Vegetarian vs. Omnivores!

One topic I see on forums and discussion groups that invariably turns into a heated debate (read flame war) is the topic of vegetarian diets and vegetarians in general. I was recently on a forum and the heading of a thread was “Do Vegetarians Disgust You?” Disgust seems like an awfully strong term to apply to a group of people who have decided to have differing dietary habits than the poster of such a thread. Pedophiles disgust me. People who attempt to take away my Constitutional Rights disgust me. There’s a lot of issues in this world deserving of disgust, but if vegetarians disgust you, you need to get a life.
Having said that, I can say I do find some of the more sanctimonious vegetarians annoying at times. If a person chooses not to eat meat for personal/ethical/religious reasons, that’s fine with me, and I can respect that decision. It’s the vegetarians that start making statements like “humans were not meant to eat meat” and other easy to disprove vegetarian mythology when I get annoyed.
My favorite vegetarians are the ones who “only eat chicken and fish.” News flash, you are not a vegetarian…
Another peeve I have is, if vegetarians dislike meat, why are so many foods sold to them all designed to look like and taste like meat: vege burgers, vege hot dogs, and even vege products shaped like animals??!! Vege tofu turkey anyone? Clearly, there is a conscious or unconscious longing for some meat in the vegetarian community, or such products would not sell so well.
This is not meant to be a vegetarian bashing post by any means, and as stated, I respect those vegetarians that have chosen the dietary life-style due to their own personal/ethical/religious reasons, and I support their rights to do so. Although my diets in Fat Loss Revealed or Bodybuilding Revealed are not specifically designed to support vegetarian diets per se, we have plenty of vegetarians on the forums who have used the info in either ebook to improve/alter their nutrition for the better.
As with any diet, there are some well thought out healthy vegetarian diets, and some horrible vegetarian diets. For example, I had a client “back in the day” when I owned my private training business who only ate pizza and ice cream. He was obese and his cholesterol was sky high, but he was a vegetarian! He thought by the shear fact he didn’t eat meat, he was a healthy person… The point being, not all vegetarian diets are healthy by default, nor is a diet that incorporates meat (personal/ethical/religous issues not withstanding) unhealthy by default either. Both nutritional choices can be healthy, and based on the data that exists and my own experiences, if gaining muscle and strength is a specific goal, I would give the edge to those who incorporate meat into their diets.
The bottom line in, there are plenty of healthy meat eaters out there and plenty of unhealthy vegetarians, so examine your nutrition with an objective eye and don’t rely on the mythology and dogma of any eating plan for your long term health, fitness, and well being.

  1. Mark 15 years ago

    Disgust … Yikes, I agree with Will. This is a terrible word.
    I’m married to one, and in addition, my daughter, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, and some of my nieces are all vegetarians … I find them all very wonderful, intelligent, delightful and honorable people. All of them are in FAR better health than those of us who are carnivors in the family.
    I have found non-vegetarians to be the uninformed and rude ones, spouting comments like:
    … I’ve heard about your kind/people like you
    … I know you’re vegetarian, so I made you some chicken
    … what the heck do you eat anyway or how do you even survive?
    … what are you a squirrel?
    When I see them adapt in restaurants when we go out to eat, I am amazed. It’s usually doen without fuss or muss and rarely do they ask for anything special.
    Disgusted, no way … I would say humbled

  2. Mike 15 years ago

    It takes all kinds. I’m a former lifetime drug-free competitive bodybuilder with wins in the New England States, Northeast Championships & class winner in the Eastern America. These were all non-tested events. I happen to be a vegetarian. I don’t know what the big deal is…I just happen to get my nutrients through non-animal sources. I don’t even think about it & am always surprised by all the hue & cry. At 5’7″ 220lb I still get a kick out of the looks I get when people find out I’m a veggie. While living in Boston I was, at 240 (bulky, not fat), a walking, talking rebuttal of the meat myth. It still comes down to how you train.

