The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith

The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith

The truth is life isn’t possible without death, that no matter what you eat, someone has to die to feed you

We have no way to judge how much death is embodied in a serving of salad, a bowl of fruit, a plate of beef.

LC: When we eat meat. Yes we have killed this animal. But if we eat something else vegan.. what have we killed? It is definitely not nothing. The dammed rivers, the habitat forests cut down, the prairies turned into wheat fields. If vegans care about animal rights, they should abandon their city houses and return to nature – a way of hunting and gathering where they know exactly what they are eating and where it comes from and how their lives are in balanced with the ecosystem. Like native Americans were in balance before civilisation came and wiped them out too.

Kas-limaal: mutual indebtedness, mutual insparkedness
“The knowledge that every plant, person, animal, wind and season is indebted to the fruit of everything else is an adult knowledge. To get out of debt means you don’t want to be part of life, and you don’t want to grow into an adult.”

The algebra of embodiment: for someone to live, someone else has to die.

Is vegetarianism the epitome of “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”?

Ruminants actually eat bacteria. Not grass. The grass stays in their four stomachs and ferments. The bacteria eats the grass and the ruminants eat the bacteria.

Without grazers to eat the grass, the land will eventually turn to desert.

LC: this is also akin to the role of predators. Grey wolves being reintroduced sparked new life. Despite their role as killing machines. There is a vital role of hunting in the balance of nature. No wolves = overpopulation of deer = killing of trees / forests = death of more species.

“We need to be eaten as much as we need to eat.”

The grass and the grazers need each other, as much as the predator and prey need each other.

LC: This is a crucial point. We are highly highly interdependent. One is not killing meat in a vacuum. One is literally sustaining life. Wow.

We aren’t exploiting each other by eating. We are only taking turns.

There is no one-way relationship.

“Vegetarianism” isn’t just what you eat or what you believe. It’s who you are, and it’s a totalizing identity.”

A vegetarian diet – especially a low fat version, and most especially a vegan one – is not sufficient nutrition for long-term maintenance and repair of the human body.

Veganism wasn’t the only cause of my depression but it was a big contributing factor.

Serotonin is made from the amino acid tryptophan. And there are no good plant sources of tryptophan.

Justice – compassion – sustainability

“The fruit trees give me my food and I give back the seeds to nature so other trees can grow.”

LC: Not an accurate statement because most fruit trees are grafted, not sprouted. Most fruit trees grown by seed would be totally unpalatable to humans.

I wanted to believe that my life – my physical existence – was possible without killing, without death. It’s not. No life is.

There are no apples in nature. Apples are domesticated.

Most progenitors of fruit trees are inedible.

Let me live without harm to others. Let my life be possible without death.

One tablespoon of soil contains more than one million living organisms. A square meter of topsoil can contain more than a thousand different species of animals. These might include 120 million nematodes, 100,000 mites, 45,000 springtails. 20,000 enchytraid worms, and 10,000 mollusc.

Do the lives of trees, plants, nematodes, fungi matter?

Soil is living.

Therefore it eats. What does soil eat? NPK

Nitrogen Phosphorus Potassium.
Nitrogen from nitrogen fixing plants.
But it also wants manure from animals.
And blood and bones.

My garden wanted to eat animals even if I didn’t. Nitrogen today comes from fossil fuels. And fossil fuels come from dinosaurs who died millions of years ago. Other source of nitrogen is from animals dying today or ruminants pooping.

LC: Wow holy shit Liam. It takes DEAD ANIMALS to grow fruits and veggies and nuts and seeds and grains.. Literally it is impossible to grow these things without death. And also that without animals grazing, ecosystems become deserts.

“My food had to eat before I ate it.”

Page 22 apple grower roots in cemetery of human skeletons

We are eaten as well as eaters.

LC: yes this is what I was thinking the other day – that I am totally cool being eaten when I’m dead.

How’s this for a reframe:
“Chickens have gotten humans to work for them”

Farming animals is a partnership.

In the US there are 50 million dogs vs 10,000 wolves. Dogs wildly succeeded by partnering with humans.

