To Meat, or Not? - Rethinking the Way I Eat - Sandi Louise Ross

To Meat, or Not? – Rethinking the Way I Eat

To Meat, or Not? – Rethinking the Way I Eat

Are you lost with the type of diet to follow? Me too! With almost a decade in the field of nutrition, I feel I should be quite the expert on this topic.

I have never been a big meat eater my entire life. I use to ask my mother what’s for dinner, and if she said a “roast dinner”, I would go next door to my cousins to eat.

At the age of 21, I became mainly vegetarian. I say mainly, because I never titled it, in case I felt like eating a burger or sausage on the occasion (healthy, right!). At 23 after becoming a yoga teacher and spending three months in Indian ashrams, I become a titled ‘vegetarian’. Flexibility came in with occasional fish, and I also never stopped eating eggs, however, I had mostly cut all dairy.

GURU
My Guru in India and myself aged 23

 

Living in Thailand almost 4 years made being vegetarian easy. Whilst working with Indians, and watching the ghee consumption used in Indian cooking, had me constantly questioning fats. I also worked along with many Indian vegetarians, all O blood type, all tired, all eating a high legume and greens diet but were all anaemic. This further had me thinking…

My Reasons for Becoming vegetarian

Ethics – the life of the animal it has lived

Digestion – in our rushed life, we don’t make as much hydrochloric acid to digest heavy meat proteins

Capacity – our environmental impact on the planet

Spirituality – Sanskrit call it ‘ahimṣā’, non-violence, “lack of desire to harm or kill”

However, after following this diet many years, although slightly modifying it through my pregnancy and breastfeeding (added some animal fat and bone broth). I feel, well – rather flat!

I remember in my pregnancy being extremely tired and sick one night, lying on the couch at my parents, and my mother said to me, “you just need a bloody lamb chop!” And she was probably right. I was actually craving animal fat (just the fat, not the meat) and raw milk. So I listened to my body by eating some organic lamb fat and drinking litres of raw milk in my pregnancy.

pregnancySo now, I am investigating a few options on what I think the best diet for myself, and my daughter may be. That is sustainable for my body, and our planet.

I am up to date with most of the latest research in this field, I have worked in an integrative cancer clinic and seen how people can thrive on a vegan diet. However, long-term I am becoming certain, that we need to meet our cave man ancestors, and our agricultural forefathers half way to maintain wellness.

I’m also becoming aware of our cultural diet being a really important part in how we eat. I’m not talking fry bread and do-boys for the Maori culture, or fried dim sims for Chinese, but what they ate pre-Western diet impacted. Maybe European blood can digest dairy and sourdough bread, but Asian culture doesn’t? I am going to be further educating myself, and I will share with you in time.

For now, I do know this:

  • We can not actually sustain adequate B12 levels, from non-animal sources. We think we can, however, the analogue B12 we may consume in plant sources doesn’t convert to active B12 in the body.
  • Previous high saturated fat diets, before the “FAT IS BAD” FAD, came in, had recorded low levels of cardiovascular disease, cancer and mental health disorders.
  • Replacement of saturated fats in cooking when FAT IS BAD was announced replaced tallow, ghee, olive, coconut oil, with polyunsaturated fats (corn, cotton, soy AKA- vegetable oils), and has to lead to an increase in systemic inflammation, and the disease associations that come with these polyunsaturated fats.
  • Meat consumption has changed from farming our foods or buying direct and large parts of the animals to eat all the meat, to purchasing the nice looking muscle (rump, chop, T-bone) of the animal. Muscle meat is high in the amino acid methionine, but low in glycine (good for gut health).
  • We rarely consume organ meat that is mineral rich, such as liver, kidney and hearts, and we waste connective tissue of the animal, skin, marrow and fat.
  • I have been feeding my daughter liver since her first foods, due to the heavy mineral and Vitamin A content, so why don’t I feed it to myself?


For now, I’m consuming wild caught fish, organic grass fed bone broth, organic eggs, organic grass fed ghee, and grass fed, organic raw milk (in moderation) in my diet. Along with fruit vegetables, nuts, seeds, a few grains like rice, quinoa, oats, buckwheat, millet and healthy oils such as coconut, olive, tallow and ghee.

I’m making a conscious effort to buy only from farmers markets when possible, talk to the farmer about how it is grown, and what is in the season. Additionally, being grateful for what and when I eat, eating mindfully and connecting again to what I put in my mouth. But for now, I am on the path to discover, what it the best diet to eat.

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