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Myth busting – Part 6

Continued from Myth busting – Part 5

Myth: OK, so gorillas might not be a great example, but cows are vegans, they eat only grass all day long, and look how big and strong they get! Clearly, a low-fat, meat-free, plant based diet is the way forward!

Truth: Cows eat an extremely high-fat diet! And they are not vegans!

Yeah this one will really mess with your head! Yes, cows eat an 80% fat diet, through a very similar set up as described in Myth busting – Part 5 for the gorilla. Cows and gorillas are both fermenters, so in some ways cows and gorillas have more in common, from a digestive perspective, than humans and gorillas.

Cows are ruminants, they have multiple digestive chambers inside (you’ve heard ‘cows have four stomachs’ right?) the first of which is called a rumen. When they eat grass and leafy plants, it all goes straight down into the rumen, where the process of ‘rumination’ (hence the genus name, ruminant) begins. Rumination involves bringing the food up and down between the mouth and the rumen, generally four to five times for every mouthful.

A cow’s rumen is an amazing thing. This fact blows my mind: in a single cow’s rumen, there are more bacteria then there are human being’s alive on the whole planet! Boom! Mind blown!

And on top of all that bacteria, there are billions of protozoa and digestive enzymes too, and this is still only in the first of the cow’s four major digestive chambers. Traditional tribes used to understand that the lining of a cow’s rumen is so nutritionally dense, they would kill a cow and eat the rumen lining, throwing the muscle meat to their dogs. Yes, they ate the organs and stomach lining and gave the sirloin steak and fillet steak to their dogs!

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Myth busting – Part 5

This post is Part 5 of a continuing series of posts tackling persistent myths in the world of healthy eating, with a particular focus on the consumption of animal foods as a source of ill health and environmental destruction.

You may like to read the whole series starting from Myth busting – Part 1

Myth: But big strong animals like gorillas don’t eat meat. A gorilla is a vegan and he’s made of muscle! So who needs all that protein now then?!?!

You may have seen this image circulating on social media sites, lots of folks who don’t really know much about health and nutrition like to share this image as some kind of ‘proof’ that it is healthiest to be a vegan, and no one needs to eat animal foods at all.

I don’t want to sound rude, and this next line isn’t meant to be an attack on any vegans or an insult to anyone specifically, but in all honesty, sharing this Internet meme as some kind of ‘proof’ that people shouldn’t eat meat is pretty much the highest display of ignorance out there in the whole ‘meat vs. vegetarian’ discussion.

Not ignorant because the people sharing it don’t know much about the digestive system of a gorilla; that’s fair enough, most folks probably don’t; but ignorant because the people sharing this are stupid enough to think the digestive function of one animal somehow acts as some guide of evidence-based scientific guide to the digestive system of another. That is just plain dumb.

Why would the digestive system and food habits of a gorilla have anything to do with a human?

Oh because gorillas have muscles, therefore this is ‘proof’ of how to build muscles?

Well elephants have muscles too; maybe I should eat an elephant’s diet? Read more

Myth busting – Part 4

Continued from Myth busting – Part 3

Myth: But longevity studies show that most 90 and 100 year old folks are vegetarians, right?

Truth: The truth is that in many longevity studies we see people in their 90s and 100s who ‘don’t eat much meat’ but that does not make them strict vegetarians.

In almost all the longevity studies I have read, very few of these people in their 90s and 100s were reported as specifically being vegetarians, most often they just “don’t eat much meat” because they tend to be quite poor (financially) and they can only afford to eat meat once or twice per week at most. Many of these elderly folks eat fish or eggs a few times per week. Fish is often readily available as many of the demographic groups studied (where exceptional longevity has been noted) live near the coast or on islands, so fresh fish is often a staple of the local diet.

This in itself is, to my mind, all far more interesting than whether or not these people are vegetarians. One of my all-time favourite books is ‘Blue Zones’ by Dan Buettner, an excellent review of the lifestyles of several societies where a high proportion of folks enjoy far-above-average longevity. In four of the five communities he and his team studied around the world, they live between the coast and the hills/mountains. A lifestyle including regular hill walking, daily clean fresh air, fresh fish and home-grown vegetables feature as key ingredients to living a long and healthy life. Many of the people studied “ate little meat” but only one of the five communities identified themselves as vegetarians, and this was in the case that vegetarianism came as a part of their religious belief system.

