Before we jump to the questions and answers about veganism I like to make a short introduction to show you where I come from. I was practically born in the backpack of my father who was a very active hunter and fisherman that hunted all kinds of animals like bears, moose, birds, hare. I was also brought up in a small village of a few people that had farms and I also had friends in other nearby villages who had big dairy farms where my own brother worked at for 10-15 years. I’ve been taught how to hunt different animals and also how to fish different kinds of fish in different waters which includes the preparation of these animals which means everything from slaughter to ending up on the dinner table. I want you that read this to understand that I firmly understand the perspective of one eating meat, of one that hunts, of one that fish and one who is a farmer. I lived it all and experienced all for myself but one day I woke up and realized the ethical implications of all this because of the simple reason that none of it is necessary for our own survival which is something I was never taught but something I had to figure out for myself at later years.
So there you go, that is my brief introduction of where I’m coming from and I hope you keep that in mind while going through these different questions answers. That said I have to get this out of the way as well and that is that one who is supporting the meat, egg and dairy industry is actively supporting animal slaughter and cruelty because the money that you pay for your “food” is going straight to the industries and farmers that is causing it in the first place. It doesn’t matter if it’s free range, happy cows, happy chickens, happy pigs or whatever, they get slaughtered very early in their lives for no good reason where they could have lived long and healthy lives instead. Why do I say “for no good reason”? Because we do have another choice and there are millions of us that doesn’t consume or use animal products without any health issues or problems of surviving and even thrives. The question of humane slaughter that often comes across as an argument I have to say that it’s a contradiction of terms, double speak. An example would be to ask yourself if it would be ok for yourself to be “humanly” killed when you do not want to die. No it would not, it’s nothing humane about it. The definition of humane goes as follows: acting in a manner that causes the least harm to people or animals. To kill someone who doesn’t want to die is not causing the least amount of harm, it’s causing the maximum amount of harm.
Well you vegans still kill a lot of animals by accident, aren’t you a bit hypocritical?
Yes we do but veganism is all about reducing the suffering of animals as much as possible. No vegan is exempted from the fact that we do kill animals by accident because it isn’t possible today to live without killing animals but that doesn’t automatically mean that we should just kill even more animals for our own pleasure. There is a big difference between accidental killings and intentional killings. The intention makes all of the difference in the world and especially for the animals in our slaughter houses. The numbers of killed animals is far less on a vegan lifestyle than on a vegetarian or meat lifestyle and in order to fully understand things we must put ourselves in the position of the victim, not the oppressor. Also there is a new farming technique that requires zero killings of animals which is vertical farming. To read more about that then check out this link which is about Aerofarms, the worlds largest vertical farms.
But there are vegans who doesn’t get enough nutrition, what about them?
The lack of understanding when it comes to eating properly causes a deficiency in nutrition no matter if you are vegan, vegetarian or meat eater. All of the nutrition you need do exist in a plant based diet, you only need to learn what to eat which in truth everyone should do in order to keep the body healthy and free from things like cancer, diabetes, heart disease etc. It is even shown that those going on a plant based diet have less problems with nutrient deficiency than omnivores and you can read more about it in this article that is written by Dr. Michael Greger.
What about the protein?
Well you can’t really consume anything without getting some protein, well maybe jello. In fact I would go as far as to say that have you ever heard a doctor say to a patient that he/she have protein deficiency? If you are wondering about sources that are rich of protein then I would recommend nuts, seeds, beans and hemp.
I would even go so far as to say there is a deliberate created myth made about protein and if you do not take my word for it then this presentation with Janice Stanger might help you understand why. Janice Stanger, Ph.D. is a nutrition expert, educator, speaker, and author of The Perfect Formula Diet: How To Lose Weight and Get Healthy Now With Six Kinds of Whole Foods.
What about the B12 ?
When it comes to the B12 then people need to understand that our B12 is produced naturally in our small intestines because of bacteria. Here is a good quote with Dr Gina Shaw from this article where she talk about this.
B12 synthesis is known to occur naturally in the human small intestine (in the ileum), which is the primary site of B12 absorption. As long as gut bacteria have cobalt and certain other nutrients, they produce vitamin B12. Dr Michael Klaper argues that vitamin B12 is present in the mouth as well and intestines. Furthermore, Dr Virginia Vetrano states that active Vitamin B12 coenzymes are found in bacteria in the mouth, around the teeth, in the nasopharynx, around the tonsils and in the tonsillar crypts, in the folds at the base of the tongue, and in the upper bronchial tree. Absorption of the natural B12 coenzymes can take place in the mouth, throat, oesophagus, bronchial tubes and even in the upper small intestines, as well as all along the intestinal tract. This does not involve the complex enzyme mechanism for absorption (Intrinsic Factor) in the small intestine as required by cyanocobalamin. The coenzymes are absorbed by diffusion from mucous membranes (11).
