Why Vegans Lose Debates

Ok, if you look at some of these online debates, the pro-vegan side doesn’t typically lose (though it’s possible that the audience planted themselves to create that result). Nevertheless, they still make mistakes. Here are some of them:

  1. Claiming that the only solution to factory farming is to go vegan. We can make the argument till the cows come home that factory farms are awful, toxic, environmentally damaging and cruel. Few will argue with us. But many will disagree that the only possible solution is animal rights or veganism. That’s not to say that factory farming practices have no place in a debate about veganism. For one thing, veganism certainly offers a neat solution to the factory farming problem. We can also make the argument that without factory farms, there would necessarily be much less meat and dairy and it would be more expensive.
  2. Defending or promoting vegetarianism. Lacto-vegetarianism still has all the ethical, environmental, and health issues that non-vegetarians have, though perhaps to lesser degree. If we promote vegetarianism as a solution, we expose ourselves to being called out on one of these inconsistencies. Promote vegan as the standard, and we are on much firmer ground. We can still applaud and encourage the ideals that compel people to go vegetarian, and even promote vegetarianism as a natural step towards veganism.
  3. Overstating the position. Overstatement hurts the cause and loses debates, because it destroys credibility. Here are some things not to say:
    • 100% vegan is the only way for the environment. It’s true that the planet can’t sustain the level of meat/dairy/fish/eggs that we currently consume. The facts are starkly on the side of veganism. A great example is the proposition that a sustainable amount of animal food per person is about 2 ounces of animal foods per week. That’s almost nothing. But it’s not nothing! It may be true that ultimately a vegan solution is the best way forward for the environment, but in a debate, we’ll get much further by arguing with well established facts — for example, that consumption of meat/dairy/etc products must be drastically cut in order to reach a sustainable level. Similar to the factory farming issue, veganism offers a neat solution for our environmental problems, but the facts do leave a little bit of wiggle room between about 98% and 100% vegan.
    • 100% vegan is best for physical health. John Mackey makes a good move by backing away from this claim in this debate. There is ample scientific evidence for the health benefits of a mostly plant-based, whole foods diet (see here. There is not, however, anything conclusive that says when you go from a 99% vegan diet to a 100% vegan diet, you’re doing yourself a favor. So when we argue that 100% vegans are nutritionally healthier than 99% vegans, we are destroying our credibility.
    • Veganism is ethically pure. Even for vegans there are murky ethical issues. We act with compassion towards the animal kingdom, but what about plants? By some accounts, plants may have the capacity to suffer to some degree. Even a plant-based diet has some impact on the environment, ecosystems for animals, and insects. We aren’t perfect, and it’s crucial that we admit that. This forces us to give the ethical debate a little bit of fuzziness. Eventually it leads us to the fact that just because some harms aren’t avoidable, doesn’t mean we just throw up our hands and toss morality out the window. This point is rarely argued with, and really strengthens the vegan position.

One nice tactic for winning a debate is to reduce the claim. By pointing out the ways in which being mostly vegan is beneficial, we get to present all of our best arguments without having the burden of them being 100% black and white. Here are some suggestions:

  1. (ethics/science/evolution) Paint the picture of the evolution of human perspective. Gallileo showed that the earth wasn’t the center of the universe. We are continuing this trend by discovering that humans aren’t the center of the ethical universe. Science can’t dictate ethics, but it can certainly show that animals are capable of much of what we consider worthy of ethical consideration; including intelligence, emotion, communication, and perhaps most important, suffering. We know animals suffer, and we know that humans have the choice and ability to reduce this suffering.
  2. (environment) The environmental facts are good enough without being overstated. Just make sure the facts are correct before repeating them. If a hamburger takes as much water as 6 months worth of showers, saying that his impressive enough that there’s no reason to exaggerate it to 12 months.
  3. (health) Point out what studies have shown, namely that a diet consisting of primarily whole, plant-based foods dramatically reduces the incidences of many of our nastiest diseases. Acknowledge that the jury is still out on the space between “mostly vegan” and “all the way vegan”, but it’s also fair to point out that there are many “all the way vegans” who have excellent health.
  4. (personal) Few people actually want to harm animals, given the choice. Most people see themselves as kind, compassionate beings; yet their plates would indicate otherwise. Just point this out, and demonstrate that there is a choice by being a healthy vegan.

