American Parkour Forum

Fitness and Training => General Fitness => Diet => Topic started by: Kineticstorm on December 15, 2008, 09:34:18 AM

Title: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Kineticstorm on December 15, 2008, 09:34:18 AM
Sorry if this is the wrong forum but I wasn't sure where else to put this.

So for several years now I've been flirting with vegetarianism, and have decided to give it another try. The last few times I tried to quit meat cold turkey (pardon the pun) and failed. So this time I'm progressing into it. I'm starting off with reducing my meat intake to one meal a day max, and completely eliminating steak and pork from my diet, and then adding to that list as I progress. I've researched into how to get the replacement vitamins (iron and protein) into my diet and I think I've got that down. I also have many reasons for doing this, not the least of which is the health benefits, which fit into "to be and to last". My question is what does everyone else think of this. Any other veg traceurs/traceuses out there with advice?
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Patrick Yang on December 15, 2008, 12:38:51 PM
Might try posting this in the diet subforum of the fitness forum.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 15, 2008, 12:58:00 PM
Yeh this belongs in diet.

Protein isn't a vitamin.  It is a macronutrient.

Vegetarianism is not a long term dieting solution, in my opinion...especially for athletes.

It sounds like it has been hard for you to stay committed to a vegetarian diet -- why are you looking to be a vegetarian, anyway?
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: b5200 on December 15, 2008, 01:01:12 PM
I'm vegan  ;D I'f you find it hard to give up meat the meat substitute stuff is pretty good.  I just had a veggie burger a few minutes ago actually(well, a masala burger but close enough).
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: tombb on December 15, 2008, 01:54:29 PM
We had some relevant discussion about this before, see here:
http://www.americanparkour.com/smf/index.php?topic=12681.msg162238#msg162238 (http://www.americanparkour.com/smf/index.php?topic=12681.msg162238#msg162238)

If you can eat eggs and milk/dairy the only thing missing is creatine (which is easy to get from supplements), everything else is as good or better from other sources instead of meat/fish.

If you don't even eat eggs or dairy (as in your case I am assuming, since you say vegan), then you can still be a world champion at whatever physical activity but planning meals to get enough good proteins becomes extremely difficult.
Completely 100% possible and not different from eating meat in theory, but just much more unlikely in practice because of how hard it becomes to get good, balanced and lean protein sources without resorting to eggs and dairy or protein powders (in case you have reasons not to take those either).
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 15, 2008, 02:01:52 PM
If you don't even eat eggs or dairy (as in your case I am assuming, since you say vegan), then you can still be a world champion at whatever physical activity but planning meals to get enough good proteins becomes extremely difficult.

Whoa...lets not push it with the world champion talk...only a handful of athletes have been vegetarian/vegan and achieved the top of their sport - that is, something the equivalent of an olympic gold medal.  This doesn't mean you can't be a GOOD athlete, but world champion has very specific implications....alas, I digress...

-------

The main point boils down to why do YOU want to become a vegetarian?  Some people perform better and live longer with meat.  Another, smaller population, performs better and feels better as vegetarians.  Have to experience/experiment for yourself.  If your body wants you to eat meat, though, that's a signal you must listen to on some level...whether you want to be a vegetarian or not.

Personally, my body enjoys and thrives off of a high protein diet (I found this through experimentation, of course) that requires high amounts of meat in my diet.  This varies from person to person.  If you think that being a vegetarian is the only want to eat healthy, then you need to do more research, imho, as there are several options available to you that may fit your lifestyle better.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Alec Furtado on December 15, 2008, 02:38:02 PM
Some people perform better and live longer with meat.  Another, smaller population, performs better and feels better as vegetarians.
Vegetarians don't live as long? 0.o


I'm curious as well as to why you want to be a vegetarian.





[I want to say more but don't want to offend any vegetarians/vegans... lol]
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: tombb on December 15, 2008, 02:53:44 PM
If you don't even eat eggs or dairy (as in your case I am assuming, since you say vegan), then you can still be a world champion at whatever physical activity but planning meals to get enough good proteins becomes extremely difficult.

Whoa...lets not push it with the world champion talk...only a handful of athletes have been vegetarian/vegan and achieved the top of their sport - that is, something the equivalent of an olympic gold medal.  This doesn't mean you can't be a GOOD athlete, but world champion has very specific implications....alas, I digress...

-------

The main point boils down to why do YOU want to become a vegetarian?  Some people perform better and live longer with meat.  Another, smaller population, performs better and feels better as vegetarians.  Have to experience/experiment for yourself.  If your body wants you to eat meat, though, that's a signal you must listen to on some level...whether you want to be a vegetarian or not.

Personally, my body enjoys and thrives off of a high protein diet (I found this through experimentation, of course) that requires high amounts of meat in my diet.  This varies from person to person.  If you think that being a vegetarian is the only want to eat healthy, then you need to do more research, imho, as there are several options available to you that may fit your lifestyle better.
It's a simple matter of math. There is absolutely nothing you get from meat that you can't get from eating eggs/dairy/vegetables and creatine powder.

Eating meat is not healthier in any way whatsoever, it's just easier because you have a few more lean protein sources to choose from.

As far as following what your body or instincts tell you, a lot of time you might want to punch a professor in the face, or eat candy until you are too full to eat anymore, or feel like eating some chocolate-covered bacon, or kick a kitten. Those "signals" don't have special meanings that should override your better judgment.  If you think killing kittens is wrong, don't do it, even if one is being annoying one day.

There is no special requirement from person to person that would force someone to have to kill/hurt or eat meat.  If you don't have anything against it, good for you, but other people are more than willing to put a little extra effort in getting good protein from other sources to be consistent with their views, and there is absolutely no drawback as long as they eat the same amount of protein from quality protein sources and supplement with creatine.

If you think otherwise, Chris, perhaps you should point me to any other mystery nutrient that is not found anywhere else but meat.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 15, 2008, 02:59:09 PM
Some people perform better and live longer with meat.  Another, smaller population, performs better and feels better as vegetarians.
Vegetarians don't live as long? 0.o


I'm curious as well as to why you want to be a vegetarian.





[I want to say more but don't want to offend any vegetarians/vegans... lol]

"The annual all-cause death rate of vegetarian men is slightly more than that of non-vegetarian men (.93% vs .89%); the annual death rate of vegetarian women is significantly more than that of non-vegetarian women (.86% vs .54%) (Am J Clin Nutr 1982 36:873)"

Take that FWIW....I take it as the differences between vegetarian longevity and non-vegetarian longevity are pretty minuet...no matter how you define vegetarian...

It's a simple matter of math. There is absolutely nothing you get from meat that you can't get from eating eggs/dairy/vegetables and creatine powder.

You're right.  Matter of math.  Small handful of world champions are vegetarian/vegan.  The majority are not.  Just math...

IMHO, and i don't mean to stir the pot, you can't say your statement with any sense of certainty.  If everyone followed your line of thought (i.e. "absolutely no drawback"), vitamins would never have been discovered - neither would have simulin - neither would have the importance of minerals....

As for listening to signals from your body...you have to start somewhere...you have to learn how to interpret them.  If his body is telling him he wants meat, that doesn't mean he wants meat, necessarily -- but it means there are signals his body is trying to let him know to which he is not yet attuned.  All I am saying is that he needs to start listening to his body.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: tombb on December 15, 2008, 03:24:28 PM
"The annual all-cause death rate of vegetarian men is slightly more than that of non-vegetarian men (.93% vs .89%); the annual death rate of vegetarian women is significantly more than that of non-vegetarian women (.86% vs .54%) (Am J Clin Nutr 1982 36:873)"

Take that FWIW....I take it as the differences between vegetarian longevity and non-vegetarian longevity are pretty minuet...no matter how you define vegetarian...
That type of statistics is very often completely irrelevant, the reason is that it's not a test, it's a correlation about coincidences. If you look at large groups of people, maybe vegetarians are more likely to be killed in anti-war hippie demonstrations or somesuch, just because the two tend to be associated for some reason. Plus we are talking about very different types of vegetarianism.

If you could show that feeding any animal a diet consisting of exactly the same amount of protein, vitamins, carbs and fat but differing only in meat caused the meat-free animals to drop dead faster, then you would have my attention.  But we both know that would not be the case, because all coincidences would be out of the picture.


It's a simple matter of math. There is absolutely nothing you get from meat that you can't get from eating eggs/dairy/vegetables and creatine powder.

You're right.  Matter of math.  Small handful of world champions are vegetarian/vegan.  The majority are not.  Just math...
Again, totally irrelevant matter of coincidence rather than cause-effect. It does not mean that sport makes people morally ambiguous. It doesn't.  And if you gave that same winning athlete exactly the same amount of nutrients he normally uses, replacing all meat, he will not perform any worse than he did before. Again, simple math/logic. The example you gave however is not math or logic because it's coincidental, not causal and therefore does not logically follow.

You can't say your statement with any sense of certainty.  If everyone followed your line of thought, vitamins would never have been discovered - neither would have simulin - neither would have the importance of minerals....
This is an argument by ignorance, saying because we can't possibly know future discoveries, there must be something special, unique and irreplaceable in just meat.

But if anything it's been the opposite with scientific discoveries in nutrition. People clearly knew that something unique existed in some foods, as you had serious diseases if you deprived yourself from vitamin C etc even before we knew it was vitamin C.
But now that we know about vitamins, minerals, proteins, essential fats etc, we actually know they are not so unique to just one food group. 

And meat is the least likely to have new magical essential components in the future. 
Meat is already so similar to our bodies that it doesn't produce anything we could produce ourselves, only accumulates it from plant sources. Plant sources, on the other hand, produce an incredible amount of very complex and unusual organic molecules, some which are essential and unique or useful (and some poisonous too of course), so yes, you can discover new ones of those all the time in plants, although they will probably have less and less essential roles.  You can already live full healthy lives with just the nutrients and chemicals we discovered so far, new ones might have some extra health benefits but you can definitely live without them.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Alec Furtado on December 15, 2008, 03:27:33 PM
There is absolutely nothing you get from meat that you can't get from eating eggs/dairy/vegetables and creatine powder.
But isn't it all absorbed differently based on where it comes from? I guess that just goes back into the "easier" thing but you can still say X amount of A is healthier than X amount of B. You just end up needing a lot more B to equal that of A. (Right? lol.)
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 15, 2008, 03:36:52 PM
Well...now that you read each of my posts as you wished to read them, not as its written, I guess I will bow out of this post...

A discussion with you is very demoralizing in that you don't ever read what I say, you only read what you want me to say...I am actually saying vegetarianism is a worthwhile experiment on a personal level...you just keep shooting things back at me because you refuse to have your beliefs accommodate that there may be some scientific discovery yet to be had on the effects of meat and nutrition that may be positive.  All I have seen since my starting of investigation of vegetarian diets is ambiguity, false data and poor science.  You are violating a basic element of science by approaching certain aspects as law when they are not proven to be law.  Nutrition is mostly theory and statistics, like it or not...thus the necessity for personal experimentation.

In short: We do not know if there is a greater element to eating a diet including meat.  Plenty of data shows benefits on BOTH sides of the fence (look at vegan lifespan studies vs. hunter-gatherer anthropological studies).  However, what we do know is that world champions [however you define a champion] are typically not vegans/vegetarians...coincidental or not.

