Plant based diet
Week of 17th February 2020
In recent years, the topic of plant-based diet has risen in popularity for many reasons. Health, climate change and animal cruelty. But what has been observed was that regardless of the reason for promotion of a plant-based diet, the reasons tend to be very one-sided and cherry picked to argue about one particular stance, as opposed to providing a full picture of pros and cons of being an omnivore or being a vegan. Opinions tend to swing from one extreme to another.
Last year, a Netflix movie, The Game Changers, was a great hit to promote a plant-based diet. It focused on impressive improvement of athleticism of world-class athletes, including sexual health. Equally entertaining was an almost 3 hours video interview between Joe Rogan and Chris Kresser on their views and opinions to dispute The Game Changers. Joe and Chris were not necessarily refuting the plant-based diet, but the portrayal of the plant-based diet. It discusses the importance of people making informed choices. The emphasis on the word “informed”.
A subsequent 3 hours long discussion together with Chris Wilks, one of 2 producers of the Game Changer, started and ended with the conclusion of an omnivorous diet being the best and a discussion on the type of meat that was necessary, which was free range meat.
I highly recommend Joe Rogan Experience #1389, Chris Kresser Debunks “The Gamechangers” Documentary but if time is limited, try:
From the web:
by Susan Perry
Eating a mostly plant-based diet linked to lower risk of cardiovascular disease
Blog on Sustainable Agricultural System
by Edward Talbot
Plant Based News
by Dr Justine Butler
BBC Article saying veganism affects intelligence uses outdated data
From our Chief Opinionator:
Is a plant-based diet the solution to all woes in our lives?
A plant-based diet has risen in popularity. The term “plant-based diet” labels a type of diet as opposed to a population. Any omnivore can incorporate plant-based diet without needing to be extreme. The popularity of plant-based diet suddenly becomes very appealing to a large population, as opposed to just the vegans.
As an amateur athlete who enjoys being active, I have sustained enough long lasting injuries from marathon trainings, rock climbing and trail running, that I wish there was a magical formula for injury free yet fit lifestyle. When I came across the Netflix movie, The Game Changers, I was mesmerized. Maybe I can become a vegan too.
However, as I started researching more on a plant-based diet, I realized the amount of mis-leading information that is out there. For example, there has been scientific research that relates red meat to cardiovascular disease. Yet plant-based diet promoters would almost make it sound like embracing veganism is the only solution to avoiding heart complications. Forget about white meat, a low fat low sodium diet, or regular exercising and less alcohol or smoking in your life. All you need to do is go eat plants only.
Extremism sells. As the world is also more focused not only on health but on climate change, raising livestock have also been highly criticized. What good way to make plant-based diet the saviour of mother earth by throwing in climate change. I am a strong believer of climate change and the need to reduce plastic and practice ESG. But I also strongly believe that while reducing cattle farms can make the world greener, I do not believe that is the only way to reduce effect of climate change. There is now research on a new diet for cows that will help reduce methane gas production. Human beings need animal based protein for certain nutrients that plants don’t provide. Converting land used for growing feed and raising livestock, to farmlands that grow crops for humans do not provide as much protein or quality protein value. Humans will need to consume multiple times more of this plant-based protein to get the same nutritional value, therefore more land will then need to be deforested to grow crops.
Last but not least, animal cruelty. This is a very strong argument to not eating meat. I completely agree. But how about focusing on free range cattle farms instead of banning meat altogether?
Surely there are less extreme measures to make us live healthier and longer and save the world at the same time, than to go 100% plant-based. At the end of the day, I have settled to a more balanced omnivorous diet containing less fat, sugar and salt, more veggies of different colours, and white meat for the protein. Something I have always been told by my mother and my grandmother. A more traditional type of extremism.