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Why This Vet Went Vegetarian

Posted by at 5:35 AM | Permalink | Comments (27)


vegvetFor much of my adult life, my diet was an afterthought. I simply ate when I was hungry, and my choice of food was usually dictated by convenience. Since I spent 50 to 60 hours per week at the veterinary hospital and my cat Whitney had not yet mastered the art of cooking, breakfast was a few bites of Entenmanns chocolate cake, and dinner usually consisted of a drive-through Burger King whopper, fries, and a shake.

One fateful day in 1996, a client and friend invited me to a PETA event in Los Angeles. As I had no real knowledge of PETA besides what I had heard through the mass media, the thought of renting a tux and schlepping to Los Angeles for a formal affair left me feeling ambivalent. But my friend closed the deal by telling me that Paul McCartney was going to be there. As a lifelong Beatles fan, I said, “Uh, sure. I’d love to attend and learn more about PETA,” with visions of jamming with Paul and doing harmony to “I Saw Her Standing There” in my head.

My vegan meal was surprisingly tasty, and Elvira was on hand to remind me that I was overdue to watch a good horror movie. As I listened throughout the evening to the accomplishments and battles that were being fought in behalf of animals, most of which I had never given any thought to, I was inspired to do more to help. I left with a bag of goodies for the road and a picture of myself with Kim Basinger. I joined PETA shortly thereafter, and the rest is history.

I began reading a paperback that was in my bag of goodies, Animal Liberation by Peter Singer. The book describes speciesism and argues that we deprive animals of their very lives, solely to satisfy our culinary tastes, when meat is not a necessity in our diets. Upon reading more about the deplorable conditions faced by animals on factory farms, I immediately decided that I could no longer contribute to such despair and suffering. Although I didn’t know what I would eat instead of meat at the time, I knew that not making this small sacrifice in behalf of animals was incompatible with my life’s work.

My newfound awareness of issues affecting animal welfare changed my life forever. Twelve years later, I’m a proud PETA member, donor, and blogger, and I own numerous vegetarian cookbooks (I have a pesto/potato stew in the crockpot as I write this). My vegetarian diet is healthier by leaps and bounds, even if I set the bar pretty low to begin with. And more importantly, I feel better knowing that I no longer contribute to the suffering and death of animals through my dietary choices.

I recently wrote an article (“Are We Consistent in Our Treatment of All Animals?,” Veterinary Forum, Oct. 2007) in which I attempted to make the case that it is logically inconsistent for veterinarians–who took an oath to relieve animal suffering–to eat meat, hunt, or fish. It is my hope that if you eat meat, you will consider modifying your diet, be it for philosophical, health, or environmental reasons. Although it has never been easier to find tasty foods devoid of animal products, I believe that each individual must reach this decision on his or her own timetable. I hope to have planted the “seeds of vegetarianism” here. I’m living proof that people can blossom with the right mix of seedlings planted at the right time, resulting in changes that save animals’ lives.

If you are already vegetarian or vegan, what was your “seed”? If you haven’t yet made the switch, what’s holding you back? Can you pledge to be vegetarian for 30 days in 2009?

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    Blake says...

    January 30th, 2009, 3:04 pm

    Dr. Barry Kipperman,

    Thank you for your great posts. As a vegetarian since I was 13 (for 14 years), I grew up with my wonderful labrador retriever who passed away almost two years ago, and I decided once my husband and I got married and rescued a dog I would put my dog on a vegetarian diet because I figured that would be the most healthiest. We rescued a young boxer in July and I gave her Nature’s Recipe Healthy Skin Canine Formula, but her stools were really loose. I have since tried a number of non-veg dog foods because I was concerned, and put her on Science Diet I.D. at the vet’s request, which helped. I recently changed because I wanted something substantial and healthier, especially since she has skin issues (more than normal shedding) and sensitive stomach.

    I am not sure if you read the comments, but if so, do you have any information on her health conditions and vegetarian dog diets?

    Thank you so much!

    Gary says...

