Todays show, Why Joe Rogan Will Become Vegan (Busting The Meathead Myths) has been a long time coming. It may surprise you to learn I’m a regular Joe Rogan Experience podcast listener and fan. I agree with a lot of what Joe says and I disagree categorically on some big issues too. Generally I think it’s important to be open to listening to the opinions of people who’s views and beliefs conflict with and challenge your own. It’s a vital life skill to accept better information when you come across it and adjust your actions accordingly.
However recently I’ve noticed hunter, UFC commentator, comedian and all round “manly man” Joe is becoming even more entrenched in his beliefs that meat consumption is both healthy and necessary and even more extreme in his criticism of veganism.
It’s getting harder to last through a podcast when Joe turns his wit to mocking vegans and his intellect to spewing half truths and falsities. I’d like to think this is the last big battle of ego and status quo before Joe listens to both his heart and the science.
I’m going to address Why Joe Rogan Will Become Vegan and shine a light on the top 3 falsities he so confidently and I would say dangerously promotes to his huge audience. Basically I’m busting the meathead myths that I’m sick of hearing. You know those myths that you know to be false?
If you’re like me. you’ve heard the plant based doctors you respect talking about decades of studies unequivocally supporting the health benefits and in fact disease fighting abilities of whole food plant based eating?
You’ve likely read the articles revealing how vastly inefficient and environmentally detriment animal agriculture is so far as land, water, waste, greenhouse gas emissions and actual food produced.
If you’ve been brave enough to watch Dominion, Earthlings, Land of Hope and Glory or any number of other documentaries, videos, livestreams that share the truth behind the way 70 billions land animals and 2.7 trillion million sea creatures live, suffer and die each year you’ll be convinced that the only compassionate and ethical choice is to live vegan.
And yet, it can be overwhelming when someone like Joe presents you with a pro-meat eating argument. The facts and stats don’t always come straight to mind. If I’m honest, I just see images of dead or suffering animals when someone attacks my vegan beliefs. I can get overwhelmed with emotion. Anger, sadness, frustration. I have so much info I’d love to share however, where to start?
Hopefully todays show will give us both some easy to recall takeaways and more importantly the facts, science and studies to support our passionately held beliefs.
First though let’s cover the essentials that Joe and I agree on.
One: Eating vegetables is good. We need to eat more vegetables.
Two: factory farming is evil. We need to end factory farming.
Here’s where we start to differ.
One: Joe regularly lumps vegans and vegetarians into the same category. From a health and ethical standpoint this is utterly misleading as vegetarians eat dairy and eggs thereby participating in the cruelest of the animal harming industries.
I know it’s a big call however so far as extended lifetime enslavement and torture, Dairy – starting with forced impregnation for the dairy mum to be and ending as cheap meat when the dairy mum starts to get less efficient as a milk producing machine at just 4-6 years old, is the most horrific of all.
In an equally tough competition, as a product consumed by humans, Dairy is perhaps the most effective at making us sick, fat and all too often, dead. I’ll link to some resources on the health implications of dairy consumption however in the most simple terms: Does it really make sense for humans to drink the milk intended for another mothers child? Milk designed to grow a calf from 65 pounds to 500 pounds in just 12 months.
According to the National Institute of Health 65% of the global population is lactose intolerant. It’s significantly higher within Asian, African American and Hispanic populations.
Equally, Joe doesn’t differentiate between vegan and whole food plant based. This is vital as a junk food vegan can live on donuts, pizza and ice cream while whole food plant based is the only diet proven to both prevent and reverse the western world’s most prolific killer, heart disease.
That’s like lumping Paleo and (the) SAD together. They are both vastly different approaches to eating. One, reliant on whole foods though unfortunately still hero’ing the flesh of animals as “food” and one addicted to fake processed salt, sugar and fat laden crap-o-la and seriously lacking in fibre and vital micronutrients.
Two: Joe insists to be healthy, a vegan must eat a “perfect vegan diet” and sells that as so hard it’s near impossible. I’m going to demonstrate just how simple and easy it is to be a healthy vegan by covering off all the micronutrients you might want to look out for and how to consume them in Falsity One soon.
