I’m No Longer Vegan

I eat meat again.

I was vegetarian or vegan for the past 7 or 8 years (militantly vegan for probably 5 years), with a 30 day trial of eating meat back in 2013. Last year I began relaxing my veganism (meaning I moved to vegetarianism) and adding eggs, butter, and cheese into my diet on occasion (mostly when traveling). Now I eat animal flesh 2 or 3 times per week. My wife doesn’t often like or eat meat except fish and I’ll likely never go back to my pre-veganism diet which was very meat heavy. I am definitely not vegan or vegetarian anymore, though.

Here are a compilation of thoughts on this, in no particular order …

1. As someone who regularly gets blood tests I know I wasn’t getting enough iron from my diet without taking supplements. It’s not that I didn’t eat foods with iron. It’s that non-heme iron doesn’t absorb well and my body absorbs it more poorly than is normal. (Why that is is private and unimportant for you to know.) Supplements, particularly iron supplements, should be a short term solution, if anything. If you need supplements there is something wrong with your diet or with your health.

2. On that note, taking supplements as “insurance” is a bad idea that is possibly doing you more harm than you’d like. If you need to supplement for medical reasons then that’s cool, but that is rare.

3. B12 is impossible to get without supplements or eating fortified foods that I don’t eat. Again, I’m not going to continue taking supplements. (Also, fortified foods aren’t readily available outside of the US. I have been living mostly outside of the US since 2009.)

4. This is not the naturalistic fallacy or appeal to nature at play. I don’t think if something is “natural” it’s better than something that is “unnatural.” I do think if you’re not getting something from your diet that you can easily and readily get then that is a problem.

5. On that note, I am not opposed to medications whatsoever. I prefer medical science to pseudoscience, obviously. In the paraphrased words of Tim Minchin: “What do you call alternative medicine that works? Medicine.” Alternative medicine is generally useless. Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, homeopathy, etc. is all bunk. But we’re moving off the topic of veganism now so let’s get back on track.

6. The China Study, which many vegans — including former me — have used to tout the benefits of veganism, is incredibly flawed. If you’re interested in learning the basics of how to read a scientific research study I recommend my favorite book of 2015: Bad Science by Ben Goldacre. The China Study simply does not hold up under scrutiny.

7. I still think the factory farming industry is terrible and terrifying. Believe me, this wasn’t an easy or quick choice to make. But I choose my life and health over the lives of other animals (including other humans). To say that you don’t choose your life first is to be intellectually dishonest.

8. But that’s why I strongly support food technology like GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and lab grown meat. (Go Memphis Meats!) This immediately puts me at odds with many (most?) vegans. Remove your ideological bias and genetic engineering is not scary. Genetic engineering is not inherently unsafe just because you fail to understand it. But you also probably fail to understand organic farming. Your darling organic farms use a lot of pesticides and other synthetic substances you would likely unnecessarily hate. Here’s a list from the Federal Code of Regulations.

9. Also, Monsanto is not your enemy, no matter what your “documentarians” and “natural news” websites are telling you. Monsanto, by yearly revenue, is also smaller than Whole Foods. They’re both near $15B/year in revenue but $WFM has another ~$400MM on top of $MON so please stop making the “big evil corporation” argument with Monsanto, unless you also make it with Big Organic and Whole Foods. They are publicly traded companies and you can look them up. ($WFM and $MON are the symbols.) Can you tell I’m tired of people using Monsanto as an analogue for genetically engineered foods? They are hardly the only company in the industry. Stop spreading lies and start supporting something that can actually fix the problems in the food industry. It will do your cause a lot of good to show that you’re an evidence-based vegan and not a zealot.

10. On that note, chemicals are not scary either. Everything is a chemical. The dose makes the poison.

11. I still seek out veg restaurants and enjoy a well-made tofu dish as much as the next guy. If nothing else I think my years of veganism have given me a better understanding of a different, and tasty, lifestyle while no longer being bound to a flawed ideology.

12. You probably won’t convince me to switch back to being vegan. It would be unhealthy for me to do so. I’ve already seen factory farms and know what they’re about so that argument doesn’t hold. Hell, I’ve been stuck in traffic downwind from of a rotting-flesh-smelling-factory-farm in the middle of summer. They’re gross and terrible. I get it. But rather than trying to get your omnivorous friends to switch to veganism how about you invite them over and make them a tasty vegan meal once in a while?

13. On that note, veganism is not necessary for a healthy diet so you won’t convince me with a claim to the contrary. That’s not to say that eating bacon and burgers for every meal is healthy, of course. (And I don’t do that, obviously.) But there is a middle ground that is not pathological. A variety of veggies, fruits, grains (because gluten is perfectly okay unless you’re celiac) and some meats is as good as anything. For some, like me, it’s better.

14. Although I tried — by attending veg-fests and the like — I never felt part of the vegan community. See #8. As much as I go my own way it is nice to have an echo chamber sometimes. The vegan echo chamber is one that is impossible for me to enter nowadays. The vegan community seems generally opposed not only to anything that is not vegan, but it also seems to skew anti-science, and it doesn’t help the cause. This is not unique to veganism, because it’s also readily apparent in many other hardline communities as well. (Including other diet communities like paleo.)

15. That said, I still love and support my vegan friends and I’m probably more of an ally to the veg community than is obvious right now. You can be wrong and I can still support you. Although I probably won’t support the dozens of people who hope I get cancer and die a gruesome death. (Check the comments below, I left in a doozy or two!)

16. Traveling vegan, although it is increasingly easier nowadays than when I started, is much more stressful than I let on in the past. Last week my wife and I were visiting Warsaw and we ate at two or three vegan restaurants. But I also didn’t have to fret when I was starving and just needed food, any food. No stress at all. Instead of spending so much time trying to procure food I can now spend more time enjoying the places I visit.

17. We don’t have to agree.

If you have something to say the comments will be open for the next 7 days. If you focus on #16 instead of #1 then please try again. I won’t moderate or censor anything, even if I find it ridiculous or angry or attacking. It will be helpful to use the accompanying paragraph number if you’re responding to a certain statement I made. I will remove comments that are anonymous. If you can’t speak without anonymity then you don’t deserve to speak here.

Update (17:53 CET Wed May 25 2016): Wow! That went off the rails quickly. I have received enough vitriol to energize and inspire me for at least another week. Please keep posting your silliness.

Update (0:46 CET THUR May 26 2016)anger

I also updated the article to try to make the points more clear. I hope that worked.

Video about this coming soon. You don’t want to miss it. Subscribe for updates at the top of this page.

Update (8:51 CET Wed Jun 1 2016): After 172 of them comments are now closed. If you have something to respond to please do it on your own blog. I have trackbacks turned on so I will see it.

172 Responses to I’m No Longer Vegan

  1. Huzzah!! You are now welcome to travel with me at anytime, as well as eat at the same restaurants. :P

    PS: See you in Detroit!

  2. Yes to all of that, though my stint as a vegan was only three months embedded in 10 years of vegetarian diet.

    I don’t think you’re doing anyone a favor by compromising your health for ideology.

  3. I didn’t even know you were vegan. And you have a wife! Now that I think of it, I don’t really remember why I subscribed to you. Perhaps, the minimalist lifestyle you’re promoting?

    • Yeah, I wrote a lot about veganism in the past. Less so in recent years. And I got married last April, but made that post private after some time. Still a staunch minimalist! We’ll be moving to the US with a suitcase and 2 backpacks. :)

  4. Ive been following you for years Karol and while I respect every indivifuals food choices I have to say that you are misinformed about GMO foods and chemicals. Are you aware of all the mass amounts of pesticides that GMO foods require? I am very aware as I suffer the effects & damage from pesticides and other related poisonous chemicals every day. If you walked a day in my shoes you wouldn’t be so cavalier about them. I have permanent neurological damage, suffer seizures and numerous other documented life threatening effects each time I’m exposed to fumigants, pesticides & flame retardant chemicals. It’s irresponsible to pass misinformation to your readers. Please consider using balanced research beforehand. Consuming pesticides in your food is not healthy, period, contrary to the great Monsanto gods telling you otherwise. Good bye and good luck from the canary in the coal mine. The rest of you may find the veil lifted years after I’m gone and wonder why you trusted the chemical giants just like the tobacco industry that lied for so many years.

    • Hi Cheryl. Unfortunately, I know I will never change your mind, but hopefully other people reading this will be prompted to look into it further. Organic farming uses a lot of pesticides. GMOs actually reduce pesticide use in many instances. Additionally, those pesticides do not end up inside you even if you are consuming the foods.

      For the curious, these are the synthetic substances allowed in organic farming in the US, from the Code of Federal Regulations: http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&SID=06b088e611c5f18a4d02ca9945a1c3dd&rgn=div8&view=text&node=7:3.1.1.9.32.7.354.2&idno=7

    • As far as I know, the only GMO that might encourage use of pesticides beyond the level used in farming non-GMO crops are “Roundup-Ready” breeds. That’s a small slice of the GMO foods that are being developed.

