How meat is silently killing you!

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby on. Posted in Cooking, EVERYTHING ELSE, HEALTH, Pre-CONCEPTION

Before you make assumptions about what this post is regarding, let me tell you  this:
It is not about animal cruelty ( which is bad, but I prefer not to think about it as much as I can, because it upsets me).
Neither it is about me being vegetarian and trying to convert all you “sinners” to follow my way.
It also has nothing to do with religion, or politics.
All I want to talk about today is health. And weight loss. No, wait, weight loss deserves its own topic, but I’m sure I’ll be referring back to this post for why you should stop eating meat, besides the obvious- calories :) 
Meat is Murder, not because we have to hunt animals for food, but it is murder, because of how it Kills us!

I find it funny how when you tell people you’re vegetarian, the eyes start rolling. Like “OMG, one of those”. Actually, I think the same thing happens when people hear that you don’t drink coffee, or don’t consume alcohol. Instantly, it’s “Oh come on, live a little!”. When what you’re actually doing IS trying to make sure you live a LOT. Since when our healthy choices are laughed at and ridiculed.  How come when you say , “Oh no, I don’t smoke!”, no one goes “Weako!” or “Oh stop being so extreme!” Is it because it’s a widespread knowledge that smoking KILLS. But do you think that 50 years ago when the information was starting to come out that smoking is bad for you, when everyone and their mother puffed, people still accepted other people’s healthy choices ? I don’t think so. I think it’s human nature to disregard things until they’re up in their face and printed on the packaging “Smoking KILLS”. So until then, we, people who are CURRENTLY making healthy choices, are going to be given the stink eye and weird looks.
Now I am really not judging anyone. To be fairly honest, I DID THE EXACT SAME THING. A few years ago, whenever my husband and I would hear someone is vegetarian, we’d instantly roll our eyes and think “Weirdo! Now we have to modify what we make at home, while they’re visiting”. Yeah, I was there with you, meat eaters! Being annoyed at other people’s choices to be healthier. Now to be fair, I’m pretty sure some of those people’s choices were for religious reasons or “meat is murder” reason ( which is still annoying… hahaha… just kidding), but regardless of that, it was their choice and who were we to judge it. One thing I have to tell you is this: people who are vegetarians for the “right” reasons, will never make it inconvenient  for you. You don’t have to accommodate us. We will pick and choose what we eat and won’t make a big deal out of it. 

So before you decide to stop reading right there and go back to your meatloaf, do yourself a favor and hold your decision making until you actually know ALL the facts. One cannot say “I will never stop eating meat” unless they’re truly educated about what meat does to them. I did a lot of research on it and have felt all the positive effects of giving up meat products, such as clearer mind, weight loss, healthier body, better eating habits.

So if you don’t really eat meat, read up- you’ll be happy that you don’t and this will motivate you to continue being healthy.
If you do eat meat occasionally, but want a reason to make yourself stop, because you secretly know that it’s not good,  read up. It’ll convince you your feelings are right and give you an extra push to skip on that huge steak you just ordered.
Even if you’re a meat lover and don’t see any reasons whatsoever that you would willingly give up something as delicious as meat, read up anyways.   It never hurts to be educated about things you’re eating, even if you end up deciding to be ignorant about it ( in the nicest way possible). 

But until you have all your facts, you cannot make the right decision for you and your body. And that decision will be yours and will be respected. At least by me. 

So first,  I’d like to start with my own “meat” story to establish a baseline here. 


I was never CRAZY about meat. And when I say crazy, I mean I enjoyed meat (never steaks), I loved meat products: pepperoni, sausage, bacon, ham, chicken- you name it. I remember going a whole year eating nothing but Meat Lover’s Pizza Hut pizzas and banana splits ( thank you my skinny genes { as opposed to skinny jeans} and my 18 year old metabolism for letting me live that one down). Yeah, I wasn’t always a perfect healthy  food angel {Read: FREAK}
If it didn’t have meat I didn’t feel like I was getting food, substance. It was like trying to satisfy a primal hunger with a piece of hard candy.
Time went by and I was bombarded by article upon article about how bad meat was  for you because of the cholesterol. In my perfectionist mind, I wanted to live forever, therefore I needed to ease up on meat. I don’t think it was a conscious decision though. I was still eating like shit, still loving pepperoni ( switched to Super Supreme pizza though), buying microwavable dinners full of breaded chicken and pasta, and sausage. But at least now I knew that for my husband eating that chunk of rare steak is bad bad bad. Eventually meat left our dinner plates for diet reasons, when I needed to go from size 2 to size 0 for modeling, since it has the most calories.
But it wasn’t until I started getting ready to get pregnant did I truly understand how evil meat can be. Having done  lots of research and read a lot of books on pregnancy nutrition and the harm that eating animal products can do to a little fetus, made me even a stronger believer in being a vegetarian ( or, better yet, vegan if you can possibly handle that). And I am here to share my knowledge with you, so that even if you continue eating meat, you will at least do so, fully armed with facts  and not out of ignorance. 

