Why is The Fitness Industry So Afraid of Vegans?
The Real Human Diet.
Yes, I opened my blog with an lol. I can’t help it because this tittle makes me laugh. I can picture all the fitness peeps out there spitting their coffee over their screens in moral indignance as one of their pillars of belief once again comes under attack from those dirty vegan assholes. The animal protein built phalanges muscles swelling in rage as they prepare to launch a swift and horrific counter attack defending ‘THE WAY WE DO THINGS.’ Flexors and extensors battling against each other with such voracity that their digits are momentarily too paralyzed to flood the comments section of every social media outlet they can grunt along with like minded others.
Why is everyone so afraid of plants?
Maybe that would have been a better tittle. Alas, it would not have elicited quite as humorous an image for me as I sit and sip my tea this morning.
The dirty word of the fitness industry today is VEGAN, or the newest iteration, PLANT BASED.
Netflix’s latest documentary on the topic, The Game Changers, has garnered the expected and tired response of most fitness ‘pros’ out there doing their best to tear apart any discrepancy in the film. Instead of taking just a couple of minutes to sit back and contemplate a perspective seemingly in juxtaposition to their own these beacons of science based health and fitness merely view the film from the constructs of their established beliefs.
What? Coach Taylor? You’re a VEGAN? You’re DEFENDING vegans? Is hell frozen? Are beyond meat faux pigs flying through the air?
Maybe I should clarify here: I am not a vegan. I am not a vegetarian. I am exactly the same as you, and your friends, and your family, and every single other human on the entire planet: I am an omnivore.
Also important to note: I am not biased. No one is paying me any money to write this. I am not selling any nutritional products. I am not a defender of any particular program or nutritional plan. I simply am a student with an insatiable need to learn the truth. Everything I write and speak about is simple a synopsis of my study.
Last night I had a beef chilli, the night before, vegan Enchiladas from a Thug Kitchen recipe. I believe the night before that was salmon, preceded by a vegetarian stir fry, and the night before that slow braised beef short ribs (holy fuck were those ever good, braised in red wine and simmered with star anise…I digress). My deep freezer currently holds a ¼ cow and a ½ lamb purchased from a small local farmer. I bought a boat this summer with the express intention of using it to fish. I obtained my gun possession licence and hunting certification to begin the journey of procuring my own food.
I also built 7 raised garden beds this year, I tour the local produce markets, and have microgreens sprouting in my kitchen as we speak. I have learned to ferment and recently baked my first sourdough bread. My shipment of Einkorn flour just arrived from Saskatchewan (check out this ancient grain, it is amazing) and I am stoked to begin cooking with it. This afternoon I will be starting the fermentation process for the last haul of carrots from my garden.
I am an omnivore.
You are an omnivore.
Humans ARE omnivores.
This is not a debatable point. We are unbelievably well adapted to eat, well, pretty much anything. Our bodies truly incredible machines.
What is the debate then?
Percentages and sources. How much protein should we consume and where should we get that protein? These seemingly innocuous questions are at the root of almost EVERY nutrition debate in the world of health and medicine.
On the one side you have those with the belief that we must consume animal sourced proteins in order to achieve optimum health. Animal based proteins are more complete amino acid packages containing the perfect ratios of the macronutrient that the body needs. This camp points out that the body is designed to run, that we are the most successful hunters in the history of life on earth, and that cooking animals is thought to be an essential turning point in the evolution of homo sapiens.
On the other side you have proponents espousing the idea that we do not need to eat animals or animal products at all and that mere plants can provide us with everything we need. Yes, even that godly protein. While plants don’t contain all essential amino acids, there are reports that eating a variety of plant sources can provide the complete spectrum of protein as different plants have varied concentrations of these foundational blocks in a variety of ratios that can be combined to create a diet of everything humans need. This camp often believes that eating animals is unethical and they eschew their consumption on those grounds. And they believe you should too, trust me, vegans LOVE to tell you they are vegan and why that makes them better than you.
Both sides of the debate cite research and history alongside a plethora of anecdotal tales to bolster the case that they are right and the other side is wrong.
