I want to preface this article by saying that I like Steven Crowder. I actually agree with most of his views, especially how he encourages people to get out of their victim mentality and be a victor instead,or how he values facts over feelings. However, this is a rare instance where I disagree with him: the subject of veganism. He made this video quite a while back, interviewing a former vegan lady named Lierre Keith, who wrote the book The Vegetarian Myth. I love doing rebuttals, so I decided to clear up fact from fiction on this video (which is odd, because Steven usually clings to facts when it comes to other statements, but in this video, you’ll find a huge lack of peer reviewed studies or any real science at all). Let’s begin.
Here is the original video by Steven Crowder:
Here are all the main points of discussion throughout Steven’s interview with Lierre Keith in the order that they were brought up in the video:
- Most people who are vegan “give up in 3 months.”
This is an appeal to the people/crowd fallacy. If a lot of people are giving up on a movement, it does not prove that the movement is bad or wrong. Also, she does not cite her source on this statistic, so there is no way of knowing if this is actually the behavior of the average vegan.
- Being vegan for 20 years “destroyed” Lierre Keith’s health.
Usually, if someone’s health has been “destroyed,” they are near death. Lierre fails to give any examples or proof directly after this statement as to what the plant-based diet has done to her. Through she mentions a few things later on.
- It’s a “harmful ideology that draws you in and makes you not know who you are anymore.”
She’s trying to say that veganism is like some kind of cult that brainwashes you. This is untrue, since veganism isn’t a religion or cult, nor does it have a leader or guru. If other vegans are trying to shame you or make you feel pressured, it is your choice whether or not to become like them or follow their ideology.
- Steven crowder has a “passionate disdain” for veganism.
I’ve never understood why people would say this. Even when I was a meat eater, I had respect for vegans because they care about animals enough to spare their lives. What is so bad about that? Sure, some vegans online and on TV are rude and pushy, but get to know real vegans, like myself or my friends, and that is not the case at all. There will always be a jerk among a group of nice people. Just like how some Christians can be absolute bigots, but most are really nice.
- Vegans “hate” Lierre Keith because she “still claims the same (liberal) moral ground and won’t give it up.”
When you make yourself a public figure with the goal of bringing down a movement, people who follow that movement will reject your message. When you treat others negatively, you will be treated the same in return. This is true with any group or movement. I myself don’t hate Lierre Keith, but I do dislike her negative message.
- You “can’t hang onto any ideology (like veganism) that tightly,” otherwise, everything starts to “go wrong.”
Like what, exactly? Your health? Your relationships? Not sure what she means by this.
- Steven “hates” the idea that if you eat animals, you hate animals. He attempts to prove this point by saying he has a dog he cares about a lot.
So why is it okay to love one animal and kill/eat another? And yes, people can have an adoration for animals and still eat them, but typically, if those people have to kill the animal themselves, they have a hard time doing it or just can’t bring themselves to do it at all. There is a great disconnect between the idea of loving our pets and paying others to kill other animals for food. All sentient creatures still have a will to live, whether it is a dog, a cow, or a human.
- He doesn’t see meat eating as anything “unnatural” or that “displays hatred.”
This plays into the notion that if something is natural, it’s automatically good for you (the appeal-to-nature fallacy). We do plenty of things that are unnatural, like showering taking antibiotics when we have infections, etc. That doesn’t make them bad things. That being said, it is completely possible to live a completely healthy life (even a longer and healthier life than usual) on a plant-based diet. (see the book The China Study form more information on this). And no, having an animal killed for your food when it’s unnecessary in this day and age isn’t “hateful,” but it is irresponsible and uncaring. There are plenty of foods we can eat besides animal foods and we can still get all the nutrients we need from them, so why wouldn’t we choose that?
- Lierre Keith says she gets a lot of death threats from vegans.
That’s unfortunate, and I don’t support death threats for any reason, but it’s also what anyone should expect if they talk about controversial topics online. It’s just how the internet works.
- Steven says vegans won't be able to follow through with death threats because they’re “too exhausted.”
