I don’t think it will surprise anyone reading this that I have a problem with mainstream media reporting. The other evening was a case in point. The 6pm news was telling us all about how former President Clinton was looking great and has apparently gone vegan. And that by eating red meat you have a 10% greater chance of dying.
I have a huge problem with both of those points.
Lets look at red meat. Greater chance of dying as compared to what, exactly? Last I checked, the death rate among humans is 100%. I suppose they mean dying earlier than necessary, but who knows. I’m not sure even the reporters know what they mean by that. All they’re doing is embracing a political agenda put forth by someone who knows someone. Unsubstantiated statistics may be a classic tool for the media and ratings, but they make me very angry. There are people in my life who will take these statistics and believe them. Make changes in their lives based on them. Without ever checking to see what they really mean.
Then there’s the recent vegan craze. I’m not personally in favor, but the personal and ethical choices of others aren’t really my business. Except that many people aren’t making a considered, reasoned choice. They’re hearing a few sound bytes on the news and deciding that that’s what they should do to be healthier and happier and sexier.
Vegan is not an easy choice and requires a lot of careful planning to stay healthy. Vegetarian can be a challenge to some people. Many vegetarians eat a ton of soy products because they are assured that it is a complete protein. It is not. Soy doesn’t contain methionine, which is a ‘conditional protein’. That means your body can make it. The question is, are you getting all the other components your body would need so your body will actually make it? Maybe not if you don’t even know its an issue! It is absolutely possible to get all the proteins you need in a vegetarian diet, but not if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you still eat eggs and cheese, then its relatively simple. Take away all animal products and its much more complicated.
Then there is the little matter of B-12. This is the reason I personally believe that Vegan is unnatural for humans and not generally a good idea. Humans must have B-12 and we do not make it. It is only found in animal products. Or bugs. In countries like India getting B-12 is not a big deal even on a vegan diet because their water isn’t treated like ours, their produce isn’t as clean as ours and their processing isn’t as destructive as ours, so the B-12 left in the soil from animal feces and bacteria and in the bugs that are mixed with their vegetables and grains are an adequate source much of the time. In our super clean industrial food, we don’t have these sources.
If you already know all these things about vegetarian and vegan diets and want to pursue one, I wish you the best of luck. I’m not about restricting the choices of others. What I am about is wishing people in general would be just a little less sheep-like and would take the time to understand some of the choices they’re making outside of what they heard on the 6 o’clock news.
I suppose we could ask for a little more responsibility in reporting, but I’m pretty sure that’s a lost cause.