Don't Eat Anything With A Face

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Food FinalCleanWeb Illustration by Thomas James

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

According to a 2009 poll, around 1% of American adults reported eating no animal products. In 2011 that number rose to 2.5%--more than double, but still dwarfed by the 48% who reported eating meat, fish or poultry at all of their meals. In this country, most of us are blessed with an abundance of food and food choices. So taking into account our health, the environment and ethical concerns, which diet is best? Are we or aren't we meant to be carnivores?

  • Barnard 90


    Dr. Neal Barnard

    Clinical Researcher & Author, 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart

  • Gene Baur official 90px final


    Gene Baur

    President and Co-Founder, Farm Sanctuary

  • Masterjohn official 90


    Chris Masterjohn

    Nutritional Sciences Researcher & Blogger, The Daily Lipid

  • Salatin 90


    Joel Salatin

    Farmer & Author

    • Moderator Image


      John Donvan

      Author & Correspondent for ABC News

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Barnard 90

For The Motion

Dr. Neal Barnard

Clinical Researcher & Author, 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart

Neal Barnard, M.D., is Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., who guides numerous clinical trials investigating the effects of diet on body weight, chronic pain, and diabetes. Barnard’s most recent study of dietary interventions in type 2 diabetes was funded by the National Institutes of Health. He has authored dozens of scientific publications, 15 books for lay readers, and has hosted three PBS television programs on nutrition and health, ranging from weight loss to Alzheimer’s prevention. As President and Founder of the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Barnard has been instrumental in efforts to reform federal dietary guidelines. He also leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research.

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Gene Baur official 90px final

For The Motion

Gene Baur

President and Co-Founder, Farm Sanctuary

Gene Baur, President and Co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, has been hailed as “the conscience of the food movement” by Time magazine. Since the mid-1980s, Gene has traveled extensively, campaigning to raise awareness about the abuses of industrialized factory farming and our system of cheap food production. His book, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food (2008), a national bestseller, is a thought-provoking investigation of the ethical questions surrounding beef, poultry, pork, milk, and egg production. It describes what each of us can do to promote compassion and help stop the systematic mistreatment of the billions of farm animals who are exploited for food in the United States every year.

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Masterjohn official 90

Against The Motion

Chris Masterjohn

Nutritional Sciences Researcher & Blogger, The Daily Lipid

Chris Masterjohn pursued a career in health and nutrition after recovering from health problems he developed as a vegan by including high-quality, nutrient-dense animal foods in his diet. He earned a PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Connecticut in 2012 and currently researches the physiological interactions between fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He has published six peer-reviewed publications and has submitted one manuscript for review. He also writes two blogs. The first, The Daily Lipid, is hosted on his web site, Cholesterol-And-Health.Com. The second, Mother Nature Obeyed, is hosted by the Weston A. Price Foundation at The opinions expressed in this debate are his own and do not necessarily represent the positions of the University of Illinois.

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Salatin 90

Against The Motion

Joel Salatin

Farmer & Author

Joel Salatin is a full-time farmer in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. A third generation alternative farmer, he returned to the farm full-time in 1982 and continued refining and adding to his parents’ ideas. The farm services more than 5,000 families, 10 retail outlets, and 50 restaurants through on-farm sales and metropolitan buying clubs with salad bar beef, pastured poultry, eggmobile eggs, pigaerator pork, forage-based rabbits, pastured turkey, and forestry products, using relationship marketing. Salatin holds a BA degree in English and writes extensively in magazines such as Stockman Grass Farmer, Acres USA, and Foodshed. He is the author of eight books, including Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World (2012). The family’s farm, Polyface Inc., achieved iconic status as the grass farm featured in the new New York Times bestseller The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by food writer guru Michael Pollan, and the award-winning documentary film Food Inc.