    January 30th, 2009, 3:24 pm

    Thank You for this excellent Bloggie…
    I am Happy to see the word Vegetarian used, as all too often I only see the word vegan, and I usually just stop reading there.
    I too read PETA literature, and made a decision to join PETA and become a vegetarian.
    I take every opportunity to tell others what I have learned, and open dialogues with Family, Friends, and Neighbors to hopefully plant the seeds of change. I attend HSUS and SPCA Volunteer functions and events, and enjoy the exchange of ideas and company, however I avoid PETA events, as I know vegans hold elitist sway there, and don’t feel welcome. I view the term vegan as elitist and believe it’s use highlights differences between people and has a distinctive elitist quality to it, which is not conducive to opening dialogues.
    I believe it IS about Animals, and it would be good to remember that, as currently I find myself having to contend with purient images from banned ads in the news of young women feigning masturbation with vegetables, and even I find that a little difficult to connect with Animal well being.
    Thank You for reading,
    Gary
    Tampa

    Angela says...

    January 30th, 2009, 4:17 pm

    I feed my dog Royal Canin brand Vegetarian formula. I’ve also fed my mothers dog this brand.

    Katie says...

    January 30th, 2009, 5:51 pm

    Great article, but there is scientific proof that meat is a necessity in the human diet. The varying levels of vegetarianism are mostly fine, but veganism is potentially very dangerous. Humans need vitamin B-12, which can only be obtained through animal products. Osteoporosis and vitamin B-12 deficiency are frightfully common health problems for vegans. By the way, I’m getting this information from a dietitian’s college textbook on nutrition.

    Natalie says...

    January 30th, 2009, 10:59 pm

    Thanks so much, Dr. Kipperman!

    The article was touching. I will forward it to my parents, whom shouldn’t need any more reassurance for transitioning to vegetarianism, but still somehow do despite being animal lovers and having a veggie daughter.

    For me, there was no one “seed” planted. Since I was in kindergarten, I began feeling saddened by my plate. At such a young age, though, it was impossible to resolve to go vegetarian when I had no knowledge on the subject, and my parents reassured me that “it’s completely natural and painless” to kill the once-breathing creatures.

    This feeling of hypocrisy only grew with time, as I always felt very close to the animals and nature around me, especially family pets whom I considered my siblings! By time I’d heard of vegetarianism, I’d been brainwashed to think humans NEED meat in their diets, and I was a naive teenager.

    But I did what I felt I could, like volunteer for a local animal shelter. When I moved out of my parents’ home at age 20 and started doing my own grocery shopping & cooking, I quickly noticed I did not feel comfortable purchasing any meat that wasn’t frozen in unrecognizable nuggets/patties/burritos and the like. Hence, I ate more veggies and much less meat.

    Then at age 22 I was lucky enough to work with a guy who was close-to-vegetarian like me, and who had a vegan roommate! He was excited to introduce us because of our similar sentiment, and after hanging out with her one time I knew I had no excuse. I went 100% vegetarian and close to vegan shortly after.

    Veganism is a journey, as it is impossible to be 100% cruelty-free (like with pharmaceuticals, car tires, etc.) but it is liberating to strive to do the best I can. As a note to Gary: I’m sorry you feel excluded when you hear the word “vegan”. I think the fact that you feel it is an elitist term must hint to the fact that you know this group of people has a reason to feel great.

    Now, there is a difference between someone who does a certain action because it is the right thing to do, and someone who does that same action with the intention of putting someone else down. I believe most vegans are vegans for the animals, and not to be snotty. Nobody is perfect though, and we must all do our best to be kind and appreciate the good in others.

    From what I’ve come to understand, exploiting animals for entertainment/ fashion/ laboratory testing/ profit of any kind/ & consumption of any kind = poor. Animals don’t deserve to suffer in despicable conditions while treated as milk machines any more than they deserve to be butchered for hamburgers and served with fries. Luckily, I think anyone who is informed and involved enough to read things by PETA and similar organizations comes to discover and feel the same.

    Good luck to everyone in their own personal journey!

    Sally says...

    January 31st, 2009, 9:01 am

    Dogs are carnivores by nature. If left to the wild they will eat raw meat, not vegetables, fruits, or grains as currently being popularized in commercial dog foods. You can feed your dog free range meat products. It is the best for their health. I stick to a vegetarian diet for health and animal cruelty reasons, although once in a while I will eat fish or chicken. As I understand it, it is a better choice to eat free range large animals because the animal has had somewhat of a natural life, and a large animal feeds more people thus reducing the amount of “suffering/killing” per serving; versus eating a small animal such as a chicken who has lived in a pen, and only feeds approximately 4 people per animal. Of course the goal is not to eat any.

