“Weight Loss Success: Natt Smith Became A Vegan And Lost More Than 75 Pounds.”
–headline from the Huffington Post, 4/27/12.
“All of my health issues are gone! I feel like I have a new lease on life. I look forward to every morning and cherish every day. Because honestly, when I was at my worst I didn’t know how many days I had left. We now have a second child, and I am able to play with them as much as I want, roll on the floor with them, and just be there for them. I truly have a life I never thought possible. I went from feeling like I was dying every minute of every day, to living the life I have always dreamed! It is truly a gift that I cherish every day.”
–excerpt from the testimonial written by “Brent” on marksdailyapple.com. Brent went from 291 pounds down to 180 and corrected his elevated blood lipids, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and panic attacks by eating a Paleo diet consisting of meat, fish, fowl, eggs, and vegetables.
“It’s because vegan diets—especially raw vegan diets—are so short on calories and basic nutritional needs, that during those early stages, the new vegan’s body is eating itself! It’s a metabolically delicious meal of fatty human meat, high in saturated fat and complete protein—and it’s the most nutritious meal you can eat. Of course it’s what your body needs: it is your body! The more restrictive your vegan diet, the more delicious, fatty MEAT you are eating…your own. That’s the reason you had so much energy when you first started your vegan diet. What you were really eating was a paleo diet of your own flesh.”
–J. Stanton at gnolls.org providing a technically-accurate, if grisly, explanation for the “high” that is experienced during the initial stages of going vegan.
“Ever since I adopted a nutrient-dense, plant-based eating style I am a changed woman. I have accomplished so much, have so much more energy, and a whole new outlook on life. I’ve lost 72 lbs so far, too!”
–Isabel P, Ontario, Canada, extolling the virtues of vegetarianism.
“Yeah, it’s me again. That stain remover didn’t work for shit.”
What the fuck is going on here?
Only in the areas of religion and politics are more automatic, visceral reactions elicited in response to an opposing viewpoint than in the area of nutrition. Everyone’s a dietician and everyone knows, for sure, how they should eat. And just like politics and religion, there is an extremely prevalent attitude on all sides of, “Don’t confuse me with the facts; this is what I believe!” I am not exempt from this, and neither are you. We claim to be rational, logical, and level-headed, but we will dig our heels in when our viewpoints are challenged.
In this area, you cannot easily convince someone. They do not respond to logic. An error will always be found. Your “facts,” correct or otherwise, will somehow be found wanting.
And it’s not just Plant Eaters and Animal Eaters. Within the Plant Eaters there are vegans, vegetarians, raw vegans, pescatarians, and just people who merely abstain from red meat. Within the Animal Eaters you’ve got the Atkins folks, Paleo, Primal, and myriad variations thereof. And they all disagree with each other on various things, concluding that the “other guys” are somehow base, immoral, or irredeemably ignorant of simple, basic facts (you idiots).
The million-dollar question: given that each one of the above dietary permutations has to its credit thousands (if not millions) of positive, life-changing, health-enhancing testimonials and case studies, and given that they are so apparently different, how can they all be “right?”
“I’m prettier than you!”
“No you’re not! I’ve got better bangs!”
“I’ve got cute dimples!”
“I’m blonde, and blonde is prettier!”
“GIRLS!” the Dad will say at this point. “Stop it. You’re BOTH pretty!”
“And THAT’S why Daddy drinks!”
The Floating Cork Analogy
Imagine a wine cork floating in the ocean. Left on its own, it will float; it will bob on the surface of the water effortlessly and naturally. This is the cork’s nature. Cork floats in water. It does not have to do anything special to float. It does not require a plan, a scheme, or a special recipe. The cork cannot get higher than the surface of the water, nor does it need or “want” to.
Human health is like this. Left to our own devices, in our natural habitat, we humans are healthy. We “float to the surface,” if you will, and this “floating” is natural and requires no particular intervention or special plan. We feel fine, there is nothing wrong, and all is well. There is no “Super Health,” nothing we can do to become “very” healthy or “extra” healthy, in the same way that the cork cannot maintain a position above the surface of the water. We cannot maintain a condition above “healthy,” nor do we need to.
