Why We Are No Longer a Vegan Organisation
The ability to change your mind when confronted with contrary evidence is a good sign. Critical thinking begins with the assumption that our beliefs could be in error, and if they are, that we will revise them accordingly. One interesting observation over the last few years is the number of vegans changing their minds, including myself and my colleague. So without further ado, may I announce that Volunteer Latin America is no longer a vegan organisation. I am sure some of our members and supporters will be disappointed with this news but this does not mean we have turned into ravenous carnivores, we have just added a little meat, fish and dairy products to our diets. We still strongly object to factory farming and cruelty to animals of any kind.
Did you know 84% of people who try a vegan or vegetarian diet go back to eating meat? Livekindly has tried to explain the reasons why in this article but the answer is simple: a strict vegan diet is unhealthy. That is why you have to take dietary supplements. Getting those highly bioavailable animal proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals is crucial to maintain our bodies. The brain needs animal fat to function properly. I spoke to an ex-vegan recently who said he suffered from "brain fog" after four years on a vegan diet. Perhaps we should not be surprised, vegan brains suffer brain shrinkage and a strict vegan diet has a negative impact on cognitive function. Miley Cyrus spoke about this problem in 2020. Unsupplemented vegan diets pose great danger to brain health.
If you dig into the research on food what you will find is information about anti-nutrients such as lectins, phytates and oxalates. These are plant compounds that bind to minerals and can cause kidney stones, digestive distress and autoimmune conditions. Anti-nutrients exist as a plant defence mechanism (their form of poison to prevent being eaten). We are told that many plant-based foods are super-healthy but they are often high in anti-nutrients (e.g. legumes, soy beans, almonds, Swiss chard, beetroot, cereal grains, etc). A good example is spinach which is considered a good source of calcium. However, the calcium in spinach is all tied up in oxalate which the body cannot absorb and use. This is where standard nutrition guidelines fail miserably.
There are numerous health implications such as how veganism affects the menstrual cycle and impacts libido and fertility. Other examples are how too little meat stunts growth in children and the impact of a solely plant-based diet on bone health, including the health of your teeth. Tooth loss is what started me to question the vegan diet. I connected the dots after tuning-in to a radio show from the United States. One of the guests spoke about how his child's teeth deteriorated because of nutritional deficiencies. Bingo! My friends teeth did not loosen and fall out for no apparent reason. Although I felt offended because the information contradicted my ideology, I listened attentively to his explanation of why his family turned away from veganism.
Looking at both vegan and animal-based diets in more depth the question that comes to the fore is why people choose to adopt a diet that is scientifically proven to be less healthy. One reason is the influence of so-called experts and vegan propaganda. Dr Michael Gregor and James Cameron have been pushing the idea that a vegan diet creates stronger, harder erections and is better for your sex life. Cameron has stated that he would “love to put Viagra out of business”. This is utter nonsense. Much like how Livekindly is pushing lab-grown breast milk over natural breast milk. Cameron also wants you to believe a fake, overpriced, nutritionally poor, highly processed vegan egg in a plastic bottle is better than a real egg from your own hen.
Often, those championing vegan diets are unaware of such nuances as 'following the money.' Did you know James Cameron has invested US$140 million in plant-based protein development? His film 'The Game Changers' is effectively a plant-based protein advertisement. The global vegan egg and egg replacer market could be worth $1.63 billion by 2028. The global vegan food market is expected to be worth US$25+ billion by 2026. This is why we now have vegan food being peddled by America’s largest meat processor, Tyson Foods, and huge investors such as Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. All the big fast food chains now offer vegan options including McDonald's, Greggs, Burger King and KFC. Unilever now offers nearly 700 vegan products in Europe.
Multinational corporations and billionaires have not entered this market for environmental and ethical reasons. Aside from the obvious profit-seeking motive, the agenda is political. Food production is being led away from small and mid-size producers towards industrial-scale farming. From traditional farms and local markets towards biotech companies and multinationals. These companies can say all they want about ethical diets and sustainability but their goal is to control and distort food production. What we are witnessing is a "great food transition" and the early stages of trying to end animal agriculture. The founder of Impossible Foods says it is his mission to remove animals from the food system by 2035.
Veganism does not eliminate the suffering and death of other animals and millions are slaughtered every year to protect fruit and vegetable crops for human consumption. If vegans do not make the right choice they could be supporting various forms of animal cruelty, including something as bizarre as forced monkey labour to pick coconuts. What do you think copious amounts of chemical fertilizers and cancer-linked Monsanto Roundup does to wildlife and soils in order to grow the crops for vegan burgers? How can a 100% grass-fed burger grown using sunlight and grass be worse than a genetically engineered, industrially grown, soil-depleting, glyphosate-sprayed wheat-protein Impossible Burger? The latter is neither healthy or sustainable.
