Having my mindset challenged

(jr bob dobbs) #1

Interested in hearing from vegans (former, I would assume, on this forum).

I have lived in the carnivore echo chamber for going on two years now, and I call it an echo chamber because I met a vegan, and it made me realize my world is an echo chamber. The internet communities in which I participate have lead me to believe that all vegans are preachy zealots who have pink hair and are going to die. And I’m only half kidding.

I love my meat-based diet, and I’ll likely never change. I have added some carbs in the last few months, which has been wonderful. But I probably do some perverse form of the cyclic keto diet, even though I am not expressly planning it that way.

Having said that, this lady has been vegan for 6 years. She’s not militant or psycho, and she’s not doing it for ethical reasons, but rather health reasons. She works out at a strength gym five days a week and is very fit, active, healthy, and sharp. She goes contrary to everything the internet has tried to teach me over the last 18+ months. I can say in no uncertain terms that she’s not dying. At least no more than the rest of us are.

I like it because its challenging my paradigms and the way that I think. And I think that’s healthier than living in a community where everyone parrots the same ideas back and forth. I like to explore and learn, and I am going to take advantage of this and discuss diet and health with her as much as I can. It fascinates me.

I know many vegans became unhealthy over a period of time, and that that time varies for people. And that many vegans recovered their health by adding animal foods, if not transitioning to a keto/carnivore diet outright.

So vegans (again, former, I assume), what can you contribute to my learning process and evolution?


I was vegan for around 5 years. I honestly felt great on it, but I have to bear in mind that this was many moons ago and so I was younger and fitter in any case.

I think there’s probably a huge variance in what people eat as vegans tbh. I was always very much a wholefoods, make your own meals and know your nutrients type person, but I know there are plenty of vegans who seem to eat convenience and ‘replacement’ foods that are likely just as bad as any standard/mainstream diet.

I guess that’s all I can weigh in with, really : )

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #3

For me, the key is whether we are eating in a way that promotes our health or not. It is possible to eat a vegan, meat-free, low-carb ketogenic diet, just as it is possible to eat a carnivore, plant-free ketogenic diet. Whatever way we need to eat in order to regain and retain health is no business of anyone else.

My guiding principle is to ask people to show me the studies on which they are basing their dietary advice to me, so that I can determine the validity of their claims. I was drawn to the ketogenic diet because the principal figures in the field always provide citations to the literature in their talks, so that I can go read the studies and form my own opinions.

By contrast, the vegans and vegetarians I have encountered on-line and in person generally have no science to back their claims. That doesn’t mean that such science does not exist, but I’m not going to waste time on people who don’t stick to the data. Nor do I listen to the keto crazies who don’t cite data, either, because life’s just too short.

Gary Taubes mentions interviewing two doctors for his book, The Case for Keto. These two women are at opposite ends of the food spectrum, except that they both eat a low-carb ketogenic diet. One doctor has to avoid meat, because it makes her ill; the other doctor has to avoid plant foods, because they make her ill. Neither has any objection in principle to the foods they don’t eat; its just that each eats the way she eats in order to stay as healthy as possible. That is a pragmatic position that I can respect.

On the other hand, if someone wants to tell me, “Plants are trying to kill us,” or “Eating meat causes diabetes,” or “There’s no such thing as too much protein,” or “Eating meat is going to give us heart disease/cancer,” then my eyes will glaze over and I’ll stop listening, because such extreme statements are never true, and I am familiar with data that tend to suggest a far more nuanced understanding. I also avoid listening to people who tell me I have to eat a certain way for moral, ethical, or environmental reasons, because their arguments tend not to hold water. The people I do listen to have a much more nuanced and data-driven understanding that suits me better.

(Doug) #4

Enormously well said, Paul.


I never was a vegan, only a vegetarian but I was curious about veganism and I had plenty of very nice experiences. I never thought vegans would be all overzealous hateful ones who have no idea about our nutrient needs (some are definitely like that, I saw some very bad examples) as I met plenty of nice, tolerant vegans. Of course the bad ones are more apparent as they are more loud and out there…
I don’t even think plants are bad. They may be for some people and even my own body has problems with carbs galore, I am aware many of the potentially bad stuff in them but plenty of people still thrive on them so I can’t say they are truly bad in general.

