Plant Based Diets Cannot Maintain Health

by Sarah Healthy LivingComments: 69

Sources of conventional health information of late seem to be trumpeting a new catchphrase – “healthy, plant based diets“.      Notice the word “vegetarian” or “vegan” is not used perhaps because the vast majority of people find such a diet and its common, associative terms unappealing (estimates on the number of people who never eat meat varies somewhere between a paltry 3-6%).

Surprisingly, the Vegetarian Resource Group estimates that 30-40% of people are good candidates for vegetarianism.    Perhaps this is the reason for this new semantic trend which attempts to repackage vegetarianism simply as a “a healthy plant based diet”.

There is no doubt that an increase in the number of folks eating a “plant based diet” would result in quite a profit boost for Big Ag and Big Food companies that deal in the various stages of production of textured vegetable soy protein (TVP) and other frankenfood substitutes for meat, dairy, and eggs.

Aside from the big profits to be had should more people embrace this manner of eating, could a “plant based diet” even be healthy?

Little to No Variety in Modern Food Plants

The reality is that the world today depends on a variety of only 150 food plants.    Twenty of these account for 90% of our food.    And, of these twenty, only three account for half!    What are the Big Three?   Rice, corn, and wheat – difficult to digest, grain based carbs that ninety percent of the people who ever lived never even ate!

Considering that there are between 30,000-80,000 edible plants in the world and that traditional cultures such as the American Indian regularly consumed about 1,100 of these, it seems virtually impossible that a “plant based diet” of today would contain enough variety to ensure health.   Surely, a modern “plant based diet” could only lead to nutritional deficiencies and ill health in the long run given these statistics.

Despite the American Indian’s consumption of a wide variety of nutritious food plants from soil that was arguably much richer and more fertile than the monocrop farms of today, guess what?    They still ate meat!

What about the hunter-gatherers? They sampled between 3,000 and 5,000 plants and still consumed animal foods as well.

“Healthy Plant Based Diet” is an Oxymoron

A “healthy plant based diet” on only 150 food plants at best and less than 20 at worst?    That simply doesn’t add up to anything remotely resembling health according to my logic.

It seems that the term “healthy plant based diet” is nothing more than a semantic marketing ploy contrived for television personalities beholden to their corporate advertising sponsors to pawn off on an unsuspecting public.

Next time you hear the term “plant based diet” and “healthy” used in the same sentence, feel free to roll your eyes and press “off” on the TV remote.

No sale Dr. Oz, Dr. Ornish, and Dr. Hyman.


Source:  Seeds of Change, Kenny Ausubel

Comments (69)

  • Theresa

    I have to agree with Laura on some points. I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all eating plan that is healthy for every single person. Some people do very well on a plant-based diet, others do well with meat and plants. Because of my family history of Dementia, I’ve been doing a ton of research on the kinds of things that are linked to Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. I personally believe that the best approach for ME is a lot of vegetables (cooked and raw), some fruits, and some meat (grass-fed and organic). I choose to stay away from grains, as most are highly processed and there is a strong correlation between a high grain, high sugar, low-fat diet… and Alzheimer’s/Dementia. It is my opinion (after doing gobs of research, that the closer we stick to minimally processed REAL foods (vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, accented with meat… the better our health will be. All those overly processed food-like substances are what’s making many of us sick. Just my two cents on all that… but back to my original point… everyone’s bodies are different and each person has to find what helps them thrive and what hurts them. Wish everyone would quit with the one-size-fits-all approach to health and nutrition. It’s just NOT that simple.

    July 21st, 2016 12:44 am Reply
  • Consider the Facts?

    I don’t understand how a diet of meats has variety if you say plants have no variety. After all, where do meat (animals) get their “nutrition”? They eat plants. All day long, 365 days a year. [unless they are slaughtered before they can get to that number]
    I understand meat contains B-vitamins, but so do asparagus, broccoli, sweet potatoes, onions, lettuce, leaks, cauliflower, green bean, bananas, figs, dates, squash, tomatoes, avocados, peas, lentils, black beans, kidney beans, almonds, cashews, and sunflower seeds.
    I understand meat has folate, but so do asparagus, broccoli, sweet potatoes, onions, lettuce, cauliflower, lentils, spinach, black beans, turnip greens and so many more.
    Look at all those repeats! What variety in fewer than 20 plants :)