      If you want to avoid pesticides, you need to source organically grown foods, not non-GMO foods.

    • Hi Cheryl,

      I am glad you brought up the subject of GMOs. First, I fear you are misinformed about GMOs. The scientific consensus on GMOs is that they are clearly as safe as non-GMOs. Just last week the National Academies of Science released a report that reaffirmed this consensus showing GMOs are safe, use less total and less toxic pesticides, and are overall a boon for farmers and the environment. This consensus has been affirmed by thousands upon thousands of scientists (independent & industry), the WHO, FDA, AAAS, EU, and most if not all independent scientific organizations that have studied the issue. Second, if you didn’t know already, organic uses pesticides also. Third, 99.99% of the pesticides you eat are naturally found in food (e.g. caffeine!). If you would like to learn more and have a respectful conversation please let me know and I’ll provide an email address or you could visit the Food and Farm Discussion Lab or Skeptic Vegan Discussion Group on Facebook.

      David

    • Ive been vegan for more than 20 years when it was inconvenient to be one. Now its mainstream.

      I don’t agree with you on the vegan part… Vegan is not about you but about everything else but you. It is your choice. You made it about you and because of that like you, many others fail too.

      When it comes to some of the things that you mentioned about GMOs. I agree with you… People are uneducated and most vegans are followers so they only follow a trend. I don’t get along with most vegans…

      Many if not all vegans don’t know or really care to know that most “organic” food farms use bone, feather and blood meal soil/fertilizers.

      GMOs are demonized without knowing the science of it… I still oppose the round-up spraying and other pesticides; but the actual GMO tech in general is a great food tech. Just like saitan, another modified food.

      “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.” – Carl Sagan

      I agree and disagree with your choices herein. But as I said, vegan is not about you, it’s about everything else but you… And your post reflects exactly that, was about you.

  5. You’re right. You actually said “I choose my life over the life of other animals (including other humans).”
    CORRECTION: Why do you think your life is superior to others?

    • Where did I say that my life is superior to others? You’re creating a straw man.

      I choose my life (although maybe I should say health) over that of others. It’s the human condition.

      • Some much more detrimental than others. Selfishly eating more meat is not something to be proud of.

          • I say choosing a diet that is detrimental to the world around you, other animals’ well being, and promotes violence, merely because it’s easier (?!) is lame and pretty damn high on the selfish scale. You’re a privileged white male who has the ability to CHOOSE what you eat every day, and I think it’s disgusting that you choose to eat the flesh of innocent beings and promote an industry that victimizes immigrant people, is the leading cause of deforestation, and is all around shitty. But hey, you’re just human right?

                • Why would you even address him? The argument I am human is one of those piss-poor responses and can be applied to anything. “I own slaves. I am human.”, “I did participate in the abuse. I am human”
                  He is looking for justification and others whom are choosing to agree with him to make him feel better.

              • I think it’s very telling that when confronted with a solid argument, Karol resorts to weaselly pseudo-philosophical musings, that don’t actually say anything.

                • Are you saying that if it’s a pro-vegan argument that you agree with that means it’s solid, but if it’s anything else and you disagree with it it is not solid?

                  • I am not at all saying that. I’m saying that Rachel has a sold point, and your response to it was non-committal, pseudo-philosophical, and basically nonsense. You are making the case that everyone is selfish, and therefore your selfishness is understandable, which is bullshit. Not all people are selfish, and just because some people are, or most people are in certain ways, does not justify an increasing level of selfishness. It the same false logic I hear from meat-eaters every day, that since Vegans can’t be perfect, they shouldn’t even have to try.

                    No, you can’t be perfect, but if you CAN do better, you have a moral obligation to do better. And you CAN do better, you are just choosing not to now, because it’s slightly inconvenient for you. It’s a bullshit argument and you know it.

                    • “Credulous at best, your desire to believe in angels in the hearts of men.
                      Pull your head on out your hippy haze and give a listen – shouldn’t have to say it all again.

                      The universe is hostile, so impersonal.

                      Devour to survive, so it is, so it’s always been.”

                      Vegans are poor, confused creatures – tormented by morals of their own creation. Why stop at mammals? Why is human life more sacred than any kind of life on this planet? How many bacterium have you killed lately? Murderer.

                    • I wouldn’t necessarily agree with that because if we’re being honest we’re all confused in some way or another. It is sad that they can’t seem to accept that their way isn’t the only way. It is also sad that they can’t accept what they’re doing may be harmful to others. But humans are irrational, fickle creatures.

  6. Wait, wait… Let me get this straight…

    B12 is a bacteria. It’s generally found in soil and dirty water. We used to obtain enough B12 until we started washing all our food and filtering all our water (and for good reason!). Agriculture has also disrupted natural B12 levels in the soil, resulting in farmers supplementing animals’ feed with B12 instead.

    You would rather an animal gets given a B12 supplement, pay to have that animal killed and then eat it’s flesh in order to obtain the B12 supplement it consumed, rather than take a supplement yourself? What?

    Then again, if you find it ‘less stressful’ supporting animal abuse and consuming the dead and their bodily fluids, then you clearly never made the connection. I suggest you watch Earthlings and revisit your decision.

    • While the rule is you can’t be anonymous to post I’ve made an exception here. At least you have a website listed.

      You are focusing on B12, and iron is the bigger issue. Although they are related. Yes, I am choosing my health over the pain and suffering of animals raised for slaughter. As a former strict vegan I can assure you I’ve seen every Earthlings like documentary on Earth. :) (OK, hyperbole, but I’ve seen a lot.)

      • Thank you for choosing to keep my comment here. Although I don’t respect your choice to perpetuate the industry which is the biggest cause of man made greenhouse gases, death and destruction, I respect your decision to at least discuss it.

        I did wonder if you had seen Earthlings and the like, but chose to assume you may not have since you stated that you were ‘less stressed’ eating them.

        Let’s suppose for a second that what you’re saying is true and that you MUST certainly get your iron second hand through corpses in order to survive. Does that mean you drink milk and eat eggs now too? Do you eat honey and less iron-rich meats as well?

        • No to milk, but that’s because I prefer the taste of soy milk.

          But I do understand the rhetorical path you’re going down and it doesn’t hold. It’s not that I eat eggs, milk, honey, or less iron-rich meats now. It’s just that I don’t not eat them.

              • It’s healthier to not eat dead flesh. Our bodies aren’t designed to consume and process it. You’re a walking contradiction.

                • On a scale of 1 to 100 (1 being not sure and 100 being absolutely certain) how sure are you that our bodies can’t process meat? (As for design, well, evolution isn’t design. But that’s another topic.)

                    • Hmm, good question. Proving that animal protein, saturated fat, and LDL cholesterol doesn’t actually lead to the top causes of death/disease in this country would be a start. But honestly, the health side of this discussion can go fuck itself, because its 2016 goddamn it, and there is no reason for us to eat our fellow Earthlings.

    • Just a minor point of science here, mostly unrelated to the discussion: B12 is NOT a bacterium, it is a water-soluble, cobalt-containing chemical, also known as cobalamin, that is produced by bacteria and archaea (higher organisms simply don’t possess the metabolic pathways required for its synthesis).

      Plants pulled from the ground may incidentally contain traces of B12 due to bacterial contamination, but most of this B12 is not biologically active for human physiology (source: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/48/3/852.full.pdf)

      Animal and shellfish source of B12 are relatively highly bioavailable, ranging from 40-60% (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17959839), but only ~9% from eggs. Of note, the body’s ability to absorb B12 from dietary supplements is largely limited by the capacity of intrinsic factor. For example, only about 10 mcg of a 500 mcg oral supplement is actually absorbed in healthy people (http://www.bloodjournal.org/content/112/6/2214.long).

  7. I appreciate what you’re saying, but if we don’t give a voice to the billions of animals that suffer horrendously, then who will? I agree with you that the best thing that we as vegans can do is to make delicious vegan food for our friends and family, and show them that meat doesn’t have to be a part of every meal! We all have to make our own choices in life, but I feel as though for certain meat-eaters, you are giving them the justification they are looking for to continue their current habits. Everyone needs to reduce their consumption of meat if our planet and we as a species are going to survive! Good luck with your journey :)

      • This is an honest question and not a dig:

        How can someone be a ‘rational voice’ for abused animals whilst paying for that abuse to happen?

      • Agreed. I understand that people are passionate about their beliefs (myself included!!) but I never understood the absolutist and judgemental approach that many take. This is not the way to educate people and spark change. Better to be steady and strong and lead by example, and hopefully peoples’ mindsets will begin to change!

