12

votes

How much animal product is really necessary?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 15, 2012 at 12:48 PM

If there's one thing that seems to be repeatedly said in paleo circles, it's the necessity of animal products in our diet. And while I don't disagree with this, I do think that most folks over-do the animal product aspect of paleo. We love to chat about how much of X or Y is necessary or desireable... So the question I have is, how much is really necessary for good health?

To springboard a discussion, I looked at how much product is necessary for 30 days worth of B12, a ubiquitous animal-only nutrient:

  • 4 ounces of beef liver (4 grams per day!)
  • 10 dozen eggs (4 per day)
  • 4 gallons of milk (1 pint per day)
  • 6 pounds of 80% lean ground beef (3 ounces per day)
  • 9 oysters (1 every 3 days or so)

The amount is rather small in my opinion. Most folks probably consume 3-5 times that amount, seems like overkill. Is such a diet humane, socially or environmentally responsible? I have my doubts. Thoughts?

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on January 08, 2013
at 07:44 AM

Not sure "energy density" corresponds to much of practical significance in this context. The issue is how easy it is to pull x calories of tubers out of the ground versus catch x calories of flying around wild fowl.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 03, 2012
at 01:11 PM

In terms of physical health, it can be both useful and highly misleading. A really simple eg is look at a childs 1st reaction to sugar (ie drug like) versus a normal adult. Another example would be "normal" blood reference ranges, "normal" psychology and the "normal" diet. These things are based on current practice, not naturalised practice. Its a bit like examining the natural behaviour of the chimpanzee from within a zoo.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 03, 2012
at 01:09 PM

Its normal to die of heart disease. Its normal to suffer from stress related illnesses. Its normal to not have an extended community, and normal to barely ever get sunlight. Its pretty normal to be depressed. Its normal to work a 40-50 hour week. Defining whats normal as optimal is a mistake that many make these days. All normal means to me is "people are often doing/have/being this". It doesnt mean to me that its optimal at all.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 03, 2012
at 01:08 PM

ts normal to die of heart disease. Its normal to suffer from stress related illnesses. Its normal to not have an extended community, and normal to barely ever get sunlight. Its pretty normal to be depressed. Its normal to work a 40-50 hour week. Defining whats normal as optimal is a mistake that many make these days. All normal means to me is "people are often doing/have/being this". It doesnt mean to me that its optimal at all. In terms of physical health, it can be both useful and highly misleading. A simple eg is look at a childs 1st reaction to sugar (ie drug like) versus a "normal" adult.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 03, 2012
at 01:08 PM

Its normal to die of heart disease. Its normal to suffer from stress related illnesses. Its normal to not have an extended community, and normal to barely ever get sunlight. Its pretty normal to be depressed. Its normal to work a 40-50 hour week. Defining whats normal as optimal is a mistake that many make these days. All normal means to me is "people are often doing/have/being this". It doesnt mean to me that its optimal at all. In terms of physical health, it can be both useful and highly misleading. A simple eg is look at a childs 1st reaction to sugar (ie drug like) versus a normal adult.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on August 16, 2012
at 12:16 PM

Think you had been around long enough to understand this Matt....so this question has now reverted to a repeat of sustainabilit. Please reread here http://paleohacks.com/questions/560/how-environmentally-responsible-green-and-sustainable-is-the-paleo-diet#axzz23i1JcX7U

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on August 16, 2012
at 12:03 PM

Good answer. Matt, just eat unlimited amounts of meat from a local farmer that practices sustainable farming methods if you have any reservations about ethics. Don't buy anything that is monocultural cash crop derived. That would be your best bet.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on August 16, 2012
at 11:58 AM

Yeah, not bad for a days worth of food :)

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on August 16, 2012
at 02:43 AM