Also if sheep and cattle gets B12 supplements because of deficiency then humans can as well without the need to filter it through another body. There are millions of vegans who take B12 supplements and those who suffers from B12 deficiency is most likely not taking their B12 supplements and are having problems with absorption due to gastrointestinal issues.
Here is a good video about B12 from Michael Greger M.D at Nutritionfacts.org
Here is an interview with Michael Greger M.D that goes through the subject of B12 shortly.
Also to gain some perspective about B12 with Michael Greger M.D
Personal note: I ALWAYS recommend vegans to use B12 supplements.
To end I would suggest that people watch this video that talks about a study that shows that B12 deficiency is also common among meat eaters especially over the age of 50.
What about the amino acids essentials?
Here is a video that also talks about the protein combine myth that been created and debunked decades ago, it’s with Dr Michael Greger from Nutritionfacts.org
Is there a way I can check the nutrients of my present / future diet to see if I would lack something?
Well you can sign up on http://cronometer.com which is totally free to use where you can fill in the different foods and see what kind of nutrients you might lack in.
What about the difference in the use of resources between a vegan vs meat lifestyle?
Well check out this 11 minute video that go through all of this and there is notes and sources to everything that is being said in the video at this link.
What about the history of veganism, have we not always eaten meat?
Well we can take a look at our ancient history and see how veganism have always been present throughout the ages. One thing that most scientists do agree on is that we started to eat meat at a certain point in our history which suggests that we didn’t in the beginning which brings us to the conclusion that we are natural herbivores but started to behave like omnivores. Here is three parts that goes through the history of veganism.
Part 1: Vegans in ancient times
Part 2: Vegans in the middle ages
Part 3: Vegans in the renaissance
Here is two links that will go through our anatomy more thoroughly including further explanations.
Are Humans Designed to Eat Meat with Dr Milton Mills
Humans are naturally plant-eaters is an article that is written by Michael Blueja
But I am doing workout and fitness training, is it possible to be a vegan and still be strong?
We have one vegan bodybuilder Barney Du Plessis and then you have Patrik Baboumian who broke the world record in yoke. There is many other examples of vegan people who thrive on the vegan lifestyle but thought I bring these two at least to show that you can get fit and strong and get all of the nutrition through a plant based diet. If you want a list of vegan athletes then check out this page: http://www.greatveganathletes.com
Patrik Baboumian talks about his diet.
What about the differences in health when it comes to a diet of meat vs vegan diet?
Well here you can watch an 11 minute video that shows what the difference would be for people on their different diets in healthcare costs. This is of course not the whole story of it all and very short but at least it gives you a picture of the difference. If you would like to know more I would suggest to research it for yourself and also check out the page http://nutritionfacts.org for more information.
Well I am still not convinced, do you have anything more to say or to recommend me watching?
I guess I could include a video with one of the greatest speakers in the world when it comes to the topic of veganism and that is Gary Yourofsky. Here is a presentation that he had that I think will give you some thoughts about the moral issues that isn’t explained more deeply here in this article. Gary Yourofsky, an animal liberation activist, national lecturer on animal rights and veganism, and founder of ADAPTT, a non-profit organization based in the US
The speech was held at Georgia Tech university in July 8 2010.
Any documentary specifically about the health effects of the consumption of animal products?
Yes here is a newly produced documentary called “What The Health” with Kip Andersen who is also behind the documentary “Cowspiracy” and here is the description of the documentary.
“An intrepid filmmaker on a journey of discovery as he uncovers possibly the largest health secret of our time and the collusion between industry, government, pharmaceutical and health organizations keeping this information from us. What The Health’ explores the secret prevention and cure for cancer and all other so called ‘diseases’. Including the cure for diabetes, heart disease, obesity, arthritis, dementia. Nature’s healthiest diet kept secret by governments and corporations.”
Where can I find more information about this subject?
I would also recommend checking out Vegan.com and The Vegan Society for more information. Then of course I would list some documentaries that go through the different aspects that the animal agriculture and fishing is causing in the world. Here is the list of documentaries: http://www.peta2.com/blog/animal-rights-movies-netflix/
Here are some useful links that I think people can browse through on their own to look at the different aspects of veganism.
A Leading Cause of Everything: One Industry That Is Destroying Our Planet and Our Ability to Thrive on It
AeroFarms – Inside the world’s largest vertical farm, where plants stack 30 feet high
I end this article with video summaries of 2015, 2016 and the progress in the vegan world when it comes to the spreading of awareness and the opening of new places etc.
Written by John Blaid
Last updated November 07, 2017