MEAT-EATING AND YOUR HEALTH
by Lawrence Wilson, MD
© June 2012, The Center For Development, Inc.
This article discusses many topics related to eating meat. It is an important article for today, especially, and to dispel many myths about the problems of meat-eating. Meat is an excellent food when fresh and clean, properly prepared and eaten correctly.
THE NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF FLESH FOODS
Meats are an excellent source of many nutrients. Claims that meats are not quality foods, or that they are not nutrient-dense foods are ridiculous. In fact, I explain to our die-hard vegetarian clients that they may wish to regard a little meat as a 'food supplement'. Here are just a few examples of these nutrients not found elsewhere besides meats.
Iron. The iron in meat products is better absorbed than vegetarian sources of iron. The type of iron in meats is called heme iron, and it is by far the best absorbed iron.
Niacin and other B-complex vitamins. All meats, along with eggs, is high in niacin, as well as many other B-complex vitamins. While there are some vegetarian sources such as beans and yeast, they are not necessarily as good. Over 100 years ago, researchers found that some meat and eggs were needed to overcome pellagra and other B-vitamin deficiency diseases.
Fat. Dr. Bernard Jensen, a well-known natural health authority, referred to the fats found in meats as the 'brain fats'. Our nervous system is highly dependent upon certain fatty substances for its proper functioning. Dr. Jensen's statement regarding meat-eating is, "It is hard to drive the Los Angeles freeways and be a vegetarian". By this he meant that the nutrients that are depleted living in an urban environment are hard to replace adequately without eating at least some chicken and fish. He recommends flesh foods at least several times per week for everyone people.
It is true that today animals are fed on grains. Thus their meat contains less of the essential omega-3 oils. However, it is possible to buy grass-fed beef - over the internet if nowhere else - that is a rich source of omega-3 fats. Below is a longer discussion on the type of meats to buy.
Zinc. Zinc is a another critical nutrient that is low in many, if not all vegetarian diets. Vegetarian foods are almost all very low in zinc, and when zinc is present, most vegetarian foods are high in copper, which competes with zinc for absorption. Grains and soy also contain phytates that bind with zinc and prevent its absorption.
Zinc is a critical and essential nutrient for everyone today, as it is needed for hundreds if not thousands of enzymes in the human body. All of our food is lower in zinc today due to agricultural methods, hybrid crops, zinc-deficient soils, stress and for other reasons. For this reason, a zinc supplement is given as part of all nutritional balancing programs – in addition to recommending that everyone eat some red meat, the best source of zinc.
Zinc is needed for the nervous system, acid-base balance, wound healing, vision, the prostate gland, male and female fertility, hair, skin and nails, growth and development in children, emotional stability, higher intelligence, mental development in adults, and to prevent birth defects and many other body functions.
Zinc is lost whenever we come under stress as part of the fight-or-flight response. There is plenty of stress today, and this is another reason this nutrient is one of the most important reasons for eating meats. The zinc found in pumpkin seeds and other seeds and grains is not nearly as well utilized, in my experience.
Other nutrients. Carnitine and taurine are amino acids found only in meats. Their vital importance has only recently become appreciated. Meat contains some vitamin A, as well. Those with low thyroid activity have difficulty converting B-carotene to vitamin A. They need the vitamin A found in animal products. Alpha-lipoic acid is another nutrient found mainly in animal flesh foods.
Meat is actually easier for many people to digest than vegetable proteins such as cheese, beans, seeds and nuts. This may be due to a genetic predisposition, but may be due to other factors found in these foods.
Fiber. Meat is low in fiber. This is important, as one must eat plenty of cooked vegetables to obtain one’s fiber. Too much meat can be constipating and can cause the buildup of toxins in the intestines. This will not happen if it is digested properly, however.
COOKED VERSUS RAW MEAT
A few health authorities recommend eating raw meat. I do not agree with this. Cooking destroys harmful bacteria, parasites and other things in meats.
However, do not overcook meats. In general, the meat must be cooked thoroughly on the outside. Inside, if fresh, it can be red or bloody. Cooking meats for hours in a crock pot or in the oven is not as good, as it becomes harder to digest in most cases.
