Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power. - Abraham Lincoln
Here at Believe the hypo we try and stay away from the ‘politics’ of food and concentrate on health only. Money, religion, social, moral and ethical reasons all come into play and often this is the primary driver for diet choices, but this can be a flawed approach - sometimes fatal.
There is now an increasing wave of disparity and conflict within meat and plant eaters. Big money is weighing in on the plant side thrusting flawed science and 'climate' concerns into the mainstream conscience, and that raises more questions than it answers. So what are we to do or believe? How do we make sense of such incongruous information and ideologies?
Well, by trusting your gut... literally.
Firstly, if you follow a religion that forbids certain foods, then as long as the nutritional value of said food can be found elsewhere, there's not much else to think about.
Secondly, If you have a condition or disease, genetic or environmental, where your body cannot process a specific food (i.e. Celiac), or the bodies response is insufficient (type 1 and 2 diabetes), then as painful as it sometimes can be, removing things like carbs or dairy isn't a bad thing and besides, your health will improve in its absence.
The truth behind food
This may sound idealistic but being told what to eat should not be the responsibility of the state or an organisation or anyone with a conflict of interest. From a young age, we should be educated on optimal nutrition, both from our parents and school, but the reality is very few people are, and even less grow up with a comprehensive understanding of what bad food looks like.
Food companies are allowed to masquerade their products as ‘part of a healthy diet’ when they contain industrial amounts of sugar, grain, vegetable/seed oil, hormones and preservatives.
They also have influence in your state dietary guidelines, schooling of nutrition and dietetics, and within the medical industry. You cannot escape bias and corporate agenda.
A good example of this is ‘Sanitarium’; the company started and owned by the Seventh Day Adventist Church. They are the second-largest education provider in the world (1st is the Catholic Church), with over 8000 schools and universities; oh, and they believe eating meat is a sin.
Do you think your nutritional guidance coming out of these institutions will provide unbiased science and evidence-based material? I think not.
But wait, there’s more:
Sanitarium provides GP’s with free health resources to give to their patients. Sanitarium’s ‘Fact Sheets’ were hard-wired into the back end of software packages run in 50% of medical practices around Australia, encouraging doctors to hand out vegetarian resources promoting grains and cereals for all manner of ailments. - https://isupportgary.com/articles/aussie-gps-medical-evangelists-for-sda-church
To see a comprehensive review of Sanitarium's origins, business interests, with a particular interest in their influence on the current wave of veganism, click HERE.
Of course, food isn’t the only industry to suffer this pressure and influence, but when the quality of our diet has such profound impact on our health, it’s important to take control and educate yourself.
Why the attack on meat?
There is no doubt our current practices in agriculture and food manufacturing can be improved. The quality of our meat has deteriorated with many animals now pumped full of toxic hormones, fed grain to make them fat as quickly as possible, and kept in dire living conditions. But that doesn’t mean our health isn’t dependant on meat. It simply means we’ve lost our way, with big business calling the shots.
The sceptic may lean toward money being the driving cause of the vilification of meat, and there is probably a lot of truth behind this. Why does this seem the most likely of factors?
The wave of media stating that meat is bad for us is simply not true. There is no other food on this planet that is as good for our bodies than fresh, organic, good quality meat. Your body (in particular, gut) is built to extract the multiple vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and collagen to replenish and repair your cells. Medicine from the inside out.
In fact, our gut, colon and small intestine are designed more like a carnivore (dog and cat) to process meat rather than plants, with low fermentation capacities (poor plant digestion).
Of course, there are low-quality versions of meat that can and will contribute to ill—health; walk into any fast food ‘restaurant’ and you’ll be surrounded by it. But why is it so low quality? The current industrial-scale farms breeding cows, pigs and chickens in horrific conditions, feeding them grain and pumping them full of hormones and antibiotics is not to meet the demand of your local butchers. It's for the fast-food restaurant that litters every corner of every street (particularly low socio-economic demographics).
Big businesses want to maximise their profit margin. It’s that simple. Another way to look at it is this;
Why would big business want you to eat less meat?
1) It keeps you fuller for longer than any other macronutrient.
2) It reduces cravings.
3) It helps with weight loss.
4) It doesn't spike your blood sugar anywhere near as much as carbs (sugar) - which results in less insulin being needed.
5) It is a complete source of nutrition.
Food manufacturers want you to crave food as often as possible, and meat does not meet that agenda. SUGAR AND CARBS DO.
What about meat‘s impact on the environment you may ask.
Our environment and climate is the single most important factor in all our lives. Grazing ruminants (cattle, sheep etc) contribute to increased soil fertility by the diversity of microbial in the cow's stomach and nutrients in their manure.
For as long as these animals have been around, the pastures and life within them have evolved to thrive alongside. One farmer took to twitter to put the impact of the attack on meat into perspective;
We could run our 3000-acre farm for 11 years on one days fuel load for an A380 Airbus which is 320,000 litres. We'd grow 33,000 tons of grains, 16,500 lambs and 650 bales of wool with a days fuel for a big jet. Overstating the impact of meat distracts from the real culprit.
We could go round and round in circles on the impact of modern agriculture on our planet, but the reality is that it is all a planned distraction from the real perpetrators - energy, transport and industry, NOT agriculture. But, if you want to get the info directly from the horse's mouth - see the US environmental protection agency GHG emissions 2016 HERE - which states energy production accounted for 28% of total emissions, transportation was 28% and industry was 22 %. Agriculture accounted for 3.9% of total greenhouse gas emissions.