Aboriginal tribes and ancestral populations, not yet exposed to modern lifestyles, have been observed to thrive perfectly wherever and whenever they have been studied. Some eat mostly tubers, roots, foraged seeds, and seasonal fruit. Some eat only goat meat and milk. Others eat mostly whale and seal blubber. Some live in cold climates, some hot, some dry, some wet, yet they all thrive; they all “float to the surface” quite effortlessly.
The reason they are all floating is that they do not have anything holding them down.
The only way the wine cork can become submerged is if it’s forced down somehow. And when that restriction is released, it once again returns, quite effortlessly, to the surface. If you hold the cork under the water and release it, what happens? If a boat forces the cork down momentarily, what happens once the boat passes? The important point is that when the thing that was holding the cork under the water is removed, whatever it was, the cork regains its natural balance.
You can’t imagine how proud I am of myself for not writing anything about soaking corks, cork soaking, cork soakers, or soaked corks. Or blowjobs.
Here’s Why All Those Diets Work
Many of you, even after reading this, will be tempted at this point to say that all these diets work because they all, some way or another, cause a person to “eat less” or “consume fewer calories than they expend.” Which is like saying that someone got rich because they earned more money than they spent. Well, both of these ideas are technically true, yet demonstrably use-less. Why use-less? Because advising someone to “eat less” or “consume fewer calories” has never, doesn’t, and will never result in sustained, long-term fat loss. Doctors have been telling people seeking fat loss to “eat less” since the 50’s—before that they were told to limit carbohydrates—and not only have we not ceased to become fatter, which would mean there is no benefit to that advice, but we are now fatter than ever, which reveals that advice to be an emphatic failure.
Oh, and Calories-In-vs.-Calories-Out folks, be sure to tell the next bum you meet: “You’re broke because you’re spending more than you’re earning. Now get out of my way, Raggy.” That’s a good way to get mugged for sweatpants money.
“You really shouldn’t talk to the Devil like that! rrrRRRAAAAHAHAHHHHH!!! NOT SO TOUGH TONIGHT, ARE YOU, BATMAN?!”
HAHA, um, Onward!
People find success with Plant and Animal diets because there was something they were eating previously that was “holding them under the water.” The new way of eating wasn’t “magic” or “super-healthy,” it’s just that they stopped eating the things that were keeping them down.
In other words, the health benefit derived from any way of eating is due mainly to what you are no longer eating.
It’s not that plants are “healthy,” it’s that you’re no longer eating industrially-processed bullshit.
It’s not that meat is “good for you,” it’s that you’re no longer eating chips and Oreos.
It’s not that your diet now is “anti-acidic” or “cleansing” or has a lot of “anti-oxidants,” it’s that you’re no longer drinking pop and eating cheesecakes.
It’s what you’re no longer eating that is the “active ingredient” here; it’s the exclusion of certain elements that is what’s good about your new way of eating. Not the things that you have begun to eat.
Are plants good for you? What about meat? Fish? Eggs? Potatoes? Wrong question; animals and plants will always be just fine for human animals.
What any dietary plan should identify is: what are the foods that keep me from “floating to the surface?”
For some it’s sugar, flour, or wheat. Some can handle those things just fine, but they’re lactose intolerant and milk is what’s causing them trouble. Some have a Carbohydrate Allergy but can handle dairy just fine.
Whatever your particular situation, any health benefit derived from your new diet will be in direct proportion to the success with which you can eliminate the elements of your current diet that are preventing you from “floating” up and regaining the effortless, natural health that is your birthright.
The best plan is somewhere in the middle: Eat Animals and Plants. Stop eating modern things that are neither plants nor animals.
More Similarities Than Differences
Strange as it seems at first, Plant Eaters and Meat Eaters are actually on the same side here. Both stress the importance of natural foods as close to their natural states as possible. Both attempt to avoid the processed bullshit foods that have become staples of the Western Diet. In their own ways, both seek to remove those modern lifestyle factors that can degrade human health.
So vegetarians, carnivores: Stop it. You’re BOTH pretty!
Except for you vegans; you’re being ridiculous and you need to get your lives together. Countless thousands of generations of our ancestors didn’t claw their way to the top of the food chain so you could order a goddamn salad with bird seed on it and then fart uncontrollably for the next six hours.