I think it is best to cook all food, including meats, at low temperature, if possible, and do not overcook any meats. Barbequing once in a while is fine, but if you do this all the time, the high temperature and other chemicals that form due to this high-temperature cooking method are slightly toxic. Much better are steaming, stir-frying, or baking meats, but do not overcook them.
Meat can also be marinated and tenderized mechanically. These methods of preparation appear to be okay, as far as I know.
ALWAYS TAKE A DIGESTIVE ENZYME WHEN YOU EAT MEAT, CHEW THOROUGHLY AND EAT IT IN SIMPLE FOOD COMBINATIONS
Meat can require more digestion than some other foods. This can cause problems for some people. The answer is not to avoid meats. The answers are:
1. Always take a digestive aid when you eat it, even if you are in good health. The best digestive aid in my view is pancreatin and ox bile with dehydrocholic acid if you can find it. I recommend a product called GB-3, for example. Another is called Bilex, and there may be others.
2. Always chew meat thoroughly.
3. Always eat it in simple food combinations. The best is to eat it alone. This is called a mono meal. If this is too difficult, then add some cooked vegetables with it.
Meat mixed with other proteins, grains, cheese, milk or fruit are not good food combinations and will often cause gas, bloating and stomach discomfort.
4. Do not drink much liquid with meals. Drink just enough to take your nutritional supplements and keep your mouth wet, if needed. The less, the better.
LAMB, A VERY SPECIAL MEAT
Lamb is not eaten too much because of its taste, and its higher cost. However, it is a wonderful type of meat. Any lamb is good. Buying it at the supermarket or Costco is fine, and it need not be organic. Most of it is grass-fed, as lambs require some pasturing in all cases.
Lamb is mentioned a lot in the bible, and Jesus was called “the lamb of God”. Jewish people celebrate Passover with the “pascal lamb”, and so on. There is a reason for this emphasis on lamb. I suggest that everyone eat lamb at least once a week. If you do not like its taste, then spice it with curry, for example, garlic, onions and other healthful spices. I do not recommend mint sauce that many people put on lamb, as it is too high in sugar.
Lamb may contain forms of selenium and other minerals that seem to promote health, longevity and spiritual and mental development. This may be why it is mentioned often in the bible.
ARE CHICKEN AND TURKEY GOOD FOODS TODAY?
The answer is a definite yes, especially fresh chicken and turkey. I would avoid “glued chicken”, chicken nuggets, which are similar, and things like “turkey roll”. This is the usual turkey sold in restaurants. Be sure you are getting real chicken or turkey breast, for example, not the glued together rolled up variety that may contain many chemicals.
IS THE TYPE OR QUALITY OF MEAT IMPORTANT?
Yes, it is important, although not critical if all you can afford is some of the lesser quality meats. However, I would try to avoid bologna and salame because you don’t know what you are getting. Hot dogs may be a little better if they are 100% beef, but most contain many preservatives. They are okay once in a while, but not more often.
Also, I would avoid hamburgers and other meats at the fast food restaurants. They are often of inferior quality. Meats at good restaurants, in contrast, are often very fresh and of good quality.
Fortunately, in America one can buy fairly good meat at the supermarket that is fresh. It is not as good as grass-fed meats (see below) but I think fresh meats at the supermarket are still very edible, especially lamb and chicken.
IS BEEF A GOOD FOOD?
Beef cattle are very hybridized today, so I do not recommend beef as much as I recommend lamb, chicken and turkey. Some beef is okay, however, especially if grass-fed and hormone-free. Even this beef, however, is not to be eaten too often, as it is still usually hybridized and somewhat irritating.
Meats such as elk, antelope, deer, bison, and others are also fine to eat, especially if fresh. They are not that superior, as some say, in my opinion, but they are fine to eat and contain much more omega-3 fatty acids, for example, than grain-fed chicken or beef. This is very good.
WHAT ABOUT BEEF JERKY AND OTHER MEAT JERKY?