  8. By choosing to pay for others to be killed and then eat them because you think it’s healthy, which it isn’t, you believe that non-human animals are inferior to you. As a vegan, I have learned that all sentient life is equal. THAT is the human condition. Not paying for innocent beings to be raped, tortured, and slaughtered. The irony here is that the reason you stopped being vegan is for health purposes, when there is so many peer reviewed studies proving that a vegan diet is the healthiest because we are naturally herbivorous. By the way, if you stopped being vegan, then you never really were vegan as you obviously didn’t make the ethical connection. A true vegan would never stop. I would rather starve to death then eat the flesh of someone. I wasn’t always vegan though, so I always try to empathize with people who haven’t been exposed to the truth yet. So I’m holding out hope that you have not been exposed to the bounty of facts out there based on the environmental, ethical, and health aspects of a vegan lifestyle, and when doing so you will understand the mistake that you have made and adjust accordingly. So here is some information for you.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXj76A9hI-o&feature=youtu.be
    http://www.nutritionfacts.org
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5hGQDLprA8
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlTBC91L-x0

    I hope this gets you BACK ON THE RIGHT TRACK (said like Matt Foley as played by Chris Farley).

    p.s. Taking supplements is LESS convenient then eating an animal? Why not just admit that you missed the taste of flesh and that you never kicked that addiction?

    • I assure you I know what the factory farming industry is like and I know how terrible it is for the environment. And I also assure you your approach will not change anybody’s mind and is the exact approach I railed against in the article. I would be happy to read these studies you mention, although I likely already have and if so, they are not sound.

      • Willful ignorance is something I will never respect or support. Mother nature will punish you one way or the other. Let’s make it interesting though. What do we all think it will be for Karol? Kidney stones? Cancer? Stroke? Erectile dysfunction? Heart disease? I’ll put down a cool hundo on E.D. Come on people! This is some hot action!

        Seriously though, do you think there is anything that will convince you that you are wrong about this? Are you open to the possibility of being wrong?

  9. I just want to let you know that I was iron deficient eating meat. Most omnivores take a multivitamin. I don’t understand why vegans feel such reluctance. Think about Asian culture and all the weird fermented foods like natto=early supplements.

    • Hi Gen, yes, and multivitamins are not particularly useful or healthful. I prefer to have a healthy diet sans-supplements if possible.

  10. You’re honestly disgusting. “Humans are selfish” So that makes the animal industry okay now? Don’t give a shit load of crappy reasons, you just didn’t want to be vegan anymore. you’re selfish and view yourself as a higher level of being than the animals you are eating/paying to be tortured and then killed. Almost all non-vegans need supplements too. You do realize that right? “I don’t wanna take supplements” wahhhhhhhhh. Those animals don’t want to be murdered either. Convience is obviously more important to you than a living creatures life. Which is telling about who you are as a person. Being vegan isn’t the easiest thing ever, it continues to get easier with more and more vegan options coming out all the time. Veganism isn’t about ME, or about humans. I’m vegan for ethical reasons. We don’t need animal products to survive, and neither do you. You’ve back-slid into complacency and now you’re just feeding yourself lies to soothe your conscious because you know deep down it’s wrong. BUT HEY, CONVIENCE!!!!!!

  11. As someone with vegans in my family, I agree with almost all of what you have written.

    I believe animal and agricultural practices should be made less cruel and in general, we should eat less meat and more green. I think what often gets forgotten in vegan idealism, is that animals die and get eaten all the time. By us, by others, amongst themselves. In the wild, if an animal breaks its’ leg, it would be lucky to get eaten so it doesn’t get an infection and die slowly. Then sometimes you watch an animal play with another animal before it even decides to kill and eat it – that is life.

    Where do you draw the line ‘all sentience is equal?’ When you kill bad gut bacteria by introducing good bacteria, is that you being selfish? When you accidentally crush an ant, is that the same as a whale? If so, what size/categorisation/measure is that line drawn? Everything on this planet lives, dies, transforms. Regardless of what you believe.

    What we also forget (or don’t know) is that our consciousness, brain power, particularly as humans, is what caused us to evolve into the creatures we are. We will literally start slowing down our continual evolution and awareness by stopping these vital nutrients in our bodies.

    The vegan ideal is just that – an ideal. Conservative Capitalism is another, and look how well that’s turned out for the majority.

    Harm reduction and connecting to better, traditional farming practices, balanced nutrition, and food education – will all do more than a dogmatic approach to how we feel ourselves and interact with other beings of this planet.

    • Hi Neko – I’m sorry you’ve met a lot of vegans who get caught up in the idealism or purity of the philosophy (“I think what often gets forgotten in vegan idealism”).

      I’m vegan and very much appreciate that veganism is not about purity – no one can live in a way that doesn’t harm other sentient creatures. In my view, veganism is about doing the best you can, even while knowing that you’re never going to attain perfection. That’s how nearly every vegan I know feels, but I have met one or two zealous converts who lose sight of that. I hope you’re able to meet more vegans like the ones I know who do not give you the impression that anything less than achieving the ideal is wrong or unacceptable.

    • “What we also forget (or don’t know) is that our consciousness, brain power, particularly as humans, is what caused us to evolve into the creatures we are. We will literally start slowing down our continual evolution and awareness by stopping these vital nutrients in our bodies. ”

      Total bollocks.

      Humans evolved from homo habilis to home erectus because of cooking, not because of meat. The sudden great leap forward in cranial capacity, and reduction in gut size, and jaw muscle size, is directly related to the advent of cooking, and the easy calories obtained through that technology. Our hominid ancestors were eating meat for millions of years before we evolved rapidly into our more modern form, with no appreciable growth in brain size. Yet, as soon as cooking is introduced, we see a doubling in brain growth in just 50,000 years.

      Furthermore, we, as a species, are no longer evolving in harmony with nature, subject to the forces of survival of the most adaptable. We are now a technologically evolved species. And how does your pseudo-scientific theory of devolution explain that people in India have eaten a vegetarian diet for thousands of years, yet consistently produce some of the most brilliant minds in the fields of science and medicine?

      Karol, you say that one of your reasons for choosing to not be Vegan is the prevalence of pseudo-science among the Vegan community, and yet here is a clear example of pseudo-scientific bullshit, with absolutely no research to back it up, and you say nothing? Because Neko agrees with you? Bad form, old sport. Bad form.

  12. I saw you said iron and iron absorption are a big issue. Do you ever eat Grape Nuts cereal? It contains 90% of your daily iron, and if you eat with strawberries (which make it a better tasting breakfast) it boosts your body’s ability to absorb that iron.

    I regularly donate blood and more often than not they comment about how high my iron level is. They are even more surprised if I reveal that I’m veg*n. Plus, if you put non-dairy milk in that cereal, you can get B12. It’s an easy way to add iron/B12 to your diet.

    It’s helped me have very high iron and energy levels – something I didn’t have when I ate animal products. Everyone’s body is different so it may not work for you, but thought I’d throw it out there in case it’s helpful.

    A question unrelated to health that I’m just curious about – have you previously avoided things like leather, wool clothes, products tested on animals, etc. and if so, will you continue to avoid those things?

    • I haven’t had Grape Nuts since I was young, but didn’t like it then. I’ve also been outside of the US for most of the last 7 years and fortified products are much less popular (or even non-existent?) everywhere I’ve been. Thanks for the suggestion, though.

      As for other animal products. I mostly stay away, but I also go for quality first if I can. So I’ve had (and currently have) leather shoes and wool long underwear. As for animal testing, while I try to stay away from cosmetics it is a necessity for the progress of medicine at this point in time. It may feel horrible, but many medical advances wouldn’t have come about without animal testing.

      • “As for animal testing, while I try to stay away from cosmetics it is a necessity for the progress of medicine at this point in time.”

        Sorry I should have been more clear, I meant regular consumer products, not medicine/drugs. I can’t imagine many situations where a doctor says your health depends on shaving cream, shampoo, etc. that has been tested on animals.

        “It may feel horrible, but many medical advances wouldn’t have come about without animal testing.”

        If you add “wouldn’t have come about **when they did** without medical testing” I would agree. The same could be said about testing on humans (including horrors inflicted on prisoners at the hands of dictators) – but of course, that in itself is not justification for continuing such practice.

        Also, what makes you think progress in medicine requires animal testing? The science behind animal testing is changing fairly rapidly given the improvements in computer-based research and in human testing – so how do these changes inform your thinking on this?

        Finally, should we prioritize progress in medicine over all else? I assume you disagree and support limits human testing. So how do you decide where a line should be in balancing ethics versus progress?

  13. Congratulations on your move to USA ! Wow ! Great ! I love that country ! Especially west coast ! I love to drive across “good old USA” :) …so your plan is good ! For me Burning Man is the must ..or some other music festivals- but this is not everybody’s cup of tea…
    Good Luck with all :) !!

