My stance on meat consumption is often surprising and confusing for many people, because their heads have been filled with lies and myths for so many years. There’s so much conflicting information out there it can make your head spin. Let’s explore the bottom line on who should be eating meat, by answering the following question from a visitor to the blog.
I was wondering if you could answer a question I have about lyme disease and meat. ’I’ve had lyme disease for 4 years now and have spent the last 2 years trying to become healthier in my diet. ’I’ve been trying to eat less meat an even go vegetarian. I don’t drink milk and I try avoid cheese and other dairy as much as possible. I have found so many raw food sources, health activists, and even doctors who agree that meat blocks arteries and causes heart disease and weight gain. The vast majority, in fact, seem to agree on that. Your stance on meat eating is pretty clear, but I’m wondering what about for specific diseases? I have done a bit of research on diets that are good for lyme disease and some of its symptoms (candida seems be something I THINK I have—no itch but pain and what feels like small bladder infections usually once a day or every other day for a few hours until I drink enough water usually—and I do drink tons of water already). I found several sources advising that lyme patients do not eat meat, dairy, gluten, alcohol, caffeine and sugar. This would leave me a diet of gluten-free grains, eggs, beans and lentils, raw produce and seeds (unless some people consider eggs dairy, I don’t). It sounds healthy enough to me but I was wondering what your thoughts are? I found your site by trying to find out about dark chocolate. I buy organic, free trade 72% dark chocolate. I know it’s been heated and processed so there are no real benefits and that I should avoid sugar, but with so few regular indulgences I hoped it would be okay. Now I’m unsure. But I’m even more concerned about my ventures into a gluten-free diet that is still mostly vegetarian. I say mostly because I eat meat sometimes, but usually only when I can afford local meat from the farmer’s market, as I have no interest in eating mainstream meat or supporting factory farming. “Organic” and “free range” have little meaning in the realities of how animals are mass produced; when the labels have to say “organic” animals are not given anesthesia for castration or body clipping, and I heard from the mouth of an “organic, free range” farmer with a website picturing happy, humanely raised animals that chickens are hung upside down and have their heads electrocuted in water, and that cows cannot be given antibiotics even if they have a huge infectious tumor hanging off of them. I used to eat organic, free range until those words lost their meaning for me. So now I try to only eat animal products (like the more affordable eggs) from the farmer’s market. I also have less concern about eating eggs than meat. I am in a weird process of trying to refine my diet and figure out what’s best for me. I crave meat but the negative effects on the heart have been proven. So what do you recommend? Thank you! ~Sam
If your doctor is telling you that you shouldn’t eat meat, then ideally, it is time to find a new doctor who is in touch with the facts. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find a doctor who is enlightened in this area, so you must educate yourself with the facts so that you know when you should and should not follow your doctor’s advice.
It is a lie that meat blocks arteries, causes heart disease, weight gain, cancer or any other health condition. The negative effects from meat on the heart have not been proven. You are getting your information from the wrong sources.
It is primarily vegetable oil, sugar and starchy carbohydrates like whole grains that cause these diseases. The studies that claim meat cause disease have numerous problems. They are often observational studies, based on food questionnaires and are always performed on meat from the mainstream factory-farmed meat supply. Furthermore, the people in these studies are eating processed meat like lunch meat and hot dogs.
Meat from the grocery store is fed grains, is pumped full of hormones and antibiotics, and contains a variety of additives like nitrates. This kind of meat is high in Omega-6 and low in Omega-3, promotes the overgrowth of unfriendly organisms and disrupts the brain, nervous system and endocrine system, and this is what causes heart disease, cancer etc. It is not meat that causes the disease, it is the imbalance in omega-3 to omega-6 and the hormones, antibiotics and additives.
Grass-fed, free-range or cage-free and organic meat does not contain any of those harmful aspects and it contains a healthy balance of omega-3 to omega-6. This type of meat is good for the heart, brain and body.
As for weight gain or obesity, meat plays very little role. Fat is not stored as fat. It is sugar, and any food that is broken down into sugar, like whole grains and potatoes, that gets stored as fat.
There is a great deal of science to support what I am saying. This is not something that is just my opinion or that I made up. I encourage you to start getting your facts from people who are sharing the truth and not the people spreading the lies. You should be reading the work of people like Dr. Joseph Mercola, Dr. Charles Gant, Dr. Al Sears, Dr. Michael Eades, Professor Loren Cordain, Mark Sisson and Robb Wolf. Mark Sisson has an excellent website and lists the scientific research on almost every topic he discusses.
For example, here are a few pages you should read to get started:
Dr. Al Sears – Why I Prescribe Meat to All my Patients
Dr. Joseph Mercola – The Secret Sauce in Grass-Fed Beef
Mark Sisson – Will Eating Red Meat Kill You
Furthermore, I have written on this topic extensively in the past. You will want to read the following posts, and at the end of each of these posts are a list of my references. I encourage you to also read the references to get the facts straight from the horses mouth.
