May 27

Ad-zooks!

2  comments

I got a missive from a reader the other day wondering why on earth an ad for a militant vegetarian dot com appeared on my blog. Good question, since this site and our respective philosophies of eating aren’t particularly aligned.

That’s not to say that I have any quarrel with any adult’s adopting vegetarianism as a reasoned ideological choice, because I don’t. I will argue (and often have done)that it’s not a healthier choice for the individual, rather, it’s a matter of sacrificing one’s own nutritional best interests–i.e., eating the meat-based diet that humans were designed to eat by eons of selection pressure–for the sake of a deeply-held belief system, whether religious or ideologic. Which, if it’s sincere, is quite noble.

When the choice to abandon meat-eating is not religious, however, I strongly recommend reading the fascinating book, The Covenant of the Wild, before committing to the philosophy on ideologic grounds alone.

During our many years in practice we have helped quite a few vegetarians adopt a lower-carb eating regimen in sync with their philosophy. It’s tougher and quite a bit more restrictive, but then the vegetarian lifestyle is a tough, restrictive decision to start with. Low-carbing vegetarians, an admittedly small group, can even find welcoming support and link up with like-minded dieters on the Protein Power website’s discussion board.

Still, it seems a bit odd that an ad for going vegetarian would appear on my site. One wouldn’t suspect it as being very fertile ground for gathering clicks.

And that’s the point of this discourse. When you agree to accept google ads to your site, which both Mike and I elected to do to help offset the cost of hosting the site, you have very limited input as to what pops up. We don’t control it and, as in the go veg case, it’s often beyond our ken. The ads are supposedly content driven. A nameless, faceless, bodyless webcrawling engine searches for key words in each new post and matches ads to it. Or sort of matches ads to it.

For instance, Mike wrote a piece a while back called “Carbohydrates or Weight Loss or Both” that generated a whole bank of ads for legal services which didn’t relate in even the remotest of ways to the content; we still can’t fathom what particular wording in the post tripped the webcrawler’s trigger for that one.

I wrote one about arsenic that populated the sidebar with ads about colon cleansing–a process that I am mildly opposed to as a means of improving health. Although cleanliness is supposed to be next to godliness, I suspect ‘cleaning oneself out’ through the use of cathartics, irritants, or enemas would more likely damage the stable ecology of the gut than help it. (That bias probably stems from a childhood spent trying to avoid adults bearing spoonfuls of milk of magnesia and enema syringes.)

And this piece will probably generate ads for going veg, cleansing your colon, and heaven knows what else. It should prove interesting to see exactly what does appear.

Suffice it to say that the content of ads on this (or I suspect) any other site do not always reflect the opinions of the hosts. Caveat click-or!


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  1. I’m not really sure how you come to the conclusion that humans were designed to eat meat. Our development, rather, has meant humans are omnivorous by nature and can live with or without meat quite easily.

    Animals with extremely short bowel systems like cats were designed to eat meat. Our digestive systems fare much better with a wide range of foods, that can include animal-based foods, but which do far better on primarily plant-based foods.

    Weight control, diabetes, cancer and heart disease are just a few of the delights in lower incidence with healthy vegetarian diets. Plus, if you’re even reasonably active you need more carbs than typical high-protein diets will provide.

    I’m not, for one minute, suggesting you can’t be healthy eating meat, but don’t try and suggest vegetarians have sacrificed personal health for religious preference. In fact I would argue, based on existing science and anecdotal information, that high protein diets can see short-term weight loss in sedentary adults who will then sacrifice proper kidney and osteo health for those short-term gains.

    Too much of anything is a bad choice. Protein and carb need to be in a healthy balance. Eating meat to obtain protein is a weaker choice from a health, ethical and environmental perspective.

    COMMENT from MD EADES: I’m afraid I’ll have to disagree with you on that score. I don’t dispute that humans are omnivores; of course, we are. As to length and morphology of the human gut, however, we’re far closer to the carnivore end than the herbivore end and our guts do far better without such plant substances as grains, particularly wheat (and other gluten-containing grains) and corn.

    We wrote pretty exensively on the topic of human paleonutrition (as have many others) and all the many lines of evidence that point to our meat-eating origins in Protein Power and the Protein Power LifePlan.

    Traditional societies, such as the Inuit, which subsisted almost exclusively meat didn’t have diabetes, cancer, or heart disease either. And these same diseases also decrease in people following a healthy low carb diet that includes plenty of meat. Whereas the heavily grain based Egyptians, who consumed virtually no red meat, were riddled with obesity, heart disease, and tooth decay. So it cuts both ways.

    There’s a large compendium of research detailing the varous nutiritonal deficiencies of a vegan approach, our obligate need for vitamin B12, which only comes from animal sources, among them. That fact, alone, speaks volumes as to the sorts of foods that the pressures of natural selection scuplted us to use.

    Granted, a carefully constructed vegetarian diet supplemented with eggs and dairy is healthier than a junk food omnivorous one and most people will do just fine on it.

    I stand by my assertion that making the vegetarian choice is fine as an ideologic determination, but should be made with the knowledge that one is sacrificing one’s own best interests for the sake of the cause. And that’s a perfectly okay choice to make.

  2. Dr. Mary Dan…thanks for mentioning the Protein Power for Vegetarians section of the PP discussion board; I hope it works as an effective resource, both for vegetarian low carbers looking for ways to improve their protein intake, and omnivorous low carbers looking for some interesting things to do with vegetables and adaptations of ethnic cooking styles they may not have considered controlled carb eating.

    BTW…May 24th’s blog entry ‘Coffee, Tea, for me?’ produced today’s ads for herbal tea from myflavia.com, TheBocaBean.com (a coffee company?), greatteandcoffee.com, and teaforte.com, among others. Sometimes the webspiders do get it right, but other times the advertising tie-ins they produce are a bit…oblique. 😉

    COMMENT from MD EADES: And thanks to you, too, for keeping the board going so well for so long despite numerous setbacks and catastrophies.

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