Subject-object. Again. Not one way relationship. We change because of the chickens the cows the pigs.

Who is working for whom?
Monarch butterflies and asclepias
Squirrels and oak trees
Ants and Arcadia trees

Page 33

The transition to agriculture has long been celebrated as a major advance in civilisation but health deteriorated during the changeover.

Medical anthropologists can look at old human bones and tell whether they were hunters or farmers. The hunters look great. The farmers look like they are falling apart.

Average hunter only worked 17 hours per week.

Page 34: animals and drugs

In 1491, there were 60-100 million bison. In us. Today 350,000. And 10-15,000 are pure not crossbred

425k to 1milion wlves. 10k today

12 feet topsoil. Inches today.

Agriculture is really more like ethnic cleansing.

The moment you put a plow into soil you degrade the soil.

Billions of mice and rabbit are killed by wheat harvesting equipment every year.

“The destruction has been so total we don’t know what the world should look like.”

“Agriculture is carnivorous: what it eats is ecosystems, and it swallows them whole.”

LC: what percentage of a vegan or vegetarian diet comes from agriculture? Pretty much 100%, unless you grow your own food or buy from super local permaculture-inspired farms. Even organic agriculture depends on NPK. Eating grass-fed meat in theory can be fossil fuel free.

Without wolves and mountain lions there are more deer now than in 1491. And this is leading to ecosystem destruction from over grazing.

Page 44 last paragraph for why no to veganism

It takes anywhere from 250 to 650 gallons of water to grow a pound of rice.

It’s not between life or death. It’s between being predators or destroyers.

Potatoes, onions, wheat, corn, tomatoes, garlic.. these all require water. And agriculture en masse eats rivers dry. Killing entire ecosystems of living beings. Potatoes are not vegan. You would have to grow them yourself. But then to feed the garden you grow them in, you’ll still need bones and blood. POTATOES EAT MEAT!

What grows where you live?

Growing lettuce means killing slugs. No other way around it. Slugs LOVE lettuce! You can pick em up and chuck em into another field but that will just mean they’ll get eaten by other birds or starve to death.

Rabbits, mice, raccoons, groundhog, deer.

“If death was natural – a part of life, not an insult to life, then why was I a vegan?”

If you have 30 fertilised chicken eggs. 50/50 Male and female. As they grow bigger into puberty, the males will naturally fight each other – to the death. Until in an average flock of 30 chickens, most will be hens and 1 or 2 cocks. The other cocks will be exiled out or killed. This is just how life works for Chickens.

Rooster chicks, that nobody wants, are turned into pet food or garden fertilisers. Therefore if you are happy to eat eggs, you are already eating rooster chickens by implication.

Page 66:
“Animals reproduce… if you’ve got ten acres and ten cows, next year you’ll have twenty cows. Twice what your land can support… The following year you’ll have 35 cows, 3.5 times the carrying capacity of your land. By then the pasture will be eroded to dirt and everyone will be starving.”

LC: you NEED animals to grow vegetables – whether it is for pest control or fertilising. You can’t really go without animals. You can compensate by using the fossilised remains of ancient reptiles but that’s still using animals. Then when you introduce animals into your land – you NEED to kill them, or introduce a natural predator. Otherwise they will reproduce and eventually graze your land to death – meaning you die early also. It is literally eat or be eaten.

“For dairy animals to lactate, they have to bear one young every year. An average dairy cow has a milking life of 12 to 14 years… meaning she will have about eleven calves. Only one is needed to replace her. What happens to the others? Veal.”

LC: so if you are happy to drink milk. You might as well stop the hypocritical BS and eat meat too. Especially veal meat.

“If they’d bred the does and the sows and let the fowl reproduce, they would have had a supply of milk, eggs and meat until the sun ran out.”
-> wow this is interesting. It seems actually with animal breeding to be much much easier to become self sufficient.

For someone to live.
Someone has to die.
To reject one,
Is to reject the other.
There is no way out.

Zoe and Bio. Page 74

Everything is eating and being eaten. And through it all Life endures.