    November 7th, 2015 4:14 am Reply
  • fatboybob

    I never eat plants except the lettuce in a big mac and now Im a healthy 425 lbs

    August 23rd, 2015 5:47 pm Reply
  • Laura

    I just want to say that, while I understand where you are coming from- I have tried a plant based diet, and failed on a few levels. I also appreciate hearing another view than the one that is typically heard when looking into vegan/vegetarian/plant based diets. I am also a mom- raising a toddler and if I whole heartedly believed we could get by with NO animal based products, we would. But I feed her everything and will educate her on Big-ag and the meat industry and suffering of animals and problems that it contributes to the environment and let her decide. Right now she eats some chicken and fish and I try to sneak in a few healthy meat substitutes. I just think, as far as consuming meat, less is more.
    So we supp. about 20% of our diet with meat. I tend to eat more plant based. As I said, I’m a failed vegan. I’m VERY aware of the lack of compassion that goes into raising animal for food, and I eat it like once every six months.
    But some people I think Thrive on a vegan diet take Bredan Frasier, as well as others like the guy that started the engine two diet. I think some people really do thrive on this diet, so saying it isn’t sustainable for everyone simply isn’t true. I think it’s up for people to decide what is healthy for themselves, as we are all individuals, and have different constitutions. But also that we should be aware that our food choices do impact the environment. Also, the people that I see in the grocery store who fill their carts with processed, meat and animal based foods, and happen to be obese could probably benefit from a more plant based diet. The UN actually advises this change in eating habits.

    March 17th, 2015 8:32 pm Reply
    • Laura

      The largest mammals on earth eat a plant based diet….The premise that human mammals can’t subsist on a variety of plant proteins, plant carbs, the hundreds of pulses, fruits, veggies, grains, herbs, nuts, seeds, starches, is a false one.

      The power horses get is from PLANT protein from greens and grains, although wild horses do not eat manufactured grains. The very animals eaten by humans get their nutrients from PLANTS. Growing high fiber, high moisture, high protein alfalfa, soy, wheat, corn, to produce no fiber, acidic, fat laden, cholesterol ridden flesh and dairy, is ABSURD, grotesquely wasteful, and heinously inhumane… If the words strongest athletes can eat a vegan diet and thrive, gaping holes in the premise a vegan diet isn’t healthy. Ask Carl Lewis, Frank Medrano, Matt Gonzales, Martina Navarotilova, Jim Morris, Ken Williams, Partick Baboumian, Scott Jurek, Tim Van Ornden, Ray Cheek, Rich Roll, how they manage to build massive power, stamina, strength, resilience and fast recovery times on their VEGAN diets.

      April 22nd, 2015 8:14 am Reply
      • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        Why are my guinea pigs fat which eat only plants and my cats lean and strong and muscular and they eat only meat (I only feed them meat based cat food, not grain based). Also, cows are fat and they graze all day long. Sorry, I would rather be lean and muscular and eat meat.

        April 22nd, 2015 9:30 am Reply
        • Samuel W Roberts

          We are not carnivores. Cats have fangs and claws. Read a book called “The China Study”. It is the largest study ever done on diet and health. I respectfully disagree with everything in your article. I think it is 100% uninformed opinion.

          May 6th, 2016 9:46 pm Reply
      • Michael

        To which the reply, they turned to veganism and their performances fell. They didn’t start vegan without supplements especially protein. Please point at an athlete who was vegan their whole life with supplements. Not to say that a plant-based diet isn’t good just that its only based on plants not plants only. There is already words for plants only- vegetarian…. And to healthy home economist- I have absolutely problem with Big Ag or so-called Franken Food- all plants and animals are Franken- they were breed. Most people’s diets always going rather limited in species that you eat- add meat that is only three more species chicken, cow and pig. Number of species does not represent dietary variety- actual measurement of what they contain is what counts.

        February 11th, 2016 10:52 pm Reply
      • David

        More than half if not all of those athletes you mentioned are on performance enhancing drugs. The power lifter you mention Boumanian was not always plant based and built his strength on drugs and meat first. For someone to believe that Frank Medrano is not taking any leaning agents or HGH has no clue. I am and have been plant based for years and do not look like Medrano or have the strength or endurance of any of these athletes you mention and I am in a Special Operations position with the military so I am in excellent condition.

