I feel awful admitting it, but this article in Pravda about vegetarianism and veganism left me chuckling a little earlier this morning. The title of the article -- "Insanity of Vegetarianism Has No Limits" -- is about as subtle as a massive coronary. In it, Irina Shlionskaya examines what she calls six myths about meat eating (or eschewing meat and other animal products). I'm just going to share the entire article here, since it has too many gems for me to be able to quote from it without feeling I've left anything out.
It seems that the discussion of the good and bad of vegetarianism will never subside. The proponents of abstinence from meat claim that meat contains a whole bouquet of harmful substances. Their opponents say that the animal protein is absolutely essential for the human body. Who is right and who is wrong here? Below you will find the list of most talked-about statements about the vegan diet.
Myth No. 1. Meat contains toxins – by-products of the decomposition of the post-mortem poison, which gradually intoxicate the human body.
As a matter of fact, it is dangerous to eat only tainted meat, which indeed contains the products of decay. Many vegetarians do not eat meat, but they do eat fish assuming that there are no toxins in fish. Some others decline even eggs, in which there can be no vestiges of post-mortem poison found, of course.
Myth No. 2. Meat contains cancer-producing substances. Eating meat on a regular basis leads to the development of cancer.
As a matter of fact, carcinogens can be found in fried and smoked food. If you eat boiled, stewed meat or shashlik (shish-kebab) there is no danger posed whatsoever.
Myth No. 3. Meat makes one put on weight.
As a matter of fact, all sorts of meat differ. It is generally believed that meat adds more fat to the body because it is digested entirely. A person eating fatty meat all the time will definitely put on weight, but they have a variety of other sorts of meat to choose from – low-fat beef or poultry, for example.
Myth No. 4. Vegetarians live longer than non-vegans.
As a matter of fact, there are many factors that exert influence on longevity: genetic background, ecology, stresses and many other aspects. Many long-living individuals have never stuck to any diets at all. Many of them eat anything they want and whenever they want.
Myth No. 5. Vegetarians are generally healthier than those who eat meat.
As a matter of fact, meat contains protein and ferrum, which is a compound of hemoglobin. The shortage of ferrum develops general fatigue. Some sorts of fish, which vegans strongly decline, contain omega-3 aliphatic acids, which produce the anti-inflammatory effect. It has been determined that those excluding meat from their daily menus suffer from heart diseases a lot more frequently.
The shortage of useful substances shows a direct influence on vegans’ looks. As a rule, many of them look pale because of the disturbed blood circulation. In addition, they are more prone to cold-related diseases.
Myth No. 6. A human being is a herbivorous creature by nature.
As a matter of fact, many researchers say that humans are genetically capable of digesting meat food. Carnivorous beings cannot digest too much vegetable food and cannot live normally without the products of animal origin. Herbivorous beings cannot consume meat. If humans were not omnivorous, it would never occur to anyone to eat meat.
Researcher Barry Groves, the author of “Trick and Treat: How Healthy Eating Is Making Us Ill” said that diet food is mostly unnatural for humans because human beings are carnivorous by nature, and the human digestive system is made to digest fatty meat and other anti-vegan food. A healthy diet is a diet of no extremities
Where to start with this mishmash of errors and contradictions? She states that "many vegetarians" eat fish and that they do so because they think it contains no toxins? Vegetarians don't eat fish, and I'd guess that most people who do eat fish certainly don't do so because they think it contains less toxins. She states that carcinogens in meat are limited to smoked or fried meat, yet claims that "shish-kebabs" are exempt; unless I'm missing something, aren't "shish-kebabs" generally cooked over an open flame, thus exposing the meat to similar chemical reactions?. Her assertion that those who eschew meat suffer more from heart disease is especially laughable, considering that most mainstream sources of information on the matter indicate otherwise and less mainstream (yet still very sound and credible) sources state the exact opposite. And those are actually some of the least funny little bits in the article.
I guess that my reaction to the whole piece is likely strongly affected by my "disturbed blood circulation", which undoubtedly leaves me unable to pick up on any strong arguments she may have made in it. Thankfully, the ensuing light-headedness caused by my veganism has left me giddy enough to have a sense of humour about her article. Now, please excuse me as I go powder my pale nose and contemplate my diet of "extremities"...