There is absolutely nothing you get from meat that you can't get from eating eggs/dairy/vegetables and creatine powder.
But isn't it all absorbed differently based on where it comes from? I guess that just goes back into the "easier" thing but you can still say X amount of A is healthier than X amount of B. You just end up needing a lot more B to equal that of A. (Right? lol.)

Yes.  Absorption is grossly different depending on the source.  Some proteins are broken down before absorption, others are not as some studies on IGF-I are showing. 

This further emphasizes my point that we know much much much less than we don't know.  Aborption and protein use still requires a lot of investigation by the scientific community. 
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 15, 2008, 03:51:18 PM
With that last post said I want to add that anyone who wants to be a vegetarian should go for it.  Similarly, anyone who is interested in a high carb, low carb, no carb, paleo, raw vegan, high protein, low fat, high fat, callorically restricted, callorically dense or any other sort of diet should TRY IT OUT.

When you see your body comp/performance deviating from your goals (therefore making you unhappy) try a different approach.  If you have been a vegan for 10 years and, despite your greatest efforts, can't get that 6 pack, then you may want to try a different diet if your ethics allow for it.  Similarly, if you have been on a low carb, high protein, high fat diet for 10 years and you notice your mood sucks or your cholesterol and BP is crazy high then maybe you want to try a vegetarian diet. 

See what works for you and stay happy.  That's what is important.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Alec Furtado on December 15, 2008, 04:00:28 PM
So google says IGF-I is insulin-like growth factor but what exactly is the main concept behind that? (Basic summary, simple words preferred :D)
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 15, 2008, 04:05:15 PM
IGF-1 or IGF-I is a modulator of cell growth in mammals.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insulin-like_growth_factor_1

Recent studies show that IGF-1 is protected when injested with casein, a protein in milk.  This protection allows it to be absorbed and by the body without the body creating its own...which is, in its simplest form, eating an anabolic hormone.

The studies were done on milk due to the suspicion that IGF-1 in milk is the reason why those who drink lots of milk get very big very fast as well as decrease in the developmental period (puberty) in adolescents (pre-teens to early teens).  There is a school of thought that believes this increases risk of colon cancer, though.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: tombb on December 15, 2008, 06:56:02 PM
Chris, It's not about reading things differently.
I take great care to make sure that none of my points are ever supported by shaky arguments or pseudoscience, and I make a point to correct others when they fall into that pattern (for example using coincidences as causality proofs), nothing personal.

So again I am not trying to antagonize you, I am simply making valid, important points about scientific realities of nutrition, and clearly refuting possible wrong interpretations. If you are agreeing on these, great. If you have some alternative interpretations, that's ok too, just argue them and support them with valid data or sound arguments, and we can have a nicer more constructive discussion, there is no reason to disagree when we are both looking at solid data and sound arguments and mechanisms.

The points I made in the the first post within this thread still stand.  The extra examples and discussion I gave were just to address your points, they are not trying to commit you to statements you did not intend, they are simply covering all grounds and eliminating alternative hypotheses to reiterate and support my original point, which is that there is no known nutritional element you would be missing from not eating meat or fish (and no reason to believe there should be one), aside from the practical convenience of having more protein sources.

There is no pseudoscience in this. The pseudoscience only comes with people trying to reach past science and reality to try to say that either meat or vegetarianism is "more healthy" (neither is supported by reality, you can reach exactly the same level of health or nutritional parameters with or without meat, and there is no disadvantage in eating meat per se).

Alec, as far as some proteins being more absorbable, that is certainly the case, but again the advantage on this is not held by meat, but by other protein sources (dairy with whey&casein, cooked eggs, protein powders, even soy protein isolate has better absorbability and biological values).
The specific case of casein and IGF-1 makes sense on an intuitive level as well, since there are evolutionary advantages to having mother's milk passing various useful proteins like immunoglobuling and lactoferrin. On a side note, anything that can increase cell growth can increase risk for cancer, they always necessarily go together.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 15, 2008, 07:36:26 PM
tombb,

Would you agree to be a successful vegetarian one would need to get most of their protein from soy?  Even if they eat fish and eggs, most of the protein would have to come from soy and soy isolates just to get the raw amount of protein they need, wouldn't you agree?  Else, your carbs would just be through the roof...like 500g carb for every 100g protein or something like that.

If you agree on this, please let me know.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Matthew Wang on December 15, 2008, 07:40:18 PM
I love how these topics are still on topic, but sway away from the main point. ;D
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: tombb on December 15, 2008, 07:54:38 PM
tombb,

Would you agree to be a successful vegetarian one would need to get most of their protein from soy?  Even if they eat fish and eggs, most of the protein would have to come from soy and soy isolates just to get the raw amount of protein they need, wouldn't you agree?  Else, your carbs would just be through the roof...like 500g carb for every 100g protein or something like that.

If you agree on this, please let me know.

From my personal experience (~15 years not eating meat or fish for ethical reasons, basically being nice to puppies and kittens and less cute animals), no, that's not the case.

Most of my protein comes from dairy and eggs, which are both EXTREMELY lean and low calories sources of protein (fat-free cheese and milk, egg whites also naturally fat-free and carb-free, etc).
I hardly eat any soy ever, but I do eat various tasty foods that have a mix of high-quality proteins (usually whey + soy isolates).

There is no ethical reason for me not to include eggs (they are not fertilized and you can get from happy and well-treated free-roaming hens) or fat free yogurt, fat free or low fat cheese, and skim milk, (I prefer the taste as skim, and can get fat from other sources like nuts, flaxseed etc, and again milk can come from well treated cows who can earn their keep a little like we all do :P)

I would not eat fish for the same ethical reasons, even though it's obviously less endearing than puppy dogs and not as intelligent.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Alec Furtado on December 15, 2008, 08:03:14 PM
I love how these topics are still on topic, but sway away from the main point. ;D
Well the OP has yet to come back and respond to questions so I guess this is intermission.


How do you determine ethicalness? I won't judge, I'm just curious.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 15, 2008, 08:09:30 PM
tombb,

Would you agree to be a successful vegetarian one would need to get most of their protein from soy?  Even if they eat fish and eggs, most of the protein would have to come from soy and soy isolates just to get the raw amount of protein they need, wouldn't you agree?  Else, your carbs would just be through the roof...like 500g carb for every 100g protein or something like that.

If you agree on this, please let me know.

From my personal experience (~15 years not eating meat or fish for ethical reasons, basically being nice to puppies and kittens and less cute animals), no, that's not the case.

Most of my protein comes from dairy and eggs, which are both EXTREMELY lean and low calories sources of protein (fat-free cheese and milk, egg whites also naturally fat-free and carb-free, etc).
I hardly eat any soy ever, but I do eat various tasty foods that have a mix of high-quality proteins (usually whey + soy isolates).

There is no ethical reason for me not to include eggs (they are not fertilized and you can get from happy and well-treated free-roaming hens) or fat free yogurt, fat free or low fat cheese, and skim milk, (I prefer the taste as skim, and can get fat from other sources like nuts, flaxseed etc, and again milk can come from well treated cows who can earn their keep a little like we all do :P)

I would not eat fish for the same ethical reasons, even though it's obviously less endearing than puppy dogs and not as intelligent.


You are still getting your protein from animal sources, which is the only place I was coming from.  Though, a more diverse diet is always more beneficial, being ovo-lacto does help get you out of pigeonholing yourself in with soy.

Eggs = meat as far as I am concerned -- not ethically but definitely nutritionally....and milk is, to steal from Willgrind, liquid meat. 

My main concern is the vegetarian diet that is based heavily (25% of the diet or more) on soy products.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: tombb on December 15, 2008, 08:44:35 PM
How do you determine ethicalness? I won't judge, I'm just curious.
Alec, since you asked, It's just being personally consistent across my moral/ethical decisions.

If I said "killing puppies is wrong!" and then said "bacon is ok because it's delicious", the next question would be "what if puppies are delicious too? Are you just saying one thing is wrong and another is right just because of taste? Because of cuteness? Intelligence? Are those really good criteria for you?", and the truth is of course I can't say they are good enough criteria for my personal standards and thinking, I wouldn't think it's ok to kill a dog or a person just because they are ugly or mentally challenged for example. And how would you respond to hypotethical and more advanced aliens (just an example to reverse roles) saying they want to eat you and you trying to say it's wrong?

That goes to the question of why you value life, or some life, and why, and where/how/why you draw the line.

I value giving the chance to others to live their life out, make their own memories and value them as unique. If you can't form any memories, and had a number of clones exactly the same as you, then you could destroy any of them without destroying anything unique and irreplaceable.

On the other hand, if you have a cherished house pet you probably consider their feelings, memories and uniqueness to be valuable and would think of it as an irreplaceable loss to trade them for a single tasty meal.

So in my personal view, things like fruit are ethically the equivalent of cutting your hair and nails, no harm done, plus you are doing what the plant intends you to do, eat its fruits in exchange for maintaining their genetic line (although no longer directly). Same for milk or eggs.

It's also a matter of effort vs consequences. If I was starving and the only way to survive was to eat meat, I would not have any hesitation, but that is almost never the case. If there is a rare painting in my path, I would take a few side steps to avoid stepping on top of it. There is no killing involved but it takes so little effort and it is still a waste to destroy something unique needlessly.

Chris, I can't say much about diets that don't include eggs and dairy, because I am not sure what their criteria and options are exactly. If for example they do it out of some weird belief that there is some bad substance in those products (again I don't know people's reasons against dairy and eggs), it would seem that they should have no problems taking supplements like casein and whey protein powders if they are purified enough (and they are).

And while I agree with you that vegan diets are much, -much- more restrictive (and possibly actually misguided if they do it because they think it's necessarily more healthy, as I said potato chips and candy are technically "vegan"), I just can't completely eliminate the possibility that with enough effort they could come up with well balanced nutrition even under those restrictions (practically very difficult, but theoretically not impossible).
Keep in mind my point about aminoacid balancing even from incomplete protein sources as long as you consume them on the same day, and even slower protein absorption is not always bad (casein is good because of the steady supply of aminoacids it provides over time). Plus as I pointed out to you previously, while "whole" soy has a lot of problems, soy protein isolate is purified enough to get around any of those problems.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 15, 2008, 08:49:53 PM
Soy protein isolate and fermented soy has its own problems...but all that aside, everything has problems.  The main problem is getting all protein from 1 source -- restrictive diets typically punish the practitioner; too much of anything is not good.  Soy or otherwise.

Complementary proteins still means you need to eat tons of carb in relation to said protein..thus making it a bad choice for most athletes that want to be insulin sensitive...

Vegan's whole protein source is pretty much isolated soy & isolated hemp protein.  One comes with its own risks when consumed in mass quantities and the other doesn't have such great absorption -- thus why no one really uses it aside from vegans.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Kineticstorm on December 16, 2008, 01:15:44 AM
Wow, I didn't expect to get so many responses so fast but this is awesome.
As for becoming a vegetarian, note I did not ever say vegan, I still plan to eat eggs and drink milk, I have come to this conclusion for many reasons. I have seen time and time again evidence saying that vegetarians have a lower risk of heart disease and obesity. I am also strongly opposed to factory farming that is often used in agriculture today. Surveys show that if the grain used to feed livestock were instead used to feed humans, we would be much closer to solving world hunger. Finally, I am giving up meat for the same reason that I am working on giving up soda and alcohol. That is, without any real reason, society seems to push people into believing that if you don't use it, you are somehow not normal, or substandard, and the constant bombardment of this thinking has come to subconsciously influenced my everyday thinking, something I have recently realized while recovering from my sprained ankle.
Side note: It is true that protein is not a vitamin, thanks for catching me on that.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 16, 2008, 04:59:24 AM
well i disagree with your reasoning for being vegetarian -- as I disagree with most ethical reasons to be vegetarian -- but i respect your decision.