One more thing I’d like to mention: before you go on declaring something like:” I’d never be able to give up meat/cheese/milk/whatever! I love it too much”, give it a try. If the facts I present are compelling enough, don’t disregard them simply out of “weak will” expectations, but “attempt” to do something about it, even if you expect yourself to fail. 

Again, I am not here to convince anyone, but give fact and information, to share my journey and experience, along with medical studies and research that has been done. 

So here we go: 

WHY IS MEAT MURDER?

Let’s start with the minor stuff. 

1. Saturated and Trans Fats

{ “I don’t want any vegetables, thank you. I paid for the cow to eat them for me” Doug Coupland  }

You’ve all heard it. Saturated fat is bad for you.  Everyone is well aware that saturated fat is bad for our cardiovascular system as well as our diet. Eating foods that contain saturated fats raises the level of cholesterol in your blood.  High levels of blood cholesterol increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.  In addition to that, many foods high in saturated fats are also high in cholesterol – which raises your blood cholesterol even higher.  The majority come mainly from animal sources, including meat and dairy products.  Examples are fatty beef, lamb, pork, poultry with skin, beef fat (tallow), lard and cream, butter, cheese and other dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat (2 percent) milk.  These foods also contain dietary cholesterol.
Add to that the fact that most processed foods and baked goods are full of saturated fat due to current manufacturing processes and we have a nation that is inundatedwith saturated fat in their diets. We get up to 3 times more saturated fat that we should. All by itself in reasonable quantities saturated fat isn’t that bad. However, if you review your daily food intake, you will surely find more than the allowable 16 grams of saturated fat. 

Now, trans fat is even more dangerous than saturated fats, and it also occurs naturally in animal products as well as processed foods, with the majority of them found in commercial baked goods (pastries, biscuits, muffins, cakes, pie crusts, doughnuts and cookies) and fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, breaded chicken nuggets and breaded fish), snack foods (popcorn, crackers), and other foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, traditional vegetable shortening or stick margarine. 

There have been numerous studies linking these type of fats to heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol level. A new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine looked at the diet of more than 500,000 Americans over a span of 10 years. It found that (other things being equal), men and women who consumed the most red and processed meat were likely to die sooner, especially from heart disease and cancer, than those who consumed much less. The increased mortality risk from consuming higher levels of red meat ranged from 20 to 40 percent. Another one that followed more than 72,000 women for 18 years found that those who ate a Western-style diet high in red and processed meats, desserts, refined grains, and French fries had an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and death from other causes. 

Researchers suggest limiting hamburgers to once or twice a week, a small steak to every other day, and a hot dog to every 6 weeks. 

In the study, those participants who consumed larger amounts of fish and white-meat poultry, and those who consumed larger amounts of fruits and vegetables tended to live longer than those who did not. Poultry and fish contain lower amounts of saturated fat than red meat, and fish also contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. 

To reduce the “bad” fat intake, try eating less animal products, swap them for fat free diary and Omega 3 rich fish, more vegetables, beans and legumes and stay away from commercially processed foods. The best way to ensure this is to cook at home and eat as many fresh foods and possible. 

I know you’ll say “Hey, that means I can still eat meat as long as I limit it?”
Well, yes and no. There’s a lot more wrong with meat than just some saturated and trans fats. So read up. 

2. Digestion

{“Happiness: a good bank account, a good cook, and a good digestion”  Jean-Jacques Rousseau}  

I hear you saying “Ah! Who cares about digestion?”
YOU should! 

Your large intestine (colon) is the most important under-repped organ in your body. It is the first organ to be developed in the fetus. Because without a proper waste elimination system, we will be literally poisoned. If you eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and rarely any animal fat, your bowel movement should be perfect: fast easy and daily or more than once a day. For most people, however, who follow the standard American diet, the colon is the most toxic place in the body. 

Red meats on average take from 1 to 3 days to be completely digested and eliminated from the body. They take much longer to digest than other foods because of their high protein and fat content. When meat has been processed or ingested with other incompatible types of foods ( carbohydrates to be exact, which exactly what your average American eats: meat and potatoes), it takes up to 5 times longer to digest, because different types of foods require different digestive juices, which disrupts our whole digestive process, thus making it even longer. As a result, the partially digested meat start to petrify (spoil) right there inside of your body, going through the colon and releasing all the toxicity it holds. After years and years of eating this way, it starts to get very tough on our colon, thus giving us digestive problems in the older age. 

