Vegetarianism and Veganism
Vegetarianism and Veganism are they a good choice ?
My approach to nutrition is a simple one but in my own opinion a very effective one and that is : You should never restrict your diet from any form of natural food group this includes meat and for those considering Paleo it also includes natural forms of carbohydrates, but more on Paleo another time, today we are going to look at Vegetarianism and Veganism.
I’m going to start with Vegetarianism and to be honest I don’t want to spend all my time apologizing to my friends who choose this way of life throughout the article so before I start, I’d like to make myself very clear, this is just MY opinion so try not to get offended. I’m not attacking anyone, I’m merely looking at Vegetarianism as one of the many nutrition plans people often choose and how it impacts on training.
So with that out of the way… Vegetarianism, well it’s flawed.
The reasons why Vegetarianism & Veganism are flawed are their motives.
I realize the emotional connection many have to this diet BUT lets face it this stuff needs to be said. First, it’s not a religion, or a cult, it’s a diet, nothing more nothing less. It’s just an eating plan or habit like all the rest but for the lads who are being coaxed into a vegetarian diet by their significant other or worse your being pushed towards Veganism “the Elite Strormtrooper Wing of Vegetarianism ” because it will suite their partners feng shui better. You need this article more you know so keep reading.
The reason why vegetarianism is flawed has to do with the motives for becoming a vegetarian. It’s “mostly” an emotional response to the harming of another animal.
If you want to read further into this, get The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability by Lierre Keith or The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet by Robb Wolf. Both of whom are former self-professed militant Vegans and Vegetarians but they eventually saw the light.
Most people become vegetarians because they either want to save animals or are misguided in thinking it will make them become healthier.
There are fundamental major flaws with both of these motivations.
The saving animals’ issue, I’m sorry to tell you but your just not.
There is more destruction worldwide to indigenous wildlife and their habitats as a direct result of agriculture than the actual eating of animal meat. More species have been negatively affected and driven to near extinction, from our production of vegetables and grains than hunting and the farming of livestock.
So you’re actually having a greater negative impact on animals than the guy with the steak on his plate. I’ll admit that some conditions in slaughter houses and the conditions in which some countries produce their meat are very questionable and I’m not a fan by any means of animals being locked in tight pens and forced fed with short life spans but I’m very lucky to live in a country where most if not all of our meat is grass fed and still very natural and therefore remains at a very high quality. Due to this the animals do have a decent, more natural life before slaughter.
Secondly, being a vegetarian from a health standpoint:
“I can get my protein from plant based sources, I don’t need meat” I hear you say aggressively at your computer screen. Relegating yourself to fewer foods in general or of proteins for that matter which are of lesser quality means you’re more likely to negatively effect your body’s absorption by limiting the variety in your diet.
Not to mention your also removing healthy amounts of saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats from your diet, and before you say well I’m getting them from nuts, seeds and one or two fruits and not animals. In what quantities are you getting them and what quality?
If you get them from supplements it just doesn’t add up. Let me explain
If as a Vegetarian or Vegan you find yourself having to supplement your diet with lesser forms of natural nutrients to be “healthy” then it defeats the purpose does it not? and if your not supplementing the likes of B complex, vitamin K2, vitamin A, and omega-3 which are naturally found in animal foods your not going to be healthy.
Let me put it this way if your diet can’t stand on its own and instead needs lesser forms of nutrients in artificial supplement form, well then that should be a SCREAMING red light with sirens that what you’re eating isn’t a complete diet. It’s nearly there but just not quite. It’s like only solving part of an equation and walking away saying “my job here is done”
And I haven’t even touched on the processes in which the artificial supplements are made and their impact.
I will admit that certain vegetables and fruits contain the nutrients above but their quality can’t compare to those found in meat and the quantities you’d have to eat would be unrealistic. You’re also removing the highest quality proteins from your diet, the proteins that have the greatest absorption rates and the most amino acids. If you want to build muscle and burn fat optimally, eat meat. 80% of meat eaten is absorbed and used by the body including a vast amount of both essential and non essential amino acids.
The highest quality proteins come from meat that’s just a fact.
Protein, whether we’re talking actual dairy products or protein in powder form like Whey has a very high absorption rate in the low 90%’s, and most are filled with essential amino acids. Whey protein is one of the highest quality proteins you can find. Before you all say it, yes in recent times we have seen that vegetarians and vegans have a few solid sources of protein derived from tofu or genetically modified ‘mycoprotein’ known commonly as quorn. Let me just say that bit again “genetically modified” remember our reason “health” do you consider messing around with and then consuming genetically modified products as something healthy for your body? It’s derived from a fungus or mould called ‘ Fusarium venenatum’. Products are being developed for those Vegetarians who train to get the protein they require to maintain lean mass for example Pea Protein and Rice Protein but again, it comes down to variety and quality. The best variety and quality when we also consider dietary fats in the mix involve animals products.