10 reasons not to give animals rights

Imagine that it’s before the abolition of slavery, and you are a normal person. One day, you wake up and realize that slavery is immoral. You begin to see everything differently. You feel compelled to speak out, but alas, nobody wants to hear what you have to say. When you raise the issue with others, they dismiss your concerns with one or more of the following 10 reasons.

The following 10 reasons not to abolish slavery are being used around the net by liberty proponents, towards the abolition of government. I found them also to be eerily similar to arguments opposing animal rights.

reason not to abolish slaveryreason to oppose animal rights
Slavery is natural. People differ, and we must expect that those who are superior in a certain way—for example, in intelligence, morality, knowledge, technological prowess, or capacity for fighting—will make themselves the masters of those who are inferior in this regard.Raising animals for food is natural. Species differ, and we must expect that those who are more intelligent, make moral decisions, or are just plain stronger will make themselves masters of the inferior species.
Slavery has always existed.People have been eating animals since ancient history. (Other ancient practices include rape and murder.)
Every society on earth has slavery. The unspoken corollary is that every society must have slavery. The pervasiveness of an institution seems to many people to constitute compelling proof of its necessity.Every society on earth eats animals, therefore every society must continue to eat animals. (Although the premise is debatable, it’s moot because the argument is not valid anyway.)
The slaves are not capable of taking care of themselves.The animals are not capable of taking care of themselves.
Without masters, the slaves will die off. This idea is the preceding one pushed to it’s extreme.Without animal agriculture, the cows/pigs/chickens/sheep/goats/etc. will die off.
Where the common people are free, they are worse off than the slaves.Living on a farm is a better deal for the animals than the alternative. They are fed and sheltered on farms, unlike in the wild.
Getting rid of slavery would occasion great bloodshed and other evils. In the United States many people assumed that the slaveholders would never permit the termination of the slave system without an all-out fight to preserve it.Ceasing to eat animals will cause great economic hardship to the farmers (ok, this one is a stretch, I haven’t really heard anyone argue that there would be “great bloodshed”. Does “I would have to give up cheeseburgers” count?).
Without slavery the former slaves would run amuck, stealing, raping, killing, and generally causing mayhem.Without farms, the animals would run amuck, stealing from suburban gardens, crowding the streets, and generally causing mayhem.
Trying to get rid of slavery is foolishly utopian and impractical; only a fuzzy-headed dreamer would advance such a cockamamie proposal.Veganism is a foolishly idealistic and impractical, misguided attempt at showing compassion. It’s just not realistic.
Forget abolition. A far better plan is to keep the slaves sufficiently well fed, clothed, housed, and occasionally entertained and to take their minds off their exploitation.Forget veganism. A far better plan is to focus on welfare reforms; keep the animals sufficiently well treated, “humanely” confined, exploited, and slaughtered.

Why Animals Matter

People often ask me why I think animals matter, when compared to all of the other problems in the world. World hunger, world peace, economic and political stability—aren’t these things more important than animal rights?

It’s a fair question, and actually a very important one because the answer to this question turned my world upside down when I learned it.

Why is the world so violent? Why can’t we manage to implement solutions on issues of simple justice?

Animals matter precisely because they are deeply integrated into issues such as world hunger and world peace. They matter because our treatment of animals affects our psychological outlook on the world. And they matter because caring about animals and adopting a vegan lifestyle is perhaps one of the most powerful things we can do to change the world for the better.

World Peace

Imagine an idealised future in which humans have learned how to live without physically harming each other. There’s no need for armies, bombs or guns. The people live in peace and prosperity all the world over.