    Yaro

  14. I guess we all have had different experiences with GMO’s and Monsanto. I’m in Anniston, AL where the local Monsanto plant said “fuck it” and dump tons of PCB’s. Polluted creeks, soil, livestock, etc. We attended a church less than a mile from the plant and they were trying to purchase the property and land before people found out about the pollution. I had PCB’s in my body for 17 years. So I got no love for Monsanto.

    But it was good read man! I like to hear and read the opinions of others.

  15. That summarizes you mate:

    7. I still think the factory farming industry is terrible and terrifying. Believe me, this wasn’t an easy choice to make. But humans are selfish. And I am a human. I choose my life over the life of other animals (including other humans).

    YOU ARAE A SELFISH BASTARD!

    • Hi Jo. I have a thought exercise for you. You can either choose the death of some random person you have never met or your own death. You must choose one or the other. What do you choose?

  16. Good for you, Karol!

    Ideally, I believe a higher ratio of vegetables to meat is better (at least for me). I could never be strictly vegan, I think having some meat, especially chicken and fish, is healthy and I try to eat red meat and pork in moderation.
    I enjoy vegan dishes, but I can’t be as militant as some vegans are regardless of some unfortunate atrocities in the industry. I think nature dictates we should eat meat, as many other animals do to survive.
    Another point I’d like to make is how some vegans will put effort in making vegan dishes look or taste like meat. I see this as kinda hypocritical and I wonder if they consider the chemicals they tolerate (vegan cheese, anyone?)in order to stay vegan. Moderation is the key, and if you’re traveling, you need to consider convienence when deciding between seeking out vegan options and experiencing the cultures of the world.
    And as far as taking supplements, I do take a number of them for legitimate health concerns as I’ve had cardiac stint surgery last year. It’s my choice and I don’t advocate it to just anyone. Every person should walk they’re own path.
    Thanks for your well thought out comments.

    • Hi Darren! As for vegans creating mock meat, I agree it’s a strange situation, but I actually think it shows the pragmatism of veganism (and of course, people just wanting to make money). Vegans know it’s important to wean people away from meat for the sake of animals and the planet, so they create fake meat to do so, even though it is somewhat reinforcing the idea that animal meat is something to emulate.

      You said you think some meat is healthy and that nature dictates we eat meat – and I’m curious how you arrived at those beliefs?

      • Hi Stuart,
        Basically through my own experience and health needs. Before I had my stint surgery, I had a bad case of GERD and I did alot of research on how to cure it naturally. I was successful, but then the problem became a cardiac issue. Between doing the research and seeking the advice of my cardiologist, this is the regimen I settled on, and it worked. I’m feel much more healthier now and I owe much of that to my better eating lifestyle.When I have red meat, I try to make sure it’s something I really want and not a decision I’m making because I’m being lazy. Off limit foods entirely are basically fried foods, soda, and processed foods.
        I should also mention that my decisions were also based on my need to lose alot of weight in the weeks leading up to the surgery and after. If weight is not an issue, I understand that other people may come to different decisions. This is mine.
        I support everyone making their own decision, I just don’t like some preachy vegans who lambast you for having a different perspective.

        • I also don’t like preachy vegans lambasting people. In my experience, those people are quite rare (vegans are only 1-3% of the population). What I come across far more frequently is people who harangue and lambast me for my own food choices when they find out I’m vegan.

          It seems like you’ve come to the conclusion that some meat is healthy for you – I was under the impression that you were saying that was a universal fact for everyone, but thinking now you didn’t mean it that way.

          I’m still not clear why you think nature dictates we eat meat though.

  17. Flexatarian is my word for now. Started the Vegan quest almost 5 yrs ago. Did not go whole heartedly, but put alot of pressure and guilt on myself for not doing it better. My husband just goes with the flow. My first desire was for health, not ethical reasons for animals. Being more educated today, I do not want to see any living creature suffer. We’ve moved to a smaller community where you can get fresh eggs, so for now I still eat them as I hooe the chickens are as happy as they look running freely in the pen. Anyway bless your journey and I only have to be right with God, anyone else can say whatever they want , Universe, Creator , Allah, Mohamed…… I am inclusive of all people.

  18. In response to #8:

    If you had looked around, I think you would have found many like-minded, science-based vegans. For example, I am in an evidence-based vegan fitness group with over 18,000 members.

    I don’t think it’s fair to say that vegans, as a whole, are more prone to pseudoscience. If you survey the general population on topics like GMOs or vaccines, you’ll find that well over half view them in a negative light.

    Anyways, whilst I feel most of your reasons are weak cop-outs, I wish you well.

    • Unfortunately, there is no data (that I know of) that vegans are more prone to pseudoscience than the general population so it’s only my anecdotal experience. And while I’m sure there are a lot of others like you open nearly any vegan book or go to any vegan event and you seem to be in the minority. That said, I’m happy you’re out there! Thanks for that.

  19. First off dear, you were never vegan. If he can’t doesn’t just go back to abusing animals. You were doing a diet and then you stopped or failed or whatever you want to call it. A vegan is motivated via reasons of saving lives so obviously you just don’t stop doing that. Secondly what kind of an ass face writes an article about why they stopped being vegan? Even someone who’s not vegan should know better than promoting animal abuse. Don’t be an ass face do another story admit you were never vegan and that you are currently an animal abuser. And thirdly, seriously you’re a total tool

  20. Firstly, you cannot ‘relax’ Veganism, you’re either Vegan or you’re not. It’s like saying that you only rape on a Monday so for the rest of the week you’re not a rapist. What’s happened is that you’ve made your travelling experience an excuse for your lack of ethics, because that’s all this comes down to. Laziness and lack of ethics.

    I’ll now tackle each one of your points…

    1. Iron rich plant based foods exist, cereals, vegetables, legumes and nuts. If your body is not absorbing nutrients then it’s normally because you’re feeding it crap..unless you’re talking crap. Be interested to know what your iron levels actually were.

    2. There is no need to supplement when consuming a whole foods plant based diet rich in variety, with the exception of B12 which I’ll cover below.

    3. B12 can be supplemented easily using a spray or even injections, and is essential in a plant based diet ONLY if there is a deficiency. If you are lucky enough to have rich soil organic plant based food sources often you don’t need to supplement because the bacteria, yes it’s a bacteria, is made by our own bodies.

    4. You probably weren’t eating enough, or a high enough quality. This doesn’t mean that you have to fork out for organic everyday, but having a rainbow of plant based foods rather than fake meats, cheeses ad processed crap will ensure your body will actually look after itself.

    5. There is a lot of pseudoscience in the Vegan movement, look at David Wolfe for example, however there is also a lot fact based science, look at Dr Michael Greger for example.

    6. The China Study has little to no relevance to your choice to support the exploitation abuse and slaughter of animals for your taste buds and ‘health’.

    7. You don’t give any thought to t’s source when you’re eating the flesh of an animal, you’re thinking about your own personal pleasure. That is the truth here not your excuse making bollocks.

    8. Animal proteins when consumed at the rates that most Standard American Diet consumers do promotes inflammation which can lead to the likes of diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer. If you eat death you die, if you eat life you live.

    9. Monsanto cares only about profit and it’s bottom line, not the quality of it’s products. Why modify what nature has already provided? To increase profit…

    10. Basic biochemistry teaches us that chemicals are in fact very dangerous to the human body as they mess with it’s balance.

    11. The only ideology that’s flaws here is one that excuses the exploitation, abuse and slaughter of animals.

    12. There’s not such thing as 100% Vegan. You’re either Vegan or you’re non-Vegan. If you’re non Vegan you support the exploitation, abuse and slaughter of animals. Yes that includes vegetarians, meatless mondayers, and you.

    13. Veganism isn’t necessary for a healthy diet in the same way that walking to work rather than taking the bus is any healthier for you, however it’s strikingly obvious that putting life into your mouth rather than rotting flesh is going to be a whole lot better for you. I would cite a whole list of articles and journals that provide evidence for this, however I think you would probably be better off visiting nutrition facts.org and then reading How Not To Die by Dr Michael Greger.

    14. This entire comment sounded like a whining child. There is a strong Vegan community out there who is helping millions of people transition and supporting existing Vegans, it sounds like you’ve been sat on Facebook rather than reaching outside your keyboard.

    15. Be interested to find out what your Vegan friends think of you now.

    16. Excuses excuses excuses. I live in Europe, you can buy vegetables, fruits, legumes and the like as readily than any other place in the world. You just couldn’t be bothered and were lazy.

    Overall all I’ve heard are some half assed excuses and a rather pathetic attempt to make yourself feel better about your decision to support the the exploitation, abuse and slaughter of animals.

      • I will dive in. I consider myself vegan, but I don’t agree with your all or nothing view of veganism. I think veganism has many, many varieties and gradations. Some vegans don’t want to eat food that has been cooked on the same surface meat has, others have no problem with that.

