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From: ((Steven B. Harris))
Subject: Re: eating meat- was Re: Read this
Date: 01 Jul 1995

In <> (TIP Lab) writes:

>Humans eating animal flesh doesn't have much to do with observing the death
>in nature as a whole.  Humans do not have the anatomical structure or
>physiological needs of carnivores.

Or of herbivores, either.  We have digestive tracts rather like pigs and
chimps, which are both omnivores.  A pig will stomp a snake and eat it
like a piece of spaghetti.  Chimps will even kill and eat other chimps.
If you look to Nature, you don't see anything pretty.

> No one is saying that true carnivores should not eat other animals.

You appear to be saying that omnivores should make themselves into
vegetarians, though.

>And we all know that death is a part of the
>cycle of life.

More reverse chauvanistic crap.  Anything animals do is not to be judged
because it is the "cycle of life".   Humans, though, have to be given
special rules, and the things we do (and have always done) are somehow
viewed as unnatural.  People who think like this seem to have some deep
hatred for their own species.  What's your problem?  We're animals, just
like baboons are.  Try to give us a break.

                                         Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Grain/meat production
Date: 23 Nov 1998 21:43:55 GMT

In <73cj28$>
Vere) writes:

>In <> Michael Sierchio <>
>>jwwright wrote:
>>> ... it is more efficient in a biological sense to
>>> eat the grain,yes. economics is something else.
>>Actually,  survival and reproductive advantage don't reward
>>efficiency -- efficiency means being closer to starvation in
>>case of a single bad harvest.  Think of cows as walking
>>silos ;-)
>   Actually, think of silos as huge, stationary cows that don't eat at
>all.  Grain can be stored for years, to avoid the problems of a single
>bad harvest.
>Steven Vere

   The advantage of cows and goats etc, is that you can supplement them
with things like sawdust and silage made of grain harvest waste, which
would otherwise be unusable.  I agree this is not the way it is done
(ruminant meat animals only to take care of waste cellulose products).
But clearly the most efficient agriculture is only one that produces
LESS meat, not NO meat.   And since there aren't any clear health
differences between low meat and no-meat diets, a low meat diet is the
one that seems the most rational of all alternatives.
Not-surprisingly, the rational alternative doesn't have a large

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: cats don't make taurine
Date: 24 Nov 1998 09:15:26 GMT

In <> jwwright <>

>not that i care much for cats, but you're saying that veggie cats can't
>make taurine although humans can? so this is one difference in a animal
>we're sure is carniverous versus one we get a lot of argument

   More than that.  Cats can't make arachadonate (found in meat) from
linolenate (found in plants).  Humans can.  Cats can't split beta
carotene (found in plants) to retinol (found in meat).  Humans can.
Cats can't handle high amounts of magnesium, found in plants but not in
meat, without getting urinary stones.  Humans can.  Cats can handle
high amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat (found mostly in animals)
without getting high blood cholesterol and coronary disease.  Humans
often can't.  Cats make their own vitamin C (found in low levels in
meat, but high levels in plant foods).  Humans can't.

    Cats are not meant to be eating many plant foods, obviously.
Humans just as obviously, are meant to eat a fair fraction of our diet
as plants (though it's not obvious that it should be ALL).

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: can anyone refute the Paliolithic Diet?
Date: 13 Dec 1998 04:39:14 GMT

In <74vaan$> "David Sprouse, CSCS"
<> writes:

>From the info I've read on Paleolithic diet(s), meat seems to have been
>more or less a part of the human diet for at least 2 million years,
>especially if we include scavenging from the kills of other animals.  For
>the sake of argument (and since I don't have any references available for
>this assertion), let's assume this is true.
>So, one could put forth the argument that dairy and grains are
>more-or-less "unnatural" (whatever the hell that means) to the human
>body, and meat (at least, wild game meat) is more "natural" since it's
>been a part of the evolutionary diet for much longer.
>So far so good.  NOW, if humans have "evolved" to eat meat, then why the
>hell don't we have the sharp teeth, claws, digestive systems (comparitive
>anatomy experts, please support/refute), etc of carnivorous species? Our
>closest evolutionary ancestors (chimps) are almost exclusively
>vegetarians, right?  I know they eat bugs, larvae, maybe scrounge for
>other non-veggies every now and then, but when it comes down to it
>they're basically vegetarians aren't they?
>So, with evolution in mind, the question comes back to, "Is meat
>'natural' to the human body?" Maybe a key question here is how long does
>"dietary evolution" (optimal physiological adaptation to radically
>different food intake) take to occur?

