Special Guest Series with Nutritionist Adrienne Hew: Dances with Meat, Part I
Hello everyone! I am pleased to announce a special guest series here at Ted the Butcher, featuring the accomplished nutritionist and author Adrienne Hew!
Adrienne and I have been discussing the ways in which meat and animal fat are essential components of a healthy diet, and after some conversation, Adrienne agreed to do a special guest series for us on the subject. Among other things, our discussions made a couple of things abundantly clear: if you want to lay down a strong foundation for your nutrition, it helps to know a good butcher who provides healthy, pasture-fed, antibiotic- and hormone-free meat. It also helps to know a great nutritionist like Adrienne to talk over ideas and figure out how to make the best diet and lifestyle choices for you!
Please show Adrienne some love by visiting her websites (here and here...full URL's below) and taking a look at her books, articles, and videos. If you have any questions about this piece, you can contact her here, or follow her on Facebook and Twitter!
Adrienne Hew has been called “the Nutrition Heretic” and “the Pope of Health” because her nutritional protocols work, despite contradicting virtually ALL of the nutrition gurus. Her mission is to help people improve their health and learn to love their bodies by bringing pleasure back to the table with fun and sustainable choices.
Her books 50 Ways to Eat Cock: Healthy Chicken Recipes with Balls! and Frenching Your Food: 7 Guilt-Free French Diet Tips to Slim Down, Look Younger and Live Longer without Calorie-Counting or Strenuous Exercise have been hailed as the next big thing in food and nutrition. You can find her online at AdrienneHew.com and NutritionHeretic.com, where you can get free recipes and advice about your health.
Dances with Meat, Part I: Chewing the Cud
We always hear so much about the dangers of eating meat: “Reduce your meat consumption!” “Saturated fat causes heart disease!” and “Cholesterol clogs arteries!”
Nag, nag, nag. Fear, fear, fear.
Yet despite our consistent reduction in animal protein and fat during the past half century, rates of all these disorders have skyrocketed along with epidemic levels of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, autism, infertility, degenerative joint and bone diseases and many new and rare afflictions. The truth is that the surge in these conditions closely parallels the increased avoidance of animal foods, not their consumption.
Simply abandoning meat could indeed be the worst choice for most people. Despite what we are told, we are not merely what we eat, but we are what we digest and assimilate as well.
Humans are designed to consume a wide variety of foods, and animal foods are central to proper nutrient absorption. Spinach, for example, may contain high levels of iron, but only 2-3% of it is absorbed versus 25% or more absorbed from a hamburger.
The reason for this is humans cannot break down the tough cellulose found in plants. This is why we rely on other animals such as cows, which chew cud across four stomachs, to turn cellulose into easily assimilated proteins and liberated nutrients from which we benefit.
Visit any vegan or raw food forum online and you’ll find an inordinate number of posts from non-meat advocates discussing health concerns such as joint pain, migraines, irritability and depression. The loss of essential nutrients has been known to cause joint pain, memory problems, obesity, allergies, cancers, autism and infertility.
Contrary to popular belief, there are NO records of societies who have successfully avoided all animal foods without dire health consequences—in fact, it would appear that any society that has attempted it died out completely. I certainly have not encountered any in 20 years of research and travel.
India is often cited as a society that has successfully demonstrated the benefits of a vegetarian diet. But is this true? While I love Indian food, including its vegetarian options, all I can ask is: India? Really? Is this what success looks like? I mean no disrespect, but besides the fact that most of the vegetarianism in that country is concentrated in the southern part (6%), it hardly appears to be an example of a healthy vegetarian society. India is home to one third of the world’s poorest, with 55% of its children (and theoretically adult population) being malnourished.
Even so, many of the world’s poor consume less or no meat out of economic hardship rather than biological drive. Yet even these groups still incorporate various forms of animal protein and fat to their vegetables, legumes and grains to boost nutrition, digestion, assimilation and satiety. Miso soup with its fish-based broth, Mexican food cooked in fresh (not hydrogenated) lard with flecks of pork or chicken, or Indian lentils cooked with clarified butter (ghee) and yogurt are all excellent examples of this practice.
Sadly the attempt to move towards a diet that is completely free of all animal foods is proving risky. Again, taking the example of India, ghee is being displaced by vegetable oils.
A few years ago, I was talking to an Indian colleague of mine whose family has been making ghee for over a century. He explained to me that most ghee in India is now replaced by the same rancid, industrialized vegetable oils that are eaten in the U.S., namely canola and soy. And just like in the U.S., they are experiencing an upswing in the same diseases we are seeing in the U.S.
The plight of vegetarian Indians gets even worse when they emigrate to England, where most of the produce is so “hygienic” that it lacks the microscopic insects that normally would be present in their farm-grown Indian counterparts. Combine this with the fact that vegetable oils are encouraged over traditional fats even more in England, which leads to an often fatal condition called pernicious anemia brought on by a lack of vitamin B12 in the diet.
The case of vegetarian Indians is a powerful example of how a diet that is completely devoid of protein and fat from animal-based foods is likely to result in widespread disease and malnourishment. A diet devoid of animal products may not only be risky, it may be downright dangerous.
So what can we say about all those healthy vegetarians and vegans out there? While many of them claim to be healthy, I have sadly found many of them to have far worse health than even people who eat a standard diet full of junk food. We will explore this in another article in this series.
In the meantime, grab a juicy steak, let go of the guilt, and know that it is feeding your brain and belly the way nature intended.