        March 29th, 2016 12:46 pm Reply
  • zdr

    You didn’t even provide us with scientific evidence, what we should do instead of be vegetarian or vegan, nor did you say anything that is useful to us. All you did was give your opinion which to me, seems critical, close-minded and a way to make yourself feel better about eating an animals’ corpse that most likely was in pain and suffered while he or her was alive until it was slaughtered, chopped up and put on your dinner plate. Yes, humans evolved eating meat but we also evolved eating fruits, seeds, nuts and a large variety of vegetables. Back then, meat was very hard to get. Imagine a puny human going after a buffalo with a spear? So meat was not plentiful like it is now. Grains should not be our main source of our daily diet either, so you were right about something. We should be eating more veggies!! Not more meat. What good does that do? It just causes more animal suffering so you can go down the street and buy a hamburger.

    April 8th, 2014 12:19 am Reply
    • zdr

      We should be concerned with eat a larger variety of vegetables. There are plenty of them in the world to be tried. We should set more vegetables and cutting back on our meat consumption.

      April 8th, 2014 12:22 am Reply
  • skin increase violence

    Wow! At lasxt I got a webpage from where I be abl to truly obtain
    useful information concerning my study and

    November 24th, 2013 4:46 pm Reply
  • Web Site

    I am really impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on
    your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself?
    Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a great blog like this one these days.

    November 10th, 2013 6:52 pm Reply
  • Eric

    If you take the emotions/habits/addictions i.e. fatty (oily) and sweet (aka high calorie) along with salty foods, what are you left with? Animal protein is problematic period. It’s bad for people, as the longest study ever done on nutrition and disease called “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell, PhD; it’s bad for the environmment, producing 18% of the greenhouse gases, water and energy waste, turning our oceans into deserts and it’s really bad for sentinel animal and basically cruel beyond comprehension.

    It get the bias, people natural gravitate and defend the culture that was shoved down their throats; probably why we don’t have Golden Retriever steaks and Cat Meatballs. Sounds disgusting right? Tell that to the pigs and cows and chickens then?

    My mantra is if food companies got a big marketing campaign (like the meat dairy industry, Coke, McDonalds..etc), RUN AWAY!!!.

    The science is clear, the evidence is unmistakable, a whole foods plant based diet will cure 75% of the chronic diseases, the obesity epidemic and help save the planet for future generations.

    March 13th, 2013 10:17 am Reply
  • Rebecca

    I would really like to see your studies that prove plant-based diets are not sustainable and unhealthy. Most people in the US eat processed food and far too many animal products, which has been directly linked to a host of diet related deseases. Also, NO ONE on a plant-based diet is sustaining themselves on rice, corn, and wheat – which shows me that you have done very little research on this topic. Likewise, how is 150 types of food not enough variety??? That is just a bonkers allegation when compared to a typical standard American diet. Also, plant-based diets do not encourage “frankenfood substitutes”, as you call them – only whole foods in their natural state. I avoid that stuff, just like people on a omnivore diet should avoid processed foods, as well. Also, nothing about a pant-based diet supports “big ag” and “big food”, as you claim. Organic, non-GMO produce is definitely not supported by the big food industry or government – quiet the opposite, in fact. Dairy and meat are at the top of the government subsidized foods in the US and GMO grains are subsidized to feed the animals and make cheap, GMO food additives. All other produce gets government pocket lint, if anything. Organic farmers have to pay our government to be allowed to use the USDA Organic Seal, which hardly encourages growth for this industry. If anything, I would say our government is ANTI-plant-based diet! Finally, I am speaking from personal experience: I have been eating a plant-based diet for a year and my bloodwork has improved in all areas – I am healthier than ever, according to my doctor. I also feel much, much better than I have in my entire life. Anyone who is thinking of trying a plant-based diet should ignore the heck out of everything written here and just try it. The proof is in the doing.

    March 9th, 2013 10:28 pm Reply
  • Mike

    I would just like to say that using the term “Plant Based” is my way of saying that my diet is not based on an ideology as one might assume when someone states that they are vegan. I disagree that using this terminology is meant to deceive anyone and I’m a little disappointed in those that claim that they were somehow tricked by this term. I’m curious to find out what nutrients you would get from meat that you don’t from a varied plants only diet. It doesn’t sound reasonable to me that you would not be able to reach peak health without eating meat, there’s such a small variety of meat available to eat.

