Vegetarian, omnivore, carnivore.

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fergusc
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Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 230
   Posted 12/28/2007 2:20 PM (GMT -7)   
This thread is inspired by a previous one which wandered off track a little to talk about whether liver was something anyone would ever want to eat. I thought it deserved it's own thread, so here we go.....
 
Sandy, I should start by saying that I'm a great admirer of your vegetarianism. In fact, I was a vegetarian myself for 16 years from my days at university until 3 years ago. Not a part-timer-fish-or-chicken-every-so-often veggie, but a proper hard-liner. Meat is murder and all that. I know it takes great determination and unshakable principles, so hats off to you. To be honest, I started the veggie lifestyle because I simply thought it was kind and compassionate. The health benefits were a bonus, or so I thought.
 
I started to eat meat again not because I couldn't resist it anymore, but because I came to the conclusion that my health would benefit. I had been in a coma in hospital for 3 weeks (completely unrelated to diabetes) and when I came round, I decided that it was time to put my own health first. The more I read about the subject, the more I came to realise that I was kidding myself about the health benefits.
 
This is not to say that many vegetarians aren't healthier than average, because there is much evidence that they can be. But I no longer believe that the vegetarian diet is inherently healthier. My own health is much improved since I started to eat meat again, for example.
 
I recently read a fascinating book by a Chicago anthropologist, Robert Ardrey, called The Hunting Hypothesis. It's wonderfully written but also threw up lots of fascinating information about our dietary evolution. For example, that around 50% of our central nervous system is built from structural fats and fatty acids in elongated chains which do not exist in the plant world, but are coverted by herbivorous animals and ingested by humans when they are eaten.
 
Which kind of brings me back to the liver thing - a more complete source of essential vitamins than is available anywhere in the plant world, and a one-stop-shop for our carnivorous / omnivorous ancestors. Whether they were up to making the delicious pate I've just put together is a question anthropology has yet to answer!
 
All the best,
 
fergusc

gelchick
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Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 477
   Posted 12/28/2007 5:05 PM (GMT -7)   

fergusc

I'm no hero- true vegetarians are 'carbivores' by definition- and if the diet is based on starch-heavy items suchs as grains, we all know the consequences.

I have considered adopting meat several times since my diagnosis- it would be a heck of a lot easier for me to get protein without worrying about carb overload, or wondering about if all the blather about the evils of soy are really true.

I don't know how the farm animals in Scotland are raised, but in America the animals are fed growth hormones, huge amounts of antibiotics, and other medications. Chickens are housed in overcrowded cages, and fed their own waste products mixed in a slurry of shredded newspaper and antibiotics. Meat inspectors are few and far between, so carcasses are rarely tested for E.coli and other contaminants. Fish ingest mercury dioxide and other water pollutants. I was part of a study that tested the milk of nursing mothers who ate fish caught in the Great Lakes ( in New York- from lake Ontario) and you wouldn't believe what we found there in large amounts. Children in the Philippines go into early puberty as a consequence of eating beef that had been fed growth hormones. And there have been cases of humans getting  'mad cow disease' from eating contaminated beef. I have toured slaughter houses and I'm sure that the average chunk of American beef is additionally laced with stress hormones- those cows know the sledge hammer is swinging down on their buddies as they wait in line. They cry out in distress. I'm not a member of PETA- I have no problem killing lab rodents or using animals for legitimate scientific research, so I'm not being an alarmist here.

As a biochemist I know that a lot of those toxins become part of the flesh of the animal, and consequently, are eaten by humans. Vegetables (with a very few exceptions) do not take up and store fertilizers, pesticides etc. Those contaminants are found on the outside of the plant, and thorough washing, peeling, and steaming eliminates the problem. Bacteria and fungi can be washed away with soap rinses. I grow and preserve a good number of my own vegetables, and I belong to an organic coop where I get boxes of veggies (that I can't or don't grow) every week during the growing season.

I inquired locally- and I couldn't find any sources of meat that I could be sure would be chemical free. I can get eggs from a nearby Amish farm- but even the meat sold to the public at the Amish markets is not antibiotic free.

Back to the liver- I agree that is it rich in nutrients- largely because its function is to strip anything useable by the body and send it back into the circulation. But it is also a collection point for toxins and I try really hard to limit my toxin ingestion.