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Declared Winner: For The Motion

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Voting Breakdown:

59% voted the same way in BOTH pre- and post-debate votes (19% voted FOR twice, 36% voted AGAINST twice, 5% voted UNDECIDED twice). 41% changed their minds (2% voted FOR then changed to AGAINST, 3% voted FOR then changed to UNDECIDED, 12% voted AGAINST then changed to FOR, 4% voted AGAINST then changed to UNDECIDED, 15% voted UNDECIDED then changed to FOR, 5% voted UNDECIDED then changed to AGAINST)*breakdown for those voting the same way twice adds to 60% due to rounding | Breakdown Graphic

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    • Comment Link Adam Dave, MD Tuesday, 03 December 2013 14:04 posted by Adam Dave, MD

      So appreciative and supportive of your work, Dr. Barnard. Now if we can only get policymakers to end subsidization of animal products so that junk food isn't cheap. This would have almost instantaneous effects on the obesity and disease epidemic facing the country and the globe. I have written an essay on the Farm Bill as it relates to Obamacare and would very much like to send it your way. P.S. thanks again for reviewing my book, "The Paradigm Diet." You're the best!

    • Comment Link Trudy Tuesday, 03 December 2013 14:01 posted by Trudy

      The poison of today with people's health is the diet that they eat. Lack of healthy nutrients is not only their dilemma but on top of that, it is the chemicals, drugs, heavy metals, hormones, antibiotics, and what else? BSE a neurological disease in cows can be transmitted to other species including humans. One of the primary ways of transmission is that the cows are fed bone meal and waste products from other cattle infected with the disease. It is now illegal to feed beef based products to cow but the industry found a way to circumvent the rule so now they are feeding them what they call chicken litter.
      It is a mixture of manure, dead chickens, feathers and spilled feed,
      cheap food products for cows. So think how healthy and appetizing, when you eat your next burger that is the product of manure, feathers, and one third of the chicken litter concoction. That is what is called spilled feed. Cows that eat chicken litter eat also beef products intended for chicken. The same feed that spurred Mad Cow Disease outbreak. The BSE infection agent can also be passed through the chicken manure as well.
      Cows are ruminants herbivorous. I grew up on an organic farm in Canada and I know. Their is only one way of being and staying healthy and especially today, and that is a vegetarian diet. No dead flesh in your plate, is a perfect way to start. Give it a try, the whole world will be surprise to see you, full of energy and vibrancy all of a sudden. That is what I did 40 years ago. It was the perfect answer for me to stay away at the same time, from the drug prescription deluge that is happening in the US. Find your way to God's herbal medicine and then you will have achieved health as he intended for you to have. Health is your wealth !

    • Comment Link Rich Russom Tuesday, 03 December 2013 14:00 posted by Rich Russom

      I refuse to eat anything with a face! I turned vegetarian 6 months ago! Not only for my health, but I don't want to eat dead Animals anymore! ~rich.

    • Comment Link Anne Tuesday, 03 December 2013 13:54 posted by Anne

      This is for Peter who wrote about God and Noah. If you finish the paragraph it says, "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood." I just love how the pro-meat eaters try to twist everything around. Our planet is dying. One of the worst offenders is factory farming. Eating a plant-based diet would make sure there was enough food for EVERYONE, especially those in countries where they grow most of their crops to feed livestock, while their children grown hungry. Wake up people!

    • Comment Link Allison Tuesday, 03 December 2013 13:50 posted by Allison

      I've been vegan for 8 years, never been sick in all that time. I am very active and super healthy. The only supplement I take is a B12 patch, it's not expensive; and I was also B12 deficient when I was eating animal products, so it's just me. My roommate started eating a vegan diet with me and in 6 months was off all of his medications, his doctor was amazed. So, that is proof for me. Also, I have never felt deprived or resentful about eating this way. I eat so many delicious meals it is so great. It is like a new tasty and better world opened up for me; before I was eating basically the same meals for 20 years, the same 7 dinners, maybe with a little variation, the same types of fruits and vegetables. Now I eat so many delicious things I am so happy there are so many great recipes to try and cook books.I don't eat processed food either, I eat a whole food plant based diet. There are so many nutrient dense foods I wasn't aware of before. I'm grateful there is so much information available. There is a myth out there that peopIe need to eat animals and that it is normal, necessary and natural, nothing could be further from the truth. When I eliminated these harmful things from my diet, I immediately looked and felt better. l weigh 115 and am 50, people tell me I look 40, I walk my dogs for an hour and a half every day and then rollerblade for an hour. I have more energy now than I did 20 years ago. Bottom line, no murder is humane.There is no defense for exploiting and killing animals when you don't have to. There is more than 30 years of research to support that a plant based diet is the healthiest. I feel great knowing I am not contributing to violence towards animals and am living the best life I can.