Yes, it is ethical to consume as much animal products as you want because they don't damage your health and thus are doing good. And you're fulfilling your biological prerogative by eating animal products.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32566)

on August 16, 2012
at 12:49 AM

And if you prefer to eat more plant foods, go for it! No one is stopping you. But to imply that a plant-centered diet is more sustainable in the big picture (health, ecology, air quality), is really rather ignorant of the inputs required of both conventional & organic crop farming practices.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32566)

on August 16, 2012
at 12:44 AM

FODMAPS have nothing to do with it. Animal foods are more nutrient dense and less work-intensive in a well-designed system. Ruminants are designed to eat plants and much American cropland would be better used as grazing land. Think prairie ecosystems & buffalo.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 09:59 PM

Like many of our discussions, it's academic. It's postulating on how many angels dance on a pinhead.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 09:57 PM

Certainly excessive meat consumption suffers from diminishing returns (what doesn't?) Given you can meet requirements with a relatively little amount of meat, returns diminish really quickly.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 09:00 PM

Given an energy need, I think it's only natural to choose high energy density (animals, fats...) over lower energy density (plants, fiber, hydrated starches...)

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 15, 2012
at 08:39 PM

I wouldn't say that the meat hurts them, but would question whether it gives them good health.. I could live wearing tennis shoes made of petroleum but I prefer a composite that includes a lot of leather. The leather is a renewable resource hence more sustainable, but that isn't the reason I wear them. I like them. Same with meat. Good news about the oysters too, which I really like.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 15, 2012
at 08:34 PM

Only enough to survive when necessary, and the same applies to fat and meats.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 08:07 PM

If it's necessary, there's no question of ethics. If it's unnecessary, it's a question of ethics from the very first bite. But animal products do provide necessary nutrients, however we don't need unlimited amounts of these. The question of ethics comes into play when we eat beyond what is necessary for good health/nutrition.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 15, 2012
at 08:07 PM

Two questions that need to be disambiguated: i) what animal products are strictly necessary for the preservation of life? ii) what animal products are desirable for optimal health? As any vege will tell you, you can get almost all nutrients from plants (barring B12 etc), so if that's your question, the B12 test makes sense, but it doesn't tell us anything interesting about good/optimal health (which needs to be weighed up against the costs of meat-consumption).

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 08:05 PM

Mucho respect for Joel Salatin, but I think at the core of what he proposes is animals fitting in their ecological niches. Cows eat grass, particularly grass ill suited for crop production, we don't. Chickens follow cows to eat insects and grass, we don't do that. Pigs eat food waste, we produce it... It's not about putting animals ahead of other foods, but putting animals in the right space with other farming practices.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 08:03 PM

That would be the question somebody with FODMAPs issues would ask. But then, FODMAP intolerance is not what I would consider the norm.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 08:01 PM

I've said it before, paleo ideas are centered around defining normal as what I see as dysfunction. It's normal to digest gluten, it's dysfunctional to have reaction towards gluten.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 08:00 PM

Is it ethical to consume more animals than is necessary for good health? That's the question, that's why I ask how much animal product is really necessary.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 07:54 PM

The question then becomes whether one should eat animal product well beyond what's minimally necessary to meet nutritional needs. Not saying stop as soon as you meet requirement X.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 15, 2012
at 07:27 PM

@Matt, there's an important difference between saying: 'Eat meat, among other reasons, it's high in various micronutrients (including, but not limited to B12)' and 'Eat only the amount of meat which provides the RDA of vitamin B12'

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 15, 2012
at 07:26 PM

At Matt, there's an important difference between saying: 'Eat meat, among other reasons, it's high in various micronutrients (including, but not limited to B12)' and 'Eat only the amount of meat which provides the RDA of vitamin B12'

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 06:30 PM

@David Moss, actually we do. We advocate animal products because of their nutrition, B12 included.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 06:26 PM

@BoneBrothFast, DHA/EPA needs are really minimal as far as I've seen. There's a reason that lactating women are the best converters of ALA to DHA/EPA, it's to provide nutrition to their progeny, who have a high need for DHA/EPA.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 15, 2012
at 05:48 PM

@Matt, I thought it was generally held in the paleo community that hunter-gatherers were not mostly in a position of near-starvation. The article seems to suggest the very opposite conclusion if we apply your argument: HGs preferred meat when they had a choice and only ate more plants when "eating hand to mouth." Honest, non-rhetorical question: if you discount these HGs' diets because they were "eating hand to mouth, what elements of paleo-reasoning *can* you maintain? Plus, why think that animal products = high energy? Wouldn't carby plants be a better source than protein?