Do know that you need to eat a lot of milk, isolated whey protein and eggs to satisfy your very high protein requirements as an athlete.  Keep this in mind and it will be easier for you to stick to a vegetarian routine.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 16, 2008, 05:48:23 AM
After I posted I felt I may owe you an explanation for my reasoning -- you should understand tombb is going to come back and write a 4 page essay with his points outlined, as well, so be prepared for that :P

I have seen time and time again evidence saying that vegetarians have a lower risk of heart disease and obesity.

So does anyone who increases their quality of food and goes to a more "Paleo" style of eating.  A diet rich in natural whole foods will always have less disease than a diet rich in processed grains and sugars.  This is easily seen by comparing hunter-gather societies to western societies/diets.  The only difference between vegetarian diets and more conventional western diets is a higher degree of natural foods (vegetables) rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber with lower GI carbs overall.  Most vegetarians stumble upon this and just assume its the vegetarian diet when it is really the quality of food.  Hunter-gatherer societies that eat lots of meat, fish and veggies show longer lifespans than normal people and lifespans that are as long or even longer than vegetarians...with reduced risk of both diseases you outline above.

I am also strongly opposed to factory farming that is often used in agriculture today. Surveys show that if the grain used to feed livestock were instead used to feed humans, we would be much closer to solving world hunger.

This just isn't true.  Even if we DID give all the grain to starving countries, it is a band-aid to the problem.  Diets rich in grains without protein lead to a bloated belly look.  I tried to find images on google but couldn't -- just watch any documentary on starving nations and you will see what I am talking about.  The point is, giving all the grain to the third world may help people not feel hungry for a month, maybe, but it is hardly a solution.  We would need to get everyone in these nations something more like milk or eggs with corn as opposed to the grain we feed cattle.  Why not boycott High Fructose Corn Syrup so that they stop making it and send all that corn to the third world?

Even if I didn't convince you here, you can still eat grass fed meat and free-range chicken.

Finally, I am giving up meat for the same reason that I am working on giving up soda and alcohol. That is, without any real reason, society seems to push people into believing that if you don't use it, you are somehow not normal, or substandard, and the constant bombardment of this thinking has come to subconsciously influenced my everyday thinking, something I have recently realized while recovering from my sprained ankle.

Soda and alcohol are bad for you.  Meat is not bad for you.  Granted, as tombb said, it is not necessarily proven to be good for you but the only meat proven to be bad for you would be processed and preserved meats like commercial jerky, bacon, or pre-prepared meat.

Would you not be more annoyed by the fact that people who think they are more healthy because they are vegetarian?  This is similar to how people think they are healthy because they are training for a triathlon.  Triathletes are *not* some sort of uber-healthy yet they are consistently held to a higher level of fitness than most other athletes.  This same statement is true of vegetarians.

I think when you become vegetarian you will realize that you don't get ostracized as much as you think for not eating meat.  In fact, i get much more ostracized than any vegetarian when I eat about 3 pounds of food in one meal...1-1.5 pound of that meal usually being meat.  When I eat like that then tell people I don't eat bread, the looks I get are much more chastising than the looks vegetarians/vegans get.  Vegetarianism is a well accepted methodology in our society...people won't really chastise you for it.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: tombb on December 16, 2008, 05:49:03 AM
Kineticstorm, I can tell you that the lower heart disease and obesity from being vegetarian are not from science.
It's again a case of confusing causality for coincidence.  Your main risk factor for heart disease is being sedentary middleclass in a developed country, and maybe living near McDonalds and DunkinDoughnuts.
Not that McDonalds is necessarily all bad, but most people don't just eat salads and apple slices there and can easily go overboard :P
As I said, just not eating meat will not lower your risk of heart disease and obesity, especially if you replaced it with french fries, deep-fried blooming onions, potato chips and candy.

As far as your concerns with factory farming, I don't really know if you looked carefully at all sides of the issue (are you really sure that ending world hunger is that simple for example?), but personally I would think you would have a bigger impact on the world in that respect if for example you studied alternative agricultural means, or worked to support and pass legislation to regulate them in a more productive way.

With my ethical concerns, the killing part is the problem, so I don't have a way around it. It seems that in your case however, you don't disapprove of eating milk or eggs or even killing itself, but you disapprove of the current legislation or inefficiency of resource use, so it seems you would address those best by approaching them directly. 

While I might be a bit biased and understand more if you did it also because you don't like to kill cute animals, you can of course have your own reasons and make your own choices, just make sure that you checked carefully that they are based on solid arguments, there's a lot of pseudo-science, conspiracy theories and other nonsense out there to sort through unfortunately among the few points that might be legitimately valid.  If it's important enough for you, you might want to try to spend one day of literature or internet research, first trying to prove and then trying to disprove a claim or view, which generally really helps having a more complete and accurate understanding of any issue.

Chris, I can imagine you don't share my exact ethical views, as I explained in details above, but I am curious to hear of why you actually "disagree" with them, a much stronger position.  Is your justification based on a religious reason, like that you believe certain animals were created on purpose to be killed and it's a sin to choose not to?
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 16, 2008, 06:22:22 AM
Tombb,

I didn't mean any sort of offense by saying I disagree with them.  If I agreed with your reasons, I would practice that way of life.  If I don't agree with them, I don't.  I respect them, but don't agree, so I am sorry if you take that as being stronger than just not sharing them - to me not sharing and disagreeing are one in the same.

I don't agree with it because I have absolutely no problem with killing things.  Is this religious?  No, I am agnostic.  It is more based in the fact that there is nothing wrong, in my eyes, will killing things for a purpose.  This is the natural order of things, as I see it.  I don't favor cute animals compared to not-so-cute ones.  I have eaten rabbits and i have eaten alligators -- two total different sides of the "cute" spectrum.  I have killed hamsters and cute cuddly little mice in the name of science.

If you are opposed to killing animals then you would be pretty opposed to studies on animals.  I can understand that, but again don't agree. Studies on animals have been invaluable in determining the science and nature of our bodies and the bodies of most other animals.  Hell, studies on humans were even thought to be cruel and un-holy when early anatomists started cutting up the dead.  However, if that never happened, we would have no idea how a fetus actually grows or anything about our gross anatomy...and modern medicine would be even further behind where it is right now.

Do I get upset when, in the name of science, I kill a cute little hamster and it turns out we can't even use the body for experimentation?  Yes, that certainly is a shame, but a necessary part of science.

Have you ever seen Chimpanzees on a hunt?  They hunt down other monkeys -- members of their own primate family, and brutally rip their bodies apart for food while they are still alive.  This is the natural order of things.  The animals we eat today don't live glamorous lives like those you might see "in the wild" but things like cows can't even survive any more without human intervention.  They would just get eaten alive by wolves if we suddenly abandoned farming and agriculture  -- driven to extinction.  I would much rather eat my steak than have some wolf eat it -- I'm sure the wolf feels the same way.

I think the main issue, for me, is that I don't believe we are that different from our primate counterparts.  We eat what we need to in order to survive.  We have just mastered doing this efficiently.  Good for us, that means I can eat a huge steak every night while those lower on the food chain have to scrounge around for their food.  The fact that I don't have to scour the lands for a good meal does not make that good meal any less delicious or necessary.  I would rather eat the animal that is already dead than try to live off of it's milk and eggs.

...but that's just me and my opinion because you asked.

Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: tombb on December 16, 2008, 07:47:35 AM
Well, just to explain further my views, I am not againts killing in general as I said. In the right extreme circumstances (as the -only- choice left, in self-defense or protecting others), I wouldn't have a problem killing anything, people included.

But where we are at least as good as primates, dolphins, dogs, etc and I would argue much better at it, is making choices for ourselves.  Yes, I can kill this puppy or eat that steak or sit on the couch all day eating as much food as I possibly can, and just act in an unfriendly way to others when it satisfies my immediate needs and desires.  That might be my "natural" tendency, but I can instead have dreams and aspirations to be a better person, and look at inspiring examples and follow them.

I don't hate a wolf for living its normal carnivorous life. But I am more inspired by say the dog and kitten that grew up to be basically friends. Do I feel obligated to kill every dog in the neighborhood just because some other bad-tempered monkey somewhere else would? No, I like to make my own decisions. (similarly I express disapproval differently than other primates, I have a strict no-throwing-@#$% policy) :P

And as far as using animal for science, it's again a matter of tradeoffs, it's clearly easier to use humans for science, since at least you can ask them, but there is a big difference between using an animal to save millions of lives or to put something between the bread slices in your BigMac.
Of course I would put more effort than others in designing my experiments to avoid unnecessary hurt or killing, but in real science you often have to face ethical decisions like doing nothing and causing much more death and destruction or cause much less harm to prevent it.


So I guess where we disagree is on assumptions that I must be against using people or animals for science, or that I should do things a certain way because of examples of that behaviors in others.  You can show me a documentary of primates on a hunt, fine. I can show you documentaries of people committing genocide, torture etc.  Both are not examples I am aspiring to imitate anytime soon, regardless of how "natural" they might be considered by some, I choose differently. >:(

Where we instead have a genuine difference of views is in the relative value we place on some lives, I imagine everything except other people's pets is worth less than a slightly better meal, which is fine, that's ultimately a personal choice.
However I wonder what you would say if you had a pet, say a dog you actually cared about, and wanted to stop someone from killing it for a purpose (say a delicious Chinese meat dish), is the only thing wrong there the fact that it belongs to you and he would be damaging property? If you can say that, then I would say your views are self-consistent, if not, you might be applying a double-standard without exploring a valid reason (e.g., maybe it's ok to kill things as long as you don't get to know them, which is not a satisfactory reason for me but perhaps you are comfortable with it). ???
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 16, 2008, 08:44:36 AM
Just because you can get attached to something doesn't place a higher value on it in the grand scheme of things -- just to you.

I can really love that tree in my front yard because it was the tree I grew up climbing or the first tree in which I built a treehouse.  Does that add value to it?  Only to me.  I wouldn't want it cut down to make my lawn look more groomed...but others would not hesitate to rip down that tree.

Similarly, I can really love the house I grew up in so much that I wouldn't want to tear it down.  However, once I sell it, for whatever reason, I can go back 2 years later and see it was leveled to build a 5 story condo.  Would that sadden me as a death would sadden me?  Likely so.  But that doesn't mean it is more valuable to the world just because I am emotionally attached to it.

Would I eat my pet dog?  No, unless I was starving and it was already dead.  Would I eat dog meat that I personally hunted and killed?  Yes. 

The difference again is emotional attachment.  I don't care if someone else is attached to this animal.  Humans are capable of getting attached to a piece of cloth (ever see a 4 year old and their "blankie"?)  That doesn't mean I wouldn't use that blankie as a trap to catch my dinner if I found it in a heap of garbage and had no attachment to it.

What I think I get caught up in is this:
Quote
That might be my "natural" tendency, but I can instead have dreams and aspirations to be a better person, and look at inspiring examples and follow them.