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Myth busting – Part 3

Myth: Vegetarians are healthier than meat eaters, because eating meat is bad for you.

Truth: Eating meat is not ‘bad for you’ – go back and read Myth busting – Part 1 again! What do you think your ancient ancestors ate before we started farming?

According to a number of studies, it would seem that many (certainly not all!) vegetarians are indeed ‘healthier’ than many (not all) meat eaters, but there is no real evidence to suggest that it’s got much to do with avoiding meat.

There is a lot of confusion around this area. Studies have attempted to look at the differences between vegetarians and meat eaters – but what does ‘vegetarian’ really mean? It’s a self-reported ‘condition’, it’s not like ‘people over 6 foot tall’ or ‘black people’ or ‘women’ – these are irrefutable facts that are visible to all eyes. But many vegetarians report themselves to be vegetarians when in fact, they are not. There are varying degrees of vegetarianism, and it is quite common for people to claim to be vegetarians when they ‘occasionally’ eat meat.

I personally know several people who describe themselves, with complete sincerity, as vegetarians, yet they openly admit that they get drunk once a month and have a big greasy meaty kebab on their way home from the pub! Or they are ‘vegetarian’ all week, then order a Chinese take away on Saturday night and enjoy tucking into sweet ‘n’ sour chicken! I know so-called vegetarians who treat themselves to a chicken vindaloo once a month then go back to being a vegetarian! These people actually laugh it off and they think they can wake up the next day, go back to their hummus and tofu and be a vegetarian again….until next time! Seriously?!?!? Read more

Myth busting – Part 2

Myth: Cholesterol is bad for you

Truth: Cholesterol itself is a naturally occurring compound, an essential part of YOU! Only high LDL and VLDL cholesterol is associated with heart disease risk factors.

Whole books have been written about ‘the cholesterol myth’, lots of them, and I’ve read several. The truth that I always come back to is this – cholesterol is a naturally occurring sterol lipid (that’s a fancy name for a fat-based chemical compound) that is an integral part of every cell of every animal on Earth. Your body needs cholesterol to maintain cell integrity for all cells in the human body. Cholesterol is also an essential precursor in the production of a number of hormones, and it has other functions in our bodies too.

Cholesterol is an essential element of all cells in all animals. Your brain and nervous system, organs and muscles, none of them would work without cholesterol. It is so important, that if you don’t ingest any from dietary sources, your body can make its own.

So I think: if cholesterol is so important, vital to all animal life and so omnipresent in all animal life forms, how on Earth Read more

Myth busting – Part 1

This is the first instalment in a series of posts tackling persistent myths in the world of healthy eating, with a particular focus on the consumption of animal foods as a source of ill health and environmental destruction.shutterstock_159768692

It’s simply not true that eating animal foods causes ill health and environmental damage. However, intensive industrialised agriculture certainly causes environmental damage and leads to humans eating animal products that are less-than-optimal nutritionally.

The vast, overwhelming majority of research linking meat consumption to ill health fails to separate meat products from animals that have been raised in intensive, industrialised agricultural systems from meat products that come from animals raised humanely, naturally and sustainably.

I have written about this before, if this interests you please check the following posts:

https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2015/10/26/meat-consumption-and-cancer-who-report-and-media-frenzy/

https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2013/02/17/naturally-reared-meat-versus-junk-meat/

https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2013/03/07/new-research-linking-processed-meat-to-increased-risk-of-death/

This series of posts will now primarily look at the issue of whether or not it is healthier to be a vegetarian or a meat eater, and connections between modern agriculture and its impact on the environment.

Let’s start with…

Myth: Eating fat makes you fat

Truth: Eating more calories than you use makes you fat, whether those calories come from dietary fats, carbohydrates or anything else. Eating a broad, healthy, whole foods diet high in wholesome natural dietary fats does not make you fat. Eating a lot of processed foods and sugar will significantly contribute to making you store more body fat.

