Frequently Asked Questions

Question - How do vegetarians and vegans get enough protein?

Much confusion exists with regard to human protein needs. One otherwise very helpful book, written in the 1960s, called Diet for a Small Planet, actually added to that confusion by needlessly emphasizing the practice of combining various complementary plant proteins, such as beans with rice, in order to create "complete proteins".

The American Dietetic Association, and nearly all other authorities on nutrition, now says that we needn't concern ourselves with such complicated practices, and that we will get all the complete proteins we need as long as we eat a variety of plant foods throughout the day. In fact, if we are getting all the calories that we need, we will almost certainly get enough protein.

Another large point of confusion in Western culture is about exactly how much protein humans need. In infancy, we humans grow faster than at any other time in our lives. And presumably, that would be the time period in which our protein requirements would be the greatest. But the protein content of human mothers' breast milk comprises only 5% of the calories of that food source.

The World Health Organization says that we only need 4 1/2 % of our calories to come from protein. Most Americans get from 15% - 17 % of their daily calories from protein, and that's actually harmful, especially when the protein is coming mainly from animal sources.

Problems commonly associated with the over-consumption of protein include gout, osteoporosis, kidney stones, and kidney disease.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, director of the Cornell/Oxford/China Health Project, states that the consumption of animal protein causes more cancers than does any chemical carcinogen. Dr. Campbell's book, The China Study, gives the details of that huge, comprehensive study.

Question - How could meat eating be wrong when it is sanctioned by God's Word, the Holy Bible?

The brutality of factory farms - the source of nearly all meat, dairy, and eggs - is flagrantly at odds with God's repeated calls for mercy and peace.

After the flood, God's "choice" is merely a concession to human savagery, and it comes with a dreadful curse - the dissolution of our bond with animals and the earth - a terrible price to pay. Only if we twist God's word to rationalize our addiction to cruel animal products could we fool ourselves - at least superficially - into believing that God doesn't care if we are violent or peaceful, or if we intentionally cause harm or try to avoid it.

To consume animal products in order to survive is one thing. To engage in entirely avoidable meanness, in order to satisfy an indulgence, is quite another and violates the very essence of God's calls to be merciful and peaceful. To kill for pleasure exemplifies greed, a deadly sin, and blatantly goes against God's word.

Question - What would we do with all the animals if everyone went vegetarian?

It is true that animal overpopulation would be a major concern if everyone went vegetarian immediately. But such big changes are more likely to happen gradually, which would mean that farmers would just stop breeding so many animals for slaughter, and their populations would dwindle.

Question - Aren't vegetarians being inconsistent when they show little or no concern for the suffering of plants?

It is possible that plants have some degree of intelligence or sentience, though it is far from being fully understood. We know that plants do not have central nervous systems, as do humans and animals, so it would be difficult for us to imagine that plants might experience pain that is similar to our own.

We know that farmed animals have the same five senses as we, including two eyes, two ears, and a central nervous system; we know that they have individual personalities and a desire to enjoy being in nature, moving about freely, and doing the things that the source of all life has equipped them to do. Since it's very clear that they can suffer, wouldn't we want to do all that we can to mitigate that suffering and help bring them the same kinds of joys that we cherish...

Those who are truly concerned about the possible suffering of plants could greatly reduce plant suffering by eating fewer animal products. That dietary change would significantly reduce the number of corn, oats, and soybean plants that are killed each year to form the mountains of grains that are required to produce small amounts of meat.

They might even want to consider a diet of fruit, nuts, and seeds, which doesn't require the taking of animal or plant lives.