Lierre Keith: The Vegetarian Myth, How Agriculture Made Us Sick, and How to Save the World

Lierre Keith on The Fat-Burning Man Show

This week’s show is with a woman who is truly changing the world, Lierre Keith.

Lierre is a farmer, activist, and author ofThe Vegetarian Myth. Lierre shares her journey of transitioning to an Ancestral approach to eating and living after decades as a vegan. There’s so much to learn about food, life, and how to leave your mark on the world – you’re going to love this episode.

In this week’s show we chat about:
  • Why being vegan may be harmful for your health
  • How agriculture broke the planet and made us fat and sick
  • What we can do to reclaim our health and save the world
  • And lots more!

Here’s the show.

The problem is actually agriculture, it is THE most destructive thing people have done to the planet. – Lierre Keith *Click to Tweet!

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What did you learn from this week’s show with Lierre? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. I’d love to hear this lady have a conversation with a Vegan bodybuilder. It wasn’t clear in the podcast, does she totally condone all Veganism? I think there are plenty of people who do it “right”, but I think the general population does dive in to it without properly educating themselves. I’d love to hear if she thinks if it’s possible to be vegan without causing long-term damage to one’s spine or immune system.

    • That’s a great question Nate for sure. I think you hit the nail on the head in that there are definitely people who “do it right” – I think it’s a safe bet to say her time as a vegan wouldn’t really fall into that category unfortunately! – Emily, FBM Team

    • And exactly *how* does one do veganism “right” with respect to the critical vitamin B₁₂? It’s widely believed that so-called “nutritional yeast” contains it… but it doesn’t. While protein is a major problem for vegans, the B₁₂ situation is worse. Recent research shows B₁₂ deficiency to be a major problem even in the less strict “vegetarian” community. And searching PubMed for more information reveals that this rampant problem is especially devastating to the innocent breast-fed infant children of vegan mothers, who are subject to profound abnormalities of brain development.

        • Supplementing with what, specifically? At a certain point, it doesn’t make sense to carry on the politically correct, Kumbaya facade and be honest. Young people are unknowingly ruining their health, based upon misinformation and disinformation they are being given by their fellow vegans, as Ms. Keith so eloquently describes from her own experience, and from that of those she knew as a vegan. And vegan mothers are continuing to destroy the lives and future health of their infants:

          This is a serious problem. And in the name of the children and young people who are unwittingly end up paying the consequences, it’s time to take the PC gloves off and do something about the injustice. Sometimes the murderous parents are even let off the hook by the courts, as the above link demonstrates. It’s up to us to get the word out, even if it makes followers of the vegan religion angry.

          Ignorance kills. Food religions kill. Unbiased evaluation of the extant evidence is the only rational way forward.

          -Steve Bergman

  2. Hi Abel,

    Another great podcast. Your easy style with your guests is always such a pleasure to listen to. You are my go to recommendation whenever someone asks about audio information on the real food lifestyle.

    Would you mind if I offered a suggestion for a future guest? Here in Canada, one of the leading voices in pediatric obesity is Dr. Yoni Freedhof. Though not paleo, he is a great proponent of real food for kids and he is a great interviewee. His longtime website is

    Thanks again. You have made an incredible positive difference on my own road to health and more importantly, your podcast is an ideal way to introduce so many SAD-dieting loved ones to the wonders of just eating real food.

    Warm regards from the frozen north,

    • Hi Lennie,
      Thanks so much for the kind words. Absolutely, I will look into having Dr. Yoni on the show. Keep it up and let me know if there’s anything else we can do to help. 🙂

  3. What a knowledgeable lady! Really enjoyed that one and may have to listen again as there was so much to take in 🙂

    Shame she doesn’t have a Facebook page as I think she could really spread the word that way.

  4. Thank you for such a great interview! I am only through the first half hour (I listen to the rest on my way to practice from work) and felt compelled to post. Having recently switched from what is essentially a whole foods/paleoish diet to a plant based diet with meat/eggs once a week, I found this truly informative and timely.
    You are correct Abel, there is a ground swell of informed people taking a stand for eating/growing the right way through their purchasing power. It is growing and facilitated by this ‘nerdy tech stuff’! Keep spreading the message!

  5. I enjoyed the show and got some good information, but the burning question was never answered; What in the world was Lierre eating that so inexplicably ruined her health? I’ve heard that “vegans” can techincally subsist on oreos, french fries and potato chips. Was she eating a junk food vegan diet? I wish she went a little deeper into what eating patterns got her in that mess.

  6. Read “Medea Hypothesis” by Peter Ward. Here he presents a theory that life on the earth will destruct itself within 500 million years, because of the lack – deficiency – of CO2 that has been sequestered and put into the limestone, After that the Sun is going to grow and increase it’s energy output, first burning the surface of the Earth, then eating the plantet via gravitation.