Beef and other types of meat jerky are excellent snack foods, provided they are not loaded up with sugar and too many preservatives. Even if they have a few preservatives, they are still quite good snacks – much better than nuts, seeds, granola, trail mix or other raw grains, for example.
WHAT ABOUT PORK, HAM AND BACON?
Pig products are often infected with trichina or other parasite eggs or ova, even if well-cooked, in my experience. It is hard to eliminate them all. For this reason alone, I would avoid ALL pig products, including ham, bacon, pork, pigs feet, lard, pork rinds, and all sausage made with pig intestines.
Pig products also seem to have a detrimental effect upon human anatomy and physiology for other reasons that I do not understand. The biblical and Islamic prohibition against pig products seems to work well, for some reason.
DIABETES AND THE CAVE-MAN DIET
Recent reports indicate that diabetics respond better to the "cave-man diet”, now sometimes called the paleo or Paleolithic diet than to the high-carbohydrate diets often recommended for diabetics. The cave-man diet consists of cooked meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and cooked vegetables. Some books also allow fruit, seeds and nuts. We do not like these foods as much, and most people are much better off without them. They are too yin, slightly toxic, and nuts and seeds are more difficult to digest.
Also, I find that most people need some cooked whole grains, unless one cannot tolerate them for the time being. On a nutritional balancing program, the intestines will heal to the point that everyone can tolerate some whole grain rice and blue corn, for example. These are actually excellent, more modern foods needed today for everyone.
MEAT-EATING HELPFUL FOR THOSE WITH CHRONIC CANDIDA ALBICANS INFECTION AND OTHER FUNGUS AND YEAST PROBLEMS
The cave-man diet also happens to be the type of diet recommended for the common condition of chronic candida albicans overgrowth. Meat does not feed the yeast, the way that fruit, fruit juices, sweets and too much grain or starchy vegetables or beans do.
CANCER AND MEAT-EATING
If one has cancer, I suggest avoiding all red meat and all eggs. This is because both these foods are high in iron, a problem for cancer patients. Also, one must use a digestive aid when eating meat in all cases. Otherwise, cancer patients cannot digest much of it at all.
Also, food combinations must be very simple with either one or two foods at the most per meal. This is also to promote easier digestion of flesh foods, in particular. There is nothing wrong with a small meat of just chicken or just a can of sardines, for example. Add spices if you do not like the taste of it alone.
Some doctors recommend a complete vegetarian diet for cancer patients. This may be okay for a while, but not long-term. I find it is not necessary if the cancer recovery program is correct, and avoiding meat makes one very yin after a while. For more on these topics, read Cancer And Alternatives and Yin Disease.
EVIDENCE FROM PRIMITIVE OR INDIGENOUS HUMAN TRIBES
Weston Price, D.D.S., author of the classic text, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, traveled the world studying the healthiest groups of people he could find. More than any other single text, this classic textbook of nutrition documents the devastating effects of refined and processed foods on the health of human beings. In his travels, Dr. Price expected to find vegetarians among the healthiest populations, but he found none. He encountered vegetarian populations, but they were not the healthiest populations. For much more on this topic, read Weston Price, DDS on this site.
Some people become vegetarians because they are unable to digest meats. A meat meal, particularly red meat, feels heavy and can sit in the stomach for hours. Such individuals are called 'obligatory vegetarians'. The cause is a slowing of metabolism accompanied often by low digestive enzymes in the stomach, causing an inability to handle animal protein and fat.
Today many people are obligatory vegetarians due to decreased adrenal and thyroid gland activity for a variety of nutritional and other reasons. When the causes are addressed, the condition can be reversed and one actually develops a craving for meat.
WHY DO PEOPLE SOMETIMES FEEL MUCH BETTER ON A VEGETARIAN DIET, AT LEAST INITIALLY?
It is true that many people feel better initially on a vegetarian diet. However, in my experience this is because they have eliminated many junk foods and perhaps foods they were allergic to. Also, they are often eating simpler food combinations. Also, to digest meat most people need a digestive enzyme, so a vegetarian diet can feel better in the stomach and reduce gas and bloating.
