by Geoff Roberts
There are essentially three reasons that a person might give to explain why they decide to eat a vegan or vegetarian diet. The first being that the person feels it is immoral or “mean” to consume animal products. Second reason being that the person is under the impression that meat and/or animal products are unhealthy for the human body. Lastly, a person might just not like the taste of animal products, plain and simple. All but one of these reasons are absolutely ridiculous for several reasons. However, it is not unlikely that these reasons are simply a cover-up for the real, unspoken motives for being vegan.
There are several clues that would leave a person to believe that people choose to be vegan in order to be part of something bigger than themselves, to “fit in” or simply for attention. The words “vegetarian” and “vegan” themselves are evidence backing this theory. Why do these eating styles need to be labeled with their own words? There are plenty of people who choose to avoid gluten, but they do not call themselves a specific word to describe not eating gluten. Personally, I choose to not eat bread products or drink milk, but I have not made up a word for this “diet” so that I can tell people that I follow it. It is easy enough to say that I do not want a piece of bread while sitting at the dinner table, I do not have to say no, then proclaim that the reason I say no is because I am a “Geoffetarian”. That said, it stands to reason that many of these vegetarians are more interested in being “part” of something than they are in not eating animal products.
Choosing not to eat any animal product due to the fact that it is immoral or “wrong” is an often claimed reason for being vegan. Understanding where this sentiment comes from is not difficult, as there are many people who feel a deep emotional connection to animals. However, to say that it is wrong for any human being to eat animals is a bit comical. Humans are and always have been at the top of the food chain, meaning our consumption of animals has a large effect on the population balance of all living things on earth. Saying that humans should not eat animals would be similar to stating that sharks should not eat smaller fish or animals in the ocean. If this happened, it would pretty much destroy the majority of life in the ocean. I do not hear anybody arguing that we should prevent tigers from eating antelope and other mammals, but this is a very similar rationale to the human/animal argument.
The most common reason that a person chooses to be vegan is because they are under the misinformed impression that meat is inherently bad for our bodies. I will not delve into this fallacy using in-depth sciences, as that is for a different day, which I would love by the way. It is interesting that every human being has sharp “canine” teeth in their mouths designed specifically for searing meat, but we are not meant to eat meat. I find it hard to believe that mother nature, evolution, God, or whatever else you might believe in is that blatantly dumb. Vegans have to eat foods in very specific combinations in order to “make” a complete protein, which can be found in any piece of meat. So by this vegan theory, human beings are supposed to spend countless hours gathering specific plants in order to make the right amino acid profile as opposed to just eating a piece of meat? Seems unlikely. Working in a supplement store takes the idea that meat is unhealthy to whole new level of comedy. On a weekly basis you have customers who come into the store who “need” dietary supplements to fill in nutritional gaps they have caused themselves by refusing to eat animal products. Apparently the human body was crafted in a way that makes modern dietary supplements essential! How convenient.
Some more extreme examples of the fallacy of the meat-is-bad theory include talks with the elderly, and stories of survival. If you are to ask any person who is 85 years old or older how often they ate meat during their lives, 99 out of 100 of them will say “daily”. Interesting that such a “bad” food is consumed by all the individuals with the greatest longevity. In survival stories where a person or people are lost or stranded with a single food source, meat is always the best option. The human body will not be in a very good state if one is attempting to survive solely on rice, oil, or broccoli. Any of these foods being used as sole source of nutrition will cause the effects of malnourishment to become obvious in short order. Red meat or fish on the other hand, as long as ample water is available, will sustain the human body quite well for an extended period of time. Just as a side note, I personally have type 1 diabetes, Hashimotos Thyroiditis, and Addison’s Disease, and the higher percentage of my diet that comes from meat, the better my blood work is, every time. You do the math.
I have absolutely no issue with a person choosing to eat a vegan diet. I do however, have an issue with people preaching the effectiveness and health benefits of an animal-product-free diet. Preaching any idea or theory you believe in to a person who did not specifically ask you to, is offensive and annoying as it is, but these negative connotations take on a whole new life when the theory is based on fallacies. This is not to say that all vegans preach to other people, but most people who have interacted with vegan dieters will agree that they normally do. I have personally heard the line “meat is so bad for you” on numerous occasions without provoking it in any way. If you are going to “be part of” something and walk around telling everyone it is the end all be all, at the very least you should make sure that the basis of the idea is not, for lack of a better word, silly.