Do we NEED meat?

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  • This is different to the other meaty/veggie thread as I'm not interested in the ethics or morals or whatever here, i want to look at it from a purely health point of veiw.


    Do you get all your minerals and vitamans in a vegetarian diet? Are there some which are quite hard to get but can be done and what are they?


    And i don't want to hear anyone banging on about how one diet is more healthy than the other because you can be a crap veggie and you can be a crap omni. I just want to know of the POTENTIAL to be healthy, if eating the right things, on a veggie diet.


    Martin says hes been feeling much more tired since being veggie... I reckon this is down to us eating not a lot of the right stuffage....




    discuss


    :)

  • I personally have found it difficult in the past, to get the balance right by eating a solely vegetarian diet. I do find that small amounts of fish and meat in my diet make it easier for me personally to keep a good balance. Being pregnant has made me acutely aware of the fuel my body needs to stay energised and healthy. I am hoping this awareness continues after the baby is born so I can continue to eat as little meat and fish as possible. I do openly admit that the main reason i continue to eat a little meat and fish is cos i like it...cos i fancy it...

  • The human body is designed to be omnivorous. As a veggie cave dwelling neanderthal, you would get ill fairly quick of malnutrition without eating meat because it would be very hard to get all the nutrients the body needs.
    In today's Britain, we can just pop down the shops and buy dozens of different pulses, seeds, fruit and vegetables from all around the world, that can just about bring a whole, balanced diet to a vegetarian. Relying on local produce or what you can grow yourself would probably not be sufficient uness you live in the tropics.

  • Post by Leafy ().

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  • I think it is quite possible to live a vegatatian diet and get what you need. Plus I would imagine you eat a lot more healthy stuff and try fruit and veg you have not tried before.

  • Quote from reggaegotsoul

    Plus I would imagine you eat a lot more healthy stuff and try fruit and veg you have not tried before.



    Yep, I dont think I had ever had a butternut squash before but did try one a short while ago and intend to get more (once this festival season is over cos we are hardly at home at the moment to make buying lots of stuff worth it).

    I also think the last few months have been an expensive time and maybe I havn't been eating enough cos I aint been buying enough.... simple as that really....:)

    We are old, we are young, we are in this together... New Model Army....they still going?

  • I have never tried a butternut squash , I have though had a laugh picking them up in supermarkets though!

    On a diet I follow I have to have no meat days which introduced me to yams , celeriac and other things I wuld not have tried.

  • I've been veggie for 13 years now and am rarely ill.
    Eating plenty of pulses, nuts, seeds, getting your protein I think is fine.
    I think we are meant to have a lighter diet :)

  • Some people appear to do quite well on a vegetarian diet especially if they know what they are doing, but don't think it is for everyone. What Martin might need is dark chocolate if he wants to stay vegetarian. You might also like to look up on the Dr.Mercola website about nutritional types.

  • of course we don't ALL need meat, there's a ton of perfectly healthy veggies here.


    everyone is unique though, and different people need different things in their bodies for them to work at their best.


    i survive fine when i'm veggie, the only thing that changes really is the consistency of my pooping!

  • I've been a Veggie for 15 years and despite a brief aneamic spell have never needed to eat meat, I don't take Vitamin supplements and usually know when my body needs something as I start to crave it, Oranges for Vit C etc. If I ever crave meat I know it's because I'm missing something, I've found making a list of what I eat daily handy as I can go back and see what I've missed- I've only been doing this as I'm trying to lose a bit of weight but it really helps overall! I recommend a few square of dark Chocolate too- esp Maya Gold, Yum!

  • to get every single vitamin and mineral your body needs there are just nine different food products you need to eat, all of which are vegan.
    there may be less but i'm not a nutritionist and don't know exactly what's in each!!!
    those nine are :
    bananas, spinach, nuts (esp. brazil nuts but all are good for you), marmite, mushrooms, potatoes, wholegrains (e.g. in bread), kelp, flaxseed.

    The only thing there hard to get hold of is kelp I guess, but that's for a source of iodine, which you can get in vecon vegetable stock too (which is just ace full-stop)

    so eating those foods you could live perfectly healthily in the right amounts. if flaxseed is hard to get (if you don't want to take supplements) sunflower seeds also have omegas in.

    so yes, iodine will be the only thing i can imagine being difficult to get hold of. i don't think it would make you tired, it can make you very ill though (thyroid damage and under-development esp. when baby is in womb) over a long period, but wikipedia claims that 500 million people in India alone are iodine deficient, so it's not something you can blame on vegetarianism. :eek:

    hope that helped anyway. i spent much time looking into this :D

    we reenact Noah's ancient drama, but in reverse, like a film running backwards, the animals exiting

  • I am pro-veggie as a healthy choice of diet. However, as already stated, it's not always as simple as saying that it will automatically be better. Each body is different and reacts to foods & nutrition differently. Although I've been veggie for nearly 20 years, it's really only over the last few years that I've researched nutrition and worked out what I need. Some people have a fast metabolism and therefore need to eat more complex carbohydrates or need to eat little and often. Other people can survive on one decent meal per day with perhaps an odd snack.


