Why You Shouldn't be a Vegetarian
Those who follow vegan and vegetarian diets do so for honorable reasons and good intentions. Most would have to admit that choosing a challenging and restrictive diet in order to preserve the lives of animals is a virtuous act.
Unfortunately, nature isn't impressed with vegan altruism. Humans have evolved with a need for certain nutrients found in foods provided by the animal kingdom. It doesn't offer a pass for nutritional deficiencies based on a person's moral compass and the reasons you shouldn't be a vegetarian are many.
A lot of people are under the false impression that herbivores enjoy healthy diets that lower their risks of disease. This misconception is far from true. Removing animal protein from the diet is one of the worse things you can do for yourself.
It lacks vital nutrients that raise risks of cardiovascular disease, mood disorders, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, addiction, hormone imbalances, obesity and tooth decay. Add nutrient-absorbing grains into the equation, and a diet free of animal proteins becomes even more deficient. Adopting a vegetarian diet hasn't proven to be any healthier than the standard American diet.
Evolution Doesn't Lie
All animals of a species consume the same basic foods. Just as all rabbits eat vegetation and all tigers eat other animals, humans have evolved to require animal foods in the diet.
Human ancestry has been studied extensively since the 1800s, so a mountain of information is available that documents diets, lifestyles, and health. Anthropological research tells us that human beings are meat eaters and have been so throughout the entire course of our evolution. They consumed a variety of meats, including the organs and bone marrow.
Anthropological research also reveals that at no time in human history did the human being ever go without out eating meat, except during times of famine, and this was true of all cultures. There is no evidence that points to the existence of a vegetarian or vegan culture, except in times of famine. Out of more than 150 native cultures that have been studied, not a single one of them were found to be vegetarian. Danger lies in the fact that you can't look back over hundreds or thousands of years to note how the exemption of animal foods will affect peoples' health and genetic disposition.
Going back as far as 3.5 million years ago, ancient remains show that our human ancestors (including the infamous Lucy and other Australopithecines) scraped meat off of bones, and then broke the bones to remove the marrow. Small bits of stone from their tools were left behind in the gashes.
Humans were hunter-gatherers up until the development of agriculture about 10,000 years ago. It was not until then, that we became plagued with conditions like heart disease, obesity, cancer, dental cavities, malocclusions etc. These conditions rarely affected hunter-gatherers.
Anthropologists have tangible proof that not only did our human ancestors eat other animals, but it was the primary component of their diet. In one landmark study, anthropologists looked at 229 hunter-gatherer societies and found that they consumed high amounts of animal protein and little plant food. About 73 percent of the hunter-gatherer societies worldwide derived between 56 and 65 percent of their dietary intake from animal protein, while only about 13.5 percent of these societies derived about 56 to 65 percent of their diet from plant based foods. Not one of these hunter-gatherer societies were entirely or significantly dependent upon plant based foods, while 20 percent were largely or solely dependent on animal protein.
The human genome, that was shaped by the diet that our ancestors ate, as well as their environmental and behavioral factors, has remained virtually unchanged for over 120,000 years. We are essentially 99.9 percent genetically identical to our ancient ancestors, and thus we thrive most optimally when we emulate their diet and lifestyle.
Big Brains and the Expensive Tissue Hypothesis
About 2.5 million years ago, the Ice ages produced long, cold winters and short, cool summers. There was very little plant matter available for food. During this time, the size of the human brain increased dramatically. It began at an average size of 350 mm and expanded to 1,500 mm.
The brain and digestive system require enormous amounts of energy. In a primate of similar proportions, the brain would be half the size of the average human brain, and the digestive system would be about 60 percent larger. So in order to maintain such a large brain, the digestive system had to become smaller and demand less energy. A diet of high quality foods that are highly digestible, including animal protein, fruits, and seeds, made this adaptation possible.
An animal that doesn't need high quality foods, like the gorilla, has a smaller brain and a larger gut. The gorilla consumes tremendous amounts of food compared to a human being. It has the ability to ferment plant matter in its colon, metabolizing nutrients that become available for digestion.
According to Dr. Barry Groves, the brain has become 8 percent smaller since the introduction of agriculture about 10,000 years ago. Many of the calories in the diet that once consisted of nutrient-dense foods, like the high-fat animals of the Paleolithic era, were substituted with mineral-depleting grains. This has robbed the brain of the energy it needs to maintain its large size.
This is frightening if you think about it more deeply. If humanity continues to eat the sugar, grain-rich and nutrient deficient diet that it eats at this time, brain function and intelligence are going to decline even further. We are going to take evolution of our brain backwards instead of forwards, which will have grave consequences on the future of our species. We will see more violence, mental health disorders, lack of empathy and compassion for others, learning disorders, ADHD and poor health overall.