Except at the slaughterhouses. These are places of massive slaying machines, steeped in blood and entrails. People work at the slaughterhouses. They numb themselves to their emotional connection to animals, then come home to our peaceful paradise..?

If something seems wrong with this image, it’s because it’s so farfetched as to be nearly unimaginable. We can’t expect to live in an enlightened peaceful world while we’re still practicing mass slaughter of innocent creatures.

Now turn the example upside down: imagine a vegan future, in which our hearts are so sensitive that we fully reject outright the harming of animals. Could people of this temperament really go to war and kill other people? We can’t rule it out, but it certainly seems less likely.

Dig behind the surface level of burger ads and war propaganda, and you’ll find that our treatment of animals and violence in our culture are so interlinked that it’s nearly unimaginable that we could ever solve one without solving the other.

Happiness


I think most people want to feel inner peace. When we’re at peace with ourselves and the world, we’re content and happy.

I also think most people are kindhearted. In fact, I think the vast majority of people would choose not to harm animals if all other things were equal.

When we eat animals and animal secretions, we create an inner conflict; on the one hand we are kind, compassionate beings who would rather not harm anyone, and yet, there are the bodies of innocent beings on our plate.

Empowerment

Adopting a vegan lifestyle is dramatically empowering. It’s empowering because it’s a radical rejection of violence and coercion towards all beings, of environmental devastation, and it requires no assistance. An individual can decide to make a stand for peace and love, directly, without needing help from any community, government, or corporation. It’s a profound expression of the power of the individual.

And it has resounding effects. Right now, it’s estimated that less than 1% of people in the modern world are ethically committed to a vegan lifestyle. And yet, as a testament to the power of the vegan message, nearly everyone in society knows about us and has given at least some small thought to the perspective.

Imagine a world in which 75% of people are committed, ethical vegans. Restaurants that serve meat are the exception to the rule, and most people think meat eating is strange and disturbing. Wouldn’t that pressure quickly convert the remaining 25%?

At 50% or even 25%, huge pockets of society would be committed to the cause of animals and we would begin to see radical shifts in the public perception of animals and veganism. Each person who commits themselves to veganism can truly have a far-reaching effect, not just for animals, but for humans as well.

Star Trek is vegan

The philosophy of Star Trek is a vegan philosophy.

You don’t see it on the surface, because the characters aren’t vegan. They replicate chicken dishes and shrimp gumbo. But the philosophy is vegan, and if we ever evolved to a Star Trek -like future, we would all be vegan. (Actually I think we’ll all be vegan long before we have interstellar travel, but that’s for another post.)

The Prime Directive

You can’t watch a season of Star Trek without coming across the Prime Directive. Everyone in the Federation (that’s Earth and her allies) is intimately familiar with this central tenet. You could go so far as to say it’s the most important common value held by Federation citizens. While the directive is most explicitly concerned with the dominant species on planets visited by Federation ships, the core ethic is one of general non-interference.

“The Prime Directive is not just a set of rules. It is a philosophy, and a very correct one. History has proven again and again that whenever mankind interferes with a less developed civilization, no matter how well intentioned that interference may be, the results are invariably disastrous.”

          —Jean-Luc Picard, Symbiosis

The Prime Directive has been further defined this way:

As the right of each sentient species to live in accordance with its normal cultural evolution is considered sacred, no Star Fleet personnel may interfere with the normal and healthy development of alien life and culture. Such interference includes introducing superior knowledge, strength, or technology to a world whose society is incapable of handling such advantages wisely. Star Fleet personnel may not violate this Prime Directive, even to save their lives and/or their ship, unless they are acting to right an earlier violation or an accidental contamination of said culture. This directive takes precedence over any and all other considerations, and carries with it the highest moral obligation.

Giancarlo Genta, Lonely Minds in the Universe: The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Springer, 2007, p. 208.