    So it may turn out that the civilization will be a lone saviour of life, First saving it from CO2 deficiency, then perhaps from the Sun itself by moving to another planet or even another star system. It likely won’t be a human human civilization back then, but a civilization anyway. Surly it will be based on math and physics.

    • Lierre definitely has some potentially controversial thoughts. You can get a better sense of what she’s advocating in her book if you’re interested! Thanks very much for listening in. – Emily, FBM Team

  7. I just listened to this interview today (indeed a little late to the discussion). Lierre’s book has been on my reading list for a couple of months now. When I saw that she was on the FBM show I was super excited to learn about her view points. Unfortunately I don’t feel like I learned much from this interview. Though she says that veganism is an unhealthy and unnatural way to live, I know many people who have been vegan since birth who are perfectly healthy (including people in my own family). I myself am a vegan, and have never eaten red meat in my life. Could it be that veganism just didn’t work for her? Or that she, as a teenager, wasn’t aware of how to maintain healthy and balanced vegan diet?
    More importantly, I would have loved to hear about how her prescribed way of eating can be adopted by everyday Americans, as well as how this lifestyle can be sustainable. She seemed a bit dogmatic in her beliefs, but I still intend to read her book. Until then, I am interested in hearing your thoughts–Abel–on how her way of eating (especially grass fed cattle) can be sustainable for feeding the country, and the world.

    • Hi Jenne, sorry this one wasn’t your favorite! Appreciate your feedback though. I’d highly recommend reading her book because I believe she addresses your concerns about feeding the country with sustainable farming practices actually! The other one you might want to check out is my all-time farmer-crush, Mr Joel Salatin 🙂 He has a bunch of books you might find interesting, but here’s his show with Abel in the meantime! – Emily, FBM Team

  8. Hey Emily! Thanks so much for that. I’m excited to listen to Abel’s interview with Joel Salatin tomorrow. I’m vegan for health and ethical reasons, but I love learning about other dietary theories. Abel brings some fascinating people on the show 🙂

  9. Thank you for a great podcast. My friend referred me to your work. After my first podcast, I’m not disappointed. Best to you, Lierre, with your new book.

    We are turning our diet on its head in our house and it’s been a real challenge because I have twin 18 year olds in college who live at home and a 9 year old. It’s been tough, to say the least. Let’s make a podcast about people being tribal.

  10. Thanks for the interview with Lierre Keith. I appreciate her perspective on the health and ethical questions that surround diet, and meat in particular. I think it’s great that she’s sharing her story to educate others who may face some of the same problems she did eating a vegan diet. I do want to share my experience that a vegan diet does not have to lead to health problems. I was vegan for 15 years and had great health the entire time. I only started eating pastured eggs and milk again because I could find no ethical reason not to, but I never felt I needed it for health. Bodies are different and have different needs, and vegan diets are as different as the people who follow them. Health and nutrition are complex topics that don’t present easy answers; if we’re going to make informed decisions, we need to acknowledge this complexity and understand that we don’t understand everything when it comes to health.

  11. Lierre’s story is my story. I became a vegan at age 16 for ideological reasons and my health began to fail almost immediately. Like Lierre, I could not or would not connect it to the diet I was eating. The result is that I developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and have been unable to live a normal life of over 15 years. My body responds negatively to pretty much all foods. Even though I know what to eat now, it a long, slow journey. I so much appreciate Lierre for her dedication to sharing her story and setting the record straight on just how bad this kind of diet is for one’s body and the planet.

  12. I would like to add that I ate an extremely “healthy” vegan diet of all real whole food: lots of fruits, vegetable ,grains, beans, fresh vegetable juice, fermented foods, etc. I ate no junk foods or processed foods of any kinds. I did not eat sugar or vegetable seed oils. I think it is interesting that people automatically assume that if you got sick eating a vegan diet, you must have been doing it “wrong.” No human society has EVER eaten a vegan diet willingly for any length of time. Period. Animal foods have always been highly coveted in traditional hunter- or herder-gather cultures. We would not have become the human being we are today with the inclusion of animal products in our diet. Even if you personal have done okay on a vegan diet, that does not mean that your child or grandchild will fair as well after all of the DHA and B-12 have been depleted. over successive generations. The damage can take several generations to appear, and it can also take several generations to correct, as the work of Dr. Francis Pottenger so clearly demonstrated.

  13. This sentence in my above comment should read: “We would not have become the human being we are today >WITHOUT< the inclusion of animal products in our diet." I wish these forums allow us to edit our comments :o(

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