I am glad that you thrive and have seen improved health since leaving the vegetarian lifestyle and I hope you continue to do so, but until the issues I mentioned are resolved, I'm sticking to veggies :-)

sandy



I just want to live happily ever after-every now and then. Jimmy Buffett

Post Edited (gelchick) : 12/28/2007 5:09:14 PM (GMT-7)


fergusc
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 230
   Posted 12/29/2007 3:55 AM (GMT -7)   

Sandy, I think you summed up the inherent dangers of a vegetarian diet very well. It was certainly a problem for me finding sufficient good quality protein and simulataneously trying to limit the quantity of carbohydrates that almost inevitably become staples of a vegetarian diet.

I would be alarmed at someone who wasn't uncomfortable with the practices of industrial farming, all the way from inception to slaughterhouse. Having said that, there is now a growing market in free-range and organic meats and eggs here in Scotland that is great in quality and a whole lot easier on the conscience. These animals have a good quality of life, they are fed organically, given space to roam and forage, and often spared the stressful long-distance haulage to industrial abbatoirs. It's heavier on the pocket of course, but unless one's income is very limited, it's a totally false economy buying cheap food. As with so much in life, you get what you pay for!

I felt fortunate to be a veggie throughout the BSE / CJD debacle here in the 80s and 90s and I doubt whether real lessons have been learned by the intensive farming industry. But consumer power is maybe the best way to address these issues, so I'm comfortable to be a carnivore-with-a-conscience!

All the best,

fergusc


gelchick
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 477
   Posted 12/30/2007 3:03 PM (GMT -7)   
fergusc,
Were your ears burning today? My daughter and I were talking about you and your re-entry into the world of meat-eating. She was wondering if you encountered problems digesting the meat when you reverted- and if so, how long did it take to re-adapt? We have seen reports that long-time vegetarians either severely decrease production of, or stop making the protease enzymes needed for meat digestion. There are measurable differences in the intestinal length of vegetarians versus omnivores (vegetarian intestines are longer).
 
She has been a vegetarian since birth. Her husband (a meat and cheese eater- as few veggies as possible and no fruit unless it's baked in a pie and covered with whipped cream) has suggested that maybe they could adopt a 'flexitarian' lifestyle- with most of the meals vegetarian, but sometimes- meatbased- so she'd at least eat vegetables cooked with meat (his mother's pot roasts), beef or chicken broth based soups and so forth.  She is really afraid to try this-she thinks she'll get sick because of the inability to digest. I'm not a good example for her- I haven't eaten meat in close to 50 years and I don't know anybody who gave up meat for any length of time and then went back to it.
 
We'd both appreciate if you'd share your experiences-if you'd prefer to do it outside the confines of this forum ( it's not truly diabetes-related) you can email me at gelchick@gmail.com since my email here doesn't seem to work.
 
thanks!
sandy
I just want to live happily ever after-every now and then. Jimmy Buffett


tutorgirl
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 235
   Posted 12/30/2007 4:36 PM (GMT -7)   
Sandy, my second son was a vegetarian for over 10 years...part of that vegan. He started dating a carnivore and many of his friends were carnivore so he went back to eating meat. From what he has shared with me I believe that when he start eating meat again he did it slowly only for a few days and then just made it part of his regular routine. He said he didn't have any trouble with it.
===================
>Karen<
~Forum Moderator/Diabetes~


fergusc
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 230
   Posted 12/30/2007 5:16 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Sandy,

I'm a thick skinned haggis chasing Scot so my ears don't burn easily!
I was once an evangelising vegetarian too, and my previous self would be extremely uncomfortable with the idea of unvegetarianising anyone.
I'll tell you what happened to me all the same.
Around 3 years ago I was having lunch in my office when I started to feel spectacularly unwell. I assumed I'd fallen victim to some terrible food poisioning thing until the pain became unbearable. My secretary called an ambulance and I was taken to hospital. That's the last thing I can recall until I woke 3 weeks later in intensive care. I'd had a herniated small intestine, followed by hospital aquired MRSA and my wife had been asked twice to say a final goodbye to me twice before I went to surgery. A bit of a close call. I lost about 1 metre of my small intestine as a result, but have made a full recovery since.
That was the point at which I decided to do what was best for my own health, first and foremost. When I woke from the coma, I couldn't remember my childrens names, let alone my vegetarian principles. I told the dietician that I thought I was vegetarian, but that I couldn't really remember why! She brought me some tuna, and since it was my first meal in 3 weeks, I was very grateful. I was skeletally thin and unable even to walk unaided so I knew I needed protein to build some new muscle quickly. A 15 inch open wound in my abdomen also meant I was unable to exercise at all.
The only way I could build muscle and not need big big inulin doses was to eat pure protein and that's what I did. 2 months later I competed in a 10 kilometre running event, so it seemed to work. A quite traumatic time, so it's hard for me to say whether the adjustment to meat eating was difficult or not! Nevertheless, I'm not aware of eating meat ever having caused me problems - not like my last veggie meal at any rate! I adapted straight away, and completed my first marathon last year so I know I'm now fitter than ever before.
The only issue I've had with eating meat again was the psychological one. It was a big moment the first time I ate meat in 16 years, but I honestly haven't looked back since. I hope that doesn't make me sound compassionless because I have given it a great deal of thought.
If I thought I could have achieved this on a vegetarian diet, then I would have tried. I'm not saying it would have been impossible, but I'm also certain that my diet these days gives me optimum nutrition allied with very few carbohydrates. I think that's the key.