From what? Protein deficiency? That doesn’t exist unless someone is literally starving. Look it up. All foods contain amino acids, which are protein, and many plant-foods like quinoa or brown rice and beans contain all 9 amino acids, making them a complete protein. Vegans have plenty of energy. Often more than our meat-eating companions. There's also the vitamin B12 requirement, which humans can either get 1) second hand from an animal that has consumed the b12 bacteria from soil while grazing, 2) from b12 bacteria in dirt we neglect to wash from our produce, or 3) just by taking a supplement. I prefer the third option.
- He also says vegans can’t go through with death threats because “they’re not pro-second-amendment people.”
I’m vegan and I’m pro-second-amendment. Most of my vegan friends are very conservative too and own guns. The idea that veganism is strictly a liberal movement is false and not based on any fact or statistic.
- Steven likens Lierre leaving veganism to a muslim convert that needs to be executed (in vegans’ eyes) and Lierre replies “Yes, I’m an apostate.”
Again, they’re passive-aggressively implying that veganism is a cult or religion and that all vegans take part in shunning those who leave the movement. It’s nothing like that. I, nor my vegan friends, have ever acted that way, and nor would we.
- Lierre states “Agriculture is the most destructive thing that people have done to the planet.” She goes on to say we’ve wiped out 98% of forests. (90% of the world’s prairies have been “destroyed.)”
Some proof of this would be nice. There is actually more evidence that animal agriculture, in particular, is what is causing the most destruction. Crops can be rotated to avoid problems with topsoil, and plants can be grown in FAR less space and with far less water than it takes to produce animal products. Besides that, according to the Cornell University website: “"More than half the U.S. grain and nearly 40 percent of world grain is being fed to livestock rather than being consumed directly by humans… Although grain production is increasing in total, the per capita supply has been decreasing for more than a decade. Clearly, there is reason for concern in the future." (Source: http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/1997/08/us-could-feed-800-million-people-grain-livestock-eat). If you think agriculture if killing that planet, let’s stop producing so much livestock that we have to grow all this grain for in the first place.
- Lierre claims vegans want to “wipe out every natural habitat” so the farm animals can live in them.
The point of veganism is 1) to reduce animal suffering as much as possible 2) to reduce our carbon footprint on the environment by not contributing to factory farming of animals 3) to be healthier/live longer. We aren’t trying to get every farm animal released into the wild. As the demand for animal product decreases, less animals will be bred, so as demand goes down, so will the population of livestock animals. Simple as that. It’s not as if the world is just going to turn vegan overnight. It would be a process.
- She admits factory farming is terrible and those animals live terrible lives.
Yes,that is absolutely true. Watch the film Earthlings if you are unaware of what goes on in factory farms.
- She admits it’s bizarre to feed the farm animals things they weren’t designed to eat, like corn (and soy). She says it’s also “unhealthy when we eat them.”
True, it is unhealthy for the cows to eat those things and also unhealthy for people to eat animals, let alone unhealthy animals.
See the film Forks Over Knives or Eating You Alive for more scientific data on this.
- Steven admits that the FDA does scam people when it comes to supplements and organic food, meaning it is not only too expensive for most local farmers, but there are still pesticides in organic food.
Which is true.
- Lierre claims that the reason we have animal factory farms is because of the surplus of corn in the agriculture industry. She says this is not the way we or the cows were designed to eat.
Which is partially true, but we don’t just have animal agriculture to use up the corn and soy we have to grow. It’s also to meet the demand of meat that Americans (and other Westerners) expect to have as the main course of nearly every meal.
- Lierre also says the giants that control the world's food supply require farmers to grow this much corn to keep up with the demand for these foods.
Which is also true, and unfortunate. But we can vote with our dollar and eradicate this regulation by reducing the demand.
- She says the reason people have gotten fat is because corn, wheat, and soy are pushed on us because of the FDA subsidizing those crops. She calls them “Crap carbohydrates.”
While refined wheat flour, refined cornmeal/flour, and isolated soy proteins are empty calories that contribute to weight gain, whole wheat, whole corn, and whole soy have plenty of beneficial nutrients as well as fiber, which helps fight obesity, colon cancer, etc. Not to mention, wheat, corn, and soy are eaten in their whole form as staple foods all around the world, not just in America. Chinese and Japanese people have been eating soy in their traditional diets for centuries and they still live to be a century old!
- Lierre claims that “every civilization that has sprung up around the basis of agriculture collapses (after 800-2000 years) because it wears out the top soil.”
