New York, USA
You have made some good points. I believe resoundingly as you do that the ethical argument is not only essential but the best argument for people to remain committed to a veg diet.
There will always be, as there always has been, studies in which can be shown that consuming some animal products can be healthy. On the other hand, there has never been and will never be a study or anything else for that matter in which it can be shown that animals exploited and killed for people's collective taste preference (non-essential killing) were not exploited and killed for that reason. I believe that without a doubt, most people put more importance on the taste of something rather than how ideally healthy it might turn out to be for them. That's why the health argument is not an effective or successful long term argument.
(this is in response to your 5:03 PM message)
You are entitled to your own opinions but not to making up your own facts.
I don't dismiss the Herzog survey out of hand as you insinuate, rather I claim that it isn't a valuable resource for determining certain health claims because of what I previously stated. Please try not to put any more words in my mouth.
Next, who made you king? Please get out of your ivory tower and come all the way down to talk straight. For some reason you are presenting yourself as the know-it-all arbiter of what is and what isn't healthy. You knock Messina and Norris for advocating a "terrible" diet, “garbage foods”, and claim their evidence is "very poor" according to you. But you are acting creepy and you are quite dishonest in your crazy assertion that they use only the Psych Today article as the basis for their claims that the health argument often fails to keep people on a veg diet. You do the same thing insinuating that in spite of their entire wealth of nutritional knowledge or the conclusions they make based on years of studying nutrition and medical documentation, observation, and whatever else experiences they have in the field of nutrition, that somehow all of this makes them unqualified to give good nutritional advice and unworthy of your lofty stamp of approval. Otherwise, why would you even continue to reference ONLY that Psych Today article in the same breath that you condemn them as advocates of a terrible diet? That’s creepy what you are doing, Jeff.
If you bothered to be honest, you’d realize that instead of a “junk food-based vegan diet” (your words),
Messina in her book “Vegan For Life” actually advocates a healthy diet. For example, review the chapter titled “Vegan Food Guide” ( http://www.amazon.com/Vegan-Life-Everything-Healthy-Plant-Based/dp/0738214930/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332182475&sr=8-1#reader_0738214930 ). You even have the gall to denounce one of the high sodium packaged products put out by Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods as “starting to look like the foods Messina and Norris promote” in one instance and then in another instance you respond to my mention of “other products” endorsed on McDougall’s website as being “perhaps downright not healthy” foods in the hundreds of packaged items promoted on McDougall’s own website in this dismissive tone of yours, “I don't see any in that list you linked to”, a list which contains products that are either high in sodium and/or contain plenty of unnecessary sugars and fats. For example, with a tiny bit of mouse clicking, were you actually interesting in learning something helpful to you, you would have found that among the foods promoted on McDougall’s site is this lovely specimen: http://www.tastethedream.com/products/product/1492/204.php . Review the other products endorsed on McDougall’s site….still think that you don’t see any that may be downright unhealthy….really Jeff?
In your pugnacious attitude claiming that I don’t know a thing about the McDougall program as well as your assertion “And if you knew about Dr. McDougall's program you would know he recommends packaged soups only for when you are traveling or in a situation where it is hard to get a healthy meal, in which case these will do in a pinch.” you fail miserably at understanding that for the hundreds of packaged products including the sugary fatty ones like the one linked to above, here’s what the DrMcDougall.com text reads for these packaged products: “This is an Updated Canned and Packaged Products List of items that can be used on the McDougall Program. Criteria for selection include, no animal products and limited soy protein and added oils. We also strive to keep refining and additives to a minimum. This list is far from complete and you are welcome to offer suggestions for products to be included. Check this list periodically for new additions.” Just so you are no longer in the dark about this Jeff, these packaged products are “items that can be used on the McDougall Program”. There’s no “in a pinch” or “only for when you are traveling” qualifiers, Jeff. Are you finally getting it now? Don’t you see how wrong you’ve been all this time? Read it again if you didn’t get it the first time around.
