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Animal Protein – the pluses, minuses and most critical factors.

June 9, 2014 By Billy

Dear Reader,

I know this is one of my longer articles, but I consider this to be some of the most important information ever included in my newsletters. So it will be worth the time!

Animal Protein –

There is no universal answer for this one. But let’s weigh the factors.

Animal protein has been in the human diet all over the world for 200,000 years, since the hunter gatherer days. It was essential for many cultures since climate would potentially limit their food resources. Consider the Eskimos as an extreme example! Even in the northern regions of United States food supply was potentially limited to just meat and potatoes in the winter because of short growing seasons. This was before the advent of the food distribution that we have today. The majority of the western world now has access to virtually any food year round.

Nutritive Considerations –

First let’s talk about protein since this tends to be the primary subject of dispute. I do not consider this to be much of an issue because of the modern day availability of other high protein foods. Examples – quinoa, legumes, nuts, seeds, avocados, broccoli, eggs, dairy, and plant-based protein supplements, just to name a few. And when done right these options prove to be more than adequate for most.

But here is where vegetarians can run into trouble – animal protein is often replaced with processed starches – bread and pasta being the big ones! And remember what happens? Did you read the April newsletter? Yup, with too many starchy foods you’re likely to put on the not-so-healthy kind of pounds. So replace animal proteins with other high protein foods – not processed grains!

Eggs – I consider eggs to be a perfect food. Worry not about about cholesterol! Eggs raising your cholesterol would be comparable to olive oil making you fat. Not possible. The egg white thing is a disaster!!! These egg white products are simply riding on the coat-tails of the buzz about the low-fat diet in the 90’s, which of course now is outdated. Remember it’s the saturated fats that affect the body’s cholesterol. And eggs have less than one gram. Plus the yolk is what has the nutrients! Just go with the finest – ie organic….or even better, visit your local farmer’s market.

Dairy – many of us are developing sensitivities from overdoing it. The problem is the low fat products. Think about it – take the fat out and milk essentially becomes a lactose concentrate. Lactose is the part of dairy that does not digest so well. Low fat yogurt is disaster. You have a serving and you feel like u didn’t even eat anything. Essentially you had a bunch of sugar from the fruit sweetener laced with processed sugar. Yes whole dairy requires moderation for adults. Again, too much saturated fat raises our cholesterol (not an issue for kids). The key is to go with whole dairy and just less of it.

Fish – Present day, in most cases fish is not so good because of the situation with our oceans. Seafood same. Farm raised fish is worse. Bummer. Of course this is an entirely new subject so we can talk about this one soon. Need essential fatty acids? Flax and chia seeds are an excellent source. Also substantial amounts of fatty acids aren’t really necessary for everyone. Consider many cultures adapted to diets with out fish. Yes, essential fatty acids lower cholesterol but so does cutting back on saturated fats. Exercise too!

So what kind of meat is best? Tough question. At least the lean stuff. Lower fat meats are better. Animal lard can raise cholesterol substantially. Is it going to hurt having a burger once in while – probably not. But compare low quality meat to processed sugar – these foods are simply wear and tear on your health if they are a regular part of your diet. Beef and pork I consider to be the least ideal. While nutritive, they are seriously acid forming. Not to mention they can accumulate in the gastro-intestinal system. The only reasons the human body intensely craves it is because of the immense protein, iron and B12. I have solutions! Protein and fats are what truly satisfy our appetite. But another compromise is animal protein takes a lot of work for the body to break it down. The popular chicken salad for lunch only makes you tired. Animal protein is a dinner food. Protein is NOT fuel. It’s a ‘restorative’. And sleeping at night is when the body is doing the majority of it’s restoration. Now replace your chicken salad with a plant-protein fruit smoothie (Not with Whey! It’s constipating!). And then enjoy a bowl of quinoa and edemame with coconut oil and leafy greens. Tell me you don’t feel the same satisfaction – minus the lethargy. Easily digestible proteins simply do not make you tired. Next day take inventory on how you feel after a steak dinner. Energized or Tired? I bet on the later.