    If you have problems on a veggie diet that didn't occur beforehand, research what you're actually eating and how that can improve.


    I had a time of anaemia which was triggered by other factors and not my diet. I read Patrick Holford's Optimum Nutrition Bible which really helped me. Not everything he says resonates for me but where I really benefitted was from his lists of food groups, what they do and how much we should aim to eat each day. I drew up a sheet of what I should be eating and compared it to what I was eating which obviously highlighted areas that needed improving. It worked a treat for me.


    I also have a friend who's a vegan. Her body doesn't utilize the B12 that it stores so her doctor wanted to give her regular injections (something my grandmother had as a meat eater). She asked for 1 month to work on the problem so she did loads of research and sorted it out without the need for any further treatment.


    I personally believe that the diet holds the key to good health (amongst other things) and it's really worth investing time and energy into educating yourself.

  • Quote from elfqueenofrohan

    if flaxseed is hard to get (if you don't want to take supplements) sunflower seeds also have omegas in.

    Just for the record, flaxseed is also known as linseed. It seems pretty easy to get hold of these days - see it all the time in my local Sainsbury's.

  • Quote from Whirler


    I also have a friend who's a vegan. Her body doesn't utilize the B12 that it stores so her doctor wanted to give her regular injections (something my grandmother had as a meat eater). She asked for 1 month to work on the problem so she did loads of research and sorted it out without the need for any further treatment.

    An intersting point for those advocating a "natural" diet.... B12 wouldn't be a problem in a "natural" environment, since eating "dirty" food (soil traces on veg, etc) results in micro-organisms breeding in the gut that metabolise B12.

  • Quote from Atomik

    Given that the most studies suggest that vegetarians live longer on average than meat-eaters, it's patently obvious that nobody needs meat.

    Have you got any links for such studies? Dr Mercola does not seem to think a vegie diet is more healthy that wholefood omni diet. Also what about biological individuality? To give an example MILF's digestive system is a bit on the slow side; mine is a bit on the fast side.

  • Quote from Duckman

    Have you got any links for such studies?

    :google:


    Quote

    Dr Mercola does not seem to think a vegie diet is more healthy that wholefood omni diet.

    That's a difficult question though, because it's hard to compare like to like. There's no such things as "a veggie diet" or "an omni diet" - there are all kinds of shades of difference within those two definitions. However, the question wasn't whether one kind of diet was superior to another, but rather whether we need meat. I think it's quite clear that we don't need it.


    Quote

    Also what about biological individuality? To give an example MILF's digestive system is a bit on the slow side; mine is a bit on the fast side.

    Meat is hard to digest, so I don't really see that as being much of an issue. But there's still nothing about "biological individuality" to suggest that one person should "need" meat any more than another.

  • I havent eaten meat for over 25 years.no problems health wise apart from sciatica and that trigger off by stress.

  • Quote from atomik

    Meat is hard to digest

    I don't find it hard to digest, in fact I find foods of the nightshade family (tomatoes, spuds,capsicum, chillies, eggplant.Tobacco and deadly nightshade are also members of the nightshade family) more of a problem. A well cooked stew is quite easy to digest. I am ok with a bit of egg in cakes or the odd bit of home made mayonnaise but I cannot eat eggs as a dish in itself. Although I am ok with butter and cheese most other dairy disagrees with me. So what am I supposed to do for B12 if I did not have beef?


    Prior to the time I switched to my present diet, I used to get so depressed at times and often felt suicidal. I also used to have trouble getting to sleep at night.

  • Quote from Duckman

    I don't find it hard to digest

    Personal anecdotal evidence does not good science make. The human digestive tract is simply not designed to eat meat in any quantity. Omnivorous species have a large digestive tract, allowing rapidly decaying meat to exit the system quickly. Humans don't. We also lack the strong stomach acids that help omnivores digest meat. So simply put, meat is hard to digest - whether you've noticed it or not ;)


    Again though.... you're going off topic here. The topic is about whether we need meat. The potential here for getting sidelined is huge, so please keep it relevant. :)


    Quote

    So what am I supposed to do for B12 if I did not have beef?

    Dairy is the best source of B12 on a vegetarian diet. If you didn't feel you were getting enough of it, you'd simply take a supplement - as would an omnivore who wasn't getting enough of a particular vitamin due to a food intolerance.


    Quote

    Prior to the time I switched to my present diet, I used to get so depressed at times and often felt suicidal. I also used to have trouble getting to sleep at night.

    Again - personal anecdotal evidence does not good science make. ;)

  • I've been told by a nutritionist that different blood types can determine whether one "craves" (for lack of a better word) various food types. I have A+ blood and was informed that it is then natural for me to eat as I find I wish to - mostly vegetarian but occasional meat when I feel my body needs it. I think the best way to eat is to listen to your body. It will tell you what you need in order to thrive.

