The “V” words and why I don’t label myself as such
Vegetarian and Vegan. Those words are all about what some people don’t eat. For example; they don’t eat meat, they don’t eat cheese, they don’t eat eggs, etc. So if they’re not eating animal products, why are so many of them overweight? It’s because they are obsessed about what they don’t eat and don’t give nearly enough thought to what they are eating. This gives you one clue as to why I don’t particularly like the “V” words.
While I probably eat more whole plants than any man in Connecticut, I don’t describe myself as a vegetarian or vegan. If you want a label that describes the way I eat, then I would go with a “human who prefers to eat the natural diet for our species.”
As for labels, it seems to me that the people who need the “label” are the folks that have decided to eat the toxic western diet, which is nowhere close to the natural diet for humans. When people ask me if I am a vegetarian, I am tempted to say, “No, I am an American.” So, to summarize, here are…
My top five reasons for not using the “V” words to describe my diet-style
- They’re really more about conveying information about what a person doesn’t eat…when what a person does eat is far more important.
- There is no commonly understood definition for either vegetarian or vegan. If you ask the first ten people you see in your office this morning, you may get ten different answers.
- Many vegetarians and vegans are not necessarily eating a very healthy diet. Too much refined carbohydrates, too much cheese, too much eggs, too much oil, too many potato chips and not nearly enough whole plants.
- As I pride myself on eating a near optimal diet; deriving over 80% of my calories from whole plant foods; I don’t like to be grouped in the large number of so-called vegetarians who don’t eat a very healthy diet.
- Bottom Line. I simply don’t like labels and stereotypes and the prejudices and misunderstandings that go along with them…and 90% of the western world still think that the “V” people are a little weird.
Fortunately for me and my family, I discovered the world-changing power of consuming mostly plants – in nature’s package in 2003 and we have benefited greatly from that knowledge — even if I have an occasional bite of fish or cheese.
Many of our medical experts have confirmed that a guy like myself that eats an enormous amount of whole plants with a rare bite of cheese or fish is likely to be much healthier than the self-described vegan who NEVER eats any animal products.
Instead of eating lots of whole plants, many vegans get most of their calories from oil, sugar, and highly processed foods…and that is exactly why many vegetarians AND vegans are overweight or obese.
After all, they could eat nothing but potato chips and Diet Coke and call themselves vegan…but they wouldn’t be very healthy…nor would they be at their ideal weight.
For more discussion about the optimal diet for humans, you might enjoy our recent blog about “where Bill Clinton is getting his protein these days.”
Handy 5-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s new book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes.
- Dr. Campbell’s new book: WHOLE, Rethinking the Science of Nutrition
Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.
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—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation