So this article I read on Food52 portrays the story of a vegetarian, or… ex vegetarian I should say, named Kate. Kate claimed that by refusing to eat meat and dairy that she got memory blanks, intense meat cravings, fatigue, and moodiness, up to the point of not being able to tell dry herbs apart.
She claimed she ate a really healthy diet full of Quinoa, Black Beans, Greens, etc, but still deteriorated this way, even though she also claimed to consume a lot of supplements. In comes the magical supplement, Bone Broth. She claims that just hours after consuming a single serving of bone broth, she was able to sleep through the night, and the very next day she claimed she had the energy to go for a hike.
In fact, a commenter on that article sums up my views on this quite well:
There is no magical nutritional ambrosia to be found in meat – and far, far less in “bone broth” (less pretentiously known as chicken or beef stock). Until you’ve had a complete and thorough medical workup (not just “talked to some Ayurvedic specialists”) to determine the reason for your symptoms, blaming them on an absence of meat in your diet is just intellectual dishonesty and a way to rationalize to yourself a decision you’re not comfortable with facing head-on. Because while it is certainly possible that there are a rare few people out there who *truly* aren’t able to sustain a properly designed, nutritionally complete and balanced, and calorically sufficient vegan/vegetarian diet (people with gastrointestinal disorders who can’t tolerate fiber, perhaps?), they are almost certainly quite rare, and whatever you want to tell yourself to make yourself feel better, it’s pretty darn unlikely that you are one of them – especially not if your problems were magically “solved” by ingesting some “bone broth”
It might sound harsh, but it is completely accurate. Bone Broth has almost nothing in it, and nothing in it at all that doesn’t come, in higher quantities, in plants. And to claim that some vitamin, mineral, or protein deficiency one may have had suddenly aleved itself in less than 24 hours is ridiculous, and pseudoscientific. Such a claim makes me believe the symptoms of fatigue ad memory lapses Kate felt were due to the Nocebo effect, and not the diet. Meaning that she made herself sick.
Kate also had this to say:
For me, to argue that the killing and eating of meat is inherently unethical and environmentally unsound would be to discount cultures across the world. In Tanzania, eating meat is a sacred act, especially in a climate that’s inhospitable to plants. We have to create the space for other ways of being. There is no right or wrong way to eat.
Kate does not live in Tanzania, as far as I know she lives in America. A place filled to the brim with various plant-based meat and cheese alternatives, up to the point of literally having vegan cheesecake, vegan pepperoni, and vegan avocado-based ice-cream. In terms of ethics she has no excuse in terms of food availability or culture to not be vegetarian. If you simply don’t want to be vegetarian, than don’t be. But don’t hide behind irrational and pseudo-scientific arguments to justify your actions.
Just because something is “cultural” doesn’t mean we should turn our eyes to it either. It is Culturally Appropriate in many third world countries to beat your wife, or stone your daughter if she was raped. Culture is not an excuse for unethical behavior. The only real argument against a plant-based diet is “I don’t care about animals, this meat tastes good,” and it’s a poor argument, but hey, I am not going to force you to eat spinach.
I do agree with Kate on something though. Labels are getting too much, and this has been seen in various different platforms. For example, Henya Mania and Nikocado Avocado, two prominent vegan YouTubers, are quitting YouTube and social media because of attacks they are getting by fellow vegans who think they are not vegan enough because of HOW they eat. Such as eating processed foods, not eating raw, consuming GMO’s, eating too much fat, not eating HCLF, eating soy, etc, etc. The pressure on many prominent vegans is very high to eat a certain way, act a certain way, that even Unnatural Vegan was called out at one point for not being angry enough in her videos.
One should try to best to reduce animal suffering, regardless of if they are strict vegan, plant-based, vegetarian, reduciterian, engage in meatless monday, or anything of the like. Anything helps. But if you want to leave what you have considered your label of choice, just do it. Don’t make some cock-and-bull justification and magical (Conveniently currently popular) dietary cure-all excuse for why you are not eating a certain way.