No studies to back that up. Also, that’s why we have crop rotation, to keep the land lush and fertile.
- Steven interprets that as “So if we go vegan, in a few hundred years we’ll (be eating animals and each other).”
Slippery slope fallacy.
- Steven says he disagrees with Lierre on the subject of environmental sustainability, so they debate for a while over whether or not the government is reliable to make positive changes like we want them to. He doesn’t trust them to save the planet.
Which makes sense.
- Steven says he once got persuaded to do the “green smoothie thing.” Rob Wolf (from the film Supersize Me” told him to stop doing that. Turns out, Steven has hypothyroidism, which is rare for a young person or a man. Lierre says she has it too. Steven points out that it’s a sign of prediabetes
Which is true. Green smoothies aren’t a bad thing, but they’re definitely not required on a vegan diet. I don’t prefer them myself.
- He points out that kale and other goitrogenic vegetables can irritate this condition.
Which is partially true. It’s kind of like how sugar irritates diabetes, but it isn’t necessarily the cause of it. Goitrogenic vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and kale can irritate hypothyroidism, but they are definitely not the cause.
Here is how animal products cause diabetes (from an actual dietary doctor):
And here is the cause of hypothyroidism (from an actual doctor):
- Lierre points out that a lot of vegetables aren’t edible until you cook them.
This is to thwart raw vegans, mainly. To this I say, so what? Most options on the paleo diet have to be cooked too. Humans possess an advanced brain with the ability to use tools and cook. Besides, even if it was considered totally natural for humans to eat all raw, that would yet again be an appeal to nature fallacy.
- She goes further and claims that raw produce has “antinutrients” and that you have to cook vegetables in order to kill those anti-nutrients.
I would like to see the research and peer reviewed studies on the toxicity of these “antinutrients.” Sounds like nothing but fear mongering.
- She says this is how “plants fight back,” because “plants don’t want to be eaten either,” so their only defense is “chemicals.” For this, she claims plants are “the original chemical warfare people.”
Plants don’t have a brain or emotions. Therefore they are incapable of coming up with wants, hopes, or dreams. Plants are not people, and most plants we use for food today obviously are perfectly safe to eat.
- She says that’s why seeds are “so hard to eat. You have to do a lot to make seeds edible.”
When I was a kid, I walked to a field near my house, went up to a giant sunflower growing there, and popped the seeds out into my hand, eating them as I walked back home. I literally did nothing to make them “more edible.” I ate them straight from the source. I don’t really understand what she means with this statement.
- She says that’s why plants are bitter, because they don’t want us to eat them. “That’s why they’re poisonous.”
Yet raw organ meats (which she mentions later) are also disgusting and taste nauseating. But Lierre still encourages people to eat them. Are we to assume that because something tastes bad in its natural form, like some vegetables happen to, that they are bad for you? No. There is no evidence at all to back up that claim.
- She also says, “We have no way to digest cellulose anyway.You need multiple chambers in your stomach, tons of bacteria that can do the work, we can’t even do it. Most of the food on this planet is never going to be food for us.”
Cellulose is a type of polysaccharide plant fiber. Humans have to have fiber to survive. According to Mayoclinic.org (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983), a high-fiber diet has many benefits, which include:
- Normalizes bowel movements. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation. If you have loose, watery stools, fiber may help to solidify the stool because it absorbs water and adds bulk to stool.
- Helps maintain bowel health. A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease). Some fiber is fermented in the colon. Researchers are looking at how this may play a role in preventing diseases of the colon.
- Lowers cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or "bad," cholesterol levels. Studies also have shown that high-fiber foods may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
- Helps control blood sugar levels. In people with diabetes, fiber — particularly soluble fiber — can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. A healthy diet that includes insoluble fiber may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Aids in achieving healthy weight. High-fiber foods tend to be more filling than low-fiber foods, so you're likely to eat less and stay satisfied longer. And high-fiber foods tend to take longer to eat and to be less "energy dense," which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.
- Steven assumes that the raw diet is unhealthy because Andy Dick does it and he “looks unhealthy.”
Honestly, I’m not sure why raw veganism keeps coming up in this discussion. The topic is regular veganism, not specifically raw veganism. But that being said, you can't base the benefits of an entire eating lifestyle on the perceived appearance of one person who follows it. If we were to follow the crazy starvation diets of many celebrities, simply because they look good, we would find ourselves very unhealthy.
