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The Nutrition of Lierre Keith and The Vegetarian Myth

Updated on October 26, 2017
Chuck Bluestein profile image

At age 16 I was a volunteer at a hospital bacteriology lab. I became a chemist for U.S. government. Then I studied health & related fields.

The Vegetarian Myth

This is the picture  of the book that this article is about. The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith.
This is the picture of the book that this article is about. The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith. | Source

Lierre Keith and The Vegetarian Myth

This book has become very popular. I have watched a video of Lierre Keith talking about her book The Vegetarian Myth. She sounds sincere and makes some good points about some things but her nutrition information is flawed.

Please note that Dr. Oz's wife has been a vegetarian since age 15. Dr. Oz says that raw fruits and vegetables are the healthiest foods. He even put 3 women in a zoo to prove this by showing remarkable changes in their blood chemistry after eating only raw fruits and raw vegetables. See Does Dr. Oz Follow a Raw Plant-Based Diet to watch his video clip of the above.

First I will look at some of the things that she does know a lot about. Actually I will start with some humor. She says that that the vegan diet quickly caused her to have a terrible back like she had been in a horrible car accident. So that is why all vegans have terrible back problems-- NOT. I have been doing yoga since age 12. Then she explains that since all sex hormones come from cholesterol, without it, you have no sex hormones.

Actually with no cholesterol a person would be dead. But apparently she does not know that most (at least 80%) or all of the cholesterol in the body is created by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. If this were not so then how could beef have cholesterol since a cow does not eat any cholesterol. Cholesterol is only in animal foods. Fiber is only in plant foods. Where does pork get its cholesterol from when the pig does not eat any animals. Their livers produce it.

But don't believe me. Maybe I am just making this stuff up like other people do. Harvard Medical School (webpage no longer up) says:

Cholesterol is so important to the body that it makes it itself—Mother Nature doesn't leave it up to humans to get whatever they need from diet alone. So even if you ate a completely cholesterol-free diet, your body would make the approximately 1,000 mg it needs to function properly.

The liver, however, is an especially efficient cholesterol factory, efficient enough that it can afford to export much of what it makes.

In other words your body does not need to consume cholesterol. Lierre Keith is a feminist. A feminist is someone that believes that men and women should have equal rights. I am also a feminist. She also talks about misogyny. This is the subject of men hating women. Also I will mention how this has affected her view on things. She says in her book:

Take my word: you don't want to end up like me.

So she wrote this book to help others to not go through the pain that she has gone through. That alone may be enough of a reason to read this book. Now my motivation for writing articles these articles is so people can be as lucky as I have been. I love learning things and this has helped me greatly. So if you want to be a vegetarian or a vegan it is good to learn about it.

My cousin Hal Bluestein once said when we were in the Boy Scouts, that I am the luckiest person that he knows. I will not disagree with him. Although is it possible that every person is the luckiest person even if they do not know it? Is it possible that Lierre Keith got just what she needed for her to be as happy as possible. She was not forced to be a vegan. I think that maybe she wants a disease that she has to be discovered and named after her.

I just read that there is a protest of Lierre Keith speaking because she has extreme hate for transgender people. I also saw this: Lierre Keith DGR feminist and transgender exterminist slated as a PIELC keynote speaker from February 2, 2014. I can tell you that hate is extremely bad for health. Note that I have an article about a boy getting a transgender operation at age 16 in Germany-- Kim Petras. She is a successful singer now. If I were to hate anything it would be a hate for hate.

Now you could say that women are third class citizens in our society (America). Why? At one time in the United States, only white men could vote. Then after the slaves were freed, black men were allowed to vote. So this made them second-class citizens. Then after this women were allowed to vote making them third class citizens.

She says in the beginning of this book:

I was a vegan for almost twenty years.

I saw on Youtube a debate about being a vegetarian or vegan versus eating meat. Now one guy said that the vegan diet caused him to have severe mental problems. So I was very curious about this. But then I heard his opponent (an M.D.) explain how he had read what this guy had written about this. Now you have to watch out for people who have done their homework. This doctor explained that he wrote that he had severe mental problems before trying the vegan diet, during the vegan diet and after he stopped following the vegan diet.

So the guy lied and mislead people about what happened to him. Ms. Keith says in this book:

Then there was the depression and anxiety. I come from a long and venerable line of depressive alcoholics, so clearly I didn't inherit the best mental health genetics. [venerable-- accorded a great deal of respect, especially because of age, wisdom, or character]

Being an alcoholic is not genetics but a matter of free will. My mother divorced my father when I was a baby because he was an alcoholic. So did I inherit the genes of an alcoholic? I do not know. I never tried drinking alcohol. I did not want to destroy my brain cells in case I may need them someday.