  3. Philip (fairlane) 15 years ago

    Yes, they disgust me. My wife is a vegetarian. She’s disgusting. 🙂
    She disgusts me because she can eat fried pasta and never get fat. She disgusts me because she could probably have a balanced meal of candy, sugar, and ice cream, and not get fat.
    She disgusts me because she can go out to eat, take one look at the menu and order within 2 minutes, while I “have a few questions”.
    To those who say ‘vegetarians disgust me? Yikes….’ I say

  4. James 15 years ago

    This is always a very touchy subject and i will share some of my thoughts on the topic.
    People who will not consider meat or other animal products must fist do some research in the area. Dr Western A Price (see Nutrtion & Physical degeneration By W.A Price) travelled the globe and studied many native tribes diets in the 1930’s that were untouched by white man. His primary finding was that wherever natives were exposed to processed foods such as white flower and sugar, degeneration and disease soon followed. But he also discovered that there were no healthy vegetarian societies or tribes. While he did find some vegetarians, there were always healthier tribes nearby eating meat or animal products. In fact if u study cultural anthropology one of the things you will find is that the amount of meat/animal products eaten by any society was not determined religious beliefs or health Fads, but by availabilty alone.
    The whole idea of vegetarianism being safer for your heart is an unfouneded scare tactic of the processed food industry.
    i wll leave you with this thought “You wouldn’t feed a lion leaves and a girraffe meat.” thinkabout 🙂

  5. Bassam 15 years ago

    I do not have any thing against Vegeterians, and I respect them unless they start accusing us of being ‘vampires’ because we eat meat.
    My daughter is a ‘fanatic’ vegeterian but ONLY because she HATES the taste of meat of any kind and even she hates eggs, soup made with water coming from boiled meat. The problem you face when living with a vegeterian is that you have to have two menues per se all the time in the house, and frankly speaking its annoying. I am always worried about her having the essential nutrients she is supposed to have, specially she exercises regularly, and I have to keep an eye on her all the time to make sure she takes her mulivitamine on time.
    I believe that vegeterians miss alot of the goodies out there! found in healthy clean meat, fish and poultry. I do not believe that vegeterian diets only can protect you from disease, however, balance diet of any kind is the solution.

  6. Jim 15 years ago

    I find in my life if you don’t have anything nice to say about the subject at hand don’t say nothing at all. I myself a vegeterian once at meat when younger. Now 30 years later found that my body was rejecting meat in different stages. Beef, Chicken and later Fish. This is why at many times your body will tell you if you listen what is right for you.

  7. George B. 15 years ago

    I’m a vegetarian due to ethical reasons, the notion that we have to slaughter other living creatures and feast on their flesh because we are by nature omnivores is akin to saying by nature we kill members of other tribes and take what we want. We should be civilized individuals who spiritually evolve during our lifetime and take steps to protect this planet including other living creatures. You either do, or you go along your merry way, driving your SUV, eating whatever creatures you want, and reason that eating your steaks and chicken will help your bench press.
    I rarely discuss my personal beliefs about this subject, I try to stay low key about it when I go out to lunch with friends and business associates for example, but since Will brought up this subject, I’ll put my two cents in. Wish ya didn’t most people might be thinking. 😉
    Great point by Will however … being a vegetarian does NOT guarantee that you have a healthy diet. And I will say this, I am not a vegan, those folks think I’m a horrible person because I eat cheese and eggs.

  8. Matt 15 years ago

    Hahaha, great article. First good one I have seen on the subject. I myself have been a vegetarian since I was five because I felt that with the luxuries our modern society is afforded, we should not need to kill other animals for sustenance. I am 6′ 4″ and an athletic 200 pounds and when people find out that I have been a vegetarian so long they think I am joking. I agree with everything you said Will. I do not think it is right for vegetarians to try to impose their beliefs on meat eaters or accuse them of murder. That is a joke to me. I also find it hilarious the people who eat chicken and fish and call themselves vegetarians. The greatest part is the veggie burger thing though. People are always asking me if I want to go get veggie burgers. I never understood the logic in those things. It is like non-alcoholic beer. I am not jealous of people who can eat burgers, if I wanted to eat burgers I would. And what Mark said was completely true, some people think we are a different species and need to go to completely different restaurants but it is really not that big of a deal. Anyways, good post as usual.