        Is there even a consensus on the definition of vegan? Some people say they are vegan because they eat plant-based foods, others may say being vegan includes abstaining from animal products (leather), while others may also add abstaining from animal-tested cosmetics.

        What about someone who eats 100% plant-based, doesn’t wear animal products, but they get the flu shot each year? Does that make them no longer vegan?

        • Veganism is not the same as plant based, Vegnaism is more than just a diet, it’s a lifestyle as defined but the Vegan Society’s Donald Watson. I’ll remind you…”A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”

          Nobody can ever be 100% Vegan in the modern world as it stands, however we can all do what is the most possible and practicable.

          • That’s Donald Watson’s definition, but it’s not universal. It’s not the dictionary definition. And many vegans haven’t heard of Donald Watson. Many people simply eat a plant-based diet but use the word “vegan” because it’s easier for restaurants, caterers, etc. to understand their diet.

            You admit no one can be 100% vegan, yet you insisted earlier than people are either vegan or not vegan. So does that mean that no one is vegan? What about the example I asked you about which you did not directly address?

  21. If you want to eat meat then just do it, but why bash a whole ethical lifestyle that has worked for many just because you personally decide to give up on it and so you have to list the ways it is lacking and then give silly excuses inspiring selfish people to be more selfish with the reason “humans are selfish.” Speak for yourself, thank you!

    • Hi Alirose. For the same reasons I’ve written in the past about why I was vegan I am now writing about why I am not. To tell a writer not to write because you don’t like what they are saying is censorship and that does nobody any good. As for selfishness. Here is a thought exercise. You can choose the death of a close family member or your own death. What do you choose? Now, here’s another. You can choose the death of some random individual you have never met or your own death. You must choose one or the other. What do you choose?

  22. Hi Karol,

    Thank you for posting an update about your veganism (or lack thereof currently) especially with the predictable (and I would say warranted) backlash.

    Before I go any further I would like to ask, what was your reason for being vegan to begin with? Health, ethics, environment, other, all of the above? The answer to this, I think, will give me and others a better understanding as to why you ditched veganism.

    Also, whatever your current dietary and ethical choices are, I thank you for being an awesome science advocate. Not too many vegans or ex-vegans are openly pro-science, i.e. pro-GMO.

    Regardless of you reasons for initially choosing veganism you do make some fallacious statements I want to address.

    First, you state you “only eat enough meat to keep me healthy”. Why would you need meat to be healthy? As Ginny Messina RD, Jack Norris RD, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (along with me as an RD) have clearly described and shown you can be healthy eating animal products or not.

    Second, you state “veganism is not necessary for a healthy diet”. Correct, but that is not a good reason to give up veganism.

    Third, you seem to indicate that “factory farming” is the only farming system that is cruel to animals. Family farms, organic farms, and large farms have the same problem, they do horrible things to animals to simply provide pleasure for a person’s palate.

    Fourth, this seems to mostly about convenience. You don’t want to take supplements but you are fine with the exploitation, torture, and killing of sentient animals to avoid discomfort or inconvenience. While I understand that there may be times when traveling you may need to eat non-vegan food to ensure an adequate diet, why do you choose to do it in the U.S. or other areas where eating vegan is not an inconvenience? But if you were never vegan for the animals (e.g. ethics), I understand how most of my criticism is moot.

    Regardless, given you are a science advocate, do you think the pain, suffering, and death of sentient creatures is worth a lack of inconvenience in your daily life and while traveling? If you do not think so, I would love to help try to find ways to ensure you find supplements that do work for you and are not a great burden to ensure you stay healthy and are able to help animals.

    David

    • “given you are a science advocate, do you think the pain, suffering, and death of sentient creatures is worth a lack of inconvenience in your daily life and while traveling? ” This is a false equivalence. It has nothing to do with being a science advocate or not.

  23. Karol, veganism is not about giving up food choices or proning pseudoscience. It’s about compassion, common sense and STOPPING taking what belongs to Animals : their LIFE, their FREEDOM, their FLESH. Having the CHOICE never ever gave us the RIGHT to do so. When you can choose to live without hurting pacific creatures and make the world a better place to live for EVERYONE, including you, by being simply vegan, it’s worth the effort. It improves your health, your environment and your conscience.

    Every conscious living creature have the right to live in Peace and enjoy life ♥

      • Maybe because you can’t demonstrate any safety tests that have exceeded 20 years but clearly in the case of many diseases (cancer and diseases from asbestos) those disease take > 20 years to even start manifesting.

        Translation. So many industry people push GMOs are safe…but the long term studies do not exist yet. AND yes you can read the studies they are everywhere but look for how long they have been researched.

        Talk to me in 30 more years and maybe I will conclude they are safe for humans.

    • Hi Abe. What is the problem with GMOs? (Please use peer-reviewed research and/or systemic reviews. No gmwatch/natural news/etc links.)

  24. I have never read your blog but I’m not much of a blog reader and you said you won’t read comments, but figured I’d post something anyway.

    When I first went vegan nearly 9 years ago, I just happened to fall into the right set of people that were supportive, nonjudgmental, non-woo and overall awesome people. Without their support, I’m not sure I would’ve stayed vegan. Since that time, I have seen a lot of woo in the aspects of ‘no sugar’ yet drink maple syrup by the jug, no oil yet almond butter is god, and definitely any discussion of tofu will start a debate.

    I personally disagree about not taking supplements because I know that the primary reason we need B-12 supplementation is due to sanitation and modern farming. I must absorb iron well because I’ve always had strong levels of iron so it isn’t a struggle I’ve personally had.

    I did want to say that not all vegans are the same and I agree with you on points 5, 6, 8 (my Facebook blew up on Memphis meats from vegans who were excited about it so I had a different experience than you), 9, 10, 13 (vegans won’t often say it but the evidence does not point to a completely vegan diet is better than a mostly vegan diet. Diet shouldn’t be a reason to be vegan but rather animals and the environment).

    Everyone has their own journey though and I can understand how others who may have known you may be disappointed, but we all make our own choices in life.

      • It is hard to cut through the noise sometimes and there is a lot of noise in the vegan world but there are quite a few of us sane vegans out there.

  25. My question for you is: why didn’t you ask anything about iron to Dr. Greger? I agree with you, the China Study has lot of fallacies, but it’s only a book, the world outside it’s bigger, and you can see that the website of Dr. Greger is a serious, scientific one, you can check nutritionfacts.org. That said, I don’t know why you decided to go vegan, years ago, but the number one reason should be ethic. It’s not convenient maybe, it’s not the easiest maybe, but non violence has to be right, not convenient. If you was a carnivore, I won’t have anything to say to you. But you are not a carnivore and your body does not need meat. Otherwise, you won’t have any problem in killing the animals with your own two hands and eat them raw. Every animal desires the food that its body needs. Try to give an apple to a cat, he/she (I use “it” only for objects) won’t eat it. But, believe me or not, I’m not there to tell you to go vegan. Not to mention the fact that you don’t have to join a vegan group and yes, you can eat modified veggies and junk food etc etc. And I don’t care of ideologism and people that believe to strange things. I care about facts. The facts are these: billions of animals are slaughtered each year and livestocks contribute to air pollution, water pollution and deforestation, and take half of the cereals of the world, while millions of people are starving to death. And you should check news like this and many others on the topic. http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2016/04/economist-explains-12?fsrc=scn/fb/te/bl/ed/whyeatingmorevegetablesisgoodfortheenvironment
    BUT I know that you won’t go vegan. The truth is that you simply don’t care. The other things are excuses. So, I had to reply to you, but I won’t try to “convince”you: you didn’t make the connection years ago, so it’s useless to try again.

    • Serious question: do you honestly believe I haven’t looked into how to get enough iron through the foods I eat? Do you also honestly believe I don’t know about the problems with the factory farming industry? (Even though I clearly stated I do in the article.)

  26. 16 reasons to contribute to the murder of innocent beings… What an evil sick person u r… u disgust me to no ends.. fuck u karol

  27. as long as you eat sustainably produced meat and are able to kill animals yourself everything is is still honest. if you don’t you didn’t learn anything valuable from your experience.

  28. I’m just wondering if you had any trouble going back to eating meat after so many years? Did you start out slowly? Did you have any stomach ache? Did you start with say fish first for a few weeks and work your way to red meat…

    • No, I didn’t have any stomach troubles and I think the first thing I ate was red meat, although I eat more fish than anything. But I guess I started out slowly because, as stated in the article, I don’t eat meat every day or for every meal.

  29. Why do you support lab grown meat? That is so American…

    I do support food tech, but from my experience many products can’t stand any comparison to what they tried to improve.