This implies to me that you view yourself as a better person for not eating meat and killing animals.  That is all fine and well if that is your belief.  I won't try to change that.  However, I don't believe that refusing to eat something that was killed brings anyone to a level making them a "better person".  I do believe that if you resist the tempation to sit on your ass all day and eat BigMacs that definitely makes you a better person since you are, directly, fighting natural tendency for the betterment of yourself.  Again, I don't believe that eating meat makes someone a "worse person" nor does refusing to eat meat make someone a "better person".

These animals are already dead and can't survive without us these days, anyway.  We may as well take advantage of the fact that they are readily available as protein sources, and damn good ones at that.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Patrick Yang on December 16, 2008, 08:52:03 AM
Interesting discussion here.

When I eat like that then tell people I don't eat bread, the looks I get are much more chastising than the looks vegetarians/vegans get.  Vegetarianism is a well accepted methodology in our society...people won't really chastise you for it.

This is true.  I've got several friends on the sliding scale of vegetarian to omnivore, and I get a lot more crap than them (sometimes from them) about not eating starches and grains.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 16, 2008, 09:00:58 AM
Interesting discussion here.

When I eat like that then tell people I don't eat bread, the looks I get are much more chastising than the looks vegetarians/vegans get.  Vegetarianism is a well accepted methodology in our society...people won't really chastise you for it.

This is true.  I've got several friends on the sliding scale of vegetarian to omnivore, and I get a lot more crap than them (sometimes from them) about not eating starches and grains.

Slightly OT, if you are having a hard time putting on weight, you might need more carbs.  You may be carb tolerant, and this is more likely because you are Asian.  Might be worth the experiment by adding sweet potatoes to your diet for a while and see if that makes things easier on you.  Just a suggestion to throw out there.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: tombb on December 16, 2008, 09:18:35 AM
Chris,
killing or not killing, eating or not eating, -neither- makes you a better person.
Choosing and making sure that your choices are well thought out and motivated rather than just doing whatever your most immediate tendencies might suggest, -always- makes you a better person, regardless of the actual conclusion or decision, it would be a waste to not use our ability for complex thought.

The point I was making is that it's not just emotional attachment that makes me not kill you or a pet dog. The notion that they are capable of being cool people or pets if I took the time to get to know them is what makes me value their life and existence more than a hint of extra flavor in my next meal.

Someone might get emotionally attached to a pencil, but really it's easy to get over that and say, look, it's a pencil, millions exactly like that one, move on.  If it was very unique, say the last pencil remaining in the world, it would have more intrinsic value due to that and would be more of a waste to just use it as firewood to cook a random meal.  And if it was sentient thing, talking and learning, capable of feeling pain, sadness and happyness, and with big aspirations for its future, and asking you to spare its life, there would be again more reasons to not just destroy it just to make a fire, regardless of whether anybody is emotionally attached to it or not.

For that matter, if emotional attachment was really the only thing preventing you from destroying life, I would expect you would kill a lot of people all the times if you knew you were not going to be caught, but I imagine you somehow have a criteria for considering people's lives, even those that you wouldn't get emotionally attached to or ones that are annoying or physically different from you (ethnicity etc) or less intelligent (mentally challenged) more valuable than meals or the many more advantages that you could gain from killing them.
Then I think I would ask weather that criteria doesn't at least in part apply to animals to different degrees, and weather that shouldn't make you consider them more worthy of being allowed to live their lives than an inanimate object.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 16, 2008, 09:30:21 AM
Leafy vegetables are just as alive as a dog.  No nervous system though, so they don't have the things you're interested in -- like "happiness" but they are still unique.  Every house is unique.  Every tree is unique.

Every carrot is unique.  By you eating the carrot, you destroy its chances of reproduction, not enhancing them.  Your logic is flawed here that you are allowed to eat plants based on the fact that this helps them live and spread...which for many plants, is just not the case.

Also, have you not seen the natural tendency to be repulsed by eating one's own species?  It is a rare occurrence for more life forms to do that.  Humans are no exception.  I would have no problem eating anyone though if they were dead and I was starving.

I don't kill animals and people on the regular for food because I do not need to.  If this was 10000 years ago, that might be different.  If I need to kill something to get its meat, then i will.  I have no need to because I have a convenient grocery store where I can get all of my meat -- less time hunting...this lets me spend more of my time thinking about how much i enjoy it and how great it is that I don't need to hunt for it.  Meat is necessary to my lifestyle just as much as it was to my paleolithic age counterparts and for the very same reason.  A beneficial, abundant source of protein.  It was just as convenient to them to kill a buffalo as it is to us to pick it up in the store.  Sure, they could have lived leaving all of the buffalo alone and searching for chicken eggs, just as you do now...but they aren't as easy to come by and are still, comparatively speaking, less convenient that eating a big meatloaf.

The benefit is still the same -- more convenient sources of abundant protein.

By the by, you eat a whole lot less protein than I do.  I can consume up to 3 or 4 pounds of meat in a day.  I am simply not exaggerating on this...that kind of protein consumption would be nearly impossible to keep up with on eggs and dairy alone without supplementation in gross quantities -- which has dangers that come to light quite regularly.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: tombb on December 16, 2008, 09:55:52 AM
carrots, leafy vegetables, etc are not as unique as you seem to think. The small differences in shape and development are generally as unique and interesting as random scratches on my Playstation. If you destroyed it but bought a replacement, no harm done, scratches are not so important. If you killed my best friend or my dog, you couldn't just replace them even if you could clone their bodies. Their memories, personalities and thoughts, and therefore their potential to live out the rest of their lives freely would be forever lost.

If you for some reason believed that small genetic differences of a carrot should be preserved and passed on, you would only need to keep a single cell of it, you can reconstruct that exact carrot from it in however many copies you want.

Uniqueness of subtle scratches or even being "alive" or biological are not very meaningful criteria. Bacteria are alive, but again all you need is a single bacterial cell to make however many more exact copies as you want.
But if even a non-alive, non-biological thing, like a computer, suddenly became sentient, and turning it off meant losing that forever, that would be just as bad as killing an animal or a person.
That's why I value some lives like those of people and animals, not because it tends to be rare for members of the same species to eat each other... Sure, everybody likes to eat dead people when in desperate situations, that has nothing to do with finding out why you value some lives and not others.

I would say that the benefit of a slightly more convenient protein source than, say, the superior quality and lower cost of protein powders is a separate consideration from ethical views, you first figure out how much you value or not value some life or another, and then you measure it against convenience and act accordingly.  Otherwise you might be tempted to bias your ethical arguments based on convenience and taste, without really facing up to whether or not you are using them as criteria.

On a side note, you only really need at most ~200g of protein a day, that is so easy and cheap to get from better (and much cheaper) sources than meat (a few glasses of whey, casein etc), no disadvantages there.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 16, 2008, 10:41:23 AM
IMHO, the scratches on a PS2 or a Carrot are no different than the scratches on our consciousness that we call knowledge, intelligence and behavior.  After all, these elements are nothing more than synaptic connections within our brains and don't make us special.  With my view in mind, scratches and knowledge are the same thing -- artifacts of the experience and life of the organism.  This makes a dog or person just as special as a carrot. 

You can never make the same carrot as it will be subject to different environmental factors as this is just the arbitrary nature of the universe.  This is same in the fact that you can never make my best friend again as it is subject to the same arbitrary. nature of the universe.

One way to go with this is that it is all sacred and must be protected.  The other way to go with it is that its all natural and subject to the laws of survival that allow it to kill me and me to kill it.  You choose the former, I choose the latter.

Supplemented isolated proteins are not as beneficial as whole foods.  In fact, often times they carry dangers, especially in large quantities.  This makes them a poor choice for long term use as a main source of protein.  Processing of anything ingested subjects it to a myriad of unknown factors.  For example, isolating soy or whey protein in aluminum vats will leave high concentration of aluminum -- too much aluminum = heavy metal poisoning.  This is just the name of the game.  Processing ALWAYS yields dangers.  Meat, by nature, is not processed -- simply slices off the bone.  Sure, we have issues with things like hormones and grass vs. grain fed, etc. If thats really a concern to you, then get grass fed, hormone free meats.

Also, blanket statements like "you only need 200g of protein a day" just do not work in the nutritional world.  I perform better, feel better and think more clearly when my diet is very rich in protein.  I always have.  1# of meat, depending on the cut/animal, has about 100g protein.  Even with 3# of meat a day I am only getting 300g a day from meat.  With other sources, I may get around 350g.  This is not so high when you consider the fact that i do VERY high intensity strength work and have a natural, individual need for more protein. We are talking about roughly 2g/lb of weight, which is not that much higher than some experts recommendation of 1.5g/lb for high intensity athletes.  Hopefully you see why meat is the most convenient for me...and as you can tell, convenience is not my major motivating factor -- its convenience coupled with no ethical obligation to these life forms.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Alec Furtado on December 16, 2008, 10:47:16 AM
I'm not sure why you keep bringing up killing dogs, tombb. It's pretty much against Western culture to kill any pet such as a dog or cat. Mice/hamsters too since theres like no meat, but they do have use in high school lab dissection experiments :P.

Cattle on the other hand was domesticated for food, not for being a pet, although I have heard of a few that have treated them as pets, living in their house and whatnot.

Everything goes back to how you assign value to things in your mind. There's an entire spectrum and I don't think it's logical to completely judge what wavelength is correct and moral/ethical, except that I think we can safely say the extremes should be avoided. Whatever anybody chooses, I hope it's the one that leads them to be a better person to have a more positive impact on society.


As South Park says, no one single answer is ever the answer... :P :D
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: tombb on December 16, 2008, 11:25:33 AM
Alec,
The only reason I mention puppy dogs and kittens is because usually people can relate to why I might not want to kill those, not just because they are not popular dishes, but because they are accustomed to the idea that they can have thoughts, memories, feelings and personalities.  Ultimately I prefer puppies to cows pigs and chickens by a lot too, but not enough that I can't see the similarities and still want to avoid killing them when possible too.


Chris,
I would like to emphasize that I do not think that everything is sacred. On the contrary, to me nothing is sacred or guaranteed preservation, not even people.
But more importantly, what you are suggesting is a false dichotomy,  those two extremes, never killing anything or killing everything, are not at all the only two choices.
Rather, the middle position that I adopt is that each life can be evaluated on its relative merits, rather than assigning everything the same min or max value. If I have a choice to spare only one life between a puppy and a fish, I would probably spare the puppy. Between a dangerous crazed dog that already killed people and a fish, I might spare the fish, etc.

And I don't see how you can compare random scratches with valuable information and the desire of something to live their life happily, again it's a matter of degrees, do you really blanket everything as equally worthless? Even on inanimate objects, the random scratches on my table are way less valuable than the years of data, experiments and pictures I have stored as scratches on my DVD (especially if that's the only copy). Yet you are suggesting I must care equally for the scratches on the table or the shape of a carrot, that does not follow, things are valuable to different degrees.
And while your neuronal connections might be what you identify as you, the random crookedness and scratches on a carrot are not used by the carrot to identify itself, nor by anybody else.  The carrot doesn't care about their pattern, you don't care, nobody cares. The patterns in Einstein's brain are something he cared, his friends and families cared about and we all care about and are thankful for, they advanced our civilization and would have been a great irreplaceable loss if they had been destroyed prematurely. They are not the same as scratches on a table or a carrot  ::) >:(


About protein supplementation:
Supplemented proteins are better than whole foods when "part of this nutritious breakfast". They have exactly what you need and none of what you don't want or could get from better sources. They are great for long-term consumption too. They are cheaper and yet often mixed in just the right amounts and combinations for best performance and health, according to our best knowledge which is quite a lot.

