The vegan diet is gaining a lot of traction nowadays. Pretty much all of the former vegetarians seem to have gone vegan, and more and more ordinary people are also adopting vegan-like practices, like consuming less meat. The reasons cited by the converts mostly have to do with health, the environment, or the ethics of animal foods. Personally, though, I will never even consider going vegan. Here's why:
1) Veganism is not better for your health
The number one reason for me, is that the vegan diet is actually terrible for health and performance. This may come as a shock to you, because we've always been told that fruits and vegetables are healthy. So how can eating only fruits and vegetables be bad for your health?
The fact of the matter is that the vegan diet is a diet that's very high in carbohydrates. All (digestible) carbohydrates get converted into sugar in the bloodstream sooner or later; spiking blood sugar and thereby insulin.
And seeing how plant-based foods are very low-calorie, vegans need to eat constantly throughout the day; spiking their blood sugar with every meal. This leads to insulin resistance and chronic inflammation issues.
In addition to that, the high-carb vegan diet also fails to provide a complete protein profile (needed for muscle retention) and is extremely low in essential fats. And because it's low in fat, it's also low in fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), which leads to all kinds of issues.
The lack of animal foods in general will also eventually cause deficiencies in other essential nutrients like vitamin B12 and vitamin D3. Ending up deficient in minerals like iron and zinc is also very common.
This is why most long term vegans are weak, constantly sick, inflamed and bloated, and almost all of them battle some form of depression, as a result of a lack of essential fatty acids and vitamin D, which impairs brain function.
And I say long term, because it's not uncommon for people to actually feel better initially, when they go on a vegan diet. One of the reasons for that is that many people actually lose a lot of weight on the vegan diet, which means they will largely be running on their own healthy fat stores and the nutrients that are stored in it.
But when they eventually get lean (or pregnant!) and fat stores get to a critical low, the afore mentioned deficiencies slowly start to build up; and health and physical performance quickly start to deteriorate. This may take years, although it can be a process of mere months in people with a physically demanding lifestyle, like athletes or pregnant women.
So even though it may still be theoretically possible to be vegan and remain healthy longterm, you would have to be a Frankenstein-level expert in supplementing your diet with minerals and vitamins sourced from non-animal sources through complicated chemical processes. If the afore mentioned doctors can't hack it, what makes you think you can?
And that brings us to the next point:
2) Veganism is not (more) natural
Despite the fact that you need to supplement all kinds of vitamins and minerals merely to survive on the vegan diet long term; vegans still often make the argument that a vegan diet is the most natural diet. They say that the human body is not designed to eat meat, seeing how we don't have killer canines, like many carnivorous animals.
But here is an inconvenient truth: if you were dumped into the wild and you had to survive on a vegan diet, you would not survive. The reason for this is that it's simply impossible to procure enough nutrition from plant sources in the wild. This is obvious for the arctic and desert, but it's even true for the rainforest.
If you've ever walked into a natural forest, you'll know that it's not like the garden of Eden. It's not like there are all kinds of edible fruits and nuts readily available.
You'll see lots of leaves, sure, but they have almost no nutritional value and they're full of anti-nutrients (basically toxins).
Why is that the case? Well, it turns out plants don't want to be eaten, either. Not by insects, not by animals, and not by humans. Just like other organisms, the survival strategy of the plant is not to be eaten, but to survive long enough to spread its seeds. For this reason, plants have developed their own natural pesticides, to fend off hungry animals as much as possible.
The only part of any plant that's actually meant to be eaten is the fruit.
And it's not out of altruism that plants produce these fruits, either. No, it's a strategy the plant uses to trick animals into spreading its seed. Fruit is brightly colored to attract animals, and it's filled with sugar (fructose), which makes sure that whoever eats some of it does not get satiated, but will always want more.
Many fruits are even full of fiber and other natural laxatives like sugar alcohols, which are carbohydrates naturally resistant to digestion, all to make sure that whatever animal consumes the fruit will defecate and spread the seeds soon, so that these seeds won't be subject to the hazards of the animal's digestive system for longer than is strictly necessary.
Of course, some animals can and do actually eat the plants themselves as well. But these herbivores have digestive systems very different from ours.
The stomachs of herbivores, for example, are not nearly as acidic as ours are. The consequence of that is that the bacteria that come with ingesting the plants don't get killed off in their digestive system. Instead, they survive and help slowly digest the plants, by fermenting the fibers and turning them into short chain fatty acids, that the herbivore can then use for energy.
In contrast, the pH of our human stomachs is incredibly low: about 1.5. This means that the acidity of our stomachs is closer to that of a crow (1.3) – a scavenger animal, than it is to the baboon (3.7) – an omnivore. Not only does this mean that we can't digest fiber at all, because our stomach acid instantly kills off the bacteria needed for the fermentation process, but it also means that we're actually biologically primed to eat meat – even rotten meat, if need be!