    Take tomatos: probably the tomatos we eat today are all GMOs. Nothing wrong with that, probably they resist more disease and require less pesticides. But will you compare it to organic tomato? Come on, they don’t even smell, and they are so watery…
    (Well, rethinking my statement I don’t know if this is because GMOs or the technique used to grown them, but you get my point. Companies tend to look maximize profit, and this rarely go hand in hand with quality)

    Wild farming has a quality that industrial farmers can’t or don’t want to achieve

  30. Karol, thanks for sharing your story. I hesitate to even comment but I’ve just felt so alone. I’d been vegan for 8 years and it really resonates with me spiritually and I believe in it. But I’d been sick for a long time. and I was never a junk food vegan, never. I had gone 80% fruitarian for a while to try to help digestive problems, chronic fatigue, crippling stomach pains and slow recovery from injury (I’m a professional dancer and aerialist). But I just kept getting sicker. My body doesn’t seem to process any kind of fiber at all. Everything I was eating was going right through me. We thought maybe I was coeliac but taking out wheat, which I rarely ate anyway, didn’t change anything. Eventually I tried a very strict ketogenic diet – I ate eggs, coconut oil and cheese for the first time in years. I thought I’d get sick from eating animal products again. Every symptom went away. For a few months I ate only egg, cheese, coconut oil, beef and some lettuces. Everything started working properly. Chronic fatigue lifted, depression lifted, my digestion became perfect. but I had and still have such a hard time feeling like it’s ethically right to eat animal products. So i tried to switch to raw vegan, high carb (fruit, greens…) thinking it was ethical and the healthiest but I got super sick again. I’ve gone back and forth a few times. I get sick of being sick and eat ketogenic, then I cant stand consuming animal products and I go back to vegan but get sick overnight. What is the conclusion I’m to come to?! I long to fix my body so I can cease all animal consumption. I suppose I could live on coconut oil and greens. I haven’t tried it yet. But I’m here to say, much to my chagrin, I’ve witnessed first hand that animal products can seem to be a healthier choice than vegan. I hope this changes for me or I find a way to be vegan and not ill, but so far I’m still looking….

    • Hi Coco, I think it’s important that you don’t stress about trying to fit veganism into your diet if it’s causing you such health problems. As you stated, it’s not always the most healthy option. Please see a medical doctor, because your life is too important to mess up based on ideology. And who knows, maybe it’s something that can be fixed and you can eventually go back to veganism with gusto.

  31. Sad news. I understand your reasoning as it pertains to you. It’s unfortunate that you felt you had to take supplements to stay healthy. Do you think you would have remained vegan otherwise? Was that the lever that gave more weight to the other reasons for eating meat again? Take care.

  32. Not enough iron? Maybe you drinking too much coffee or not eating right? Vegan 10 months now and no problem with iron at all and I don’t take supplements.
    As a vegan you should know B12 initially comes from the soil, animals don’t make it! Unfortunately all the b12 is killed off the fruit and vegetables before it gets to our table from pesticides etc… so that’s not an excuse to eat animals for B12. mushrooms have B12, or a B12 tablet once a week is not an issue! GMO.. sorry mate, lost me there. Monsanto isn’t your enemy… bullshit.
    You have a lot of excuses here to make your life easier. Isn’t that what is wrong with society right now, people wanting to make their lives easier? fuck that. Don’t be part of the problem.

    • Please explain the problem with GMOs. (No links to gmwatch or natural news or their kind. Please use peer-reviewed studies and/or systemic reviews when possible.)

    • This is a serious question and I don’t intend for it to come across as rude. Do you honestly think I don’t know what plant-based foods include iron? Also, Matt (NoMeatAthlete) is a friend and I used his training guide to run a half marathon two years ago.

  33. “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” Source: http://www.eatrightpro.org/resource/practice/position-and-practice-papers/position-papers/vegetarian-diets

    I understand your position on supplements, but I don’t agree with it when the ADA is saying supplements are in fact an acceptable part of a vegan diet. I hate getting my blood drawn but you are inspiring me to get my blood tested now, so thank you!

    I wish you the best for whatever you are dealing with personally health-wise. I’ve been vegan for about seven years now. It’s not easy especially in our environment.

    Regarding Monsanto, I hope you will look at how they are treating small traditional farmers around the world.

    Regarding the modern feminist movement, I hope you will be able to look beyond a few explosive controversies and reaffirm the dignity of all and support human rights movements.

    • re: feminism. As stated I am pro equality, as much as anybody can be. The modern feminist movement is detrimental to the cause and it’s not just a few explosive controversies. It is the figureheads and the followers in the community. I prefer to disassociate myself from communities that do more harm than good and I can support equal rights without that label. (My photo from the March For Equality in Wrocław, Poland: https://www.instagram.com/p/8X-Qc-jNS3/ I’ve also update the article to clear up my stance.)

      re: Monsanto. I have looked into it beyond the one-sided documentaries. But I am willing to look again. Please point me to un-biased information that they are treating small farmers poorly. As an aside: what is considered a small farm? 10 acres, 100 acres, 1000 acres, 10000 acres?

      I understand a vegan diet can be perfectly healthy for some people. I am not one of those people. Blood tests are a great idea.

  34. You are looking for a pretext to eat meat because you know it’s wrong.
    You are not a vegan/vegetarian and you never were. You had a “diet”, not conviction, ethical thinking or care for other living creatures. So please stop saying you were vegan, you are insulting the real ones

  35. You can say selfishness is part of human condition, but EMPATHY is too.

    I can’t stand the idea of being placed in a machine to be extracted milk and away of my child that will be grown up 4 times(or more) faster to be given as food. SO I CAN’T DRINK OR EAT ANY DAIRY PRODUCT.
    Yes, the circle of live is there everywhere. Animals eat other animals too, but what give us (humans) the right to create, rise and kill an animal any time we wish? Is it right to own the life of an animal from the birth? NO, IT’S NOT.

    But even if I care more for my human fellows, all the efforts, money, energy, food and resources put into a such cruel industry, could save the life of millions.

    I read every post and you didn’t reply to any about DR. Greger… made me curious, why such an avid lector of science would miss a popular website like nutritionfacts.org? I mean of course, you should have an opinion about it.

    Iron deficiency and health issues can be a good excuse to become a flexitarian… have you been made new blood tests? That scientific inside of you should be willing to test the evidence and explore all the possibilities…Grape Nuts with strawberries would be a good example to cover your iron deficiency according one of the comments..(I don’t even know Grape Nuts) Why don’t you even give a try to such combinations of plant-based foods that boost iron bio-availability? Brazil nuts…may be? It is such a childish answer to say “I don’t like it (Grape Nuts)” -and enough lazy btw to look for a better-flavor-but-with-similar-nutritional content cereal-.
    Many meat eaters have also B12 deficiency, and iron deficiency, every body is different in some sense. If shifting your diet had solved your health issues (but not conscience), good for you. But keep in mind that there might be another hidden cause…

    I wonder why do you travel in first place if you are going to complain about inconveniences along the way (to find vegan food) and keep thinking “american”, what do you learn in all those travels? You seriously need to conect with more people (not necessarily vegan, and may be you are not opened minded enough to find a vegan group that suits you).

    I am from a ‘third-world’ country, (if you haven’t noticed my bad english) here if you aren’t in a big city VEGAN=ALIEN, but I have never experienced inconvenience while traveling in small towns in the middle of nowhere, because you know what? POOR PEOPLE EAT MOSTLY PLANT-BASED.
    I lived in Europe and most of the menus show if they are at least vegetarian. Handfull of nuts and seeds fits perfectly in any backpack pocket, but you can always easily find a local market with fresh fruits and vegetables EVERYWHERE.(Unless it is sunday afternoon in Germany or similar).

    I dont even mind to mess up with GMO or NON. That is pure distraction the point is that you choose to eat an slave…Fish? ok, might work till everyone eats fish. An why 3 times per week isn’t enough once every two weeks? The longest-life populations have fewer meat intake than you (in case health is your argument)!

  36. Hi! I respect your decisions :) For me, it all depends on the person on how you will live, what to eat and whatsoever. I don’t want to be a preacy vegan because I do believe that we have our own freedom to choose what we should do.

  37. Veganism is more than a diet – it’s a lifestyle. We do it for the animals, not for ourselves. I don’t think you truly understand that, so I’m not going to get angry and call you selfish like the others (although I see where they are coming from).
    We don’t necessarily do it for the health benefits. It’s all about not supporting a market that terrorizes animals. We’ve already proven it’s possible to sustain without eating meat. It sounds to me like you’re just wanting to take shortcuts, and who cares what gets killed and maimed in the process.
    I’m not angry, just really disappointed that a “vegan” could lapse like this.

    I truly hope you feel remorse for every animal you sink your teeth into. This was a heartbreaking read indeed.

    – Brad

    • I understand the ideology. I was a militant vegan for ~5 years, but it was a sad, judgmental way to live. So maybe you’re right. I have too much empathy and compassion to be a vegan.