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 15, 2012
at 05:44 PM

@Matt: We paleos *don't* advocate eating meat on the basis of the 'how much would give us enough B12' heuristic though; you *did* propose that test and it does not work for plant foods/oranges/vit C- therefore, I'm suggesting, it doesn't work. *Because: why should it work for animals/B12, but not plants/vit C? Seems suspicious. If we apply the test for both, it seems we only need 4g liver (animals) and an orange (plants) a day and that's it for those two categories? But that doesn't work, so it's a reductio of the position.

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on August 15, 2012
at 05:35 PM

@Matt, liver once every other week. Chicken hearts or lamb hearts once in a while. And the term "hijacked" is a bit offensive FYI. Is Paleo only reserved for healthy people and not for people who are trying to regain their health? Consuming animals is not a question of ethics, because animals kill each other all the time. Would you call a lion immoral for trying to keep himself alive?

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on August 15, 2012
at 05:31 PM

Why do you consider ALA essential but not DHA or EPA? O_o And no, unless you're an EXTREMELY healthy female, you can not get your EFAs from plants because the conversion from ALA->EPA/DHA is very inefficient. A moderate amount of DHA/EPA is superior to a large amount of ALA.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 04:52 PM

Is that in any way superior to obtain essential nutrients from animal products and have a plant-centric diet otherwise? That's why I posed the question of the minimum level of animal products. Which then brings up the question of how ethical such a diet is that consumes an excess of animals.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 04:47 PM

Truly essential fatty acids (i.e. ALA, not DHA or EPA) are found in plant products in much higher amounts than animal products. It's entirely possible to cover all amino acid needs via plant products alone. I choose B12, because it's one of the big deficiencies between standard/paleo and vegan diets.

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on August 15, 2012
at 04:23 PM

Meat is more than Vitamin B12. We also need essential fatty acids, certain amino acids plus a whole range of other nutrients that are only found or only found in bioavailable forms in animal products.

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on August 15, 2012
at 04:21 PM

Paleo turns dysfunctional people into healthy folks. If you eat nose to tail you will get all the vitamins and minerals you need without even needing to eat any plants at all.

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on August 15, 2012
at 04:19 PM

Why on earth would you bother to question the necessity if you didn't harbor doubts about the ethics, sustainability or whatnot? Those things are exactly what was addressed in Jamie's response.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 04:09 PM

Right, I'm not necessarily proposing that one's sole source of animal products be 9 oysters to cover one's B12 needs. But I do question the folks who eat 2-3 pounds of animal product daily out of some misguided notion that such a level of consumption is necessary for good health.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 04:07 PM

Well, you sort of miss the entire point of the question. If the necessity of an animal-centric diet is in question, other issues come to the forefront. I'm not convinced such a high level of animal product consumption is necessary from a health/nutrition standpoint.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 04:05 PM

You've actually managed to miss the entire point of the question, the necessity of a meat-dominated diet. When the necessity of it is in question, ethics, sustainability and a host of other concerns come into play. That's the point.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 04:04 PM

And this comment also brings up another question/concern I have about paleo: how paleo is often hijacked by dysfunctional people as opposed to healthy folks.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 03:59 PM

I'm not sure looking to those eating hand to mouth addresses how optimal such a diet is. When you're starved for calories, yes, animal products fill in a very real gap in nutrition (i.e. energy). However paleo folks are not starved for energy.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 03:55 PM

Except we don't advocate a diet centered on oranges. Many paleo folks consume a meat-centric diet based upon what is likely incorrect, false or misleading premises.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 03:51 PM

What's a moderate amount of organ meat? I really think the organ meat emphasis in paleo doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Look at how much liver (the archetypal organ meat) one needs for one month of B12 (yes, an arbitrary measure). Consider organ to animal size… yes, organ meat is an important source of nutritents, but it is not something that would be consumed anything but irregularly.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on August 15, 2012
at 03:05 PM

Holy cow, Jamie! You're awesome.