Importantly, Joe never talks about how insanely far from perfect SAD diet. It’s “normal” for kids to grow up eating Macca’s however bringing your kids up on a whole foods plant based diet is child abuse? That’s crazy. We’ll dig in with that too.
Ok, groundwork laid there are 3 main falsities I want to cover today.
Falsity One: Negative Health Consequences Of A Vegan Diet.
This is the falsity that is most dangerous. Joe has huge influence over his ginormous audience. For decades it has been known that a whole foods plant based diet is the only diet proven in clinical trials to prevent and even reverse many of our most lethal diseases, starting with heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.
All the nutrients we think we need from animal products can be found in abundance in the plant kingdom.
I love Earthling Eds explanation as to why some compassionate people (like Joe) cling desperately to the “Veganism Is Unhealthy” myth: “When we think of all the horrible things we do to animals it’s natural to think there must be a necessary and vital reason to inflict so much pain and suffering. Do we need things like protein and iron from animal flesh and calcium from cows milk?”
The American Dietetic and the British Dietetic Associations which are the largest bodies of diet and nutrition professionals in both countries have categorically stated that: “A vegan, plant based diet is nutritionally adequate, healthy and safe at all stages of life including pregnancy.”
Yet Joe spreads confusion and fear with statements like: “Most of them are going to quit veganism and start eating meat again because of their health.” Joe warns a lack of saturated fat and cholesterol leads to hormonal imbalances. He discuss’s Vitamin K2, long chain omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, B12 and choline. It’s confusing and he speaks with certainty and authority even when his facts are wrong.
Create confusion was a strategy deployed with lethal success by the Tobacco Industry who realized consumers want to keep their bad habits. Animal agriculture is modelling this same strategy of confusion and either consciously or unconsciously, Joe is buying right into it.
I’m not going to get into the science of why we need the nutrients Joe discuss’s. Let’s just agree we do. Dr Micheal Greger over at nutritionfacts.org has the why’s and the how much’s covered. Let’s instead cover quickly and simply how to get 4 of those nutrients following a plant based diet:
- Vitamin K2.Solution: Supplement or choose vegan foods such as micro-algae, sauerkraut, plant-based kefir, unpasteurised kombucha, vegan kimchi, and natto. I’ll turn to another plant based doctor here. Dr Joel Kahn tells us: “Our bodies can convert the vitamin K1 found in dark leafy greens to K2, but it is uncertain how much is being converted, and measuring blood levels is not routine. As our bodies age, there is a reduction in vitamin K2 production, so it is recommended that adult vegans supplement.”
There are many vegan supplements available providing the necessary 50 to 100 micrograms of vitamin K2 a day, generally from natto which is fermented soybeans. I also discuss the K2 in micro-algae like Chlorella with Catherine Arnston in show E628.
- Long chain omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Solution: Get your EPA and DHA directly from the source. Where the fish get it. Supplement with micro-algae grown in fresh water and avoid the death and also the antibiotics fed to factory farmed fish as they swim around in overcrowded pools of feces and ironically are fed wild caught fish (potentially contaminated with mercury, PCB’s and plastic) creating an equally unsustainable industry.
Fish can contain up to 9 million times the amount of chemical residue in their flesh and fat as the water they live in. Would you drink the water they live in?
Dr Kahn recommends “most patients on a vegan diet take 250 milligrams each day and at the same time limit foods rich in omega-6, which may contribute to inflammation. These (omega-6’s) are mainly in the forms of oils such as corn, soy, safflower, sunflower, and vegetable oil blends. Adding whole foods rich in ALA, the precursor to EPA and DHA, is encouraged. This is easy using 1 to 2 tablespoons a day of ground flaxseeds, a small handful of English walnuts, chia seeds, and leafy greens.”
- Vitamin B12.Solution: Although there are many B12 fortified foods (like nutritional yeast) I recommend a simple supplement. Again, handing over to Dr Joel Kahn: “Neither plants nor animals make B12, it’s produced by bacteria that reside in the gastrointestinal tract of animals other than humans. When animal products are eaten, B12 is ingested as a bystander. When we wash our produce, we wash off the B12-rich bacteria.”
Dr Kahn recommends taking about 2,500 micrograms once a week, ideally as a liquid, sublingual (under the tongue), or chewable form for better absorption or 250 micrograms daily.