About the aluminum can example, I don't know who uses those, but you have -exactly- the same problem if you store meat in aluminum or sprinkle aluminum powder on top of meats, the point is, don't do it.
There is no need to have any sort of contaminant in your protein powder, and no negative side effect from such protein supplementation. If you know how to process things properly, you make things better, not worse.

The 200g is not such a blanked statement, as you know there have been several studies on this, and the extra protein above that proportional to your weight doesn't show much of an effect whenever you actually test it rigorously. It won't necessarily hurt, but that's why I made that statement, to put things into the proper ballpark framework.
Now, you obviously enjoy eating larger amounts of meat than most, good for you. I personally eat a decent amount of protein and good-tasting protein powders and supplements, but definitely not as much as you. Not because it's not possible, I would also probably not feel like eating as much meat as you do either even if I did not have ethical reservations against killing animals. And I am sure other people out there could easily match or surpass your protein intake with protein powders, if they like that, it's quite easy as it's cheaper, more purified and readily available.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Kineticstorm on December 16, 2008, 11:35:16 AM
ok, well I wasn't really looking to start a fight but ok.
First of all, Chris I live in a town that for many years was sustained primarily by a meat packing plant, and if you think that hamburger and other meat is not processed then you are sadly mistaken. Also your equating the existence of a carrot to the existence of a person is flawed by one simple argument, that is carrots do not possess the ability for thought and sensation, not an opinion, but purely biological. Eating an animal or person, unless dead by natural means does cause pain. If you don't believe me, try watching a video of a pig screaming as it is killed sometime. PETA has them up all over their web site. Also back to working at a meat packing plant, if you've never had to kill and clean the animal you eat, at least 1 time, I don't believe you have earned the right to eat that animal. It is a horrible and emotionally deadening experience, even for omnivores. I don't mean to attack you, even though that seems like what I am doing, but I felt like I should point out flaws in your arguements.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 16, 2008, 12:19:55 PM
ok, well I wasn't really looking to start a fight but ok.

Thanks for your input.  I don't consider this a fight - at this point it passed into a discussion about ethics.  I believe this sort of discussion is healthy when exploring your dietary options.

First of all, Chris I live in a town that for many years was sustained primarily by a meat packing plant, and if you think that hamburger and other meat is not processed then you are sadly mistaken.

Lots of meat is processed -- especially meat at a meat packing plant.  Meat packing involves mechanical separation of meat products and a gross amount of dangerous preservatives -- particularly sodium nitrate and other similar nitrates that preserve the meat for months to years.  Nitrates have shown direct links to cancer but without them the meat industry would suffer greatly because of the gross amount of preserved meats we consume -- things from commercial jerky to deli meat to hot dogs to packaged hamburgers -- none of which i would recommend.

Meat from a butcher is NOT processed.  You can even see them cut it straight off the animal if you ask them to go into the back, in most cases.  You can even watch them ground the beef that they cut off for use in your hamburgers.  With this in mind, I never said to eat packaged meat like the meat you get at a meat packing plant -- in fact, I am very much against this as it has been proven time and time again to be unhealthy.

Also your equating the existence of a carrot to the existence of a person is flawed by one simple argument, that is carrots do not possess the ability for thought and sensation, not an opinion, but purely biological. Eating an animal or person, unless dead by natural means does cause pain. If you don't believe me, try watching a video of a pig screaming as it is killed sometime. PETA has them up all over their web site.

The fact that we can send action potentials down a very specific type of cell (i.e. experience pain, thought and sensation) does not make us any better than carrots.  We are all living things -- just different kinds of life.  Segregating something based on the fact that it is a plant is still a segregation of life.

As far as a pig screaming, would it make you happier if we anesthetized the animals first so that they couldn't scream or saw death coming?  The PITA videos do little to sway me, i have seen them all.  I accept death as a part of life.  I don't cry when I see a gazelle struggle for its life when a lion attacks it for food.  Similarly, I won't cry when I see a pig squeal when humans kill it for food.

Also back to working at a meat packing plant, if you've never had to kill and clean the animal you eat, at least 1 time, I don't believe you have earned the right to eat that animal. It is a horrible and emotionally deadening experience, even for omnivores. I don't mean to attack you, even though that seems like what I am doing, but I felt like I should point out flaws in your arguements.

I have cleaned, gutted and killed my own food (and my science experiments...) before.  I am familiar of the feelings you explain but you get over them quickly.  The only reason it takes any sort of "getting over" is because it is something we are not exposed to at a very young age.  People in other countries and on farms, however, are...and i have yet to meet someone who is raised on a farm that is also a vegetarian -- but that is neither here nor there.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Alec Furtado on December 16, 2008, 12:28:41 PM
they are accustomed to the idea that they can have thoughts, memories, feelings and personalities.
Well that's pretty much what the conflict is for a lot of people. Many say that and many say that they are just acting on instinct. I tend to lean towards instinct, and that doesn't stop just with animals. Humans too are governed largely by instinct. At our base is a an incredibly complex makeup of atoms and compounds. They all have a function. All those come together and we are inherently wired to do certain things, self-preservation for example. Then you get into God and religion so I guess I have to stop lol.

I think many people choose to avoid the whole issue imo since they don't want their way of life to be questioned.


Just to be sure you guys know, I'm just putting thoughts out there since that helps me think all the way through things. I don't necessarily believe them wholeheartedly. I'm not directing this towards anybody but this just the attitude I'm approaching things with. I just ask that we minimize/eliminate any subtle snide comments so that this can continue to be productive.

Kineticstorm, don't worry, I think this is a good discussion. ;D
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 16, 2008, 12:56:50 PM
tombb, missed your reply, sorry

I think that you putting more value on the synapses that have been placed in our brains is highly subjective.  The scratches on a carrot are just as unique and can tell us quite a bit about the carrot, its environment and its surroundings -- very similarly to the synapses, memories and experiences that humans experience.  Just because you value the synapses and experiences of a human more than a carrot doesn't change the basic concept that both are the same thing.  Any weight that you put on EITHER ONE is entirely subjective...for an alien race looking at the world may not see any difference between a carrot and a person -- or a chicken and a person, if that makes you happy.  We all have several thousands of layers of complexity in us and you simply value the complexity of a human/animal nature MORE than the complexity of a plant.  Both are complex organisms whose biological systems deserve respect beyond the fact that they can store memories and conduct thoughts.

Re: Supplementation -

Supplementation is supplementation -- something to complete the diet once in a while.  Not on the regular; not in mass quantities; not every day.

Your point about aluminum is correct -- but the fact is many soy isolate and whey isolate manufacturers do not disclose this, among many other dangers that occur in the isolation/processing methods.  This is something you cannot eliminate simply by comparing it to sprinkling aluminum on meat -- its just not the same thing.  I can control if I am going to sprinkle aluminum on my meat, especially if i get organic...I cannot do this with my isolates and I may never know.  By the by, aluminum is cheap and legal -- i would do it if i made a supplement in the interests of costs and profits, tbh.

Also, i would challenge you to compare getting adequate protein consumption with powders vs. whole foods.  I lived this several times over -- powders are always more expensive, especially if you go for higher quality proteins with higher bioavailability.  As a sidenote, in nutrition, rigorous testing is only as good as the population it is rigorously tested on -- very few studies include people of my athletic and nutritional profile...
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: tombb on December 16, 2008, 01:25:09 PM
Chris, again the patterns on the carrot or scratches on a table are just accidental variation with no consequence, you can create random noise pattern so easily, any just as good as any other. Beautiful melodies or educational books instead are incredibly rare (compared to random patterns) and -immensely- more useful (think of getting your hand on a physiology, biology or engineering textbook from 1000 years in the future for example).

Not only but this attribution of value is not at all arbitrary.  There simply isn't anybody or anything who cares about those scratches (not even the carrot, and for that matter, do I care about the exact pattern of almost imperceptible wrinkles on my skin, obviously not) or has any valid arguments for caring about those more.
Even when they can be used to deduce some other information like past events, collect that information and then destroy the patterns, the patterns themselves were never interesting in themselves.
Even an alien species would be able to immediately tell the difference in utility and amount of information on random scratches of carrots. You can capture and reproduce those patterns in a few megabytes of data, while the complex interconnections of your brain that allow such complex new thoughts to be generated all the times would take incredibly massive storage to capture. Plus while again scratches on a table do nothing, patterns in a single brain can save or destroy entire continents or civilizations.

Your response to Kineticstorm make me want to point out a few more things:
The fact that we can send action potentials down a very specific type of cell (i.e. experience pain, thought and sensation) does not make us any better than carrots.  We are all living things -- just different kinds of life.  Segregating something based on the fact that it is a plant is still a segregation of life.

As far as a pig screaming, would it make you happier if we anesthetized the animals first so that they couldn't scream or saw death coming?  The PITA videos do little to sway me, i have seen them all.
The fact that neurons transmit electricity doesn't mean that you can just ignore considering alternative courses of action and ignore that there are much less cruel courses of action.

Your neurons and brain allow you to experience much more than a carrot might experience, realize or understand, both good things and bad things.
You can't phase a carrot by killing its whole family in front of it. But you as a person would certainly mind and suffer greatly if you had to be subjected to it. Would you not think of it as an unethical act performed on you?
And if you had to be killed would you not rather die peacefully than have your death prolonged in agony and torture?
You know well that an animal would prefer the same things too, so if it was little extra effort, should you not choose less cruel ways to treat others?  Yet it sounds like you are again suggesting that killing pigs slowly and hearing their sqeeling is as relaxing and neutral to you as picking an apple.  Just because I am not squeamish at all, it doesn't mean that I wouldn't mind if you took say your own pet pig and started cutting it up alive in a torturous way for fun for example.  And before you say of course that's not for food, why is that so different, killing is certainly not a necessity for survival or health in this lifetime in your current conditions, so while you might want to stop that torture on the pig, he might just say that's part of his life/instincts/whatever too, and with your "everything is as worthless as scratches on a table" attitude I don't think you could really have much of a comeback to his position.

I find maiming, torturing, and mutilating people very disturbing, especially at an ethical and intellectual level.
On the other hand, the same actions are not disturbing to me at all if they are instead voluntary surgery (if possible under anesthesia) and for the purpose of improving that person's life.  That is, I am not squeamish, it's not about cutting up or hearing screams of pain, rather I am disturbed by the intentional inflicting of pain against someone's will or with the intent to permanently scarring innocent good people.


Alec, we are advanced enough as sentient organisms that we can make almost whatever we want part of our life. And you can see from the vast cultural differences that there is very little that is necessarily "part of life" or natural.  Microprocessors are much more a part of my life than hunting/gathering, war, violence or whatever else someone might like to think as "natural" or "inescapable".  If there was really some crazy molecule or gene that went against my best judgment and goals, there are plenty of ways to silence genes and block molecules ;) there are plenty of natural biological responses that are greatly inadequate compared to what we can do with our brains, one example is fever response above 40C, which is completely useless and will cause permanent brain and nervous damage and kill you and do very little more to really slow down infection.

