Nowadays there’s no denying that the vegan, vegetarian movement is in full swing. I was a vegetarian with occasional fish for 12 years, so I get it. I wanted to be healthy and do the noble thing by saving some cows from slaughter. I also wanted to leave less of a carbon footprint.
With my health declining and getting hit with major postpartum depression, I realized that so much of my diet was the root cause. I had a lot of things wrong and now my mission is to have no one suffer for as long as I did. I wish for everyone to be their best self and one major way to do so is by eating a nutrient-dense diet.
In terms of footprint, 14% is due to greenhouse gases but almost 80% of that is from developing countries that use old agriculture techniques.
In the US, electricity production is 28% of total emissions, transportation—28% and industry—22%. All of agriculture accounts for a total of 9% and all of animal agriculture contributes 3.9% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Don’t believe me? You can read more here.
What does this mean?
If Americans all ate vegan and got rid of all the animals, the greenhouse effect would save globally, less than 0.5%. Additionally, we are not equipped to have the US population eat an all plant diet. We would become deficient in the nutrition requirements for calcium, vitamins A and B12, and essential fatty acids.
Weston A. Price, a dentist, traveled the world and detailed his travels studying the diets and nutrition of various cultures. He never found an indigenous culture that was pure vegetarian but found many that were heavily reliant on meat. In fact, veganism didn’t exist until 1944.
I wish I knew all this before going on my stint of vegetarianism for 12 years.
Serotonin dysfunction is implied in major depression and also with suicide. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is produced in the intestines and the brain. (A reason your gut biome and proper digestion is critical.) Serotonin cannot pass the blood brain barrier and thus, serotonin used in the brain must be made in the brain– A brain that is 60% fat.
Where does Serotonin come from?
Eating foods with Tryptophan (an essential amino acid/protein) can help produce more Serotonin.
However, you need Niacin (vitamin B3) to help boost Tryptophan.
You also need vitamin B6 to convert Tryptophan to Serotonin.
Folic Acid (vitamin B9) also helps your body make Serotonin.
Vitamin D activates genes in the body, responsible for neurotransmitter release (e.g., Serotonin).
What foods have vitamin B complexes and vitamin D?
All types of meats and dairy products.
If you eat tofu or seeds for tryptophan or take cholesterol-lowering medicines– sorry to break it to you, but without fat, most of it will not convert to serotonin. This is why statins come with the risk of depression. I wonder how many suicides are the cause of low-fat, statin-taking protocols.
They say that mental health can be genetic. If this is the case, the last thing I’d want for my children is to have any struggles with depression. Any. It really makes this life worth living, extremely difficult to live daily.
Besides mental health, meat is much more bioavailable, meaning it is easiest for your body to break down and absorb the nutrients from meat. Check out this graph on the bioavailability of iron in spinach vs. meat. There’s a whole topic to cover on anti-nutrients and vegetables but for now, the heme-iron is much more bioavailable in meat than it is in non-heme iron spinach.
The main reason we feed our children meat is that it’s nature’s perfect balance of proteins and fats. Children need to consume a lot of fat for their growing brain. As the brain is about 60% fat, they need to be eating a sufficient amount of fat for their body to properly grow. They should not be eating a diet heavy in refined carbohydrates and sugar.
At the end of the day, our body views food as broken-down nutrients. Whether we get vitamin C from an orange or from salmon, doesn’t matter to our bodies. In fact, as vitamin C is a fat-soluble vitamin, our bodies would likely prefer the salmon over the orange. Meats do have antioxidants, calcium and vitamin C.
Salmon has a decent amount of vitamin C. 7% of your DV for 6 oz. of salmon. Vitamin C and glucose compete for the same receptors to get absorbed in the body (glucose transporters). When you become hyperglycemic, studies have shown that vitamin C gets excluded from the cells and results in a decreased antioxidant capacity in the cells that are vitamin C dependent.
This may be why when primarily eating meats, vitamin C need is significantly reduced—minimal glucose to compete with for any vitamin C to be absorbed.
Selenium is an example of an antioxidant. It is rich in ribeye steaks, salmon, chicken, pork belly and eggs.
As depicted, ribeye steaks have nearly all the essential minerals (depicted on the left side) and essential vitamins (right side). Ribeyes (all meat) also contains Creatine and Carnosine which cannot be obtained from plant-based food sources. Creatine plays a key role in energy regulation in the brain and muscles.
Ribeye is missing Biotin (B7) but you can get healthy doses from dairy, liver, salmon and egg yolk. Chromium is also missing but can be obtained from eggs, fish and liver. Lastly, Molybdenum is missing but can be found in eggs and liver.
Our families can eat ribeye with eggs, liver and/or fish and we will have their nutritional bases covered. This is why the concern of genetically modified salmon and meat grown in lab dishes is very concerning.
Our family tries to eat as sustainably as we can. We try to buy animal foods that were raised in their natural habitat while trying to balance finances—it basically makes us a big fan of sales at Sprouts. I know that these animals are giving us nutrient dense foods and one day we’ll give back as our bodies become one with the soil. Since we mostly ate the way nature intended for humans, we will then provide more nutrient dense soils for better grass for animals and in turn our future generations.
Isn’t this the beautiful circle of life?