As the battle continues you are left a nutritionally confused refugee watching bullets and rockets fly overhead between the warring camps. You don’t care about the debate or the ideologies of the well-entrenched warriors who purport to be battling for the good of your health.
You just want to know WHAT. THE. FUCK. SHOULD. I. EAT.
This is where both sides are complete losers. The insane battle creates an overly complicated series of rules and regulations making human nutrition seemingly complex. It is not. It really and truly is not complicated. And the longer this battle rages on the more confused people become leaving the entire population susceptible to charlatans and fads. When people are confused they will gravitate to someone, anyone, or anything that provides them safety by way of an answer. So we are easily sold diet plans, wonky nutritional protocols, good and bad foods, and a host of other products that do nothing to make us healthier but that increase the bank accounts of many unscrupulous individuals and uncaring corporations.
Human nutrition is not complicated. At all.
It is literally exceedingly simple.
Michael Pollen has stated it best: “Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.”
We actually do not NEED to consume animal products ever. Humans CAN (and hundreds of millions actually DO) live healthily off of plants alone. We cannot live off of animal products alone. You will die.
No human can be a strict carnivore. If you do not eat plants you will die. Am I getting that point across?
The fitness industry LOVES to quote science and research but then completely ignore anything that is counter to their beliefs. It is one of the most asinine things I have ever witnessed. Unfortunately you just can’t do that. You either believe in science or you don’t. You do not get to believe in just the science you want to believe in that supports the belief that you have.
The fitness industry purports to be striving for evidence based practice and yet spends copious amounts of time attempting to debunk many of the things I just listed. I don’t understand that kind of methodology. You can’t only like the science that you like. You have to read ALL of the science and then follow the evidence.
And the evidence says that we can live off of plants alone, that eating mostly plants is healthier for us in the long run, and that we currently eat too many animal products.
Gosh, golly, gee, Coach Taylor, you sure sound like a vegan….
Besides the fact that their sanctimonious and incessant preaching makes vegans some of the most annoying human beings on Earth there are other fatal flaws in the vegan ethos.
Like their carnivore enemies need to understand, there are NO historical vegan cultures in the world. None. There are many today because technology has allowed humans to expand our options, however, veganism is not a natural state for humans. We are omnivores.
One of the primary arguments of the vegan world is ethical consideration for the environment and animals. There are grounds to support these arguments to be sure, however, a truly vegan diet is fraught with as many issues as my above carnivorous friends.
Yes, our mass factory farms are horrifically disgusting and morally reprehensible. If you can even stomach it, check out how animals are treated on the ‘farms.’ It tuly should sicken you. If you won’t look this up then you don’t deserve to consume animals. If you shop at Costco you support these factory farms and are a huge part of the problem.
Vegan friends: this does not mean the solution is complete abstinence of consuming animals. There ARE very ethical and very sustainable ways to raise and eat animals and animal products. Truly well designed farms, such as Blue Hill or Apricot Lane Farm are beautiful examples of this. Read up on Dan Barber or follow the work of Michael Pollan to begin to understand this.
But the moral high ground of the vegan world is completely destroyed if we truly attempt to understand what it takes to live as a modern vegan. Fresh produce is not available year round in most parts of the world. That’s right my vegan friends, a fresh arugula salad in January tossed with kale and other bright greens, chopped peppers, and whatever else you want to add-in isn’t possible in the northern latitudes. You know, ‘cause it’s winter and stuff and the plants won’t grow.
So you have two options: mass greenhouses sucking up all kinds of resources, or, ship it in from other places in the world. You know, on boats, trains, trucks, planes and things like that. Huge. Environmental. Impact.
The majority of modern vegans are not willing to actually eat in a way that is necessary to be truly environmentally conscious. Foregoing ripe avacodos in February to eat yet another meal of cellar stored potatoes topped with cooked beans and fermented cabbage just isn’t going to make a pretty enough Instagram post. Plus…it’s so boring!
Now let’s take a look at the environmental catastrophe shipping all this food around the world creates. Not just from the transportation and packaging but more from the damage that you do to foreign nations. When plants grow they take nutrients out of the soil. What should happen is those plants should, 1) die and decompose those nutrients back into that same soil, or 2) be consumed by animals who then return those nutrients back to the soil through their excrement.
