Knowing the facts…

 

Interfacing with the non-vegan public gives us the opportunity to hone our knowledge of the facts and rationale surrounding veganism and what it does for the animals, the planet, and the health and wellbeing of us all.

Below is a letter that I recently sent to the Daily Telegraph in response to an interview with the chairperson of the British Association of Dieticians.

The article is posted below my letter. I was astonished at her ignorance, and couldn’t let it pass me by…

Sir

“I found the article on “Fashionable veganism” (May 18th, 2016) to be offensive, narrow and, frankly, dead wrong.  It consisted entirely of the opinions (no research was cited) of an ill-informed BAD (that’s British Association of Dieticians) chairperson.

I was a vegetarian for 14 years before becoming a vegan 8 years ago. At 54 years old I have never been healthier, sailed through menopause (without hrt), and am frequently taken to be many years younger than I am. I was not even aware that Gwyneth Paltrow is (was?) a vegan. Nor do I care.

Ms. Collins states that vegans are at risk for protein deficiency as well as a lack of “other nutrients and vitamins such as B12 and calcium, which cannot be absorbed as efficiently from plants as they are from dairy products”.  So let’s take a look at just how efficient milk/dairy is at giving us what we need.  First of all, Homo sapiens is the only species on the planet to drink the breast milk of another species (collective-evolution.com/2013/04/03). Not only do we do this as babies, we do it for our entire lives.  The enzyme lactase, which enables the digestion of lactose – the sugar found in milk – diminishes dramatically after weaning.  Why?  Because it is normal. This is a genetically programmed event (K. Pollard, California Academy of Sciences, 2009). Other mammals stop drinking milk at this point. We don’t.

The fact that 75% of the world’s human population is lactose intolerant should be a clue that milk/dairy is not meant for our bodies (collective-evolution.com/2013/04/03).  If 3 out of 4 people cannot tolerate milk, they are not getting any of the food groups or nutrients that Ms. Collins says are so “efficiently” absorbed.  It should be noted, however, that in some areas –  determined by race, geographical location, and cattle rearing practices – humans through evolution have experienced a mutation in the LTC gene (the lactase gene) which enables them to continue to process milk as adults (Canadian Digestive Health Foundation). In other words, if you can tolerate milk, you are a mutant.

Does it really make sense, after all, to go through the body of another species in order to get our calcium?

Does it really make sense, after all, to go through the body of another species in order to get our calcium? The dairy industry would like us to believe otherwise, but calcium comes from the ground. Whole plant foods easily meet our needs for calcium after weaning whilst additionally providing the fiber, folate, iron and antioxidants which milk lacks (How not to Die, Michael Greger, MD).

If the raw materials of plants can grow the skeleton of an elephant, a giraffe, or a hippo, it is safe to assume there is sufficient calcium in vegetable foods to grow the relatively small bones of a human being.

If the raw materials of plants can grow the skeleton of an elephant, a giraffe, or a hippo, it is safe to assume there is sufficient calcium in vegetable foods to grow the relatively small bones of a human being (John McDougall, MD, Newsletter, Vol 6, No 2). Contrary to what we have been led to believe, supplementing dietary calcium through increasing dairy consumption does not produce strong bones in childhood, in adolescence, or later in life (British Medical Journal, Oct 2006; Journal of Pediatrics, March 2005).  The opposite has been shown to be true: populations that consume the most cow’s milk and other dairy products have amongst the highest rates of osteoporosis and hip fractures later in life (Lanou AJ, BMJ Oct 2006).

Even in the face of solid scientific evidence to the contrary, mothers, doctors, and even “experts” such as Ms. Collins have bought into the dairy industry’s multi-million pound propaganda. Misleading marketing might be forgiven if the only consequences were wasted money and efforts; but the costs deepen. The result of selling dairy foods to correct a problem that does not exist—calcium deficiency—is that consumers buy foods that actually jeopardize their health (John McDougall, MD, Newsletter, Vol 6, No 2). Ms. Collins neglects to mention that milk/dairy comes with a whole host of baddies such as being a leading source of saturated fat, as well as having links to prostate cancer and aggressive ovarian cancer (How not to Die, Michael Greger, MD).  The Beverage Guidance Panel (comprising authorities such as the chair of the nutrition department at Harvard University School of Public Health and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School) have ranked whole milk in the same category as beer with a recommendation of zero ounces per day (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2006).

Ms. Collins goes on to mention that non-religious vegans don’t know how to make up for what they get in meat. This is confusing. Is she saying that the non-religious vegan is missing out on cancer? Heart-disease? Diabetes?  The knowledge that meat is a killer is no longer a secret (Cancer Research UK, WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer).

Animal fat/cholesterol is directly linked with every major disease known to man.

Animal fat/cholesterol is directly linked with every major disease known to man (Hippocrates Health Institute). Switching to a whole-food, plant-based diet has been repeatedly shown not just to help prevent heart disease (our number 1 killer), but arrest and even reverse it (How not to Die, Michael Greger, MD).

63% of people who become vegans do so after watching an animal rights documentary.

Ms. Collins believes that the past decade’s surge in veganism is merely a fashionable trend.  A recent study conducted by South Birmingham Vegans (The Vegan, 2016, Issue 1) revealed that 63% of people who become vegans do so after watching an animal rights documentary.  Undercover slaughterhouse footage is a far cry from the “pictures of Gwyneth Paltrow and an immaculate bowl of pomegranates” that Ms. Collins cites as the reason people are becoming vegans.

Is it possible that rather than being dedicated followers of fashion, the new wave of vegans are human beings whose consciences have evolved to the point that they will no longer allow what they put on their plates to be the cause of unspeakable exploitation and suffering?

Rebecca Knowles

Aberdeen, Scotland”.

 

Telegraph article 001