- Steven now eats raw egg yolks, cod liver oil, etc. Lierre applauds him, saying it’s good to eat raw organ meats a little each week too. She says she knows a lot of people are grossed out by that, but around the world, through all human history, those are the foods considered sacred. She also consumes bone broth.
We’re grossed out by it because you’re literally eating raw bloody flesh. Just google “raw meat dangers” or “raw egg dangers,” E Coli, Salmonella, and Listeria immediately come up among other food borne illnesses. Not to mention the increased likelihood of contracting a parasite. Also, bone broth is likely to contain lead, as explained by this dietary doctor:
- Lierre says she “did permanent damage to her body,” from being vegan, all because she was “young and idealistic,” but she made a mistake.
Everyone thinks they were dumber in their younger days, so that’s beside the point. But when it comes to damage Lierre has done to her body, she really never goes into great detail about what exactly has happened to her. She mentions hypothyroidism, but we don’t know if that was before or after going vegan. She also mentions being plant-based for 20 years messed up her insulin receptors in some way, but as far as we can tell, she’s not diabetic or even prediabetic, so this argument really holds no water unless she gives more detail of her supposed conditions.
- She says over those scope of “2 million years in our history,there’s no question about what we ate. People who come up with these just-so stories are people who are ideologically driven.” She goes on to say we know this from the teeth and bones of early humans, their campsites full of animal remains, as well as the “pictures they drew about it.”
First of all, everyone is ideologically driven, including Lierre. She just switched one ideology for another when she quit veganism. Also, once again, she provides no sources for this information. However, real archeologists will tell you that early human remains were always found with grains in their teeth. They not only ate crops, but grew them too.
Take it from an actual dietary doctor:
Or better yet, an actual archeologist:
- She says we can look at today’s hunter gatherers and see what they eat as an example.
Again, just because our ancestors did it (appeal to tradition fallacy) or just because it’s considered “natural” (appeal to nature fallacy), doesn’t prove something is healthy.
- Steven points out that even modern hunter-gatherers lives are significantly shorter than lifespans of people in modern society, just like those in paleolithic times. He asks how Lierre would explain that.
He is correct to question that.
- Lierre says “the number you need is the mortality rate double time, and what that says is it factors out all the environmental reasons people die at very young ages. So throughout most of human history, if you lived to be five years old, you actually lived to be about as old as we are now. But early childhood was a really hard time to be a human being. So if you got over all the environmental factors that made being a baby really hard in pre-history, past that, you had really solid health.”
This is 100% scientifically untrue, as cavemen are documented as living to an average age of 30. Most did not die in childhood, but they did not live long as an adult either.
- She says “that changes when people take up agriculture. It was actually a complete disaster for human health when people switched from these nutrient dense diets based on animals to diets based strictly on carbohydrate. The archeological record could not be clearer. Their bones crumble, their teeth fall out, and they shrink 6 inches, almost immediately.”
Again, some proof of these findings would really help this point sound more valid.
- Steven says, on this topic, he is a moderate. He believes that mainly meats, veggies, and some fruit are good, and he doesn’t believe some oatmeal is going to kill you. He says he can understand the argument for the paleo crowd, but he does think it’s “undeniable” that a lot about diets is influenced by political power and those who have the most amount of cash.” He likens this to “superfarms.”
He is correct in saying that we need fruits and veggies in our diet. And yes, whole grains are good for you and will definitely not kill you. Google “Staple foods” and go to the wikipedia page to see all the cultures of the world “dying” off of their main food source: grains. Including cultures of people that live into their hundreds, such as in Okinawa, Japan and Papua, New Guinea. These are also cultures that eat very little meat/eggs and virtually no dairy.
- Steven says, “If you look at the American diet and the food pyramid, the human diet has changed in the past 100 years more than it has in the thousands of years preceding it.”
Which is true to a certain degree. We still require the same nutrients as before, but processed food is more of a temptation now, though whole foods are still available.
- Lierre agrees, saying that “because of the government, everyone is fat and sick and stupid and dying.”
This is somewhat true, but a bit of an exaggeration. We still have a choice in what we eat or do with our lives. The government controls subsidies and advertising, but not what we make our own decisions to purchase and consume.