    There are other things that are missing from this article that would be necessary to convince me that animal based products are necessary for a healthy diet but your replies to others here also seem to indicate your opinion here may have more of a socio-political reasoning behind it more than a concern for the health of others.

    I would recommend to some of the others making statements on here to try to leave your emotions out of the argument. Stating that a persons opinions are stupid or using any other language that is accusatory isn’t a very effective way of getting your point across and makes it very difficult for others to get the useful information.

    I would like to see a follow up article. There doesn’t seem to be enough “Meat” in this one to convince me. I’m a Texan and I’ve been on a plant-based diet since December of 2011. I am looking very hard for evidence that would justify getting some barbeque or a good Filet but I just can’t find it. This isn’t political for me, it’s just reasonable.

    September 17th, 2012 4:32 pm Reply
  • Michael

    How much did the meat and dairy industry pay you to write this pathetic excuse of an article?? Or are you just tryig to justify your own unsustainable, destructive and cruel eating habbits??

    September 16th, 2012 12:39 pm Reply
  • John

    Oh, and what was the breakdown of tumor types? Solid tumors (lung, pancreatic, breast, colorectal, prostate, etc.) versus “blood” tumors (acute or chronic leukemias, plasma cell dyscrasias, lymphomas, etc.)?

    June 29th, 2012 12:27 am Reply
  • John


    You cited research linking lower cholesterol levels to higher cancer risk. I’m curious as to what the median Vitamin D levels were in each group? Also, What other variables might have been at play? What percentage in each cohort were smokers? Drinkers? Any preponderance of occupational or environmental exposures documented? Family history of cancer?


    June 29th, 2012 12:24 am Reply
  • tori

    and how is having high cholesterol healthy all of a sudden?i know lots of people who have high cholesterol and they are very sickly.

    June 16th, 2012 3:27 pm Reply
  • tori

    you are an idiot.when will people like you realize that animal products are not necessary for life?its been shown over and over again that plant based diets are best while there are NO studies that show that we need meat or fact,if anything its the opposite.and who are you saying avoids cholesterol rich animal foods and suffers from illness as a result?weve got a country full of sick fat folks who eat plenty of cholesterol and animal slop.if animal foods are so healthy,why are they sick?and how can plants not maintain health when they contain all 8 essential amino acids and tons of vitamins and antioxidants?just admit simply like to meat and dairy.and will do anything to justify your imaginary need for animal foods.

    June 16th, 2012 3:20 pm Reply
  • Saxon

    Your complaining that there is only 150 fruits and vegetables that are available and that isn’t enough variety, there for it isn’t nutrition? There are three main animals people eat on the SAD diet. Cows, pigs, and chickens. The main fruits people eat…. Apples, Oranges, Banana, Tomatoes, Watermelon, Cantelope, Peach, Pear…. oh wait, I think I just beat you in variety, and I haven’t even gotten going on the vegetable part yet…..

    May 10th, 2012 9:25 pm Reply
  • Pingback: The Dangers of Vegan Diets for Pregnant and Nursing Women and Children

  • Anna

    I find it hilarious that you think a plant based diet is a diet based on rice, corn, and wheat. You obviously don’t know what you’re talking about, since most plant based diets actually advocate against those nutrient lacking plants.

    The whole principal of a plant based diet is that you eat a variety if fruits and vegetables, and through those foods get the protein and nutrients you need. In order to do that, you need to know what foods are nutrient dense and which foods aren’t – like rice, corn, and wheat.

    It’s also funny you say plant based diets are a marketing ploy when that type of eating is the least lucrative for doctors and such, since they can’t control it as much as they can supplement or medicinal intake.

    Also, did you know that you cannot get cholesterol from plant based foods – ONLY from animal based ones? Think about that. Where does high cholesterol come from then?

    You obviously don’t have sound research to back up what you are talking about. Sad that some people are listening and believing what you say.

    August 20th, 2011 1:03 am Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Cholesterol rich animal foods are necessary for good health and healthy brain/ nerve function (which facilitates an even temper and good manners … perhaps you could use some butter?)

      It is oxidized cholesterol in processed foods that is the real danger. Too low blood cholesterol contributes to high cancer risk while total cholesterol makes absolutely no difference in whether someone experiences a cardiac event or not. In other words, avoiding animal foods and following a plant based diet will increase cancer risk if blood cholesterol gets too low as a result.

