vegan meal
© MUSE SchoolDoesn't this look like a satisfying meal? Dry lettuce with a couple of veggies and some watermelon - yes please! I feel full just looking at it!
An article at the Huffington Post has gotten the Paleo Tweeters in a bit of a tizzy. It's a bit confusing why it's coming up now, since the original article was published in early 2015. According to the byline, it was updated recently but they seem to have failed to update time sensitive references, including the headline, 'America Is About To Get Its First All-Vegan School Cafeteria For Kids'. The fact is, the restaurant/cafeteria has been vegan for two years now, before that having served one entirely plant-based meal per week for about two years, eventually going up to two days per week, prior to the change-over to full insanity veganism.

Confusion aside, I figured this was a good opportunity to not only rip on my favourite whipping boy - veganism - but to try to set a personal record for the number of supporting links I can embed in one piece (betcha can't read them all!).

The article is focused on the MUSE School in Calabasas, California, talking about how the school was started by the wife of big-name film director James Cameron and her sister in 2006, and that it's the first school to go full vegan, blah blah blah. Then it says some BS about lessening carbon footprints, environmental something something. It then goes on:
Nutritionists interviewed by The Huffington Post applauded MUSE's move away from the typically highly processed foods and drinks that too often remain standard American cafeteria fare.
Well, great. Here's something this nutritionist would also applaud (theoretically). School lunches are notoriously abysmal in the US, especially since Michelle Obama made it her personal mission to serve students across the country a bunch of crap. Described as highly processed, inedible, disgusting, among other colourful monikers, the lunch program was a complete failure, despite the fact that it "meets federal guidelines" (which says a lot about the federal guidelines). So it seems like a progressive move for the MUSE School Kitchen to shift away from this towards a healthier alternative, something to really feed children's minds and give them the energy and nutrients to help them learn and thrive. The children are our future, you know.

In the next sentence the whole thing falls apart:
Studies show reducing one's meat intake not only has an environmental impact, but also a health one - reducing risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes, as well as curbing obesity.
Wow. They forgot breast cancer.

The demonization of meat is nothing new, of course. The politically correct diet dictocrats have been bashing meat-eating for decades. But that doesn't make it true that meat consumption is bad for you, or the environment. In fact, if "everyone knows" something to be true, more than likely, it's not true. The case against animal foods causing diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and obesity have all been debunked rather thoroughly. Not to mention depression, epilepsy, MS, Alzheimer's, autism, to name but a few.

Yet the mainstream media just can't seem to budge on the same old story that "meat is really bad for you even though our ancestors ate it for a gazillion years and wouldn't have done that if it was actually bad but anyway you should all be eating soy burgers which have only existed for a few decades." I swear, if I see that line of BS in print one more time, I'm gonna throw a bowl of overcooked broccoli at the monitor.

The article continues:
There are general caveats. Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition and food studies at New York University, told HuffPost that a vegan diet is in line with the health world's recommendation to eat mostly fruits, vegetables and grains, but that any successful diet must offer a variety of choices.

"One basic tenet of healthful diets is to include a variety of foods, and vegan diets need variety too," Nestle said via email. "The menus must be planned to be adequate in calories, protein, and variety."
Yes, variety. That's the issue with vegan diets - if you promoted variety by throwing some meat in there it would fall within the "tenet[s] of healthful diets". Vegan diets are said to require variety for a simple reason: the vegetable kingdom doesn't contain any complete proteins, i.e. proteins that contain a sufficient amount of all the amino acids needed for human health and functioning. So vegans need to get their amino acids from multiple sources to ensure that they're getting all the amino acids they need (referred to as protein combining, it's debatable whether or not it actually works). This is not a concern with meat consumption because all animal foods contain complete proteins. You could survive on nothing but pork chops quite happily for the rest of your life, but survive on nothing but soy? I'd give it a year before you start seeing total breakdown of your health.

And this is only one reason why a vegan diet is wholly insufficient for human health.

David Katz, an instructor in medicine at Yale's School of Public Health, agreed, noting that "it's possible to do a vegan diet badly, but if it's done well, it's one of the best diets we have."
No it isn't. This guy's been watching too much Scott Pilgrim:

And this is what has the Paleo Tweeters up in arms. Because it's promoted as healthy, ethical and morally superior, very few are paying attention to the fact that we're simply not suited for a diet devoid of animal foods. Listen to Lierre Keith if you don't believe me. She destroyed her health trying everything within her power to maintain a vegan diet. And the same thing has happened to countless others.

But the worst thing is that this is being promoted to children. Yes, the school emphasizes that they only serve one meal per day to the children, and one vegan meal in an otherwise meaty day isn't going to break the nutrient bank (unless it's filled with the crap usually associated with veganism like soy, grains, legumes, nuts... actually, unless they're serving nothing but salad it's probably going to have some negative effect). They're also teaching the kids about growing food and permaculture farming methods in their Seed-To-Table program, which is great.

But the problem is that the diet is being promoted as the "right thing to do" to these kids. They never get to hear the other side - that vegetables are really just side dishes and that eating animals will make them big, strong and smart because it contains all the things their bodies and brains actually need to function properly and that the environment actually benefits from the presence of grazing animals. Considering the consequences veganism has on children, even before they're born, it's really criminal that these kids are being brainwashed in this way.

Kids should be taught where they fit in the cycle of life, how farming can be a spiritual practice, imbued with objective knowledge that recognizes the complex interrelationship of all life and how the cycles of one species are intimately tied to all others in the environment. Eliminating animals from this delicate balance is akin to eliminating an organ from the body.

But perhaps that's too much to hope for. Maybe there's just something about life on this planet that forces people to learn things the hard way. Maybe there's some value in these kids potentially figuring out on their own that they've been lied to and taking the steps themselves to get to the bottom of things. Or maybe they're just screwed.