Myth: We must eat vegetables to be healthy, but we can live without meat.
Truth: Actually, it’s the opposite. We can live on animal foods alone, but it’s very hard to live on plant foods alone.
This myth-busting series is in danger of becoming a manifesto for meat eaters, and that is not my intention!! I feel the need to state – I love vegetables!!! I still recommend the MND target for vegetables and fruit intake is 17-a-day! And I am not trying to put a downer on the vegetarian choice!
But the truth is this, while half the human race are intolerant or sensitive to gluten in one way or another, I’ve never met a single person intolerant to chicken. I’ve never heard of anyone with a salmon intolerance. I’ve never heard of anyone allergic to mackerel.
Some people are intolerant to eggs, and many people are intolerant to dairy (food Mother Nature evolved for baby cows, not for adult humans) but very few healthy people have any kind of intolerance to meat, poultry or fish.
Following on from Myth busting – Part 7
You see, once we get through the claws, teeth and fur, that animal is all done with the whole ‘defending itself’ thing and Read more
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!
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: 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
What’s gone wrong with our food? Why are we so obsessed with nutrients?
For tens of thousands of years we humans were quite happy and quite healthy (and of mostly fairly normal body weight) just eating real whole foods, namely plants and animals.
Then ‘they’ came along and started poking around with microscopes and test tubes and Bunsen burners, and suddenly everything was broken down into science, and eventually they vilified animal fats. So everyone cut out animal fats, and fat was labelled bad, but the finger pointed specifically at saturated fat from animal sources. So people ate less red meat, and they cut out butter and in response the food companies made margarine, and started adding lots of extra sugar (because with no fat, the food tasted bland) and these odd ‘engineered chemical fats and oils’ to various foods. Then after a decade or two eating those, as people got fatter and diabetes and heart disease rates soared, then they changed stance, and now trans fats and cheap vegetable oils are vilified as the baddies, so we should all go back to butter and ditch the margarine.
And the people asked “But we stopped eating animal saturated fats, years ago, because they were bad…right?”
The people wanted to know “what is it that is supposed to be so wrong with animal foods? How come all that research linked high rates of disease to the consumption of animal foods?” Read more
I wasn’t going to blog today, but I will, as this discussion came up in another chat-group that I am a member of, and I feel compelled to share my thoughts. Having written the below for the other thread, I will amend a few words and re-post it here.
We were discussing the quite disturbing movie Earthlings.
The movie is frank, open, somewhat biased, and quite graphic and disturbing, and the message is vitally important. If you have a strong stomach and want to watch it, you can view the whole thing live online, at earthlings.com
I have to admit, this movie really IS pretty heavy! It’s hard to watch for anyone with a loving soul.
I just returned from a lovely week at the wonderful Obsidian Retreat on the Costa Blanca, in Spain. Obsidian is a great place full of lovely friendly staff and guests and I enjoyed a fabulous week drinking healthy green juices and soaking up the sunshine. I have know the owners Andy and Carol for a few years and they have become dear friends of mine, they are such a great couple, deeply passionate and enthusiastic about helping people rediscover good health.
The retreat is mainly focussed on weight loss and diabetes reduction, promoting an alkaline vegan diet, and raw food and juicing. I personally don’t need to lose weight and I don’t have diabetes, but still I can thoroughly recommend a week relaxing at Obsidian just to enjoy good food, good health, good company and good weather. It’s a great place to detox and de-stress and enjoy relaxing in a healthy environment.
I enjoyed loads of delicious nutritious juices, and some wonderful salads and vegetarian evening meals. I lost 4 pounds over the week, despite trying not to lose any weight, and I am sure my body enjoyed relaxing walks, chilling by the pool and soaking up the sun. Many guests go to Obsidian to quickly lose a lot of weight, and those choosing the all-juice option typically lose about 10 or 11 pounds each week they are there. Many stay for several weeks. This weight loss is very fast, but it’s healthy, as the juiced raw green vegetables provide all the wonderful nutrients your body requires.
Picture shows me with one of my lovely new friends pinching what’s left of my belly – I was complaining about my tum, because I can’t yet see my 6-pack, and she was teasing me!