Jeff, your comment: "Messina and Norris are clueless when it comes to using a plant-based diet for health" is a ridiculous thing to say and does you and Vegsource discredit. I would advise anyone interested in forming a balanced opinion of the work of Ginny Messina or Jack Norris to read their book (co-authored with Reed Mangels) "The Dietician's Guide to Vegetarian Diets". This book is the best researched and most comprehensive guide to vegetarian and vegan nutrition I have come across. Have you read that Jeff? I am guessing not. Your statement that they have never published studies is also inaccurate - Jack Norris is a well respected nutrition scientist despite his connections to the soy industry.
I am a health-motivated vegan and a fan of the work of Furhman and Esselstyn and the others you laud, but I also really admire Messina and Norris for their balanced, sensible appraisal of the research on diet. I would strongly recommend to anyone interested in this debate that you read some of the reviews of research on Norris's website before you take Jeff Nelson's word for it that Norris and Messina know nothing about health and nutrition. I would also recommend that you take a more in depth look at Ginny Messina's dietary recommendations which are not nearly as extreme as portrayed in Jeff's articles.
Louie Gedo - I agree with many of your points and you make an interesting observation about the influence of the "happy meat" movement.
Correction to my comment: Jack Norris is co-author with Ginny Messina on the book "Vegan For Life". Mark Messina is co-author with Ginny and Reed Mangels on "The Dietician's Guide to Vegetarian Diets". It is the latter I particularly recommend, plus Jack Norris's blog posts.
Posted by Kate S, March 8, 2014 at 01:24 PM
Posted by Kate S, March 8, 2014 at 09:08 AM
Posted by Kate S, March 6, 2014 at 05:00 AM
Posted by Kate S, March 4, 2014 at 11:25 AM
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.
Copyright ©2014 VegSource Interactive, Inc. Reproduction of material from any VegSource pages without written permission is strictly prohibited.
VEGSOURCE ® is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a trademark of Mostly Magic Productons, Inc.