- She gives examples of kids as young as 10 having diabetes that used to be called “adult onset” diabetes.
This is also true, but diabetes is not caused by whole plant carbohydrates, nor are there any studies that directly link things like corn, soy, or wheat to diabetes. There are, however, plenty of studies that link high animal product consumption to diabetes. (See the diabetes video on point #25).
- Lierre claims that problems like diabetes are prevalent these days because the government told people to stop eating fat and eat more carbohydrates, and “we were not designed to eat a diet that is mainly sugar.”
Around the 1980s, we were being told by certain health organizations such as the FDA that a diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol contributed greatly to diabetes, heart disease, and cancer (which often comes with obesity, etc.). But unsaturated fats, such as those in avocados, olives, etc. were still considered healthy. So fat itself wasn’t seen as the villain, only saturated fats which come mainly from animal-based foods. Also, when the FDA suggested we lay off the fats and eat more carbohydrates, they obviously didn’t mean white flour and processed sugar. Non-starchy vegetables, starchy vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds all contain carbohydrates, and all are very good for the human body because they contain essential nutrients. Not to mention, glucose is a required nutrient to feed our cells. Without it, our body goes into ketosis, where we are running off of our fat stores only. This is how our body tries to help us survive during starvation. So while some people lose weight eating low-carb, they are also not getting the proper nutrients for their cells, especially the brain. Nowadays, the script has been flipped, and because of the Atkins, Keto, and Paleo movements, people are eating more fat than ever, and getting sicker than ever.
- Steven asks “What about people like Rob Wolf who say tubers, root vegetables, potatoes and sweet potatoes are good for high performing athletes?” He says since they are not processed grains, some say that they are good for athletes who need higher carbs.
To this day, there is no proven study to suggest that grains increase our mortality risk in any way. Also, there have been entire societies of people who have lived off of potatoes. Just look at what happened to the Irish during the potato famine. Before it happened, they thrived. When their potato crops died out, so did they. It was their main food source that kept them alive and healthy. Also, after World War II, food was scarce in Japan because people were having trouble growing rice, so they turned to growing sweet potatoes (those grow even in soil that is less fertile) and they saved themselves from famine. To this day, those in Japan that still follow a traditional Japanese diet, including staples of rice and sweet potatoes, often live to be in their hundreds with virtually no diseases.
- Lierre agrees, though she says it depends on how much damage you’ve done to your insulin receptors. She says she’s done a lot of damage to hers, to the extent that she can’t handle that load of carbohydrate on a daily basis.
See the video I posted about diabetes under point #25. Also, it sounds as if Lierre doesn’t have diabetes, she just believes she has has damage to her insulin receptors. For all we know, she could have self-diagnosed this, and she is not a doctor.
- Steven says, while he agrees and disagrees with different parts of Lierre’s overall position on this topic, he also hates people on the other side who say "life expectancy is longer now" compared to the paleolithic days. He says, “people used to have 19 kids and one would get kicked by a horse and die. Nowadays people get taken out by a box of fruit loops… Nowadays the chronic disease is definitely a problem. I think everyone tries to solve it a different way.”
Exactly. Today we are more likely to die from the food we eat than anything else. That is reason to pay attention to how our diet has changed. However, let’s look at meat consumption since the early 1900s.(Chart from NPR.org. Here is the full article: http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/06/27/155527365/visualizing-a-nation-of-meat-eaters ).
It would appear the change in our diet was mainly the introduction of bigger animal product servings and a decrease in whole plant foods as the years go by.
- Steven goes back to the idea of Lierre being an “apostate.” He asks Lierre how she feels about having the majority of the diet industry say to fill up half your plate with fruits and veggies when she has seen “what this can do to your body.”
Again, filling up half your plate, by common medical knowledge and research, is extremely healthy, as proven by this dietary doctor’s presentation on peer reviewed studies for the topic.
There is no big conspiracy on eating fruits and vegetables. Such a thing would be illogical and frankly, ridiculous.
- Lierre says, “There are a lot more doctors coming around,” and that more studies are coming out saying that saturated fat actually “doesn’t hurt people.”
