reading up on it, but I find it very interesting ).

I heard Okinawa is expensive....Actually, I heard everything in Japan is expensive. SIGH! But their diets may not be. I hope you find something helpful, in reading about their diets. It might help you stay healthy on a vego diet too.


Quote:
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It's difficult to be vegetarian in Japan. When i go back to my country, I will see how difficult it is there, but in Japan people are just obsessed with meat. I swear. Everything has meat and if you wanna eat already cooked food from the store, they all have meat inside. There are so few options that don't have meat. I'm a student and I eat in the cafeteria a lot. They just like mixing vegetables with meat and don't give you the alternative of choosing. First of all, they don't see fish as meat. And by vegetarian they understand "no animal products" so they all the time ask me if I can eat cheese after I tell them I don't eat animal flesh (fish is not included for them). So if you come, I can tell you about some alternatives that you can find here and that don't have meat. But mostly, you have to cook for yourself and vegetables are expensive. And fruits are outrageously expensive.
I thought that might be the case. There's a vegan 'tour of Japan' which I was considering doing, just so I could make sure I'm eating nice food while I'm there....But it doesn't include seeing Arashi so I think I'll have to find a third option. :P


Thanks for letting me know though.

And good on you for doing this under such difficult circumstances. I'm very impressed! I don't know what I'd have the willpower to do it.


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But anyway... there is also that thing that our ancestors were hunters and fishermen and without eating meat, our brain would've never been able to evolve. And this is why humans should eat meat. A lot of arguments against it that I honestly don't know how to answer. I just know that I don't want to eat meat, so I don't.
Another good book, to answer 'all those questions' is "But You Kill Ants" by John Waddel. It's pretty interesting.

But to help you right now, this is how I answer those sorts of statements-

Yes, my ancestors killed animals and ate them, which probably contributed to the human brain evolving. With my 'evolved' brain, I feel empathy, I can reason, I can employ logic. It is because of empathy, reason and logic that makes me not want to eat animals.

My empathy tells me they feel things the way I do. My reason and logic tell me that I wouldn't allow someone to hurt a cat, no matter how good she would taste, so it is illogical for me to allow the same thing to happen to a pig, fish, cow or sheep.

That's how I answer those questions. It's good to get other people's answers to these questions (and please, continue to ask for our advice on this, we're happy to help). But in the end, you have to speak your truth. You have to ask yourself why you don't want to eat animals and from there, answering becomes a lot easier.

So, what is it that appeals to you about being vegetarian?
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#9 Old 07-05-2015, 07:47 AM
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@rasitha.wijesekera : Yes, I would like to see the links. Thanks for the answer!

actually what I meant was you should say that.

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Vegetaria...qanda.aspx#age

This is a NHS link which is pretty much non animal rights driven. You can cite this.
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#10 Old 07-05-2015, 07:51 AM
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It's hard to argue such vague statements -- if you can find out which nutrients your friend thinks a veggie diet is lacking, you can start to put together an argument. A few things people commonly mention are protein, iron and maybe calcium. A more astute person could bring up B12 or DHA/EPA. I would recommend http://www.veganhealth.org for good info on vegan nutrition from a vegan registered dietitian, Jack Norris.
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#11 Old 07-06-2015, 11:44 AM
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which probably contributed to the human brain evolving
The main 'supporting' argument for this view is Aiello and Wheeler's expensive tissue hypothesis from 1995.

Here's the problem: it's been debunked. You can find the gory details at PaleoVeganology.

So should we use the science in our conversations? Absolutely not! At least not directly. Maybe indirectly with something like "Oh, yeah, the expensive tissue hypothesis. An article in the journal Nature used the data from the original study to show that it's incorrect".

The problem with using the sciency stuff directly is that you will rapidly outstrip your own knowledge and that of your audience. They end up all glassy eyed staring in to space and not really processing anything. If they have even a little bit more knowledge than you you'll be asked questions you don't know how to answer and they'll summarily dismiss everything else you said.

The solution may be an appeal to common sense wrapped in a sarcastic joke. "Well, I guess that explains why we have to pay tribute to our carnivorous nonhuman overlords. It's all that meat making them smart."

Although anyone who has ever lived with cats will be convinced that we are at the beck and call of a hyperintelligent meat eaters. They're just an opposable thumb away from absolute domination, man ...
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#12 Old 07-06-2015, 01:04 PM
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#13 Old 07-06-2015, 01:05 PM
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Just tell them "experts in the field say otherwise. Did you get your PhD in nutrition recently?"



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#14 Old 07-06-2015, 02:24 PM
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Hahahaha!
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#15 Old 07-15-2015, 06:33 AM
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The main 'supporting' argument for this view is Aiello and Wheeler's expensive tissue hypothesis from 1995.

Here's the problem: it's been debunked. You can find the gory details at PaleoVeganology.

So should we use the science in our conversations? Absolutely not! At least not directly. Maybe indirectly with something like "Oh, yeah, the expensive tissue hypothesis. An article in the journal Nature used the data from the original study to show that it's incorrect".

The problem with using the sciency stuff directly is that you will rapidly outstrip your own knowledge and that of your audience. They end up all glassy eyed staring in to space and not really processing anything. If they have even a little bit more knowledge than you you'll be asked questions you don't know how to answer and they'll summarily dismiss everything else you said.

The solution may be an appeal to common sense wrapped in a sarcastic joke. "Well, I guess that explains why we have to pay tribute to our carnivorous nonhuman overlords. It's all that meat making them smart."

Although anyone who has ever lived with cats will be convinced that we are at the beck and call of a hyperintelligent meat eaters. They're just an opposable thumb away from absolute domination, man ...

But....But Sam Neil was in an ad and there were monkeys. He TOLD ME THAT MEAT MADE MY BRAIN EVOLVE! IT MUST BE TRUE

Also, cats don't need opposable thumbs. They have the Internet. Now it's just a matter of time.
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#16 Old 07-16-2015, 09:50 AM
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Elephants are vegan. They are pretty strong.

Rice cooker. I have been using a small rice cooker for years to cook in. I even have a stove but seldom use it. A small plunge rice cooker will solve most of your problems with the cafeteria. Rice cookers can be used to cook oats, small beans like lentils, vegetables, bread, and warm up any and all food. All you need to do is have a small handful of vegetables, some rice, and some water. Cook them all together, and you have a quick staple meal. Certain vegetables do not need refrigeration if you eat them within about a week. Some have stems and can be put in a cup in water on a table as though they were flowers and they will not go bad.

For additional vegetables, you can sprout seeds. You can sprout mung beans, lentils, raw sunflower seeds.

Lastly, you can learn about local plants and see if there is free food in the area. I used to live in an area with many mulberry trees. I used to pick the berries when they were ripe. We have a local weed call goosefoot, that tastes just like spinach and is wild and full of vitamins. Local forraging can bring you lots of fresh vegetables. You can then save your money for more expensive vegetarian thins like tahini paste or coconut oil. (Hummus is very easy to make).

You have lots of cheap and free food all around you. Since we live in an industrial society where people have forgotten how to forage, we overlook the fact that thousands of plants are edible, not just the few plants that farmers grow. Look at some of the urban forraging internet sites and you tube videos for more information.

Last edited by Gita; 07-16-2015 at 09:52 AM.
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#17 Old 07-16-2015, 07:01 PM
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not to be rude but... your friend sounds uninformed and racist... Japan comment so tasteless and ignorant...


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