Veganism (A rational response requested from fellow Atheists and freethinkers)

I wanted to write this post for quite some time. To preface, I have been an atheist for about 4 years and a vegan (someone who abstains from using animal products, for food or otherwise) for about 10 months. My change to veganism was not sudden (25 years as an omnivore.) But I feel as though my rational mind helped me break from the cultural norm. I feel as if there is a lot of evidence for why we should all become vegans (I've linked a few below.)

For me, I have always let evidence guide my beliefs. Even when I was religious, I was never the ultra creationist you see frequently disproven on youtube channels. I was closer to Ken Miller. By my late teens, I realized I had not given close scrutiny to my religion as I have other topics in life. There was little internal struggle after that.

For veganism however, my struggle was much more dramatic. I have never realized until recently just how much we are indoctrinated. Not only by religion, but by everyone. I would urge everyone to watch the links below (specifically 101 reasons to go Vegan if nothing else.) It examined several common myths that I still see throughout the media today. Even as a healthcare professional (I'm a pharmacist) I had not realized how far reaching this misinformation had been. Long story abbreviated -- I examined the available evidence, and I changed my views to align with this new evidence.

Before I close this diatribe, I just want to make a few things clear. I am trying to change people's opinions on what they eat and choose to wear. Just like I want more atheists, I want more people to be vegan. I think it's the most rational position for the majority of people. All of that being said, I want everyone who has not already done so, to rationally examine the evidence for themselves. Don't take my word for it. And if you believe that veganism is not the best / most healthy position, I would like a rebuttal in the form of a comment. If you have any questions, I would also, be happy to answer them.


Thank you for reading, and I look forward to your responses below.

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Comment by Arun Nair on December 22, 2013 at 7:48pm

Tofu is not that bad. Try going to a thai restaurant and look up how they marinate the tofu (it can be quite delicious.) 

If you're worried about protein, don't be. The average American diet has way too much of it. If you're not trying to build muscle you only need around 10-30% of your calories to be from protein (around 56g max for a 2000 calorie diet.) You can get plenty from beans, nuts and chickpeas.

Try everything. Hummus is good. Gaucamole is good. Both go well with chips so you have a snack food. 

Read Eat to Live by Dr. Fuhrman. It has a great recipes on making good vegan foods. 

Comment by Arun Nair on December 21, 2013 at 1:17pm

I want to thank everyone who added to this discussion. I've been reading everyone's comments and I want re-do this more in my own words (someone mentioned that if I submitted this as an essay in high school it would've failed :-P)

My aim was just to bring awareness to the issue. That's why I figured I rely on the links, but I realize now that was not the best option. 

Comment by Luara on December 21, 2013 at 9:40am

many vegetables also known to produce Omega-3 fatty acids

In tiny quantities. Vegan diets do tend to have a lower omega-3 to omega-6 ratio than omnivore diets. Jack Norris made suggestions in the link I gave below, on how to get enough omega-3 in a vegan diet.
His website has excellent and science-based discussions about getting enough of various nutrients from a vegan diet.  Generally the things people think are problems, like protein and iron, aren't - but other things, like omega-3's, you do need to be aware of.  He's also very generous about answering questions by email.

I just take a multimineral, and don't worry about minerals much otherwise. Except that I have to be careful not to get too much iodine, because of my thyroid problem.

Comment by Dyslexic's DOG on December 21, 2013 at 7:52am

Oh I forgot to add, one of those who suffered sever muscle loss from undernourishment, still had difficulties in walking, I suffered similar undernourishment when I was living on the streets, I went from being able to lift 120kg when I was 16, to barely being able to lift 20kg in 4 years.

We looked at starting on a vegan diet, yet, here it appears more expensive than meat to get the same nutrition levels.

Since it started as a kind of fad, the prices of the soy based protein and iron additives have skyrocketed in price.  They were much cheaper when it was considered unpopular.

We are growing our own fruit and vegetables, but, now it appears to be expensive since we have multiple pests here and organic techniques are not working.

Though we did get a bumper crop of blackberries, which are also very good nutritionally, containing compounds that supposedly reduce the risk of some cancers.

Yet not one raspberry this year, the bush gave us plenty last year.

We are having to battle with birds for the peaches, apples and nectarines.

Nets are not working, the birds walk up the branches from the ground to get under them.

Clever buggers.  :-D~

Comment by Dyslexic's DOG on December 21, 2013 at 7:34am

Though Luara, many vegetables also known to produce Omega-3 fatty acids, such as the brassica family (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage also green leafy vegetables, bean sprouts, alfalfa .. etc.

The documentary on the island people near Sicily who live longer and healthier than any other region on the planet, with no dementia, don't even live on fish, they have a very high vegetable diet.

Though I've known many vegans, one I dated and she was extremely strong and a good swimmer, though some others I know, almost died of anorexia, since their bodies refused to utilize the protein from soy and they also needed Iron supplements for the same reason, their bodies could not extract the iron from leafy vegetables.  They had been reared on red meat, vegetables were foreign to their systems. The others are all happy and healthy.

Most bodies could tolerate a vegan diet, some like my ex. absolutely thrive on it, and some cannot tolerate it at all without protein and iron supplements. I think they are using weightlifter protein drinks which contain iron as their choice of supplement now, they were both very healthy the last time I met them.  As I rarely go back to visit my old home town.

Comment by Luara on December 19, 2013 at 6:32pm

Now, I only eat salmon, to break the vegetarian-thing, because of omega-3s.  Even Dr. Barry Sears, who wrote a mostly vegetarian book, the Soy Zone, says we should get omega-3s.  and it is nearly impossible from short-chained vegetarian sources.  If one IS vegan, it is hard to stop eating grains... a real problem if one is diabetic, hypoglycemic, has celeriac disease or Crohn's.

An article on omega-3's for vegans. It's not that difficult for a vegan to get omega-3's.  Jack Norris, the RD who wrote this article, recommends supplements of DHA from algae (or from fish if you aren't purist).  There's a company that makes a supplement from algae with EPA also. 

Also there are various seeds with a good omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, like flax.  I'm allergic to flax so I eat chia seeds.  Otherwise I don't eat high-fat food, so I don't need much of the chia seeds to get a good omega-3/omega-6 ratio. 

I don't eat legumes or grains or many other foods because of allergies.  But there are still (vegan) foods to eat. 

It's celiac disease, not celeriac.  Not a celery allergy :)

Comment by Luara on December 19, 2013 at 6:21pm

It plays OK for me, I don't know why you can't play it.  Another copy from Youtube:

Comment by Luara on December 19, 2013 at 3:12am


Comment by Gene Griffis on December 18, 2013 at 4:49pm

I watched the first 15 minutes of this video and was bored stiff. The gentleman in the video makes many assumptions about the nature of humans based on his experience, bias and agenda. I don't really appreciate being led. I am sure there must be some "real" information contained in the video if you can make it past the first 15 minutes of snoozeville, good for you. I grew up knowing exactly where food came from and I have also experienced extreme hunger. If you are a three year old as in his example presented with an apple or a baby chicken what you do with either of them is not predictable and certainly moral judgement is ridiculous to even contemplate. 

Comment by Craig on December 18, 2013 at 2:47pm

I agree with Steve. If you wont take the time to explain then I wont take the time to read. I want your thoughts not someone else's. If you write a paper in school that contains nothing but quotes you will fail.



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