First of all, most doctors only get less than 20 hours of nutritional education. Unless someone is a dietician, nutritionist, or a doctor specializing in nutrition, it's best to get a second opinion from someone with a dietary degree. But when it comes to there being more doctors pushing the paleo diet, of course there are. There are studies that say hugging your dog is bad for them too. There are lots of studies that make bold claims, but unless they are peer reviewed and proven to work every single time, it’s best to be skeptical of them. Not to mention, people love hearing researchers tell them, “You can eat all the butter and bacon you want and lose weight!” Of course more doctors are turning to that. People actually listen to it, even though it’s not truly healthful.
- Lierre states that “the USDA is not charged with protecting public health, they are charged with selling commodity agriculture. So they're going to keep pushing that food pyramid basically until they’re dead.”
Which is true, but this goes for them pushing animal agriculture too. The American cancer society is sponsored in part by the Tyson meat company. The American Diabetes Association is sponsored in part by the Dannon dairy company. The American Heart Association is sponsored by Splenda, Walmart, Walgreens, Subway, and Monsanto. This information is right on their websites. With money coming in from these loyal and unhealthy companies, you can bet, they are saying whatever those companies want them to say.
- They both then discuss why it’s important to “follow the money” when it comes to big companies claiming things are healthy for us.
Which, in and of itself, is true.
However, there is overwhelming evidence throughout scientific history that diets higher in fruits and vegetables are more healing to the body and preventative of disease and weight problems.
(See the video in point #48).
- Steven goes back to Lierre’s statement how animals weren’t meant to be this way (factory farmed), and points out that humans took wolves and domesticated them to our dog companions to help us. So he says animal domestication isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Which is partially true, if you consider the needs of people in history. But we must also consider the needs of people today (or lack of them) concerning domesticated animals. These days in the Western world, dogs are usually pets, not hunting companions or sheep dogs. In fact, many dogs are homeless and dying on the streets because we’ve let them overpopulate (and many pet owners choose not to spay or neuter them, which makes the problem worse). If the majority of people took up a plant-based diet, there would be little need for farm animal domestication anymore either.
- Lierre uses this point to mention that plants don’t want much to do with us either, except “a few that figured ‘if we work together, this can work for both of us',” such as certain grasses planted in forests, as well as corn, soy, and wheat.
Plants aren’t capable of making their minds up about anything. They don’t have minds.
- She uses the example of apples, that before, apples used to be inedible, but we bred them to be sweet enough that we could handle eating them.
This is true, but it proves nothing about what we as humans are supposed to eat to be healthy. We bred plants to be tastier just like people bred the animals meat eaters consume to be fatter and more docile. This has nothing to do with it being healthy or not.
- She says it’s the same with (domestic) animals. A few were willing to “give it a try.” It’s not us doing something horrible to them, or them doing something horrible us, these are independent (interdependent?) relationships. Everything in nature is that kind of relationship.” She give the example of insects pollinating plants and says everyone gets something out of that relationship, stating “it’s the same with domesticated animals and humans. We get something out of it, they get something out of it and we all live longer.”
Before it is slaughtered, every single animal cries out in pain and puts up a fight for their lives. They are never “willing to give it a try.” Watch Earthlings or any footage inside a factory farm if you’ve never seen this process. This is not a “cycle of life” since we are producing those animals in surplus. It is not a natural cycle in any way. And even if it was, as mentioned before, “natural” does not equate to healthy.
- Steven brings up a conversation he had with a vegan, stating that she hated meat and it was cruel. She said “I don’t want whatever’s on your plate because it’s dead. My food is living.” He says that that’s ironic because a food dehydrator is the “Auschwitz of asparagus.”
It’s always uncomfortable when someone tries to push their ideologies on us. This is something I personally don’t do because it never convinces anyone of anything. However, it sounds like Steven was speaking specifically to a raw vegan, which is a different thing entirely, but it still falls under the vegan umbrella, so I will address it anyway. First of all, a dehydrator keeps the nutrients and live enzymes of fruits and vegetables alive and intact as long as it is not heated above 118 degrees fahrenheit. Auschwitz for vegetables would look more like a stove or an oven, where more nutrients are likely to be lost. Most vegans do not use the “living food” argument because most prefer a lot of cooked food in their diet, unlike raw vegans. I myself eat a lot of cooked food. Still, most plant foods we eat don’t kill the plant. Pick fruit off of a tree, a berry from a bush, or a tomato from a vine, and the plant still keeps on growing. In cases such as root vegetables where we actually eat the plant, though, see what I have to say about that on point #58.