However, vegetarian diets are not best, in my experience. In fact, they are dangerous because they are deficient and too yin, in my experience. I do not agree that one can simply substitute vegetable foods and obtain all the nutrients found in meat. It is simply not true in my experience.
Perhaps for this reason, many of our vegetarian clients report feeling 100% better when they add back at least chicken and fish to their diets. As a former vegetarian who 'followed the rules', I have experienced this myself. There must be reasons for this phenomenon.
MEAT-EATING AND VIOLENCE
Ghandi and Albert Einstein were vegetarians, but so was Adolf Hitler and Osama Bin Laden. While a few spiritual leaders were vegetarians, let us not forget that most were not. India, a largely vegetarian country, is one of the most backward countries, and certainly has had its share of wars. America is eating less meat, but as a country we seem to be becoming more violent.
A neighbor is from India. He commented to me that his own people in India have so little drive and energy that he is much happier living in the United States. People on vegetarian diets often become tired and listless. This might reduce violence because one no longer has the energy to fight. This is not non-violence. This is burnout!
Many vegetarians that I come in contact with are copper-toxic. This is due to the high copper content of beans, seeds, nuts, and grains. At the same time, these people are not eating the zinc-rich meats which could balance their copper intake. Copper toxicity causes fatigue and 'spaciness', which often masquerades as peacefulness and happiness. Many vegetarians fool themselves into thinking they are less violent, when in fact they are really just tired.
IS MEAT-EATING THE CAUSE OF WORLD HUNGER?
Francis Moore Lappe, author of Diet For a Small Planet, mentions that there are many causes of hunger. These include: 1)governments that systematically starve their own people to maintain control, 2) collective farms that are unproductive, 3) poor food distribution, and 4) mismanagement and destruction of agricultural land. In many places, grazing by animals is the most productive use of the land.
MEAT-EATING AND CHOLESTEROL
Eskimos eat more fat than any other group and have cholesterol levels of about 170 mg. The Massai tribe drink up to seven quarts of milk daily, yet they too have low cholesterol. There is much more to the cholesterol story than how you butter your toast.
Cholesterol, the precursor for the steroid hormones, often rises when the body is under stress. While overeating on any food is not beneficial, avoiding all cholesterol-containing foods is not necessary or wise for most people.
IS MEAT SAFE TO EAT?
I am amused by people who shun meat because it contains hormones, but are not bothered by the tons of herbicides and pesticides used on vegetables and fruits. As the demand for pure food increases, more hormone-free and antibiotic-free meat is becoming available.
I only recommend organically-produced meats. We can continue to support clean food by buying it in preference to sprayed and tainted food. This is the strongest message we can send to the farmers and the supermarkets. Dr. Bernard Jensen, a respected health authority, commented on this subject that "there is bad meat, but meat isn't bad".
Some people avoid meat because it contains bacteria and 'toxins'. However, all foods contain toxins. Flesh foods are an integral part of the diet of virtually all human groups. This would suggest that the benefits to eating healthfully-produced flesh foods far outweigh any harmful effects.
WHY NOT EAT MEAT SUBSTITUTES?
First because they don’t contain the nutrient contained in meats. Many are highly processed, chemical-laden concoctions that are hardly fit to eat. Soy, a major meat substitute, contains phytates that bind minerals, enzyme inhibitors, and has been linked to a greater incidence of dementia in the elderly. I do not recommend any soy foods at all, even tempeh and tofu, except perhaps once a month or so. They are just not as high quality foods as meats, eggs, poultry and raw cheeses.
Textured vegetable protein (TVP) and soy isolate are refined byproducts of the soy oil refining. They are junk foods, in my opinion. They are found in many processed foods such as Hamburger Helper, and they are found in some vegetarian meat substitutes and in many “fast food” hamburgers and other fast foods because they are cheap. Stay away from them.
WHAT ABOUT NATURAL HYGIENE AND MUCUSLESS DIETS?
While there are some valid ideas in the vegetarian literature, there are also numerous false concepts. The popular book, Fit For Life, expounds the Natural Hygiene point of view that since our intestines are like those of apes we ought to eat like apes. But how many apes drive the freeways or go to college while holding down a full-time job? These analogies are not logical when examined carefully.