    Michael Myrick says...

    January 31st, 2009, 12:30 pm

    Wonderful article, Dr. Kipperman! Each time I visit a vet clinic, I always wonder how a vet can spend all day saving the lives of animals and then sit down to dinner of tortured souls. I’ve learned that most humans we come in contact with on a daily basis do feel guilty to some extent or at various times in relation to animal rights and eating meat. They are generally missled and missinformed in relation to animal rights/meat consuption by the masses. That’s is why it is so important as PETA members, veggies/vegans, and devoted animal lovers that WE lead and inform those around us. It is our obligation to do so. We have to educate and pass these types of articles, general animal rights facts, and also our personal stance and experiences on to our fellow species. For instance, I put up a PETA “rescued” 2009 calander in my office at work. It attracts a lot of positive attention. People always inquire about it and I positively inform my co-workers each time. I’ve only had 1 instance of outward negativity which I quickly turned positive. A man said sarcasticly “Awe, look at the pretty little puppy dog; how masculine of you!”. I quickly replied, “Yes, it takes a very strong person to put their heart and soul on display for everyone to see, knowing they’ll be faced with ridicule and speculation.” I went on to say, “PETA represents a part of my heart and soul. I believe in them, but more importantly animals. That’s me. Take it or leave it, but that’s me.”. The conversation turned positive and he shared with me some stories from his life about animals. It made my day! Please share your feelings and opinions with those around you. You will be surprised at the impact you can make. Thanks!

    Karen Taggart says...

    February 2nd, 2009, 12:00 pm

    Katie,

    I am going to have to respectfully disagree with you. Humans in no way need to eat meat, especially from a dietary perspective. Here is a link to some more information on the topic: http://www.goveg.com/naturalhumandiet.asp And if you are concerned about specific nutrients, such as B12 which you CAN get from non-animal sources, check this one out: http://www.goveg.com/optimal_vegan_nutrition.asp

    On a personal note, I have been vegan for over 10 years and vegetarian for 20 and my doctors always report that I am in EXCELLENT health.

    Patty Bowers says...

    February 4th, 2009, 1:14 pm

    What a beautiful articel! Thank you!
    The planetary consequences of eating meat are disasterous. And unethical, as so many are starving in the world and we are consuming all the resources using land, fertilizers, pesticides, grains, grasses, fuel oil, etc. to raise cows who give off so much methane, and then eat them. One of the main causes of colon cancer has been eating meat, as it takes so long to break down in the stomach and colon, mostly sitting there for hours putrifying. Perhaps we should consider how much better land could be used to raise beans and grains that would feed a hundred times more people. Not to mention how much better all of our health would be if we all stopped eating meat.
    And to Katie who entered above, there ARE other ways of getting B12, in seaweeds and B12 tablets. I recently had my B12 tested and it was good and high and I haven’t eaten meat for years. My “numbers” from all my blood work and tests always come in “better than any we see for someone 20 years younger than you!” (according to my Dr.) So please consider that not all sources we read are correct. Empirical results are the best. Thank you.
    I hope everyone will watch PETA’s short DVD called “MEET YOUR MEAT”, and arrange a gathering for friends and community members to see this also. It’s lilfe-changing.
    Patty Bowers

    Peggy Kaplan says...