      August 20th, 2011 8:41 am Reply
      • Anna

        Did you know that your body produces all the cholesterol you need without the addition of animal foods?

        August 20th, 2011 9:17 am Reply
        • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

          Maybe it produces enough for survival but this is very different than optimal.. You are sadly mistaken … traditional cultures revered the animal foods high in cholesterol as sacred as they imparted ease of fertility, healthy children, resistance to infection and immunity from chronic illness in older people. Believing this sort of modern, cholesterol phobic propaganda will lead only to rampant chronic illness as is evident in the population today who avoid cholesterol rich foods like butter, cream, fish eggs, and liver.

          Folks who follow plant based diets have big problems with fertility as cholesterol is needed for balanced hormones.

          August 20th, 2011 11:39 am Reply
          • Lucy

            “cholesterol phobic propaganda?” Really, Sarah? You’re the one preaching against vegetables as if they’re the product of some big corporate scheme.

            Eat your meat. I love it, too – but I also read enough varied sources of scientific research to know it’s silly to question a vegetarian or largely vegetarian diet. And in a few decades, the populations of the world will do best to support plant agriculture which unfortunately is the real point of the book, Seeds of Change, whose thesis you horribly misrepresent above.

            November 29th, 2011 11:36 am
  • Kate

    Lol! Thanks for the laugh, this was hysterical. Are you kidding me?? Since switching to a vegetarian (almost vegan) diet, the variety of foods I eat has exploded! I like the term “plant based diet” because it underlines what you SHOULD be eating- PLANTS. IE- vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, etc! There are more than 150 types of NUTS alone! So where you’re getting that number is baffling to me.

    August 11th, 2011 5:36 pm Reply
    • Anna

      her numbers/logic are so flawed it’s almost laughable

      August 20th, 2011 1:04 am Reply
      • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

        And your numbers are????

        August 20th, 2011 8:43 am Reply
        • Anna

          I was not the one writing the article :)

          August 20th, 2011 9:16 am Reply
          • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

            When you call someone’s evidence “laughable”, the intelligent approach is to generally produce your own set of evidence. Emotional based comments are not taken seriously by anyone.

            August 20th, 2011 11:48 am
  • Chad

    Like I said, you do not have a clue, and it’s very sad. There are countless peer reviewed studies out there by multiple doctors. Not just one person, who you keep mentioning. Also, if your going off laymans, Chris Masterjohn and Denise Minger, then you are way off in left field.

    The science is there and it’s been proven time and time again that the body can heal itself on a plant based diet. So, where’s the released medical papers of folks reversing their diseases eating the way that you describe? There is none! Period!

    Your cholesterol will not only improve but your arteries will heal and open themselves up. Angiograms do not lie. Lupus just doesn’t go into remission when a person is in stage III kidney disease from it, Cancer does not just shrink and die off and ED doesn’t just go away without a pill.

    Cholesterol is naturally made by the body, of course, but excess amounts along with the proteins found in animal fats, processed oils and foods damage the epithelial cells which are the magic carpet lining your arteries. Cholesterol does it’s job and plugs those holes which over time build up and can break free causing heart attacks and strokes. If you eat the things that maintain those cells then you essentially seal off your arteries, thus never harming it, and never having build up. This has been proven, time and time again.

    Funny, that you try and point the finger at big AG for the plant industry. When it’s just the opposite. All the money and lobbying go to the meat and dairy industry. Their the ones who set up the entire food pyramid to line their pockets.

    Your grass fed beef is still full of saturated fats no matter where you get it from.

    And if you think good aerobic exercise damages your heart then you are, very far gone, and will suffer at your own hands. Very, very sad that some people are so blinded by their own stupidity.

    I’m thankful that I’m open minded enough to try something out myself before I follow blindly, based on layman information and my own stupidity. Btw, Dr Price’s research has already been proven to have so many holes in it that it couldn’t hold a cup of water.

    One last thing, not only do you pat yourself on the back for dropping lipid numbers from a plant based diet but you can also pat yourself for increasing your vitamin levels, calcium, dropping sugar numbers and improvement in every single other blood test. I know because I watched mine and have the results to back it up.

    Wake up!!