The same book encourages fruit-eating by stating that because the earth is about two-thirds water, so our food should be composed of two-thirds water. Figure that one out! Fruit is too yin today due to its mineral composition and its higher sugar content. I would avoid all fruit, especially tropical and sub-tropical fruits, raw fruits, and all fruit juices. A few berries now and then are okay, though not needed, as there are plenty of anti-oxidants and so on in other excellent foods such as blue corn.
I was the health director at a Natural Hygiene Spa for 3 and 1/2 years. While I was there, the owner nearly died of pernicious anemia. When he recovered, thanks to a blood transfusion, he asked me not to tell anyone what had happened. He died only a few years later, perhaps from permanent damage that had been done to his body by his rigid vegetarian diet. I am sharing this story so that others may be warned about following any rigid diets.
VEGETARIANISM AND LIMITATION
Many people limit themselves to rigid regimens including vegetarian diets. Often this is an expression of guilt, or an effort to control an aspect of life because life seems out of control. In these instances, guilt, limitation and fear are the real issues. This is not a sound way to decide what to eat!
Also, vegetarianism is a physically-based concept of life that I have found extremely limited. Life is not just about what we eat. By changing our physical diet we cannot atone for our sins, save the earth or achieve enlightenment. It is time to let go of these ideas. I believe, along with all native or indigenous cultures, that certain animal species have agreed to serve as food, and it is their service to humanity. Let us thank them and enjoy their gift to us.
TOO MUCH MEAT, RAPE AND SEXUAL FLUID CRAVING
It is possible to eat too much meat, and this is common in some cultures in Europe, particularly. In most cases, red meat should be eaten in most cases no more than two or three times a week.
Eating more red meat is absolutely needed to get rid of sexual fluid craving, a common problem among women today. For more on this, read Sexual Fluid Craving on this website.
EAT GRASS-FED MEATS, IF POSSIBLE
This small section is courtesy of Mercola.com. I don’t agree with Dr. Mercola on many things, but I do agree on the value of grass-fed meats.
Unfortunately, most animals in the USA and some in other nations are not fed their natural food, which is grass, insects and other forage. Instead, they are fed on corn and perhaps other things that are inexpensive and abundant. This produces a less healthy meat that is much lower in zinc and in omega-3 fatty acids, for example.
A joint effort between the USDA and Clemson University researchers in 2009 determined a total of 10 key areas where grass-fed beef is better than grain-fed for human healthxii. In a side-by-side comparison, they determined that grass-fed beef was:
Lower in total fat
Higher in total omega-3s
Higher in beta-carotene
A healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (1.65 vs 4.84)
Higher in vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
Higher in CLA (cis-9 trans-11), a potential cancer fighter
Higher in the B-vitamins thiamin and riboflavin
Higher in vaccenic acid (which can be transformed into CLA)
Higher in the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium
Lower in the saturated fats linked with heart disease
Dr. Peter D'Adamo's research on blood types indicates that some blood types fare better on a diet that includes animal products. This should come as no surprise. The design of our bodies is ancient, and some developed in climates where flesh foods were the only available source of nutrition. Is it a surprise these bodies function best with animal proteins? Unfortunately, I have not found Dr. D’Adamo’s blood type diets too useful, but he does emphasize that some people definitely need meat, and I appreciate this very much.
While a few people appear to do well on a healthful vegetarian diet, most eventually become lethargic, depressed, and susceptible to yeast infections and other problems. They do not live longer and are not healthier. In fact, they may seem very healthy, but in my experience, they die sooner than meat-eating people, at least in America.
In certain illnesses such as cancer, eliminating red meat and eggs is helpful to reduce one’s iron intake for about a year or so. However, as the body is rebuilt using nutritional balancing science, but not necessarily other methods, everyone can benefit by then re-introducing organically-produced flesh foods into the diet.
A most important principle is to love yourself so fully and completely that you are willing to give your body whatever it needs. This is an important principle of health. If animal products would be helpful, then let us thank and bless the animals for their gifts and gratefully accept what we need for our health.