  38. I’m generally mildly interested in all of the thoughts you posted, but am curious why you think acupuncture is bunk. It’s prevalent in my part of the world at least (Canada) as a tool in the box for doctors and specialists and works, if a body is able to handle it. That’s the only thing we’ll have to agree to disagree on.

    Glad you got yourself a huge influx of viewers – keeps you fresh!

    • Hi Jenn! Thanks for writing and keeping in touch over the years. I’m willing to change my mind about acupuncture. Please send over statistically valid, peer-reviewed research or, even better (and I’d say more necessary to change my mind), a systematic review. I fully admit it’s possible I may have missed it, but nothing I’ve read thus far shows any validity to acupuncture.

      Here’s a quick explanation about why acupuncture is nothing more than an “elaborate placebo”: http://www.techinsider.io/aacupuncture-is-useless-steven-novella-2016-5

  39. I am sure you are interested in the Post Consumer Waste Recycling Program (WTO). It won’t lead to GMO or other scary developments. I’d say: Go WTO.

    However I do consider myself a thinker, whereas I don’t think your way of thinking is completely analogue with mine. I did not sign up for your community/newsletter. For you to claim based on that, that I am not a thinker… where is the compasion in that?

    Something to think about :-)

    Namaste,
    Aagje

  40. Hi Karol, I’m one of your email subs and I just wanted to put in my two cents on this one, hope you don’t mind! I have been struggling with trying to eat vegan for years now, and very recently, I just gave up. And as human and imperfect as that is, I find it much easier to eat meat in standoffish moderation than to try and cut all non-vegan things out of my life. And what’s funny, I’m like you, I still like tofu and eat veggies more often than not, but not being vegan is just better for my lifestyle. This post made me feel like I’m justified and rightful in living the lifestyle that is necessary for my happiness. I just wanted to thank you, and say I agree with the whole comparing modern feminism to veganism in recent years, it’s getting a little ridiculous. But I know so many people who are good, non-extremists who are vegan and feminist and I still fully support them as well.(: I feel better about this today.

    • Hi Katie,
      I just want to point oit that unlike Karol your post is honest without trying excuses…
      It a very personal decision to live a vegan lifestyle and I respect those who decide not to live this way.
      All this hate comes down to the reasoning Karol gives to not be one. After 5 years of a ‘sad, judgemental way to live’, he came up saying “If am kind of selfish because I care more of my health, so what ? Everyone is selfish in this matter or she is intellectual dishonest (when denying this), fallacy”
      There is no hate, there is disappointment expressed in its very first reaction.

    • Hi Katie. Thank you for sharing your story. And I’m happy this post has somehow helped you feel better about your choices. :)

  41. And Karol, do we have to show compassion and love for murders ? YES,Even a murder has a life to be respected…
    if you wonder why so much hate comments…you are asking the same degree of compassion and respect for your opinions
    Or all this was just to make a point: ‘that vegans are skewed’?
    Hope no..I would be twice disappointed

      • Well, your post obviously hurted some vegans feelings. Even you didn’t highlighted some of the points you still do agree with the movement, as Sarah mentioned below, I think you deserve respect. You opened the gate for a provoking discussion and I guess that was your intention but don’t set yourself at the intellectual level of some extremists by reacting with such a sarcastic point like 18.

  42. Wow, I must admit I am shocked by all the negative comments. When I originally saw you posted this I was busy and thought, “why do I care what Karol eats, his body, his choice.” Then when I heard there were all these comments I had to come and see what all the “noise” was about. I’ve always had issues with “evangelicals”,in whatever form they take, be it religion, diet, politics whatever. For me the whole vegan argument doesn’t work, but if someone chooses that cool, their body, their mind, their choice. I look at what we humans are from a physiological perspective, we have stereoscopic vision, which means we are predators, we are physiologically omnivores. Others may chose other eating patterns because of their perceptions of health, or their personal moral arguments but those “moral” decisions are yours, everyone needs to accept that people are different and may not see the world the way you do. It truly saddens me when people react in such a black and white fashion. I chose to live in a world of diversity and color, not one where everyone has to be the same, think the same, act the same. There is not growth when there is only one thought, one way. Karol, you certainly don’t need my approval or that of anyone else. I do applaud you however so not letting the “crazies” impact your life.

  43. Thank you for such an informative and well reasoned post, Karol. I also thank you for enabling all the interesting comments.

    People are very intelligent and capable of great creativity in rationalizing their actions.

    There is great value in allowing everyone to live according to their own conscience and in learning from what others have to say.

    While I would like to contribute to further discussion, most of the things I would say have already been said, in one form or another, so I will just reiterate my thanks and go back to reading the comments.

    Edward

  44. Well thanks for that. at least now I don’t feel so awful that I cannot become a vegetarian, God forbid a vegan! For what I read, I’m pretty sure we share the same health issues. But my health issues i’ve been able to handle, what I cannot is my so called “friends” whose posts are there to make me feel guilty for something I cannot do anything about. I’ve grown a thick skin, but I’m not immune to images of animal cruelty and I’m tired of defending myself – even when I don’t look for approval.

    • Hey Estela, thanks for writing. Happy to know you’ve been able to handle your health issues *and* develop a thick skin as well. Know that you have at least one person in your corner.

  45. Hey.

    I noticed you were very brief in your post about agricultural farmings contribution to climate change. If you say that we make choices for our own survival, surely supporting an industry which is one of the key contributors to the destruction of our planet is not in keeping with this, and very short sighted. Choosing short term health/convenience benefits over the quality of your future and the survival of our species. Even if being fully vegan doesn’t work for you personally, it is very important to stress that at least cutting back on animal product consumption can make a huge difference. You have a voice that is reaching many people and it doesn’t sound like you eat a whole lot of meat anyway so if people follow your example the environment would really benefit. I think this is fundamental to the near-future challenges we will be facing and I am surprised you skipped over the topic.

    Personally I thrive on the health benefits of living vegan, although I agree that a balanced non vegan diet can be as healthy as a balanced vegan diet. As for dairy however, which was never intended for human consumption, what is your reason for consuming this? Is it pleasure/convenience? You argue that you are simply putting your health above the life of another animal. Fair, I don’t see it so black & white, but I am with you. However, when it comes to dairy (where there are no health benefits), are you putting convenience over the life of another animal? This is where I lose you. How about a diet with a little meat, mostly plant based foods, but no dairy – have you thought about this? Morals aside, from a health perspective (which seems to be your overriding reason for transition) I could understand this.

    #14 I feel like this is a redundant point because you don’t need a community to follow a certain lifestyle and this probably wasn’t the reason you felt pushed away from veganism. Did you just want to have a dig at the vegan community? I go to vegan events for the food not the company as I do feel the same as you about some people – I am an engineer so very scientific in my views but vegans with differing views definitely don’t make me want to quit being vegan. You get educated meat eaters and educated vegans but you also get some very mis-informed people from each group – alternative opinions are not unique to the vegan community.

    The final thing is to do with #18. “After reading all the hate directed at me I realize I have too much compassion and empathy to be a vegan. This was eye opening. Thank you.” I hope this is a joke…lots of these comments are not hateful (some are but non-vegans have been known to post hateful comments too), most that i have read have just been from people engaging in the on going vegan discussion, like yourself! Just like with any other movement you get extremists, chilled partakers and everything in between. Most of us are cool and we just wanna do the right thing but this comment demonises vegans and will only feed the opinions of people that think we are crazy:( This whole post highlights the few negatives of veganism which is a shame as you have been vegan for so long and you know there are many more positives than this.

    Any, peace to you Karol, and good luck with your future adventures.

  46. Hi Karol,

    Just had to pipe in, if only to say I’m a subscriber and still reading your newsletters. I’m not vegan and don’t care if you or others are, as I believe in freedom. I *am* anti-GMO and will never shop at Whole Foods, but haven’t any need to have underlings or convince others to adopt my views rather than do their own thinking. Neither do I believe in telling others their thinking is “wrong” when it is about opinion, theory or guesswork. There are few facts, but facts aren’t usually what people dictate to others.

    I’m not surprised at the vitriol. Think of supporters of Donald Trump, what they embrace and what they are, and you shouldn’t be surprised either.

    Enjoying the news and wishing you all good things in life.

  47. You were never a Vegan.
    You are confusing being Vegan, with being a strict vegetarian.
    A Vegan is someone who does it for others, not for themselves.
    If you feel that “it’s not for you”, that proves you were never a Vegan. Because you are focusing on yourself. Not on others.
    A Vegan chooses to be Vegan, because he/she focuses on the victims of not being a Vegan – other people, animals, and nature.
    You you choose to not be a Vegan, you choose to be a part of the problem.
    It’s very simple.