I do believe doing veganism in the right way isn’t so easy as many vegans think. And it’s definitely not for most people. Especially not the most popular high-carb style. But it doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be healthy vegans who know what they are doing.


That reads like a healthy, inquisitive approach @toucansam. Maybe add a search in the forum on the vegan topic for some historical perspective as there were epochs of low carb vegetarianism. I remember back when Jimmy Moore teamed up with Will Cole who was a clear communicator on the vegetarian and vegan ketogenic diets.

(Alec) #7

That’s interesting… I actually relate to Dr Chaffee and what he says here (he is the source of this quote… it was actually one of his professors at college that said this to a class). I like that quote and say it often (mostly for effect and shock factor!). I know it sounds mental in the context of CW, but the explanation of how plants survive and avoid getting eaten all the time to extinction makes sense to me. Given that we know most (all?) plants have lots of chemicals in them that are poisonous to mammals, isn’t this statement somewhat logical?

Do you fundamentally disagree with the idea of this? As you know, I respect your opinion and I am always open to people I respect and trust telling me I am being an idiot! :joy::joy:

(Robin) #8

I believe Paul is trying to kill you. :wink:

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #9

I know, and it’s useful for counteracting the automatic assumption that plants are virtuous and spiritual and meat is worldly and profane.

I just meant, in the context, that it’s an extreme statement that needs justification. I’d be happier if Dr. Chaffee would say, “Plants contain toxins and anti-nutrients, and here are the data on their effects.” He’s an attractive guy, and I’m a sucker for a pretty face, but he needs to be more data-driven. You can tell, from how he talks, that he knows his stuff, but I prefer researchers like Phinney, Volek, and Bikman, who cite studies. Or even non-researchers who cite data, such as Amber O’Hearn, Michael Eades, Paul Mason, and Georgia Ede, to name a few.

I agree with you, but again, we need data. Nutrition science is filled with apparently sensible ideas that are wrong, such as arterycloggingsaturatedfat, “ketones are poison,” “eat less, move more is an effective weight-loss strategy,” and “red meat causes cancer and diabetes.” That last in particular seems just as obvious to a vegan as “plants are trying to kill us” seems to Dr. Chaffee (and us), so it’s important to have the data to justify our thinking.

I do happen to think that Dr. Chaffee is on to something, but I wish he’d be a bit more rigorous. I don’t want him to end up like some other well-known figures I’ve seen, who appear to have gone off the deep end, because they didn’t stick to the data.

And I wasn’t calling you an idiot, believe me. It’s just that, as hard as it is, we need to stick to the Dudes’ first dogma, which is “Show me the science.” I find I have to be most wary of people who tell me what I want to believe, since I’m trying to follow Feynman’s dictum that “The first rule of science is that you must not fool yourself—and you’re the easiest person to fool.”

Shhh!!! Don’t tell him! :grinning: :grin: :rofl:

(Alec) #10

Oh, I hate it when you are soooooooo sensible…… and right! :joy::joy::joy::innocent:

(Bob M) #11

Although a lot of us get that just from eating plants. While I can handle bread or pizza every once in while, put me on a diet of those, and bad things happen. The same with salads – 1, maybe 2, per week, I’m ok. Any more than that, IBS, constipation, other bad things.

Thought I’d try this as part of my TKD (targeted keto diet):

I thought, “Hey, I used to eat beans daily for years, let me try eating them again”. Bad, bad mistake. And I even soaked the beans overnight in salt and baking soda, and the recipe slow cooks everything.


The challenge is good. Please keep in mind that not all diets or protocols work for every individual. Some thrive on being vegan and some do not. The same can be said for any other diet. I like to measure things. I want to know primarily if I eat this (fill in the blank) way, does it raise my levels of inflammation? I want to know what the data shows. My blood markers for inflammation decrease greatly when I eliminated carbs, for others the opposite can be true.
What works for you may not work for your friend. It does not matter. Live and let live. It is not your job to try and convince anybody on how they should eat or live.
Remember if there was a perfect diet/protocol to eat for everyone, then would we all not subscribe to it?
We all have biases. Most doctors on the internet also have biases. They are selling their programs/books, pills and potions.

(Alec) #13

You are a braver man than me! I have yet to venture far from my safe carnivore world, and I am not at all sure when I will. Or even if I will. Right now, I have zero motivation to eat any plants. I just don’t want to.

