A Lifestyle Diet …

When people find out that I’m a vegetarian they often ask whether I did it for health reasons or for ethical reasons. The answer is very simple. My conscience became slowly more troubled by the fact that animals suffered and died in order for me to eat. I stopped eating dead animals. I eat eggs and dairy produce and yes, there are questionable practices there but I still had to live in the real world.

Gayle was traveling a similar journey but we were actually in different parts of the country when the final straw was put on the load. For Gayle it was the sight of sheep awaiting live export at Portland during a strike that held up their embarkation. They were held in appalling conditions. For me it was a few weeks among some vegos having no trouble with a meat free diet, something that I had hardly felt possible.

That was more than 25 years ago. We had kids to fees, we fed them meat. We feed the dog meat. There are some internal contradictions there but it does prove one thing. A major change in lifestyle diet is possible.

A vegetarian diet has to overcome some real deficiencies.

  • We have the gut of an omnivorous animal. Herbivore guts are longer and equipped with large caecums to ferment fibre.
  • There are nutrients that can only be obtained from animal sources such as B12.
  • Animal protein is complete in the essential amino acids whereas the balance is different in plant proteins  and a plant based diet is generally poorer in the proportion of protein.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are poorly represented in a plant based diet.

It surprises me that there is an assumption that being vegetarian is more healthy. But there are studies that show lower rates of all cause mortality and lower rates of heart disease for example <Here> and <Here>. I do wonder whether a fair comparison has been made here. We all know what a non-vegetarian is don’t we?

Vegetarians, vegans and the plant plus fish pescatarians have all made conscious adjustments to their diet, they take it seriously. The non-veg folk may have just gone on eating what their mother fed them as kids adding things that they found delicious on the way. We may have compared a thoughtful diet with the Standard American or Australian Diet (SAD for short either way) that has seen the money spent on processed food double since 1982 while spending on meat and veg has fallen. Pass me another energy drink, will you, I’m hypoglycemic.

For the first time in history the poor are fatter than the rich.

And I’m fat too. How did that happen? I avoided saturated fat, abandoned butter, got my calories from whole grains, ate my bread, 6 serves of fruit and veg a day. I followed the guidelines. I was good.

What is this stuff called insulin?

Nuts anyone … ?

As you may well know I’m the very model of a modern vegetarian …

Australian vegetarians might be healthier than meat-eaters but they are unhappier and more prone to mental health disorders, new research suggests.

The Alere Wellness Index shows vegetarians drink and smoke less and are more physically active than their carnivorous counterparts.

But they are also more likely to have depression and anxiety disorders, according to the Index made up of scores for nutrition, fitness, smoking, alcohol, psychological wellbeing, body mass and medical conditions.

Dr John Lang, who developed the wellness index for preventive healthcare company Alere, says the adoption of a vegetarian diet can sometimes follow the onset of mental disorders.

“So the diet isn’t the cause but rather the symptom,” he said.

“If you think of people that are committed to being a vegetarian it’s a fairly significant commitment and it picks up people at the fringe of the obsessive-compulsive spectrum.”

The study, which is based on 50,000 surveys a year conducted by Roy Morgan Research, also shows vegetarians are less optimistic about the future, with 28 per cent more likely to suffer panic attacks and anxiety disorders.

They are also 18 per cent more likely to suffer from depression than the general population.

In 2012, a German study of more than 4000 vegetarians and meat-eaters linked vegetarianism with higher rates of depression and anxiety.

An analysis of the respective ages at adoption of a vegetarian diet and onset of a mental disorder showed that the adoption of the vegetarian diet tends to follow the onset of mental disorders, they concluded.

But the good news for vegetarians is that they have the highest nutrition scores – with 105.9 points compared to 100.7 points for meat-eaters.

Sounds like bull shit to me but you can read a little more <HERE>.

Veggie day …

Meanwhile in Germany …

A dramatic fall in the polls for the Green party has been blamed in no small part on their Veggie Day proposal, in which canteens would be obliged to offer only vegetarian food once a week, with Germans (among the most enthusiastic carnivores in Europe) encouraged to follow suit at home … The Greens have fallen in the polls by between four and five percentage points since August – and a staggering 10 points since 2011. They are now predicted to get just 9%-10% on 22 September.

And the Worst Headline

Counterintuitive …

Let me declare a conflict of interest … I’m a vegetarian. But not a proselytising vego. Where the rain falls you can feed me on just 10% of the arable land required to feed people on meat. Great. But you can’t grow cabbages in the desert. So far as feeding people goes the rangelands can only be used for grazing animals. Australia is mostly desert.

The unabridged version of this talk can be found <HERE>.