    • Comment Link Sanaya Tuesday, 03 December 2013 13:39 posted by Sanaya

      Eating animals is barbaric, disconnected, lustful, bloodthirsty, selfish, cruel, violent and of a lower, 3rd dimensional vibration where the precepts 'Conquer or be Conquered', "Dominate or be Dominated", "Control or be Controlled" underline and guide the majority of thinking on this planet. We now have the opportunity to move into and embrace the 5th dimensional frequency of love, oneness, compassion and respect for all -this includes the animals, all creatures, and Mother Earth. It is not necessary for violence, cruelty, corruption, pollution and sickness to be part of our food production or a part of our lives, in any way. If you think, feel and act with your heart, than love can and will create a heaven on Earth in all aspects of our lives. "RECONNECT"

    • Comment Link Michael Weisensee, MS Tuesday, 03 December 2013 13:33 posted by Michael Weisensee, MS

      Besides B-12 (created by bacteria), there are no nutrients in animal-based foods that cannot be better obtained in plant-based foods. The idea that a whole-food, plant-based diet requires a vast amount of supplementation is simply wrong. Take a B-12 supplement once a week and get some mid-day sun, and you will thrive on a WFPB diet.

      The idea that we naturally crave meat is also wrong. Give your hungry 3-year old a bowl of raw, unseasoned fruit and a bowl of raw, unseasoned meat/fish/fowl (truly paleo) and see which he/she chooses. It's the plant-based seasoning that make meat/fish/fowl palatable. Now give that same choice to your cat (a true carnivore) and you will notice a very different selection. Humans are carbohydrate eaters. That's why the tip of our tongue senses sweets, not protein. The opposite is true in cats. That's why we have amylase (the enzyme that breaks down starch) in our saliva. Carnivores have none. I could go on and on, but the biological fact is that we are designed from mouth to colon as plant-eaters. Can man exist on animal foods? Sure, a disease-filled existence. If you are an American, you can see for yourself, just look around.

    • Comment Link Jeanne Tuesday, 03 December 2013 13:27 posted by Jeanne

      This January will mark two years, for me, on a whole foods plant based diet. Up until that time I had been battling chronic migraines, seasonal allergies with occassional bronchitis. I also was overweight and had issues that came with that. I had battled depression all my life as well. I can't say its right for everybody...but it was right for me. I also do not get carsick....something that has plagued me all of my life , as well. I had always believed it was an inner ear problem. I work in a school environment and was constantly bringing home sickness. I have not been sick these past two years and am healthier now than I have ever been. I am also not a hippie or an athiest. ;-) . I am a Christian. There are Christian diets out there that are very similar to my diet. The Daniel diet being one of them. Not all of my family are vegan...but that's okay...I love them anyway. :-D

    • Comment Link Kevin Schmidt Tuesday, 03 December 2013 13:22 posted by Kevin Schmidt

      " Are we or aren't we meant to be carnivores?"

      That is the wrong question to ask. We are OMNIVORES, not carnivores or vegetarians or vegans.

      We can eat almost everything other animals eat, including the animals. But just because we can doesn't necessarily mean that we should eat almost everything.

      Here is the real question that should be asked:
      Should we eat just to survive or should we eat to thrive?

    • Comment Link Dale Birchett Tuesday, 03 December 2013 13:20 posted by Dale Birchett

      This is interesting reading, too bad so many of the carnivores feel it necessary to be abusive in their comments. I participated in the PCRM 21 Day Vegan Kickstart program four years ago shortly after driving through western Kansas on a business trip and taking time to stop and observe some of the CAFOs. I had read of the filthy conditions but seeing it first hand really made an impression on me and motivated me to become meat free. I researched free range meat but in the end it just makes more sense to stop abusing animals, to stop wasting water and hydrocarbon fuels on raising them, and to stop eating diets that drive up the already untenable cost of healthcare in this country.

      I find the description of early humans as omnivores less than complete. The early humans eating a true paleo diet would perhaps better be referred to as opportunivores, eating whatever they came across in their wanderings; fruits, leaves, insects, rotting carcasses, the occasional bird or small animal if they could catch it. So no one is eating a paleo diet these days. Grubworm anyone?