Joe confidently assures us, “Just 5% of omnivores are deficient in B12” and yet: “The Framingham Offspring study found that 39% of the general population may be in the low normal and deficient B12 blood level range, and it was not just vegetarians or older people. This study showed no difference in the B12 blood levels of younger and older adults. Most interestingly there was no difference between those ate meat and those who did not. The people with the highest B12 blood levels were those who were taking B12 supplements and eating B12 fortified cereals.” (Riseofthevegan.com: B12 is not just a vegan problem)
- Choline. Solution: eat a diverse variety of whole plant foods to naturally meet your requirements. Soymilk, tofu, chickpeas, lentils quinoa, brussel sprouts and broccoli are rich sources of choline.
The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for choline is 550 mg/day for men and 425 mg/day for women. However it is based on only one study comparing those amounts to 50 mg/day, with no intermediary amounts examined. Eating less than 50 mg/day can result in liver damage, but it is very unlikely that a vegan would have such a low intake.
Ideal amounts appear to be about 300 mg per day. Most vegans get about that much from the foods they eat.
Interestingly choline was a nutrient not traditionally talked about until the egg industry pounced on it in recent years to counter the growing recognition that their choline rich little cholesterol bombs are not the health food we had once been led to believe.
So to recap:
- 50 to 100 micrograms of vitamin K2 a day.
- 2,500 micrograms of vitamin B12 once a week.
- 250 milligrams of Omega 3 long chain EPA and DHA each day.
- 300 milligrams of Choline from plant foods daily.
Here’s the thing, to live Vegan optimally you might need to take 2-3 supplements (definitely B12 and likely K2 + long chain EPH and DHA) which a significant number of omnivores might need to take too. Once off it’s beneficial to get a general awareness of the whole plant foods rich in choline and also those other easy to find yet often talked about micronutrients like: iron, calcium and zinc.
This might take an hour or two of your energy up front once off. Compare that to the loss of life quality, expense, side-effects and debilitating dependency of talking medications like statins for the rest of your life? Statins are a class of drugs that lower the levels of artery-clogging LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in the bloodstream. The alternative is to just not eat the animal products that boost artery-clogging LDL cholesterol in the blood stream. To see this illustrated by just ONE meat based meal consumed by young athletes I recommend The Game Changers film which is now available on Netflix.
It bemuses me the degree to which a vegan lifestyle is demonised because you might need to supplement minimally when you consider the number of supplements (let alone DRUGS) popped by the general population without much thought, just as a response to clever marketing.
While we’re discussing the False Negative Health Consequences of a Vegan Diet, have you noticed the focus is on what a vegan diet done poorly might be lacking? Here are a few more things a vegan diet will also lack: Hormones and antibiotics. Cholesterol and saturated fat. Pus, feces and cancer… all routinely included in animals products.
The highly debated topic of Cholesterol and Saturated fat in particular deserve the expertise of doctors who have committed decades of their lives to studying the health implications of diets high in each. Doctors who have personally witnessed the life transforming and life saving results experienced by their own patients who adopt a whole foods plant based approach to eating. I’ll have you linked up in the show notes. Here’s a quick preview:
Dr Williams is famously quoted: “There are two kinds of cardiologists: vegans, and those who haven’t read the data.”
Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a biochemist and Professor Emeritus at Cornell University who grew up on a dairy farm and maintained an open mind when his research showed strong correlations between animal protein and cancer.
Dr Campbell was a senior science advisor to the American Institute for Cancer Research, sits on the advisory board of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and authored the groundbreaking book, The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted.
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, the heart disease expert who has reversed countless people’s coronary artery issues and advocates a very low-fat whole food plant based diet. Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn states:
“My message is clear and absolute: coronary artery disease need not exist, and if it does, it need not progress. It is my dream that one day we may entirely abolish heart disease, the scourge of the affluent, modern West, along with an impressive roster of other chronic illnesses.”
I could go on and on with these amazing plant based doctors however I’m going to instead link to an impressive article called: 18 Vegan Doctors Who Drive The Plant Based Movement curtesy of nutriously.com.
I’ll assume that even Joe will agree with me you don’t want to be eating hormones, antibiotics, pus, feces and cancer. Yes, cancer. It’s regularly just cut out of an animals body and the flesh is still sold. Let’s move on to…
Falsity Two: Huge Mono Crops Kill More Animals for a Vegan Diet.