And if I ever do, I am not sure I would start with beans… :nauseated_face::joy::joy::crazy_face:

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #14

Well, one thing the data do show is that elevated insulin causes systemic inflammation, so eating in a way that keeps insulin low is going to help. One keto expert claims the data also show that over-consumption of ω-6 fatty acids can also cause inflammation, though recently another keto expert claims that’s a misunderstanding. Certainly, the small amount of ω-6 our body requires is not inflammatory.

I’ve also heard the industrial seed oils blamed for inflammation, because of the high amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids they contain, but I’d question the idea that all polyunsaturated fats are always inflammatory, until presented with adequate data. Most of the seed oils, however, do contain ω-6 fats in abundance, so if there is anything to the notion that overdoing ω-6’s causes inflammation, that would be a reason to avoid them. As Stephen Phinney points out, in the American diet, the challenge is not getting enough ω-6, it’s avoiding getting too much.


Paul, I would agree with you 100%. I have relatives who eat vagan, The wife is 5’11" (former model) has been vegan for 35 years, and she has a BMI of 17. Her husband has been vegan for 30 years and eats the same food as his wife and yet he has BMI over 30 and could lose about 40+ lbs. The conclusion is vegan works for her and not him. Red meat for him would probably mean divorce. LOL.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #16

Gary Taubes mentions interviewing two doctors for his book, The Case for Keto. One is on a vegan keto diet, the other is a carnivore. Neither of them eats that way because she particularly wants to, just because one feels best when she avoids plants, the other when she avoids meat. That’s why the Dudes keep saying “Show me the science,” but also “Figure out what works for you.


Why? A diet only works if one effortlessly gets the right figure? Probably nothing works for me then (though I still didn’t try long-term pure carnivore… But I am pretty sure I wouldn’t slim down without effort. I already use knowledge about what to eat, what to avoid or being very careful with, just eating any carni food I fancy wouldn’t be pretty. currently I mess up my potential fat-loss with just not right timing).

Lots of us need to put effort into fat-loss. Keto isn’t enough… IF isn’t enough… A bunch of extra rules may be needed.

Of course, it’s quite popssible that veganism isn’t good for the husband. Maybe another style would be, maybe not. Maybe it’s not good for the wife either.


In most disciplines of science they with use the scientific method to answer questions. Today as I see it, observational epidemiology inherently omit the experiment. Without doing controlled experiments it is not possible to distinguish the relationship between cause and effect. Here is a few examples. Ancel Keys with his Seven Countries Study that “prove” saturated fat intake was bad. Or T. Colin Campbell and his The China Study, which claims “the science is clear.” These enormous observational epidemiology offer very little value and detract from real science being done.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #19

You are absolutely correct, but we also have to bear in mind that nutrition science is inherently difficult to do. Quite apart from the ethical considerations, it is difficult to do double-blind experiments with food, not to mention the expense of gathering large numbers of research subjects and keeping them locked up for seventy years or so to make sure they adhere to their assigned diet.

It is possible, of course, to do experiments on animals, but then generalising from an animal model to human beings is tricky. Human beings are the only mammals able to enter ketosis easily, in all other animals it is a condition entered only in the later stages of starving to death.

August Bradford-Hill did, however, come up with some criteria for using epidemiological data to establish causal proof. Among them are a strong effect (at least double the risk), a clear mechanism of action and effect, a strong dose-response curve, data from a large population, strong statistical reliability, and so forth. These were the criteria he used to establish that tobacco smoking causes lung cancer.

In the case of smoking, the risk of lung cancer is observed to be five to thirty times greater in smokers than in non-smokers. In most nutrition studies that gain attention these days, the effect is on the order of 1.3-something or less (Bradford-Hill said anything under 2.0 wasn’t even worth getting out of bed for), the populations are small (N = 6 or so is not uncommon), and the typical p-values are less than around 0.02. In physics, if the p-value is not less than 0.001, people won’t even look at your data.


I have no idea why it works for her. Just does. With out going into too much detail, my point was there are no signs that her diet has adversely effected her. I have also seen both of their blood work. I know very few people that can eat carni food and not have an adverse reaction. I will avoid like the plague. Timing can be an issue, but this too can be overcome. Good luck.