Thursday, December 13, 2007

'Moderate Vegetarian' Goes To Extremes In Her Mock 'Interview With A Carnivore'

Allena Rose Tapia claims to be a "moderate vegetarian," but...

Looking at that picture of Allena Rose Tapia, she looks to be your average, everyday mom with a devoted husband, two kids, and a partridge in a pear tree. But this freelance writer from Lansing, Michigan describes herself as a "moderate vegetarian" which seems a bit odd if you stop and think about it. How many vegetarians do you know who are "moderate" about their diet?

After all, I've had my fair share of negative experiences dealing with some rather radical characters who claim to be vegetarians and vegans, including a group of them who tried to have my podcast show removed from the Internet because of this show I did on vegetarians, another one who questioned my support for the Atkins lifestyle, a truly whacked out vegetarian supporter who went off on so many tangents it was hard to keep up, those who regularly resurrect the debate over how Dr. Atkins died, the smugness from e-mails like this one, authors of the Skinny Bitch book calling people who go on the Atkins diet a "moron," members of the group PETA wrapping themselves in cellophane and calling meat-eaters "cannibals"...NEED I GO ON? Just a wee bit cuckoo if you ask me.

So is Tapia bucking that trend and truly moderating her viewpoints about vegetarianism by remaining rational and accurate with what she writes? Well, if this mock interview with a carnivore she posted over at Diet Detective (where I too am a contributing writer) is any indication, the answer is a big fat NO!

Read her "Interview With a Carnivore" and then come back here...

Can I just say what a dopey "interview" that was Allena?! Come on with the satirical and sassy answers from the supposed carnivore already. If that's not a mamby-pamby, self-serving distortion of the truth, then I don't know what is. And it's ANYTHING but "moderate," my friend. Let's try the interview again with a real carnivore--ME!

Here are my responses to your questions:

Question: What's the one thing that keeps you from being vegetarian?

Answer: You NEED animal fat in your diet to be healthy, so a veggie-only diet would leave you nutrient deficient.

Question: What about the fact that alot of these tastes can be replicated by meat substitutes?

Answer: If you mean tofu, then NO THANKS! There are a lot of unanswered questions about soy that still linger out there and these concerns are being substantiated by the research. Give me a steak instead!

Question: I notice you have children. Do you worry about the environment you're leaving them?

Answer: I'm MORE worried about a world where a truly healthy diet of fats and proteins is shunned and they'll be forced to eat bean sprouts and tofu for sustenance. We've become too bassackwards nutritionally these days and it's getting worse.

Question: Why aren't you worried about it?

Answer: Because quite frankly civilization has lasted for many years longer than the past hundred or so on a high-fat, low-carb diet consisting of meat, a little bit of vegetation, and a few berries. The whole low-fat, vegetarian fad has only been around the past few decades and has not stood up to the test of time. It'll pass soon enough when people realize they can manage their weight and health on a diet with 60-70% fat--even saturated fat!

Question: You're familiar with some of the methods by which meat animals are killed and tortured. How do you get past that when you bite into a burger?

Answer: I care about the humane treatment of animals, but I don't care that they are slaughtered to become food for me and my family. It's the way God intended. The real outcry is how people can get all worked up over a cow becoming hamburger meat, but millions of unborn babies are sacrificed at the altar of inconvenience each year when they are aborted. That's the REAL travesty in this country.

Question: How much do you worry about your health in connection to what you eat?

Answer: It's the reason why I went on a high-fat, low-carb diet in January 2004 and have continued to eat that way ever since. My health has never been better than it is RIGHT NOW thanks to eating this way despite the fact that it goes against everything I've ever heard to be true about a healthy lifestyle. But I challenge anyone to tell me that I'm worse off today than I was four years ago at 410 pounds. Anyone?

Question: Would you be willing to reduce your meat-eating days to 3 per week, plus one fish day?

Answer: Why the %$&*# would I want to do that?! Meat not only tastes good, but it is good for you, too! Do you WANT me to be unhealthy?

Leave your own personal comments for Allena and tell her that you don't particularly appreciate the way she misrepresented carnivores in her column. It's one thing to call yourself a "moderate vegetarian." But then, you really should act accordingly.

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Blogger Dave said...

Yeah, anybody who thinks that agriculture is "environmentally friendly" needs a reality check (or perhaps to read Michael Pollan's excellent book "The Omnivore's Dilemma"). Fertilizers are petroleum based. It takes lots of diesel to run the farm and transport the vegetables. And of course nobody rotates crops, instead hammering out vast tons of corn and soybeans (go tofu!) and depleting the topsoil. And then there's irrigation . . . you get the point.

Unless you grow your own, or buy solely local organic produce, it's hard to make an argument that vegetarianism is good for the environment.

That said, factory-farm produced animals do have a similarly negative impact, probably magnified because they require a good deal of grain grown in the above scheme. Plus factory farms create their own problems (can you say E. coli in your spinach? I knew you could). And that says nothing about the poor treatment of the animals. Even if you put aside ethics, it seems pretty clear that raising animals under stressful conditions reduces their nutritional value.

