It should never be veganuary in this or any other month

An excellent article by food journalist, Joanna Blythman in the (Glasgow) Herald, whose thoughts reflect my own:

Johnson clearly hasn’t been in control of his weight for years. It took coronavirus to make him realise that those extra stones he’s been carrying are a marker for poor metabolic health, which predisposes you to all sorts of disease: heart, cancer, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, the list goes on. So he’s waging a war on fat, quoting his government’s so-called nutrition experts: count calories, up your physical fitness, and avoid foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt. This advice is worse than useless. It got us into our current mess.

She continues:

Public health advice in this country has been so misguided for so long,

It certainly has and still is, unfortunately. In spite of the Covid pandemic.

Over 50% of the food we now consume in the UK is ultra-processed…..


….If you just eat real food in natural forms – it’s quite hard to overeat.

There are lots of gems and the article (free to read) is worth reading in full.

Any government with an interest in protecting public health should be telling us to avoid processed foods, full stop. They are – roughly – those with any more than five listed ingredients. Though ideally they should not have to list any – but what they actually are aka, the headline, often referred to as what it says on the tin…

A while ago she also wrote on the delusions of veganism. Something with which I also agree – and I know a few vegans whose diets seem to be coming home to haunt their good health as they age.

Now we all probably have a period of ill-health to look forward to in old age but, unless we have been heavily smoking or drug taking, not usually when we reach sixty. It is anecdotal of course, but I know three vegans in that category.

As the article suggests, we need to recognise that a rotational system of farming that includes animals is good for carbon capture (by the soil) and soil quality. Local production of course benefits both the local economy and the environment – natural animal husbandry is an age old skill in the UK – whereas acres of world transported and chemically fertilised arable is not.

In the end, vegans are very often advised to take supplements. And so they should, but I fear that if your diet needs supplements then you probably need to change your diet – not take supplements. In effect, the best supplements for a vegan diet include red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy…

Many are also concerned about the climate and choose veganism to stop climate change.

Yet in fact the soil even with ruminant animals on it, retains carbon and provided the animals are not ‘housed’ the ruminant animals are really just recycling the carbon.

Animals are not the problem and vegans should, I’d submit, not suggest that they are.

For we have to recognise that in order to offset one trans-Atlantic return flight (per passenger), calculations suggest that you may need to go vegan for as much as two years.

We are barking up the wrong tree and I think it would simply be better all round to choose a surface route to travel – and actually keep eating moderate amounts of fish and meat….


  1. Graham -

    When I feel particularly bolshie about veganism I write a post challenging them to try a vegan diet on what is grown purely in the UK. I reckon I could survive on grass-fed organic beef and lamb, and home grown fruit & veg, as many did until fairly recently.

    Extensively reared livestock, eating only grass is environmentally sound. Ploughing to grow crops releases carbon and increases soil erosion. “Defending Beef” makes a good case and offers some perspective on other agricultural practices.

    1. Peter May -

      🙂 Thanks..

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