Tag Archives: vegetarian

Activism Green Living Healthy Living Healthy Meat Toxin Alert!

What I Think of Meatless Mondays

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The term “Meatless Mondays” has become synonymous in health communities with “going green” and having a lesser impact on the environment, and its supposed positive effect on human health.

You’ll see this highly marketed term used in many places, and especially where vegetarian diets are promoted.  While I’m not necessarily being critical of vegetarian diets, I’d like to discuss the reasons why these ideas are simply untrue.

The Environmental Working Group has just come out with The Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change + Health on their web site.  To have a better impact on the environment and our health, it is recommended that we: 

  • Eat less meat and dairy
  • Eat greener meat when you do eat it
  • Eat more plants
  • Waste less meat
  • Eat lower-fat dairy products
  • Speak out

Eating more plants and grains doesn’t improve your health

Animal products from sustainable sources have more nutrients and are more bio-available for digestion, period. If you can’t digest the nutrients in the food you eat, your health will suffer. Plants and grains contain phytates which inhibit the absorption of nutrients – especially minerals – in the body.

To increase digestibility, plants should be eaten with animal products or cooked (such as with butter, olive or coconut oil, or lard) to make them more easily digestible. Cultured and fermented vegetables are even more easy to digest, but the EWG and most other sources of health information don’t mention any of these important facts.

Many people have issues with grains, and because grains are monumentally different than they were in the historical past, this has caused and contributed to a lot of health issues such as gluten intolerance, celiac disease, and many digestive as well as auto-immune issues.

Contrary to what many health and nutrition web sites are saying (yes, even some real food health sites), grains should be eaten quite sparingly or avoided altogether – especially if you have health issues and digestive compromise. If you do eat grains, they should always be prepared properly through soaking, sprouting, or fermenting.  Read this informative post from Archevore, Avoid Poison or Neutralize It about why soaking, sprouting, and fermenting don’t adequately remove all phytates from grains.

Low-fat foods are recommended for consumption by many health sources. But, low-fat foods are changed from how they occur in nature, and in many cases have the fat content replaced with sugar, chemicals, or a combination of the two. They are also usually pasteurized and/or homogenized, which denatures delicate proteins and enzymes necessary for digestion. Low-fat foods are not good for our health and can actually cause health issues to occur.

Fats and cholesterol are critical in our diets. Our brains are almost entirely comprised of fats, and we need the nutrients found in animal fats such as fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamins A, D, and K, minerals such as zinc (often lacking in vegetarian diets), conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), minerals like zinc, iron, and phosphorus, and Omega 3s (just to name a few) for nearly every aspect of health including mood and nervous system function, circulatory/respiratory, endocrine, digestive, reproductive, skin/eyes/hair, eliminatory, and detox.

In the 1930s, Dr. Weston A. Price discovered as he traveled around the world to study the diet of various populations that all groups who consumed a regular source of clean animal fat in their diets had the most vibrant health. These populations, who ate no processed foods consumed TEN TIMES the amount of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2 than those living in developed countries from animal foods.

Grass-fed meats are a superior source for these nutrients. We are hard-wired to crave fats and proteins, which provide us not just with with critical nutrients but also lasting energy (you can’t say that about carbohydrates, which burn through our bodies very quickly). They stabilize our moods and blood sugar, and provide an indispensible support for our metabolic systems.

If you have issues digesting meat, Dr. Thomas Cowan suggests consuming it with a gelatin-rich, home-made stock from the bones of animals to help digest the nutrients. This allows your digestive tract to become healed so that it can then absorb all the valuable nutrients found in meats. Home-made stock is an excellent calcium source, which you will need if you aren’t consuming dairy products.

Does eating meat give us cancer and heart disease?

(UPDATE: March 2012)

A recent flawed study put out by Harvard School of Public Health tells us that eating meat will decrease our life spans. I wrote a post about this, showing in detail why this study has  many holes in it. One of the main reasons is that this study and many others like it don’t take into account the vast nutritional differences between factory-farm meat, which is mostly what people eat, and healthy, grassfed meats from animals on pasture.  As well, humans have eaten naturally-raised meats for thousands upon thousands of years, which has allowed humanity to not only survive but thrive.

Does eating less meat save the planet?

Currently, the most common method of meat production is performed in horrific and artificial conditions. Animals and birds are in small spaces, not allowed to roam, graze, forage or engage in natural behaviors. They are pumped full of growth hormones, antibiotics, and fed corn, soy, and grain which is cheap and makes them fat quickly. Commercial farming pollutes and destroys everything in its wake, producing carbon gases at nearly every stage in the process, which absolutely contributes to the industrial overheating of the planet.