These problems don't seem to have any ready solution. Can we feed the nation (and world) by using sustainable agricultural practices? I'd love to be able to get all of my meat free range (really free range, not the usual bogus marketing nonsense), and all my produce from local producers. But it's not clear that you can scale that practice the population at large. It's a quandary.

12/14/2007 11:11 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Maybe we should go post our answer to Tapia's interview as comments.

12/14/2007 11:22 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

BTW, if you want the science to drop on vegetarians, go to

12/14/2007 11:58 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

That's what I recommend, Dave. :)

12/14/2007 12:40 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Here's a comment from a reader who wanted to respond:

I just finished reading the email from the vegetarian from Westlake Vlg out here in LA, and I just couldn't help laughing! The tone is just sooooooooo Westside!

In the light of Gary Taubes work, it's sad to know that everything Laura laid out is just not supported by any facts. She passes out info that she never bothered to double-check, just as the person who passed it to her never bothered to check. It's like a bad, adult game of telephone, where people's health is at stake, and the info just gets more and more corrupted.

I was in Henry's last night, a popular organic grocery store chain out here in the LA/Orange area, buying Hain Safflower Mayonnaise, which has no soybean products whatsoever. The little girl at the checkstand wanted to know why I was buying that, and I told her that soy is a dicey substance and I was doing low carb. She tells me that she paid(PAID!) to hear a lecture by a nutritionist, who claimed that carbs are "essential" and that Atkins was bad for your health. I replied that every basic medical textbook states that carbs are not necessary to human existence, and that there are no studies supporting the rest of the info that the nutritionist was passing out. I had to leave, but I hope that I gave her some food for thought. There is just so much misinformation, and so many people who think they're doing the right thing when they pass it along.


12/14/2007 4:00 PM  
Blogger Ally said...

FYI Jimmy, this is a real Q & A with my carnivore husband.

And are you aware that this article is plagiarized all over the place? Seriously, YOU wrote this article, which means YOU own it, but I have seen in reposted without credit to you in MULTIPLE places. (I have a Google alert on my name, that's how I know that it's been stolen from you multiple times.)

PS Since we're talking about copyright, you've actually violated copyright on my picture there, which is why DietDetective took it down. However, it's such a cute pic that I don't mind.

1/16/2008 9:48 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

It is a nice picture, Ally, which is why I wanted to post it. And yes I am aware that you did the interview with your husband, but he's not what I would consider a typical carnivore based on his answers.

By the way, I write for about 10 different web sites and blogs, so that may explain why my column is reposted everywhere. I appreciate you being willing to engage in a discussion about this and hopefully you'd be willing to try that interview again with some of my readers who wrote to you.

Take care!

1/16/2008 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a really old post that I found linked on another blog and I felt moved to speak to your remark about abortion, as someone who stands to potentially suffer if it is outlawed again.

It is a shame that so many women get abortions, simply because it is better if unwanted pregnancies don't happen in the first place. But anyone who thinks it is about simple inconvenience doesn't understand what having a child does to the rest of your life. Since the advent of the Industrial Revolution, society has been decidedly unfriendly to people with kids and it is even less friendly to mothers. Until that changes you are going to see some women who otherwise would have kept their babies, opting for abortion. Even if it's outlawed.

I also object to the idea that a woman MUST remain a life-support machine even if she doesn't want to be. I'm sure that if you Google it you will find the failure rates for all the different contraceptive methods. Those rates are for contraceptives taken perfectly. They don't take into account condoms breaking, for instance, or some stupid doctor not telling his patient that the antibiotics she's taking for her ear infection will cancel out the effects of her contraceptive pill, or simple human error of forgetting to take a pill a couple of times in one month. (If you've ever forgotten to take your vitamins, you are in no position to criticize a woman who forgets to take her Pill.)

Nobody else has to be life support unless they want to be. Even parents of born children are not legally or morally obligated to donate blood, tissues, or organs to them. We have a shamefully high maternal mortality rate in this country and women's constitutional rights are taken away from them the moment they get pregnant, to say nothing of the career opportunities they miss and the lower pay they must suffer when they become mothers. It is even worse for single mothers. I don't think it is too much to ask to allow women to opt out of the whole experience, even after it has begun.

And it's not fair to project your own infertility and your wife's on the situation and to expect someone else to make a choice you wish you could make. Nobody else can live your life. Only you can.

I say all of this as the mother of two children. I truly do not hate children. But I think most people who are against abortion have a little attitude problem about women. Hello, we are human beings too. I'm amazed that it is OK to hurt children by bombing their countries or to hurt them by breaking up their (impoverished) families or by denying them food aid or a decent education, but it's not OK to end a pregnancy. If it were men who got pregnant we wouldn't even be debating this. Men all too often get a free pass on bad behavior. This is even more true if they're white. If we're going to pick on women about getting their uteri scraped out, let's be consistent and start picking on everybody. Otherwise let's quit trying to make women's medical decisions for them. (Us. I have never had an abortion but I want that option open. Pregnancy's been really hard on my body and I don't think I should go through it again, and with 1 in 4 American women being able to expect being raped in their lifetimes, even being abstinent, as I am, will not help me.)

10/05/2008 10:42 AM  

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