(photo credit: foodfightgrocery.com)
So, I’m browsing books on Amazon.com when The Vegetarian Myth catches my eye. I immediately begin to wonder how someone filled an entire book discrediting the fallacy that a plant-based diet is devoid of sufficient protein. To my dismay, this isn’t what this book is about at all.
Instead, it seems that the author, Lierre Keith, who claims to have been a vegan for twenty years and is now suffering the consequences, wants to warn other vegans, vegetarians, and the sixteen-year-old girls she claims PETA preys upon against the same dangerous path.
Keith largely blames her veganism for her degenerative joint disease, hypoglycemia, irregular menstruation, exhaustion, ever-present cold, gastro-paresis, depression, and anxiety. She even goes so far as to prematurely blame soy should she ever contract cancer. She further warns of the increased susceptibility vegans/vegetarians supposedly have of suffering fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s, fertility problems, endometriosis, anorexia, heart disease, and mental and neurological disease. But not to worry: she has a doctor that works with her and other “recovering vegans.”
To add insult to misinformation, all of the communication she relates having had with vegans depicts them as childish, uninformed, ignorant, inarticulate, unhealthy people. And she hopes to capitalize on our cult mentality by swaying us towards hers:
After a few meals of real food and the flood of well-being they release in you … you’ll have to start telling–confessing–to your friends. And some of them will hate you. Remember this: you can get new friends. You can’t get a new body … There are also people who will be relieved. Your mother, for instance … you can tell your mom she was right.
She goes so far as to tell readers that vegans should consider rice grains, almonds, and soybeans “plant babies” in an effort to get those who generally oppose killing to consider why these deaths don’t matter.
Of her own return to the carnivorous lifestyle, she says,
The first bite of meat after my twenty year hiatus marks the end of my youth, the moment when I assumed the responsibilities of adulthood … for someone to live, someone has to die … All they ask is that I take my place, a predator … until I am prey.
Ultimately, the myth she speaks of is based entirely in vegetarians’ ignorance. She blames the vegetarians’ soy, wheat, and corn fields for desecrating the natural landscape and suggests that by abandoning them we can “let the world come back to life.” However, she doesn’t mention that these countless acres of soy, wheat, and corn don’t sustain a vast population of insatiable vegans and vegetarians, but rather the innumerable factory farmed animals that fulfill greed and carnivorous appetites.
Although she summarily denounces the veg lifestyle on many merits, the purpose of the book is actually to outline her own personal brand of environmentalism and her recipe to save the world. But because she gets so wrapped up in discrediting vegetarians, her message is lost: it serves only to perpetuate and validate misinformation, as exemplified in the some of the corresponding customer reviews:
“…yes, my adult-onset diabetes is likely directly related to my decades of vegetarian eating, with its necessary high carbohydrate content.”
“Vegans do have a reputation for being rather difficult and high-strung…”
“I have a [vegan] friend who says he thought about killing himself four times a day at one point in his life; I was lucky if I merely placated [sic] taking my life four times an hour…I decided by eating meat once, I had nothing to lose. And just as Keith describes in her book, my brain felt absolutely overwhelmed by this experience—and free from thoughts of death…(Incidentally, I grew an inch at the age of 23 after starting to eat meat).”
So we see what happens when you use the word “vegetarian” in the title of your environmental treatise merely to sell books: vegetarians are not duped into buying it, and non-vegetarians that do are simply looking for an excuse to continue being unhealthy; they have no interest in saving the world.