More and more die-hard vegetarians are becoming meat eaters. Why the change of heart? It’s simple: They’re plumb tired of being sick and tired.
“For 14 years I felt sick, nauseated, and bloated,” says Lierre Keith. She’s the author of The Vegetarian Myth, one of the most important books on this subject. “Anything I ate became a bowling ball lodged in my stomach.”
Her stomach was distended because her digestion was damaged from her vegetarian diet. To fix it, she had to return to eating meat.
Lierre understands all the “noble” reasons that made her a vegetarian for 14 years. Her book is a compelling insight into why she now eats meat.
Most vegetarians won’t admit it, even to themselves, but they just can’t stand the health consequences. They have no energy. They feel frail. They’re getting sick. And they’re getting old before their time.
They’ve also damaged their digestive systems. And they can’t produce hormones like growth hormone, testosterone, and thyroid hormone.
Vegetarians often look down their noses at the rest of us, thinking they’re morally and politically correct. It’s elitist thinking. Vegetarians don’t believe they owe a debt to the energy we all share in nature. They want to remove themselves from the real world so they don’t have to participate.
But in the real world, you have to participate and play the game.
It’s the same game we’ve played successfully for millions of years until they wanted to change it. You borrow energy by eating meat. Then one day you get eaten, and you give it back.
Of course, you can avoid being eaten by a predator in modern times. But in the end, you’re going to be eaten by something. Eventually, your carbon, nitrogen, and your energy are returned back to the earth.
We’re not really at the top of the food pyramid when we eat meat. Because it’s not a pyramid at all. It’s a circle. And you’re a part of it.
Vegetarians like Lierre who convert back to meat eating have matured. They’ve stopped clinging to childlike arguments and wishful thinking. They act with what the ancients call “adult knowledge.”
Adult knowledge is what our primitive ancestors knew instinctively. That we’re indebted to nature from the moment we’re born. We’re dependent on other living creatures.
You can’t opt out of this system. Even if you’re willing to compromise your health and eat plants only, there is still a price to pay…
You Still Kill Animals by Eating Vegetables
Vegetarians talk about meat eaters like they’re predators. But it’s not a winning moral argument. Because when you eat grains, you’re killing animals, too. And worse.
Agriculture and commercial farming is one of the most destructive things we’ve done to our own planet. We are destroying all the creatures that depend on it.
Grain destroys the environment. It’s an annual grass that requires a huge amount of resources. It depletes the topsoil and is war on the ecosystem. You have to kill off every other plant to grow grain. When you do that, you kill off every animal in the ecosystem that depends on those plants. There’s nothing moral about doing that.
Even if you only eat vegetables, you’re still killing animals. Commercial farming practices have taken over and destroyed prairies, fields, and forests that animals have lived in for millions of years.
But when you eat animals that live in their native environment, there are no consequences to the environment. The environment continues exactly as it was before. There is no energy expenditure. All that annihilation of the environment goes away.
Vegetarians don’t want to face it. But they are part of this cycle. There is no getting out of it.
I’m not suggesting vegetarians run out to Outback Steakhouse. Or pick up a sirloin at the market on their way home and throw it on the grill. Because that is just as irresponsible as clinging to beliefs that make them sick.
The commercial farming industry is a travesty. But it’s the ethics of the system, not the meat, that’s the enemy.
Eating meat is not ethically wrong. But eating ethically wrong meat is wrong.
Hidden Dangers of Grain
Feeding cows a grain diet is dangerous to the cow and to humans.
Cows are ruminants. They have four stomachs. The first is the rumen, designed to digest plant matter. Cows “chew their cud” before it moves from one stomach to another. The word “ruminate” comes Latin and means “to chew over again.”
When a cow’s diet switches to grain, two things happen.
Rumination stops. The rumen can’t digest grain properly. Instead, the grain creates great amounts of gas called, “feedlot bloat.” It builds up inside the rumen until it presses against the cow’s lungs. Cows suffocate.
Cows develop acidosis from too much starch and sugar in the grain, just as we develop acid indigestion. They stop feeding. They develop inflammation and disease.
When a cow’s stomach is acidic, bacteria such as E. coli become resistant. Grass-fed beef has 80% less E. coli. Switching grain-fed beef decreases E. coli by 10,000,000 times.3
Campylobacter is another bacteria passed on to humans. 58% of grain-fed cows carry it compared to 2% of grass-fed cows.4
Grain-fed cows are injected with synthetic hormones. rBGH and rBST are outlawed by the European Union, Japan, Australia, and Canada due to animal and human risk. Both are used frequently in the U.S.5
This should be a rally cry for these converts. Former vegetarians who now eat meat understand this concept. When you purchase grass-fed beef from small, independent ranchers, it’s sustainable. And much healthier than hormone-stuffed burgers – or no burger at all.
Commercial farming practices create sick, diseased animals. But you buy them for dinner without a second thought.
You can’t see the difference when you look at the meat in the butcher’s case. You might not even taste the difference. But if you’ve never been to a commercial feedlot, let me give you an idea of what’s going on.
First, bulls are castrated. Then they’re injected with synthetic hormones to make them grow. They live out their lives standing in their own filth in cement sheds, never seeing the light of day. Their diet is so unnatural it makes them deathly sick. Then they’re kept barely alive by antibiotics until they’re slaughtered at an early age.