    July 26th, 2011 9:30 am Reply
    • Anna

      EXCELLENT response and very well put. Maybe she needs to get a serious disease to actually start thinking about what she eats.

      August 20th, 2011 1:06 am Reply
      • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

        Wow! It is clear to see that you are following the type of diet I warn against in this article as your rude comments are indicative of frayed nerves that result from avoiding animal foods.

        August 20th, 2011 8:42 am Reply
        • Anna

          My nerves are fine, thank you. I was actually speaking from personal experience since I started researching and learning about all kinds of diets and foods as a way to fight the cancer I found out I have 6 months ago. Most people don’t care enough about what goes into their stomachs, and finding out I was sick made me care enough to learn about it, and yes I have found there is an incredible amount of research showing that a whole foods plant based diet can both prevent and reverse disease, and it’s a diet I now follow. It’s not vegetarianism or veganism either, it’s just making sure that the bulk of what you eat is plant based, not animal based, to keep from eating too much protein, getting too much acidity in your system, and getting the nutrients you need directly without having to take supplements, and a host of other reasons. I will occasionally eat cheese or even have a bite of steak if I want to, but I find I feel better in general not eating those things so I try to limit the times I eat them.

          August 20th, 2011 9:15 am Reply
          • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

            You can feel better for a time when your diet eliminates processed foods and you begin to consume mostly whole plant based foods, This is a detoxification effect, BUT your health will start to sharply decline after awhile if you continue to avoid animal foods and you will start to experience the effects of a low cholesterol diet devoid of true vitamin A, D, and K. This is why the vast majority of folks return to eating cholesterol rich animal foods (I have a blog about this as well) … they wake up finally as their health is in the tank.

            August 20th, 2011 11:44 am
          • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

            Suggesting that someone needs to get a serious illness because you don’t agree with her perspective is indicative of someone not really in control of her emotions. You may think your nerves are fine, but your comment indicates otherwise.

            August 20th, 2011 11:50 am
    • Chris

      Couldn’t have said it better myself. Study after study has been shown to prove the benefits of a plant based diet. The cholesterol and saturated fat “myth” has been shot down. Long term high cholesterol is usually at the root cause of heart disease, not necessary end stage cholesterol, which most people focus on, thus the whole, “half of people who have heart attacks” stuff is irrelevant really. All of the blue zones (longest living people) consist of people who consume plant based, or mostly plant based diets. Those who do eat meat in those zones, literally only eat it in small amounts once or so a month. The idea that lower cholesterol is related to higher cancer rates has also been debunked, and is completely false. Chemotherapy itself lowers cholesterol, so one could say having lower cholesterol leads directly to cancer, if one did an observational study of such, bit that is bogus. There are tons of holes in Dr. Price’s studies, just as much as people try to poke holes in Dr. Campbell’s, and the China Study. There are absolutely no long term studies showing benefits of a low carb/high fat, or paleo like diet. In fact, I’ve seen plenty of testimonials on those who followed such a diet and felt terrible, seeing their health decline. There are plenty who claim great benefits, but so is the case with plant based. The only thing I haven’t seen from the paleo/low card group is any studies showing healing of heart disease, cancers, etc. Plant based has plenty showing this. There are plenty showing the benefits of a plant based diet, and it extends far beyond just eliminating processed foods. The whole “complete protein” can’t get this vitamin or that vitamin from a plant based diet has also been blown out of the water. The only true diet you can’t ideally get is B12, but that isn’t created by animals, thus proving the need for meat. It is created by bacteria, and likely used to be found in plant foods before our modern day hygiene came along, where all of our crops are dusted, and fruits/vegetables cleaned, and in some cases already sliced for you at the store. Those who grow their own gardens have been shown to get B12 from those fruits/vegetables by not washing off all of the soil, etc. Nutritional yeast (plant based) has B12, and there are plenty of supplements for it, which most meat eaters now days need to be taking as well. In addition, “Plant Based” is not a new term for vegan. People who use the term plant based do so because it is a way of eating, and for health. They typically aren’t doing it for animal/ethical reasons, which is what usually describes the term “vegan”. Also, those who don’t do well on a “vegan” diet usually don’t do so because they are eating processed vegan junk food, not any better than your typical standard American diet. A true plant based diet us completely different.

