The Vegetarian Myth

The Vegetarian Myth

Food, Justice and Sustainability

Book - 2009
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The vegetarian diet is praised for being sustainable and animal-friendly, but after 20 years of being a vegan, Lierre Keith has changed her opinion. Contravening popular opinion, she bravely argues that agriculture is a relentless assault against the planet. In service to annual grains, humans have devastated prairies and forests, driven countless species extinct, altered the climate, and destroyed the topsoil - the basis of growth and life itself.
Publisher: Crescent City, Ca. : Flashpoint Press ; Oakland, Ca. : PM Press, c2009
Edition: Flashpoint Press 3rd ed. --
ISBN: 9781604860801
Branch Call Number: 613.262 Kei 2009
Characteristics: 312 p. : ill


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Dec 19, 2017

Lierre Keith (The Vegetarian Myth) has written a profound, incandescent, nigh incendiary, illumination of the dietary quicksand, the ooze, into which we are wholly succumbing. This, not from some academic stance, but on the basis of her own near self-destruction delivered through the drumbeat of salvation via moral, political, nutritional vegetarianism. A crusade underpinned by self-delusion, literally fuelled by agriculturists, be they peasant farmers or agribusiness corporate CEOs. For they are riders of Trojan horses, wielding axes and plows (destroying forests, prairies, topsoil), leading us with the siren song of annual monoculture harvests on the road to apocalyptic destruction. The Green Revolution: worst defeat for sustainability in a century. Central to the party line of politically correct nutrition is soy, touted as "a panacea for everything from hot flashes to world hunger", a doctrine enforced by the vegan police. Veganism ... one part cult, one part eating disorder. For perspective see The Whole Soy Story by Kaayla T Daniel. Soy eater? Then, probably unbeknownst to you, Alberta tar sands development, enabling production of fossil fuel based fertilizers, is a lynch pin for your lifestyle. Ultimately, rectifying revolutions capitulate to the ease of conformity.

Apr 24, 2017

This is a badly written book. There are many incomplete sentences that start with and, or , then, because, and so. On page 63 she states that Al Gore invented the internet, so the research was easy. If she had bothered to check on the internet, she would have found out he did not invent the internet and that is a myth. I found this book hard to read . It seems like it is just a leftist rant based on her perceptions not facts.

Sep 06, 2016

Smart, articulate, and well informed. Easily blasts vegan and vegetarian diets out of the water. Accurately gives evidence from ancestral peoples that support the idea that humans are carnivores, not herbivores (we don't have the stomach plumbing to digest grasses). Also good nutritional evidence. The "diseases of civilization" are caused by eating grains.
Good youtube video of author speaking in detail:

May 29, 2015

I was intrigued by this book at first and the premise still seems mostly sound to me, but I started mistrusting it when I saw quotes from Atkins.

Oct 22, 2014

This book is full of scientific inaccuracies, like saying grazing causes root growth, when actually it encourages root die back and basal growth, pg 139. I found the personal journey of the author an interesting read. Here is a person who understands empathy and humility, and is constantly questioning the dominant paradigm. She is sometimes unintentionally hilarious. Someone should clue her in that garden slugs are a non-native invasive species that we imported from Europe. Ha ha, let the ducks have them!

Aug 13, 2012

This book is misleading. The author was a vegan, not a vegetarian. And, when reading her health issues, a bad vegan at that.
I agree with her main issue that monoculture is bad, soy is not the wonder food and that death happens. Unfortunately, there are many side rants, completely inaccurate information, and the basic idea that all vegans/vegetarians (since they are clumped together in this book) are misinformed idiots who know nothing about life.
By all means, read this book, but do not think it is gospel and realize that her sources are not scientific in the least bit.

Apr 01, 2012

Eating a vegetarian or vegan diet in a northern clime is simply not ecologically sound. Rabbits, birds and mammals can thrive on grasses and provide us with high quality proteins without disrupting the ecosystems they inhabit.
For us to grow all the proteins we need (which I don't think we can) requires we destroy large tracks of land and forests to grow annual plants that continuously deplete the soil of nutrients. Without animals on that soil, we would only have our own humanure to replenish those nutrients, which may not be enough.
Eating grass fed animals and fish from clean lakes and rivers with some vegetables and a little grain is the most ecologically sound northern diet I can think of.

Jan 20, 2012

A really interesting and difficult book to read, even for a meat-eater. At times evangelical, others concise and straight to the point, Lierre challenges all of our society's dietary assumptions. Her concluding paragraph is simply not as strong as her introductory paragraph, the tone is very enthusiatic and hard-hitting in tone, making it tough to read. And it's absolutely crammed full of facts, well supported with proper annotated sources that are legitimate. I found this book interesting because I learned a lot about the political positioning of the vegans / vegetarians (some of which are so preposterous, it's amazing) and it was nice to have a concise summarization of the impacts of monoculture farming on the environment with the true realization that only the species that have linked their future to ours are doing well. Maybe I should eat more exotic meats.... to save more species. The hardest thing to read was the challenge to the food pyramid we're all raised on - and the fact that vegetarian / vegan women have a lower lifespan than those who are not.