In ancient Athens, the origin of democracy, 90% of the population was enslaved.

Our two choices: the death that is destroying life or the death that is part of life.

90% of most animals babies don’t make it to maturity.

As a rule animals in the wild don’t get good deaths surrounded by loved ones.

An agricultural diet of annual grains is not sustainable and not death free.

Old lobsters show their migration routes to young ones by holding their claws – like we hold hands, waking the long miles together.

Chickens don’t mourn their dead – they eat them. On slaughter days they are waiting for snacks.

Elephants however do mourn their dead. Cradle the skulls of lost ones.

The predator-prey relationship:
“When you take the life of someone to eat or otherwise use so you can survive, you become responsible for the survival and dignity of that other’s community. When I eat a salmon, I pledge myself to making sure that this particular run of salmon continues, and that this particular river of which salmon are a part of thrives. If I cut a tree, I make the same pledge.. when I eat beef, or for that matter carrots, I pledge to eradicate factory farming.”
– Derrick Jensen

“I cannot kill deer anymore”
“Deer don’t want to die for me.”

The Lost Language of Plants

“I’m not going to draw a line. I’m going to draw a circle.”

“We need to be part of the world to know it… and when we participate, we see that life and death can’t be separated anymore than night and day.


Factory farmed meat is not all the meat that is available.

Cows and humans do not compete for the same food source. Cows DO NOT eat grains naturally. They eat grass – cellulose – that is totally indigestible by human beings.

A pound of wheat requires 60 pounds of water. Pound of meat 2,500 to 6,000 pounds of water.


Pasture fed = 122 pounds of water per pound of meat. And this is only taking into account the muscle. Not the bones or organs.

Protein in beef contains the full spectrum of amino acids human beings need.

Animals integrated into proper poly cultures destroy nothing.

Factories that create fossil fuel fertilisers were re purposed from munitions factories largely.

The myth is that civilisation is progress.

Know your land and your water, your local farmers and their animals. Eat what grows sustainably within your food shed.

Since 1947, fertiliser has come from fossil fuels.

Page 106 v interesting. From 1947 arable soil basically ran out of fertility. If it wasn’t for fossil fuels some big big big changes would’ve had to happen to our food system to make it sustainable. Literally billions of us are here only because of fossil fuels.

Cheap federally subsidised corn created factory farming. The abundance of corn due to fossil fuel fertilisers created an economic incentive that was border on madness. All this corn had no where to go – so someone invented the factory farm to use up this corn. It’s literally all about economics.

What is going to feed your plants if you advocate a grain only diet?
Manure, or fossil fuels?

There are no international aid agencies that suggest vegetarianism as a solution to world hunger- it isn’t one.

The first apes that developed opposable thumbs could use their hands to drop rocks on the skulls of animals – getting access to the nutrient dense brains. This was largely off-limits to carnivores who couldn’t crack the skull. Some say this food access led to greater brain development in us.


Ruminants could provide nitrogen and predigested nutrients to the grasses as they grazed. Grasses don’t contain any toxins – they want to be eaten by ruminants because the grazing stimulates root growth and many other things. You could even say, grass created cows.

In Africa, seven million years ago, is when humans began.

Back before we were humans, as tree dwellers – we ate mainly fruits, leaves and insects. Then when we stood upright, we were mainly eating large ruminants.

We come from a long line of hunters, 150,000 generations.

Meat let our digestive tract shrink, thus leading to greater brains bigger. Our digestive tracts are 60% smaller than primates of similar size, who would eat largely fruits, leaves and some insects.

Gorillas are vegetarians. They have both the smallest brains and largest digestive tracts of any primate. Humans are totally opposite. We have the largest brains and smallest digestive tracts of the primates.

And exactly like ruminants, gorillas also have the fermentation bacteria that breaks down cellulose.

“Our meat eating heritage… is an inescapable fact.”

They say human canines use to be much larger, until fire 🔥 arose and we didn’t need them as much.

You could even say, the ruminants created us.

