MEAT, MEAT AND MORE MEAT!
I’m sorry to say that America has become a gluttonous, dangerous, and unnecessary over-eater of meat and dairy to the detriment of, not only our health, but our planet as well.
Please let me explain….
Before you dismiss this saying “I’m not going to read this and I’m definitely not giving up meat!” Please know, I’m NOT asking you to! I enjoy a wonderful chicken or fish dinner just like the next person. I’m also not completely against eating meat. It's more about the type, frequency and amount that is the concern. And, it's getting worse along with our health!
In addition to having been schooled in nutrition, and having had numerous health problems in which I learned a vast amount of good information, I've also read books on just about every diet under the sun including: Paleo, Atkins, Carnivore, Blood Type, Metabolic, Whole30, pH Diet, Anti-inflammatory Diet, Super Diet, Starch Diet, Fiber Menace, Warrior Diet, Vegetarian, Macrobiotic, Maker’s Diet, Vegan, South Beach, Raw Food, Mediterranean, Ketogenic, Zone, etc., Out of all these, there are just a few that make sense from a health, physiologic, historical, and nutritional aspect. I mean, out of all the above, how could it be humanly possible they are ALL right or ALL wrong?!
The worst of the bunch are those that advocate eating piles of meat and dairy products. These are what I like to call the “Problem or Bad Guy” foods for a host of reasons too lengthy to include here. Suffice it to say that these two categories of foods ARE Killing Us and causing chronic health issues because of our cavalier attitude toward consumption.
Another problem food is gluten. Excess gluten feeds pathogenic gut bacteria and lends to a host of health problems. Even those who are tolerant of gluten can eventually develop gluten intolerance later in life. When possible, try to limit or avoid gluten as much as possible. It's not difficult.
If you stick with me just a few more minutes, I’m going to make some short basic recommendations that, Lord willing, will most likely change your health for the better forever.
The absolute worst foods on the planet are those that come from animals (including fish) for several reasons:
A) animals and their byproducts (milk, eggs, cheese) are being raised and processed in a way that is unnatural, inhumane, unsanitary, and also contain antibiotics, hormones, synthetics and GMOs (by way of their feed – this includes farmed fish). Did you know that certain cheeses like Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, Manchengo, Gruyere, Gorgonzola and others use rennet, an enzyme found in the lining of a goat or calf's stomach? So technically, they are not even considered vegetarian.
B) these foods are being increasingly consumed. In fact, in a recent study, it was shown that Americans are eating twice as much meat per year as they did 30-40 years ago (228lb vs. 114lbs). At the same time, we are seeing an increasing amount of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, auto-immune disease, respiratory, skin, bone & joint, nervous, blood, digestive and colon issues.
C) our population is increasing fast and thus our consumption of fish is increasing. Currently, estimates based on research indicate that only 10% of all large fish remain in the sea (due also in part by increasing pollution). By the year 2048, it has been predicted that ALL LARGE FISH IN THE SEA will be EXTINCT!
D) we are eating ourselves and the planet to death. Look at these facts
1. More than 1.1 billion people are overweight
2. Over 1 billion have high blood pressure
3. 312 million are obese
4. 197 are diabetic
5. 18 million people die from heart disease every year
6. Nearly 17 million people develop cancer and 10 million die from
cancer (and its treatment) each year
And one of the most alarming predictions from scientists is: Without intervention, in the not-so-distant-future, planet Earth may very well become inhospitable to human life, and then to any form of life at all!
KILLING THE PLANET
Here’s a short list of the effects of Livestock Production on the Environment:
It produces 18% of the world’s carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas emissions) compared with 14% from all forms of transportation combined!
- It also generates other toxic gases such as nitrous oxide, methane, and ammonia.
Grazing livestock occupy the equivalent of 26% of the ice-free terrestrial surface of the planet, and 1/3rd of all arable land is used in producing food for these animals.
- Forest clearing for new pastureland is a major source of deforestation (millions of acres of trees).
- The livestock industry is one of the heaviest users of our scarce water supply, and contributes to excessive growth of organisms in water, oxygen depletion and coral reef erosion.
- Water pollution is increasing due to their waste, antibiotics, hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers, and the pesticides used to spray the feed crops they consume.