    February 15th, 2009, 8:58 am

    Thank you for posting your journey to vegetarianism and for being such a huge supporter, advocated and friend of PETA.
    In my early years , like some of your other bloggers, as a child I found eating meat “yucky” especially when I would bite into a vein or artery of a chicken leg. Many times I would sit quielty at the table..cough into my napkin and excuse myself to go to the bathroom, where I would flush the meat in the toilet.
    My journey to stop eating animals began in 1972. I was a college sophmore and some Buddists came through our campus to speak about their religion. I befriended them, listened to their lectures (although I didn’t become a Buddist) and decided to stop eating animals at that time..although I gave up fish a year later (I had to ask myself, if I caught it, “could I kill it?” The answer was no..given a fish flopping on a hook or seeing it swim away..I chose to see it swim away.
    Don’t let people tell you that vegetarians aren’t strong and healthy. In 1984 I qualified and competed in the first Women’s Olympic Trials Marathon going on to run an ultra the next year.
    As far as the journey goes , sometimes it just takes another person or another video of animal suffering to help you take the next step to eating more humane.
    About 8 years ago I met a man ( Nathan Runkle – http://www.mercyforanimals.org ) in his late teens who went in to a chicken egg hatchery in Ohio. He videotaped and appeared on camera showing some of these chickens in the most deplorable condition I have ever seen..5 chickens in a cage the size of a record album..with wings sticking through the wire cages, some dying that had fallen out. It was blatant cruelty and suffering. He was charged with trespassing and could have gone to jail. At that moment I thought to myself, he is brave enough to go in and actually SEE this and I am not.. but I felt the least I could do was stop eating eggs.
    Having been to a dairy farm as well (at an earlier time) I also quit drinking milk after seeing the babies separated from their mothers in these little wooden boxes, sucking on the wood ,since they were not allowed to be with their mom’s..even before they had that first suck of colostrum.

    I hope your blogger doesn’t think as a vegan I would treat him differently if we were at the same event. I wouldn’t.
    I even applaud people who eat meat who support small farmers and stay away from factory farms, even though the outcome is the same, a brutal death. My own husband eats fish and he is on his own personal journey. I am so glad he doesn’t eat animals.
    Please don’t feel we judge you for what you eat. We love you for eating more humanely whoever you are!
    Peggy in Columbus, Ohio

    jill says...

    March 18th, 2009, 12:34 pm

    Hi Barry, I just wondered what your thoughts were on being a vegetarian production animal vet?

    Do you think that a vegetarian, with fairly strong animal rights views, could carry out the work required to be a production animal vet, and in fact take pride that they could improve farming and/or welfare standards, or is the conflict too great?

    Thanks,
    Jill

    jill says...

    March 18th, 2009, 12:35 pm

    Sorry, for some reason, the auto enter displayed my e-mail address incorrectly..
    Please see the correct one above.

    barry Kipperman,DVM says...

    March 20th, 2009, 4:16 pm

    Jill,
    Thats a very good question. It brings up a classic conundrum when moral conflicts occur: Is it acceptable to work on improving the welfare of animals in factory farms while disagreeing with the position, or is doing so being complicit and only making us more comfortable with the status quo? I believe one can work to implement change, and acknowledge your desire for abolition at the same time. Still, I couldn’t imagine being at ease working on production/food animals myself.

    Chitalu says...

    June 10th, 2009, 6:22 pm

    Wow reading these articles has sparked something in me. I am a 22year old lady living in zambia, i.e southern africa and this topic of vegetarianism has always intrigued me. Sadly over here if i was to say i wanted to become vegetarian all i would incite would be frowns and questions as to why i’d wanna do that. There isn’t much of a variety pertaining to vegetarian foods in our stores and accompanied with the ridicule of becoming a vegetarian, i am finding it difficult to convert.

    robin says...

    October 27th, 2009, 2:47 pm

    Re: the poster who believed vegans are prone to osteoporosis and B12 deficits. Science shows there are many other sources of calcium and other nutrients than animal products. I eat beans, broccoli, etc. My own bones provide evidence: my doctor, knowing that my mother (and aunts) had osteoporosis, insisted I have a DES scan. Viewing the scan, he said my bones were like those of a healthy woman 20 years younger. B12 – that is a problem, but recent studies are showing that people on carne/regular diets have B12 deficits too.

    Michael Blott says...

    October 30th, 2009, 3:40 pm

    The short story on how I found my way to Veganism is a perfect storm of truths that presented them selves in a short period of time. 90% I can sum up in two words “factory farms”. Becoming vegetarian was the first hurtle and following more education and the realization on how easy it was, Vegan two months later. My pets were an inspiration to me in this change and I am transitioning them slowly to a more vegan diet. As a doctor, I had to come to terms on the incorrect information I learned and passed on. I believe that is one of the biggest barriers people have, that is accepting they were once part of the horrors animals have endured. Now the hardest part by far on being Vegan is to keep my mouth shut when the door opens to discuss vegan lifestyle. I endeavor to influence people by example with the ease and joy of the lifestyle. It is amazing on how many people seek me out to ask questions if they don’t feel judged. Many have become vegetarian, vegan or flexitarians with this gentle persuasion.