- He says he knows his food is dead. He picked it up from the farmer’s market and knew it “lived a good life.”
If a good life means living for barely a fraction of your full lifespan, being kept in a harsh, cramped environment most (or all) of that short life, and then being met with a painful and horrific death, then I hope I never live that “good life.”
- Steven asks, “If we’re going to create this moral equivalency between animals and humans, (which I don’t believe in, I don’t believe animals are on the same playing field as humans, I believe we’re smarter, we have a space program and lightbulbs), isn’t it then easy to create the equivalency between (plants)? If we’re all the same, wouldn’t plants deserve any less consideration than the animals above them or humans?
The point of veganism is not that humans and all other life forms are equal. For example, we kill bugs all the time just by stepping on them by accident, we kill bacteria just by being alive, and we have to eat plants in order to stay alive. If I had a choice between saving a human child and saving a dog, of course, I would save the human child. However, that doesn’t automatically mean that dog’s life has no value, as with any animal/sentient being. If we don’t have to eat animals, and we can even be healthier doing that, then we should make that choice. The point is to reduce cruelty toward sentient beings (meaning they have a brain and are able to suffer) as much as possible. Simple as that. Besides, even if plants did show signs of suffering, what would be the alternative? Not eating anything? Starving to death? No. But if people are really that concerned about the wellbeing of plants, we should stop raising livestock, because most of the grain, corn, and soy we grow goes to them, not us.
- Lierre says that was a problem she had when she was a vegan because she didn’t want to make those “hierarchies” and yet she was. Meat eaters would taunt her with questions like “what about the plants?” And she “never had a good answer.”
I do. Unlike animals, plants don’t have a brain or a nervous system, therefore they are
unable to feel pain. Also, while studies have shown that plants emit measurable frequencies that sometimes seem to be connected to emotions of people around them, again, they don’t have a brain, and are unable to produce complex emotions, so they cannot suffer. Which would make you more uncomfortable: chopping up a carrot, or slitting a lamb’s throat? There is a reason that killing a sentient being evokes negative feelings while we couldn’t care less about a plant food being chopped up.
- Lierre says nature is a cycle and if you take one piece out of that cycle, the whole thing collapses. If you don’t have enough predators eating the ruminants, they will turn the place to desert. Humans are apex predators, just like wolves and bears.
Let’s look at our own physiology as humans and compare it with omnivores like bears, carnivores like wolves, herbivores, etc.
It’s plain to see what humans do not fit the biological profile of a carnivore or omnivore at all. This would explain why our bodies contract more illnesses (diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc. when we eat a diet high in animal products. He lean more to the Herbivore/Frugivore side. Nutritional physicians such as Dr. John McDougall suggest that we could even be put into our own category, known as “starchivores.”
- Steven agrees and jokingly says “when you’ve got your permit to carry, you become an apex predator.”
I realize this was a joke, but it brings up an interesting point. Without guns or man-made weapons, how would we kill animals? With our sharp claws and long fangs? Oh wait, we don’t have those. (see the previous comparison chart). If we need complex weapons to kill our animals, and we’re not willing to eat the bones, blood, nails, snout, anus,and cartilage of the animal like all carnivores do, it’s safe to say we’re not carnivores (or omnivores).
- In their closing statements, Steven jokes that vegans might have a hard time doing a Google search for Lierre’s book online because they don’t have enough saturated fat to make their brain cells work properly.
Again, this was meant as a joke, but a lot of people actually believe this to be a significant nutritional point, so I will address it. For one thing, let’s observe a common brain issue many people face today: strokes. By definition, according to medicalnewstoday.com, “Strokes occur due to problems with the blood supply to the brain: either the blood supply is blocked or a blood vessel within the brain ruptures, causing brain tissue to die.” These blocked blood vessels are caused by plaque in the arteries, the same way that such plaque can cause heart disease and erectile dysfunction. According to this peer reviewed study, http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/29/8/1777.short , A Low-Fat Vegan Diet Improves Glycemic Control and Cardiovascular Risk Factors, meaning that lowering the fat (especially saturated fat) in your diet will actually decrease your risk for stroke, heart disease, diabetes, etc, which is fantastic news for your brain. Fat is definitely an essential nutrient for the body to function, but you only need 36 to 62 grams of fat when consuming a 1,600-calorie diet per day, 44 to 78 grams if eating a 2,000-calorie diet per day and (for athletes) 58 to 101 grams of fat when consuming 2,600 calories per day.