Humans Require the Nutrients Found in Animal Products
The human brain is about two-thirds fat. Both DHA and arachidonic acid (AA) are abundant fats in the brain. It's not surprising that low-fat diets lead to depression, acts of violence, and suicide. Leaving these animal-based nutrients out of your diet alters the function of neurotransmitters in your brain that play an important role in mood and behavior.
Fat soluble vitamins A and D work together with AA to regulate stress by way of the neurotransmitter dopamine and the stress hormone cortisol. Diets lacking these components lead to negative changes in mood and mental health. For example, people with autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and marijuana addiction have low levels of AA in their brains, and diets low in animal fats make them even worse.
Fats, minerals, and amino acids found in animal products are essential for the production of neurotransmitters, steroid hormones, and neuron membranes, as well as neurotransmission. Deficiencies in these nutrients are detrimental to brain health and increase the risks of substance abuse, food addiction, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, sleep problems, adrenal fatigue, low blood sugar, chronic fatigue and much more.
Fat is also crucial for nerve coverings eg. Myelin sheath, vitamin absorption, cardiovascular health and brain health. Fat is the primary source of energy for the body, it regulates the immune system, prevents sticky platelets and balances vasoconstriction and vasodilation.
The delusion that points to saturated fats as a main cause of obesity and heart disease continues to be repeated as fact. As a result, those who abstain from animal products falsely assume that they are at a lower risk for cardiovascular disease. Again, this is far from the truth.
Saturated fat performs important functions throughout the body. It supports the immune system by priming white blood cells to destroy invading bacteria, viruses, and fungus. It protects the liver from environmental toxins, and the heart prefers long-chain saturated fats over carbohydrates for energy.
Along the same lines, is the mass hysteria over high cholesterol. Cholesterol has very little to do with heart disease. This is a lie that the pharmaceutical industry uses to make billions of dollars off of cholesterol lowering drugs. As a matter of fact, you are in much more danger if you have low cholesterol. Cholesterol is essential for healthy brain function, absorption of nutrients and in the production of all your steroid hormones, including estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, adldosterone, pregnenalone, DHEA and cortisol.
Dr. Al Sears tells us that it is impossible to acquire the 12 essential nutrients our body needs every day from a vegetarian diet; vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin B12, CoQ10 and the 8 essential amino acids. Each of these nutrients are vital for proper functioning of numerous systems and organs throughout the body like the brain, heart, nervous system, memory, immune function, muscles and libido, and can only be acquired through animal protein. Vegetarians are commonly severely deficient in these life-sustaining nutrients.
Although you can get a lot of your vitamin D from the sun, you can’t get it all. It is only found in meat like fish. Foods fortified with vitamin D are using a synthetic form that your body cannot utilize properly. Vitamin B12, again only comes from meat. The B12 that is found in brewers yeast or nutritional yeast is not naturally occurring; it is added.
The true form of Vitamin A can only be found in animal fat or organ meat. Beta-carotene that is found in plants that can be converted to vitamin A is inferior to true vitamin A, because the conversion process is not efficient and conversion is dependent on the presence of bile salts, which can only be acquired by the presence of animal fat. You would have to eat excessive amounts of plants and still would not be able to convert enough to provide the daily requirements and then if you aren’t eating animal fat, you won’t be able to make the conversion anyhow.
CoQ10, which is vital for the heart and brain and producing ATP in the Krebs cycle, the source for energy production and metabolism, can only be found in meat. Organ meats have the highest concentration of CoQ10.
Although some amino acids can be found in plants, in order to get the right ratio and adequate levels of your 8 essential amino acids, these are only available in meat products. Among other things, amino acids are the building blocks for neurotransmitters in the brain that modulate pretty much all functions in the brain and body, but are particularly crucial for mental health. Amino acid deficiencies lead to addiction, depression, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, hyperactivity, poor brain function, adrenal fatigue, overactive sympathetic nervous system arousal, chemical sensitivities and much more.
Heme iron, which is provided by animal foods, is absorbed much more efficiently than plant-based, non-heme iron. This mineral is contained in every cell of the body, transporting oxygen from the lungs to your body tissues. It is crucial for healthy blood and the normal function of many enzymes. Iron deficiency is common and results in symptoms like fatigue, hair loss, brittle nails, and adverse fetal outcomes.
A vegetarian diet is void of the foods that are needed for arachidonic acid, a fatty acid that is vital for proper brain function and the production of important neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids slow everything down and affect things like thought, decision making, appetite, pleasure, pain, memory, sensory and time perception and more. If your brain is not producing enough endocannabinoids, you will unconsciously see out substances to take their place. Thus, why many vegetarians are frequently marijuana users or chocoholics. Marijuana and chocolate contain an artificial endocannabinoid that has the ability to stimulate the endocannabinoid receptors and mimic their effects, thus it temporarily fulfills the role of the missing endocannabinoids. However, artificial stimulation of receptors results in more depletion of the neurotransmitter, and then more and more of the artificial substance will be needed to achieve the same result so cravings for marijuana and chocolate ensue. This is how addiction develops. Arachidonic acid can only be acquired in sufficient amounts through animal fat and butter.
