Eating REAL Meat Matters
Meat is an important part of a healthy diet, particularly when it comes to unprocessed, natural, grass-fed, or open-range options. While fruits are important for our overall health, they do not provide all the necessary nutrients to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Meat is a rich source of B3 (Niacin), B6, Iron, Zinc, Selenium, and many other essential vitamins and minerals. In particular, unprocessed meat from grass-fed animals is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, containing up to five times more than meat from grain-fed animals. Regarding the foods your brain craves, meat can be a great option that provides all the necessary nutrients you need.
Protein is another great thing we pull from meat. Why is it so great? For a lot of reasons, really, but it boils down to the amino acids they carry. There are at least nine amino acids that we simply CANNOT produce on our own and that we have to get from our diet. Animal products contain all the amino acids we need in perfect form and often in abundance. True, most plants do provide some protein, but it comes with a caveat; they do so with sub-optimal amino acid profiles.
Vegans are usually not a fan of this information. For those who are unaware of what a vegan is; a vegan is someone who does not eat or use animal products in any way shape or form. Most vegans use the protein element for their debates against consuming meat. There is just one problem with that, though; this debate is not really about protein; it is about vitamins and hormones.
For example, science has discovered that an essential element of our existence revolves around Vitamin B-12, one of the most complex vitamins we know about. Not only does B-12 help to make your DNA and your red blood cells (which carry your oxygen), but we have discovered that even the slightest deficiency of Vitamin B-12 can lead to things like anemia, pale skin, sore tongue, fatigue, mania, depression, easy bruising or bleeding, etc.—also, going extended periods without B-12 results in permanent damage to the brain and central nervous system. In fact, a deficiency of vitamin B12 can limit your ability to think clearly about anything (Katz, 2012).
There is only one problem – Vitamin B12 is naturally manufactured by bacteria in the gut and can ONLY be done NATURALLY by consuming animal products in any real abundance – not vegetables. Being a meat eater is not just about protein; to argue that only demonstrates a fundamental ignorance of both biology and physiology. Sure, a vegan will try to contort the debate into how we can make synthetic forms of B-12. Still, we are talking about nature, not man’s contorted manipulation or interpretation of it.
I prefer health, and I prefer to eat naturally and survive the way NATURE intended. I am just taking a logical leap here, but I can only imagine that if nature requires humans to consume B-12 (a fundamentally necessary vitamin), but did not expect this consumption to come out of the circle of life, then there would have been another abundant non-synthetic source provided. But there is not.
This is much like the salt or iodine debate, in how we need these to live, but people want to argue the merits of not consuming it. Still, people choose to defy their physiology for the sake of a highly confused position borne out of highly ignorant propaganda. Perhaps it is more like the fluoride debate in how people ignore the FACT that it is a neurotoxin but still argue its supposed benefits despite the evidence.
All these examples are fundamentally dangerous. But then again, natural selection exists for a reason, so I rarely engage in such debates. And again, I know synthetic forms of B-12 exist these days. However, you will notice a theme in my writing surrounding advocating NOT consuming fake foods. Plus, I am aware of how these synthetics are made. Perhaps ignorance truly is bliss in this case.
Then the idea of intestinal gas comes up. “Why do I get gas when I eat these foods, then?” Gas is normal and usually a good sign because it means bacteria are at work. However, excess gas (especially after eating something good for you) might mean you have a bacterial imbalance that can (and usually does) result from poor nutrition and antibiotics. It may also mean that you are not eating these foods enough, and your body is telling you that you have been doing it wrong.
Basically, when you consume something simple that the body (and more specifically, the bacteria) needs, lots of gas can be produced because all the bacteria are going after it and multiplying (pardon my simplification of the process). This can happen a lot with lactic acid bacteria. Let me clarify.
Some of you may recall my discussions regarding bacteria in the intestine. These bacteria include lactic acid bacteria such as L. casei, L. acidophilus, and L. bulgaricus just to name a few. The actions of lactic acid bacteria are species and strain-specific and depend on sufficient numbers of bacteria available in the intestines. Again, if you are consuming a bad diet, drinking the wrong water, or even have chronic ailments, these bacteria can be rather low in number. However, gas usually results when you consume something to boost their numbers.
You might have heard that fermented foods are great for digestive health. Well, lactic acid bacteria are used in the fermentation process of such foods. An example of this might be kefir or sauerkraut. This is why these types of food are considered to be good for people. This is also the type of bacteria used for making some probiotics. The point is that these types of bacteria are crucial for the human body. They improve digestion, stop us from having diarrhea, boost immune function, reduce allergens, aid in cholesterol regulation, reduce the occurrence of colon cancer, reduce the occurrence of urogenital infections, reduce the occurrence of ulcers, etc., etc. They can even reduce the occurrence of food poisoning.
Now, it may seem that I have gotten off point, but the truth is that vitamin B-12 is said to be a growth factor for these lactic acid bacteria, of which it has been shown that synthetic forms are not suitable substitutes. So when you consume quality meat, your beneficial bacteria will begin to grow. This can sometimes cause gas if you have low numbers and they are proliferating.
While we are on the topic, have you ever thought about the animals that consume plants, grass, grains, and so on? Think about cattle, pronghorns, giraffes, okapis, deer, chevrotains, antelopes, sheep, and goats. Most of these animals have four-chambered stomachs and sometimes regurgitate their foods and eat them again (Holladay, 2002). A horse is an herbivore and can really only process one type of plant material efficiently. Humans are similar in the idea that the wrong kind of foods can cause digestive upsets that can lead to illness or fatality (Blocksdorf, 2016). The point is that we are simply not built like many other animals. And perhaps that is our clue because those who eat like those types of animals are generally not what I would consider healthy. Is this a coincidence?
At the end of the day, it is your life and you are surely free to live it as you wish. But consider for a moment the aspect of nature and how nature intended it to be. Are you doing it right?
Is it really wise to think that nature is the one who messed things up? Here is an interesting way to look at this: wouldn’t consuming any living thing, be it animal, bacteria, or plant, still be ending the life of something else to sustain your own? A philosophical debate? Perhaps. The point is that if you really want your body to be firing on all cylinders, you will have to eat some good quality meat. This is because (again) real vitamin B-12 can ONLY be manufactured by bacteria in the gut and can ONLY be found NATURALLY in animal products in any real abundance – not vegetables. Of course, the same could be said for things like creatine, DHA omega-3, and several others. We need several things that we simply cannot get from plants, and your body (and brain) will pay the price if you avoid them.
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Want to learn more? Medical News Daily just wrote an article on the topic called “Best vitamin B12 foods: Supplements and RDA.“
UPDATE (8/31/21): Check out “How a vegan diet could affect your intelligence,” by the BBC.
This article was originally published as a chapter in the book Natural Health Made Easy: The Briobiotic Protocol (2016)
Dr. Robertson is a health researcher and educator, not a physician. The information provided here is not medical advice, a professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or service to you or any other individual. The information provided is for educational and anecdotal purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or professional care. You should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation, or the advice of your physician or other healthcare providers. Dr. Robertson is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis, or additional information, services, or product you obtain or utilize. IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY CALL 911 OR YOUR PHYSICIAN.