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Old 08-04-2005, 10:34 AM   #11
Lincoln Brigham
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Most vegetarian diets (such as lacto-ovo vegetarian) can be argued for health reasons, but the vegan variation cannot. Vegan diets always always always always incorporate some sort of ethical decision. Vegan diets are never a purely health choice. I've never heard of a vegan who wasn't either being trendy or who didn't have some sort of ethical problem with eating meat, eggs, and dairy. Never someone who is making a well-informed decision based on health only. Anyone who does well while eating a vegan diet does so despite their diet, not because of it. It takes hard work to mitigate the unnatural and potentially unhealthy aspects of a vegan diet.

I'm all for raw foods whenever possible, but modern farming and processing techniques can make certain foods quite a bit riskier than the paleo man would ever encounter. For example, ground beef. In a modern processing plant, infect one beef patty with e-coli or salmonella and you've infected thousands of pounds. Also, organ meats - the meat that true carnivores eat FIRST - were quite a bit safer 10,000 years ago before the invention of PCBs, mercury, DDT, etc.
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Old 08-04-2005, 10:58 AM   #12
Kyle Short
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Lots of good posts.

Regarding cooking...set aside the notion of taste, pesticides etc. Clearly those are important issues to consider, but the basis of the question is really trying to understand if the micronutrients suffer from cooking. Similar to the question of whole foods...cherries are better than pure cherry the case of cooking, are raw foods simply better for you from a micronutrient perspective?

On to vegan...I agree, though it is interesting to think of primates that eat nothing but leaves and shoots. What is so different about their gastrointestinal facilities that allow them to live this way when humans cannot...don't answer :-) If anyone wants it I am sure there is plenty of science behind this, I just did not have it at hand to answer the question when asked to me :-)
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Old 08-04-2005, 11:31 AM   #13
Scott Kustes
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Kyle, in the Warrior Diet, Ori Hofmekler (sp?) goes into why some vegetables need to be cooked. I don't know how scientific it is, but he claims that nutrients in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and califlower are more easily accessible when cooked than when raw. Can anyone comment on the validity of this and some of his other assertions regarding what to cook and what not to?
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Old 08-04-2005, 11:43 AM   #14
Patrick Kennedy
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The Naive Vegetarian

Article on vegetarianism with reference to digestive biology of different species, including humans and gorillas.
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Old 08-04-2005, 04:48 PM   #15
Alexander Karatis
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BTW, I recently had brocolli after a long-long time and it so totally kicked 5 different kinds of butt!(With olive oil and garlic).

It was cooked.
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Old 08-04-2005, 05:53 PM   #16
Brendan Melville
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Alex, broccoli sauteed with onions in olive oil with a clove of garlic crushed up is like the master of all. Totally agree :-)
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Old 08-05-2005, 11:06 AM   #17
Kalen Meine
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I think most of us do eat a largely raw diet. The idea of Paleo-selected foods being ones that can be consumed raw has to do with finding foods that lack toxins and have a reasonable glycemic index. That being said, we cook for a reason- lots of foods become easier to digest, more palatable to eat, or increase in nutritional value (tomatoes come to mind).

As for a vegan diet...nope. Your instestines are short like a carnivore, you have pointy teeth in your mouth, binocular vision, and a big brain. You're a predator. The gorilla analogy isn't really applicable- if you want to make an ape comparison, look at something a little closer to humans, like chimps. Chimps hunt. While I have major moral objections to our meat industry, and try and eat fish and eggs and mushrooms and such whenever I can, I just feel better with animal protein in me, and I perform better too.
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Old 08-05-2005, 08:59 PM   #18
Kristian Palaoro
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Strict vegan (without careful supplementation) lacks one essential amino acid. But no, our intestines are not short like a carnivore. A strict carnivore tends to have intestinal length less than twice its total body length. Ours is significantly longer. This is likely a selective advantage (in carnivores) that prevents large quantities of meat from rotting inside of the animal before it has been digested. [If that meat set in an ennvironment that is 37C or warmer, after how many hours would you consider it safe? This was the basis for the USDA recommending smaller portion sizes of meat. A small portion can be fully digested in a matter of hours.] As a result, carnivore digestive systems work quickly, and release a large quantity of poorly digested food, which moves down the chain to detritus and even some scavengers.

Neither are our intestines like a true herbivore. These creatures have digestive tracts twice what ours measures. This is because it takes a long time for intestinal bacterium to break down cellulose into digestible molecules. It is quite an amazing sugar.

So carnivores typically lack anything resembling a molar, and herbivores lack the four canines we have (yes some have incisors). This places us in what has often been labelled the "opportunistic omnivore" catagory. We can eat it all.

Raw or cooked, the chemical composition of the food you eat is not changed, only the shape of the particles. The human body is very adept at using most anything you throw down your hole. The concern is then the degree of sanitation. In the early nineties, as much as 60% of poultry had a degree of salmonella contamination. Which is why none of us ever remember being able to order your chicken sandwich pink.

I fail to see the relevance of the binocular vision comment. It is extraordinarily common among both types of eaters. Nevertheless, as you are able to focus on a single point in space, be sure to use this information as a lead, and investigate those leads among peer reviewed sources.
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Old 08-09-2005, 11:06 AM   #19
Seth Orell, Jr.
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Patrick - thanks for the link to Dr. Groves' article on vegetarianism. It is quite thought-provoking and is currently making rounds through my circle of friends/coaches/trainers.

Regarding eyesite - binocular vision is common in herbivores, but their range is typically limited when compared with carnivores and omnivores. Some resources for the peers on this:,, This article from UCLA (, etc.

Good discussion, all :-)
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Old 08-09-2005, 03:13 PM   #20
Ted Williams
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Stop! All this talk of intestines is making me think of the first short story in the new Palahniuk book (Haunted)....ugh, almost made me puke in the airport in LA, on the way back from vacation....

I have been debating this whole diet thing, with myself and my wife, for a while now. I try and look at things logically, and never base my eating on purely ethical or moral beliefs.

I don't eat red meat because I use to feel sluggish and sick when I did. I stopped and haven't felt the same. I didn't eat as well as I do now, then...however, I ate regular ol ground beef (burgers, etc) and steak...not grassfed beef or bison.

So now I am debating adding a bit of red meat into my diet. I'm not sure how my body would react to this change...I haven't had red meat (or mammals to be exact)in over 10 years.

I wasn't healthy when I tried pure vegan or even vegitarian. I now try and eat what feels right to me...which means, I eat organic, and no processed if I add red meat in there, as long as its quality stuff, does it really matter?

This is my delima...because it shouldn't, but I'm so use to not eating it that I'm not sure I could eat it again.

I'll sure as heck feed my kids all sorts of good food (no processed food, and I'll smack around any of their friends' parents if they feed them crap :biggrin: )...

When I was on vacation in Kaui'i, my wife and I ate at The Blossoming Lotus in Kapa'a...great vegan good (we hit up Cafe Malabar in Santa Cruz at least once a month)...and they are very "ethical" in their decision to eat vegan and "live" food. I think its good to add some of those things into a diet, but wouldn't be able to eat just that way. Especially the completely fake meat products...if I want meat, I'll eat it.

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