The Vegetarian Myth


This book is required reading for anyone who is thinking about becoming a vegetarian.?

I have just read a very interesting book called The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice and Sustainability by Lierre Keith. Lierre was a vegan for nearly twenty years. She tells her story of how veganism destroyed her health. She came to understand that vegetarianism was not the answer to: glowing health, feeding the world’s hungry, stopping animal cruelty, or saving the planet. This was a painful realization which she articulates with compassion.

I was a vegetarian for six years. When I was nineteen, I read Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe. It changed my life. I thought I could do one simple action, stop eating meat, and I would change the world. Unfortunately, vegetarianism didn’t work very well for me. I think The Vegetarian Myth is a good book to read. I wish at nineteen the book had been available to take the fire out of my own zealous beliefs. It could have saved me much suffering.

The Weston A Price Foundation has a Website Tour for Vegetarians. There are a number of excellent essays on the topic. These articles will give helpful suggestions that will protect the vegetarian’s health from common pitfalls.

If you would like to have more information about The Vegetarian Myth, I have a link to Lierre Keith’s website.

Updated January 9, 2010: The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen was a very influential book for me in the 1980s. It was my favorite vegetarian cookbook and I used to recommend it to everyone. This is a link to Vegetarians Who Eat Meat. Apparently Mollie Katsen, a 30 year vegetarian, is now eating grassfed meats.

Updated February 26, 2012: Many vegetarians and vegans talk about feeling great after changing their diet. Part of this may be psychological. If you feel guilty about eating animals, not eating animals relieves the guilt. But some of this great feeling may be physical. Please read Vegans Are Cannibals: The Truth Behind the “New Vegan High”. Using the term cannibal is hyperbole. The article is really talking about autophagy. Read the comments too. There can be much help in the experience of others walking the same path. What do you think?

One thought on “The Vegetarian Myth

  1. This is a letter to Transition Town Powell River, BC regarding vegetarian diets and carbon footprint. It is in response to the statement: “Eating less meat is one of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint.”

    I believe this is an false and dangerous statement.

    I have been doing research on the Transition Town movement and I have noticed a disturbing number of references to vegetarian diets being good for the planet and good for people. I would suggest that a person find nourishing locally produced foods from both plant and animal sources. This will help the person maintain their health while supporting local food producers.

    One of the first rules of permaculture is the inclusion of both animals and plants into the farm ecology. Animals will improve the soil faster than any other method I know of, cheaply and efficiently. The soil can later be used for the production of vegetables, nuts, fruits, beans, grains and other crops. There is also mounting evidence that pasture-based meat production will reduce carbon in the atmosphere. These marginal grazing lands can then be used for producing high quality grass-fed dairy, eggs and meat.

    Lastly, I believe a vegetarian diet can be very unhealthy for many people. It can make them sick and weak. Over the years I have started to wonder if the vegetarian diet is a way to take young healthy morally oriented people that really want to do something for their world, and make them into ineffective, sick and weak people unable to do the work of changing the world. Later these young people may have trouble conceiving and bearing healthy children. If this statement sounds incredible please read some articles from the Weston A Price Foundation Tour for Vegetarians.

    Good Luck with your transition. I wish you the best.

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