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If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Bad Vegan. Bad, Bad Vegan.

Look up at the banner across the top of this blog. It says it's for anyone who wants to reduce or avoid milk and milk products in their diets, including vegans.

I have been featuring vegan products, vegan cookbooks, and vegan restaurants on my website for 10 years. I support vegans and veganism all the way.

As long as they remember that veganism is a choice, not a superior moral stance.

When vegans forget this simple rule, they have an awful tendency to throw truth and reality out the window. Why? I can only imagine, but nothing my imagination comes up with is very flattering.

I have a current example that set me off, of course. Cow's Milk: A Substitute for Human Milk, by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau on the website.

She starts off by decrying the fact that soy "milk" and rice "milk" are considered imitation or alternative "milks," implying that they are inferior. This is a simple fact of history. Milk straight from the animal or the mother's breast has always been the standard for milk. The whitish liquid that is made from plant or other sources, even in cultures that has used them for thousands of years, is clearly the substitute for the real thing. It may have its own positive properties but it is not milk.

She then says something which has become common in vegan diatribes, even though it is utterly false and without a shred of archaeological backing:

When animals were first herded and domesticated for human consumption, about 9,000-10,000 years ago, they became the alternatives to plant foods. Plant foods were the foundation of the human diet for a long, long time - long before people started domesticating non-human animals.

Ridiculous. Human and other great apes are omnivores. Our ancestors probably started out as scavengers before they became tool-wielding hunters, but there was never a time in human history in which the apes that are in our lineage were pure plant eaters.

The amount of meat in their diets varied, to be sure. Modern aboriginal tribes vary from less than 10% of their calories being from meat to nearly 100% of their calories being from meat, as with Inuits. But all known human cultures are omnivores. No anthropologist or paleontologist worth taking seriously thinks that humans have ever been different than this.

Note that the one comment so far on her article makes also calls her on this specious argument.

As if that bit of fake science weren't enough, she makes a statement so outrageous that it's surprising the photons on the screen don't rebel.
With millions of dollars, the animal exploitation industries convinced people they need to consume the flesh and secretions of animals,

Has this women ever read a page of history? Animal flesh and "secretions" were prized in cultures all around the world throughout history. They were often reserved for the wealthy and powerful, but also were a source of rejoicing at feast days and festivals for the poor. No exploitation industries have ever been necessary to convince people to eat meat. Quite the contrary: it's those who refuse to eat meat who needed religions, cults, and secret societies to justify their oddity.

Here's another beauty:
Not only are we the only animal that drinks another animal’s milk, we are the only animal that drinks it into adulthood.

This utterly fatuous saying is a mantra among the worst vegan thinkers. It's true, but so is the fact that we are the only animal who cooks food. Heck, we are the only animal who cultivates plants, fertilizes them, alters their genetic structure by selective breeding, harvests them, transports them, and processes them into other products. Human are unique in every aspect of the way they treat food and every aspect of civilized life, for that matter. Any rational human would use this argument to support our difference and distinction from animals rather than as an argument that we should be more like them.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is an embarrassment. An embarrassment to vegans, an embarrassment to thinkers, an embarrassment to the human race. It is completely possible to make the choice to avoid milk or all animal foods and still have an understanding of food, history, anthropology, genetics, and culture. Patrick-Goudreau fails at every level.

Vegans, please. Please repudiate those whose stunning ignorance make a mockery of your beliefs and customs. Please repudiate those who repeat fatuous talking points that are designed to stop all thought rather than stimulate it. Please repudiate those who feel they must attack and belittle others in order to feel better about the tenuousness of their own understanding of the world.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is like a puppy who has soiled the rug long after she was supposedly paper-trained. Bad vegan. Bad, bad vegan.

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Anonymous said...

While, I'm not in love with CPG, she is an intelligent and caring woman, and it is so odd to me that you were incredibly offended by her well-founded argument. You don't think the Got Milk ads and Milk does a body good crap have influenced people's consumption of milk? It doesn't seem that you have any more scientific or anthropological backing than you claim CPG has? Perhaps, your gutt reaction to her argument, has something to do with a guilt you have carried? Anyway, if you feel so hateful toward vegans, I will stop checking this website for ideas, because there are plenty of other recources from frienlier and more open minded people.

Steve Carper said...

Well-founded argument?

Unfortunately, on the internet "open-minded" is all too often a code word for "people who think exactly like me." If you think her argument is well-founded you need to do some serious research.

Which is what I do. When you come here you get the scientific facts. If vegans violate them, I attack vegans. If the milk people violate them, I attack the milk people. I correct reporters who write articles on subjects they know nothing about and I attack those who try to sell you medical nonsense just to make a buck.

I don't have any guilt about doing this. My blog and websites are islands of sanity amidst the propaganda from all sides. Almost thirty years of research and reading allow me the luxury of pointing out the flaws in others' arguments.

I hope you stay, because I think you'll find much of value here. If that means giving up some of the propaganda that certain vegans unnecessarily indulge in to advance their cause, I think that's a small price to pay.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't meat and dairy still contain all the cholesterol and other junk in it that isn't healthy for you?

How about it's on effects on the environment?

Steve Carper said...

Cholesterol is found only in animal products, true. Does that mean you need to avoid milk and dairy? No. Not true.

There is no simplistic relationship between the cholesterol in your diet and the cholesterol in your body.

First, let's remember that not all cholesterol is automatically bad. There are two types.

Here's what the Harvard School of Public Health has to say.

"Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) carry cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body. When there is too much LDL cholesterol in the blood, it can be deposited on the walls of the coronary arteries. Because of this, LDL cholesterol is often referred to as the "bad" cholesterol.

High-density lipoproteins (HDL) carry cholesterol from the blood back to the liver, which processes the cholesterol for elimination from the body. HDL makes it less likely that excess cholesterol in the blood will be deposited in the coronary arteries, which is why HDL cholesterol is often referred to as the "good" cholesterol.

In general, the higher your LDL and the lower your HDL, the greater your risk for atherosclerosis and heart disease."

And even this somewhat overstates the danger that cholesterol poses.

"Although it is still important to limit the amount of cholesterol you eat, especially if you have diabetes, dietary cholesterol isn't nearly the villain it's been portrayed to be. Cholesterol in the bloodstream is what's most important. High blood cholesterol levels greatly increase the risk for heart disease. But the average person makes about 75% of blood cholesterol in his or her liver, while only about 25% is absorbed from food. The biggest influence on blood cholesterol level is the mix of fats in the diet. ...

What is becoming clearer and clearer is that bad fats, meaning saturated and trans fats, increase the risk for certain diseases while good fats, meaning monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, lower the risk. The key is to substitute good fats for bad fats."

Trans fats and saturated fats can be found from plant sources as well as animal sources. And animal sources don't always contain these fats. Skimmed milk obviously doesn't, nor do low fat dairy products like low-fat or non-fat cheeses and yogurts. Many type of fish are good sources of good fats, and lean cuts of poultry and beef will minimize risk.

Knowing food and understanding nutrition and diet are the keys. Making blanket statements about issues you know nothing about is simply embarrassing to the vegan community. I don't understand why so many vegans seem to find it necessary.