    • I was a militant vegan for a number of years. I know what the ideology entails. Next you’ll tell me I was never a true Scotsman.

      • To be fair, I’m Australian. I don’t enjoy watching sports, barbecues, betting on the races. I get told countless times I’m not a true Australian, and they’re probably right.
        A Vegan puts animals before anything else – you did it for some time, but you gave up. A true vegan wouldn’t. As I said earlier, it’s a lifestyle, not something temporary.
        Still, you did it for a long time and I can respect that, and quitting was obviously not a choice you made easily, hence the thought-out blog post.
        It’s your life, and your decisions. Vegans need to understand that. We’re not going to make the world a better place by hating on people who don’t share our beliefs.

    • Hi Karol, I am an ethical vegan who isn’t militant though does understand why ethical vegans are militant and why they express things the way they do, though I am also of the opinion that there is a more polite way to go about doing that, especially without wishing death on people.

      I will address all of your points accordingly, except the last one as it’s a closing point that doesn’t need any response. I do hope you can take all my replies to your points into consideration:

      “As someone who regularly gets blood tests I know I wasn’t getting enough iron from my diet without taking supplements. It’s not that I didn’t eat foods with iron. It’s that non-heme iron doesn’t absorb well and my body absorbs it more poorly than is normal. (Why that is is private and unimportant for you to know.) Supplements, particularly iron supplements, should be a short term solution, if anything. If you need supplements there is something wrong with your diet or with your health. On that note, taking supplements as “insurance” is a bad idea that is possibly doing you more harm than you’d like. If you need to supplement for medical reasons then that’s cool, but that is rare.”

      Not always, it depends on the diet I would say, as well as how well your body can process certain nutrients.

      “B12 is impossible to get without supplements or eating fortified foods that I don’t eat. Again, I’m not going to continue taking supplements. (Also, fortified foods aren’t readily available outside of the US. I have been living mostly outside of the US since 2009.)”

      Sounds reasonable if you know your body isn’t able to process certain nutrients through supplements or other plant foods.

      ” This is not the naturalistic fallacy or appeal to nature at play. I don’t think if something is “natural” it’s better than something that is “unnatural.” I do think if you’re not getting something from your diet that you can easily and readily get then that is a problem.”

      Agreed, but thing is there’s no need to get certain nutrients from animal sources when plant sources have that nutrient and other benefits.

      “On that note, I am not opposed to medications whatsoever. I prefer medical science to pseudoscience, obviously. In the paraphrased words of Tim Minchin: “What do you call alternative medicine that works? Medicine.” Alternative medicine is generally useless. Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, homeopathy, etc. is all bunk. But we’re moving off the topic of veganism now so let’s get back on track. The China Study, which many vegans — including former me — have used to tout the benefits of veganism, is incredibly flawed. If you’re interested in learning the basics of how to read a scientific research study I recommend my favorite book of 2015: Bad Science by Ben Goldacre. The China Study simply does not hold up under scrutiny.”

      I never read the China Study and never plan to. I usually do my own research and don’t typically read those kinds of books. So I do get you there for sure. I am absolutely opposed to psuedoscience and am probably the only ethical vegan I know that does not like psuedoscience whatsoever.

      “I still think the factory farming industry is terrible and terrifying. Believe me, this wasn’t an easy or quick choice to make. But I choose my life and health over the lives of other animals (including other humans). To say that you don’t choose your life first is to be intellectually dishonest.”

      Well that sort of analogy brings up the sort of question “If you had to save one being, be it animal or human, which one would you choose”, and I personally would choose whoever is the most closest to the point of safety. Sometimes it may be a human, other times it may be an animal. Ideally I would save both, but yeah there are times where you have to pick one or the other.

      “But that’s why I strongly support food technology like GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and lab grown meat. (Go Memphis Meats!) This immediately puts me at odds with many (most?) vegans. Remove your ideological bias and genetic engineering is not scary. Genetic engineering is not inherently unsafe just because you fail to understand it. But you also probably fail to understand organic farming. Your darling organic farms use a lot of pesticides and other synthetic substances you would likely unnecessarily hate. Here’s a list from the Federal Code of Regulations.”

      Genetic engineering definitely has its place and can be very safe for crops though I do think there can be a potentially dangerous component to it. I personally don’t believe GMO’s are as bad as people make them out to be, though there can be a big risk at the same time, at least when crops are harvested for human consumption.

      http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/blr.2016.29002.yz?journalCode=blr
      http://www.igbb.msstate.edu/downloads/Fahlgren_et_al_2016.pdf
      http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/07388551.2015.1130684

      Also lab grown meat still uses the animal and for that I don’t support it. I don’t see animals as objects but rather as the sentient beings that they truly are.

      ” It will do your cause a lot of good to show that you’re an evidence-based vegan and not a zealot.”

      I am an evidence-based ethical vegan, probably the only kind I know lol. So there you go.

      ” On that note, chemicals are not scary either. Everything is a chemical. The dose makes the poison.”

      Some chemicals are very good and some are very bad indeed. Not all chemicals are created equal. The dose can definitely make the poison as well but it depends on what exactly.

      ” You probably won’t convince me to switch back to being vegan. It would be unhealthy for me to do so. I’ve already seen factory farms and know what they’re about so that argument doesn’t hold. Hell, I’ve been stuck in traffic downwind from of a rotting-flesh-smelling-factory-farm in the middle of summer. They’re gross and terrible. I get it. But rather than trying to get your omnivorous friends to switch to veganism how about you invite them over and make them a tasty vegan meal once in a while? On that note, veganism is not necessary for a healthy diet so you won’t convince me with a claim to the contrary. That’s not to say that eating bacon and burgers for every meal is healthy, of course. (And I don’t do that, obviously.) But there is a middle ground that is not pathological. A variety of veggies, fruits, grains (because gluten is perfectly okay unless you’re celiac) and some meats is as good as anything. For some, like me, it’s better.”

      Well I don’t want to forcefully convince you to go back to being vegan at all, but I would hope you are open minded enough to maybe consider going back to veganism if you do find anything in my comment or elsewhere that would make you want to do so. I do agree though that forcing people to do anything is never productive and all I am here to do is to comment and share valuable information, not to force my views down anyone’s throats.

      “Although I tried — by attending veg-fests and the like — I never felt part of the vegan community. See #8. As much as I go my own way it is nice to have an echo chamber sometimes. The vegan echo chamber is one that is impossible for me to enter nowadays. The vegan community seems generally opposed not only to anything that is not vegan, but it also seems to skew anti-science, and it doesn’t help the cause. I liken it to the modern feminist movement (Anita Sarkeesian, et al.). I am staunchly pro equal rights, but I can’t be associated with most modern feminists because they are so often so incredibly wrong about so many things. And if you disagree with that community you are immediately labeled anti-whatever-it-is-today. This is not unique to feminism or veganism, because it’s also readily apparent in religious/spiritual, nationalistic, and racial communities as well. (Not to mention other diet communities like paleo.)”

      I don’t usually attend veg-fests either, I just don’t see a point in them. I also don’t agree completely with radical feminism and I like using science to back up my claims, so no need to worry about me.

      “That said, I still love and support my vegan friends and I’m probably more of an ally to the veg community than is obvious right now. You can be wrong and I can still support you. Although I probably won’t support the dozens of people who hope I get cancer and die a gruesome death. (Check the comments below, I left in a doozy or two!)”

      “You can be wrong and I can still support you.” – That depends on what you are referring to exactly ofc, but I do know what you mean.

      As for the rest of that paragraph, I wholeheartedly agree that wishing death upon humans is evil and unproductive, no matter the reason. I am an ethical vegan who would never even think of wishing death upon vegans or non-vegans. I believe veganism is showing compassion and equality towards humans AND animals, not just animals.

      I do hope you can consider all my replies to all of your points. Again, not forcing you to go back to anything. :D Looking forward to your reply.

      • “Some chemicals are very good and some are very bad indeed. Not all chemicals are created equal. The dose can definitely make the poison as well but it depends on what exactly.”

        Again, the dose makes the poison. Clean H2O is safe for consumption, correct? Yet, water toxicity and death is real.

        “I personally don’t believe GMO’s are as bad as people make them out to be, though there can be a big risk at the same time, at least when crops are harvested for human consumption.”

        What is the definition of “big risk”?

        “Also lab grown meat still uses the animal and for that I don’t support it. I don’t see animals as objects but rather as the sentient beings that they truly are.”

        Correct, depending on the technology it uses stem cells. To say it uses the animal is to deflect what is really happening. Do you also disagree with using human stem cells for research?

        “… but I would hope you are open minded enough to maybe consider going back to veganism …”

        This is a bit of a straw man because you’re stating if I don’t go back to veganism it means I’m not open minded “enough.” (Whatever enough means.) That’s not how being open minded works. The very fact that I was vegan and stopped is due to being open minded and choosing my health first.