87b7d250ea30415ed4c1afd809f4053f

(968)

on August 15, 2012
at 02:41 PM

I'm in awe too, you are so very zen.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 15, 2012
at 02:10 PM

Not to mention that all these selectively adapted breeds depend on humans to survive. Very few of them could adapt to survive off the farm. They were adapted to be eaten.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on August 15, 2012
at 02:08 PM

I am in awe. Fabulous response!

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 15, 2012
at 01:48 PM

I think the 'how much would give us enough B12?' heuristic is somewhat arbitrary and might be rather misleading. Pick any other micronutrient and you get wildly different results. Similarly, if you try this with plants and vitamin C, it turns out we only need 1 orange per day of plant matter!

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7 Answers

20
Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 15, 2012
at 01:22 PM

b12 is not our only nutritional requirement of course. Theres alot more in meat that we cant get from plant sources.

But to skip to the heart of your question -is it humane? Yes absolutely. People dont create wildlife parks for cows and sheep, they get quality of life, land and food, only because we eat them. If we didnt eat them, we would most likely kill them all, drive them in poor habitates, and perhaps replace their feilds with lovely grain feilds.

So yes, I regard that as pretty ethical. Id rather give life to a cow than a wheat crop. All cows and sheep where I live, live on expansive green grass feilds. Often there quite nice, and so they enjoy the easy food, and the company of their species. They actually seem happy (most of the time). Lovely animals both (I grew up on a farm).

I do have reservations about less ethical farming practices, animals that dont get longer lives before slaughter, and especially poultry and pork which are not given generally the same quality of life (And although I know the free range chickens I buy have okay lives, I am not sure about the free range pigs I but. Theres too little standards)

Socially or enviromentally responsible? At this point people are eating less animal products. Theres no price hike or shortage. I am not buying someone else out of proper nutrition.

Enviromental? Well, lets put it this way, the way farms are maintained with inorganic chemicals, and the way crop/vege feilds are farmed currently, under captitalism, given our population, is not very sustainable (neither plants nor animals) or clever, or enviromental. But thats about how farming is practiced, and also equally about constant population growth, and even more about the driving forces of capitalism. Buying 100% organic, supporting permaculture can help, if you can afford it (I cant currently). Not having more rugrats than there are parents can help. Short of that you cant stop people doing stupid things, or doing things stupid ways. You can only make personal choices and have personal actions.

I think though more worrying enviromental trends exist. Such as mining for oil (driving a car), or using rainforest wood rather than sustainable pine wood, or polution etc. In fact the unfettered use of GE, pharmaceuticals, chemicals in our food, the way we tinker with science, and the way we constant tetter on war if someone else has something our country needs/wants badly enough...its all a proper mess.

The earth will recover no matter what, but odds are we will kill ourselves off in the process of our shortsightedness. The earth is more resiliant generally, than our dependance on our enviroment is. Creatures and life can survive outside of parameters that will kill all human life.

Farming and the way its practiced, and its co-factor, our uncontrolled population growth are a really really small part of this. I doubt lack of meat or veg will kill us as a species. There are too many other likelyhoods.

But when I can afford to, and whenever I am able, I will choose the sustainable, organic, happy animals, over factory chemical creulty, or just kicking the cows and sheep of a cliff and replacing the feilds with grain.

If I ever have a lifestyle block, ill get a few sheep and cows, let them live long and happy lives without slaughter. And ill probably plant alot of trees, if I ever get that money, on my land, some real bush/forest not the cultivated nonsense.

But, I like to spend as little of my time as possible worrying about things, once I have thought them through. Life is short. We all die. We all eat other beings. Eventually our sun will explode, and all will go dark. We as a species will most likely all be dead by then.