This attitude is reflected in episode after episode, where the crew takes great lengths to avoid harming or interfering with alien beings. For example, in Nothing Human (Voyager), even though a crewmember’s life is at stake as the alien sucks away her vitality, as many precautions as possible are taken to protect the alien life as well. In Justice (TNG), they even go so far as to risk Wesley Crusher’s life out of respect for the laws and customs of another culture.

Sentience as the litmus test

So what does all this have to do with veganism?

The Prime Directive is mostly focused on not introducing new technologies, or even sometimes just ideas, into developing cultures; it’s not hard to extrapolate from here that enslaving, breeding, and killing an alien race to suit our convenience would constitute a gross violation of their normal cultural evolution. And yet, that’s exactly what we do to the races of pig, cow, and chicken on Earth today.

It’s quite clear that the values of Star Trek require fair treatment of alien species. The question then is only one of which species qualify? And in particular, would nonhuman Earthling animals qualify? What is the test of whether a species qualifies to be treated with respect?

In the Star Trek universe, sentience is bestowed on even the most foreign of species; blobs of goo, giant jellyfish space beings, and computerized intelligence, to name a few.

giant space jellyfish
Odo (blob of goo)


So why not nonhuman animals?

The French have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor [see Louis XIV’s Code Noir]… What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason, or, perhaps, the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day, or a week, or even a month, old. But suppose the case were otherwise, what would it avail? The question is not Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?
Bentham, Jeremy (1823). Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (second edition). Chapter 17, footnote.

Most or all of Earth’s animals have that capacity, and as we move towards our idealized futures, we will inevitably be forced to confront and set right our own ethical inconsistencies.

Would you take a stand for meat eating?

It’s very difficult to be a vegan in today’s world; restaurants serve relatively poor vegan cuisine if any, there is social ostracizing to contend with, and mostly, the social structures and habits aren’t there to support this way of life. Few non-vegans would know how to begin purchasing and preparing healthy vegan meals. The social momentum is immense, and going against it takes a lot of dedication.

Now imagine for a moment if the tide were reversed: if 95% of the population was vegan, animal foods were the exception, and there was the usual social pressure to eat like everyone else. There is only one meat option at every third restaurant. Few know how to handle meat safely, or prepare it. Perhaps animal agriculture has fallen out of favor in the government and meat now costs much more (closer reflecting the hidden environmental costs of additional land, water, etc.). Perhaps most importantly, every time you mention that you eat meat you get inundated with questions about why and people telling you that it’s not healthy (regardless of whether it actually is or not).

In that imagined world, how many do you think would take a stand for meat eating?

I think much more of dietary choices are because of “defaults” we have had programmed in from our society. Eventually, even most of the “tough nuts” will crack. I think if you saw 50% of the population being on a mostly plant-based diet, you would then see 80% not long after.

Slaughter of the Innocent

There is a lot of talk of gun control after the recent school shooting in Connecticut. I consider “nonviolence” to be the term that most closely aligns with my political views. Why then do I generally disagree with gun control laws?

First, there are the practical problems:

  1. 3d printed guns are not far off. Are we going to outlaw 3d printing? Or try and regulate access to the plans? With anonymity networks like tor and other freedom-enabling technologies, it’s going to be difficult to effectively control access to weapons in the near future, without a level of surveillance that most people would find 1984-esque.
  2. Even if you do keep guns away from people, they will just build bombs. If somebody really wants to kill people and make a big stink, they can always build a homebrew bomb.

So we can try and keep the guns away from the killers, but will it actually be effective at what it seeks to do? Maybe somewhat, and for a short while. But is it worth it given the tradeoff in terms of our freedom?

Often when somebody uses their freedom to do something we don’t like, we are tempted to say “people shouldn’t have that freedom.” But if we follow this to its logical conclusion, we wind up living in a world where the lowest common denominator dictates the freedoms we all have.

Outlawing guns is kind of self-defeating. How is such a law going to be enforced? Ultimately, with guns. So what we’re saying is that we want to allow a certain class of people — those in the government with the blessings of the majority (at least ideally) — access to guns, but not ordinary citizens.