And just so you are aware that I won’t let you get away with your deceptive tactics, concerning some of the items in the entire list of McDougall endorsed products, I had written “perhaps downright not healthy” not “downright not healthy” as you had quoted me.…there is a difference and if you plan to quote people, quote them in context. You see, unlike you, I don’t pretend to be an authority on health and nutrition.
Jeff, you really are making some of the most ridiculous arguments I’ve ever seen. You are self-contradictory and all over the place with your claims.
You definitely have taken people’s words out of context; you are simply not honest enough to admit it.
Your assertion that only the vegan world nutrition people that you happen to agree with can be right is absurd Jeff. I won’t even argue this with you because to give that line of thinking a moment’s more time would be to acknowledge the utter nonsense that you concoct in your head.
Finally, Vegan Outreach doesn’t claim, as far as I know, that it is some kind of official authority on clinical nutrition. that’s your misperception perhaps, Jeff. Just because on one of their web pages is written what you have quoted does not mean that this is meant to be taken as professional nutritional counseling or advice. That’s just in your head, Jeff. There are probably tens of thousands of web pages that can be found on as many websites where things are written about food choices and diet and not a single one of these pages are meant to be taken as professional nutritional counseling or advice. But on a Dr. McDougall’s website, the same can not necessarily be said; after all, that’s Dr. McDougall’s professional life work.
I strongly disagree with your beliefs as to the main reason today that notable numbers of vegans/vegetarians are reverting back to eating meat. Sure, for a certain percentage, that would be true, but your argument is not a convincing one and it doesn't jive with what I have been reading in article after article over the past several years and to which I have already noted previously.
But since there's no empirical evidence either way, we will have to agree to disagree.
You are definitely not paying attention or you have very serious reading comprehension issues.
I've already pointed out where you've quoted people out of context, stop playing a fool and address why you keep doing this. I've already pointed out several times where you have done this; if you are that much of a coward to address this behavior of yours, that's your deficit, not someone else's.
Of course you argue that the Psych Today article is the basis for their life's work conclusions...that's creepy that you have done that Jeff.
You can distort the truth all you want Jeff, it seems that you have perhaps a monetary interest in avoiding being honest about what is and what isn't allowed as part of the McDougall program. If you believe that Hip Whip and Cookies Rice Dream and a whole host of other sugar, sodium, and fat laden products isn't downright unhealthy then you have a radically dishonest appraisal of unhealthy foods and there's no point even discussing this issue with you. That would be like trying to discuss the issue of mistreatment of people with someone who believes slavery is acceptable. I won't engage with that person; I won't engage with you because there's no point.
Finally, in no way am I opposed to someone criticizing someone else BUT that criticism must be a qualified criticism and it must come from someone who doesn't take people's words out of context and doesn't make overly broad and sweeping dishonest generalizations. I actually have important things to do rather than waste my time arguing with someone who believes the crazy things you do, Jeff. Just because you went into a food bank and helped McDougall carry food or whatever it is you did to lend a hand doesn't in any way make you an authority on nutrition and doesn't make you professionally qualified to judge people who actually have taken the time and do the work to get legitimate nutrition degrees with your outlandish accusations. Obviously you don't even know the scope of Messina and Norris' studies and work in the field of nutrition. Why do you spew so much errant hatred at everyone you just happen to dislike for reasons unwarranted and misguided? There's something seriously wrong with you Jeff.
Good-bye, I'm done with your crap attitude.
No posts published so far.
I don't know where you're getting these smoking statistics from. I'm not extremely familiar with studies about cigarette smoke, but even a quick search on pubmed shows a lot of studies of social smoking or occasional smoking. And they all show that even limited smoking or second hand (or third hand)smoking is dangerous.
But that aside, smoking and eating meat are two different activities. A dangerous dose for one can't be compared to a dangerous dose for another.
I don't have a horse in this fight, but I think arguments for or against should be accurate and based on scientific consensus, not on the work of individuals.
Well there's definitely more "evidence" than there was when I last had this debate. But still only a couple of epidemiological studies, so not the sort of evidence that would convince someone like Ginny "Just The Facts" Messina. But for argument's sake, what if we were to play it safe and go for 2 cigarretes a MONTH ?