Sustainable, grass-fed farming is good for the environment and does not contribute to climate change or global warming. Once again, EWG ignores critical research showing that different types of farming produces different results. As pointed out by Anna Lappe in Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at The End of Your Fork and What you Can Do About It, grass-fed farming actually “produces a net benefit, as well-managed grazing can help store carbon in soils.” Her discovery revealed that “converting some of the land currently used for feed production to grass-fed beef production, emissions per acre would be significantly lower.”

As far as saving the planet…how exactly does eating low-fat dairy accomplish this? Creating low-fat foods is an artificial process which requires chemicals and toxins used in their manufacturing and production. So, I challenge anyone to prove exactly how this is good for our health or the environment.

Does eating less meat save money?

No doubt, meats and meat products are typically more expensive than plant foods. No argument there. But what are you getting for your dollar when you buy animal products versus plant products? If you refer to Nourished Kitchen’s Nutrient Showdown, you’ll see that when you compare plant and animal foods for nutrient content (using information from Nutrition Data), animal foods win hands down. To get the maximum nutrients, one of the best places to put your food dollars is in sustainable animal products.

When you eat real, grassfed and sustainable meats from healthy animals on pasture, the meat is packed with nutrients, and you will naturally eat less. But if sometimes you need to eat more, don’t feel guilty about it. If you are doing it occasionally to save money or stretch your meat out, that’s just fine. I’m all for saving money, and in this economy, every dollar counts.

You can easily replace meat in any meal with traditional, healthy fats  such as raw dairy from healthy cows on pasture, coconut, or olive oil.  You can also have an economical and nourishing dinner cooking vegetables and rice or potatoes using bone broth, lard, or tallow from healthy animals on pasture.  That’s right. Even though it’s not “meatless”, it is nonetheless delicious, nutritionally superior, and satisfying – contrary to what mainstream medical and health sources tell us.

More information on nutrient-dense foods that support vibrant health:

How well do you know your food? Find out!

What are traditional foods?

The grass-fed meat challenge: busting myths about meat

Activism Guest Posts Healthy Living Real Food

An Inheritence Squandered

www.mypicshares.com

Today I am excited to share a guest post from Lauren Snyder Grosz who has been providing wellness and nutrition education on the Liberation Wellness Blog since spring of 2010. She writes  articles about the effect fad diets and eating processed foods has on our health, as well as other important health topics.

I’m so enthused about the work Lauren does in spreading the real food and nutrition word.  I hope you’ll go visit Wellness Liberation and read more of her posts as well as other fantastic contributors who also provide information. These people are making  enormous contributions to our knowledge of real health, and are doing some of the most important work in the world.

I met Lauren at the Weston A. Price Wise Traditions Conference in Philadelphia last month, and she was sweet and engaging.  As with many other great people I met there, I wish I’d had more time to visit and talk with her. But as conferences go, the schedule was tight and there were so many people to meet and see. I’m hoping to get to know some of those amazing people better whom I wasn’t able to spend time with by featuring their posts on Agriculture Society.

This wonderful essay describes missed opportunities by those who have every means possible to bring great health to themselves but instead listened to the wrong advice about how to achieve their goals.  Although I don’t follow celebrity life much, I’m always encouraged to hear accounts of famous people who make positive changes through real food and share their stories. It’s important when those in the public eye speak out against mainstream health channels and tell the world about their health successes since so many people listen to and are influenced by what they do.

And still, there are other stories of those who chose to starve themselves or follow unseemly diets to become healthy – and aren’t doing themselves any favors. Lauren’s essay today talks about several people in the spotlight who have chosen those paths, and I think the lessons we can learn from these choices are extremely important.

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I admire the Guests the way some people admire the Kennedys.  My daughter is named Charlotte Catherine because I wanted to be able to call her C.C. as a way of paying homage to C.Z. Guest; horsewoman, fashion icon, and gardener.  In the Spring of 2002, I had a chance to attend a lecture she was giving at The Chicago Botanic Garden.  She was 83 at the time and appeared to be in excellent health.  A year and a half later C.Z. Guest died of ovarian cancer.

In the November issue of Harper’s Bazaar, I was saddened to learn that C.Z.’s daughter Cornelia is a vegan.  A quick Google search revealed that she has made this decision for health reasons.  Congestive Heart Failure turned my father, who had been an exceptional high school and collegiate athlete into the equivalent of an invalid when I was 16 years old.  Two years later, I became a vegetarian as a way of steering clear of my dad’s fate.  Occasionally, I’d lapse, but it wasn’t until I became pregnant that I permanently ditched vegetarianism.  Cornelia is almost 47, so it’s not likely that pregnancy will rescue her from her vegan wasteland.  Discipline will also make it harder to turn away from something she perceives as providing a payoff.  As a young socialite in 80′s, the article emphasizes how her equestrian habit saved her from the other popular habits of the era.  Even if she was out late, there were horses to ride the next morning.