I’m starting with this one because this should be pretty easy for you MND’ers to grasp, this is old news to you now. Over the last 60 years, the diet industry has promoted low-fat as the way to go to lose weight and prevent heart disease. Sadly, after 60 years of this, we have an obesity epidemic spreading across the entire Western world, heart disease rates are higher than ever, and we’ve thrown in an international diabetes epidemic as an unexpected little bonus. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure stripping the fat out of everything and replacing it with added refined sugar and processed vegetable oils wasn’t the smartest way forward.

As I have already hammered this topic to death about a hundred times, I won’t go over it in too much detail again now, let’s just highlight the three key points:

  • A certain amount of body fat is good. Excess body fat can become unhealthy. Lots of your body is made up of fat – your brain is largely fat and water. Your nervous system is made up of lots of fat (and cholesterol). Many hormones are made up from lipids (fats) in your body, helping to regulate mood, sleep, sexual function and more. Fat keeps you warm and fat is a great place to store certain vitamins, minerals and hormones, that all help to keep you healthy. So don’t just hate fat!
  • Mother Nature designed dietary fat as a dense source of calories – calories are energy you can use, so eating dietary fat is a great way to consume lots of usable calories for energy (more on high fat diets below). Dietary fats include lots of lipids that help nourish and support these important functions in your body – hormone production, mood regulation, brain and nervous system function, heart function, joint function and more. Natural dietary fat is not bad. Natural fats – from olive oil to organ meats, from avocado to oily fish – can be part of a healthy human diet for everyone. Over-eating fat, like over-eating anything, can become a problem.
  • Animal fats are an [in my opinion] essential element of a well-balanced healthy human diet. We rose to prominence on this planet, between 7 million years ago and the beginning of the agricultural period around 10,000 years ago, by hunting and eating other animals. Saturated fat has always been a major component of the human diet. Over the last 60 years, as food companies pulled all the fat out of processed food, they realised that it left that food bland and tasteless, so they added processed refined sugar, refined vegetable oils and processed salt to create flavour – the end results of half-a-century of this are not good!

 

Respect

You cannot DEMAND respect.
You can only COMMAND respect.

No amount of throwing your weight around, physically or intellectually, will win you the respect of others. You can’t bully your way to being respected, you can’t coerce people into respecting you. And you can’t show off to win respect, you can’t get respect by showing others up, being more intellectual or show-boating that you are smarter than everyone else.

You just can’t DEMAND respect that way.

But you can COMMAND respect, by being nice, by showing integrity, by living a life based on quality values and kindness.

Strong-arm tactics is bullying, that won’t work. But showing strength of character, based in integrity, will command the respect of others.
Putting others down by trying to show off how intelligent you are will only gain you contempt, not respect. But sharing what you know in order to help others, and learning from your mistakes in life and then improving over time, shows humility and wisdom, and these will COMMAND respect from those around you.

Sadly, it seems that far too many people out there are unaware of these subtle differences, and they are out there trying to DEMAND respect, throwing their weight around and showing off in every direction.
Don’t let them fool you for a second.

1luvx

Be kind

I saw this in a book the other day, it struck a chord with me.Mental pain quote

I’ve dealt with some physical pain, 20 years of yo-yo diets, in and out of obesity, I’ve bust a bunch of bones, fractured my spine in two places, fallen down a mountain, suffered through some marathons and ultra distance events, I’ve fought through some tough physical challenges, not least losing 7 stone 3, 101 pounds of fat.

But that’s nothing, really, compared to dealing with the mental pain of losing someone you love, fighting depression, or struggling for years to overcome three decades of emotionally crippling low self-esteem.

Don’t confuse physical toughness with mental and emotional toughness. Some people can endure physical pain, some can endure emotional pain. Some people can endure both, and some can endure neither.

It’s easy to recognise physical toughness in a person, and our culture acknowledges these people openly. Meanwhile, many people who have faced, and continue to face, huge mental and emotional challenges, slip quietly among us, unnoticed and often unsupported.

Those people might be in the same room as you right now, working across the desk from you, sitting in the chair beside you, reading whatever you just posted, or waiting to hear from you, quietly hoping you’ll call or email today.

Maybe that person is you.

You never know. Just be kind, please, to everyone.
1luvx