      April 1st, 2014 4:25 pm Reply
  • chad

    Show me one shred of evidence that eating meat has reversed heart disease, cancer, diabetes or any other disease! I can tell you first hand that it saved my life and I didn’t live off processed foods or feed lot beef, etc. I ran 30 plus miles a week and ate what was told to me as healthy! Within 6 weeks of a whole foods plant diet without processed foods or oils my cholesterol cut in half, my BP dropped to well below the normal range, my heart rate dropped to the mid 50’s, etc etc. This was without the aid of any medications.
    I suggest you do your homework on all the heart patients and cancer survivors before you start spouting off about what others should do.

    July 25th, 2011 10:11 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      How about the 14 traditional cultures studied by Dr. Weston A. Price who did not suffer from any of these diseases and they ate plenty of animal foods? This seems to be quite adequate evidence to me especially since it is independent verification that omnivores are healthier than vegetarians. By the way, running 30 miles a week is not necessarily healthy for the heart. Evidence is coming in that aerobic exercise such as you’re describing actually damages and scars the heart. You may want to do YOUR homework on this one.

      July 25th, 2011 10:47 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Oh, and you might want to quit the “I dropped my cholesterol by half” back slapping. The lower your cholesterol gets, the higher your cancer rate. Cholesterol numbers mean nothing with regard to heart disease and if your doc says it does you need a new doc as he/she is not up on the latest research. Half the folks who have heart attacks have low cholesterol which means that total cholesterol is statistically meaningless as a predictor.

      July 25th, 2011 10:50 pm Reply
  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    Hi clabbermouth, I’m not promoting CAFO meat and milk as an alternative to the plant based diet promoted by the media talking heads. For those who eat animal foods, grassbased and sustainable from small, local farms is the way to go. This is no way would benefit Big Ag.

    January 16th, 2011 9:10 am Reply
  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    Ashley, here’s the brand I buy. No nasty fillers:

    January 15th, 2011 11:22 pm Reply
  • Ashley

    Do you have any suggestions on how to add meat to a university girl’s diet? The only things I have to “cook” with are a kettle and an egg steamer (and an iron, but I don’t know if that would work). We’re not allowed any other sort of heating device in our rooms, though there is a microwave in the lounge. I naturally don’t eat a lot of meat – I hardly ever have any at even one meal once a week! – but am pretty sure I should be eating more (I am gonna check how much meat my ancestors generally ate, but I’m pretty sure I need a lot more than I get). And I don’t really trust the meat in the various food outlets on campus, mainly because I’m a picky eater and don’t know what it is and how they cooked it.

    January 14th, 2011 11:36 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Hi Ashley, try some grassfed beef or buffalo jerkey perhaps? I get a really nice buffalo jerkey at the healthfood store for my kids.

      January 15th, 2011 9:04 am Reply
      • Ashley

        Buffalo jerkey? Now that sounds good, thanks! I’ll just have to track some down now…

        January 15th, 2011 10:25 pm Reply
        • sarah

          do you have a good jerkey marinade recipe?

          September 20th, 2011 6:43 pm Reply
  • Stanley Fishman

    Thanks again, Sarah. I had not realized that “plant based” was just another way of saying “vegetarian,”. Shame on them!

    My own diet is definitely animal based, though I do eat some good organic plants. I have never been so healthy.

    January 12th, 2011 4:30 pm Reply
  • Ana S

    I find it hard to believe how critical you are of a plant based diet. I agree that we all have to get of the processed foods, but a whole food vegetarian diet is a great option for many people. The Loma Linda study followed the diets of vegetarian people for over 30 years and found them to be healthier than any other group in this country, with an average of 7 years extended life. I’m not a vegetarian myself, and I try to eat a whole food diet, enjoy wjat you share but really have a difficult time with your tone of disdain of anything vegetarian!

    January 11th, 2011 8:26 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Hi Ana, it’s true that eating a whole foods vegetarian diet will improve many people’s health considering that most eat such a terrible processed foods diet. Dr. Weston Price noted that the traditional vegetarian cultures he studies were healthier even than Americans back in the 1930’s! That says a lot. However, Dr. Price also found that the omnivore cultures were so far healthier than even the indigenous vegetarian cultures that I feel so passionate and compelled to dispel the myth that vegetarianism can achieve one’s best health when this just is not the case based on Dr. Price’s anthropological studies.

