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Veganism: A New Way of Life or Another ‘ism’

***ATTENTION: We have received so many questions on this topic we are holding a information workshop to discuss these concepts.  Here is link to the event – /https://www.facebook.com/events/302886583949701/

Veganism has risen in popularity recently with a number of movie producers, actors and athletes promoting its benefits. A vegan diet is to abstain from any animal foods, while a vegetarian diet is to be absent of any animal flesh but can include foods from an animal (e.g. dairy and eggs). This veganism movement has come at a time with the highest rates of disease ever in the history of humanity and increased awareness on the importance of nutrition on an individual’s health. There is also a genuine concern with animal cruelty in commercial farming environments and the impact of these practices on the ecosystem. This article will aim to address these considerations and propose a practical nutritional approach that is best for yourself and the planet!

Nutrition – Veganism and Macro-nutrients

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There is no species more influential to the health of the planet than human beings. We humans need to be running optimally in order to live our happiest and healthiest lives, in turn having a positive impact on those around us. We are all unique and have something different to contribute to the planet. In fact, we are as different on the inside as we are on the outside and have different nutritional requirements that best suit our individual biochemistry.

An excellent book called The Metabolic Typing Diet by William Wolcott showed that each individual has different macro-nutrient needs (carbohydrates, proteins and fats). Some people are suited to a diet higher in carbohydrates while others may be suited to a diet higher in protein and fat. Ideal ratios can be identified with questionnaires, diet diaries (as a feedback tool) and genetics linked with where an individual’s ancestors may have evolved to forage. Once an individual has determined their ideal macro-nutrient ratio, it is advised that this only be used as a guideline as nutrient requirements can change based on factors like weather, levels of physical activity, other stresses and days within the menstrual cycle.

This nutritional approach was built upon pioneering work conducted by Weston A Price in the 1930s. As a practising dentist, he became curious as to why so many people suffered extensive tooth decay, gum disease and structural deficiencies. He decided to travel the world and assess the health of isolated tribes compared to neighbouring communities influenced by modern practises. The results were quite simply outstanding! All the isolated tribes had little evidence of physical degeneration, structural deformities and disease compared to modernised neighbouring communities. Interestingly, each tribe adapted a different macro-nutrient profile that was essentially provided by the selective pressures of nature. Some tribes like inland Australian Aboriginals had diets high in carbohydrates while Alaskan Eskimos had diets high in protein and fat.

Interestingly, there was no tribe documented that adhered to a strict vegan diet or veganism. All had some animal foods and a deep appreciation of their environment.

Environment – Veganism and Organic 

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Some proponents of veganism have raised awareness of commercial animal agriculture on the environment and the treatment of animals in their habitat. We will address some of the common concerns and provide some alternative perspectives for you to consider.

Animal Cruelty

 Many of us agree that some commercial farming practices and treatment of animals are  immoral. The excellent news is that as consumers we can influence strongly commercial farming practices with our actions. By buying free-range organic produce, we are ensuring that animals live a long, happy and healthy life while positively contributing to the ecosystem. Unfortunately, there is loss of animal life in the farming of vegetables. Birds and insects are poisoned by chemicals in commercial farming, rabbits and mice are run over by tractors and vast fields of mono-cropped vegetables displace native populations of animals.

Many vegans may avoid eating animals due to the similarities in a human beings’ genetic makeup. However, research provided in the Secret Life of Plants (Peter Tomkins and Christopher Bird), and more recently by biologist Daniel Chamovitz in the book What a Plant Knows shows that plants, while less mobile, may be just as sentient as many animals!

So what can we eat to limit harm to other life? Life eats life; this is all throughout nature. It is best for an individual to honour, respect and be thankful for the food that nature has provided and in turn use it responsibility to contribute our best to the evolution of the planet.

Impact on the Environment

Commercial farming has been shown to adversely impact the environment. For example, conventional agriculture in cropping the soil uses chemicals in pesticides fertilisers and herbicides that produce greenhouse gas emissions. Approximately 5.6 billion pounds of pesticides are used every year, which are directly linked with an array of negative effects on human health and insects that help support the globe’s ecosystem.

While planting vegetables does withdraw nutrients from the soil, and have to be replenished after each harvest, organic farming practises don’t use these harmful chemicals, and some studies show saving on water and soil erosion. Organic foods have also been shown to have a higher nutrient density and more compatible nutritional profile suited to human beings. For more information on Organic Foods, you can download our ebook “Secrets of Organic Foods”

Free range animals also have a significant positive impact on soil health. They chomp on grass, which stimulates new growth and their urine and manure work critical microbes into the land. This increases the biodiversity of life underground, which helps to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

There is much debate about the methane cows excrete into the atmosphere. However, a recent four-year study from Michigan State showed that when implementing appropriate farming practices with grass-feed beef, the emissions were completely offset by the amount of carbon sequestered in the ground and even produced a net benefit.

What’s the Answer?

Human beings are a highly influential species, and your choices matter. Organic farming, for both animal and plant foods, has a remarkably positive impact on the environment. So you may wish to consider purchasing more organic foods in order to support the industry. It is more expensive, so it may be a slow reconsideration of priorities, but it is a lot healthier for yourself and the planet! Listen to your body and nourish yourself properly in order to have the vitality to make a positive contribution to the planet and to live a happy and healthy life.

Author: Mark Varitimos

Editor: Wendy and Words 

***ATTENTION: We have received so many questions on this topic we are holding a information workshop to discuss these concepts.  Here is link to the event – /https://www.facebook.com/events/302886583949701/

 


 

References

Wolcott, W & Fahey, T (2000), The Metabolic Typing Diet, Broadway Books, New York, New York

Chek, P (2016), CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coaching Program Level 1, Chek Institute, San Diego, California

Price, W (2008, 8th Edition), Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, The Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, Lemon Grove, California

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308521X17310338?_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_origin=gateway&_docanchor=&md5=b8429449ccfc9c30159a5f9aeaa92ffb

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2946087/

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20170109-plants-can-see-hear-and-smell-and-respond

www.sustainabledish.com/meat-is-magnificent/

 

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