They are responsible for 55% of soil erosion and sediment, 37% of pesticides, 50% of antibiotics and 1/3rd of the nitrogen and phosphorus polluting our freshwater sources
- The presence of livestock over vast land areas, coupled with their depletion of food crops, contributes to the loss of other plants and animals that are unable to compete.
In addition to being so dogmatic in their pursuit of getting folks to start eating the way several of the above diet authors espouse, many are pushing their particular styles using a false premise – evolution! We cannot “assume” what man supposedly ate 100,000 years ago, or even 10,000 years ago. As a Christian who does believe the Bible and also believes that the earth is much younger than that, we have to go by recorded history - by what we actually KNOW, not what we assumed happened.
If we look back in the pages of the best history book in the world, we’ll see that people certainly did eat meat and dairy products…occasionally. Meat was consumed far less than today. Typically, it was not a daily occurrence and was usually done during a feast or celebration. Fish was consumed more than meat, but since refrigeration was absent, any fish that was not consumed right away was salted or pickled to preserve it and eaten occasionally later. It was not typically a daily occurrence.
Historically, six foods have comprised the primary diet: barley, corn, millet, potatoes, rice and wheat (non-GMO). Starch has been central to the diet of all healthy, large, successful populations.
WHAT ABOUT PROTEIN?!
If I had a dime for every time I was asked that question about vegetarianism! We have been "fed" a LIE that continues today...that we must eat meat or dairy to get enough protein to survive.
Actually, people are eating LOTS MORE meat and dairy thinking that's what they need. But, are we getting healthier? NO! We're getting SICKER!
This is an absolute fact: one can get all the protein, oils, fats, vitamins and minerals needed to live, thrive and be healthy from a Vegan diet! We are eating FAR TOO MUCH protein, fats and oils from animal products now. The lies are, of course, being fostered and endorsed by those who seek to benefit monitarily from this kind of false advertising, namely the meat and dairy industries.
Physiologic studies show that we need no more than 20-30 grams of protein a day, not 70, 80, 90 or more. Excess protein is responsible for a multitude of health problems. If you don’t believe me, let’s take a look at the common dietary traits of the BLUE ZONE SOCIETIES. These are the areas/people who not only have the highest concentration of 100 year-olds, they also grow older without all the Western diseases we see now.
Places like Ikaria, Greece, Okinawa, Japan, Sardinia, Loma Linda, California, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica. Why are they living so long and virtually disease-free? Let's take a look:
LONGEVITY & HEALTH DIET
When it comes to diet, here are the common denominators:
1) They don’t “diet” as we define diet today.
2) They follow the 80% rule – they stop eating when their stomachs are 80% full. They eat the smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening, and they don’t eat any more until the next morning.
3) Beans, fava, black, soy, lentil and starchy vegetables are the cornerstones of their diet. They do eat some meat, but it is a fraction of what Americans eat. Please note this: they eat meat on average ONLY 4x a MONTH and in a serving of just 3-4 ounces, about the size of a deck of cards! It's also very clean organic meat.
4) They consume little dairy, but when they do, it's only from pasture-raised livestock and is typically raw (not pasteurized).
5) They drink alcohol moderately and regularly. Moderately means 1-2 glasses of wine per day with friends or with food. Moderate drinkers outlive nondrinkers and heavy drinkers.
PHYSIOLOGY - WE WERE NOT CREATED TO BE CARNIVORES!
By definition, I am a scientist and therefore check and double-check studies by other scientists for accuracy within my scope of expertise. Scientists have been discussing the body differences between meat eaters and plant eaters for many years.
Again, throughout history, man has eaten meat, either moderately or excessively. However, from a purely physiological (body design) aspect, our bodies are perfectly formed for plant-eating, not meat eating. Our bodies are vastly different from carnivores (meat-eaters) in the wild. How?
- While I'm not espousing that we evolved from apes at all (if we did, all apes would be humans by now...), our bodies are very similar to apes who are near-vegetarians.
- Our teeth, jaws, and taste buds are designed to grind and process plant foods, not fangs for tearing and eating meat. Carnivores have an almost exclusive up and down jaw motion where humans and apes (and other herbivores) also have a side-to-side grinding motion for mashing and breaking apart grains, fruits and vegetables.