I think many people choose to avoid the whole issue imo since they don't want their way of life to be questioned.
I think most people who debate and consider these things are doing exactly the opposite of what you are suggesting, they are not avoiding issues and they are not worried to have their way of life questioned.
Rather, they are questioning their motivations head-on, rather than just following blindly the norm of their cultural surroundings.  Regardless of their conclusions, they are happy to discuss it because they have spent years thinking about these issues from all possible sides and can answer with more than "because it's normal and everybody does it".
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Eli Kurtz on December 16, 2008, 01:49:04 PM
Chris, again the patterns on the carrot or scratches on a table are just accidental variation with no consequence, you can create random noise pattern so easily, any just as good as any other. Beautiful melodies or educational books instead are incredibly rare (compared to random patterns) and -immensely- more useful (think of getting your hand on a physiology, biology or engineering textbook from 1000 years in the future for example).

Not only but this attribution of value is not at all arbitrary.  There simply isn't anybody or anything who cares about those scratches (not even the carrot, and for that matter, do I care about the exact pattern of almost imperceptible wrinkles on my skin, obviously not) or has any valid arguments for caring about those more.
Even when they can be used to deduce some other information like past events, collect that information and then destroy the patterns, the patterns themselves were never interesting in themselves.
Even an alien species would be able to immediately tell the difference in utility and amount of information on random scratches of carrots. You can capture and reproduce those patterns in a few megabytes of data, while the complex interconnections of your brain that allow such complex new thoughts to be generated all the times would take incredibly massive storage to capture. Plus while again scratches on a table do nothing, patterns in a single brain can save or destroy entire continents or civilizations.

I haven't been reading ALL of each post, because I think this is a silly discussion.  That said, philosophy disagrees with you here, Tombb.  We have yet to find something that happened without a cause, so finding truly "random" things is pretty rare.  If you make a "random" noise, its only really "random" because its easier for you to say its random than it is to sit down and determine its cause.  The act of making the noise in the first place was predicated by something, and that act in turn was predicated by something, etc. etc.

The same could be said for "carrot scratches."  They may seem to be of no consequence, but they happened for SOME reason ("This table is scratched right here because I tripped because someone left a toy truck on the floor because that someone is a small child and hasn't learned yet, and I bought them a toy truck because toy trucks make them happy.  I care about the person's happiness because it's my little brother, because my mom gave birth to him..." literally everything can undergo this examination).  Every single seemingly "random, inconsequential" thing tells a story; Sherlock Holmes (even though he's a fictional character) has taught us this much.  The truth is that the world is completely packed to the brim with meaning and intention (or, at the very least, causality), and we turn a blind eye to the vast majority of it because it would simply be too much to think about.  When I have time, I genuinely do enjoy getting lost in some minor detail like a scratch on a carrot.  I wonder where it came from, what caused it, etc... it's sort of my job as a philosophy student: examining and questioning where almost EVERYONE else is not concerned.

Regardless of a bunch of philosophical particularity, this thread doesn't seem to be very useful.  Yes, the subject has moved from a vegetarian diet to ethics, and that's okay and sort of expected, but this isn't a discussion.  It's reasonably certain at this point--since the content and position of everyone's posts hasn't changed for the last page or so--that people are interested in holding their ground come what may.  Conversations are only useful if people are willing to start from (and stick to) the position of "I may be wrong, here's what I think..." and since it doesn't seem that anyone is, you're all just butting heads.  It seems like a big waste of time and energy, and unless you can all reorient your positions, there's really no reason to continue posting.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 16, 2008, 02:03:06 PM
It seems like a big waste of time and energy, and unless you can all reorient your positions, there's really no reason to continue posting.

Agreed -- and I thank you for breaking the cycle.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: tombb on December 16, 2008, 02:23:56 PM
That said, philosophy disagrees with you here, Tombb.  We have yet to find something that happened without a cause, so finding truly "random" things is pretty rare.  If you make a "random" noise, its only really "random" because its easier for you to say its random than it is to sit down and determine its cause.  The act of making the noise in the first place was predicated by something, and that act in turn was predicated by something, etc. etc.
Eli,
Actually quantum physics (as well as philosophy/logic and even mathematics) agrees with me and disagrees with your statement, at the base of every particle physics event is true randomness, you just don't always see it at large scales and with large averages. It's just an inescapable reality of our universe, you can test this over and over (again quantum physics, which is what allows most of our higher-tech devices to work) and you will come to the same conclusion. Einstein didn't like the idea of "god playing dice" and tried hard to find some counterexamples but ultimately conceded it.

The same could be said for "carrot scratches."  They may seem to be of no consequence, but they happened for SOME reason ("This table is scratched right here because I tripped because someone left a toy truck on the floor because that someone is a small child and hasn't learned yet, and I bought them a toy truck because toy trucks make them happy.  I care about the person's happiness because it's my little brother, because my mom gave birth to him..." literally everything can undergo this examination).  Every single seemingly "random, inconsequential" thing tells a story; Sherlock Holmes (even though he's a fictional character) has taught us this much.  The truth is that the world is completely packed to the brim with meaning and intention (or, at the very least, causality), and we turn a blind eye to the vast majority of it because it would simply be too much to think about.  When I have time, I genuinely do enjoy getting lost in some minor detail like a scratch on a carrot.  I wonder where it came from, what caused it, etc... it's sort of my job as a philosophy student: examining and questioning where almost EVERYONE else is not concerned.
The point I was making about randomness was on relevance and utility, plenty of completely interchangeable patterns that are pretty inconsequential and useless, and random in that sense of the term, not in the sense of not having a cause.

Who cares about the exact foam pattern on every single sea wave that touches the shores. Any other pattern would have had the same consequences, hence why they are generally described as random, as in completely inconsequential, replaceable etc.

Instead, the exact pattern on a circuitboard is very specific and very meaningful because it performs very useful functions, and even a single variation or defect in it will make it stop working (and possibly become as useless as once again the random scratches on a carrot or table).
Similarly, you say you enjoy looking at scratches on a carrot, I have to admit that is a first for me, but again I would say they seem irrelevant because even to you they -are- irrelevant. Any other carrot, any other pattern would do.
And while a Sherlock Holmes or CSI crime investigator might find useful information even in something normally as irrelevant as a carrot, a very specific carrot near a crime scene in this case, again they don't care about the carrot patterns in themselves. They only briefly care about that information that might have accidentally being left imprinted on it, or fingerprints on a glass. Otherwise normally if you buy me the same glass you break that would be fine for me.

Regardless of a bunch of philosophical particularity, this thread doesn't seem to be very useful.  Yes, the subject has moved from a vegetarian diet to ethics, and that's okay and sort of expected, but this isn't a discussion.  It's reasonably certain at this point--since the content and position of everyone's posts hasn't changed for the last page or so--that people are interested in holding their ground come what may.  Conversations are only useful if people are willing to start from (and stick to) the position of "I may be wrong, here's what I think..." and since it doesn't seem that anyone is, you're all just butting heads.  It seems like a big waste of time and energy, and unless you can all reorient your positions, there's really no reason to continue posting.
Conversations are not interesting only if someone says "I might be wrong". On the contrary the most productive discussions are ones where you get to the main arguments for each view to a level where they can be compared and tested, as in this thread.
The goal of conversations is not to blindly convert people into your way of thinking. Rather it's to learn what points are on each side of an issue, testing them and comparing them.  Just learning that is much more productive than just saying "maybe, let's agree to disagree" or "whatever, I'll just start agreeing with you if you stop talking".

Just look at how many misconceptions people had originally, like people who don't eat meat must think this or that, or "Chris must have some crazy religious views that make him think others are sinning when they don't force themselves to kill and eat meat", etc.

And on that note, bad Chris :P for not responding to my last points  :( someone mentions torture and maiming vs more humane killing and people immediately avoid the subject....  ::)
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 16, 2008, 02:34:16 PM
i actually wrote up a good response then eli posted before me and i erased it all...sorry :(

I don't avoid any topics, I just don't feel there is any benefit coming from this for the community or for ourselves.  You won't change and neither will I so I don't really see the point.

Also, this really isn't the place for this stuff and I am kind of embarrassed as a moderator for letting it get this out of hand.  In the future, feel free to defend vegetarianism till the death but I don't think we should be exploring ethics anymore here.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: tombb on December 16, 2008, 02:49:04 PM
i actually wrote up a good response then eli posted before me and i erased it all...sorry :(

I don't avoid any topics, I just don't feel there is any benefit coming from this for the community or for ourselves.  You won't change and neither will I so I don't really see the point.
Fine, send it to me by PM then, I guess :D
It's useful for me because I am always challenging my own views, it's the only way to keep improving them.  If there was ever an inconsistency in my views that would be the only way to find it and correct it.

Plus you left me stuck without reading the end of the story, I just got to the point where it's ok to kill because everything is sort of as worthless as a carrot, but I didn't get exactly if you think it would be ok to also kill people if there was no consequence for you and if you could make enough money by mugging someone to buy steak say for 10 years, or whether you really wouldn't allow someone with no crime to die in a less cruel way if it didn't cost you anything to do so, and if torturing and maiming people and things alive is really not any worse in your eyes if you already decided to kill them anyways.

All these are things that I am curious about in terms of how you view them from your position.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: b5200 on December 16, 2008, 02:51:04 PM

I would not eat fish for the same ethical reasons, even though it's obviously less endearing than puppy dogs and not as intelligent.


Actually new studies are showing that some fish are more intelligent then dogs.  One was a common source of food.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: tombb on December 16, 2008, 03:08:24 PM

I would not eat fish for the same ethical reasons, even though it's obviously less endearing than puppy dogs and not as intelligent.


Actually new studies are showing that some fish are more intelligent then dogs.  One was a common source of food.
Ben, I would definitely say that for dolphins (language ability etc), although dogs still make for more practical pets for example.
However If you are trying to say salmon or tuna (which is what I was referring to, not aquatic mammals), you might want to show a link to where that study was published (e.g., "national enquirer" would not be a reliable source) and what criteria they used (e.g., "they know when to keep their mouth shut" would not necessarily be the most telling criteria :P) because that would sound a bit 'fishy' :)
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Alec Furtado on December 16, 2008, 03:17:37 PM
Eh I agree with Eli. Discussion like this on the Internet be dangerous since it's so easy to misinterpret things... let's meet up lol.



If quantum mechanics was all random.... why do we have equations to predict the entropy of an electron? We can't ever know everything about an electron by Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, but we can tell certain aspects about it depending on what we want. It's not exact but it's not completely random. 'Course people also thought the world was flat for thousands of years so... yay theory lol
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Eli Kurtz on December 16, 2008, 04:16:38 PM
It should be apparent how far this has strayed from topic.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: b5200 on December 16, 2008, 04:21:02 PM

I would not eat fish for the same ethical reasons, even though it's obviously less endearing than puppy dogs and not as intelligent.


