Vegan diets have become more popular in the last couple years. Don’t get me wrong: a vegan meal can be very healthy. Vegetables are necessary and so good for you; they’re the best!
But for some nutrients – zinc, B12, protein, D, omega 3s, and iron – the best source for these are animal proteins.
The problem with vegan supplements is what they’re made of. Most vitamins are synthetic and made in a laboratory. For example, synthetic, lab-produced B vitamins are made from things like coal tar and fermented sewage. I shit you not, so to say.
Many long-standing vegans and vegetarians will argue that all those nutrients are found in plants. But I said the “best source” for those nutrients not just “any source.” Some things are more bioavailable and easily absorbed in some forms than in others. And some really are just NOT found in plant-only sources. Some examples of those are vitamin D (but you may say “my body makes vitamin D!” Yes, because you are an animal 😉 but you still need to get it through your diet); DHA Omega 3 (so essential for brain health); and B12.
Oh, and this: there are no traditional cultures that are vegan. This is a really new concept for the human body, and one that I don’t think will sustain the test of time. Because, think about this, it takes protein to make a human body. So, if you’re wishing to procreate at some time in your future, you really are going to need some source of animal protein to do so with ease.
Many people say they feel better after switching to a vegan diet which I don’t doubt. If your diet has included a lot of processed or poor-quality animal proteins like fast food or most restaurant food, you probably are better off with a vegan diet…until you’re not.
Switching to vegan usually coincides with other changes: cooking more at home with higher quality ingredients and more vegetables. A vegan diet can be very healthy…for a while. Eventually, depending on your level of activity or stress, you will want to add some quality animal proteins back in or you will start to show signs of depletion of zinc, protein, iron, vitamin D, omega 3s, and B12.
If you hate the taste of meat, you may have a zinc deficiency which is a sign that it’s exactly what you need. A zinc deficiency could be from several things, but eating too much sugar is one of them. Start taking a supplement and adding proteins in slowly.
It’s also possible you have some leaky gut issue which can interfere with protein absorption. That’s something you can work with a natural healthcare practitioner (like me!) to remedy.
The ethical reasons for not eating meat I understand (to an extent). I believe that animals do deserve a good life and deserve respect. I don’t think “modern farming” is healthy. A lot of ranching practices, especially in the US, are unethical and unhealthy for sure. Cows are fed corn which makes them very sick. Chickens and pigs do not fare much better. They’re pent up, abused, given drugs, and then killed. It’s terrible.
But with some forethought, you can avoid conventional meats. Most people live within a reasonable distance to ethical farmers who raise free-range chickens and grass-fed and grazed cows. Or buffalo! Or you can go fishing. Or raise your own chickens. There are options.
Signs it’s time to add some quality animal proteins back in:
- fatigue; just not enough energy to optimally function
- weight loss or gain
- unexpected hormone changes (you need dietary fats to synthesize hormones)
- moodiness (from iron and B-deficiency)
Some ideas, other than a big slab of meat, that will help you add some vital nutrients back in:
- quality, food-based supplements
- whey protein protein powder
- free-range, soy-free eggs
- bone broth to eat plain or to cook with