Other pages you should read about meat and fat:
Plant Nutrients and Supplementation Can't Compensate
Vital nutrients like B complex, vitamin K2, vitamin A, and omega-3 DHA are found in animal foods. Synthetic forms contained in dietary supplements are no match for natural sources. Vitamins are a relatively new creation in the realm of dietary nutrition. Additionally, if you must supplement the vegetarian diet to get the nutrients that the body requires, how can one consider this a healthy diet?
Knowledge of micronutrients and how they cooperate in the body is limited. For example, studies regarding the benefits of omega-3 supplementation are inconsistent, but research on seafood in the diet consistently reflects its benefits. It is clearly more beneficial to include fish in your diet than omega-3 supplements alone.
Plant-based forms of essential nutrients like B complex, DHA, and vitamin A are poor substitutes for animal sources. Certain plant foods may contain a B12 analog, but it is not a healthy stand-in for true B12. It may even mask a deficiency that can lead to permanent neurological damage.
Vegetarians often cite nori, spirulina, and fermented vegetables as good sources of B12. This plant-based form lacks the ability to carry out important duties performed by animal products containing B12 and any non-animal source of B12 is very poorly absorbed. Diets that lack animal foods are deficient in vitamin B12. This deficiency leads to elevated homocysteine, a known risk factor for hardened arteries, memory loss, and learning problems. Elevated homocysteine levels produce blood clots and increase oxidative stress, which are risk factors for stroke, heart disease, and cancer.
Blood tests fail to reflect a deficiency when high levels of the B12 analog found in plant foods are present. Optimal sources of this vital nutrient include clams, liver, salmon, and grass-fed beef.
DHA and EPA, two fatty acids that are crucial for brain, nervous system and cardiovascular health, do not exist in the plant kingdom. To acquire them from plant based foods, one must be able to convert them adequately and most people cannot. Humans convert only a small fraction of alpha-linolenic acid into DHA; ironically, those who have a diet rich in saturated fats process this nutrient more efficiently. Beta carotene is an excellent antioxidant, yet the human body's ability to absorb and convert it into true vitamin A is limited.
The fact that nature never intended for plants to compensate for animal nutrients is what makes a vegan diet during pregnancy so alarming. Animal foods contain essential nutrients for the healthy development of the nervous system, cells, brain, organs, and blood.
Fat Soluble Vitamins Are Essential for Bones and Teeth
A vegetarian diet lacks fat soluble vitamins, wreaking havoc on your bones and teeth. Vitamins A and D direct calcium to the parts of the body where it is needed. Vitamin K2 activates a protein that is required for A and D to do their job. This team of nutrients is found only in animal foods, and they're necessary for a healthy skeletal system and teeth. A raw food vegan diet is detrimental to dental health, causing decay to occur rapidly.
Many vegetarians claim that eating meat causes leaching of calcium from the bone leading to bone loss and osteoporosis. But there is no sound data available to support this claim. As a matter of fact, the exact opposite is found to be true. People who eat meat have much higher bone mineral density than vegetarians.
Leeching of calcium and loss of bone mineral density is caused by plant protein, not animal protein. Bone mineral density increases with animal protein intake. The body cannot form strong bones with plant protein, because they are incomplete proteins; it needs meat, fish and eggs to do this job. These are the foods that the human body evolved with and so we continue to need them today.
Brewers yeast, soy and gluten are not adequate sources of protein. Not only that, soy contains an array of naturally occurring toxins that are harmful to the thyroid, GI tract and pancreas, in addition to being a legume that can cause nutritional deficiencies and autoimmune disorders.
Soy is also high in naturally occurring estrogens, called phytoestrogens, that imitate our own estrogen in the body, leading to hormone imbalance, particularly estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance can be at the root of a variety of chronic health conditions like premenstrual syndrome, ovarian cysts, anxiety disorders, depression, feminization of males and breast cancer.
The only time soy should be in the diet is if it is fermented, because the process of fermentation reduces some of the adverse effects and increases its nutritional content. However, it’s important to note that Tofu is not fermented.
The Importance of a Balanced Ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3
A healthy diet should have a balance of omega-6 and omega-3s, but the average American consumes 15 to 20 times more omega-6 than omega-3 and the vegetarian diet is missing this balance as well. This causes inflammation and increases risks of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and much more.
Vegetable oils, including corn oil, soybean oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil are extremely high in omega-6, containing far more than any food found in nature. Vegetable oils are new inventions that have become ubiquitous. They are used in virtually all processed foods and are the go-to cooking oil in most restaurants.