  • Quote from muffy1956

    I think the best way to eat is to listen to your body. It will tell you what you need in order to thrive.

    Think about this though. What you're saying assumes that (a) "the body" knows exactly what nutrition it's short of, (b) that "the body" can identify which foods provide that nutrition, and (c) that "the body" is somehow capable of transmitting that information via a subconscious mechanism that translates into a craving. Now that's a pretty huge leap, and entirely (to the best of my knowledge) unsupported by science. But even if we accept that it's possible, you would need to take into account that (a) such a mechanism may be influenced on a subconscious level by our personal desires, prejudices and preferences, and (b) that "the body" may well be unaware of other foodstuffs that can provide the nutrition that it allegedly requires. In no way, shape or form does any of this demonstrate a "need" for meat.

  • Quote

    What you're saying assumes that (a) "the body" knows exactly what nutrition it's short of, (b) that "the body" can identify which foods provide that nutrition, and (c) that "the body" is somehow capable of transmitting that information via a subconscious mechanism that translates into a craving. Now that's a pretty huge leap, and entirely (to the best of my knowledge) unsupported by science.


    Dunno if there is any scientific research into pregnancy cravings but certainly from my experience of craving fish in my last pregnancy, when i was strictly vegetarian and didn't even like fish up to that point, would make me follow the assumption that bodies do know what nutrition they are short of, can identify those foods and can transmit that information through a craving...


    I dare say had i been vegetarian all my life then my body would ave craved something nutritionally that was entirely vegetarian....


    Tis interesting stuff.


    We can only crave minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats and sugars yes? so the likelihood of us craving a particular food-stuff would be entirely to do with our experience of foodstuffs up to that point?

  • Quote from Sarah

    Dunno if there is any scientific research into pregnancy cravings but certainly from my experience of craving fish in my last pregnancy, when i was strictly vegetarian and didn't even like fish up to that point, would make me follow the assumption that bodies do know what nutrition they are short of, can identify those foods and can transmit that information through a craving...

    I'm certainly open to the idea as a possibility, but it's a huge leap to argue something like that as fact purely on the basis of personal subjective experience. Plus as I pointed out, there are all kinds of variables that could be influencing what our body is telling us, and how we interpret that information. It's certainly impossible to cite such personal experiences as proof that the body "needs" meat.


    Quote

    I dare say had i been vegetarian all my life then my body would ave craved something nutritionally that was entirely vegetarian....

    Or maybe not. Maybe your body would crave something nutritionally, and your subconscious translate that into a specific foodstuff based on other variables. We simply don't know. And that's the danger of attempting to extrapolate actual proof from personal experience.


    Quote

    We can only crave minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats and sugars yes? so the likelihood of us craving a particular food-stuff would be entirely to do with our experience of foodstuffs up to that point?

    Again, who knows? The potential variables are huge. All we can say for certain is that the body is perfectly capable of obtaining all the nutrition that it needs from non-meat sources (not sauces :p ).

  • Scientifically, I can't say that I know for sure but as a fan of the Dali Lama, I'd like to think that he and his physicians have done thier research and I can't imagine someone like the DL having to eat chicken due to his enimia/health issues if it was absolutely unnesscary.

  • Quote from SithInKnots

    Scientifically, I can't say that I know for sure but as a fan of the Dali Lama, I'd like to think that he and his physicians have done thier research and I can't imagine someone like the DL having to eat chicken due to his enimia/health issues if it was absolutely unnesscary.

    Again, anecdotal evidence does not constitute good science. You're assuming (a) that the Dali Lama isn't just as capable of giving in to taste cravings as the rest of us, and (b) that his nutritionists know their stuff. And seeing as all vitamins and minerals are available as supplements, I'd suggest they really don't. ;)


    http://www.chow.com/grinder/2820

  • Quote from Atomik

    Again, anecdotal evidence does not constitute good science. You're assuming (a) that the Dali Lama isn't just as capable of giving in to taste cravings as the rest of us, and (b) that his nutritionists know their stuff. And seeing as all vitamins and minerals are available as supplements, I'd suggest they really don't. ;)


    Yes, that's why I said that I didn't scientifically know.

  • Quote from SithInKnots

    Yes, that's why I said that I didn't scientifically know.

    You also said....

    Quote


    I can't imagine someone like the DL having to eat chicken due to his enimia/health issues if it was absolutely unnesscary.

    ... to which I was responding. :)

  • Quote from Atomik

    You also said....
    ... to which I was responding. :)


    Fair 'nuff. Looking into it a bit more, it seems that the Dalai Lama shouldn't refuse meat if it's offered to him. So yeah, there are a myriad of factors effecting his dietary choices and some of them non-scientific but I just thought it was an interesting, since it's a common assumption that the DL would/should be a veggy of sorts. (Guess he got Hep B during his veggy phase, which when he went meaty) Or that a fellow of the DL's stature would attract the best of medical assistance and advice. I've since found that Tibeten Buddhism has absolutely no problem with the consuption of meat. Learn something new every day.


    Cheers.