Meat Eater ?
“I am a meat eater”.
This label arose during a recent conversation with a friend who has toyed with different types of eating regimes after battling cancer.
During a raw cleanse as part of her healing, she dove in to researching whether or not there really was a correlation between what she ate and how sick she became.
One site she visited suggested raw vegan was the only was to cure cancer, which opened the proverbial pandora’s box for more information, clues and ultimately, the decision to keep on her plant-based regime (which, by the way is the same way I eat, for reference).
Yes, I eat meat.
But I also eat a copious amount of local, in season vegetables and a high percentage of calories that I ingest each day come from a a variety of natural fats, several of which actually come from plants.
The amount of protein I consume is moderate and always, always, always mindfully sourced. Only wild, local fish. Only grass-fed, local beef. Only 100% pasture fed chicken and pork.
Another way of looking at it would be to say that I just eat food.
And to reiterate, it is plant-based.
Sure, the way I eat happens to be Paleo, and the macronutrients I choose to adhere to happen to be Keto, but I’ve come to find that broadcasting labels about how we all chose to eat can actually work against us.
Not just on a personal level, but also in terms of a societal level in terms being able to sift through so much of the misinformation that’s out there these days.
Recently, I’ve witnessed several interesting comments and conversations that I felt would make for excellent content on a blog post, such as:
- “I’m vegan, but I do eat my mom’s homemade chicken soup and usually have steak on Sundays”.
- “I’m vegetarian six days out of the week, but then I eat whatever I want on my cheat day”.
- “I’m plant based, so a Paleo diet is out of the question for me”.
So what’s with the labeling?
When I was vegan, I was the angry type.
I wore a McVegan pin on my jacket.
I was ready to shout down anyone who fell into the category of being a ‘meat eater’ as bad, even evil.
I was all for animal rights, but I never stopped to think about how the message I was broadcasting and the label I gave myself was not actually doing anything for the very cause I wanted to support.
I was making one crucial mistake.
I was lumping all animal proteins in one category and judging them on all being bad, because an animal was killed, rather than educating myself on how vastly different the extremes are: the grass-fed ranchers, the wild fisherman and the game hunters versus the conglomerate companies who truly view food as an industry and feel that the bottom dollar supersedes animal welfare.
If you compare price per pound of inhumanely sourced meat, fish, poultry and pork to properly sourced proteins, the former tends to be more ‘economical’ from a dollar perspective (leave out the price we pay in terms of health and environment for the moment).
Add that to the misinformation we’re often given about how ‘meat causes’ cancer (1) (sure, if we’re talking about meat that comes from improperly raised cattle) or how ‘pork should be avoided because it’s too high in cholesterol’ (2) (not pasture-raised pork) and we end up with a recipe for creating obesity, diabetes and a vast array of modern day sickness that is right in line with our modern day thinking of food as an industry.
Which is precisely why I’ve believed for a very long time that the easiest way to decipher what we really should and should not be eating is to go back to basics; and not even that far back.
There’s one simple question you can ask yourself that will cut right to the chase: “What did your great grand parents eat?”
They weren’t eating packaged snack items, they weren’t drinking high fructose corn syrup and they weren’t racking their brains trying to decipher tricky labels at the grocery store.
They just ate food.
They ate plants that grew close to where they lived, animals they hunted or fished locally and only what was available during any given time of the year.
They were humans, with the same digestive systems, the same brains and the same guts as us; and we can rest assured they weren’t spending time trying to figure out if something was organic or paleo or keto or vegan.
Whether or not there’s a psychological need which is being met by labeling ourselves with one particular style of eating or other may very well may be the case, is another discussion.
Science shows that humans eating animals was what led to the development of our brains as they are today (3) and in fact, it’s entirely possible that without an early diet that included generous amounts of animal protein, we wouldn’t even have become human at least not the modern, verbal, intelligent humans we are.
Consider Micheal Pollan’s quote (4), “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”, throw in a little Hippocrates, “Food is Medicine” and you’ve got yourself the simplest eating blueprint there is.
“Eat Food and Move” – Nell Stephenson, 2007