Creating a smaller ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in the diet has been shown to stop the progression of cancer cells in colorectal cancer patients, suppress inflammation in those with rheumatoid arthritis, and improve asthma symptoms.
Eating wild Alaskan salmon and grass-fed beef helps you achieve this favorable balance. Chloroplasts contained in grass convert into omega-3 in the rumen of the cow. Grass-fed beef also contains high amounts of conjugated linoleic acid, a proven cancer fighter, as well as a greater concentration of fat soluble vitamins and other nutrients.
The omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio contained in conventional beef is far from natural. Cattle raised on grain lose all of their omega-3 fatty acids, leaving only the inflammatory omega-6 behind, so it is crucial that your beef be grass-fed and free-range. This is also true of farmed salmon, it has an unhealthy ratio in its fatty acids and it is loaded with heavy metals. So your salmon must be wild Alaskan.
Yes, it is true that flax and walnuts have high levels of omega-3s, but again, it is the ALA form and it must be converted into DHA and EPA, which as we already mentioned is very limited. Flax is also high in phytoestrogens that mimicks our natural estrogne, which makes it a very bad choice for the estrogen dominant. So, the typical vegetarian diet does not contain adequate levels of omega-3s.
Danger Lurks in Grains and Legumes
Grains and legumes (e.g., beans, peas, peanuts) contain several toxins, often referred to as anti-nutrients, that damage the intestinal lining, leach minerals from your body, disrupt the digestion of proteins, and provoke an autoimmune response.
Grains and legumes contain enzymes called protease inhibitors that interrupt the digestion of proteins. Consuming foods that contain these enzymes leads to nutritional deficiencies, allergies, and sensitivities. Protease inhibitors also prevent the digestion of lectins, which are already tough for your body to break down.
Lectins contained in grains and legumes bind to cells in the intestinal tract, causing damage to its protective lining and depleting beneficial bacteria. This leads to holes in the intestinal lining, resulting in a condition called leaky gut. Toxins and undigested food particles make their way through these holes, resulting in autoimmune reactions, digestive problems, and yeast overgrowth.
Grains and legumes require minerals in order to grow and develop. Phytates in grains and legumes bind to minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron and make them unavailable to your body. Deficiencies in these minerals lead to low bone mineral density, tooth decay, cognitive problems, mental health disorders, cardiovascular disease, poor immune function and much more.
Wheat is also high in carbohydrates that are easy to digest. Amylopectin A is quickly converted into sugar and elevates blood glucose levels. The higher and quicker a substance elevates these levels, the more insulin must be produced in order to bring those levels down to normal. Insulin is a hormone that stores blood sugar into fat cells, primarily in the abdomen. As this cycle continues, your body requires more insulin in order to lower blood glucose. This is the beginning of insulin resistance, and it eventually leads to type 2 diabetes. Additionally, all this sugar creates a haven in the gut for unfriendly organisms like Candida yeast or pathogenic bacteria to thrive. Legumes and other grains are also high in carbohydrates as well, which has the same impact on blood sugar and gut.
Additionally, the highly revered grains in the vegetarian diet are addictive. They contain naturally occurring opiate-like substances that mimics our natural endorphins. This leads to depletion of our own endorphins, which are crucial for relieving pain and providing feelings of well-being and self-esteem. When depletion occurs, then cravings for grains ensue to fill the gap. Furthermore, grains cause excessive stimulation of the neurotransmitters in our brain, dopamine and serotonin, which leads to depletion and then dependence on the grain to perform the duties of dopamine and serotonin which regulate are moods, behavior, thoughts and much more. This is the same process that occurs in drug addiction, and addiction to grains often leads to alcoholism or drug addiction.
Sprouting, soaking or fermenting any food that is high in lectins, like grains and legumes, will significantly reduce the lectin content and make them more easily digested. Furthermore, cooking will also destroy some of the anti-nutrients. So if you are going to indulge in grains and legumes on occasion, this is the preferred variety. However, keep in mind that cooking or sprouting will not reduce their carbohydrate or exorphin content, so they will still contribute to feeding Candida yeast, can trigger sugar cravings, deplete endorphins, and increase insulin if you are particularly sensitive to carbs.
Won’t Being a Vegetarian Prevent Cancer?
Much of society is under the impression that vegetarians get less cancer. Even if that were true, it isn’t because they avoided meat. It’s because they eliminated all the toxins that are present in the mainstream meat supply. Indeed, switching from the standard American diet to a vegetarian diet is much less toxic in many ways, because it cuts out a lot of chemicals.
Those who eat meat in a standard American diet aren't choosing grass-fed beef or pastured chickens. Processed meats found in fast food restaurants are a poor imitation of what our predecessors ate. Animals in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) aren't raised in a healthy environment.