    • Comment Link CARMEN ROBERTS Tuesday, 03 December 2013 13:20 posted by CARMEN ROBERTS

      We are not designed to be carnivores. From the beginning of the world we were created to be herbivores. It is written in the Bible, the book of Genesis 1:1, 29-31. Not only humans were designed that way but animals , too. Believe it or not.

    • Comment Link Marge Tuesday, 03 December 2013 13:18 posted by Marge

      Nutrition is "Species Specific". Every species has it's natural diet.

      Humans are natural herbivores. Plants are their natural diet. That's what are bodies are designed to eat.

    • Comment Link Beth Tuesday, 03 December 2013 12:48 posted by Beth

      Cognitive dissentient: Doing whatever rationalizing one needs to do to keep a personal believe system alive. One doesn't need to eat animal proteins to be healthy. Killing for pleasure is an example of cognitive dissentient in my book. To be disaffected by the environmental costs of livestock farming and the high cost of health care form eating an animal based diet is to be in denial about the greatest damages to ourselves and our planet of our time.

      I am a working class Jane Doe. I have been eating a plant-based diet for 4 years, and I have come to understand that it is the most radical shift I could have from this culture's downhill run towards that proverbial brick wall.

    • Comment Link Gerry Gospe Tuesday, 03 December 2013 12:44 posted by Gerry Gospe

      A vegan diet, along with prescribed supplements, has cured a loved one from prostate cancer.
      Yes, cured. Repeated MRIs and biopsies confirm as well as blood tests.
      Hard to beat that.


      An Addenda: I marvel at the diet of cows, grass-fed, and the protein they produce.

    • Comment Link Karen Tracey Tuesday, 03 December 2013 12:43 posted by Karen Tracey

      Once upon a time when we lived in a world that wasn't overpopulated and land could be farmed sustainably to feed the population, eating things with a face could be considered sustainable. Today, it is impossible. While people can support local, sustainable, family farms, they will never be able to produce enough to support the entire population with a meat-based diet. If more of our population chose to eat a plant-based diet (if we could achieve say a 50-50% split), then maybe we could avoid factory farming, GMOs, soil depletion, etc. Maybe. Eating vegan is simply the best choice I've made for my health, my planet, and my conscience.

    • Comment Link Dr. Bandana Chawla Tuesday, 03 December 2013 12:40 posted by Dr. Bandana Chawla

      I am an internal medicine physician and I recently became a vegan due to health benefits and factory farming cruelty pointed out to me by my vegan patients.

      I have seen vegan patients improve not only expected areas such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, gout but also improve asthma and allergies. Spirometry on a patient who became vegan and got off all inhalers showed normal PFTs. However, when she restarted her previous diet showed asthma again and causing her to need inhalers again.

      I have been able to get off Nasonex myself since being on a vegan diet the last 6 months :-)

    • Comment Link Robin Everson Tuesday, 03 December 2013 12:29 posted by Robin Everson

      I am for a vegan diet. After being a Type 2 diabetic for over 15 years, switching to a vegan diet helped me rid my body of this horrible life-stealing disease as well as get rid of a host of other health problems, (i.e., diabetic neuropathy, high cholesterol, high pressure, high triglycerides). I am calmer and happier and I've lost weight too.

    • Comment Link John Mooter Tuesday, 03 December 2013 12:27 posted by John Mooter

      I have met and heard Dr. Barnard speak on many occasions. He walks the walk. It is exciting to see so many physicians and health experts moving in this direction; Drs. McDoughal, Esselstyn, Ornish, Klaper, Gregor, Fuhtrman, to name just a few, all of whom are lean and healthy, as opposed to the high fat gurus like Drs. Weill, Sears, Atkins, all of who are or were fat.

    • Comment Link Susana Reid Tuesday, 03 December 2013 12:23 posted by Susana Reid

      May all beings be released from unnecessary suffering.

    • Comment Link JoAnne Rando-Moon Tuesday, 03 December 2013 12:21 posted by JoAnne Rando-Moon

      I have been Vegetarian for 23 years and stopped eating red meat 35 years ago because of the way it made me feel. After finding out how the animals are treated, it was an easy decision. Why would I want to cause such cruelty and eat food that has been tortured.
      Now I am mostly Vegan, sweets can be my downfall, because of the way the animals are treated. I feel great at 66 with more energy and enjoy better health.
      I invite others to try this way of eating and see the difference.

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