I have recently found that acquaintances in my life are choosing to eat vegetarian or vegan. I really did not want to get into a conversation or debate with them about their choice. But, it got me asking myself why they are choosing this? One person did tell me it wasn’t because of moral views, so why then? Well, I decided to put some thoughts and information out there in hopes of expanding some horizons.
According to Google, Vegetarianism is defined as “a person who does not eat meat, and sometimes other animal products, especially for moral, religious, or health reasons”.
Also, according to Google, a Vegan is defined as “a person who does not eat or use animal products”.
Can You Be Healthy Long-Term?
Being a vegetarian or vegan and being healthy long-terms is not impossible, but it will likely be tough. I heard on a podcast not that long ago that was discussing vegetarianism and veganism and they were saying that it takes about 7 years for the long-term effects of missing nutrients and poor nutrient absorption to have a negative effect on their health.
Many folks who choose a vegetarian or veganism way of eating typically rely too heavily on grains, legumes, GMO foods, and highly-processed food-like products as the bulk of their diets. If you tolerate grains and legumes, it is ok to use them sparingly, however they are low in bio-available nutrients, they contain lectins and phytates, and can also contribute to intestinal permeability. It is helpful if you properly prepare them, soaking them overnight and allowing them to sprout before cooking them. If you already have any intestinal permeability or inflammation they can wreak havoc. Generally speaking, these items also are not very nutrient dense, especially compared to other vegetable options. It is important to watch blood sugar issues with eating lots of grains and grain products.
Fruit is very yummy and do contain usable nutrients, but can cause increased issues with those with blood sugar problems and those who are fructose intolerant (avoid Agave). Eating some fruit is ok, but eating massive amounts of fruit all day isn’t a good idea.
A lot of folks also rely on soy products, which I say is a bad idea due to the estrogenic activity of soy. This is super important for men. Just say no to soy. Most soy is also GMO soy. If you choose to eat soy, I suggest you only eat traditionally fermented soy.
If the goal of either of these lifestyles is to be healthy, the main food items that need to be consumed is organic non-GMO vegetables, some fruit, and the use of supplements. Many vitamin and mineral deficiencies can occur over time from not eating animals and or animal products; for example: B12, iron, zinc, calcium, fat-soluble vitamins D and A, and other long-chain fatty acids like DHA and EPA.
I believe that having a plant-based diet is important. We should be eating a minimum of 2 – 3 cups of veggies with each meal. Eating a variety of foods is very important. Get them all and eat them all.
I do not think that you have to eat meat or animal products with every meal to gain the nutrients your body needs. If you focus on the most nutrient dense the less you have to eat of them, like cold-water fatty fish, liver, pastured egg yolks, pastured bison or beef.
I believe that there are good and ideal ways for people to eat animals and animal products that do not involve large-scale factory farming practices ie. feed-lots and other confined animal feeding operations, closed-in chicken farms, or GMO plants etc. Vote with your dollar!
In my post Quality Food Sources, I provide my thoughts on sourcing our foods from responsible places. Regardless if you eat meat or not, you should be sourcing your produce from locally grown sources, the closer to you they are grown the less nutrients are lost and the less gasoline is needed to transport it. You can source responsibly raised and butchered meats, bones, and organs. With a little online research you can find local farmers and ranchers that are doing things in an ethically responsible way. If you have local farmers markets that is also a good place to start, they are usually there. Ask questions.
It is naive to think that because you are vegan or vegetarian that your food doesn’t cause animal death. It does. The farming practices kill hundreds and thousands of animals and animal habitats. Why is it ok to kill a field mouse, mole, rabbit, snake, insect or bird and not a cow, pig, or deer? Anyway, that is not really a question….
The Bible says in Genesis 9:3 “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” There is A LOT more details in in Deuteronomy 14:1-29 and in Leviticus 11:1-47. The Maker’s Diet has a bunch of details in it too.