As far as luck, maybe if I did try drinking alcohol, maybe I would have spent my life in prison. My father grew up drinking alcohol at the dinner table in Ireland. When my mother was pregnant with me, my father was drunk and tried to pick a fight with 2 marines. So you will be better off not drinking alcohol or using any drugs. As far as luck, I did grow up reading lots of scriptures not only those of the Jewish and Christian religion but also ancient Indian scriptures. I also read a great deal about psychology and physical health.

The following has to do with mental health and physical health. She says in this book:

Serotonin is made from the amino acid tryptophan. And there are no good plant sources of tryptophan.

Medical News Today says:

Serotonin is a chemical created by the human body that works as a neurotransmitter. It is regarded by some researchers as a chemical that is responsible for maintaining mood balance, and that a deficit of serotonin leads to depression.

Tryptophan is one of the 9 essential amino acids and all unprocessed fruits and vegetables have all 9 essential amino acids that make up protein. Remember that a rhinoceros and an elephant get all their protein from eating plant foods. I will give you some numbers from the Nutrition Almanac.

The RDA [recommended daily amount] of tryptophan is 204 mg for a 150 pound adult or 136 mg for a 100 pound adult. As far as good sources of it, a cup of spinach has 72 mg of tryptophan. Two baked potatoes have 146 mg. A can of black beans has 181 mg of it. Two ounces of peanuts has 184 milligrams. A half of a can of dry roasted soybeans has 495 mg. Two ounces of cashews has 336 mg. So these are great sources of it.

For a more scientific view of diet look at Healthiest Foods According to WebMD. WebMD gets a million visitors a day. Under WebMD it says "The leading source for trustworthy and timely health and medical news and information."

Nutrition and Vegan or Plant-based Diet

Now one chapter in this book is called Moral Vegetarians and it is 82 pages long. Ex-President Bill Clinton did not adopt a plant-based diet for moral reasons. Neither did Ex-Vice President Al Gore. Clinton lost weight with this diet. Al Gore went to Harvard but Clinton went to Harvard and Cambridge. Albert Einstein and Leonardo Da Vinci did not go to the above colleges but they were both vegetarians! The latest is that Bill Clinton is no longer vegan.

Now she did not know anything about vitamin D when she was on the vegan diet. Foods are not a good source of vitamin D like the sun is. What can lack of vitamin D cause? Andrew Weil M.D. (graduated Harvard and Harvard Medical School) says:

Increasing the amount of vitamin D in the body can prevent or help treat a remarkable number of ailments, from obesity to arthritis, from high blood pressure to back pain, from diabetes to muscle cramps, from upper respiratory tract infections to infectious disease, and from fibromyalgia to cancers of the breast, colon, pancreas, prostate and ovaries.

The country's leading expert on vitamin D is Michael Holick PhD, MD. He is a professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at Boston University Medical Center. He says that there is a worldwide vitamin D deficiency pandemic (widespread epidemic) and most in the US do not get enough. Now most people in the U.S. are not vegans and less that 10% are. See How Much Vitamin D Should You Take Daily.

She also says on the video that vegans do not get enough vitamin K-2. The best source of vitamin K-2 is the MK7 form of it that is much more beneficial. It comes from a fermented soybean product called natto. You can eat it or buy a supplement with it. It helps the calcium to go into the bones and out of the arteries. I wrote an article on it called Health Benefits of K-2 or Natto.

She talks about agriculture being so destructive. She says:

The truth is that agriculture is the most destructive thing humans have done to the planet and more of the same won't save us.

I will not disagree with her on this. I wrote an article on a book called Ishmael. It won a $500,000 cash award for the best book to save the planet. It explains how money was created when they created totalitarian agriculture and people had to pay for food. Also there is a much better way of farming called permaculture. It works with nature instead of against it. It teaches that bare uncovered dirt is terrible for the soil. This method of growing food is much more effective than conventional farming.

As far as farming, the U.S. grows more corn than any other crop. But most of it is fed to animals that we eat! She mentions in this book that after 3 months on the vegan diet she stopped menstruating and that should be a sign that something is wrong. Now actually misogyny contributed to her not knowing about her female body and how it works.

So here is what women need to know. She did not stop menstruating. She was having bloodless menstruation. This is common among women on a vegan diet or a raw vegan diet. Women have this and still have babies. Also many problems like endometriosis are caused by excess bleeding while menstruating.

Now in case you have trouble understanding this, you already know that some women can have heavy bleeding for 7 days while others bleed very lightly for 2 days. So just extend this further. Note that 10% of menstruating women have endometriosis and the pain can be so bad that some consider suicide and others go on disability.

So you can learn a lot more about this subject and the research done on it by seeing my article Menstruation and Diet. Also see my article How to Cure Your Endometriosis. So I wish this author all the best in finding what she is looking for. The things that vegetarians or vegans do need to look out for is not getting enough vitamin B-12, not getting enough vitamin D (concerns everyone) or not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids. Fish is a great source of omega-3 but for vegetarians or vegans, they need to get it from chia seeds or flaxseeds.

Lierre Keith: The Vegetarian Myth


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