These animals don’t have a proper ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 and are pumped full of antibiotics and hormones. In addition to grains, they are fed revolting products from feathers and dead animals to candy and garbage. Companies that raise these animals are allowed to add antibiotics to their regular feed, even when they aren't sick. It isn’t the meat that causes cancer; it is the toxins, the poor diet of the animal and the imbalance of fatty acids. Our ancestors never ate meat like this.
Additionally, as we mentioned previously animal protein and fat improve immune function and meat like grass-fed cattle are very high in conjugated linoleic acid, a powerful cancer fighting nutrient.
When you eat animals that are organic, grass-fed and free-range, the way that nature intended it, then none of these factors come into play and thus the meat provides your body with nutrients that promote good mental and physical health and protect you from cancer and other degenerative health conditions. Our ancestors thrived on grass-fed, free-range animal protein and so do we.
Insulin Resistance, Type 2 Diabetes, Obesity and Addiction
The vegetarian diet is very high in carbohydrates, which means it puts one at higher risk of developing insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, obesity and addiction, and consequently vision problems, cardiovascular disease and cancer further down the road.
All those carbohydrates are broken down into sugar, which results in high levels of blood sugar that prompt a high insulin response and the inevitable storage of fat, inflammation and overstimulation of neurotransmitters in the brain that are associated with addiction, as well as a stress response which results in overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system and excessive demands on the adrenal glands. Meat protein is required to keep blood sugar, insulin, neurotransmitters and the stress response system in balance.
Furthermore, all this sugar promotes the overgrowth of unfriendly organisms like Candida yeast, which has many destructive effects on the mind and body.
Here are some more pages you should take a look at to learn more about the impact of grains and straches.
But I Thought I Need Carbs for Energy
No, that simply isn't true. For most of human evolution, the body has actually preferred fat as its primary source of energy. As a matter of fact, carbohydrates are a completely non-essential component of the diet. You can essentially survive and enjoy good health without any carbohydrates in the diet at all, as long as you are consuming adequate protein and fat. The minimal amount of glucose that the body needs can be generated through a process called gluconeogenesis whereby protein or a byproduct of fat metabolism called glycerol is converted into glucose.
After you've eaten sugar and starches for a period of time, the body will be forced to downregulate the enzymes, pathways and receptors involved in accessing and burning fat for energy and upregulate those involved in burning sugar and storing fat. At this point, then one experiences less energy if carbohydrates are not consumed and an illusion that carbohydrates are needed is created. But, this is not the body's natural state. It is a dysfunctional state that it has been forced into because of the presence of high amounts of sugar and carbs in the diet, which leads to insulin resistance, hyperinsulinism, type 2 diabetes, obesity, addiction, adrenal burnout, mental health disorders, candida overgrowth, chronic fatigue, hypoglycemia and much more.
If one removes the carbs and sugar, then the body will upregulate the enzymes, pathways and receptors involved in fat burning and return to it's natural fat burning state within two or three weeks. At this point, one will not experience less energy without the presence of carbs and their cravings for carbs for will vanish. You'll feel satiated with each meal and hunger between meals will also dissipate.
Additionally, when the body returns to running as fat as it should, then a byproduct of fat metabolism called ketones are generated which can also be used by the cells for energy. As a matter of fact, many of our cells (including brain cells) prefer and perform better on ketones than they do on glucose.
Didn't Cavemen Live Short Lives?
Many argue that Paleolithic humans didn't enjoy a full lifespan saying, "Cavemen died in their thirties! Why would I want to follow in their footsteps?" But our hunter-gatherer ancestors didn't die of heart disease, cancer, or type 2 diabetes, and they certainly weren't obese. They were tall and strong, and enjoyed excellent eyesight.
Our ancestors did not die because of diet related factors. They lived among the wild animals and didn't have antibiotics or antiseptics. Fatal infections or accidents, rival tribes, and harsh weather conditions were also deadly problems that humans don't normally face in modern times. If they could avoid these dangers, then many of our ancestors could live well into their 70's. It wasn't until the agricultural age that cavities, malocclusions, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer became common.
What About the Asian Diet?
The Asian diet is another point that many people often throw at me when I tell them they shouldn't be eating grains. "The Asians eat lots of grains and they don't have poor health," "Asian's eat lots of grain and they aren't fat," is what I am often told. So let's take a look at this in more depth.