But today crops are raised in soil and then harvested and shipped off to foreign lands, taking those nutrients with them. Not returning anything to the soil. Eventually the soil must be fertilized with new nutrients (fertilizers) or new land must be cleared that hasn’t been sucked dry yet (clearing of forested areas and grasslands). To have a modern vegan diet you must contribute to huge environmental issues. For more on this read the work of Sir. Albert Howard. If you do not know who this is then you have not done your true homework on what is necessary to be a vegan or vegetarian.
The Game Changers attempts to show that only a vegetable diet keeps our blood free and clear of circulating fats associated with animal product consumption. While this is true they skip something vital. After consuming animal products we do have hours of higher circulating blood fats. True. However, this is only an issue if you are eating all the time.
Fasting my friends. We aren’t supposed to eat all the time. When you only eat once or twice a day you are not constantly living in a state of cloudy blood plasma. And this is actually how we are supposed to eat.
Lastly, people who become vegans get some shit all fucked up. Just because it is made entirely from plants does not mean it is healthy for you. Plant based products, like the Beyond Meat burger, are often disgusting packages of process garbage. They are not healthy. Just because it is labelled vegan does not mean it is healthy.
We still need to avoid processed foods that are massed produced. Period. End of story.
It is all so confusing. As these camps battle it out to assert their righteous dominancy over the other the actual science is lost and people are left confused.
The truth is simple. Human nutrition is simple. The solutions are simple.
Not, not just kale salad. Whole grains, rice, beans, legumes, potato’s, sweet potatoes, broccoli, peas, peppers, and a bajillion other options. There is a massive array of plants out there and you probably only eat a very few. Variety.
Like Arnold says in the documentary, you don’t have to stop eating meat, just cool it a little. One or two days a week eat totally plant based. I can attest that the more I dive into the world of plant based meals the more I love them and look forward to them. They are delicious.
Yes, eat animal products. In the winter when plants are not as available animal products provide us with beautiful packages of nutrition to compliment what we are lacking from fresh produce.
Eat eggs. Butter. Yogurt.
Ethically source your meat from local sources. Seriously, it isn’t hard. Google search your area and I promise there are local farmers who will deliver to you or will be at a nearby market.
Stop eating boneless skinless chicken breasts and sirloin steaks. Sometimes have those but recognize this is NOT what humans were meant to live on. Birds, small game, insects, amphibians and organs turn most of us off and that is a huge issue. That is what we evolved to primarily eat as animal sources.
At least buy whole chickens and roast them. Then eat all of the parts and use the carcass to boil down for soups and broths. Use the whole animal. Tip to tail is a very important movement that has to become more prevalent.
We eat too much. You should never feel stuffed. You shouldn’t need a nap after a meal. That is all I have to say about that.
We need to recognize processed foods for what they are: poison.
Cereal, cakes, cookies, ice cream, candy, chips, crackers, packaged meals, pre-made, everything, instant whatever. It is all garbage. It is all poison. You literally are ingesting poison.
Eat food that you have to prepare yourself. That you have to cook. That if you left on the counter for a day would spoil.
Yes, it is time consuming and requires effort and work. But hey, it’s just your fucking LIFE and the health of your family we’re talking about. No big deal.
I didn’t say my advice was going to be the new and easy way to be healthy. Just that it would be the truth.
Most of the people attempting to shred The Game Changers film are missing the point entirely. The documentary isn’t trying to convert everyone to veganism. They are simply refuting the idea that you HAVE to eat animal proteins for high-end performance. And it does a great job of this. The science in the film is solid, it isn’t complete, and there 100% is an important place in our diet for animal products so you don’t have to become a vegan, nor do I think people should.
The use of the term plant-based vs. vegan is an important thing to note. I think this is a very powerful change in terminology and one that I hope is not appropriated by the vegan camp. Because the simple facts are this: in general we eat too many animal products and not enough plants and changing this is the most important thing you can do for your health.
The idea of the film and what I am personally attempting to get across is just this: eat more plants. Eat more real food.
It will literally save your life.