I Don’t Like Your Opinion, But No One Likes Mine Either

So I was browsing Tumblr yesterday and I came across a discussion that one of the people I am following was having with an anonymous commenter. The person whom I follow, let’s call her Oblivious, was making very unapologetic, mean-spirited, and overarching statements against veganism while the anonymous follower, let’s call them Trying, was supporting veganism. Oblivious was claiming that humans have been eating meat for a long time and therefore, a diet without meat is unnatural, restrictive, and doesn’t provide the body with all of the necessary nutrients to function. Trying was making attempts at providing Oblivious with links to articles describing natural plant sources of protein, anthropological history of hunter-gatherers and how they actually rarely ate meat, but to no avail. Oblivious had her opinions and she stuck to them, calling Trying stupid, saying a lot of “duhs”, and generally being a brat.

Why was I getting infuriated with the immature ramblings of a 16 year old uneducated girl? Why am I going so far as to write a whole post based on her? BECAUSE SOMEONE WAS WRONG ON THE INTERNET AND I HAVE TO FIX IT.

But seriously. I think I’ll use this lingering rage to start a debate in response to an article that claims a vegan diet is a terrible idea. I’ll provide arguments for each point he makes.

1. Vegans are deficient in many important nutrients

  • Maybe the dumb ones are, but there are definitely ways to get vitamin B12 and DHA. B12 is in a lot of fortified cereals and fortified nutritional yeast, as well as veggie burgers and fortified soy products. DHA can be found in super foods like chia seeds and flaxseeds. Are chia seeds as yummy as meat? No. Do they have more protein, DHA, and fibre per gram than meat? Hell yeah.
  • Most bodybuilders would agree that creatine supplements are really the way to go, instead of eating meat. Regardless, creatine is needed in such small amounts that it really seems like the author of the article was struggling to find something.

2. There Are No Studies Showing That They’re Better Than Other Diets

  • What is “better?” Is there a Better police? Has the Better committee come out with their newest edition of “What is Better?”
  • This article seems to define “better” as “results in more weight loss,” and that is contrary to the whole concept of “better” and veganism
  • People should strive to be healthier, not just skinnier. Eating healthily, sleeping the appropriate amount, and exercising regularly will guide you to the weight/figure that is best for you because skinnier DOES NOT always equal healthier and therefore DOES NOT always equal better
  • Veganism isn’t a “diet” developed for people to lose weight, it’s a lifestyle that people live to be healthier. Therefore it should not be equated to any other “diet”
  • The vegetarians are probably healthier because they are more health conscious overall, eat more vegetables, are less likely to smoke, more likely to exercise, etc. It has nothing to do with avoiding animal foods.” Good guess. Way to make the second sentence a fact based on your first guess. It’s not supported by any research. But hey, neither is my guess that Youtube purposefully buffers right before the best part of the song. Don’t we both sound presumptuous? 

3. Proponents of Vegan Diets Use Lies and Fear Mongering to Promote Their Cause

  • Yeah, some of them do. I agree with you on that one; some vegans are downright terrible when they try to promote their cause. I wish it wasn’t like that.
  • There’s no evidence that cholesterol is harmful? Please tell that to my arteries, they are freaking out about being closed off by animal fat, and they really need to take the chill pill you are offering.
  • He critiques the China study. I only know of the China study from the documentary Forks over Knives. The documentary summarizes the findings of a nation-wide health survey in China, which ended up being animal protein = bad for health. I don’t know enough about this study to support or refute it with confidence (it’s over 1000 pages long, I’m not about to undertake that project), so I’ll let you have this one. The documentary was convincing, but to be fair, I’m easily convinced of things I already believe in.

4. Vegan Diets May Work in the Short Term, But For Other Reasons

  • Work? Is there a Work police that scours the streets and calls out things that don’t “work?” Does this police department work closely with the Better department?
  • The author starts every sentence with “I think, “personally,” and “you will find.” Even in middle school science classes do they not let you get away with equating “think” with “know and have evidence to support that.”
  • “Vegan diets don’t just recommend that people avoid animal foods. They also recommend that people avoid added sugars, refined carbohydrates, processed vegetable oils and trans fats.” No. That is not the definition of vegan. Vegan is avoiding all animal products. Maybe lots of vegans also avoid processed sugar and trans fats, but that doesn’t mean those are within the definition of “vegan.” 

5. There is NO Health Reason to Completely Avoid Animal Foods

  • Humans have been eating meat for millions of years is such a poor argument. I took one archeology class and even I know that until 11,000 years ago, the main source of animal proteins for humans was crickets and field mice.
  • But Margaret, humans can now live to be 80 years old, doesn’t that support the idea that the introduction of big meat like beef helps us live longer? We live longer now because we have shelter, medicine, readily available food, heat, and have separated ourselves from all predators. Humans millions of years ago were dying of dehydration, hypothermia, infections, and being eaten by something else. Since the introduction of a “big” meat diet, the rates of cancer and autoimmune disease have skyrocketed.
  • I’ve seen a lot of studies that say saturated fat and high cholesterol is bad for your heart. What studies are you looking at?

I’m trying not to sound mad. Why do I get so mad at these people? I don’t even follow a strict vegan diet, so why do I have all of this emotional turmoil toward anyone who opposes it? I seriously need to work on that, I can’t just assume I’m right. Nutrition is such a debatable topic and we find out new things every day that contradict at least something that already exists.

Do you guys get angry when you read something that is whole-heartedly opposed to your way of life?


2 Comments on “I Don’t Like Your Opinion, But No One Likes Mine Either”

  1. Instead of “All of our opinions have merit; I accept different opinions,” I think the poll option should be “All of our opinions are pointless; now I am going to go and shove mine.”

    It’s impossible to have this debate without adhering to scientific guidelines (avoiding logical fallacies, refuting anticipated counter-arguments and yes, lots of APA-style citations). Why? Because without a peer-review process and meticulous theorizing, there is no “right and wrong.” It’s all hearsay until you actually study the issue. I get mad at people for talking about things they don’t know, but at the same time, I recognize that even among topics that I am knowledgeable in, there are those who know more. This goes beyond the forum of opinions. Even in the realm of science, not all things are black and white, but when people say that their not reading a 1,000 paper trumps someone’s opinion of a study… everyone is wrong and no one could possibly be right.

    Exhibit A: You are trying to disprove “vegan diets” by defining the term “vegan” as a noun rather than an adjective. Couldn’t a vegan follow a vegan diet that is strict on carbs and sugars? This is a logical fallacy. A vegan diet is not without merit even if it includes restrictions on non-animal products in addition to those on animal products.

    Exhibit B: You are saying that living to be old is not caused by a meat diet, but rather covaried with an overall increase in quality of life. Immediately after, you are saying “Since the introduction of a ‘big’ meat diet, the rates of cancer and autoimmune disease have skyrocketed.” However, association causation. You don’t show that you recognize that other things happened in civilization alongside ‘big meat’ that could cause a spike in cancer and autoimmune disease. Some examples include pollution, pesticides and population growth. Until those are ruled out as potential causes, we cannot say that cancer and autoimmune diseases happened exclusively due to the introduction of ‘big meat.’

    I agree with you that nutrition is a debatable topic, however the argument is not designed around the possibility of “right and wrong” until it enters the domain of science. Internet debates are not that.

  2. * association =/= causation.
    For some reason WordPress swallowed “less than, greater than” signs when I posted.

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