First of all, for the most part, Asians are eating rice and not wheat. Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint explains this best in the following way, "On the grain spectrum, where wheat and other gluten grains reside at one end, white rice relaxes at the opposite end. It’s not "good," but it’s also not "bad." It just is. It’s pretty much neutral." And the rice they eat is primarily white. Unlike brown rice, white rice is typically free of antinutrients like phytates, lectins and protease inhibitors which means it will be gentler on the GI tract and nutrient inhibition, because these substances reside in the bran and the germ, which is removed to make white rice. While it is true that brown rice is richer in nutrients than white rice, the antinutirents that are present are going to prevent absorption of those nutrients, so they are essentially useless anyhow. Besides that, the bran and germ are irritating to the gut themselves and can contribute to leaky gut and consequently food sensitivities, autoimmune disorders, mental health issues, etc. So, if you're going to indulge in rice once in a while, it should be white rice and not brown.
However, I would want you to take note that it is still high in glucose, so it will still prompt an insulin response, feed unfriendly organisms like Candida yeast, be a trigger for those with hypoglycemia, disrupt neurotransmitters associated with mood, energy, thought and behavior, and trigger cravings for the sugar and carb addicted. But, overall it is a lesser evil than wheat and other glutinous products.
Second, again to borrow the wisdom of Mark Sisson, the Asian diet is rich in other nutrients that counteract some of the negative effects of rice. Meat, bone marrow broth, eggs and seafood are the main course of the meal, and are accompanied by things like kelp, broccoli, fermented cabbage and other mineral rich vegetables, while rice is just a side dish. In traditional times, the Asian diet was low in sugar and they used animal fat for cooking. This is in complete contrast to the vegetarian diet and the standard American diet that is typically top heavy with grains and void of adequate protein. Furthermore, the Asian diet is rich in a variety of pungent spices and herbs, which are high in antioxidants and other nutrients that promote good health. The overall diet of Asians was much healthier and richer in nutrients than the standard American diet or a vegetarian diet.
Third, historically, Asians were much more active than Americans. While we have to make time for exercise or don't exercise at all, their exercise was built into their day. Their average level of daily activities was much higher than ours. They walked and rode bicycles to all their activities, including to and from work. The fact that daily walking is associated with improved insulin sensitivity, which results in better carbohydrate tolerance, better mood, longer life expectancy and lower triglycerides and blood pressure is well documented. All of this means that they would be better equipped for dealing with some carbs in the diet. For example, even in American cities where they are forced to do more walking than driving, like New York City, they tend to be healthier, slimmer and live longer than other Americans.
However, in this day and age, the Asians are not really that much healthier than Americans as they were historically. They have begun to adopt the unhealthy eating habits from the West and are now using more sugar and carbs, unhealthy cooking oils from corn and soy, eating wheat and refined foods loaded with additives etc. and have exchanged the walking and bicycling for a car. Consequently, we see that their health is beginning to suffer from this as well. Asians no longer enjoy the good health they once did. The more they drift away from their traditional eating practices the more obesity, heart disease and cancer they are seeing. Parts of Asia, like China and India, are now facing an epidemic of diabetes, and other parts of Asia will be joining them shortly.
In regard to soy, all soy used in the Asian diet is fermented, which as we already established is lower in the harmful substances that it's non-fermented counterpart contain.
So, to sum this point up more simply, when the Asians did enjoy better health than Americans despite the fact that they consume rice on a frequent basis, it was due to the fact that rice is a least offensive grain than others, they have better insulin sensitivity and consequently better carbohydrate tolerance due to lots of physical activity and their diet was rich in meat and other health promoting nutrients.
What About The China Study?
Vegans and vegetarians often use T. Colin Campbell's The China Study as support for the benefits of choosing a diet free of animal foods. But, this book by no means proves that abstaining from animal products is conducive to good health and longevity. The China study is so flawed that some respected colleagues consider it meaningless. As a matter of fact, Dr. Michael Eades used the following Shakespeare quote to describe it.
"it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing."
Furthermore from Dr. Michael Eades, "it is basically a book-length argument for a personal opinion masquerading as hard science."
Dr. Joseph Mercola tells us that right off the bat even the title of the book is not accurate. The China Study was only an observational study that compares one variable to another, not a "true" scientific study. Observational studies are used to form a hypothesis, which is then put to the test with randomized and controlled trials. A correlation does not prove causation. His theory was never tested on live subjects. There are many other factors that could potentially account for the correlations that were found.
Not only is The China Study flawed, but it has also never been peer reviewed. A collection of papers containing data used for The China Study that include Dr. Campbell as an author have been peer-reviewed. Unfortunately, these studies draw different conclusions from those presented in Dr. Campbell's book. For example, Dr. Campbell and his team found that wheat consumption promotes elevated insulin, higher triglycerides, and lower sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG).
Additionally, some of the data in The China Study does not even indicate a significant statistical correlation between diseases like cancer and eating meat. Dr. Campbell has been accused by others who have looked at his data with scrutiny as, cherry picking references, omitting data that contradicted his thesis, careless citations and making recommendations that go beyond the data.