IMO If you want meaning in life, dont get it from its ongoing continuation, or its sustained state of perfection. Life just doesnt work like that, everything dies, everything. The total suffering on all life human and animal is immense, and will never cease. Nothing will ever be perfect, and if it was, death would swiftly follow anyway.

:P

Instead, look to the poetry of the struggle and the gain. The agony and the extasy. The journey. To quote hillary duff "Its the climb". Be glad when suffering doesnt exist. Act locally, when your able (without making your life a suffering too).

If get joy and purposed from advocating animals, or the enviroment, or social responsibility (who the heck is EVER socially responsible in todays society), and that will give you warm comfort in the last seconds of your life on this planet, before the bomb hits, or your heart stops, or whatever, by all means, continue to pursue this line of thought with passion. If it drives you well, devote your life to it. Or alot of time to it. Just choose your battles carefully. Most of them you will lose. All of them will be lost to you eventually.

Life is temporary. Deep thought is good. Being a nice human is too. Getting bogged down in the details can be a trap.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 04:05 PM

You've actually managed to miss the entire point of the question, the necessity of a meat-dominated diet. When the necessity of it is in question, ethics, sustainability and a host of other concerns come into play. That's the point.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on August 15, 2012
at 03:05 PM

Holy cow, Jamie! You're awesome.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 08:07 PM

If it's necessary, there's no question of ethics. If it's unnecessary, it's a question of ethics from the very first bite. But animal products do provide necessary nutrients, however we don't need unlimited amounts of these. The question of ethics comes into play when we eat beyond what is necessary for good health/nutrition.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on August 15, 2012
at 02:08 PM

I am in awe. Fabulous response!

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on August 15, 2012
at 04:19 PM

Why on earth would you bother to question the necessity if you didn't harbor doubts about the ethics, sustainability or whatnot? Those things are exactly what was addressed in Jamie's response.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on August 16, 2012
at 12:03 PM

Good answer. Matt, just eat unlimited amounts of meat from a local farmer that practices sustainable farming methods if you have any reservations about ethics. Don't buy anything that is monocultural cash crop derived. That would be your best bet.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 04:07 PM

Well, you sort of miss the entire point of the question. If the necessity of an animal-centric diet is in question, other issues come to the forefront. I'm not convinced such a high level of animal product consumption is necessary from a health/nutrition standpoint.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 15, 2012
at 02:10 PM

Not to mention that all these selectively adapted breeds depend on humans to survive. Very few of them could adapt to survive off the farm. They were adapted to be eaten.

87b7d250ea30415ed4c1afd809f4053f

(968)

on August 15, 2012
at 02:41 PM

I'm in awe too, you are so very zen.

6
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 15, 2012
at 01:58 PM

This paper seems a pretty good starting point to give you a rule of thumb. People have nitpicked various aspects of it, but given that it just shows you a rough range of intakes across multiple socities, I don't really see these as a significant challenge.

Our analysis showed that whenever and wherever it was ecologically possible, hunter-gatherers consumed high amounts (45-65% of energy) of animal food. Most (73%) of the worldwide hunter-gatherer societies derived >50% (> or =56-65% of energy) of their subsistence from animal foods.

There's a lot of diversity in hunter gatherer groups though, so I don't view this range as necessarily prescriptive.

For my own part, I don't think you want too much protein (fat is another matter). So I just eat meat up to my daily protein needs and then fill the rest in with fat or plants. Ethics and sustainability are more complex, separate questions- personally I don't see anything wrong with pastured meat on either count.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 03:59 PM

I'm not sure looking to those eating hand to mouth addresses how optimal such a diet is. When you're starved for calories, yes, animal products fill in a very real gap in nutrition (i.e. energy). However paleo folks are not starved for energy.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 09:00 PM

Given an energy need, I think it's only natural to choose high energy density (animals, fats...) over lower energy density (plants, fiber, hydrated starches...)