I reject the idea that the individuals within our government are any more responsible to carry a gun than the average citizen. As evidence for my position, I give you the fact that our government is regularly engaged in the killing of innocent children overseas. I don’t think the government has demonstrated enough restraint with their use of guns, so my stance is this: you can take away guns from the people only after the government has also laid theirs down.

Finally, there are spiritual problems with the whole argument of gun control vs gun freedom. It avoids the underlying question of why we want to kill each other in the first place. The only real solution is one which addresses why there is so much violence in our culture to begin with. This answer can not be understood without a critical look at our plates.

To avoid the innocent being senselessly slaughtered, we must stop senselessly slaughtering the innocent.”

getting what you want, robot-style

The robots are coming! And it’s going to be awesome.

Robots means we get to automate away a lot of our problems. I like automating. It frees us up from tedius work. I envision a future in which all the unpleasant work is done by robots, and we are free to spend our time on other pursuits; art, family, intellectual pursuits; heck, whatever we can dream up!

However, as our society becomes more automated, we need a stricter sense of ethics. There are three reasons this is more important than ever: automation scales, automation is fast, and automation can be powerful.

Automation scales

Whatever kind of automated system we create, we’re gonna get lots of.. whatever it does. So we’d better think hard and make sure that whatever it does is something we want to be a part of.

A fine example of this is factory farming. As we increase the efficiency and automation of raising and slaughtering animals for food, we have created an environment that would repulse even the strongest stomach. Almost everyone would agree that there’s got to be a better way.. and many are starting to search for that way. Some want to back off from the capitalist progression towards increased efficiency (and automation!) in terms of where our food comes from. Others (like me) think that’s a losing battle, and that the factory farm is simply showing us, in a concentrated fashion, what necessarily goes into a meat-based meal.

Automation is fast

Whatever we automate tends to get faster and faster at whatever it does. This means if we screw up the design, we could screw things up really fast — without time to intervene manually to fix it.

The perfect example of this is in finance. I used to work at a high-frequency trading company, where we wrote programs whose task was to exploit tiny market inefficiencies as fast as possible. We, together with other companies like us, automated away the work of many thousands of market traders. In 2010 there was a “flash crash” which was widely attributed to some particular funny interaction of — or bug in — robotic trading machines. The flash crash was a mini market crash that took place so quickly it would have been difficult for a person to evaluate the situation and react thoughtfully. Fortunately, most firms and exchanges have the forethought to engineer failsafe checks onto their robots that do things like halt trading when something seemingly unexpected occurs.

All this is simply to say that as we automate and increase the speed of our financial system, we are going to get results faster — so whatever direction it’s headed in had better be a good one. Once again I don’t oppose the automation per se, but I think it provides us a good opportunity to look deeply at our entire financial system and ask if it’s on solid legs. Because if it’s not, we’re bound to find out soon, and we may not have time to react.

Automation can be powerful

In my third example, automated killing robots (a.k.a. “drones”), the relationship between the ethics of our decisions and the reality on the ground is perhaps the most direct.

Automating war has been done for a long time. Warmakers often get access to technologies first because it sure is better to be the team that has airplanes than the team that doesn’t. However, until now, we’ve always had to risk losing lives when we went to war. Now, we don’t have to risk anything except a few (expensive) hunks of metal and computer parts.

Whether or not you think drones are a good idea, it’s unlikely that they are going away anytime soon. On the contrary, China and other nations are working overtime to create their own drone fleets to match ours.

The concept of drone wars isn’t all bad — if both sides are fighting with drones then nobody gets hurt, after all. What automation brings to the table is, once again, the necessity to look really hard at the ethics of each decision that goes into the drone war. Is this war truly being fought for just reasons? Because it’s easier than ever before for the military to go to war when it doesn’t have any weeping mothers and body bags to atone for. At least, not on the winning side. And perhaps it seems far-fetched to some in the U.S. right now, but in some parts of the world there is always the possibility that drones might be used to scare the populace of a country into supporting one leader or another.