Why You Shouldn’t Be a Vegetarian
Why Recent Attacks on High Protein Diets are Non-sense
Does Red Meat Really Cause Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer and Premature Death
It’s Excess Carbohydrates that Will Kill You, Not Red Meat and Fat
The Whole Grain Lie
In regard to your question about different health conditions and who should be eating meat, the answer is everyone. Everyone should be eating meat. People with Lyme, heart disease, cancer, addiction, depression, type 2 diabetes, obesity, candida overgrowth etc. Young or old. Sick or Healthy.
Nobody should be eating gluten, grains, legumes, sugar, caffeine, alcohol or high starch food.
Sugar, alcohol and caffeine are addictive and destructive drugs, not food, that among other things lead to cancer, addiction, depression, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, weak immunity, insomnia, irritability, nutritional deficiencies, violence and gastrointestinal disorders.
Legumes and grains contain a variety of anti-nutrients that cause leaky gut, autoimmune disorders, nutritional deficiencies, depletion of neurotransmitters in the brain, depression, anxiety disorders, proliferation of candida and other unfriendly organisms, inflammation, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and addiction to name only a few.
Meat provides a variety of nutrients that cannot be obtained adequately from plant protein, like B12, fatty acids and CoQ10, and is needed for a strong and healthy brain, nervous system and immune system, a well functioning endocrine system, the production and function of neurotransmitters and hormones, energy production, bone strength and formation, a healthy gut, metabolism, and to manage blood sugar to name only a few, and each of these factors are important for overcoming any health condition, including Lyme.
The anthropological research is very clear that all human beings evolved on a diet of meat, fish, eggs, low-starch vegetables, and a small amount of nuts, seeds and fruit. This is called the Paleolithic diet. We are almost genetically identical to our ancestors and our body functions most optimally on the same type of diet. There is no evidence what-so-ever that any culture was ever vegetarian. A vegetarian diet is lacking in crucial nutrients and the worse thing you can for yourself, especially when trying to heal from any health condition.
Regardless of what health condition you are facing, the diet that promotes optimal health in all human-beings is the Paleolithic diet. Now, within the Paleo diet, there may be some variances.
For example, some people may have a need for more meat than others, depending on heritage. Furthermore, if you have a food sensitivity to something like eggs, chicken, beef, onions, garlic or blueberries, then these foods would need eliminated as well. People working on healing a leaky gut or who have an autoimmune disorder may need to reduce or eliminate nuts for a period of time and eat more fermented food.
Although eggs can be eaten abundantly for most, some people with an autoimmune disorder or leaky gut avoid eggs because they can contribute to their condition. The nightshade family is high in substances that are difficult for some people to excrete, which can cause conditions like arthritis and can impair liver function, so for people with arthritic type conditions, detoxification issues or other liver disorders, these can sometimes be problematic and may need to be eliminated or limited.
Chocolate is a mind-altering, addictive drug that has a negative effect on the brain, nervous system and cardiovascular system. If you haven’t read my post on this topic yet, then I encourage you to do so. If one is in good health, they can get away with indulging in chocolate now and then. However, anyone who is trying to repair health should not be indulging in chocolate except for a rare occasion.
In regard to your comment about free-range and organic not having any meaning. Yes, there are some people in the organic market who are not in line with ethical practices and there is some truth to this. Indeed, the organic market is being invaded by big corporations who have no interest in upholding organic and humane principles and it is getting more difficult to find clean and humane meat.
However, even so, it would only be in a small percentage. The majority of grass-fed and cage-free from small farmers is still going to be using more humane and healthier practices. Furthermore, it is still going to have a healthier ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 and be absent of hormones, antibiotics and additives that cause disease.
The words you really want to look for are grass-fed and hormone-free and antibiotic-free. A product can be organic, but not necessarily grass-fed. It is absolutely essential that your red meat be grass-fed, otherwise it will not have a healthy fatty acid ratio. Fish should be Wild Alaskan for the same reason and so it will have less heavy metals.
You need to find sources of meat from small farmers who take pride in being humane and organic and are proud to share their practices publicly. For example, I buy most of my meat from a place called US Wellness Meats, also known as Grassland Beef.
On another note, people who are recovering from some health conditions like adrenal disorders, leaky gut, and autoimmune disorders, etc. usually do better with cooked food than they do with raw food and they do better on a very high meat diet. Although it is wise to have some raw food in the diet if you are in good health, a totally raw diet is not best. Raw food takes a lot more energy to digest and it is harder on the digestive tract. Cooking actually increases the nutritional value of some foods that are high in fat soluble nutrients. This may be true of those with Lyme as well.
Yes, I know it can be confusing to know what to eat when you are getting so many messages that say otherwise, and it is difficult to break conditioning of a lifetime, but that is must what be done.
If you remove meat from the diet, then you are not getting sufficient nutrients needed for a healthy mind and body.