Is it kind to be carnivore?
There is a second, perhaps more important factor to raise here, and that is the moral and ethical side of meat consumption.
Humans have the capacity to form strong bonds with different species, as well as empathise and understand a great deal about the creatures that we share this planet with. We choose to eat some animals over others, simply by traditions or preference.
What is interesting is that we have evolved over millions of years eating out of necessity (whereby we chose to eat meat) and we are now faced with somewhat of a 'choice'.
Is that really our reality?
I don't think so.
We are being lied to about the nutritional value of 'fake' meats, vegetables and fruits.
Fake meat is highly processed and often contains inflammatory oils like vegetable and seed oils.
Vegetables are not a complete nutrition source. i.e. you cannot live a healthy, disease-free life on just vegetables as they are missing essential vitamins and minerals (despite what some very dubious Dr's, dieticians and Netflix documentaries are stating). You will HAVE to supplement and you will never get such nutrient powerhouses like collagen into your diet without animals.
Have you ever read a book on the defences used by plants to try and stop animals from eating them? If you are a vegan or are tempted to try a plant-based diet, it would certainly make sense to know what damage a plant can do to your body once ingested. Plants are living creature and do not want to be eaten so they employ a remarkable arsenal of both mechanical (bark, hard shells, thorns) and chemical defences.
An example of this is 'Cassava' - a root vegetable popular in South America and in developing countries. If you google this 'food', many websites will tell you it is a good source of nutrients and resistant starch (carbohydrates). However, according to Lumen Learning;
Some compounds become toxic after ingestion; for instance, glycol cyanide in the cassava root releases cyanide only upon ingestion by the herbivore. - https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-biology/chapter/plant-defense-mechanisms/
It is a poorly known fact that animals produce and perceive plant hormones and their mimics. It is also well known that plant hormones interact with human microbiota resulting in unfavourable health consequences. To see a review on plant hormones and human disease, click HERE.
This does not mean that all plants are out to poison you and cause leaky gut and digestive issues. However, it's important to know that they are not 'free' food. They can cause untold intestinal damage - particularly in large quantities, and guess what, you have to eat them in large quantities to get the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of many vital nutrients. We're not even going into the GMO aspect of things, so do your homework before trusting some state guidelines or marketing campaign.
Sorry, I digress...
Getting back to the point at hand - Is eating meat cruel? well, yes, of course. You are taking the life of another animal to ensure your survival. Some of the most brilliant and popular examples of natural history documentaries are made by the BBC and presented by Sir David Attenborough (The Blue Planet / Planet Earth) - some scenes are very hard to watch as we learn about the constant battle between predator and prey, and many scenes are removed as they are deemed too violent. This is because we feel empathy and compassion for other creatures, which is not a human-only trait but certainly one of the driving causes of plant-based diets.
You may be thinking, well, I don't have to hunt or forage anymore so why don't I just 'be a nice person' and eat plants. You can - you can do whatever you want, but your body has evolved over millions of years to NEED the complex unique nutrition from animals, and no amount of 'science' will be able to masquerade this fact.
Therefore, if we take a long hard look at our agricultural practices to ensure all animals are treated with respect and live in comfortable conditions, are fed what they evolved to eat, not pumped full of hormones and antibiotics and killed humanely then we are doing the right thing. Easier said than done you may mutter.. and I agree. BUT you can take one major step in this direction straight away, and that's to stop feeding the big business that thrives on our misinformation.
Step 1) Stop eating fast food from any 'restaurant' that provides a burger, chicken or pizza in under 5 mins and costs less than a coffee.
Step 2) Buy local and seasonal - Big supermarkets don't care about you and provide you with mountains of food that will only make you fat and sick. Ask your local butcher 'is it grass-fed and grass-finished? Is it hormone-free? etc.
Step 3) Remove processed/refined grain, seed/vegetable oils. They are inflammatory and WILL make you sick.
Step 4) Fast - your body doesn't need food all the time. Give it a rest. 16/8 is a great place to start.
Step 5) Test on yourself - If your current diet is making you fatigued, irritable, or prone to illness, then change it. Don't just do what your doctor, dietician, or magazine tells you. Take ownership of your health by doing your own research, starting with your diet.
We're all different, yet all the same.
We're told that all of us are inherently different and yet connected.
We're told social media brings us all together, yet profits from loneliness.
We're sold processed food in the promise it will nourish you, but snack food companies profit from hunger.
We are sold stories in the news that promises to inform you, but they profit from uncertainty and fear-mongering.
We place our trust in politicians who promise to unite us, but these people profit from dividing us.
We need individualised medical care, not generic prescriptions.
We need food that nourishes us and helps us heal and thrive, not highly processed, mass-produced fake food.
We need to reconnect with real people, not stare at screens whilst real life passes us by.
We need to take back control of our lives, our diets, and our health.
Plants and animals have always co-existed, and humans have evolved eating both. Some plants have amazing medicinal qualities and others have the ability to kill you.
Animals don't deserve to live and be killed in horrific conditions. They also need our earth to thrive so they can continue to be part of our ever-changing eco-system.
What needs to change is how we approach money and power. These are the true villains in the piece.
Believe the hypo