How to Respond to Typical Comments from Committed Carnivores on Plant-Based Diets

By Self (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons Carnivore Questions

12 Answers to Committed Carnivore’s (or reluctant vegetarian’s) Questions 

“How do you know someone is a vegan?” the saying often goes, “they’ll tell you.” I’m not a vegan and sometimes I don’t even think I am that good of a vegetarian. But I have read a good deal about it now, and I do recognize that eating mostly plants is the best diet for optimum health and well being. It just is.

Hey, I’m admitting I’m not the best at doing what is best. I’ll get there, or continue to work towards it at least.

Many people however are quick to accept material that supports their own preferences. It’s just simpler, right?

But I’m not here to give advice. Instead I’ve written a list of typical questions and responses you can give to the people-the reluctant vegetarians- who tend to believe the you can eat all the eggs and butter you want articles. The following are some of the questions I’ve had thrown at me, and the responses I have come up with.

1. It’s not natural, we were meant to eat meat.

Left to nature we may also live to be 35. Medicine, doctors and hygiene have helped with that.

2. Come on now, we have canine teeth.

Most mammals do. Several herbivores have canine teeth and the largest are on a herbivore- the hippopotamus. Humans also have longer intestines (think digesting high-fiber foods) than most carnivores, which also lack flat molars for grinding vegetables.

3. No diet is a cure-all

No, diet can’t prevent everything. It would be hard to find an ailment caused by a plant-based diet, however. It’s the diet that does the most to promote health.

Vegetables at San Francisco Bodega

4. No diet works for everyone.

I agree, some people can’t tolerate gluten. That doesn’t mean a plant-based diet isn’t as good for some people as it is for others.

5. My protein diet has helped me lose weight.

You look great, but studies have shown vegan diets are also effective for weight loss, and come with health benefits rather than the serious additional health risks.

6. If we didn’t eat meat, there wouldn’t be so many farm animals.

That’s true, but I don’t see how the existence of animals excuses their poor treatment in factory farming.

7. Vegan (ism) is like a religion.

If your doctor tells you to take medicine or exercise to restore health or be healthy, it may not be appealing to you, but its not a religion. It’s science. Some religions do incorporate vegetarianism or a concern for animals, but the diet is pretty scientifically established. I use plant-based. It’s hard to say plant-basedism.

8. It’s too hard to eat only plants.

It’s not easy, but if you accept that a plant-based diet is optimum, the more you eat plants instead of meat, sugar, processed food and unhealthy carbs, the better. It’s a learning process. They taste better as your body begins to expect them.

9. Vegans don’t get enough protein.

Plants have plenty of protein- you don’t need meat. Many plants, beans and legumes are high in protein and soy protein has been shown to be equal to proteins of animal origin (American Heart Association). Most Americans have too much protein in their diet.

10. Replacing meat with sugar and carbs is not going to do you any good.

No, it’s not. You need to eat plants instead. Complex carbs-vegetables, beans, grains- are not the same as simple, processed carbs.

11. It’s in your genes.

Genetics plays a role in many diseases, and yes some people can smoke and eat steak and live to be 110. But given you’re stuck with your specific genetics, eating right can help you live longer and be healthier longer than you otherwise would have, and perhaps help you avoid some conditions entirely.

12. You can find anything on the internet. I can find evidence that a meat-based diet is healthier.

You can find lots of things on the Internet, but I’d go with established groups like the American Dietetic Association and even the federal government. Vegetarians have less risk of cancer and much less risk of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and other common ailments.

Here are a few articles:

Vegetarian diet on solid ground, experts say, USA Today

The Myth of High-Protein Diets, New York Times

Cover Image: By Self (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons. Image This Page by Eric Miller.

About Eric Miller

Rick and I started this web magazine as The New Colonist back in 1999. I was in San Francisco, and he was in Los Angeles. We had a common interest in sustainability and city life. We're still at it. Today I am happy to have lived in both New York, San Francisco and Pittsburgh and to now reside in Dallas. Find more at ericmiller.me