Ultimately, somebody has to write the rules for how the robots act. In the case of drones, perhaps it’s constitutional law that ultimately governs the robots. In the case of markets, it’s financial companies, exchanges, and possibly regulators. And in the case of factory farming, it’s ultimately the consumer who decides what the history of their meal is going to be. In all cases, automation acutely brings to a head the need to look hard at the direction the automation is going and make sure it’s a world we want to live in. In a real sense, we need to be “careful what we wish for” because we are getting more of it, faster, every day.

It’s either that, or we may have to fire the robots. And I, for one, am looking forward to robotopia!

Eating animals — why do people still do it?

Eating animal foods can be incredibly confusing. We see ourselves as kind, caring, even generous people who treat our friends, family, neighbors and pets with love and respect. Yet day in and day out, we are faced with the contradiction which is sitting on our plates: an innocent creature was killed to bring us this meal.

The example of long-term, healthy vegans shines a light on this contradiction like none other. It’s hard to justify the need to eat animals with so many counterexamples out there. Can you really believe that eating animals is good for health when doctors are using a vegan diet to reverse heart disease, reverse diabetes, and slow cancer? When there are hundreds of vegan athletes, many performing better than ever before?

It’s hard to conclude that we eat animals for any reason other than cultural momentum. And I expect that this subtly repressed fact rubs most of us more than we care to admit.

raw foods – first experiences

I have been on 100% raw foods for a little over 2 weeks now. I’m roughly following Doug Graham’s 80-10-10 program. The short version of how 80-10-10 breaks down is: eat macronutrients in the ratio: 80% (or more) carbs, 10% (or less) protein, 10% (or less) fat; all raw & vegan; and plenty of exercise, sleep, and sunshine. It translates into: eat a lot of raw fruit, particularly tropical fruits which are more voluminous and calorically dense, and a lot of raw vegetables, particularly green leafies. A small amount of avocado or a handful of nuts/seeds a day is all that’s allowed to stay under 10% fat.

For the moment, I’m following the strict version (no overt fats), except that I am supplementing vitamin B12 (if you’re considering not supplementing b12, please consider this article first!).

Here are some of the things I’ve learned so far.

Subjective things

Digestion is much better. This surprised me, because I didn’t think I had problems until I changed and discovered how much better it could be. With fruit monomeals as typical now, my digestive system does not struggle. Even if I overeat — which I used to fear because of the consequences — my system struggles a little but catches up in less than an hour. As a general rule, it finishes digesting a meal in minutes, not hours, freeing up all that digestive energy for me to use as I please.

My cardiovascular system feels much happier. Sure, it’s just subjective, but my heart feels like it never has to work very hard, even when exercising. I would not be surprised to find that my blood pressure is lower (unfortunately, I don’t have data on that from before the change either..).

On about the second or third night on the strict raw regimen, I noticed I was up all night peeing — what felt like about once an hour. When I woke up in the morning, I had lost 7 or 8 pounds. The only explanation I can find is this was a salt detox — the salt had been causing water retention in my tissues.

Within a couple of days on the diet, my energy took off like a rocket. I was unstoppable, running twice as far as I have in years, cycling much faster, doing more pullups, yoga felt much freer and easier — with more energy, almost everything was easier. In fact, I had so much energy that I found myself wanting to clean the kitchen in the middle of the night, go out with friends more, and just generally do stuff all the time, because life is so much easier with lots of energy. I attribute the increase in energy to a major shift towards high net gain foods, as well as simply getting sufficient carbohydrate to fuel my activities for the first time in years.

It’s not all wine and roses however. After the first couple of days, I started feeling spacey. I’m still spacey much of the time, excepting just after lots of strenuous exercise, and first thing in the morning. I’m particularly spacey after eating a lot of carbs. Could it just be lack of sufficient sleep? Perhaps. Or maybe it’s all the sugar. I do seem to notice it is more pointed just after a large sweet fruit meal.

