Let me just say that nothing gets me into more “heated debates” than does diet. I’ve lost numerous “friends” on Facebook for posting one-to-many healthy meal pictures or nutrition-minded status updates. What many of these people don’t understand is that my heart compels me to spread this message:
- because I know and feel just how effective healthy eating can be and,
- because my profession centers around diet, which is the bedrock or our health & well-being.
THANK YOU FOR BEING OPEN-MINDED
Quite a few of my students and clients are (or know someone that is) either struggling with their weight, trying to manage their pain, or both. If this sounds like you or someone you know and are interested in reading further – please enjoy! Keep in mind that this article is “Why We Eat What We Eat” and not “You Need To Change Now or Die.” Thank you (again) for being open-minded.
“BUT I LOVE MEAT”
Who doesn’t? Jenny and I both love the smell and taste of meat and have from birth till 2013 eaten the standard, American diet of animal meat, dairy, processed foods, etc. Manwiches (aka ‘Sloppy Joes’) were my favorite food (back in the day). So YES, the smell of a burger on the grill makes us hungry, but the bottom line is this – the pleasure to my taste buds do not outweigh the life of another animal. Besides, the main purpose of eating is to give the body energy (and energy that is closest to the source). On an additional note, there are products out there that gives the food you’re cooking a meaty smell (i.e. Liquid Smoke – bbq & mesquite flavors). Just sayin’.
“ANIMALS ARE HERE FOR US TO EAT”
I can only speak for myself, but I’m the kind of person that feels empathy for the creatures of the world. By all means, call me a ‘hippie’ or ‘precious flower’, but I don’t personally feel that an animal should die in order for my belly to be filled – especially when it can be filled with things that are better for me… things that medial research knows (for certain) will lower my risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer, etc.
Obviously in the primitive age we had to hunt and eat meat out of necessity, and over the course of thousands of years our habits became anchored into who we are – first as foragers/scavengers, then as hunter-gatherers, later pastoralists, and now consumers of anything and everything we desire! But I’d like to think that we’re a kinder and gentler Ape then we were back then. We have pets – some people have pets instead of children (like us!!!) … yet we would not think of ever eating our pets. Would we?
I feel (and hope) that many people will come to make that shift, but it will only come when they’re ready. The more conscious the world becomes of the value of life, the impact on nature, their health and well-being the more they will turn to a plant-centered diet and never look back.
“EATING HEALTHY COSTS TOO MUCH”
It’s all a matter of perspective. Health care costs too much in my opinion. Insurance costs too much. The internet costs too much… Et cetera Et cetera. I think we can all agree that a healthy body depends on the quality of diet on which we fuel it, correct? If I go to the grocery story and picked up a bag of beans, a bag of organic spinach, and an armful of bananas, I’d probably have to pay less than $10.
If I gave you $10 and said to you, “This will have to last you 3 whole days” – would you seriously choose to ration two cheeseburgers, a large fry and a Coke? Or would you pick the natural foods I first listed and feel satiated? You’d also feel cleaner, have more energy, and would have helped out some hard-working farmers (especially if you got them at a farmer’s market).
For example, the picture of my lunch (above, right) cost me approximately $3 and I was absolutely full and happy at the end of it.
“BUT WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE ONE DAY!”
Is this a question? Believe it or not, but being from the South we hear this a lot! I probably should have put this statement as the title of the article. While I suppose we all would like to die doing something we love… I seriously doubt many would want to die in this manner. Cancer thrives in acidic environments, we know this. Pork (BBQ), as much as us North Carolinians may love it, is the most acidic of all. I wish you would choose to die another way,… I really would. Personally I hope to simply expire, but I’ll probably get good, ol’ fashioned pneumonia.
“IF YOU DON’T EAT MEAT, WHAT DO YOU EAT”
Vegetables, fruits, nuts & seeds, legumes (i.e. beans, lentils, etc) and grains. When Jenny and I wish to stray from the vegan diet a bit, we will typically have a veggie-filled pizza (only lightly sprinkled with cheese), eggs* (only free-range organic, humanely-treated ones) and wild-caught salmon. HOWEVER, there is always plenty of variety and many talented chefs giving out free and interesting recipes. We also juice and make smoothies fairly often! They are yummy! YourTherapy Recipes
*With eggs, I don’t eat too many as it’s full of cholesterol and can contribute to the buildup of plague in the arteries. If I have two eggs, I will throw away one of the yoke, or just eat the egg whites. Great protein (full amino acids) and much better on the heart!
