Tuesday, 14 May 2013
A lot to digest
An interview with author, Lierre Keith, was recently posted to Facebook and I felt it deserved some blog space. You can view the talk here and read a thorough rebuttal to Keith’s book here.
There is so much I would like to say about this talk but I haven’t the time to write it, nor do you probably have the interest to read it. It seems to tie in with the view of Allan Savory, which has been getting some attention lately. His TED talk can be found here and a response to that can be found here. The key consideration I propose is that both speakers may present compelling arguments but scratch beneath the surface and you will find many unsubstantiated claims and some simple investigation will lead you to compelling arguments that strongly refute them.
In regards to Keith’s claims about poor Vegan health, I would suggest people read, The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. It will provide a wealth of scientific evidence (the largest epidemiological study ever conducted) to support a whole foods plant-based diet. Keith’s claims regarding specific vitamins and fats is not one I’ve come across before, so I will need to look into it further. I would warn people to take what she says and writes with a hint of scepticism though – just because the host is enthusiastically swallowing what is being dished out doesn’t make it true.
Here is an example: Keith states, “The number one cause of death right now in farming countries is suicide”. Not sure if she says farming or foreign but in either case, I’m not sure where she is pulling her stats from. Have a look at this data from the World Health Organization and tell me where suicide fits. Cardiovascular disease and cancer feature prominently in the stats for high-income countries – diseases that Keith seems to attribute to a Vegan diet. Watch out, we’re being overrun by Vegans! Or could it be that wealthy countries consume the most animal products?
Clearly Keith has had a very poor experience with a Vegan lifestyle. Although she points to her own poor health as an example, I get the strong impression that her disdain for Vegans has more to do with the people she has encountered, than with the nutritional inadequacies that she attributes to the diet. Over the years I have heard of these ‘sick Vegans’ but it is almost always a friend of a friend who knew someone once. All of the Vegans I know are healthy, disease free and thriving. All of the people that I have met with cancer, heart disease and diabetes consume animal products.
Keith says, “One of the things about being a Vegan is, it’s not just what you eat, it’s who you are. That makes it really hard to examine new information”. Replace the word ‘Vegan’ with ‘meat-eater’ and you will see that this statement can apply to anyone. I believe probably even more so for meat-eaters though because eating animals is a lifestyle choice that most of us were born into and encounter reaffirming influences everyday; whereas most Vegans have arrived at an alternative through research and careful consideration.
Please share your comments.