While this podcast did a better job of offering both sides of the veg vs. meat debate for health and sustainability than most popular science shows, it's still indicative of the public perception of vegetables and grains as healthy and meat as unhealthy.
To Eat or Not to Eat Meat - Gastropod
Putting aside the moral reasons for veganism, which I don't agree with but can respect (although shunning certain vegetables because you might accidentally eat a bug is downright silly), the fact that a predominantly meat-based diet can not only be healthy but good for the environment seems to be lost in the public consciousness. It angers me to hear so many respected people and institutions citing flawed studies on the unhealthiness of meat (many, like the Seventh Day Adventist study only correlative at best) and/or how much more efficient crops are to livestock.
Meat is so nutrient dense, and when raised sustainably and humanely (no one is arguing for industrial meat processing and CAFO feed lots), it has the potential to better healthier for humans and for the environment. The point that raising livestock in this manner on smaller farms would not be enough to fill demand is well taken, and no doubt would be more expensive, but maybe we should take a quality over quality approach and vote with our dollars for meat that's not the result of an industrial disassembly line.
What do you think? I would love to be more informed about this, so any opinions or citations would be welcome.