    Not long for some to occur, since humans have smaller guts than
chimps, indicating we've already adapted SOME to eating fewer plants.
Humans have used fire for hundreds of thousands of years, and worked
stone tools for more than a million.  None of that stuff was to eat
plants.  If you need to crack a nut, you don't have to chip a rock to
do it.  You just use a rock as is.

    Yes, chimps are pretty much vegetarian.  In fact, they have a hard
time being vegetarian, since they are have a hard time living on
insects like the really small primates, and yet are not so large and
powerful as gorillas, which simply are able to tear large and tough
plants apart by shear strength.  So chimps gather fruits in social
foraging, and use unworked rocks to crack nuts, twigs to get at
insects, and generally use their brains more than other animals  This
may be part of where mankind's brain development comes from.  Our guts
show unusual meat adaptation for a primate our size, suggesting that
we've been very good at getting a higher caloric density diet dispite
lack of fangs or big muscles.  Really high intelligence beats any
natural equipment.

   The argument of what we're evolutionarily adapted for, BTW, is
irrelevent to what we should eat for longevity, anyway.  Remember,
evolution does not care very much about longevity.  Evolution cares
about reproduction.  In most mammals, diets that allow fastest growth
and earliest and most successful preproduction, are also those which
cause more rapid aging and greatest cancer incidence in older ages.
And in humans, such diets tend to be the most atherogenic.  Thus, you
can't trust your tastebuds or your instincts.  Nor can you trust
history or Mother Nature.  None of them have your long and happy
retirement in mind.  They have survival of your GENES in mind, but
that's hardly the same thing.  Not at all.

                                      Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: can anyone refute the Paliolithic Diet?
Date: 13 Dec 1998 23:03:37 GMT

In <> Michael Sierchio <>
>"Steven B. Harris" wrote:
>>     Yes, chimps are pretty much vegetarian....
>Chimpanzees hunt and eat colobus monkeys -- not my notion of being

    Let's just say they've been observed to do that by amazed
primatologists in a rare instance.  But it's hardly the norm for most
chimps out there in the wild, who've been studied of years, and do
indeed live almost entirely on fruits, nuts, palm pith, insects, and so
on.  Yes, the monkey murder and the canibalism got a lot of press.  But
it's not really important in the chimp diet scheme of things.  Any more
than your Thanksgiving turkey is to yours.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: can anyone refute the Paliolithic Diet?
Date: 13 Dec 1998 23:06:41 GMT

In <> (Hillary
Gorman) writes:
>*"Steven B. Harris" wrote:
>*>     Yes, chimps are pretty much vegetarian....
>According to notes from a handout prepared by someone at the Wisconsin
>Regional Primate Research Center:
>Chimpanzees consume a large variety of foods, with over 80 different
>items having been catalogued to date.  60% of their diet consists of
>fruits and leaves, 30% consists of other vegetation, such as seeds,
>stems, bark, insects, honey, buds, and blossoms.  Animal matter makes up
>the last 10% of their diet , consisting mainly of ants and termites.  An
>occasional small monkey , pig, or antelope is hunted by the chimps, and
>although feeding is usually an individual activity, sharing morsels of
>meat in response to begging is common after a successful hunt.  Cultural
>differences between groups of chimpanzees can be observed in the variety
>of food that is gathered and the techniques used for processing it.

   Yep.  Thanks for the confirmation.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Elevated urine pH and low blood uric acid
Date: 21 Feb 1999 15:10:13 GMT

In <> writes:

>On Fri, 19 Feb 1999 08:51:43 GMT, (Daniel Prince)
>>Is there any known disease, syndrome, or condition that causes someone
>>to have a high urine pH (8.0) (normal range for the lab of 4.5 to 7.5)
>>and a low uric acid (3.1) (normal 3.5 to 8.0)?
>	The condition of eating vegetables comes to mind. Now, whether
>or not you want to call that a disease or a syndrome is a matter of

    Yep.  Taking lots of antioxidant vitamins and antacids will do it
for you also.  Though generally if you take a lot of vitamin C, it has
to be in mineral ascorbate form to keep your urine pH that high.

    There are also people with bicarbonate losing nephropathies, so we
can't automatically assume there's nothing wrong with this guy, until
heh as a couple of simple blood and urine tests.  If he IS a total
vegetarian on Tums, it might not be worth doing-- agreed.

