I was a little confused after reading “The Vegetarian Myth” review in Permaculture Activist as well as the first chapter on the author’s website. I couldn’t figure out exactly what myths were being “demolished,” as the reviewer puts it.

The few “myths” I was able to pick out from the rants seemed like straw man arguments. Sure, simply eating a plant-based diet will not necessary translate to treading more easily on the earth. But the same goes for eating an Atkins meat diet.

Saying all vegetarians/vegans support industrialized grain production is a dubious assertion. If grains are desired at all, they can be done on a sustainable scale i.e. Fukuoka. I’m bewildered that a reviewer in a permaculture magazine would not be aware of this.

According to the author and reviewer, a vegetarian diet will kill you. This sure doesn’t jive with my own experiences, having not been sick with even a cold since 2004 when I stopped eating meat and started thinking about my health. If I’m just some exception or will get sick later, then why have numerous cultures in Asia (sects of Hindis, Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists) thrived for thousands of years on plant-based diets? Why do many vegetarian Seventh-day Adventists live longer, more healthy lives than the rest of the US population?

Some vegetarians and vegans eat unbalanced, processed meals sourced mainly from thousands of miles away. But again you can do this with an Atkins meat diet too. In the age of industrial food production and processing, any diet can be unsustainable.

Rather than polemically arguing, I’d rather have people decide for themselves. Examining what will work for yourself and your ecosystem is the best in my book, while of course not ignoring the life and inter-connectedness of all things. Telling everyone what this will specifically be is not only arrogant but absurd and contrary to seeking local solutions with permaculture.

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