    Lana Badouin says...

    October 30th, 2009, 4:00 pm

    Two years ago in an attempt to lose weight, I bought the book, Skinny Bitch. If I had know it was a push toward becoming a vegetarian/vegan, I would have never bought it. At the end of the book, you were directed to a web site about becoming a vegetarian/vegan. I spent about a week reading it, watching the videos, and crying my eyes out. On Oct. 15, 2007, I woke up and decided to become a vegan for the animals. It was like God had turned the switch in my head and I had no desire for animal products again. It was the easiest thing I had ever done. I had been suffering from severe intestinal problems. All my tests came back fine so the doctor said I had IBS. In about 3 days after becoming a vegan, all my intestinal problems went away and have never come back. I am now a PETA member and animal rights advocate. I am eternally greatful for this information being made available to me. It changed my life forever. I have even gotten my husband to almost be a vegetarian; he still eats fish. But I will keep letting him know how much better it would be if he gave that up too.

    Renata says...

    October 30th, 2009, 5:50 pm

    Hello
    I have just read the beautiful and heart-warming article of Dr Kippermann and I had a look at some of the comments. I wanted to comment on Katie’s posting, although I see it was left on the 29 January and it’s nine months ago: a long time, but I think it might be useful for someone else.
    Katie claims that veganisim is dangerous because we need vitamin B12, and it’s especially dangerous for women in menopause. I would like to speak of my case. I am nearly 58 and have been vegan for more than ten years in London (and before I have been vegetarian for 15 years or so in Italy).
    B12: we need it, it’s true, but we need extremely small quantities. It seems that – although the process is still not clear – some of us are actually able to produce it from vegetables, but without leaving anything to chance … just use products fortified with B12 (coming from vegetable sources). I live in the UK and here we have plenty of types of soya milk and vegan margarine with B12. Marmite (the yeast paste English people use so much) also contains B12 plus many other products. Well, look for fortified vegan products at the supermarket and you will be spoilt for choice.
    If you want you can even buy capsules of B12 coming from seaweeds.
    Osteoporosis. The main-stream propaganda feulled by the meat and diary industries likes to make us think that we need milk for our bones. The truth is quite different. It appears that through a chemical reaction the calcium contained in cow milk makes the calcium in our bones detach! A glass of cow milk also contains millions of puss cells (not very nice, is it?). The fact is that I have recently done a bone density test and my doctor was amazed how well I scored!
    Another thing: I have never experienced a hot-flash in my life. Why this? Because I don’t use diary products. Medical studies on Japonese women has proved that the rate of osteoporosis in Japan is extremely low and this seems to be due to the fact that in that country dairy products are not that common. In Japanese there is not even a word to mean: hot-flashes because they don’t exist.
    Finally a word for Chitalu who lives in Zambia: I became vegetarian in 1984 in Italy and my family as well as all my friends foresaw a quick and painful death for me because of my choice. 25 years later I am 58, my cholesterol is perfect and I feel great. Just let them talk and prove them they are wrong. People are frightened by new ideas. But you can make this idea become familiar being a vegetarian so they can see that you don’t drop dead and that your health is better than theirs and you have more energy (beside a clean conscience). So many people have verbally attacked me in my life for being vegetarian (and then vegan). My answer is: “If you feel so disturbed by my choice, it must mean that you feel guilty for eating meat. Not my problem” and I laugh. It’s incrtedible how this simple sentence can shut them up! ;-)

    Renata says...

    October 30th, 2009, 9:20 pm

    I have just re-read my posting and I am feeling a bit ashamed about all the typing mistakes I have made: I am a dreadful typist and even if I re-read the text I don’t notice the mistakes until it is posted and I cannot change it anymore. At least I could have typed dairy correctly! Grrrr.
    Maybe it’s a Freudian slip, sort of subconscious refusal of the white stuff. I often find myself writing meet for meat!!!!!