As many of you know I did an animal protein experiment on myself. For two years I integrated a respectable amount of bison into my diet. I did in fact put on more body mass, but I became lethargic! I had to take a couple naps daily! Boo. Since removing it from my diet for the last year I have actually found a way to maintain the same body mass even on a vegetarian diet. And I have WAY more energy.

A tangent consideration about this topic – it is only fair to consider the beef and pork industry’s and wear and tear on the planet. I know this is opening a new can of worms, but please consider our own health’s interrelationship with the health of the planet. When on an airplane flying across the country, notice all the circles and squares? This is simply hay for cattle. Could food production be any less efficient? I’m not suggesting we all go vegetarian tomorrow. It would likely bring destruction down upon our economy. But if we continue with our current rate of consumption the same will happen. So the solution for both yourself and the planet – cut back. And only go with the finest.

The B12 situation – first and foremost, supplements aren’t the long-term solution. There has recently been a surge of respectable scientific data confirming the potential toxicity of cyanocobalamin B12. This artificial B12 is produced by fermentation of GMO bacteria. It has now been tested to leave behind toxic cyanide in the bloodstream. Not good. There are other supplemental B12 solutions including patches and injections that are debated to have little harm if any. But remember the most reliable source of vegetarian B12 is eggs! They’re the winner. I know this may surprise some of you vegans, but facts are facts. And if we do it right this can be awesomely sustainable. I suspect most of us will have chickens running around in our backyard before long (apartments in New York may not be ideal). The efficiency is mind blowing. Feed them your food scraps and they recycle it into perfect protein and B12! I’m working on it here in Taos, New Mexico!

But wait – here is the ultimate solution to prevent B12 deficiency – avoid a lifestyle that depletes it! The two easy ones to eliminate that have substantial impact are processed sugar and flour. Google it for some impressive data. Also avoid over-consumption of caffeine, alcohol and tobacco. Over-consumption is relative, so it would be unfair to make a claim as to what is appropriate. Have confidence in your instincts and exercise your discipline. And of course avoid narcotic drugs.

Iron – the solution is a piece of cake, metaphorically. Eat figs, pumpkin seeds, and cook with a cast-iron pan. Problem solved. (note – google ‘season iron pan’ and food will never stick to it again. And chuck your other non-stick pan. Or better yet, recycle it.)

While on this subject of nutrients it feels appropriate to remind ourselves the severe toxicity of multivitamins. I’m not a chemist, but I’ve read the current literature. There has been a surge of respectable testing and legitimate data on this entire subject, similar to the B12. Artificial ‘nutrients’ come from mines and hydrolyzed GMO corn. 100% of all your daily nutrients pressed into a pill the size of a peanut. Really?… Really?! While doing your online research evaluate the claims companies make that such ‘nutrients’ are genuinely healthy. The data is hilariously pathetic. Don’t take multi-vitamins. And please note – watch out for the supplements that claim to be made of raw foods. Be sure to read the list of ingredients before you buy any supplement. On the front of the label it may say ‘superfoods’. If on the back of the label the ingredients are listed in a box titled ‘supplement facts’, this is a red flag. If the label says ‘Nutrition Facts’ then you know the product includes plant foods only.

So that’s all folks. Bottom line – I’m not saying you need to be vegetarian to be healthy. Would vegetarian be the healthiest? If you do it right, then probably. At the very least let’s all cut WAY back on our animal protein consumption. Animal protein is not a food to have every day. Maybe every few days or once a week. Or less. And just go with the finest – ie organic/hormone free.

Now go make yourself a protein smoothie. And then after have steamed quinoa with olive oil, raw leafy greens and a soft boiled egg. Of course the potential variety is endless.

Let me know how it goes after a couple weeks! I suspect you’re going to feel a substantial difference, and it’ll be good. If so, pass this to a friend.

Yours Truly,

Billy Merritt

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