10.The ethics of eating meat
I learned the ethics of eating meat from a Tibetan lama in a monastery high on the Tibetan plateau. Fresh off nearly a year of being a raw vegan, I accused the head of the monastery of being a hypocrite. How could they teach “no killing” and hang a yak skin from the prayer pole? With a twinkle in his eye, the wise llama said simply “one death feeds everyone.” We talked about it for a while. It turns out that you can eat a half a pound of beef from a grass fed cow and kill about 0.35 animals per year in total. You don’t need that much meat, and I don’t recommend it either. Animal fat is the real treasure. A soy burger kills dozens to thousands of animals depending on how you think of it, including bunnies, turtles, mice, ladybugs, butterflies, and lots of other animals killed by combines and habitat destruction.
The grass fed cow grazed on land that wasn’t suitable for agriculture without irrigation, and no animals died unless the cow accidentally stepped on a frog. No tractor kills because there are no tractors!
Writing the Bulletproof Diet and then Head Strong and interviewing more than 450 experts on Bulletproof Radio has convinced me more than ever that we are part of a complex system in the environment around us. We interact with it and it interacts with us. Most humans fail to thrive on vegan diets. That is a fact. Some humans do thrive on mostly vegetarian diets, depending on where they live on the planet because temperature, sunlight, and altitude are important variables.
But all of that research and all those interviews have taught me one thing – how to spot propaganda and what to do when you see it. The first thing you do is laugh and ask yourself whether people will fall for it. Then you dismantle it in case people actually do fall for it.
How to spot propaganda
This movie is propaganda from the people behind PETA who simply don’t give a crap about what is healthy for you. One of the people behind the movie went to jail for firebombing medical researchers. When I was studying in university, PETA was firebombing the biology department for doing research on chicken eggs. I oppose animal research the vast majority of the time, but I do not oppose chicken egg research.
My advice? Don’t take health advice from extremist propaganda. There are more reliable sources online.
That said, as a researcher and a journalist of sorts, I’ve got to hand to these guys. They did one hell of a job with this film – it’s slick, well-funded, and may even achieve its goal: to scare you so that you will stop eating animals and even animal products. Not because they care about your health and performance, but because they care about chicken eggs.
The Bulletproof lifestyle is different. We care about treating animals ethically which is why we don’t eat industrial meat. We also care about soil integrity which is why we eat grass-fed animals and butter and eggs. But more importantly, it’s about having the energy to do what you are here to do. It turns out that the Dalai Lama put it best:
Every day, think as you wake up, I am fortunate to be alive. I have a precious human life. I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all of my energy is to develop myself. To expand my heart out to others. To achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others. I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.
That means you owe it to yourself and the world to fuel your brain and your body so that you have the energy to fully honor your precious human life. And that means you’re going to eat more than vegetables. I wish it wasn’t that way, but it is.