      January 11th, 2011 9:35 pm Reply
      • Jack

        Sarah, It’s been interesting reading down this thread. There is a strong bias against “plant based” diet and the China Study findings. My question is: Do you know that Weston Price has his critics as well? Look in to it and perhaps allow to have your own assumptions challenged. Cheers.

        May 23rd, 2012 10:03 am Reply
  • Marianne B

    When folks on the typical SAD diet try vegetarianism, they feel good. This is because they are actually detoxing from much of the garbage they have been eating. So, it seems to make sense. But long term, only a small percentage of the population has the makeup to exist on a vegetarian diet, and they have a better chance if they opt for ovo-lacto vegetarianism. Others find they slide into a subpar existence, which they may not even be aware of. I love being on a WAP diet, and sing its praises to all I meet.

    January 9th, 2011 10:13 pm Reply
  • Jack Plating

    wonderful points! I’ve never thought about the whole plant variety point yet it makes such perfect sense…and now back to my grass fed chuck roast! mmmmmm, how could anyone ever be a vegan???? Home made strawberry ice cream from raw milk/cream and pastured egg yokes for dessert! I think I will!

    January 9th, 2011 8:47 pm Reply
  • Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    Hey, there’s nothing wrong with eating your vegetables…if you serve them with butter, alongside a steak!

    January 9th, 2011 1:21 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      That’s not what a “healthy Plant based diet” means. Of course there’s nothing wrong with eating veggies cooked in butter.

      January 9th, 2011 7:15 pm Reply
  • Susan E.

    It’s not the quantity of meat/veges, but most importantly, the quality. Researchers will never be able to tell you how much this or that you should eat. You have to listen to your body and learn what it needs based on the season, your activity, genetics, age, and probably a hundred other variables. Most people are like I was less than a year ago, I never heard of grass fed meat and had no idea what that meant. I thought organic veges were the weak, limp, dirty, expensive ones in the corner of the produce dept. that no one bought. Learning what quality food really is, how much flavor it has, I eat foods I never liked before and want to eat it all! My diet is quality based.

    January 9th, 2011 2:18 pm Reply
  • Kelli

    Well, I don’t totally agree as the most danger probably lays in people confusing what a healthy plant-based diet means. Most people don’t stop to think of what real nutrition is as you can tell by the rising disease rates. A vegetarian diet is not healthy if it only includes a bag of chips, white bread, and soda. But thats the average diet of many Americans.

    January 9th, 2011 1:11 pm Reply
  • Jaime

    Sarah, I love your blog but confused by this post. Most Americans eat WAY too much meat so incorporating more fruits and vegetables are not a bad thing. Even if our ancestors ate meat they did not eat nearly as much as we do now due to lack of availability.
    I just read the China Study, where a low animal protein diet is encouraged and not sure how you dispute Dr Campbell’s 30+ years of research and studies. Its all about what works for each person right?

    January 9th, 2011 12:54 pm Reply
  • carolyn

    Thank you!!! there’s so much info out there and i see all these healthy ‘crunchy’ blogs that i love that suggest vegetarianism.. and it can be very convincing! but i’m a firm follower of the WAPF and there’s a lot more research there to show plant based diets are not in our best interest is a great resource!

    January 9th, 2011 12:17 pm Reply
  • Mara

    I see your point, but the same could be said of animal products, right? Imagine the variety that a hunter-gatherer might have had. Most of us usually consume a handful of animals, most of them modern breeds…

    January 9th, 2011 8:50 am Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Quite right, Mara which is why it is important to seek grassbased meats from old fashioned breeds if at all possible. However, the variety eaten was not that large for say the American Indian which relied very heavily on the buffalo for example. Also, animal foods concentrate the nutrients unlike plant based foods and contain nutrition not found at all in plants, but that is another blog entirely. :)

      January 9th, 2011 9:58 am Reply
  • Wendy (The Local Cook)

    Huh, I thought plant-based diet just meant to eat more fruits and vegetables, which of course is good for everyone! Didn’t realize they were eschewing meat entirely.

    January 8th, 2011 10:10 pm Reply
    • Mara

      Wendy, they are not good for everyone. As a gaps patient and possibly candida sufferer, fruit is off limits for me now -as well as very fibrous veggies.

      January 9th, 2011 8:25 am Reply
    • Theresa

      I thought that, too, Wendy.

      July 21st, 2016 12:48 am Reply

Leave a Comment