Vegans call this book “abusive”.
As someone from a hunting culture (Dad was a game warden, Mom a wilderness guide in Maine) I always felt at odds with vegetarian and vegan culture, but not because of the food. It was the idea that hunters are brutes who don’t care about Bambi. Sportsmen are among the most passionate of environmentalists, and yearly generate almost as much revenue for state of Colorado as the ski industry.
Still, I tried. I was macrobiotic for a year and a half, eating a diet of vegetables, sea weed, rice, rice, rice, soy and the occasional tidbit of fish, for a year and a half. I ended up in the hospital with a huge electrolyte imbalance and pronounced anemia.
My macrobiotic friends accused me of “Not paying enough attention,”. If I were keeping to the program, this wouldn’t happen. I kept to the program, but they were unable to hear this, except for Connie who sagely said, “You were just releasing more toxins. Western medicine is so stupid,” According to her, I just needed fasting. All the macrobiotics I knew except me smoked (the diet, they claimed, exempted them from any lung damage) and I overheard Connie on the phone that same week say, breathlessly after a deep drag of smoke, “The dolphins are having a revolution of consciousness,”.
That was the end of macro for me. I tried other vegetarian programs, though. Soy was always a problem – it made me feel horrible. Again, this was always ascribed to “toxins”. After several drastic, dangerous, torturous “cleanses”, which did not cure my asthma and in fact gave me other health problems, including increasing boomerang weight GAIN, I bailed.
For me, “The Vegetarian Myth” is a profound validation of my experience, and probably for many others.
But the real significance of this book is its challenge to some worn out ideas that have kept us in thrall to Big Ag, which is one of the biggest threats to the natural world we have ever created.
Monoculture decimates habitats, creates toxic states for bees, soil, seeds and water, draws heavily on petroleum and plumps up human populations like cattle for the slaughter. Simple carbohydrates are like heroine for the metabolism. “Nobody can eat just one” is both a mission statement and a path to slow, creeping death.
I’ve transitioned off grains since I am metabolically sensitive; with 1/3 of our population obese, it’s safe to say I’m in good company. Still, the media machine and medical constituencies continue to try to sell us on the low-fat diet. They are still cutting and pasting from unchallenged and defunct studies that have failed to ask the right questions. Simple carbohydrates are a toxic addiction for many humans.
But the far bigger challenge is our national and international financial addiction to Big Ag.