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Is vegetarianism healthy?

Re: Is vegetarianism healthy?
January 15, 2009, 06:33:01 AM
I think this thread has become a matter of meat vs. non-meat, when it should really be a matter of generally what should be eaten, and what shouldn't be eaten:

-Poorly-raised animals
-Anything that's tainted or unnatural or overly-processed

There should probably be a longer list here. After the list, it should be up to individuals to choose what's good for them. Common sense, yes?

I treat grains as filler food, and while they make you full, they're basically nutritionally-empty and probably lead to loss of bone density.

I elected to stop consuming dairy a few years ago, partly because the hormones in the milk naturally were problematic, and contained estrogen-like hormones, among other things. Children hitting puberty at age 9 and 10? Not my gig, thanks.

The site I was reading (http://www.notmilk.com)pushed for vegetarianism, but I thought that was bullshit. I wasn't going for vegetarianism, but I thought milk always made me a little queasy and sick all the time, so I stopped consuming dairy altogether. I had soy milk for a while, but that was disgusting and only after a month on this non-dairy diet, I learned that soy had the same estrogen problem. At least the same site pushed against soy too, while pushing their anti-dairy vegetarian agenda.

Solution? Almond milk. Because almonds don't come from animals, lol. Hemp milk is supposed to be great too.

The problem with not consuming dairy is that you lose out on crucial fat. Solution? Eggs.

Whole eggs are a fantastic source of nutrients, protein and cholesterol, and in case this wasn't known, eggs are the standard against which most other foods are weighed against to compare the amount of protein absorbed and used by the body. You absorb more protein from eggs than you can from meat, although I wouldn't rule out consuming regular meat altogether.

So, technically you're not eating meat and torturing animals by eating eggs, especially if you're getting them from locals or your own backyard, and you still get the protein and cholesterol and nutrients you need to facilitate life while not eating that poor tortured cow's meat full of antibiotics. Problem solved.

Vegetarians don't often advocate eating eggs because they're CHICKEN BABIES OMFG MURDERER, but they're irrational in that regard.

It's time to figure out what you need in your diet, not what moral/political agenda you want to support. That's something for teenagers to do so they can get laid.

Re: Is vegetarianism healthy?
January 15, 2009, 11:39:39 AM
I've heard from several people I know that milk is a "baby food".  IE you don't need it as much when you become an adult.

I like milk, and I usually try to drink skim milk/organic milk.  Nothing goes better with my favorite snack, bananas and peanut butter. :D

But if you drink 2 or more glasses at a time, your stomach will be unsettled, for sure.  Milk in large quantities can curdle and make you quite sickly indeed. As with many things, moderation is key.

Re: Is vegetarianism healthy?
January 15, 2009, 10:40:28 PM
Milk/Dairy is a wonderful food. But it all depends. For instance, meat in the form of preserved nitrate/nitrite lunch meats are not good for you. A medium rare steak from a grass fed cow? Great. Raw milk from a grass fed cow is healthful at any age. In California, we're lucky enough to buy raw/certified clean milk at the grocery store. People warn you that you can get sick, but there is little risk if you trust your source. I've been drinking the stuff regularly for about three years and I've never gotten sick. Plus, I find it to be far more digestible, energy giving, and far better tasting. Far more people are sicked yearly from tainted produce such as spinach and lettuce, yet you don't hear about mandatory pasteurization for those foods.

As far as it being a baby food, I feel that description slights man's ingenuity for using our intelligence in obtaining food that other mammals would not. Far instance, Kvass and Small Beer in Europe uses a process to create a beverage that while other mammals would not ever have had, or evolved to comsume, is incredibly healthful and during times of bad sanitation, was considered more safe than water. That other mammals do not drink milk after weening seems like slippery logic. Food is defined as such by our ability to digest it, and it's quality judged by taste and our ability to absorbed its nutrients. Raw milk contains the enzyme Phosphtase which greatly assist in calcium absorption, making Raw milk one of the best sources for calcium in the diet. Could this be a missing link in boss density loss later in life? Everyone drinks pasteurized, and all of the studies of milk's ill effects on the body are based on using pasteurized milk, or milk protein powders.

There are many historical examples of raw milk being a primary source of the daily diet, such as those studied by Weston Price in the isolated Swiss Alps, and most strikingly in the Masai tribes in Kenya, whose traditional diet was meat, milk, and blood. They were later measured as having much lower levels of blood cholesterol than modern Americans.

There is much to be learned from history as pertaining to diet. Don't fall for theories dreamed up by such people as Ancell Keys and Nathan Pritikin. Their words have never to date been verified to a degree of scientific plausibility. When you have a powerhouse food industry that makes billions from soy/corn, you're going to have many conflicts of interest in the FDA, and the nutritional information taught in schools, handed down by a government that allows heart healthy labels on processed, sugared cereals, then a false idea is allowed to spread like the plague.