The China Study doesn't take into consideration the variety of traditional peoples around the world who consume an abundance of animal products and little to no plant foods. The Maasai, Inuit, and Siberians are a few examples of groups that are free of heart disease, cancer, and other modern epidemics. Data collected from other traditional cultures have reflected the same trend. That is, until they experience the introduction of modern industrialized foods.
But I Feel Better When I Don't Eat Meat
This is another statement I sometimes here from people when I tell them they should have more meat in their diet and no grains. Some people complain of feeling heavy, sluggish, fatigued, nauseous, bloated and repulsed by animal protein. There are many reasons one may feel better when they don't eat meat, but that does not mean this is a sign that they shouldn't eat animal protein. It means there is some other underlying problem that exists.
For example, an excess level of copper and a deficiency of zinc in the body can cause an aversion for meat, as well as feeling nauseous, bloated, heavy or sluggish after meat consumption. Copper toxicity can occur from drinking or bathing in water that has traveled through copper plumbing, copper cookware, IUDs, hot tubs, dental materials, vitamin C or zinc deficiency, the birth control pill, xenoestrogens in the environment, a diet low in meat and high in grains and adrenal fatigue. Dr. Lawrence Wilson tells us that sometimes people become an "obligatory vegetarian" because of copper toxicity. Then, because the vegetarian diet is high in copper, it perpetuates the copper problem even further and strengthens the repulsion for meat. The solution to this problem is to eat more meat, not less and take other steps to bring copper and zinc levels into balance.
Additionally, if one is deficient in vital digestive enzymes needed to digest meat they may feel nauseous, heavy, sluggish and bloated after consuming animal protein. Again, this can be corrected with the right digestive enzyme supplementation. Furthermore, as we alread discussed earlier, grains and legumes contain protease inhibitors, which impair your ability to digest meat and thus result in feeling nasueas, heavy, sluggish etc. after meat consumption.
Too much copper in the body can inhibit conversion of amino acids into neurotransmitters and inhibit liver and thyroid function. All of which can then lead to a decline in ones ability to digest meats and cravings for carbs, as well as many other debilitating symptoms.
Also, as mentioned previously, if one is consuming meat from the mainstream meat supply, it is loaded with antibiotics, hormones, pesticides and an imbalanced level of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid structure. Therefore, it does not promote good health, so when one cuts these foods out of the diet, they may indeed feel better for a period of time. However, as time goes on, then new problems will develop because of the lack of meat. The solution to this problem is to eat organic, grass-fed and free-range meat and poultry.
Many people develop sensitivities to many types of animal protein, but it's important to be aware that food sensitivities are an indication that the gut is impaired. The focus should be on finding other non-traditional types of protein like bison, deer or pheasant and repairing the gut so that sensitivities will improve. Getting the grains and the legumes out of the diet is crucial for healing the gut.
An overgrowth of Candida yeast will also make you crave carbs and have a dislike for animal protein. Yeast needs sugar and carbs to survive, so it will make you crave those foods and pull you away from the proteins. Addressing the issue of yeast overgrowth can often help one overcome their cravings for carbs and sugar and restore their taste for meat. Eating a diet high in carbs is one of the leading causes of yeast overgrowth, and then once established it perpetuates the eating of carbs. It becomes a vicious circle.
Last, but not least; many people who are addicted to carbs, which is much of the population, crave carbs and have no desire for animal protein. Eating meat does not give them the boost in mood, energy or focus that the get from carbs, so they are drawn away from protein and towards carbs. They will only feel good if they eat carbs. However, again, the solution lies in cutting the carbs, consuming more animal protein and restoring balance to neurotransmitters in the brain that causes the cravings for the carbs in the first place.
Sometimes people who switch over to a vegetarian diet for the first time say they feel better. Again, this is usually because it is a better diet than the one they had been consuming previously. This is often referred to as the "honeymoon period." However, after a period of time, the honeymoon is over and symptoms return or new ones develop. It can take a long time before someone sees negative effects from the lack of meat in the diet.
Now, if I've convinced you that you should return to your natural-born omnivorous ways, but aren't sure how to go about it, you may want to read, How to Eat Meat Again for a few pointers.
What About So and So?
Another objection that comes up in regard to grains etc., is, what about so and so? How's come so and so can eat grains or a vegetarian diet and I can't?
Everybody knows somebody that can eat grains, starches, legumes and even a bunch of junk food and they seem to be in good health or aren't dealing with any of the symptoms that you may be experiencing.
Why is that?
It's primarily about genes and what kind of constitution you were born with in the first place. The human body can take a lot of abuse before it begins to break down. If you happen to be born with a great set of genes, it could possibly take decades before you see any negative impact on your health from a poor diet. Some people are able to abuse their bodies their entire life and not suffer too many consequences.
