Well, it’s not surprising, but the blogosphere is indeed buzzing about Nina Planck’s Death by Veganism op-ed. Many vegans, like this one, make some great points — namely, there are plenty of neglectful non-vegan parents, so why single out this (rather extreme) case?
Nina is a savvy woman, though, if only because after reading her op-ed, and some of the responses, I did the very thing that she probably hoped I would do (and that the vegans probably feared I would do): I went out and bought her book.
I’m only a couple of chapters in, but so far I like it. In no means do I want to pick a fight with the vegans of the world — who is doing more to save this planet of ours than vegans? Who lives their beliefs more than they? Who is more likely to
bitch-slap me for my diet help me improve what I eat?
(for a good review of Nina’s book from someone who’s actually finished it, check out this post from Tigers and Strawberries.)
But I like the book mostly because her definition of “real food” matches my own. Which makes me realize: although I declare myself a mama in search of real food, I never actually defined real food. But Nina did — and she provides facts and figures to back up what I arrived at by gut instinct.
Real food, for me and Nina, is:
1. Old: the kind of things humans have been eating for a long, long time. Which means butterfat, not margarine. Fruit, not “fruit” snacks. Eggs, not EggBeaters.
2. Not only should the food be old, but it should also be raised/produced the way it used to be (meaning, in the case of meat, for example, fed the diet that it evolved to eat, not crammed with e. Coli-creating corn…).
With this diet, and some budgetary restrictions, you’ll wind up eating heaps of vegetables, virtually no additives…and, yes, some animal products, but more healthful animal products. That’s my definition of real food. That’s what you find here. And I do believe you’ll be healthier for it. You bet I do.
As for veganism and the ethics of meat-eating: the most compelling arguments that I’ve read for veganism are in response to industrialized agriculture, not sustainable, local livestock. Environmentally, I’m not convinced that packaged soy products are really much better for this earth than, say, local beef, assuming that the cows were pastured and not trucked 1200 miles to your plate. And nutritionally, pastured meat just isn’t the same as its feedlot cousin. Should we eat less meat? You betcha’. But the difference should be not just in quantity, but also in quality.
O angry vegans, I certainly am open to learning more. But in the meantime, the (admittedly inflammatory) Nina makes sense to me. You?