  9. Author
    Will Brink 15 years ago

    Matt, great comments, thanx!

  10. Richard Stoker 15 years ago

    Well, I’m not a Lion and I’m not a Giraffe. I’m neither a philistine or a saint. But, we sentient beings have a choice to make: what to eat?
    If one lived in the far east, say Korea or somewhere similar, perhaps we’d take a look at the dog in the freezer and lick our lips. Yum! A Hindu from Kerala might utter a different remark.
    Me? I draw my line where I’m comfortable. I’m no saint and I’m no preacher. But what’s clear is that there are some things one knows for sure and some things one thinks might be.
    I know for sure that I can survive as a vegetarian without any health problems whatsoever. I have done so for 25+ years and so have my 3 kids; 22, 21 and 19 years old.
    What do I think? I think that if I have the worlds choice on the shelves of my local supermarket and all I have to do is choose, I think that I really don’t have much choice. Unless it’s just taste that drives appetite and nutritional choices.
    And that my friends is what annoys people who aren’t vegetarians. No matter how much we try and quietly make our personal choice, almost in some instances apologetically, there’s always someone ready to revile the simple veggie.
    I’m quite comfortable with my choice. Relaxed even. I’m not even bothered about what the rest of the world chooses. That’s up to them.
    So why do vegetarians disgust anyone? Me thinks they protesteth too loudly.

  11. Vengeance 15 years ago

    To George B.
    If you think
    “the notion that we have to slaughter other living creatures and feast on their flesh”
    and then think that vegetables aren’t alive and that they themselves have flesh(look it up) then you yourself are deserved of the “crimes” you commit on the flesh of your vitctims. Atleast omnivore’s admit they must take life to sustain life. Unless you can survive on sunlight, water, and dirt, then you are not righteous such as the sole product of your diet. Atleast the majority of the time the omivore’s spare the life of the only righteous product of this planet.
    Humans must take life to sustain life…period.

  12. thardasless 15 years ago

    I don’t even know,fellow!) continued to write in the same vein, it is interesting people!

  13. Vincent Baasch 15 years ago

    We all draw the line somewhere in terms of what we eat. Perhaps we should stop using labels and categories. Most peope have stopped eating other people, some people have stopped eating other mammals, some people have stopped eating mammals and birds, some people have stopped eating mammals, bird and fish. I know someone who won’t even eat a carrot because eating a carrot killed the carrot plant (he only eats fruit!). What’s the big deal? I’m a healthy 83kg, 48 year old man with a body many 25 year steak eating youngsters would kill for. I train 4x a week, my bodyfat % is about 7% and I don’t eat mammals or birds. I don’t call myself a vegetarian and I do eat fish. That’s just me!

  14. Andy 15 years ago

    The article was a pretty good one. I saw a few things that bothered me in the comments, however. Comparing the life of a sentient being, with a central system of nerves and complex system much more developed than any plant is, in my opinion, ridiculous. We do not need to kill. We need to use 6x the amount of land for 1 pound of meat in comparison to 1 pound of grain. Simple science; it takes energy to make energy. Second, the argument that veggie meat is an “imitation” because we “want” meat or need it is completely false. Does a round cooked piece of meat look like a wild cow? Not at all. Does a veggie hot dog look like a pig? No. The validity of veggie meat stands as it allows people to have a “traditional” meal without having to sacrifice their values. This is particularly important for people that were raised with meat and gave it up.
    I have no problem with people that do eat meat, as long as they are respectful towards people that don’t as well as what they are eating. What disgusts me are people that talk about how they’d love to eat as much meat as they can and kill as many animals for their burgers just to get a rise out of vegetarians/vegans.
    As for me, I have been vegetarian for a while, and I’m currently a professor at a university in Boston. there’s a website that defends meat-eating, claiming that vegetarianism shrinks your brain, causes men to be violent, and leads to body shrinkage. Their false accusations disgust me.