Actually new studies are showing that some fish are more intelligent then dogs.  One was a common source of food.
Ben, I would definitely say that for dolphins (language ability etc), although dogs still make for more practical pets for example.
However If you are trying to say salmon or tuna (which is what I was referring to, not aquatic mammals), you might want to show a link to where that study was published (e.g., "national enquirer" would not be a reliable source) and what criteria they used (e.g., "they know when to keep their mouth shut" would not necessarily be the most telling criteria :P) because that would sound a bit 'fishy' :)
I don't know where I saw the one I was talking about but this is close http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/science/sciencenews/3350592/Scientist-finds-fish-are-as-clever-as-mammals.html
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Zachary Cohn on December 16, 2008, 04:22:39 PM
Get it back on track guys, and keep it there please. Less "quantum physics" mumbo-jumbo and more "meat is murder/meat is jesus" mumbo-jumbo.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 16, 2008, 04:26:15 PM
im pretty sure this thread will die on its own soon since I don't want to continue the discussion here -- i will continue it in PMs in a few days probable
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Mark Toorock on December 16, 2008, 04:26:40 PM
well, yeah, but without the meat is jesus part :)
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: tombb on December 16, 2008, 05:01:46 PM
im pretty sure this thread will die on its own soon since I don't want to continue the discussion here -- i will continue it in PMs in a few days probable

If you see me suddenly eating meat in a few days it means that Chris didn't actually slack off on this and that you missed like the most amazing and convincing mother of all eloquent arguments on PMs  :D
(but the slacking-off is probably a much more likely outcome  ;))

And Zach, talking about quantum physics can be fun too and is... um... sort of related... to veget~...well ok it's not related at all, but I had to point it out to correct that point about randomness.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Kineticstorm on December 16, 2008, 10:36:06 PM
lol thank you M2
So anyways, does anyone else have an opinion on this topic. I was more interested in just getting opinions on whether or not a vegetarian diet in general is a good idea, and whether anyone else follows one. My reasons for not doing it were originally not posted because I figured what happened when I did post them would happen. I wasn't interested in having my reasons ripped apart, because that's really not going to change my mind, just as I assume that they won't change anyone elses'. I guess what I'm getting at is has anyone else tried a veg diet and was it a good move.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 17, 2008, 05:02:05 AM
Every athlete that I know who has tried a vegetarian diet has eventually switched out of it once they start taking their training more seriously.  That is just my experience, though.

The reason I asked for your motivation was because if it was not ethical and was based on the dozens of studies that are based on non-causal coincidences, then it is typically not the best choice because of the difficulty of getting good, consistent protein.

Ethical reasons are the only reasons I usually don't touch when it comes to vegetarianism.  If you want to believe you are serving the world better by not eating meat, then go for it.

Only a handful of elite athletes are vegetarians and most of them have the genetics that it doesn't matter what they ate.

None of your reasons seemed to have too strong of a moral tie -- most of them seemed based on an article you read here or there, which is why I asked.  There are a lot of misconceptions on vegetarianism.  The biggest misconception is that the benefits come from not eating meat -- rather, the benefits usually come from an increase in the quality of the food being consumed whether or not it includes meat.

IMHO, you need to increase the quality of your food first.  We have a great article on how to do that very easily that has produced results for many people ( http://www.americanparkour.com/smf/index.php?topic=12681.0 ).  Once you do that it will remove a lot of variables.  THEN try your vegetarian diet for a few months...THEN, if its not a moral obligation, switch back to eating meat fora few months.  Compare your performance and your enjoyment of food and see which one you like better.  Don't experiment for a few weeks, it needs to be at least 2 months long for your body to adapt and actually note benefits/drawbacks.

EDIT: And for the record, my above posts were not meant to convince anyone to my line of thinking but rather to show that both sides of the coin are easily fought for.  My argument is one of hundreds that can be used to combat the moral obligations for vegetarianism.  Experimentation and self exploration are the only ways to free yourself of the guilt some people will try to make you feel about eating meat...or to free yourself of the guilt that you do feel by eating meat...and when you tread into vegetarianism this is important because of the lack of a massive population of successful athletes that are also successful vegetarians...
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: tombb on December 17, 2008, 06:18:11 AM
You were doing well until you added these superfluous and very questionable statements:
(1)...If you want to believe you are serving the world better by not eating meat...
(2)...combat the moral obligations for vegetarianism. 
(3)...free yourself of the guilt some people will try to make you feel about eating meat
...or to free yourself of the guilt that you do feel by eating meat...
(4)...lack of a massive population of successful athletes that are also successful vegetarians...
To clarify these points,
1) It's not about "changing the world", it's about doing what you are comfortable with.
Do you think you are changing the world when you go carb-free for a while? I am guessing you don't. Are you bothered by the fact that others eat carbs? Probably not so much.
Same for me, do I want to kill or steal? (just as example of other ethically motivated choices). Again, no thanks. Do I think that will stop all killing and stealing? No. Am I bothered that others kill or steal? Not so much, it's just part of life. Do I know it can be more convenient at times to kill and steal, sure. Does it change my mind? No.

2) That statement just sounds a bit dark, I am sure there are manuals on how to train terrorists and such that might have tons of ways to "combat" all sorts of moral reservations, against torturing, killing innocents for shock impact etc.

3) there is no guilt involved. It's about not doing what you don't feel like doing. So if you say I must kill something cute, I say no thanks. No guilt there.

4) There is also a similar lack of a massive population of successful athletes that are all sorts of things, physicists, surgeons, you name it.  But did you compare statistics of athletes who are also "carb-free" or "paleo" or whatever diet you might like at the moment? Find them for me and then compare them, my guess is they are just as rare, and yet I imagine you would recommend them anyways. Percentage of adoption of an idea is never a good criteria for determining validity, except maybe in bandwagon world.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Eli Kurtz on December 17, 2008, 07:58:54 AM
Tombb, why are you steering this topic away from its subject again?!?

Here is what KineticStorm wants:

lol thank you M2
So anyways, does anyone else have an opinion on this topic. I was more interested in just getting opinions on whether or not a vegetarian diet in general is a good idea, and whether anyone else follows one. My reasons for not doing it were originally not posted because I figured what happened when I did post them would happen. I wasn't interested in having my reasons ripped apart, because that's really not going to change my mind, just as I assume that they won't change anyone elses'. I guess what I'm getting at is has anyone else tried a veg diet and was it a good move.

Chris provided some good advice: try it out, and if it doesn't work try something else.  Obviously he's going to include a little bit of his own opinion in there, because that's what people do.  On the other hand, it seems that you've included nothing but your opinion, with no regard to KineticStorm's request whatsoever.  What's the deal here?


KineticStorm, to answer your question my best friend became a Vegetarian a few years ago for ethical reasons.  At the time he was an avid cyclist (around 80 miles/wk.) with way too much energy, and he's largely unchanged now.  He still has a whole lot of energy (maybe because of a caffeine addiction... ::)), but he no longer bikes.  Instead, he's taken up ballet, and he's progressing really well.  I think he's lost some of the strength in his legs, but I think that's due more to the substitution of biking for ballet than it is due to his being a vegetarian.

Best of luck!
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 17, 2008, 08:03:04 AM
Seriously, tombb, let it go.  You are being combative/argumentative now.  I am sorry if you don't like what I say but EVERYONE here knows that already.

(1) Your first point you put words in my mouth.  I never said you thought you were changing the world.  You do think that you are living a better life and improving YOUR world by not eating meat.  Jeez...

(2) I don't care if it sounds dark to you.  Death can be very dark.  It is very easy to put people into a false sense of moral obligation by using a blanket statement such as "killing is wrong" and people sometimes don't feel this way but are not well-learned enough to combat such an easy assertion to make.  Of course on the surface we all think killing is wrong -- this is the moral obligation built into our psyche (unless you are a sociopath/psychopath) -- however, many people can believe that eating meat is perfectly alright and not understand why...so yes, we need to combat the false moral obligation some people try to impose on us.  Now, let me be clear, it is only a false moral obligation if you DO NOT BELIEVE in that obligation but for some reason you feel pressured by statements like "killing is wrong".  All I wanted people to be aware of is that any side of any coin can be argued and the other side can be made to look ridiculous -- mine or yours.

(3)  I am talking about the guilt you feel by people who say "killing is bad" or the guilt you feel after eating meat after watching a PITA video.  Some people need to understand ways to be liberated of said guilt -- one of which is to refuse to eat meat, the other is to analyze your beliefs, as I did, to justify the eating of meat.  THAT IS ALL I MEANT.

(4) Yes, I have looked at athletes who are paleo, zone and low-carb.  World class olympic lifters eat more meat a day than I do. For the record, I don't believe in low carb - just the regular joe's diet is very HIGH carb.  If you don't believe that the Zone, Paleo, etc. work, then I suggest you go to Crossfit.com and read their training journals.  I also suggest you go to PerformanceMenu.com and read their training journals as well. Most people indicate their diet type or provide you with their fitday profile.  You can see first hand the results these athletes get by eating whole foods that are not processed.  This isn't about percentage of adoption -- this is about people experimenting with their diets intelligently and noting that they perform better (faster speeds, higher power outputs, more strength) on these dieting ideologies.  Guess what, none of them settled on vegetarianism even though many of them experimented with it.

With all due respect, you really need to experiment and train more.  I have experimented with my diet and training for over 3 years, which is a drop in the bucket compared to most people.  Best results for me, nutritionally?  Limited grains, high protein, lots and lots of veggies/fruit.  Shockingly, other intelligent people also tried this out, experimented with very different ideologies, and came to the same conclusion for themselves.  This type of data has its place right along side the dozens of studies we look at.

With all of that said, some people, albeit a much smaller population, do experiment with vegetarianism/veganism and have great success.  You only know if this can be you by experimenting with it and listening to your body.

These dieting ideologies are never set in stone -- they serve as a springboard for your experimentation.  If you blindly just follow any one diet to the letter, you will not achieve your greatest potential, whether that it is Zone, Paleo, Blood Type Diet (garbage), Vegetarianism, Veganism, Low Carb Dieting, Atkins, Typical Western Diet, etc.  Oddly enough, i have tried 4 or 5 of these out before settling on the fact that I like less-than-strict-paleo high in protein...and I am STILL experimenting.  The common factor in all of these ideologies though is to increase the quality of food.

You have to stop relying on studies and start relying on experience.  Again, with all due respect intended, how have you noticed your performance change with your dietary experimentation over a period of 10-20 weeks?

With all that said, which again, was way too much, I want to ask a favor - person to person.  Please stop critiquing every word I post just because you may or may not "like" what I had to say.  The first three points you made were a total waste of time for everyone - especially that I had to explain myself when I was already pretty clear.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: tombb on December 17, 2008, 08:45:14 AM
Eli, it's not just about what one person/OP asked, if there's some wrong information or statements that need correcting, people will correct them or discuss them, as I have done.

If someone made some incorrect statement about proteins, pushups, or long-term effects of practicing pk, those will naturally be corrected in the same thread.  If you really have to see it as people "steering the topic away", if anything you should look at the people making unnecessary statements that need to be corrected, not those correcting them.
If needed, it's always possible to break up separate threads of discussion into different threads, although both discussions fit well under the title "pk and vegetarians".

I have given feedback to the OP from the start, and didn't think it needed repeating, correcting some statements about quality protein availability for people not eating meat. None of that is opinion, it's just science.

Chris,
It's not a matter of you or me "letting it go", as I mentioned your post was fine, except you added several statements that were completely unnecessary to your main arguments and very questionable.

It would be like someone saying "eggs are high protein, and (something messed up about superiority of one ethnic group over another)"... We can all agree eggs are high in protein, but you should expect people will say something about the other part.

If you are about saving people's times, you should consider that just spending a few extra moments looking at your statements and considering if they are necessary or just incorrect and hasty generalizations that might be misleading, controversial or insulting might be the most efficient way to accomplish that, or leave them but expect some discussion from people.

You didn't mean things as you wrote them (for example lumping all people not eating meat into people that try to manipulate others by guilt, pretending they must be making blanket statements or some such nonsense), I am glad to hear that, but it's natural to respond and correct on what people write, not what they might have meant.