“WHERE WOULD I GET MY PROTEIN?”
Since plants are made up structurally sound cells with enzymes and hormones, they are by nature rich sources of proteins. In fact, so rich are plants that they can meet the protein needs of the earth’s largest animals: elephants, hippopotamuses, giraffes, and cows. You would be correct to deduce that the protein needs of relatively small humans can easily be met by plants. (Dr. John McDougall)
All protein is not created equal — animal protein is highly acidic and not as healthy as plant protein. We get hung up on the misbelief that we must get a ‘complete protein’ from a single source. While mammal flesh is technically complete — meaning it contains all the essential amino acids — it’s also complete with a host of problems. The FedEx guy is a complete protein, but that doesn’t mean you should eat him. Eating a varied plant-based diet, on the other hand, provides plenty of protein in a safe and easy-to-digest form. (Kris Carr, CrazySexyLife.Com)
“VEGANS AND VEGETARIANS LOOK PALE, WEAK AND SICK”
This is a strong generalization that many people make and will continue to make. If a heavy male loses weight he is applauded, however if an average man loses weight/bulk, he might be asked “if everything is alright?”… or jokingly/unjokingly told to “Eat some meat!” A lightening of complexion, looseness of skin, weight loss, etc can happen to anyone on any type of diet. Also, we should reevaluate how we see others and refrain from criticizing them. The choice to eat meat or not to eat meat should be your own. Personally, and just for argument’s sake, if eating meat really did add to your muscular strength, I might opt to live my life slightly weaker than to have many 100’s of animals die. FYI, by adopting a vegetarian lifestyle, you save approximately 95 animals a year. Again, just sayin’.
There are many athletes coming into veganism, but freerunner Tim ‘LiveWire’ Shieff is my favorite.
“WOULDN’T YOU BE LACKING VITAMINS?”
Everyone on every diet known to man is deficient in many different vitamins and minerals. The only thing that physicians, nutritionists and scientists can agree on is that some vegans/vegetarians do not get enough vitamin D, vitamin B12 and fatty acids. But consider us covered!…
To be on the safe side, Jenny and I occasionally eat fish. As we age, we may consider taking some form of supplementation, but until then we will just follow the research and not waste our money needlessly.
“DON’T FISH FEEL PAIN TOO?”
I don’t know, I’ve never been a fish – That’s the easy answer. But I think it’s pretty ignorant to think that when a fish is hooked, or gasping for breath, it feels to him like “just another pain-free day.”
I feel like they experience stress (the emotional) and the signals of fear, but seeing as though they are without a neocortex they do not experience (physical) pain the way humans do. I believe, if we had a choice, we all would like to have our fish (or other animal), humanely killed – but to a certain extent, we have to take what we can get. Now don’t we?
“BUT WE THOUGHT YOU WERE VEGAN?”
YES…. and some days no. Jenny and I allow ourselves several non-vegan options, especially when we go out with friends or celebrate something special – but we always choose the fish instead of red meat and the pizza (lightly cheesed) instead of the burger. Furthermore, or ego is not so tightly wrapped around the label of being “Vegan” or another “club” (i.e. Paleo). We do our best to eat healthy, period.
The only cons of a vegan diet (in my opinion) could be the inclusion of too many heavily processed food, soy protein, flour, sweeteners and oils.
While we are home, we have complete control over what we put in our mouth – therefore it is extremely easy to eat vegan… and “healthy vegan” at that! It all boils down to making the right choices as the grocery story and having the open-mindedness to try new things (new recipes).
FYI…The addition of fish to your diet is a good choice for anyone wanting dial back on the red meat and spare all their land-based animal friends.
And as for your health… remember, you can either pay now, or you can pay later.
THANKS FOR READING.
MICHAEL JOYCE, LMT#6096
YOUR TOP GIVE QUESTIONS ABOUT VEGANISM, ANSWERED
WE ARE ALL NAZIS WHEN IT COMES TO ANIMAL RIGHTS
Michael Joyce, LMT6096 is a MyoSkeletal Alignment Specialist, and teaches Tai Chi, Self-Defense and Classical Fencing in Winston-Salem, NC. He is also the founder of the martial blog The Combative Corner.
He is also hard at work on his second book – one on Women’s Self-Defense (based on his OutFoxxed Program)