  15. Andy 15 years ago

    And I forgot to mention James; the Beema tribe in the Himalayas have never left a vegan diet in the course of 5000 years. They also have an abnormally high life expectancy (over 80 yrs.).

  16. Vengeance 15 years ago

    Quote “Andy”
    “Comparing the life of a sentient being, with a central system of nerves and complex system much more developed than any plant is, in my opinion, ridiculous. We do not need to kill.”
    It is you, the one’s which denigrate the existence of plant life that are the worst of all. To say that when you eat a plant that you are not killing/taking it’s life is what’s “rediculous”. I guess the proper term for your kind would be “life bigots”. In reality, as long as it’s not cannibalism, it’s all the same…

  17. carnivore wannabe 15 years ago

    I’m vegetarian because I think *meat* is disgusting (which is how I Googled onto your blog). I’ve been trying to convince myself to eat fish because fish is so good for people, but I get really grossed out by the skin and sometimes bones that go with it. I don’t judge people who eat meat — I wish I could!
    I want to respond to your suggestion that all vegetarians must yearn for a meat-burger because soy burgers exist. I went without valuable soy protein for several years when I was a young vegetarian because people like my uncle and cousins would suggest I wasn’t “really” vegetarian if I had a Gardenburger.
    American recipes are still geared toward cooking meat. Eating lettuce salad at every meal gets dull really fast. So if you don’t want meat but you want an easy, warm recipe with flavor, new vegetarians and every restaurant in the United States is going to reach for a Boca burger. You pick up new vegetarian recipes as you get older, but please don’t harrass new vegetarians for having some Tofurkey. It means they don’t know how to cook — not that they secretly yearn for veins in their teeth.

  18. Anton 14 years ago

    I’m a vegan. Obviously we disagree on some things, and that’s perfectly okay. The only thing I’d like to address is the part where you essentially discuss how it bothers you that veg*ns eat a lot of mock meats. I’d like to offer the serious answer to you, in hopes this will cease to be a peeve of yours. While I do know a few people who never liked the taste of meat and cheese, I believe that it’s safe to say the vast majority of people who turn veg*n do it for other reasons. I know that I loved the taste of a hamburger, so I’m pleased that I can still get a Boca burger when I have that craving without sacrificing the reasons I have for not eating meat. I equate it to the idea that if you stop doing something because it disagrees with you in some way, and then that disagreement is solved, wouldn’t you continue the activity? Hopefully this gives you a different look on the perspective. Generally speaking, you seem to respectfully disagree with the veg*n lifestyle, to which I don’t fault you at all.

  19. Author
    Will Brink 14 years ago

    Anton, you have filled me in well as to why some vegetarians might still enjoy meat shaped foods, and yes, a new perspective on the issue. As you can see, some of the responses here are much stronger worded then anything I said myself, so I am glad you don’t blame me for that! Good luck…

  20. dashi 13 years ago

    food is disgusting! just weed and water for me.

  21. Dominica Mccraken 13 years ago

    Thank you, very useful. I wasnt really a big fan of Spinach for many years ( lie, I hated the stuff), but after shacking up with a vegan I kind of had to get used to it, and have slowly come to absolutely love the stuff. Spinach curry is now my absolute favouritest! I recently found adedicated spinach recipes website which is my new favourite site now, you should have a look!

  22. Raúl 13 years ago

    Hi, I think that the "drop that steak NOW, you evil!" and "vegetarian = idiot or alien or wimp" people have in common that they mess with other people's choices. As a vegetarian, the first ones annoy me because they give a terrible image of us, plus, their way of getting people to vegetarianism is very unlikely to work. The second, well, that's obvious.
    About the FLR program, I would like to ask Will if would I get support to adapt the program to my ovo-lacto-vegetarianism if I get the book.
    Not a native speaker, please be patient with my English 🙂

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