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 15, 2012
at 05:48 PM

@Matt, I thought it was generally held in the paleo community that hunter-gatherers were not mostly in a position of near-starvation. The article seems to suggest the very opposite conclusion if we apply your argument: HGs preferred meat when they had a choice and only ate more plants when "eating hand to mouth." Honest, non-rhetorical question: if you discount these HGs' diets because they were "eating hand to mouth, what elements of paleo-reasoning *can* you maintain? Plus, why think that animal products = high energy? Wouldn't carby plants be a better source than protein?

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on January 08, 2013
at 07:44 AM

Not sure "energy density" corresponds to much of practical significance in this context. The issue is how easy it is to pull x calories of tubers out of the ground versus catch x calories of flying around wild fowl.

5
07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on August 15, 2012
at 01:07 PM

That looks like a pretty good menu :)

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on August 16, 2012
at 11:58 AM

Yeah, not bad for a days worth of food :)

4
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32566)

on August 15, 2012
at 05:08 PM

Honestly, I think the real question is,"How much plant material is really necessary for humans to eat?"

Joel Salatin has convinced me that animal-based permaculture is the way to go for sustainability. As an agronomy major, I can assure you that there is nothing sustainable about a modern plant-centered diet.

I like Melissa's recent blog post, especially the diagram of different digestive systems:

http://huntgatherlove.com/content/everything-rots-your-colon-and-its-not-bad-thing-all

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32566)

on August 16, 2012
at 12:44 AM

FODMAPS have nothing to do with it. Animal foods are more nutrient dense and less work-intensive in a well-designed system. Ruminants are designed to eat plants and much American cropland would be better used as grazing land. Think prairie ecosystems & buffalo.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 15, 2012
at 08:34 PM

Only enough to survive when necessary, and the same applies to fat and meats.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 09:59 PM

Like many of our discussions, it's academic. It's postulating on how many angels dance on a pinhead.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 08:03 PM

That would be the question somebody with FODMAPs issues would ask. But then, FODMAP intolerance is not what I would consider the norm.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 08:05 PM

Mucho respect for Joel Salatin, but I think at the core of what he proposes is animals fitting in their ecological niches. Cows eat grass, particularly grass ill suited for crop production, we don't. Chickens follow cows to eat insects and grass, we don't do that. Pigs eat food waste, we produce it... It's not about putting animals ahead of other foods, but putting animals in the right space with other farming practices.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32566)

on August 16, 2012
at 12:49 AM

And if you prefer to eat more plant foods, go for it! No one is stopping you. But to imply that a plant-centered diet is more sustainable in the big picture (health, ecology, air quality), is really rather ignorant of the inputs required of both conventional & organic crop farming practices.

3
Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 15, 2012
at 02:03 PM

Oysters look like the most efficient way to get the job done. I can do that. The heck with supplements.

Walk to the store to get my Vitamin D, hunt & gather up a jar of extra smalls, and fry them up for a snack.

This leaves me free to eat the animals of my choice for the rest of the month. Humane and socially responsible are considerations but I'll still be eating animals. And a lot more delicious sustainable health-producing oysters among them.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 15, 2012
at 08:39 PM

I wouldn't say that the meat hurts them, but would question whether it gives them good health.. I could live wearing tennis shoes made of petroleum but I prefer a composite that includes a lot of leather. The leather is a renewable resource hence more sustainable, but that isn't the reason I wear them. I like them. Same with meat. Good news about the oysters too, which I really like.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 09:57 PM

Certainly excessive meat consumption suffers from diminishing returns (what doesn't?) Given you can meet requirements with a relatively little amount of meat, returns diminish really quickly.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 04:09 PM

Right, I'm not necessarily proposing that one's sole source of animal products be 9 oysters to cover one's B12 needs. But I do question the folks who eat 2-3 pounds of animal product daily out of some misguided notion that such a level of consumption is necessary for good health.

2
0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

on August 15, 2012
at 01:24 PM

If you've got GI damage - a LOT. If you don't, a moderate amount of organ meat is enough.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 04:04 PM

And this comment also brings up another question/concern I have about paleo: how paleo is often hijacked by dysfunctional people as opposed to healthy folks.