All the best,

Ferg

metres
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 12/31/2007 1:16 PM (GMT -7)   
Tutorgirl,

Is your daughter dating outside our species? Or is the term carnivore just a vegetarian dig? Maybe we omnivores in the forum should start calling vegetarians herbivores.

And please, the Lambs came from Scotland, so no comments by anyone that haggis isn't a fit part of any diet, be it herbivorous, omnivorous, or carnivorous!
 
Whoops. I just realized that my family name Lamb does not show up in my postings on this forum. So much for clever haggis comments

Post Edited (metres) : 12/31/2007 1:20:12 PM (GMT-7)


tutorgirl
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 235
   Posted 12/31/2007 3:40 PM (GMT -7)   
Your correct, metres, I should have said he was an now and omnivore. It wasn't meant as a dig. Good heavens, I learned to cook many yummy vegetarian meals to accommodate him when he came home for a visit. The funny thing was, he never reciprocated when we went to visit him...hmmm.
===================
>Karen<
~Forum Moderator/Diabetes~


gelchick
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 477
   Posted 12/31/2007 3:46 PM (GMT -7)   
lol- metres
 
I would be honored to be called an herbivore- but I am not a vegan at the moment, so it wouldn't be appropriate. I'm content with lacto-ovo vegetarian, or even carbivore ( much more appropriate anyhow). Just for the record, fergusc was referring to another thread where he mentioned haggis and others added their .02 about the loch Ness monster and Sasquatch- I thought that a haggi/haggis was a mythological creature - they set me straight- so fergusc was just kidding with me- not insulting haggis.
 
fergusc ,
Thanks for the response. I can't imagine what you must have eaten to cause that intestinal problem- and my mother is currently battling MRSA (also hospital acquired) so you have my complete sympathy. I appreciate your sharing your story- and I am happy that you survived to help get me on the path to lower carb eating :-) I understand what you're saying about putting animal flesh in your mouth after 16 years.
 
I have recently made the 'decision' to try and eat meat or fish, only to not be able to get it past my teeth (seversal times).  I quit eating meat after a visit to my cousin's farm as a 4 year old. My cousin Jimmy introduced me to 'roger'- a chicken. At dinner a couple of days later- 'roger' was served as the main course- and Jimmy couldn't wait to tell me that- right after I cleaned up my plate- it made me retch - I guess I was okay with venison (my dad is a hunter) until I saw the movie Bambi. My mother dragged me to the pediatrician- who told her to leave me alone- and I'd go back to eating meat on my own- I didn't. Not even the threat (my ob-gyn) of birth defects could make it happen. I tried then too, but had such nasty morning sickness that he told me to eat whatever I could keep down. By then, my husband had given up eating meat too, so there was no real pressure for me to change and my daughter was born strong and healthy.
 
My daughter is very concerned about trying meat because she has never eaten meat. She did eat yogurt, drink milk, and eat cheese when she was younger but decided to go semi-vegan when she was 12. She will eat items made with eggs and milk products, but doesn't consume them directly.
 
Karen, I'll share your info with her too - my guess is that she'll take a pass. BTW: When my meat eating son-in-law comes to visit- I always make sure that his sandwich favorites, sugar-cured bacon, and roast beef are in the fridge. I also cook him a turkey breast or Cornish hen for the holiday meal :-)
 
sandy


I just want to live happily ever after-every now and then. Jimmy Buffett

Post Edited (gelchick) : 12/31/2007 3:58:38 PM (GMT-7)


tutorgirl
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 235
   Posted 12/31/2007 4:37 PM (GMT -7)   
Sandy, You are definitely more considerate than my son was. But, that's kids! I even got tofurkey and fixed it for him at Thanksgiving. Ah, well, someday he, too, will have kids.
===================
>Karen<
~Forum Moderator/Diabetes~


metres
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 12/31/2007 10:31 PM (GMT -7)   
Glad everyone's laughing... I was a bit worried that someone might take it wrong.