Having all this energy, I was using it like crazy. And I wasn’t getting sufficient sleep, because I was too energized to stay in one place. And so I started to run out of fuel, both calorically and rest-ly. I hit a wall. By July 10th dinnertime, I felt lightheaded and like I was going to pass out. Luckily, I had a clue as to why:

I’m an active person. I ride my bike almost everywhere, and walk everywhere else. On top of that, I do 1-2 hours of yoga every day and almost every day I go out for some form of focused cardio exercise. On some days I add weight training. All this adds up to a need for quite a few calories. With fruit as the primary source of calories, I was caught off guard by just how much fruit is necessary to get to an adequate level of calories. As you can see in the graph above, when I started tracking things I quickly learned that I wasn’t getting even close to enough calories at first.

A typical day’s food

That is: about a half a watermelon for breakfast, some 10 bananas and half a head of lettuce for lunch, munching on fava beans and lettuce throughout the afternoon, and 5 bananas plus 4 mangos and 2 large kale/carrot/cucumber salads for dinner.

Analysis

The macronutrient ratio is 88-8-4. You may be surprised to find that with almost no “protein” foods (except a few fava beans), I’m already at 8% or 68g, which is over the CDC’s recommendation of 56 grams and sufficient, even for athletes, by a healthy margin according to all the research I’ve seen. Naturally, my glycemic load is high, but that’s to be expected on a high-carb diet. The theory goes that on a low fat diet this is not an issue.

It appears that the minerals I may need to watch are selenium and zinc, and the vitamins to watch are D, E, and B12. Everything else is off the charts.

Here’s an interesting one.. my omega 3/6 fat ratio is 1:2, when the theory goes that I want it to be close to 1:1. I wonder what a teaspoon of ground flax seeds would do to this number..

Again we can see that Zinc and Selenium are possibly on the low side. Calcium is also not super high. Sodium at 516mg is more than enough — research shows that around 200mg is sufficient. The RDAs are crazy high simply because you probably won’t die as long as you stay under 2000, not because you need that much.

Vitamins are where fruit works its magic. Check out all the loads of vitamin A goodnesses, and the vitamin C and K through the roof. Again, need to watch vitamin D (get lots of sunshine, supplement in the winter), b12 (supplement), and E (maybe a handful of the right kind of nuts?).

Challenges

Cost

All this fruit can cost a lot! Especially when organic. It’s been a learning experience, but I think soon I will have my cost down in the vicinity of $20/day or less. The day above cost about $25 (rough estimate). Buying some non-organic produce helps (using the dirty dozen/clean 15 helps here), as does choosing the right kinds of fruit. Bananas are cost effective, watermelon are pretty good, mangos, oranges decent. On the other hand, getting my primary calories from blackberries or even peaches would break the bank in a day.

Ripening

Just the other day I was caught with no calorie-dense, ripe fruit. I had to scour the town until I managed to find a bunch of ripe, organic bananas. And today, it seems all my bananas are ripe at once! It’s going to take some practice to have enough, but not too much, ripe fruit every day.

Calories

Eating large volumes of food is a new habit, and it continues to challenge me to get enough calories, particularly when I’m highly active.

Focus

While physically I feel better than I have in years, mentally I’m struggling to be as focused as before. Perhaps that’s because I have so much more energy and I haven’t figured out how to direct/channel it yet. Or it could be all the sugar.. or it could have to do with not getting enough sleep.

Balance

Right now, I get rocketship energy and so I go flying around the neighborhood at 1000 miles an hour, and then come crashing down. I want to learn to balance this energy so that I have smooth, vibrant energy almost all the time.

Anxieties

With a new diet come a new set of worries — will my teeth rot out of my head or will something else horrible happen to me? Oh well, I guess there’s always something to worry about.

Cravings!

Every fatty or salty food I see looks so delicious! My mouth waters! Perhaps this will abate, at least the fatty one, once I add more overt fats back in. Withdrawal, or natural survival instinct? Who knows?