    Christy Summerfield says...

    October 30th, 2009, 11:23 pm

    I quit eating meat when I was 19. It was the ’60’s, I was in college, an actress, political activist, “hippie”. My friends & I were reading “The Whole Earth Catalog” & considering our impact on the planet. When I stopped eating meat, I lost weight, had more energy & felt better in every way. I think the seeds were sown when I was a little kid. My father hunted rabbit & I was forced to eat it, crying the whole time. When I married I inherited 4 terrific adolescents who all lived with us. They & their dad ate meat but they also ate a whole lot of vegetarian meals. In 1978 I had a healthy baby boy, not eating any meat during my pregnancy & continuing to run 3 miles/day until 2 days before he was born. He slept in 100% cotton long underwear to avoid the fire-retardant chemicals in pj’s for kids. Most of what we wore was 100% cotton. He wasn’t raised strictly vegetarian because his dad & older sibs ate meat. But he learned from my example & now tells me he wishes I had raised him as a vegetarian. He is a healthy 6’5″man who, along with his fiancee eats no meat or fish. My older kids eat some meat & fish but also plenty of vegetarian meals. I know my grandkids are watching me & their uncle & are thinking about what it means to live a cruelty-free life. Last summer my son & his best friend rode their bikes from Oregon to San Francisco along the Pacific Coast Highway. We do our best to avoid leather, silk, wool & other products that involve cruelty to animals, & certainly in the case of leather & silk, cruelty to humans, & any items, the production of which causes harm to people, animals & the environment. In some third-world countries, families struggling to earn a living, make & sell leather products from the hides of animals who have died natural deaths & companies promote these as cruelty-free leather goods. But the chemicals used in making these products are deadly. My son & his fiancee have been struggling with her mother over their refusal to serve meat or fish at their wedding. Their honeymoon will be a bike trip across the U.S. Although I haven’t eaten any meat in more years than I like to count, I did continued to eat some fish, but less & less until a couple of years ago when I could no longer do it. I take flaxseed oil caps rather than fish oil. My last bone scan showed my bones are in great shape. We have always had rescued pets. Figuring out what to feed them is tricky. My dogs eat Royal Canin for Dachshunds because they thrive on it. It’s very expensive & I live on a fixed income but I’m fortunate enough to have a wholesale source which is the only reason I can afford it. My cat, who is 19 & going strong, seems to need food containing meat or fish. My son & his fiancee adopted a cat who was extremely ill for several weeks after they adopted her. Now she won’t eat anything but Trader Joe’s tuna for cats. They’re just grateful she eats at all & is healthy. We’re far from perfect but we do our best to live our convictions. It’s practically impossible to make sure every single thing you buy, including clothing, is produced in a cruelty-free way that does not adversely impact the environment or exploit humans or animals. I think we have to live mindfully & do the best we can. I try to gently provide what information I can to the people I know. I sign petitions, write letters, support animal rescue organizations, work for education & change & have supported PETA for at least 20 years. I’m particularly proud that PETA had a large part in getting my local hospital, The U of Michigan, to stop using live animals in their trauma research program. I try to use cruelty-free personal care products but boy is it hard! I do the research only to learn that a product such as an effective sunscreen, may be produced without animal research but contain chemicals that could be detrimental to me & to my pets if they lick my arms or face. So that’s the story of my journey so far. In my own experience, the walk often speaks louder than the talk.

    JenX says...

    October 31st, 2009, 12:00 pm

    I know a wonderful vet who runs an animal rescue, but it saddens me every time I see her sit down to a meal of burgers and fried chicken. How can someone so compassionate not make the connection to the animals who suffered for her meal?

    I hope by being vegan, that I subtly raise others awareness to the plight of farmed animals. And to Gary in Tampa–don’t be put off by the word “vegan”. Like someone else said, it’s a journey and every little bit that you do can help relief the suffering of animals. I didn’t go vegan overnight, and I’m not “perfect” in my veganism. I strive to do the best I can without coming across as extreme so that others see that it’s not hard to do. It’s really about the animals; not the label or being “difficult”.