I agree with Joe that we need to move away from huge mono crops. It’s an entirely unsustainable way to produce food which is destroying our soil, results in huge pesticide and fertilizer use and Yes, kills small mammals, birds and insects as fields are cleared, planted and harvested to grow crops like corn and soy.
Does Joe genuinely think those huge mono crops are being fed to the 1% of vegans in the world?
Huge mono crops are fed to livestock animals. Around 70 billion animals are raised for food annually. 70 percent of the grain grown in the U.S. is fed to livestock animals. 75 percent of global soybean crops being fed to livestock. One-third of all arable land globally is being used for animal grazing or animal feed production, also using vast amounts of water resources.
Despite all this resource use, the actual return on all these inputs and all the detrimental waste related outputs of animal agriculture – the “return” so far as edible animal flesh or excretions (like milk and eggs) is appalling:
Land required to feed 1 person for 1 year:
- Vegan: 1/6th acre. Vegetarian: 3x as much as a vegan. Meat Eater: 18x as much as a vegan Robbins, John. Diet for a New America, StillPoint Publishing, 1987, p. 352
- 5 acres can produce 37,000 pounds of plant-based food.
- 5 acres can produce 375 pounds of beef.
- You can produce 15x more protein on any given area of land with plants, rather than cows.
Again I could go on and on however I suggest you google it for yourself. You’ll find that dairy is the most resource intense and unsustainable after beef and that chicken is the most sustainable purely because of the horrific conditions the birds live and die in. Whichever way you look at at plant food is magnitudes more sustainable.
However perhaps I got a little distracted by the minor point of food sustainability and being able to feed everyone not just those of us lucky enough to have access to grass fed beef and organic free range eggs? A handy graph (from animalvisuals.org) I’ll have in the show notes shares the number of animals killed to produce 1 million calories across 8 food categories.
It shares the total deaths and also the breakdown by (intentional) slaughter and by harvest. The highest number of deaths are from chickens. Makes sense, even though they have been selectively bred to grow so huge so fast that their little legs often can’t support their huge bodies before slaughter at 6 weeks they are still much smaller than most of the other animals we farm.
- Chickens. 251.1 deaths per million calories.
- Eggs. 92.3
- Beef. 29
- Pork. 18.1
- Milk. 4.78
- Vegetables. 2.55
- Fruits. 1.73
- Grains. 1.65
And then there’s the matter of intent. It counts. Consciously deciding to end an animals life at a fraction of it’s natural life span (again I have stats to follow for that) so that you can eat it’s flesh verses deciding to eat plants so that you’re not actively demanding animals are bred into captivity and killed is a whole different proposition.
Yes, plant agriculture can get better. I discuss how in E626 with Greg Litus and What Is The Most Sustainable Way To Feed The World? (Veganic vs. Animal Agriculture). However even when we consider the animals killed in the crop growing process at least we’re eating those crops directly rather than cycling them through the bodies of livestock animals and getting vastly less calories in return.
As to the age of the livestock animals we eat?
- Chickens for meat. 6 weeks. (Can live up to 8 years)
- Pigs. 6 months. (Can live up to 15 years)
- Chickens (females) for egg laying. 1-2 years. (Can live up to 8 years)
- Chickens (males) for egg laying. 1-2 days. (Can live up to 8 years)
- Dairy cows. (females) 5 years. (Can live up to 20 years)
- Dairy cows. (males) 1-2 days. (Can live up to 20 years)
- Veal calves. 1-32 weeks. (Can live up to 20 years)
- Lambs. 3-6 months. (Can live up to 12 years)
- Beef cows for meat. 1-2.5 years. (Can live up to 20 years)
What about the lives of these livestock animals?
Joe tells us: “One of my sponsors “butcher box” has a 100% commitment to humanely raised animals.” I’ve seen hours upon hours of current day footage. Often live-streamed from so called “humane” Australian farms by activists I call friends. Having seen the reality I think the male chicks have it best dying via maceration at 1-2 days old. The dairy mums have it worst, suffering for 5 whole years. Although hang on maybe these lives of such immense terror and suffering can be justified because…
Falsity Three: Evolutionary Theory Means Humans Evolved Because Of and Should Continue To Eat Meat.