Once, I made the acquaintance of a pro football player, who had started drinking soy and was a vegetarian during the week.  When I began inquiring as to why he was doing this, what I learned was interesting, disturbing really.  He felt this way of eating required discipline, hard work, and persistence, all of the things that helped him to be a starter in the NFL.  He was a physical specimen to behold, but was unable to credit his grandmother’s  and mother’s love of traditional southern food for his stature and strength.  This inability to give credit where credit is due is also what led Cornelia Guest to ban all animal products from her life.  The saying in their house was, “a pound of butter a day keeps the doctor away” and still she banishes the food!  It isn’t enough that her mother enjoyed robust health until she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Surely butter, cream, eggs, and meat must be to blame.

Certainly, this is what I thought because butter was king in our house and from my vantage point it had caused nothing but trouble.  My mom died at the ripe old age of 64.  Yes.  She smoked, but everybody knows food plays a part.  I’ve already mentioned that my dad lived like an invalid, who survived until he was 72 because he slept about fifteen hours a day, and swallowed prescription pills that could only be held by a giant shoe box.  Somehow, it never occurred to me that my family’s health woes could have anything to do with the bank of cabinets devoted to snack foods or that my mom liked to start her day with dessert and a glass of Folgers  Crystals.  She was very particular and always insisted on Heinemann’s Coffee Cakes.  A cursory glance at their ingredient list fails to turn up anything that belongs in a Bavarian coffee cake or any other food for that matter.  Now blaming sugar even seems far fetched because unless we were making sugar cookies from scratch, it seems highly unlikely that any of our favorite companies used anything other than High Fructose Corn Syrup and soybean oil.  My dietary choices were also hampered by my mom’s fabulous figure, never weighing more than 125 pounds, she was of the opinion that only peasants couldn’t wear their normal clothes home from the hospital after giving birth!  How could sugar, even if it was fake, be to blame?  She was thin, strong, and enjoyed incredibly robust health, until diagnosed with cancer.  Within a year, we had lost her.

That very same year, I serendipitously came across the life changing work of Sally Fallon Morell, President of the Weston A Price Foundation.  While I hadn’t been a vegetarian for many years, it wasn’t until then that I understood the importance of having animal fat in my diet.  Fortunately, there was enough real food in our house; my mom frequently cooked from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, that I instantly knew which foods were the culprits of disease in my family.  The drive to be healthy seems incredibly strong in children who’ve lost a parent at a young age.  Gwyneth Paltrow provides a window into the extremes someone, with means, will go to in order to avoid getting cancer.  She was very close to her father and to have lost him when she was only 30 obviously took a toll.  In her new cookbook she reminisces about cooking with him and notes that health food was not the priority, hence her obsession with Veganese, a concoction made entirely from fake vegetable oils.  In addition, the starlet avoids dairy and only eats animals with two legs.  I can’t help but wonder how on earth her mother  Blythe Danner allows her lovely daughter to carry on with this warped destructive food philosophy.  Not surprisingly , Gwyneth announced that she has osteopenia – a precursor to osteoporosis.  She is unable to connect the dots between her diet that is devoid of Vitamin A and D and having a disease commonly reserved for old women.  Her remedy for this which was urged by her doctors is to take prescription strength Vitamin D.  What is most disturbing is that she has enormous influence, just as Cornelia Guest has in her circle, and hordes of young girls will blindly follow their advice!

Lastly, it’s important to add that many people already understand the importance of eliminating junk food, such as sugar laden cereals and soda.  Dr. Price showed that this is only part of what is responsible for radiant health and wholeness.  Unless the all important fat soluble activators are given their due people will still experience compromised health.  Madonna’s daughter Lola is proof of this: the Material Girl’s family is on a strict organic, vegetarian, macrobiotic diet and yet the poor girl still was not spared orthodontics and additionally required a back brace for scoliosis.

Living long and living well depends on eating high-fat high-cholesterol foods. Yes.  We all have to die sometime, but that doesn’t mean it has to be via a massive heart attack, cancer,  or spending the winter of one’s life in an Alzheimer’s facility.  Traditional diets provide the antidote to these grim scenarios.  The second arrow in our quiver is that an infrastructure for excellent sanitization exists – hot water, stainless steel tanks, electrification – that should allow us to all live to a ripe old age (barring accidents).  Yet,  instead of flourishing, the diseases of civilization have never had a stronger hold on us.  It’s simply not enough to know something is bad.  While we do not need to turn our children into small nutritionists, they must be able to discern between what is true and false, and why certain principles must not be abandoned in the kitchen.
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Lauren Snyder Grosz is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Educator. She writes for LiberationWellnessBlog.com. As a student on a lifelong quest for exceptional health and happiness, her mission is to empower people to take complete responsibility for their own health by rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true and rediscovering what truly works based on accurate science.