Monsanto-type monoculture systems are a disaster for soil, water, habitats and biodiversity. If we accept the notion that industrial farming is a crime, therein lies the answer. We need to support small-scale producers (organic), local markets and regenerative agriculture. Even if you want to follow a vegan diet you need to choose certified-organic, plant-based foods grown without toxic pesticides or fertilizers. The ultimate solution of course is to have a smallholding, rearing your own animals and growing your own fruits and vegetables. A sensible diet is one that is sustainable, nutritious, and healthy. The antithesis of industrial agriculture and factory farming. Wildlife and future generations will thank us.
One thing that puzzled me while following a plant-based diet was other vegans that did not align their actions with their moral stance. If you read the comments on social media (Livekindly, Plant Based News, Totally Vegan Buzz, etc.), many vegans jump with joy when KFC and others announce a new veggie option. KFC has a history of animal abuse and environmental pollution. Do not worry about that, you can now buy Beyond Fried Chicken nuggets! Even though I am now eating a little meat, fish and dairy there is no way in the world I would ever enter any KFC premises. These hipster vegans are not primarily driven by ethics or environmental concerns, but a social engineering agenda and thousands of bloggers and social media influencers.
The vegan movement has gone from fringe to a more mainstream lifestyle precisely because of social engineering. The reason you are being told to go vegan has nothing whatsoever to do with compassion for animals or saving the planet. Global financiers, the Fortune 100, billionaire "philanthropists" and their big foundations want to feed you global corporate GMO plant-based 'kibble' and laboratory created meat. This is why major meat producers, including JBS, Tyson, and Cargill, are now making or investing in vegan meat. This is about the 'great reset of food' and profit margins. We should not allow the interests of corporations and private profit to decide what we should eat. The corporate-led 'vegan revolution' is certainly no vegan utopia.
One notable propagandist in the United Kingdom promoting lab-grown food to "save the planet" is environmental journalist George Monbiot. You should be in no doubt whose interests Monbiot propagandises (corporate 'Greens'). Monbiot’s op-ed in The Guardian in early 2020 is repeating the same Royal Society propaganda that Lord Birkenhead wrote about in 1929. Monbiot wants you to believe that major corporations have all the solutions to made up problems. This is war rhetoric against real food and rural people. A massive resource consolidation exercise. The industrial "farmer-free food" that Monbiot promotes will destroy farming and rural living. Imagine the multiple social and environmental implications of a world without farmers?
There is another development worth mentioning regarding the transformation of the food supply. When biotech companies are able to make the perfect lab steak (replicating the texture and taste) it will come at a price. Traditionally produced meat will become more expensive because of carbon taxes and tighter legislation. A top British barrister has even suggested banning the consumption of meat. Poorer people who still want their protein intake to come from animals could be left with only one option – insects. Edible insects is about to become big business according to forecasters (insect protein market could be worth $8 billion by 2030) and could be the mass food of the future. Insects will be competing with many other high-tech foods.
I did not write this article to criticise vegans or any of their lifestyle choices, I just wanted to share some thoughts on the matter and publicly announce a shift in policy. I understand how vegans feel about the meat and dairy industry and other practices that are awash in violence and abuse towards animals in the name of production, consumption and profit. However, I would say to any vegan, put down the tofu, take a step back, and look at your diet objectively. Furthermore, consider the implications of entrusting food production and food safety to mega corporations. Do you think the CEOs of these corporations will be eating lab-grown and highly processed foods, or the best quality organic meat and vegetables on the planet?
A quote from Trevor Noah on the Daily Show alludes to one of the main drivers of veganism - "Either the world ends, or we all become vegan." 'Climate crisis' rhetoric has made a plant-based diet all the rage but people have been seduced by climate propaganda. On Christmas Day I ate some locally-made organic sausages and a local free-range organic cockerel with locally-grown vegetables. Many vegans would frown upon my Christmas menu, and believe quinoa porridge, smashed avocado on toast, or mushroom wellington are 'greener' options. Yet, how many of the ingredients were flown in from thousands of miles away? What are the hidden, destructive costs of the ingredients (habitat destruction, loss of biodiversity, soil degradation, etc)?
The key reason many people go vegan is the belief that it is the best way to help animals. What many vegans do not understand is the harm being done to a variety of animal life through heavy machinery, monoculture crops, and the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. A plate without meat or dairy does not actually mean you are contributing to least harm possible. Biodiverse ecosystems have been destroyed by Monsanto and other mega corporations to create monoculture systems of corn, canola, soy and wheat. How many animals were displaced or killed to create arable land? How many animals were trapped, shot or poisoned to protect the harvest and grain stores? Many vegans conveniently overlook this death and destruction.
If you want to save the planet or help animals stop pretending it can be simply done by going vegan. Unless you grow all of your own food or can ethically source all of what you eat, then you do not occupy the moral high ground. I agree with the general consensus among vegans that people consume far too much intensively farmed and highly processed meat. People should aim to avoid the overconsumption of animal products. We should all strive to grow our own food and practice ethical consumerism; thus, rewarding progressive companies and farmers. The goal should be truly high standards of agriculture and animal welfare. It is possible to consume a healthy diet that includes a little meat, fish and dairy without trashing the planet and supporting the large-scale suffering of animals.