Archaeologists took ancient human flint tools from Boxgrove to a modern day skilled butcher, with a freshly killed deer and asked him to use those tools to butcher the deer. Then they compared where he made the cuts and with which tool to the cuts made by ancient humans. They were exactly the same.

The diseases of agriculture. No one speaks of the diseases of hunter gatherers. They were largely disease free.

Cereal Grains: Humanity’s Double Edged Sword.

Page 142: table chart

Page 146: the myth of gatherer-hunter rather than hunter-gatherer, 65-35 ratio.

Grains were only invented when agriculture was invented.

Grains, potatoes, beans contain anti-nutrients, toxins, that are meant to prevent them being eaten – that is why you can’t eat them raw.

Page 152/153: Grains are mainly carbohydrates, no full spectrum amino acids. Carbohydrates are basically glucose – sugar.

The necessary amount of carbohydrates needed by humans is zero. Likely why caloric restriction diets also lead to longevity. We do however need essential amino acids and fatty acids.

We accept diseases like diabetes, cancers, heart disease, arthritis because they are so freaking ubiquitous. So they become normal.

What we are left with are cravings, both vague and unbearable, that we have taught ourselves to fight.
Feeling full vs feeling nourished.

“Listen to your hunger.” – the body knows. I know the body knows. I have known this for years.

With this knowledge, I could possibly cure mum of her diabetes and arthritis. It would involve zero grains and sugars. And high quality grass fed organic local meats, organ meats, and fresh wild seafood.

Bottom of page 154: Simple carbs and complex carbs – these are both sugars still.

Monosaccharides = glucose
Disaccharides = sucrose (table sugar)
Polysaccharides = grains, beans, potatoes

The above is all sugar/glucose. Once they enter the mouth and begin breaking down, they become sugars. You can directly know this because if you chew bread in your mouth for long enough, until it becomes liquid, it tastes sweet.

“So whether it began life as a fat free bagel, a quarter cup of sugar from the sugar bowl, a soft drink, a bowl of fettuccine, a baked potato or a handful of jelly beans, by the time your digestive system gets finished snipping the links of those starches and sugars, it’s all been reduced to… sugar. Specifically to glucose. And in the end there’s very little metabolic difference between your eating a medium baked potato or drinking a 12 ounce can of soda pop. Each scientists about 50grams of easily digestible and rapids my available glucose. It may surprise you to know that the potato might even be slightly worse in terms of the rise in blood sugar that follows it.”
– Dr Eades, Protein Power Lifeplan

A soda can and a potato eventually lead to the same thing in the body: glucose. And your body can produce it’s own glucose. So it gets overwhelmed.

USDA recommends we eat 60% of or diet as carbohydrates. That equals to 2 cups of glucose, every day. And our bodies have to process that.

Elevated sugar levels stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin. This is our bodies way of clearing out high amounts of sugar, fast. Because the recommended amount of sugar by USDA standards if left in the bloodstream would actually lead to a coma and death.

Type II diabetes: insulin receptors are dulled and no longer respond to insulin produced by pancreas. Blood sugar levels stay high. Chronic excess sugar in the blood then goes on to destroy nerves, retinas, arteries, the heart.

Page 178: Keith craved fats much more than protein. Those in concentration camps also are fats much more than protein when they were first released. Not fats from vegetable oils – animal fats, like butter.

Dietary Fats:
Saturated fats: body can make them from carbohydrates. They are stable, don’t go rancid when heated.
Monounsaturated fats: in peanut oil or olive oil – liquid at room temperature, firm up when in fridge. Body can make these from saturated fats.
Polyunsaturated fats: vegetable oils from corn, soy.. these are always liquid and are unstable. They should never be heated. In our foods these are also called omega 3 and omega 6. Body can’t make this so they are called “essential”

All dietary fats contain a mix of all three. Coconut oil and palm oil contain the most saturated fats. Coconut oil: 92%. Butter: 60%. Beef: 50%. Lard: 40%.

