If you are concerned about the ethical and environmental factors behind the intake of animal-based foods, please realise that these foods are still essential for your health, even though this may be contrary to what you read in the media, which by the way takes a lot of nutrition research on things like red meat, completely out of context. I will be writing more about this on my blog in the coming weeks.
Without animal based foods in your diet, your health can suffer due to nutrient deficiencies. This is not to say the omnivores don’t suffer from nutrient deficiencies as well, when they eat a nutrient void, processed food diet with poor quality food ingredients and lots of takeouts.
There are certain nutrients in animal-based foods that are very hard to get from plant-based products (due to bio-availability) and some nutrients you physically can’t obtain from plants (e.g. vitamin B12). While some may argue that this is ok due to supplementation and food fortification, however, supplements simply do not provide the same health benefit as consuming nutrients in their natural, wholefoods forms. This is because food contains lots of other beneficial nutrients , not just one single nutrient. Also, food fortification usually occurs in processed/packaged food and a diet high in packaged/processed food, vegan or not, is bad for your health. This is quite common to see people eat a vegan/vegetarian diet but still consume lots of animal free processed foods and not enough fruit, vegetables, beans, legumes and wholegrains.
Although this information may be contrary to the hype driven and unscientific internet blogs pushing veganism, I guarantee you it is based on the most up to date nutritional science. Plus, you can trust me, because I have absolutely no agenda to push.
What I often tell my vegan patient’s is this, while maintaining your values is important, you also have to look after yourself. You are no use to the world if you are sick and fatigued.
Therefore, please strike a compromise and do not choose to remove animal products from your diet completely. Eating home cooked meals with fish twice per week, red meat twice per week and 4-8 eggs per week, can help cover a lot of the nutrients that are hard to get from plants. The rest of your diet can then come from healthy, wholefood, plant-based foods.
By doing this, you still support your health and decrease your overall intake of animal-based products – especially from takeouts/restaurant food chains, as well as processed foods with animal products, which creates a lot of demand for meat/animal based products in our world. Increased demand can lead to poor treatment of animals in order to maximise output/profit, while minimising costs.
Therefore, by doing this, you can still have a positive effect on both the environment and your health. If you would like, you can also ethically source your animal-based products direct from farmers and see where the animals live and where they are culled. A little can go a long way for your health. Please consider.