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on August 15, 2012
at 04:21 PM

Paleo turns dysfunctional people into healthy folks. If you eat nose to tail you will get all the vitamins and minerals you need without even needing to eat any plants at all.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 08:01 PM

I've said it before, paleo ideas are centered around defining normal as what I see as dysfunction. It's normal to digest gluten, it's dysfunctional to have reaction towards gluten.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 03:51 PM

What's a moderate amount of organ meat? I really think the organ meat emphasis in paleo doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Look at how much liver (the archetypal organ meat) one needs for one month of B12 (yes, an arbitrary measure). Consider organ to animal size… yes, organ meat is an important source of nutritents, but it is not something that would be consumed anything but irregularly.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 08:00 PM

Is it ethical to consume more animals than is necessary for good health? That's the question, that's why I ask how much animal product is really necessary.

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on August 15, 2012
at 05:35 PM

@Matt, liver once every other week. Chicken hearts or lamb hearts once in a while. And the term "hijacked" is a bit offensive FYI. Is Paleo only reserved for healthy people and not for people who are trying to regain their health? Consuming animals is not a question of ethics, because animals kill each other all the time. Would you call a lion immoral for trying to keep himself alive?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 15, 2012
at 04:52 PM

Is that in any way superior to obtain essential nutrients from animal products and have a plant-centric diet otherwise? That's why I posed the question of the minimum level of animal products. Which then brings up the question of how ethical such a diet is that consumes an excess of animals.

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on August 16, 2012
at 02:43 AM

Yes, it is ethical to consume as much animal products as you want because they don't damage your health and thus are doing good. And you're fulfilling your biological prerogative by eating animal products.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 03, 2012
at 01:08 PM

Its normal to die of heart disease. Its normal to suffer from stress related illnesses. Its normal to not have an extended community, and normal to barely ever get sunlight. Its pretty normal to be depressed. Its normal to work a 40-50 hour week. Defining whats normal as optimal is a mistake that many make these days. All normal means to me is "people are often doing/have/being this". It doesnt mean to me that its optimal at all. In terms of physical health, it can be both useful and highly misleading. A simple eg is look at a childs 1st reaction to sugar (ie drug like) versus a normal adult.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 03, 2012
at 01:11 PM

In terms of physical health, it can be both useful and highly misleading. A really simple eg is look at a childs 1st reaction to sugar (ie drug like) versus a normal adult. Another example would be "normal" blood reference ranges, "normal" psychology and the "normal" diet. These things are based on current practice, not naturalised practice. Its a bit like examining the natural behaviour of the chimpanzee from within a zoo.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 03, 2012
at 01:08 PM

ts normal to die of heart disease. Its normal to suffer from stress related illnesses. Its normal to not have an extended community, and normal to barely ever get sunlight. Its pretty normal to be depressed. Its normal to work a 40-50 hour week. Defining whats normal as optimal is a mistake that many make these days. All normal means to me is "people are often doing/have/being this". It doesnt mean to me that its optimal at all. In terms of physical health, it can be both useful and highly misleading. A simple eg is look at a childs 1st reaction to sugar (ie drug like) versus a "normal" adult.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 03, 2012
at 01:09 PM

Its normal to die of heart disease. Its normal to suffer from stress related illnesses. Its normal to not have an extended community, and normal to barely ever get sunlight. Its pretty normal to be depressed. Its normal to work a 40-50 hour week. Defining whats normal as optimal is a mistake that many make these days. All normal means to me is "people are often doing/have/being this". It doesnt mean to me that its optimal at all.

0
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on August 16, 2012
at 04:42 PM

Yeah, and I may as well make this an answer....sustainability and some ethical questions discussed here http://paleohacks.com/questions/560/how-environmentally-responsible-green-and-sustainable-is-the-paleo-diet#axzz23i1JcX7U

I eat local meat from farmers that practice sustainable farming ala Mr. Salatin. Make sure to keep your diet high fat also and you won't be wasteful. I also get raw dairy from the same farmer. I CAN NOT get local fruits and veggies for about 4 months out of the year were I live. So eating fruits and salads in winter has very serious ethical questions IMO.

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