Good point, Sandy. I guess non-vegan vegetarians do still qualify as omnivores. Just out of curiosity, where does honey fall? Vegetarian but not vegan?

fergusc
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 230
   Posted 1/1/2008 2:43 PM (GMT -7)   
Honey falls off the radar completely, that's where!

Sandy,
there are no easy answers are there? 3 of my 4 children were brought up as vegetarians because we were convinced it was the healthy, moral, ethical way. Then everything changed and number 4 is a total carnivore! 2 of the others have fallen off the wagon as well now, so that leaves only my 11 year old son as the only one of us with any moral backbone! That's his informed choice and we won't try and talk him out of it because his reasoning is just as valid as ours was.
Actually, I have a vegetarian friend who did a coast to coast trip across America a couple of years ago. He stopped at a diner in Wyoming for lunch one day. He told the waitress he was a vegetarian and asked what she could recommend. She said 'Son, I recommend you get out of Wyoming!'

All the best,

fergusc

tutorgirl
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 235
   Posted 1/1/2008 4:28 PM (GMT -7)   
fergusc,

That reminds me of a story my former vegetarian son shared with us about his adventures with his way of eating choice. His business took him criss-crossing the country for a couple of years. He found the mid west a particularly hard place to maintain his eating habits. Metropolitan areas were ok, but most of the time he was in very small hamlets. On one occasion he was in Iowa and he a co-worker stopped in at a little diner. He was having trouble finding something on a menu when he saw a "veggie" burger. He ordered that and was pretty pleased that a small town would be so enlightened. Well, when the burger came it was a regular ground beef patty with lettuce and tomato. He stopped the waitress and told her he had ordered the veggie burger. She replied that he got the veggie burger...it had veggies on it. He told her he didn't eat meat. A couple of local gentleman were in the next booth listening to the exchange and one of them piped up..."Son, we'll forgive you for not eating beef, but if you say you won't eat corn we're gonna run you out of town."
===================
>Karen<
~Forum Moderator/Diabetes~


gelchick
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 477
   Posted 1/2/2008 11:08 AM (GMT -7)   
I love these stories! They are so true.
 
Now just try being a- non-meat,  non-corn, non-bread eating person in the midwest. I live in the middle of a former cornfield in central OHIO. Salad here means iceberg lettuce, two (plastic) tomato wedges, maybe a teaspoon of carrot shavings, and a slice of onion- smothered with dressing and topped with bacon bits.
 
I was recently in Kansas City for a trade show. I used to be able to order a baked potato with sour cream and cheese, onion rings, and a side salad at the steak houses or barbeque places. Now, I'm confined to the side salad, no protein whatsoever. I carry protein packets everywhere- and it's almost impossible to find unsweetened/unflavored protein. All of the flavored ones have either tons of sugar or splenda.
 
And yes, Fergus- it is very difficult. Even my husband, who was a great meat lover when we met and married, is ambivalent about going back to it. My daughters are split-they want me to eat it -if it improves my chances of living a longer, healthier life- but are not so inclined to eat it for themselves.
 
My son-in-law is constantly pointing out how his grandfather lived to be 100- Elmer would only eat meat and salads, dairy, and apples. His wife- who ate pastas, whole grains, took vitamins etc- only lived to be 83 and was fragile for about the last 15 years. He is grateful that I do not make an issue of his meal preferences.
 
Some of my friends now use the term land-based animals to describe beef, pork and poultry- how funny is that?
 
Metres- about the honey. By definition bee vomit is an animal product and vegans don't eat it, just like they don't use leather, drink milk, or eat dairy.  I was never a fan of the stuff- esp after I learned that raw honey can poison infants. So I'm guessing that honey-eating vegetarians would have to be defined like milk and egg eating vegetarians do- maybe  (honeybees (Apis mellifera))- api-vegetarians? although that might make them bee eaters...  yeah   
sandy
 
 


I just want to live happily ever after-every now and then. Jimmy Buffett

Post Edited (gelchick) : 1/2/2008 11:14:27 AM (GMT-7)


metres
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 1/3/2008 1:59 PM (GMT -7)   
Sandy,
 
I was going to say that pasteurization killed any botulism spores and made the honey safe, but I've just discovered that it isn't so. http://www.honeycouncil.ca/users/folder.asp?Folderid=4844
Pasteurized hony is still dangerous.
 
I thought someone had used a funny, inventive term for honey, but I don't see it any more. Must have been edited out.
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