There's a reason why the first people were hunter-gatherers, not gatherer-hunters. We needed the nutrient dense animal foods for survival in nature. The hunting was essential, the gathering a bonus. Which is why each and every primitive population has always gotten the majority of its calories from animal food. A vegan diet is far from what the human body was naturally designed to consume.
3) Veganism is not more ethical
Lastly, the most commonly cited reason for going vegan is animal suffering. And, to be fair, there are plenty of horrible practices going on in parts of the food industry.
But if you think the food industry is cruel in general, I have to ask: compared to what?
Sure, if you compare the circumstances of livestock to your own living situation in the western world of the 21st century, it sure looks tough. But would it not be more fair to compare the animal's circumstances in the food industry to what their circumstances would look like in nature, without any human interference?
Really, if you still think that livestock is treated cruelly compared to what their circumstances would be like in nature, chances are you are just really out of touch with what nature actually is.
Because nature is nothing like the Disney movies. It's not like these animals would all live merry, careless lives in freedom in the wild; getting to retire early to see their great grandchildren grow up. Real wild animals are nothing like the sweet and cuddly domesticated pets and birds we still allow in our urbanized environments.
Real nature is raw and absolutely brutal.
A ruminant animal like a cow or a deer does not die of natural causes in the wild. Eventually, it falls prey to a predator, and that's not pretty. It's gruesome, slow and painful, as can be seen in this video (you have been warned).
As domesticated animals, however, these ruminant animals are kept alive for a long time, fed daily and sheltered from the threat of predators. Of course, they are eventually killed for meat, but they get killed in a way that is more humane than anything they could have ever experienced in nature.
Now don't get me wrong here, there is a good case to be made for treating animals in the food industry better – both for humanistic and health reasons. And if you want your animals to be treated better, by all means: buy organic products from pasture raised animals.
But using terms like theft, rape, slavery, torture and murder, to describe any and all practices in the animal food industry, like many vegans do, turns it into a moral issue of right and wrong.
And indeed, to 99% of the people who turn vegan, eating animals or animal products is morally wrong. It's not really about what's healthy or about what's the most natural, it's first and foremost about ethics. Everything besides that is an afterthought.
This also explains why vegans are incredibly consistent with their diet. A normal person that adopts a diet for optimal health may cheat on his diet every now and then, to eat cake on his birthday, for example. To a vegan, however, consuming animal products is a moral transgression.
Really, veganism is less of a diet than it is an ideology. And just like other morally-based ideologies, it leads to social shaming, violence and political action to control the behaviors of others. Vegans spread insidious propaganda videos designed to disgust people by the meat industry, and documentaries such as 'What the Health', where plant eating is conflated with health, while inconvenient facts, such as the actual health effects of a plant-based diet mentioned above, are purposefully ignored.
Skeptics of veganism are vehemently attacked. And those who go so far as to advocate the polar opposite of a vegan diet, namely a carnivore diet, can expect even worse treatment. Comments such as the one below are commonplace on carnivore Youtube channels.
It's ironic how many a vegan lives by the motto:
Animals are friends, not food.
seeing how vegans are a lot friendlier and more forgiving to purely carnivorous animals, such as their own pet cats, than they are to their meat eating fellow humans.
And it's here that the truth is finally revealed: veganism is an anti-human ideology.
It's really not about morality as much as it is just about being pro-animal. Human health be damned.
See, if the morality of veganism were to actually make any sense, it would need to be consistent. After all, if the same rules don't apply to everyone, but some groups get preferential treatment, then that's not a moral code. It's tyranny.
Now veganism essentially claims that we should extend human rights and the no-harm principle to animals as well. But that is not applied universally. It only goes one way.
For example: the cat does get to eat meat. For the cat, it's not murder to eat meat, because its health would suffer if it didn't.
But if a fellow human's health suffers on the vegan diet and they 'cave' to eating animal products to save their health, they can not expect any sympathy from the ideologues in the vegan community. In fact, the vegan community will be more outraged by such ex-vegans making Youtube videos, than by vegan parents who starve their own kids to death on a vegan diet.
Anybody who ever experienced any negative effects on the vegan diet just didn't do it right, according to the vegan community. There is always a vegan option. Classic example of the no true scotsman fallacy.
Veganism is more of an ideology than it is a diet, and its underlying values go little deeper than just being pro-animal at all costs. Human health is an afterthought at best on this diet, which is why the inconvenient truths about the detrimental effects of a purely plant-based diet on human health and performance are conveniently swept under the rug.
All the while, the secondary arguments for a vegan diet, such as it being healthier and more natural, hinge entirely on the idea that fruits and vegetables are healthy and on the misplaced belief that these foods are omnipresent and readily available in nature. Both of these are utterly false.
The reality is that human beings were naturally designed to thrive on animal foods and that eliminating them entirely from your diet will make you deficient in essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fats; and possibly lead to a host of other health issues as a result.
This is why I will never go vegan. And unless you value the health of other (carnivorous) animals higher than your own, neither should you.