- Carnivores have very concentrated acids in their stomachs to break down large quantities of muscle and bone materials. Humans and other plant-eaters have much lower concentrations of acids for the digestion of starches, vegetables, and fruits.
The human intestine is long and coiled for slow digestion allowing time to break down and absorb the nutrients from plant foods. The intestine of a carnivore is short, straight, and tubular. This allows for very rapid digestion of flesh and excretion of the remnants quickly, before they putrefy (rot).
- Humans do not have an unlimited capacity to process cholesterol from animal fats like a carnivore can. Have you ever heard of a cat or lion with heart disease?
I want to share a personal and intimate example of how this kind of eating has impacted my life positively in only a few short weeks.
I’m not a big meat eater, but I did eat my share of “unclean” meats especially when I ate out. I also ate a lot of dairy in the way of cheese and butter along with a good quantity of bread (gluten). Subsequently, I’ve had issues with my gut for many, many years including IBS, dysbiosis (imbalance of gut flora), gut pain, cramping, inconsistent elimination (constipation/diarrhea), and more. All this has actually affected my desire and ability to travel (it's funny how you grow less embarrassed about discussing these things as you get older!) :-)
The last straw was developing diverticular disease. I had my first major diverticulitis attack last August which was confirmed by an MRI. Praise the Lord, I was able to recover after a few weeks. I had another serious attack just a few weeks ago. It was bad; fever, out-of-my-mind pain, and the inability to eat almost anything…not a fun way to live. I had no choice now...I HAD to change the way I ate.
So I went back and reread my notes on the diets of those who live 100 years or more, I read a couple more books that advocate a plant-based diet. Initially, I had to have nothing but juices until I started to heal, then slowly introduced solid foods consisting of healthy starches: natural rice, potatoes (both white and sweet), fruit, other vegetables, all in small amounts. I didn’t eat any bread, butter, cheese and only had 1 small 3 oz. piece of pasture-raised chicken in those 2 or 3 weeks.
CHANGED FOR LIFE
I’m still recovering, but my pain has diminished significantly, I’ve lost 10 lbs of fat, my strength has actually increased during my workouts, my chronic stiff neck has improved, but most remarkably (and forgive me for being so graphic), I’ve had several of the most normal bowel movements I’ve had in years! I cannot tell you what a blessing that is. Those of you who suffer similarly can relate I'm sure. They were faster and easier to expel, more normal in size and odorless! The majority of “stinky” gas, feces, sweat, and breath comes from the consumption of sulfur-containing foods such as, yes, you guessed it, animal products (meat, eggs, dairy). I am committed to never going back to my old eating ways again. While I don’t believe I’ll ever go 100% vegan (although it's still an option), at least 90% - 95% of my diet is going to remain vegetarian and starch-based with a very occasional small piece of meat (maybe 1x/week or less), some dairy (about the same frequency), and occasional bread (gluten-free). I found a great company that makes 100% organic, gluten-free breads - I just ordered a sample pack of 4 breads and can't wait for them to arrive.
I’ve seen the light and I hope you will too. I guarantee if you try eating as I’ve mentioned for just two or three weeks, you WILL start to see amazing changes in the way you feel, look and...smell! :-)
BTW, for those still questioning whether you can get all your protein and nutrient needs from vegetables - did you know that you can live and thrive solely on eating potatoes for several months?! They are the perfect food! They contain everything you need to live healthily by eating several a day. Although, eventually, you would probably need to add a few other foods for vitamin and mineral balance.
My advice, for those interested, is this: if you’re going to eat meat, eat it rarely and only from animals that have been pasture-raised humanely and are not fed a GMO grain diet. Cows should eat grass, chickens should eat insects!
Limit fish consumption to very occasionally to save and begin replenishing the fish population.
Eliminate dairy (cheese, eggs, milk) altogether or have it very rarely; and then it should be organic, raw and/or come from pasture-raised animals.
Certain breads are ok in moderation, but again, they should be gluten-free and organic.
Increase your consumption of plant foods: starchy vegetables, healthy grains and fruits.
Let's support organic growers and those who are dedicated to raising livestock the way it should be done. The commercial growers and cattle/chicken/pork/fish companies do NOT care about you, your children, the animals, or the planet. They care ONLY about money and...they are KILLING US!