I can't say that I understand your point about comparing the risk of smoking to the risk of meat eating. The point I'm making is that there's a level of consumption below which the health consequences become negligible. At which point it becomes impossible to show the associated harm (in a RCT or even epidemiological setting). I'm sure you realise that such a level does exist even for smoking.
Regarding your point about opinions being based on scientific consensus and not on the work of individuals, I agree, but surely you don't think the above-mentioned doctors are just basing their opinions on the work of a few individuals.
Have you seen the number of references that Dr Campbell cites in his book The China Study ? That book includes Dr Campbell's review of hundreds of articles in the scientific literature as well as the China Project itself. I'm sure some people have been fooled by the seemingly persuasive and undeservedly well publicised criticisms of The China Study that are floating around. As well as criticisms from people like Jack and Ginny. Most if not all of which have fallen apart under closer scrutiny. And for the record, I don't think there's any scientific evidence on this planet that could withstand the scrutiny that that book has been subjected to. I'm sure that if you read it, you'll understand WHY it's been scrutinised so hard. Please also note that Dr Campbell has always been very clear about how far the evidence goes, as well as presenting a good case as to why people should go 100%.
As for olive oil, do you think these guys would recommend giving it up if they didn't think it was worth it ? Do you think they're just saying it because they think it'll make them more popular, or because they like destroying everyone's fun ? Do you think people such as Jeff Novick or Dr Barnard aren't reading all the same studies as Ginny Messina and Jack Norris ? I can guarantee you they are, and I can guarantee you that they're also evaluating the results of those articles carefully and seeing how that information fits in with what they've seen in their many years of clinical experience. And during those many years of clinical experience, I'm sure they've learned many things that aren't even IN the scientific literature (yet).
No doubt these docs sometimes resort to hyperbole-esque statements when trying to communicate their message to a brainwashed public, and maybe once in a while they might change their recommendations in line with new findings, and I know not all of them are ethical vegans, and some of them might say "plant-based" instead of vegan. But they still have a goldmine of information to offer you, and most of them risked their careers and professional circles to get that information to you. And not to have a dig, but I know a couple of ethical vegans who lament the use of the word "plant-based", and yet these same people haven't even plucked up the courage to tell their own mothers-in-law that they're vegan.
Vegan Outpreach and Ginny Messina drew a line in the sand many years ago when they said they don't think the health argument exists. And I think they made it quite clear that they wouldn't use it even if they thought it DID exist. And they don't want anyone else using it either. That indicates a strong bias in my view, and may well be clouding their judgement on these matters. And when you draw a line in the sand like that, it also means you're going to be less likely to admit you're wrong if/when that realisation comes.
You may be interested to know that Vegan Outpreach and Ginny Messina also think vegans should stop using the environmental argument:
They want this to be purely about the animals.
Although for some reason, they're happy to try and hook the public in with tasty fat-laidened food, which I find to be quite inconsistent with their values. Because that's really pandering to people's self-interest isn't it ? Just like the health argument. It's called the "taste argument". And there was me thinking it was supposed to be about the animals. And what are people going to do if they're stuck in some low-class hotel with no fancy vegan restaurant and no oven to make their vegan Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cakes ? Might they give up on veganism if the food they're faced with isn't up to the standard they've been promised by all those taste-promoting vegans ? It's just setting them up for failure if you ask me.
Anyways, in light of the possible biases mentioned above, I'd encourage you to contact the above doctors / RD's next time you hear Jack or Ginny or anyone else criticise their work, because there may well be something that Jack and Ginny are over-looking or not wanting to face up to. And it's only fair to give these docs a chance to defend themselves.
I can tell you from first-hand experience that they're very accessible.
All the best
P.S. - I realise that I've responded to a couple of points that you didn't actually make.
Ha ! True words, Jeff.
I think more and more people are getting sick of the non-stop health-bashing coming out of the Norris / Ball / Messina quarters.
At the end of the day, I think they're confused about what they stand for and derive most of their identity from the shots they take at others in the veg world. Others who are far too busy saving lives (human and animal) to retaliate.
I hope Norris / Ball / Messina find their true calling some day.
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