When people find out that I’m a vegetarian they often ask whether I did it for health reasons or for ethical reasons. The answer is very simple. My conscience became slowly more troubled by the fact that animals suffered and died in order for me to eat. I stopped eating dead animals. I eat eggs and dairy produce and yes, there are questionable practices there but I still had to live in the real world.
Gayle was traveling a similar journey but we were actually in different parts of the country when the final straw was put on the load. For Gayle it was the sight of sheep awaiting live export at Portland during a strike that held up their embarkation. They were held in appalling conditions. For me it was a few weeks among some vegos having no trouble with a meat free diet, something that I had hardly felt possible.
That was more than 25 years ago. We had kids to fees, we fed them meat. We feed the dog meat. There are some internal contradictions there but it does prove one thing. A major change in lifestyle diet is possible.
A vegetarian diet has to overcome some real deficiencies.
- We have the gut of an omnivorous animal. Herbivore guts are longer and equipped with large caecums to ferment fibre.
- There are nutrients that can only be obtained from animal sources such as B12.
- Animal protein is complete in the essential amino acids whereas the balance is different in plant proteins and a plant based diet is generally poorer in the proportion of protein.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are poorly represented in a plant based diet.
It surprises me that there is an assumption that being vegetarian is more healthy. But there are studies that show lower rates of all cause mortality and lower rates of heart disease for example <Here> and <Here>. I do wonder whether a fair comparison has been made here. We all know what a non-vegetarian is don’t we?
Vegetarians, vegans and the plant plus fish pescatarians have all made conscious adjustments to their diet, they take it seriously. The non-veg folk may have just gone on eating what their mother fed them as kids adding things that they found delicious on the way. We may have compared a thoughtful diet with the Standard American or Australian Diet (SAD for short either way) that has seen the money spent on processed food double since 1982 while spending on meat and veg has fallen. Pass me another energy drink, will you, I’m hypoglycemic.
For the first time in history the poor are fatter than the rich.
And I’m fat too. How did that happen? I avoided saturated fat, abandoned butter, got my calories from whole grains, ate my bread, 6 serves of fruit and veg a day. I followed the guidelines. I was good.
What is this stuff called insulin?