This is what you’re served up at restaurants and in your own home, if you’re like most people.
It might look good on the plate, but you’re getting a dose of hormones with every bite. Commercial beef in the U.S. contains dangerous, synthetic hormones that are ending up in you and your children.
Why do you think young girls these days are going through puberty when they’re still babies? Why are young boys developing breast tissue?
This is a worldwide health concern. Hormone-treated, U.S. meat has been banned throughout the European nations since 1989.1
In the U.S., 70 percent of all antibiotics go to “healthy” livestock instead of people.2 But commercial livestock isn’t healthy. Commercial farmers use the antibiotics to keep dying animals alive just long enough to sell to you.
Why Grass-Fed Beef Is Better
- Less overall fat and calories: A six-ounce grass-fed loin has 92 fewer calories than grain-fed. This saves an average American 16,642 calories each year.6
- More Omega-3: Grass-fed beef has 2 to 10 times more omega-3′s than grain-fed beef and a healthy ratio as little as 1:1. Grain-fed beef is as much as 14:1.7
- More CLA: Grass-fed beef has two to five times more CLA than grain-fed.8 CLA supports immune and cardiovascular function and lean muscle mass. Studies show women with highest levels of CLA have 60-74% lower risk of breast cancer.9
- More Vitamin E: Grass-fed beef contains three to six times more vitamin E than grain-fed beef.10
- More Carotenoids: Grass-fed beef has up to four times more beta-carotene than grain-fed beef.11 Carotenoids promote eye and macular health.
- More B Vitamins, CoQ10, and Zinc: Grass-fed beef has more B vitamins, CoQ10, and zinc than grain-fed beef.
Your Plan for Better Health
Step 1: Choose grass-fed, but don’t stick to beef. Try buffalo, pork, venison, or other responsibly raised meat. Here is a comparison of basic nutrients you’ll find in grass-fed meats:
|Based on 3 1/2 ounces||Buffalo||Beef||Pork||Venison|
|Saturated Fat (g)||0.9||7.58||5.33||1.24|
|Monounsaturated Fat (g)||0.94||8.29||6.46||0.87|
|Polyunsaturated Fat (g)||0.24||0.74||1.2||0.62|
As you can see in the table above, buffalo has more protein than beef and almost no fat. If you haven’t tried it, let me tell you, it really tastes great on the grill.
If you can’t find a family-owned farm or rancher in your area, go to the web. Many independent farmers advertise online and ship right to your doorstep.
If this is your first bite in years, go slow. It takes up to a week for enzymes in your body to adjust, but the benefits are well worth the effort.
Step 2: Try reintroducing organ meats. In the wild, predatory animals instinctively know that organ meat contains the most nutrients. Many cultures prize organ meat, but Americans still shy away. Try grass-fed organ meat such as liver, heart, or kidneys. Serve it for dinner or add small amounts to your favorite recipes for a nutritional boost.
To give you an idea what you’re missing, here’s a list of nutrients found in organ meat:
|B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12||Iron|
|EPA, DHA, and CLA|
- “American Beef: Why is it Banned in Europe?” Cancer Prevention Coalition: http://www.preventcancer.com/consumers/general/hormones_meat.htm
- “FDA Official Support Livestock Antibiotic Limit” Union of Concerned Scientists http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/fda-livestock-antibiotic-pampta-0261.html
- Diez-Gonzalex, F., Callaway, TR., et al. “Grain feeding and the dissemination of acid-resistant Escherichia coli cattle.” Science. 1998 Sept;281(5383):1666-8.
- Graham D Bailey,G., Vanselow, B., “A study of the foodborne pathogens: Campylobacter, Listeria and Yersinia, in faeces slaughter-age cattle and sheep in Australia.” Communicable Diseases Intelligence. 2003 June; 27(2).
- rBGH & rBST. 2009. http://www.sustainabletable.org/spread/handouts/rBGH.pdf. Accessed 02 2010.
- Robinson, J. “Pasture Perfect: The Far Reaching Benefits of Choosing Meat, Eggs, and Dairy Products Grass-Fed Animals.” Vashon Island Press. 2004.
- “Scientific Research.” http://www.eatwild.com. Accessed 02 2010.
- T. R. Dhiman (2001). “Role of diet on conjugated linoleic acid content of milk and meat” (PDF). Journal of Animal Science 79. http://www.adsa.org/jointabs/iaafs108.pdf.
- Bougnoux, P., Lavillonniere, F., Riboli, E., “Inverse relation between CLA in adipose breast tissue and risk of breast cancer,” Inform 10;5:S43, 1999.
- Smith, G.C. “Dietary Supplementation of Vitamin E to Cattle to Improve Shelf-Life and Case-Life for Domestic and International Markets.” Colorado State University. Complete reference not known.
- Prache, S., A. Priolo, et al. (2003). “Persistence of carotenoid pigments in the blood of concentrate-finished grazing sheep: its significance for the traceability of grass-feeding.” J Anim Sci 81(2): 360-7.
This information is provided by Al Sears, M.D., Power For Healthy Living. For more information or to sign up for a free subscription to the Doctor’s House Call e-letter, please visit www.alsearsmd.com
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