Vegetarian vs Carnivore by Dr. Dave Hepburn

Samuel, our Masaai guide, announced that the lion tracks on the side of the Tanzanian path we were driving were fresh! Speeding up, our Land Cruiser cruised some land as on two wheels we hurled around the bend just in time to watch a pride of lions hurl themselves on to the flank of a massive Cape Buffalo bull. We were now caught, albeit deliberately, in the midst of an actual lion hunt!! The bull’s deadly horns could eviscerate a lion and as he thrashed and spun dangerously the lions’ attack had to be from the rear and on the rear, a haunch launch. But the bull’s attempt to defend himself was futile.


Met and Vegetables - Dr. David Hepburn
Met and Vegetables – Dr. David Hepburn

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Suddenly, out of the west (actually I’m not sure what direction it was, but “out of the west” is just cool) four Cape Buffalo came thundering across the savannah to attack the lions! Charging into the fray, their attack allowed their buddy, Ralph, to break free of the lions. He now turned his horns on them.

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But the lions knew their respective jobs. While part of the pride fended off the attack the rest managed to keep Ralph separated from the others. Within minutes the well- organized lions had the would-be rescuers on the run, leaving poor old Ralph behind.

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Ralph knew that his only chance of surviving this ferocious attack was to get himself into a thicket where the lions would not attack him, as they’re not particularly keen on being eviscerated. Sure enough he rolled into a ravine and into a thicket. The lions, wanting to keep their eviscerals, abandoned the hunt and slunk off, exhausted.

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But left three lions behind to watch the wounded bull. Finish him off later.

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The three lions later gave up.

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The lions walked right past our vehicle, so close that we could’ve pet them or dabbed the blood off their faces, if our trembling had stopped. But they were too pooped to even look at us as a potential hornless meal.

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A vegetarian diet is, per se, neither healthy nor unhealthy. To be beneficial, like any diet, it depends on the extent of your knowledge and how much care you take to get the proper nutrition for your body, and avoid overly processed sugars.

Vegetarians vs Carnivores- Dave Hepburn
Vegetarians vs Carnivores- Dave Hepburn

But review of the medical literature summarizes these interesting facts:

  • -BMI (body mass index) is highest in meat eaters, lowest in vegans, and intermediate in fish eaters (pesco-vegetarians)
  • -The prevalence of type 2 diabetes increases with increasing consumption of animal products: 2.9% for the vegan diet, 3.2% for the lacto-ovo diet, 4.8% for the pesco-vegetarian diet, and 7.6% for the nonvegetarian diet.
  • -vegetarian diets improve psoriasis symptoms. Sure enough, I didn’t notice any psoriatic plaques on the Cape Buffalo, though, given that his hide had undergone a leonine dermabrasion…
  • -A plant-based diet also lowers blood levels of LDL-Cholesterol (the bad guys)


  • -Vitamin B12, essential for the formation of red blood cells, DNA synthesis, and proper neurologic function is naturally present in animal foods. B12 deficiency can result in lethargy, weakness and neurologic complications including numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, dementia, and psychosis and I know of few things scarier than a demented, psychotic vegan with numb feet… perhaps a blind rampaging mutant black rhino with seven 6 meter horns, toxic saliva and numb feet. Without adequate amounts of each of the nine essential amino acids some vegetarians experience “brain fog,” memory loss, tiredness, moodiness and poor performance during exercise, memory loss, and of course memory loss.
  • Lack of iron, calcium, and other vitamins and minerals are a concern for vegetarians.  Vegetarians and particularly vegans should supplement their B vitamins, calcium, and iron. Vegetarian women have to make up the iron lost monthly during their period, and are also more at risk of developing osteoporosis if their body’s calcium needs are not sufficiently met.
  • One of the reasons that a vegetarian diet could be unhealthy is the routine dependence on processed carbohydrates to fill the gap left by animal-based foods. And to some vegetarians just the thought of eating animals, makes them want to…. Ralph.