KentBCM Aug 03, 2011

Has lots of valuable info on dangers of vegan diet.
Essentially an activist cry against big agro busiiness: corn and wheat and rice: annual crops that she says are destroying the eco system and using up limited mined fertilizer when keeping animals and using manure would be more sustainable. She concludes we should eat meat.

May 05, 2011

I read this while struggling with my own issues surrounding meat consumption. After 15 years of vegetarianism, I've decided to start eating humanely raised meat, but through no help of Lierre Keith. Her language is aggressive and often mean-sounding. The book seems to be less educational and more just her complaining about vegetarian culture. If you're looking for an unbiased look at meat consumption, this is *not* it.

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Jan 20, 2012

There is no place left for the buffalo to roam. There’s only corn, wheat, and soy. About the only animals that escaped the biotic cleansing of the agriculturalists are small animals like mice and rabbits, and billions of them are killed by the harvesting equipment every year. Unless you’re out there with a scythe, don’t forget to add them to the death toll of your vegetarian meal. They count, and they died for your dinner…

Jan 20, 2012

P 248
So here are the questions you should ask, a new form of grace to say over your food. Does this food build or destroy topsoil? Does it use only ambient sun and rainfall, or does it require fossil soil, fossil fuel, fossil water, and drained wetlands, damaged rivers? Could you walk to where it grows or does it come to you on a path slick with petroleum?

Jan 20, 2012

P 185
Omega- 3s are almost absent from the US American diet. According to Jo Robinson, “twenty percent of Americans have levels so low that they defy detection.” The best sources should be eggs, fish, meat, and dairy, but they no longer are. Why? Because factory farming stuffs animals full of grain, which changes the composition of their body fat. Yes, grain again. Grain is desperately low in omega-3s and high in omega-6s.

Jan 20, 2012

P 147
The first myth of nutritional vegetarians – that we aren’t meant for meat – is another fairy tale filled with inedible apples. I try to remember what I believed when I was a vegan. There was a mythic golden age, long ago, when we lived in harmony with the world … and … ate what? Prehistoric paintings of humans hunting left me confused and defensive, nut I was unclear on the timeline anyway. Maybe all that hunting happened before the peaceful vegetarian Goddess culture. Or maybe it was after the fall of the peaceful vegetarian…?

Jan 20, 2012

P 106
“Enjoy vegetables, beans and grains in your diet.” And if those things don’t grow where I live? How does my consumption of strawberries from Chile, snap peas fron China, or corn from Iowa build anything more than more exploitation and destruction? What if I want to preserve, say, biodiversity, rivers, topsoil, self-sufficient human communities around the globe? What that poster should say is “Know your own land and your water, your local farmers and their animals. Eat what grows sustainably in your foodshed.”

Jan 20, 2012

P 103
Yes, eating grain directly is less water intensive than eating grain-fed beef. But why eat either? Animals integrated into appropriate polycultures destroy nothing.

Jan 20, 2012

“According to the British group VegFram, a 10-acre farm can support 60 people growing soybeans, 24 people growing wheat, 10 people growing corn and only two producing cattle,” Motavalli continues. And he believes them? Set aside the fact that a diet of soy, wheat or corn will result in massive malnutrition – along with fun stuff like kwashiorkor, pellagra, retardation, blindness – and ultimately death. The figures of two cattle might be true if you assume grain feeding, though I can’t make the math come out right. By contrast, a ten acre farm of perennial polyculture in a mid-Atlantic climate could produce:
3,000 eggs
1,000 boilers
80 stewing hens
2,000 pounds of beef
2,500 pounds of pork
100 turkeys
50 rabbits

Jan 20, 2012

P 42
It is my conviction that growing annual grains is an activity that cannot be redeemed. It requires the wholesale extermination of ecosystems – the land has to be cleared of all life. It destroys the soil because the soil is bared – and has to be bared to grow annuals. In areas with inadequate rainfall, agriculture demands irrigation, which drains rivers to death and salinizes the soil

Jan 20, 2012

P 40-41
In Nebraska, 98 percent of the native tallgrass prairie is gone. There is no place left for the buffalo to roam. There’s only corn, wheat and soy. About the only animals that escaped the biotic cleansing of the agriculturalists are small animals like mice and rabbits, and billions of them are killed by the harvesting equipment every year. Unless you’re out there with a scythe, don’t forget to add them to the death toll of your vegetarian meal. They count and they died for your dinner, along with all the animals that have dwindled past the point of genetic feasibility. “You can look a cow in the eye,” reads an ad for soy burgers. What about a buffalo? (p 41) Five percent of a species is needed to ensure enough diversity for long-term survival, and less than 1 percent of the buffalo are left.”

Jan 20, 2012

p 27:
Of 422,000 plant species, only a tiny percentage are domesticates. But some of those have literally taken over the globe. Plants produce millions of chemicals to attract, repel, immobilize or kill animals. It’s how some of them reproduce. And it’s how they fight back: nature, red in phytochemicals. Just because they can’t locomote doesn’t mean they’re passive. And every so often in the evolutionary crapshoot, one of them throws the gene dice and beats the house, producing a perfect match with the pleasure centres in the human brain. Annual grasses hit paydirt with their opiods. We ate them and we couldn’t stop

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