Spurred in part, first by a report from the United Nations Environment Programme and then by some of the stated goals of the “Green New Deal”, I wanted to point out that a lot of problematic things are being said about diet. I’m going to present my reactions in bullet form:
- Some human beings are, for practical purposes, incapable of thriving on a purely vegetarian diet.
- No one really knows how high a percentage of people that might be.
- There is a genetic basis for this and it’s reasonable to think that people whose ancestors lived in Germany are different from people whose ancestors lived in China are different from people whose ancestors lived in Ghana.
- Most people of European descent who are capable of thriving on a purely vegetarian diet require a significant amount of discipline and in all likelihood supplementation to thrive on a purely vegetarian diet.
- On average Americans eat too much meat—more than 120kg/year by some reckonings. That’s excessive and not conducive to good health.
I consume less than 100g of protein from all sources daily. That includes meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, dairy, and vegetable sources. How do I know? I weigh everything.
That’s probably about the same as the average person in China.
I am not killing the planet.
My ancestors on both sides in all likelihood survived on dairy (milk and cheese) and grain. My Swiss ancestors were milk brokers for as far back as we have records—800 years. There were a lot of Irish cowboys on my mom’s side. I would not be surprised at all if I were genetically incapable of surviving on a purely vegetarian diet.
My recommendation is moderation in all things or, as Plautus put it modus omnibus rebus optimus est habitu. It was a good policy 2,000 years ago and it still is.