Page 180: Fatty acids by length.
“Some of us can synthesize very long chain fatty acids from other EFAs (essential fatty acids), but some of us can’t. These people don’t produce the enzymes for the task. They’re called “obligate carnivores” and they just get their elongated fatty acids from animal products. If you come from a long line of island or coastal people who ate fish, this may well be you.”

Vitamins A, D, E and K are called fat-soluble – they can only be transported by fat. Without dietary fat, their absorption is partial at best. They need saturated fat for transportation and absorption.

“True vitamin A occurs only in foods of animal origin and requires fats for absorption”

There are no plant sources of vitamin A – plants contain proto-vitamin A which need to be converted into vitamin A

28 percent of vegan children had rickets in the summer. And it was 55 percent in the winter. WTF???!?!!?

Our organs are surrounded by saturated fats – for protection and for use as fuel.

Grain fed chickens have 19-1 omega 6 to omega 3 ratio.
Pasture fed chickens eating insects etc have 1:1 in their eggs.

Page 189: Weston Price essential foods:

These groups were eating 10x more vitamins A and D then traditional Americans

“It’s significant that I have as yet found no group that was building and maintaining good bodies exclusively on plant foods. A number of groups are endeavouring to do so with marked evidence of failure.”
– Weston A. Price

Page 192: “If you spend enough time with vegans you will notice their intense sugar cravings.”

Low tryptophan in grains – which is related with serotonin and depression. Grain fed meat also very low in tryptophan. Rate of depression climbing as tryphtophan levels in food plummets.

“Cancer, like insanity, seems to increase with the progress of civilisation.”


Soy, like tofu, was traditionally served with fish broth. The high amounts of phytates in soy combined with the high minerals in fish broth balanced things out.

Soy was eaten by monks to reduce their sexual libido.

Thyroid disease and soy. Don’t eat soy supplements.

Soy seems to have some contraceptive effects in women – infertility. Like what the pill does.

Those who ate tofu at least twice a week had accelerated brain ageing, diminished cognitive ability and more like to get Alzheimer’s

In 1913, the USDA listed soy as an industrial material, not as a food.

Vegans eat a lot of soy – soy milk, soy meats, soy protein powder… What if veganism has been specifically promoted by a Soy company? Owned by DuPont! lol. Holy fuck. Imagine that. We’ve been royally fucked.

In France warning labels are put on soy foods (check source)

“Without protein and fat the brain is reduced to rigidity and obsession.”

Page 236: Chi Kung Master story.

Hypoglycaemia: sudden weepiness, temper fits, the instability.

The high omega-6s will create inflammation everywhere.

Five times as likely to have a child with birth defects.

B12 deficiency leads blindness or brain damage. There are no non-animal sources of B12. Therefore the supplements are all from animal sources.

“There’s absolutely no question that it’s unethical for parents to bring their children up as strict vegans.”

All the health issues of a vegan can also be done on a standard US diet. You can fix it as a carnivore, but not as a vegetarian.

Page 242: Do vegetarians live longer?
Seventh Day Adventists are veggies. But they also are not allowed to consume alcohol drink coffee smoke etc. They live longer than the standard American diet.

Yet when compared to a very similar group – the Mormons, who also see forbidden from drinking alcohol coffee smoking etc, yet can eat meat. They live longer than the Seventh Day Adventist. What a perfect control group hahaha

Chapter 5


Three rule:
Does this food build or destroy topsoil?
Can you walk to where this food was grown?
Does it only require ambient sun and rainfall – or does it use fossil fuels, fossil soil, fossil water, dammed rivers, drained wetlands to grow?

My food builds topsoil.

Organic matter on Joel Salatin’s farm has increased from 1.6% to 8%. Average is 2% something.
How does this compare to some place like Fukuoka’s farm? Although I think the latter couldn’t provide the full nutritional spectrum needed.

Salatin is creating one inch of soil annually. A natural pine forest builds 1-16th of an inch in fifty years

Our only chance is a judicious and humble human participation in perennial poly cultures.

“The Earth is a bounded sphere and human population will be reined in.”

The leading religions on the planet are all variations on the theme of domination
LC: is this the same with Buddhism also?

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