Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Over the hours I spent sewing our kayak sails I listened to podcasts, many, many, podcasts. I had long since exhausted my supply of regular podcasts (The Fat Burning Man Show, Living La Vida Lo Carb, The Paleo Lifestyle and Fitness Podcast, among others – yeah, I know, terrible titles for shows), and, in desperation, after hearing a few of vegans (Durian Rider, Dean Ornish, John McDougall) interviewed on the Living La Vida Lo Carb show I was inspired to listen to some vegan podcasts. 

Durian Rider is clearly not in the top 99th percentile of world's great thinkers, is likely suffering an eating disorder (anyone eating 70 bananas a day probably has some kind of eating disorder) and seemed quite happy to tell lies (quite transparent) to suit his purpose. Dean Ornish sounded quite reasonable, more reasonable than Jimmy Moore did at the time, until I looked up his diet recommendations (pretty much vegan, 10% of calories from fat) and thought I would rather die than follow those recommendations. John McDougall was frankly rude, obnoxious and clearly threatened by any opposing viewpoints. The McDougall diet is all about eating starch – yikes – and is also low fat and low protein. Another eating plan that, if it didn't make you live longer would certainly make life feel long, and miserable.

Bacon and eggs for breakfast up at the Caribou Cabin in Revelstoke NP

Anyway, after those three teasers, I tried to listen to some other vegan pocasts but was quickly turned off by the sanctimonious miens of the presenters who pretty much portrayed us squalid meat eaters as hateful immoral people who were deliberately torturing animals for our own despotic purposes. 

Instead, I got the book “The China Study” from the library. This is apparently the manifesto of the vegan community. I started reading it last night, but, I admit my biases have me questioning everything the author says. Some of the statistics he trots out just seem too hard to believe, the presentation seems too simplistic, and, his primary argument (which, as far as I can gather at this early stage) that eating animal protein causes cancer runs contrary to other research I have read which implicates sugar in cancer growth.

I am trying to keep an open mind, but, I fear I am terribly biased. I like the way I eat now, I feel better than I have in years, and I would need to hear a very compelling argument to go back to eating lots of carbohydrate, very little fat and protein, and suffering from all the corollary adverse effects such a diet entails. I have never been vegan, but I was vegetarian for about five years and, no matter how hard I tried to stay healthy, I was anaemic, tired, sick a lot of the time, and unable to sustain vigorous exercise for very long. Skipping ahead in the China Study (I do this in mysteries too, just to see “who dunnit”), the diet recommendations are pretty much on par with the Ornish diet, that ultra ascetic eating plan that is misery (I did that in my vegetarian days) to follow. I think I'd rather run my chances with cancer.

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