From: (Steve Harris
Subject: Re: Eidetic Memory affected by Vegetarian Diet?
Date: 2 Dec 2004 15:12:57 -0800
Message-ID: <> (Larisa) wrote in message
> I am wondering if there are any resources out there about
> vegetarianism and how it affects eidetic memory.  I have an eidetic
> memory for text.  When I began a vegetarian diet (including milk
> products and eggs), after a week I noticed I could not remember text
> as well; after a month, I could not remember any text at all.  I could
> still retain the meaning of the text I read, and my "regular" memory
> was unaffected - however, I could no longer recall certain passages
> verbatim, as I could before.  Supplementing the vegetarian diet with
> iron and zinc had no effect.  When I went to the doctor and had a
> blood test done, it came up normal except for a slight calcium
> deficiency.  After I went back to eating meat, the eidetic memory came
> back a few weeks later.
> Does anyone have any idea on what could be causing this, or could
> someone point me to a study or a book on this subject?  I'm curious.
> LM

Interesting report. In theory, vegetarian diets, even vegan diets,
have everything the human brain needs (save for B12 in a vegan diet--
but that won't change over weeks; it takes years).

There are things the brain uses like taurine, carnitine and fatty
acids like arachadonate and DHA, which are present in high amounts in
meat, but need to be synthesized from precursors in vegetables (with
intermediate amounts in milk and eggs). Hypothesis: perhaps you're one
of those people especially bad at making those things, as cats are.
No, I don't know of any reports that such people actually exist. Just
keep eating that fish (at least).


From: Steve Harris <>
Subject: Re: Vegetarians have lower CHD risk than omnivores
Date: 19 Aug 2005 18:32:02 -0700
Message-ID: <>

RBR wrote:
> In India, the predominantly vegetarian South Indians seem to die off
> quicker than their meat-eating neighbours to the North. Vegetarianism
> does not equal longevity.


But the Indian vegetarians eat a particuraly limited and crappy sort of
diet, which is based around butter and milk and grain, and is lower in
fruits and vegetables than vegetarian diets in richer countries.

If you look at the Seventh-Day Adventists in the US you will find
modest increases in life expectancy, and substantial decreases in
disease incidences (SDAs are not all pure vegans, but they eat
substantially less meat than the rest of the country--- the local
health food store in Loma Linda has one of the better vegetarian and
meat-replacement sections I've ever seen).

How, you ask, does the one thing (modest lifespan increase) square with
the other (substantial disease decrease)? Well, for the same reason we
see it in the statin trials. Much of it stems from the normal
non-linear increase in mortality risk with age, no matter what you eat.
The Reaper's aim gets better EXPONENTIALLY as years go by, so decreases
in age-adjusted disease incidence get rapidly eaten up by normal aging.
From age 40 to 80, your chance of dying roughly doubles every 6 to 7
years, which means that if your incidence of all disease is cut in half
for any given age, you still gain only 6 to 7 years in lifespan.

The SDAs typically have cuts of 30% in things like heart disease and
cancer, and this translates into increases in lifespan of only a few
years. Nothing to sneer at, but not immortality or freedom from disease
either. There's lots of evidence that American amounts of American
meats are bad for you. But let's not go overboard. The extra loses us a
few years of life, probably, and not much more.


From: Steve Harris <>
Subject: Re: Vegetarian diets: what are the advantages?
Date: 26 Aug 2005 14:44:36 -0700
Message-ID: <>

TC wrote:
> Don Wiss wrote:
> > George Cherry <> wrote:
> >
> > >      1: Forum Nutr. 2005;(57):147-56. Related Articles, Links
> > >Vegetarian diets: what are the advantages?
> >
> > >A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that wholesome vegetarian
> > >diets offer distinct advantages compared to diets containing meat and other
> > >foods of animal origin. The benefits arise from lower intakes of saturated
> > >fat, cholesterol and animal protein as well as higher intakes of complex
> > >carbohydrates, dietary fiber, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C and E,
> > >carotenoids and other phytochemicals.
> >
> > All of these higher intakes can also be achieved with a non-vegetarian
> > diet. The only fair comparison of veggie versus non-veggie diets is whether
> > meat is included or excluded. Everything else should be the same. Otherwise
> > the comparison tells us nothing.
> >
> > Don <> (e-mail link at home page bottom).
> How do you get the essential animal-sourced lipids and proteins on a
> diet that completely excludes animal-source foods?
> Huh?
> TC


There are no essential animal-sourced proteins. All essential AA are
present in plants. Why would you think otherwise? As for animal-sourced
lipids, the long chain w-3 PUFA "DHA" need for the brain, is
conditionally animal-sourced (some sea algae and krill have it also).
But you can make enough DHA for adults (at least) from ALA in plants.
It's not efficient, but it's possible.

Montygram the Coconut thinks that even though DHA is the most abundant
FA in the brain, that in a pinch your brain can get along with no DHA.
I think Montygram is attempting this experiment himself, but as his
brain DHA falls, his argument quality gets thinner and thinner....


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