A review of (a review of) The Vegetarian Myth

October 11, 2010

I’ve gone on a few times about the importance of getting credible nutrition information, but here’s a story from a tabling event I was at that illustrates why I care so much about this:

And of course, it gives me a chance to throw some props to Ginny Messina for her review of The Vegetarian Myth, which I promised I’d do a while back!

Seriously folks, if you suck at veganism it doesn’t just hurt you, it hurts veganism, so do your part!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark October 12, 2010 at 10:00 am

Just because someone is a dietician, doesn’t mean that they are necessarily credible or knowledable regarding a vegan diet. Personally, I’d set a higher bar than that. I’ve read work from too many “credible” dieticians who believe a vegan diet is healthy, but also believe that vegetable oil is, too. Ginny falls into that camp. She can’t comprehend that most people (herself included) are addicted to the taste of fat and one can de-condition yourself from that addiction over time.

The peer-reviewed research of Esselstyn, Barnard, and Ornish, clearly demonstrate that added fat, among other problems, fuels plaque development that causes 90% of the strokes that are killing us. It’s that simple.

Besides, oil isn’t food. It’s processed goop.

I suggest that the credibility of people who’ve been out there for a significant length of time and have a track record on nutrition are important to pay attention to.

Ginny is going against Esselstyn, Ornish, Campbell, Barnard, and McDougall. It might be gutsy on one level, but she’s little research of her own to support her views. Furthermore, supporting “faux” cheese products for a transition to veganism is advocating a continuance of eating high fat processed food. I question the wisdom of that approach.

But do keep in mind that the American Dietic Association, despite putting out statements in support of a vegan diet, are heavily corporate funded, hence one should parse what any dietician says carefully.

Ginny has done some good work, but I put her in the category of “corporate” or “conservative” vegan diet advocate. I mean, when a recent post of her complains that she was automatically given a “fat free” dressing with a vegan meal she ordered, I question her understanding of what is truly healthy.

FYI, Mark


Jason October 12, 2010 at 10:17 am

Thanks Mark, it’s always good to question everything and as you say, parse what any dietician says carefully!

James October 12, 2010 at 5:37 pm


There’s a story, possible apocryphal but definitely useful, about Isaac Bashevis Singer. Once when Singer told a host he was vegetarian, the host asked if he had made that decision for health. Singer replied, “Yes – the health of the chicken.”

Messina doesn’t tell humans to avoid animal foods because animal foods hurt humans. If you do, then you have different goals than she does, and you can expect to come to different conclusions sometimes.

Erin October 12, 2010 at 9:19 pm

You know what’s I’m disgusted by? Super wealthy starletts who had to stop being vegan because it was “killing” them. It makes me sick when people who have the money to have a personal chef and dietician on board proceed to starve themselves and call it veganism… Sorry, honey, that’s anorexia.

As for misinformation, I always wonder why so many people repeat the theories that soy causes cancer (which I have see conclusively proven), and yet the widely accepted fact that meat and dairy lead to cancer are somehow secrets except among cancer researchers. What the frak? I posted something on my facebook page about something related to veganism (not even mentioning soy), and my cousin-in-law replied, “Well I’ll stick to meat because I don’t want to get breast cancer.” I sent her some links from the cancerproject.org, but I doubt she even looked at them.

Erin October 13, 2010 at 11:46 am

oops, just noticed a typo- I have NOT seen soy/cancer link proven.

Jenny Lai October 18, 2010 at 11:12 pm

While there’s nothing that guarantees veganism or vegetarianism as the ultimate “healthiest” diet, veganism and/or vegetarianism is not entirely bad. With today’s influx of corn-fed meats, buying meat that is grass-fed or organic is not only expensive but inconvenient for those who do not live in a community conscious of healthy foods or locally grown foods. Of course, all the articles and books on low-carb diets, or diets focused on meat-based carbs or vegetable-based carbs, really just need to emphasize how BALANCE one’s diet.

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