However, that is a very small minority of people. Most people see negative effects from a poor diet much sooner and the majority of the population is not in good health. Furthermore, we can get away with a lot of things in our younger years, but it usually catches up with us as we get older. Many people who are vegetarians in their 20s or eat a lot of grains, discover in thier 40s and 50s that it has had a negative effect and they are forced to make changes.
Secondly, I would ask if "so and so" is really in good health. Many people appear to be in good health, but they are running on borrowed time. They are dependent on 3 or 4 prescription drugs to control or medicate this and that. They may not have the same symptoms you are experiencing, but they have a whole different set of symptoms. A poor diet can affect different organs and systems from person to person.
Third, it's about how many other straws are on the camels back. How much chronic stress or environmental toxins one has in their life. How often and what kind of exercise they are getting, the quality of one's life and relationships and whether one has meaning and purpose in their life. If one person has a lot of straws and another person doesn't, then the person that doesn't could potentially get away with a poor diet for a longer period of time.
Additionally, many people are self-medicating with grains, starches, junk food, etc. So they think they feel good and they appear to feel good, but if you removed the grains and starches food from their diet, then many symptoms would present. Since grains and starches and junk food overstimulate neurotransmitters in the brain, they work essentially in the same way as psychotropic drugs. Again, depending on genes and other environmental factors, one can self-medicate for a long time before tolerance becomes so high that they no longer get the self-medicating effects.
However, even if you are born with a less than desirable set of genes, your destiny is not set in stone. You are not necessarily doomed to go down a certain path. To some degree, we can influence how our genes express themselves (epigenetic expression) by the way we think, the quality of our air, our lifestyle, our exercise, and most importantly -- the food that we eat.
Eating Meat is not Immoral or Unethical
Eating meat is not immoral or unethical or any of the other things it is labeled. It is the way nature designed it and it is the way life has evolved for millions of years.
As Dr. Al Sears explains so aptly, in the circle of life we eat meat to borrow energy, which eventually we give back when we are eaten. There is no avoiding it. We are all part of this circle and each one of us is dependent on other living creatures. It's a system of give and take and what makes the Universe go round.
If you try not to participate in this circle during your lifetime by being a vegetarian, then you are violating the laws of nature and your health will pay the price. But, in the end, you will be eaten and your energy, carbon and nitrogen will be returned to the Universe. It's a law of nature.
Additionally, even when you are a vegetarian, you are not exempt from killing living things. Growing grain, and other commercial farming for vegetables as well, is one of the biggest destructive forces our planet faces. It depletes topsoil, decimates all other living plants, destroys the fields, prairies and forests and wipes out every little creature like ants, rodents and spiders that is dependent on that ecosystem.
There is no doubt that many of the practices being used by commercial farming are unethical, (maybe even criminal) and unhealthy. Thus, this is why you should always buy your meat from small, independent ranchers who provide grass-fed, organic, hormone-free, free-rage cattle and poultry.
When you eat grass-fed, free-range and organic then you are getting it the way nature intended it to be, it isn't immoral or inhumane.
When you eat animals taken from their natural environment, such as those that are grass-fed, free-range and cage-free, there is no negative impact on the environment and there is no excessive killing of animals caught in the crossfire and no inhumane treatment of the animals. They live their life as nature intended them until the moment of the kill, which is the way it works in all species. So eating more meat is actually more humane than being a vegetarian.
The belief that animal foods cause disease is unfounded. Science fails to prove that vegetarians enjoy improved health or enhanced vitality. As a matter of fact, a diet that is lacking in animal protein is dangerously incomplete.
A primal and omnivorous diet composed of whole, unrefined foods like our ancestors ate provides an ideal nutritional balance. Choosing a vegetarian or vegan diet for the benefit of animals is an honorable act, but requires that you ignore vital laws of biochemistry and put your most precious possession at risk: good health.
Mercola, Joseph, M.D. The Dark Side of the China Study Story Supporting Vegetarianism. Web. September 08, 2010. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/09/08/china-study.aspx
The China Study vs the China study. Dr. Michael Eades. Web, July,27 2010. http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/cancer/the-china-study-vs-the-china-study/
The China Study Revisited. New analysis of raw data doesn’t support vegetarian ideology. Harriet Hall. July 20, 2010 http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-china-study-revisited/
"Missing Link Ate Meat." History of Humans Eating Meat. Dr. Al Sears, 01 Nov. 2010. Web. 26 July 2012. http://www.alsearsmd.com/missing-link-ate-meat/
Mark's Daily Apple - Did Grok Really Eat that Much Meat? http://www.marksdailyapple.com/did-grok-really-eat-that-much-meat/
Mark's Daily Apple - The Asian Paradox http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-asian-paradox-how-can-asians-eat-so-much-rice-and-not-gain-weight/
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Dr. Lawrence Wilson, Copper Toxicity Syndrome
Dr. Charles Gant - Endocrine Stress Webinar
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