I have never felt so strongly about staying alive.
Sure, I’ve tried my best to stay fit and healthy in the past, but the motivation has almost always been to look good and feel good, not necessarily to live a long and awesome life. Sometimes I would even sacrifice feeling good, if it meant I could look good.
This has always been motivation enough!
But now things are different and it’s all because of Mika. Whereas in the past, my present self would often win over my future self, my future self is now as convincing as ever – waving to me from my daughter’s future – and I will do everything I can to make sure that I’m there with her.
So this is what I want to tell people who ask me why I don’t eat meat, dairy or eggs. Sure, I care about the environment and the animals too, but the strongest motivation for me to avoid eating animal protein is simply the desire to maximise my chances of living a long and awesome life so I can share it with Mika.
If I tell people this they often get defensive and say things like ‘but meat/dairy/eggs are good for you!’ and ‘my doctor tells me to eat those things!’ and to that I say:
- People once believed smoking was good for you…
- And doctors smoked.
- Doctors get minimal training in nutrition
- Most of the sources that we trust for nutritional information are funded by the meat, dairy and egg industry
- It has been proven that animal protein is not good for us
And so when you consider the fact that we don’t need animal protein to be healthy, I see absolutely no reason to spend my money on animal protein whilst contributing to environmental issues, supporting huge profit driven industries and most importantly – increasing my chances of dying sooner or having a poorer quality of life.
The main things people then ask are:
- What about protein?
- What about calcium?
- What about B12?
Each of these questions can have long and very satisfying responses, but in brief:
The belief that we need huge amounts of protein and that the best source of this protein is meat has been around since the early 1900s. Meat was a symbol of wealth and strength – just as we strive for big houses and big cars, families strive to have meat on the table. Meat is not essential for our protein requirements. Do you know how much protein is in plants? Do you know how much protein our bodies require? (A starting point…)
We have been taught that milk gives us strong bones. The dairy industry equipped our doctors and our schools with marketing material to reinforce this message. So now when we see statistics that show the highest rates of osteoporosis are in countries where the most milk is consumed, we scratch our heads and wonder why.
Vitamin B12 is created by bacteria in the soil. Animals then eat the grass and plants and they become our source of B12. At some point in the past we would have consumed our vegetables from naturally organic soil with no need to thoroughly scrub and wash them, just like animals do. Unfortunately today, soil is often contaminated with pesticides and so it is necessary to completely clean all our produce, making them no longer a good source of B12. This is probably the only thing that I need to consider now that I eat a diet free of animal protein.
B12 is kept in the body for up to 3 years, so it’s not a pressing concern – but B12 deficiency isn’t too pleasant, so it’s good to find ways to get this vitamin in your body. This is probably the only supplement I would consider taking.
And then people shrug it off and say something like ‘well, everything in moderation’. And I can’t help but think even a moderate amount of heart disease or cancer doesn’t sound too good to me.
How does this make you feel?
Where to start
If you are curious, then here are a few resources to fuel your interest:
- Forks over Knives A film that will save your life
- Planeat Nothing changes the planet as much as the way we eat
- The China Study The most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted
I have a cool giveaway for the end of this week, so stay tuned!