So finally here are my answers that I have been asked by many clients and workshop attendees, are you raw, are you vegan? Are we meant to eat meat? Can we get everything we need from a vegetarian/vegan diet? I say, 'don’t label yourself, as that only leads to separation'.
Did you know that our earth is 4.6 billion years old? Scaling to 46years, humans have been here 4 hours and our industrial revolution began just a moment ago and within that time we have destroyed more than 50% of the amazon rainforest, livestock now covers more than 45% of our earth, every second an acre of rainforest falls to graze livestock and grow GMO crops, to feed that livestock. Raising livestock is responsible for water pollution, species extinction, ocean dead zones and habitat destruction. These animals are given antibiotics, grain, confinement and a completely unnatural diet, they are treated inhumanely and more. Not to mention the amount of water consumption they use. Also equating to 50% of our worlds greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than all forms of transportation, trains, buses, cars and planes put together, which is around 15%. There is an alarming rate that fish are getting hulled out of the ocean, definitely not been able to repopulate, scientists’ recon that we may see a fish-less ocean in 2048. Whales, dolphins, sea turtles and seals are killed by the vessels and mass netting. And this is only the environmental impact but if we look at the sickness, disease and illness, like heart disease, type two diabetes, cancer, and other westernised dis-ease that could have been prevented by eating more plant-based foods. Did you know that thousands of people die because the grain that could cure their hunger is fed to factory farmed animals instead? We could stop world hunger and famine, we could reduce greenhouse gases, water consumption, deforestation, dead oceans, we could improve the health of the population, the human species could thrive, if we ALL ate more plants and less animals, we could save the WORLD. FACT- 150 BILLION, life-loving-sentient-beings are killed EVERY year for human consumption.
I have not eaten meat for over 25years now, experimenting with vegetarianism and veganism, raw food and many plant-based diets. I eat accordingly to what my body needs. When I was 18, I made the decision not to eat another sentient being, another animal in pain for the sake of my food was somehow not ok for me. My early childhood days, I use to enjoy eating a baked dinner Sunday night at home, so why would I stop? Because my selfish desire couldn’t fulfil the hole in my consciousness. In saying that, I do not judge you and your decisions, and I am not going to say you need to become a vegan or vegetarian but I am going to remind you that we now have scientific evidence that a plant-based diet is the way to go. The way for our environment, our factory farms and animals in general, our water and land usage, our greenhouse gases, our amazon forest, and our personal health. "Preventative health-care is the future of medicine" ~ Kerry Caudwell. And a plant-based diet is the KEY.
If every human on the earths planet today switched to a plant-based diet 3-4 times a week, that leaves 3 days to still eat good quality grass fed meats, organic free range chicken and eggs, wild caught fish, organic unprocessed dairy. The world would be a much better and healthier place, more-so your human body would be vibrating at much higher and healthier level. Many studies, doctors, scientists, researchers and alternative practitioners have now proven that the body does far better on a plant rich diet, a diet that is full of variety and colour, fibre, a diet that is rich in minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, whole, unprocessed, unrefined and full of goodness. We have been brainwashed into thinking that animal flesh is what we need to support muscle growth (There are many successful vegan athletes that confirm this). And that dairy is the only source of calcium and essential for our children’s bone development. (Dairy Myths is my next article).
The thing that annoys me is ‘the LABEL, oh I am paleo, I am vegan, I am vegetarian, I am raw, I am this or that. I don't care, what I care for is that you are aligned with yourself, that you understand the implications of the choices you make, that you are accountable for your actions in the food you eat. I care for sustainable and ethical choices and a diet that gives me and my body what it needs to support a healthy life. Some say vegans are fanatical and throw things down your throat, I believe they are just trying to be a voice for the animal, they chose a path of less suffering, I do understand why vegans tend to be activists, as animals cannot speak.
As a nutritionist I believe we ate meat, we maybe ate meat a few times a week, and sometimes there were many weeks in between, so we ate none. We hunted and gathered, we ate roots, fruits, vegetables, we caught wild animals and ate them. We lived off the land, in a completely natural way, we often gave thanks to the animals life and used EVERY part. These animals were not captive, they lived FREE, they ate a natural diet containing herbs and grasses, small insects and other animals. Unfortunately times have changed, in fact things have become worse, with live animal export, 7.7 billion people on the planet, more and more livestock, leading to more unnatural way of living for animals, including us humans. The answer to me is to eat how we were meant to eat, a variety, to eat accordingly to what feels right for you and the seasons, not to judge others, not to be extreme, to allow the body to eat what it feels like from day to day. That doesn’t mean eating chocolate and sugar laden food, it doesn’t mean eating meat every meal, seven days a week. If a diet is plant based, including a variety of grain, vegetable, nuts and seeds, fats and fruits I do believe you can get everything you need. My concern is a vegan or vegetarian, or meat eater whom isn't eating enough variety, not enough plant-based foods leaving themselves quite depleted and deficient in many minerals, amino acids, fibre, antioxidants, pre and probiotic's and EFA's. But a plentiful plant-based diet can provide you with good health on the inside and outside, as above, so below.
Even the paleo movement is NOT about eating meat three meals a day, seven days a week, it’s about eating healthier, smaller serves of good quality grass fed meat and wild caught fish. Some feel that paleo means meat every meal and an excuse to justify their eating habits, if you really look at the fundamentals behind this diet, its actually clean eating, loads of vegetables and plants. I have not watched TV in several years but I remember the meat add suggesting you eat meat 3times a week, I mean that’s the meat industry promoting that, they are invested in it and there is NO mention of seven days, every meal. Yes, we need protein, just like we need carbs and fats, in fact we need all three macronutrients to support a healthy body. Like I said before, if we all switched to a plant-based diet we would all reap the benefits personally and globally.
There is no one diet that fits all; everyone is an individual and requires tailoring to suit your own unique, individual biochemistry, digestive system, environment and lifestyle. So my answer to the original questions is, have 3-4 days completely animal free and learn to experiment with other foods, by increasing your variety of plant-based food, I believe this is the key, to thriving in this world. GO PlantPowered!!!
Also for your own research check out the 'Blue Zones, which are groups of the longest living humans in the world. Explanations, based on data and first hand observations, for why these populations live the longest. One little hint, the 5 zones all have 1 thing in common, they eat a variety of plant-foods and very little if any meat or dairy.