    I appreciate it when my omni friends and family choose a vegetarian meal. That’s great! And I appreciate vegetarians too–again, it’s about relieving as much suffering as you can.

    I’ll take what I can get because the animals are worth it:).

    Ralph says...

    November 1st, 2009, 12:10 am

    I became a vegan because it was the only way I could get out of the house.
    You see about 40 years ago I had a skin problem that was so bad that my
    body was blood and pus all over.For a while I could wrap my legs in bandages
    so my pants would not stick to my legs.But when it got so bad that I could
    no longer do that.The doctor could do nothing so I started doing research.
    After some time I found something that said to stop eating animal products.
    Well I had already quit eating milk products because I found out my body
    was latose intolerent when I was 13.It took me a while but I was able to
    adapt.Most of the medical problems I had that doctors could not fix I found
    a way to do something that would help of fix.So I figure most health problems would go away if everyone was a vegan.

    Lillian Marie says...

    November 1st, 2009, 9:15 am

    Hi, Dr. Kippermann,
    I am so inspired by your blog.. In here in my country specifically where work in the Cordilleras its difficult being vegan or vegetarian. Their culture revolves around sacrioficing animals during wakes, ceremonies, “canao” where they kill pigs through a sharpened rod aimed at the heart or kill chickens mercilessly beating them to death.. And since I am the only vegan in this area, I cannot stomach such cruelty. So far since I am a Physician I just can tell them the reletionship of eating meat to health (most diseases they suffer are hypertension, stroke, dyslipidemia, diabetes because of thier carnivorous diet)…

    Ruth says...

    November 1st, 2009, 9:34 am

    I am a vegan of choice and my brother and his dog are also vegans.

    My brother gives his dog veggie burgers,tofu,vegan cheese and his dog is very healthy and he is 16 years old.

    The vets tell you to feed your dog,cat animal products because they want to make MONEY by your pet being sick.

    Merilyn Phillips says...

    November 1st, 2009, 3:11 pm

    :-) No worries Renata – our brains see exactly what you mean. Even if you left out all the vowels, we would understand. Terrible typist myself.
    Katie- I just popped my B-12 under my tongue – thanks for the reminder. Let me tell you tho – if I had to eat meat to get it, I’d be one B-12 defficient woman! 52 and just completed a Life Line Screening test with flying colors. Meat NEVER touched my grandmother’s lips and she was never a patient in a hospital – always healthy and lived to be very very old. i’ve Been a vegetarian since a very young child, as I was raised by my grandma and meat was never in our house. When I ate hamburger at picnics, always thought it was quite yucky. Ate a vegan burger at Natural Eats -( whatever happened to them?? ), in Miami once and found it delicious! Always wondered why, with so many delicious non-meat foods to eat, why would anyone want or need to eat animals?? They are not ours to eat!

    Teresa says...

    November 15th, 2009, 10:30 pm

    For me, there was no seed. My mom said that she even had trouble getting me to eat meat-based baby foods, other than that, I have never eaten a piece of meat in my life and never intend to! No religious reasons or beliefs, grew up in a meat-eating family…just born an animal lover! As for my health, I’m 44 years old , in perfect health, and could probably run circles around most people half my age!! In all honesty, I’ve been vegan for only the past two years(thank you, PETA).

    Marissa says...

    July 6th, 2010, 2:04 pm

    Okay, so I’m a flexitarian. I gave up all pork and beef last year. I feel that being a Southerner…I have to go slowly at this process. My dad’s been vegetarian for a while and I know I’ll get there some day.

    I try to have as many vegetarian meals as I can, complete with imitation tofu meat. Even my meat-loving husband partakes of these meals and enjoys them. His favorite is my Smart Dogs Vegetarian “Beanie Weenies.”

    My next animal to give up will be chicken; my husband and I plan on trying for children around Halloween of this year so that would be a good time for me to get closer and closer to my meat-free goal. But I doubt I’ll strive for veganism until menopause simply b/c I’m an Italian-American and LOVE MY CHEESE!

    By the way, thanks for the vet-related article. My cousins Joey & Jon (brothers) are both veternarians and neither one is a vegetarian. Maybe at our next family get-together, I can bring a faux meat dish and show them that they can be happy being Southern and Italian-American without meat!!

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