We’re not meant to be true carnivores, I’ll admit this much but nor are we meant to be true herbivores. Our ancestors gave us the best possible opportunity to survive as a species by evolving as omnivores an animal that eats a variety of food from both plant and animal origins.
As Humans we should be meat eaters, we’re evolved to be this way. Our bodies require meat and it’s supposed to be in our diets, not just a little bit, but a lot of meat. You see when I mention meat automatically a lot of people instantly think of red meat protein and yes they are very important but it’s also to do with the dietary fats and the nutrients found in fish and other meats that are of a much higher quality than nuts, fruits and seeds that feed our brain.
The fats, minerals, and amino acids found in animal products are essential for the production of neurotransmitters, steroid hormones, and neuron membranes, as well as neurotransmission. Basically our body needs these fats in order for our brain to be able to communicate optimally with our musculature system on a cellular level. Deficiencies in these nutrients are proven to be detrimental to brain health and increase risks of food addiction, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, sleep problems, adrenal fatigue, low blood sugar, chronic fatigue and much more.
So to put it bluntly Veganism (if not practiced correctly with the addition of artificially produced supplements doesn’t have the capacity to feed your brain correctly.
Veganism was never meant for men.
Our T levels are our health. When they drop our risk for cancer, heart disease, and even depression go up. Our ability to burn fat diminishes as it diminishes our ability to build muscle and repair tissue is also affected. Testosterone production relies heavily on the cholesterol that we get from dietary fats, especially those from animals, like saturated fats.
Listen to me if you don’t take anything else away from this article except this well we are still winning: Men need to eat saturated fats. We need them in good quantities.
So lets just recap and say we’ve mentioned the impact it has on the brain and impact on the quality of protein levels and the health issue and if all else fails let the big red flag in the middle of the room of the testosterone issue be the finial nail in the coffin that stops you from listening to your “socks & sandals” “meat is murder” wearing mate who wants to save all the animals or your beautiful but misguided girlfriend or significant other from forcing their opinion that becoming a vegan is a good idea.
OK with all that said and out of the system lets look at the benefits of vegetarianism?
Most people argue back and forth against vegetarianism or veganism on the stance of a “meat vs vegetables”, which it shouldn’t be really. A high percentage of your overall caloric intake should be from vegetables (but also meat, sorry couldn’t help it). You need a lot of different varieties of vegetables in your diet and vegetarians typically get them in greater amounts than meat-eaters (but then again meat eaters get the glorious goodness of meat ha ha sorry again I’m starting to sound a bit like Homer Simpson)
I think the best advice is to eat large amounts of both. As a human being we are always playing the odds every time we walk out the door in the morning, so why not give your self the best odds possible by spreading your chips around the table. You’re really not making any impact on saving the planet by being a vegetarian no matter what anyone says and you’re never going to be a Jacques Cousteau or a David Adembra or get a medal from Green Peace for saving wildlife by being a vegetarian and we’ve proved your not going to become healthier by removing meat from your diet or should I say your not going to become any less healthy by eating meat. People are supposed to eat meat it’s built into our fundamental basic survival instinct; we are hard wired to eat meat.
Lets be honest and cut to the chase if we had a situation whereby 2 individuals were marooned on a Island and one was a vegan and vowed to remain strict to his eating convictions, who’d you put your money on surviving, the person who eats everything his body will allow including meat, fish and veg or the Vegan? Have you for that matter ever heard of a indigenous tribe ever discovered who didn’t eat meat?
I’d say they’d be in stitches laughing even at the idea of contemplating trying to survive as a Vegan.
So is a Vegan lifestyle a mixed up idea solely supported by consumerism? As it’s not self-sustaining otherwise.
Some people may be saying at this point “well we’re not in a survival situation and they are extreme circumstances described” but if that’s the case it further proves that Veganism and Vegetarianism are flawed concepts because they rely on a level of convenience and are more a lifestyle choice rather than an optimum choice for sustaining life. Look at it this way if we had some basic rules for living and where honest and cut all the BullS**t we simply thrive on the best natural sources of omega-3, saturated fats and polyunsaturated fats and they come from meat and when consumed with large amounts of vegetables and small amounts of good quality carbs we are in top condition from a health perspective.