Responses to Questions and Comments from Pedestrians

The questions on health and nutrition are answered by Jack Norris, Registered Dietitian.

I like meat.

Although I also used to like meat and though it may taste good, eating it supports a great deal of cruelty that I hope you would not want to pay for.

What about free range?

Free range farms are often not much better than factory farms. See:

The only way to be certain that the animal products you buy come from farms that raise the animals in a way you would find acceptable is to visit the farms yourself to see the true conditions.

I agree that animal farms are cruel, but I have to eat meat for my health.

This is a difficult question because you need to know why they are saying this. Sometimes people use health as an excuse, but you can't assume it. Even though I’m a Registered Dietitian, I have a hard time with this sort of statement because the person always thinks they know more about it than a random leafleter, especially if their doctor, naturopath, Chinese medicine practitioner, acupuncturist, etc., told them they need to eat meat.

I think the best thing to say is, “If it wasn’t for your health, would you be a vegetarian?” If they say yes, you can discuss it more and point them to This can get them to at least admit that they should try a bit harder. Ask them if it would hurt their health to cut out half the meat they eat – most Americans eat more than the recommended amounts.

I cannot become vegetarian because carbs make me gain weight.

Vegetarians have lower rates of obesity. For people who easily gain weight, some carbohydrate sources might increase this tendency, while others should help prevent weight gain. Processed carbohydrates with little fiber, such as sugars, pasta, white rice, white bread, and french fries (and all white potatoes actually) could lead to weight gain. But carbohydrates in whole foods (except white potatoes) like bananas, beans, brown rice, whole wheat bread, and oatmeal can help keep weight off. A whole foods vegan diet has been used with success to treat type 2 diabetes (see the studies listed in the article Type 2 Diabetes and the Vegan Diet). So, how someone who has problems with carbs does on a vegan diet will probably depend on how much processed food they eat.

On the other hand, someone who has a hard time keeping weight on will want to eat the processed carbs, especially if they are athletic.

If someone raises a pet hen do you think it’s wrong to eat her eggs?

Raising a hen under humane conditions and eating her eggs is much different than eating eggs from a commercial farm. If the chicken is allowed to live out her life, then I would have little problem with it. I don’t seek out such a situation, because I have no need to eat eggs.