I don’t think we need to spend much time discussing whether or how much meat our ancestors ate. Although the estimates I’ve heard state that conservatively at most 25% of calories would have come from meat.
When you think about it, if the most impressive predators like lions and wolves miss around 9/10 hunts – what do you think our weak, clawless, tearing-canine-teeth-less, GUN-less ancestors would have managed?
Fossils indicate the majority of our calories came from the roots and such gathered by the women. Originally we were mislead as animal bones and stone tools preserve a lot better than vegetable scrapes however more high tech fossil analysis is giving us better information.
Yet still the meatheads insist, “Our Ancestors Ate Meat!” and “You wouldn’t be here today if our ancestors didn’t eat meat!”
Do you know what else our ancestors did? Murder and rape were morality acceptable for our ancestors. In most cultures to a vast degree we’ve evolved beyond murder and rape. Generally we don’t model our values and our behaviour on that of our ancestors. Or that of wild animals who lack moral agency for that matter.
Humans have moral agency which means we know the difference between right and wrong and should be held accountable to our decisions. Humans today have access to unlimited plant based food sources that can allow us to be fit, strong and healthy without taking the life of another being that does not want to die. The consumption of animal products is only behaviour we insist on mimicking from our ancestors.
To the matter of whether meat once helped us evolve? Many believe is was instead the ability to cook our food and eat carbs like potato which provided a more reliable supply of our brains preferred fuel source, Glucose. Meat or fire or potatoes – when we now can live healthier without meat, is it relevant? Consuming animal products causes our leading diseases: heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, some types of cancer and dementia.An evolved society bases its morals and values on the current situation not the past. #livevegan #thehealthificationpodcast Click To Tweet
It does not matter how we got to where we are today. Slavery helped build many nations. Heterosexual dominance and male dominance were the norm. That does not morally justify those heinous old traditions continuing in todays society.
Raising animals as food is causing the worst environmental calamities we’re facing. The UN states: “To avoid the worst effects of climate change the world needs to shift to a plant based diet.” Just because eating animal in the past might have helped us survive in times of scarcity doesn’t justify eating animals today.
Just because our bodies have been incredible at tolerating animal products despite the fact that our teeth, jaws, and nails, our stomach acidity, our intestinal length display all the characteristics of herbivores such as the Gorilla who we share 98% of our DNA with rather than carnivores…
In the same way that might does not equal right…
Just because we can eat animals does not mean we should.
In summary you or I could live vegan, pop 3 simple supplements and eat a diverse range of delicious whole plant foods.
In doing so we’d be taking the single most impactful decision an individual can make to positively effect the environment – our only home – and the only home to all the amazing earthlings we share it with.
We’d be making the sustainable eating choice in a world where enough food to feed 10 billion people exists and yet 800 million of our less than 8 billion global population are starving.
We’d be following the only eating strategy proven to prevent and reverse the top lifestyle related diseases that are killing us like heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer.
We’d be aligning our actions with our beliefs that our taste and convenience are not more important than someone else life.
It’s no brainer right?
I have faith and hope that Joe Rogan and the super vast majority of all humans will become vegan.
I also hope todays show has been useful to YOU and the resources I share in the show notes will help you negotiate those frustrating conversations I know we all have in what is surely – PLEASE surely – the last big battle of ego and status quo before compassionate humans around the world listen to both their heart and the science… and Live Vegan.
That’s it for today in Healthification. If you’re enjoying these solo show and longer form chats I’d really super appreciate it if you’d please share this podcast with someone you think would find value in it or rate and review it in iTunes. It takes a couple of minutes and it means so much to me. It 100% makes my day.
Huge thanks to YOU for sharing this week with me. You rock and I appreciate your support!
The Healthification podcast is proudly bought to you by my FREE ‘Easy Vegan’ plan. It took me 25 years to transition from a meat eater to a happy, healthy Vegan! You can do it in just 3 days with my simplified ‘easy vegan’ plan! Get the fit, strong, and healthy plant based body you deserve… while avoiding ALL the mistakes I made along the way!
Till next time, remember Creating a body and life you love is Freedom. (If this ex-carb queen, non genetically gifted, naturally uncoordinated vegan chick can do it – so can YOU!!!)
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