And often I am not even disagreeing with your conclusions, but with the wrong inference methodology, take your example of athletes who are on a paleo diet or vegetarian diet, first you used an appeal to popularity, then an appeal to anecdotal evidence.  Those are things worthy of pointing out even when the conclusions happen to be true.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 17, 2008, 08:54:12 AM
...I want to ask a favor - person to person.  Please stop critiquing every word I post just because you may or may not "like" what I had to say.  The first three points you made were a total waste of time for everyone - especially that I had to explain myself when I was already pretty clear.

sigh
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Zachary Cohn on December 17, 2008, 09:39:12 AM
Second warning - keep it on topic, tombb. Chris already proposed continuing this argument via PM, I suggest you take advantage of this opportunity and make your next response to chris privately.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Kineticstorm on December 17, 2008, 11:16:35 AM
Thank you Zachary. While I don't mean to discard Chis /Tombb argument as irrelevant, honestly it's just giving me a headache.  :)
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 17, 2008, 12:05:22 PM
Kinetic, this was my response directly to you.

I hope you did not miss it because this is what you were asking for from the start....

Every athlete that I know who has tried a vegetarian diet has eventually switched out of it once they start taking their training more seriously.  That is just my experience, though.

The reason I asked for your motivation was because if it was not ethical and was based on the dozens of studies that are based on non-causal coincidences, then it is typically not the best choice because of the difficulty of getting good, consistent protein.

Ethical reasons are the only reasons I usually don't touch when it comes to vegetarianism.  If you want to believe you are serving the world better by not eating meat, then go for it.

Only a handful of elite athletes are vegetarians and most of them have the genetics that it doesn't matter what they ate.

None of your reasons seemed to have too strong of a moral tie -- most of them seemed based on an article you read here or there, which is why I asked.  There are a lot of misconceptions on vegetarianism.  The biggest misconception is that the benefits come from not eating meat -- rather, the benefits usually come from an increase in the quality of the food being consumed whether or not it includes meat.

IMHO, you need to increase the quality of your food first.  We have a great article on how to do that very easily that has produced results for many people ( http://www.americanparkour.com/smf/index.php?topic=12681.0 ).  Once you do that it will remove a lot of variables.  THEN try your vegetarian diet for a few months...THEN, if its not a moral obligation, switch back to eating meat fora few months.  Compare your performance and your enjoyment of food and see which one you like better.  Don't experiment for a few weeks, it needs to be at least 2 months long for your body to adapt and actually note benefits/drawbacks.

EDIT: And for the record, my above posts were not meant to convince anyone to my line of thinking but rather to show that both sides of the coin are easily fought for.  My argument is one of hundreds that can be used to combat the moral obligations for vegetarianism.  Experimentation and self exploration are the only ways to free yourself of the guilt some people will try to make you feel about eating meat...or to free yourself of the guilt that you do feel by eating meat...and when you tread into vegetarianism this is important because of the lack of a massive population of successful athletes that are also successful vegetarians...
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Alissa J. Bratz on December 17, 2008, 05:17:05 PM
Kinetic:

My personal experience with vegetarianism went something like this...

I am a huge food nerd--I love cooking and I love eating good food. About 5-7 years ago I experimented with vegetarianism mostly because it was a type of cuisine I didn't have much experience with, and a girl I lived with was vegetarian so it seemed like a good time to try it out and expand my cooking repertoire a bit. I had also heard some offhand claims about vegetarianism being healthier, etc; most of the same stuff that a lot of people hear about, I suppose.

I learned how to cook a bunch of recipes and how to work with tofu and other ingredients. A lot of it was quite delicious.

However I always left every meal feeling super hungry. Granted, I wasn't composing each meal with an athlete's mind to training food, but I did have this roommate to help me, she had been a vegetarian for life (mostly since her vegetarian parents, when she was 2, took her to a slaughterhouse, but that is a topic for a totally different forum) so she knew how to cook meals in a balanced way.

I also left every meal having eaten probably 4-6 times more than I usually ate; most of it in the form of carbs (granted they were mostly vegetable carbs but still).

About 6 months into this, I developed a sudden and severe allergy to peanuts and to soy. My theory (although my doctor will not confirm or deny it) is that my experience with vegetarianism, where I tried to get my protein mostly from soy and peanuts, overloaded my body and caused a reaction. My reasons for believing this are because now--after being omnivorous again for several years--I can tolerate small amounts of peanuts and soy without a reaction, or with a very small reaction (a hive on my lip versus my throat closing up), whereas before it would cause throat and tongue swelling.

Obviously a ton of people out there are vegetarians and eat protein from soy and nut sources and are fine. I don't say my vegetarian streak necessarily "caused" my allergy but I believe (read that again--I believe... it hasn't been proven true, just a belief) that I may have had a predisposition that was aggravated by the massive amounts I was eating.

The biggest issue, besides the allergies, was that I just couldn't stand not eating meat. I missed it too much and pretty much felt like I was starving the whole time. Perhaps with more attention to composing my meals properly for my body's needs that wouldn't have happened, but for me personally I wasn't motivated to try experimenting with that because I didn't have a strong ethical or other reason to be vegetarian.

I have immense respect for people who are vegetarian for ethical reasons and live their beliefs; as I have respect for anyone who lives their beliefs honestly and genuinely. But for me personally, I do not share those beliefs and I know from experience that I love meat way too much to not have it in my diet.

It took me years to find a diet that really works for me, and I will tell you it doesn't fit in any kind of category. It's more rules of thumb than a labeled "diet" per se--lots of vegetables and lean proteins, dairy products, some fruits, few to no processed foods, and minimal sugars besides those naturally occurring in fruits. I eat whole-grain carbs in moderation, and there are a few "naughty" foods that I willingly allow simply because I like them too much to give them up. So I accept the fact that (a) I can only have them in moderation, and (b) my performance will not be optimized as a result. These foods are: coffee, French baguette and croissants (but only from France or from ONE bakery here in the city), wine and some spirits, and chocolate. On very very special occasions I will have a beer; usually 2-3 per year, tops. I also try to eat organic/free-range/local foods as often as I possibly can, although they can get expensive. Next summer I will have a garden and grow my own vegetables. With very few exceptions, I eat NO processed foods. I like my food to look as close to how it looked when it was alive as possible.

I don't always follow this diet but when I do it really works well for me. Like anyone else I have my weak moments and my weak phases of life. But I arrived at this diet by experimenting, seeing how things made me feel, reading a lot, doing research, talking to my doctor, etc. And it is a constant work in progress.

You asked for peoples' opinions, mine is the same as Chris's--try it and see if it works for you. Be willing to tweak it if necessary. If you don't have a strong ethical reason for being vegetarian, it is probably not the best diet for you, but only you know your body chemistry and how certain foods make you feel/affect your training. I just figured I'd share my personal experience with you to give you some fodder to consider as you make your decision.

Good luck with whatever you decide! :)
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 17, 2008, 05:28:39 PM
<3 Muse

Oh, and FYI:

It took me years to find a diet that really works for me, and I will tell you it doesn't fit in any kind of category. It's more rules of thumb than a labeled "diet" per se--lots of vegetables and lean proteins, dairy products, some fruits, few to no processed foods, and minimal sugars besides those naturally occurring in fruits. I eat whole-grain carbs in moderation, and there are a few "naughty" foods that I willingly allow simply because I like them too much to give them up. So I accept the fact that (a) I can only have them in moderation, and (b) my performance will not be optimized as a result. These foods are: coffee, French baguette and croissants (but only from France or from ONE bakery here in the city), wine and some spirits, and chocolate. On very very special occasions I will have a beer; usually 2-3 per year, tops. I also try to eat organic/free-range/local foods as often as I possibly can, although they can get expensive. Next summer I will have a garden and grow my own vegetables. With very few exceptions, I eat NO processed foods. I like my food to look as close to how it looked when it was alive as possible.

I would actually say that you eat Paleo -- granted, less-than-strict Paleo but very similar to my diet which I describe as less-than-strict Paleo.  IMHO you strive for paleo, that is, whole foods as close to natural as possible, limiting grains, and only indulge in modern day foods as "treats"

Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: b5200 on December 18, 2008, 03:52:05 PM
mostly since her vegetarian parents, when she was 2, took her to a slaughterhouse

I suggest anybody who disapproves of this method should start praying for my future potential offspring.  ;D
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 18, 2008, 03:54:56 PM
lol

Plenty of people are exposed to this though -- its about how the parents handle it....

My mother and her siblings were exposed to that stuff at a young age too and still love meat.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: tombb on December 18, 2008, 07:44:02 PM
I think it's good to be exposed to most stuff in general just as a way to stimulate thinking and allowing people to make their own decisions instead of just doing things 'by default'.
Different people will naturally react differently anyways based on their own preferences, personality, ideals etc, (which is one way in which it's better than imposing things as rules for example), but at least they will have thought about it which never hurts.

On the other hand, I don't know if I would really recommend slaughterhouses to kids, it's nice to also have happy carefree childhoods, without unnecessary trauma and disturbing images...
A much more appropriate thing to start Kids thinking about those same concepts would be something like some Disney movies (Bambi or somesuch) and some nice directed questions from the parents.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 18, 2008, 07:54:10 PM
i agree -- children don't even know what the hell is going on really - i dont think chucking them into a traumatic situation is really good parenting...but i digress...
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: tombb on December 19, 2008, 07:17:52 AM
Also, to explain a few of the things that Muse mentioned,
Feeling hungry: this is not a feature of not eating meat in itself. It only happens if your meals for some reason are lower in protein and fat.  Meat tend to have a decent amount of one or both and digest relatively slowly.
On the other hand there are many other foods with as much or more proteins (and fat is even easier to add :P) that will cause you to feel as stuffed with the same amount of food for as long or longer (depending on average digestion speed for that meal).
Eggs, cheese, and protein shakes are particularly good examples.

Allergies: I am not sure exactly why it happened in Muse's case (it's definitely unfortunate), but personally I have not eaten meat/fish/seafood for the past 15 years and never developed any allergies or health conditions (I am not allergic to anything, don't have asthma, I am not lactose-intolerant etc). 
As Muse suggested, if you are exposed to an allergen in larger quantity and for very prolonged times, you are more likely to become allergic to it if predisposed (true with pollen for example).  But particular events like diseases or contamination happening simultaneously to exposure are much more likely causes, your immune system basically tries to fight off whatever it thinks is an enemy and can get the two substances confused. This has even been used in the past to create biological weapons that would make your immune system attack your own nerves.
While I occasionally eat peanuts and even sometimes edamame (boiled soy beans, if I go to a Japanese restaurant with friends), both being quite good and healthy in moderation, those are far from being staples of my diet, so you should not expect or assume that you will consume more of them just because you don't eat animals. I do consume more eggs, dairy and more purified protein (including some soy protein isolate mixed in with things like whey and casein, and sometimes with peanut-butter flavor if it's a protein bar) than I used to, but again in so many years I have not seen any allergy developing.  And unless consuming meat was immunosuppressant (which is not the case) you shouldn't expect it to prevent allergies in general.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Chris Salvato on December 19, 2008, 08:56:27 AM
In short: Try it and if you like it stick with it, if you don't then stop.
Title: Re: Pk and vegetarians
Post by: Andy Animus Tran on December 19, 2008, 09:32:25 AM
Pfft.  I was killing my own animals at the age of four.  Lousy weak-stomached children.

:D