Meat or Vegan

 

NUTRIENT DENSITY

Making sure it is from grass-fed animals, I eat meat because it makes a significant contribution to the best possible health through the delivery of important nutrients:

  • The fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K2.
  • B-Vitamins, especially B-12. Vegans and vegetarians have lower levels of vitamin B-12, a deficiency that can lead to a significant increase in homocysteine.
  • Long-chain omega-3s, as mentioned above, assuming the animals, birds or fish were fed in ways that were natural to them.
  • And, of course, high quality protein and saturated fat.

I know all these nutrients can be supplemented or found in plant foods, but most cannot be found in forms that are as potent. They are either less bioavailable (not well absorbed into our bodies, as with iron for example) or their form is incomplete (as with omega-3s).

And as for weight loss and the maintenance of that weight loss (just in case you’re interested):

“Evidence is accumulating that diets with reduced carbohydrates and increased levels of high quality protein are effective for weight loss.”

Last but not least, there’s a digestive enzyme called pepsin produced in our stomach, and its sole purpose is to digest animal protein. It doesn’t make sense to me that our bodies would produce it unless we were suited to eat animal protein.

Saturated fat is now known to raise the good cholesterol, not the bad, so no need to be afraid of it as it, too, is an important nutrient, especially for the brain.

This subject is still controversial, of course, and there’s little doubt you will continue to hear about the dangers of eating meat.

This is such a massive, complex subject, and I know I’ve only skimmed the surface. Please forgive me if I’ve missed things out; I’ve just wanted to alert you to perhaps another opinion on this, and one that’s not so often presented in the media.

 

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Comments

  1. Miriam

    Hi Gillian,

    I always feel I can trust you to be objective. I found this interesting and refreshing. You seem to be one of very few who is brave enough to voice your opinions based on devoted personal impartial research, and that is rare and valuable these days.

  2. Grainne

    I like the idea of not eating meat and I like a lot of the vegan meals that are around now. However, after reducing my intake dramatically for a while and then reintroducing meat (mostly chicken) more recently, I have to admit that I find chicken etc much more satiating than a diet without it. It seems to suit me better. I was never really full vegan anyway, since I always seemed to thrive with small amounts of dairy! Must be the Irish genes.

  3. Janet

    Fabulous analysis, as always – thank you Gillian.
    Wouldn’t it be great if the media were as zealous in their checking of the, so called ‘facts’ they publish.

  4. Sophie

    I too would be interested to see more research on grass fed meat compared to plant based diet. I think people can be healthy eating grass fed meats with the inclusion of lots of plant-based foods, but I think you can be healthy without eating any, and with the current state of animal abuse, there is no question for me, I will eat completely plant based. You did make some good points though, but I would like to comment on the ones I disagree with:

    – Yes there are some nutrients in meat that are higher compared to plants, but there is also some nutrients that are higher in plant foods compared to animal products, the question shouldn’t be, does the ideal diet have the most, but does it have enough.
    – Pepsin breaks down plant protein so it is used
    – There are fatty plant foods that raise good cholesterol too, also the body makes its own cholesterol, so its not required.

    • Good points, Sophie, and thank you. My understanding is that we need a very good supply of B12 and dietary cholesterol for brain health especially. I feel sure, though, that we all need to find our own way and choose what seems right for us.

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