Still, if you are convinced that you need high amounts of saturated fat in your diet, you can get plenty of it from coconut or coconut oil. Problem solved.
There were other videos and articles in which Steven pokes fun at vegans, including his video entitled ACTUAL SCIENTIST: "Climate Change is a Scam!, in which he states,
“Orca whales are vicious. So are seals (and) sea otters. Their mating patterns.. I have standup bits about this where I take some pretty rough stuff in the animal kingdom (of course I use it as leverage to make fun of vegans, but) when people say animals don’t treat each other as poorly as humans, do- ‘Come again, stupid?’ Some of what they do, dolphins for example, commit infanticide, they kill for fun, they rape other dolphins. The point is, yes, the animal kingdom is not perfect.”
For the record, I’ve never heard any vegan try to claim that animals don’t treat each other as poorly as humans. But even though animals can be cruel to other animals at times, it is in their nature. Especially animals that have to kill other animals just to have food. But killing them because they are “cruel” would mean we are repeating the think we are killing them for. We would become the ones that are cruel by killing them. Also animals usually don’t have the empathy or reasoning that human beings have when it comes to preserving life. And that can be a good thing. Otherwise nature would have no predators to be their population control and our planet would be completely overrun. We don’t need to interfere. As long as we are not being attacked or infested, there is no need to interfere with or kill animals in their natural habitats.
Also, in his video entitled DEBUNKED: Top 5 "Climate Change" Myths, Steven states,
“Myth: the polar bears are dying off. Truth: There are possibly more of these soul-less killing monsters on Earth today than ever. Certainly since we’ve been monitoring them… It’s one of the few species to actually hunt humans. What the h*** are we keeping them around for?”
He goes on to say that while Disney shows polar bears and cute and cuddly, don’t show your kids footage of actual polar bears ripping seals apart.
“If their population keeps growing,” he says, “that won’t be a seal, it will be your son. Science hat back on, kill all of them.”
Just want to interject here- fear mongering and slippery slope fallacy. That aside, Steven clearly has a great disconnect between the pets he loves (which are just as vicious when they are wild, such as wolves), and other animal species. Lierre mentioned in her interview with him about the cycle of life and how all species play a vital part in the Earth’s eco-system, and if one part is taken away, the results can be catastrophic. If polar bears were all killed off because we suddenly decided they are “useless” or “soul-less killing machines,” the population of seals would increase, making the population of fish that they consume decrease, tipping the environment in the opposite direction. Not to mention, why would you want to kill an animal you don’t even live near and that poses no threat whatsoever to you or your loved ones? I can understand if I was being chased by a polar bear, I’d shoot him to protect myself, as anyone would, vegan or not. But that doesn’t mean we should just kill for the heck of it. Non-vegans often tell me “don’t try to tell people what to eat. Just live and let live.” By that logic, why can’t we just live and let animals live too?
Lastly, Steven has an article on his website called Woman Spots Chicken Truck, Rams it With Her Car. Because She’s Vegan… Of course, the article is written to paint vegans as crazy hippies who get triggered by something as mundane as a chicken truck. Obviously, this lady was actually insane, unlike the vast majority of vegans who would never even think of doing something so stupid (and ironic, she did happen to harm some chickens in the crash, which shows it was more about her own pride, not about the welfare of the chickens).
At the end of the day, being vegan isn’t about seeing animals as equivalents to humans. It’s not about saving every living organism from death, and it’s not about dogma or purity. It’s about making an effort to reduce cruelty as much as we can, and likely become healthier in the process. If we live in a time and place where we have options when we go to the grocery store and can choose anything we want to eat, why not choose the compassionate option? Making that choice has made all the difference in my life and I know it can for others too. :)
As I said, I have nothing against Steven Crowder or Lierre Keith as people. In fact, I think they are very intelligent individuals who both have causes they really care about, which I respect. I do hope, however, that they will recognize and respect other people’s efforts toward their own causes as well and try to look at things from the opposite point of view with logic instead of pre-conceived notions.