Re: Is vegetarianism healthy?
January 17, 2009, 02:40:02 AM
As far as it being a baby food, I feel that description slights man's ingenuity for using our intelligence in obtaining food that other mammals would not... That other mammals do not drink milk after weening seems like slippery logic. Food is defined as such by our ability to digest it, and it's quality judged by taste and our ability to absorbed its nutrients.
the difference in regards to dairy is that milk is a food source that evolved directly with everything else about the species in question. for example, asparagus did not evolve towards being a good source of nutrition for humans - it evolved in its own manner and we evolved in ours, and it just so happens that our bodies benefit from consuming it. cow's milk, on the other hand, evolved along with the animal's body for the express purpose of feeding calves, which have significantly different nutritional needs than those of humans. as with virtually anything, it's probably good up to a point, but even that's questionable; i've read that all humans are technically lactose intolerant(explaining the inevitable end to any dairy-chugging contest), and that those who are labeled as such are simply more lactose intolerant than most. however, i have no data with me at the moment, so i have no idea if that's actually true

Re: Is vegetarianism healthy?
January 17, 2009, 05:19:00 AM
I still say that saying that particular foods are designed to be eaten from an evolutionary standpoint is a bit of a fallacy. As I said above, food is food because it is digestible and a source of nutrients and energy. Milk certainly fits that description, and I don't feel there is evidence that human's nutritional needs change so drastically after weening that milk is suddenly a 'bad' food. All of the troubles associated with milk are connected to it being pasteurized, and coming from cows that are fed improper diets.

As for most humans being lactose intolerant, I cannot back up that claim. However, I do remember reading that Africans and Asians are more so intolerant of lactose than Westerners. However, unpasteurized milk contains food enzymes, one of them being lactase, which digests lactose for you. This is why I reported above that raw milk is far more digestible than pasteurized milk. So the problem with dairy, isn't dairy itself, it's our processing of the food that leads to problems.

 I also don't subscribe to the ideas of the paleolithic (caveman) diet. While it would be perfectly healthy to follow such a diet, proponents of such as diet tend to overplay the downside of acceptable neolithic foods such as grains, and dairy. I'd say that around 20,000 years of the use of raw milk from herding populations must exonerate its status as a good addition to our diet. Similarly, proponents of the paleolithic diet prohibit eating grains. But looking at the historical record also shows that grains, prepared in a way that mostly eliminates their anti-nutrients, are a more than acceptable part of the diet. That's the problem with these "diets" either vegetarian, caveman, low-carb, is that they embrace extremes rather than moderation of a great variety of whole foods that are prepared in a way that maximizes their nutritional levels.

In case anyone wants to do some more reading about unpasteurized milk, I suggest this rather lengthy article. That will save me the time to paraphrase it from memory. ;)


Re: Is vegetarianism healthy?
January 17, 2009, 11:50:14 AM
Interesting discussion. We should be more specific about our milk here though. Cow's milk or goat's milk?

Lactose is the most well-known issue of milk in general. There's also the matter of the casein protein, but it seems to affect only 3% of the population and asthma in some cases is said to be an allergic reaction to casein. The body produces large amounts of mucus to handle milk.

Goat's milk is richer and more readily-digestible for people than cow's milk, not to mention that goats consume less than cows - a godsend for the impoverished. Apparently it can be consumed right after it's been extracted as well, no processing needed.

This page details the problems of what Iddqd mentioned about the processing of cow's milk:
The natural homogenization of goat milk is, from a human health standpoint, much better than the mechanically homogenized cow milk product. It appears that when fat globules are forcibly broken up by mechanical means, it allows an enzyme associated with milk fat, known as xanthine oxidase to become free and penetrate the intestinal wall. Once xanthine oxidase gets through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream, it is capable of creating scar damage to the heart and arteries, which in turn may stimulate the body to release cholesterol into the blood in an attempt to lay a protective fatty material on the scarred areas. This can lead to arteriosclerosis. It should be noted that this effect is not a problem with natural (unhomogenized) cow milk. In unhomogenized milk this enzyme is normally excreted from the body without much absorption.

A few more links comparing cow milk against goat milk:

Cows (cattle) are raised primarily for their meat, so it makes sense that cow farmers would peddle every product and by-product of cows that they can to $$$ maximize profit $$$ here in the United States.

One thing that still worries me about goat and cow milk is the hormones present in it.  What effect do they have on the human body, if at all? And what about hormone-dependent cancers, where milk will serve as fuel for the fire? The clear 'benefit' is that countries with people who consume much milk are usually much bigger and taller because of natural growth hormones in the milk. Perhaps it's only the milk we have available through our chemical-fed cattle that is tainted and unhealthy.


Re: Is vegetarianism healthy?
January 17, 2009, 04:58:16 PM
I would suggest getting goat's milk from a share plan or, even better, from your own goat. The stuff at the grocery store is ultra-pasteurized to maximize shelf life. That can't be healthy to consume.

Re: Is vegetarianism healthy?
January 17, 2009, 07:15:15 PM
I would suggest getting goat's milk from a share plan or, even better, from your own goat. The stuff at the grocery store is ultra-pasteurized to maximize shelf life. That can't be healthy to consume.

Off topic, IDKFA. =D

On topic, my father was born and raised in Greece, so I've gone over there multiple times.  They rely much more on goats than cows, as goats are more adept to the rocky and arid island habitat which is characteristic of the many island there.  I have to say that goat cheese is absolutely delicious, rich and filling, but does not leave you feeling bloated. One of my uncles raises goats and he produces the cheese and milk himself. I definitely prefer it to cow products.