Wouldn’t you think that we are supposed to feel fresh and energized every time we have a meal, since food is a source of energy? You would think so. However, most people experience stomach pains, heartburn, gas, constipation, and extreme fatigue immediately after a large meal ( Thanksgiving anyone?). That occurs because digestions also happens to be the most energy sucking activity our body can do. It takes more energy to digest a meal than to run a marathon. And when we’ve treated our mouth like a garbage disposal putting into it anything that looks, smells or tastes good without any regard to its content, no wonder that we are ALWAYS exhausted after a big meal. Our body is struggling to digest all the fat and a mess of protein and carbs. The more we throw in there, the longer it takes to digest, the more it starts to spoil before we are able to eliminate it.
All this stress on our large intestines is bound to affect us somehow. Which brings me to: 

3. Colon Cancer

{You are full of shit!} 

Colon (large intestine) cancer  is the fourth most common form of cancer in the United States and the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the Western world. What? You didn’t think that all that disregard for our digestion and nutrition would  get us anywhere? I realize many of you have never heard of this type of cancer, or never knew anyone with it, but do you really think anyone would willingly admit they have COLON cancer? Come on! It’s much more prevalent than it seems. it’s one of those things that you don’t know about it until it hits you ( or your family).
many studies have been done that linked dietary and lifestyle habit, specifically red meat consumption, to developing colorectal cancer. 

In a study involved more than 140,000 men and women that was led by the American Cancer Society, researchers collected information about the participants’ eating habits over a ten-year period. When the study was over, the average age of participants was 63. In comparing red meat consumption to colorectal cancer incidence, researchers found that people who ate a lot of red meat were 30-40% more likely to develop cancer of the lower colon and rectum than people who didn’t eat much red meat.  However , lifestyle changes ( such as exercising, healthy diet)  could decrease the risk of colorectal cancer as much as 60-80%. 

4. Cancer ( in general)

{“The more you cook, the worse you look. The more you fry, the faster you’ll die”} 

Aside from a very high risk of colon cancer, according to the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research “red or processed meats are convincing or probable sources of some cancers.” Their report says evidence is convincing for a link between red meat, processed meat, and colorectal cancer, lung, esophageal, stomach, pancreatic, and endometrial cancers. 

National Cancer Institute also points to a large number of studies that link red meat consumption with chronic diseases. 

The question is why? Why does red meat cause cancer? There’re several reasons, besides the ones I already mentioned above in the Colon Cancer and Digestion section. 

When meat is cooked or grilled, carcinogens can form on the surface. They’re called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). And processed meats like sausage or pepperoni usually contain nitrosamines, another known carcinogen.  Saturated fat has been linked to cancers of the colon and breast. Heme iron, the type of iron found in meat, may produce compounds that  can damage cells, leading to cancer. And the most importantly, in my opinion, high levels of dioxins ( read below). 

The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends that we limit cooked meat in our diets, while completely avoiding  any processed meat products, such as sausage, deli meats, ham, bacon, hot dogs, and sausages. If you do choose to eat meat, make sure not to overcook it and trim all the fat before cooking. Keep in mind that most frozen meat products, such a burger patties,  contain as much as 50% fat ( the guideline for lean meat is at most 5% fat)

It’s like they say “The more you cook, the worse you look. The more you fry, the faster you’ll die” 

5. Agricultural standards

(” You are what you eat and you are what what your food eats” )

Agriculture is a business like any other. Which means it operates based on a business motto:”Faster, Cheaper, Easier”. Cows are shot up with growth hormones (steroids) to make them grow faster and stronger. They are administered numerous antibiotics to keep them disease free  and living longer. As result, we have beef full of steroids and antibiotic resistant bacteria.
To add insult to an injury,  they’re being fed the most horrible disgusting stuff you could ever imagine: chopped up animal carcasses. Long gone are the days of cows serenely mooing at the pasture. These cows are stuck in modified cages and fed animal by-products ( meat, rather than grass) that their stomachs are not designed to digest. Cows are herbivores by nature, they’re made to eat grass. So when fed animal fat, they retain all the toxins, poison and diseases present in all their feed. And with  humans being at the top of the food chain, those toxic elements eventually end up in our body ( read above about colon cancer and digestion). And this is the kind of meat that ends up being sold in our grocery stores.

“What about grass fed cows, organic meat?” you might ask. So fine, take out the last paragraph about agricultural standards, however everything else still applies and it’s still pretty darn bad. Dioxins ( read below) are present in “organic” cows and do quite a lot of damage.

 6. Dioxins ( my favorite and most recent topic of research)

{If you’re a woman of childbearing age, this is of UTMOST importance to you}

Most people have heard about pesticides and other carcinogens, but very few people know what dioxins are, which is very strange, considering the omnipresence of these highly toxic substances.

Dioxins are considered to be some of the most toxic chemicals known to science and describe a group of elements that are a by-product of many manufacturing processes involving chlorine. In simple words, these are very dangerous carcinogens that are present in our environment and our bodies without the general public really knowing much about them.

Since dioxins are stored in fat of humans and animals and last virtually an eternity, they are everywhere: in our bodies, in animal products such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, in the oceans, on our grass and produce, in our bloodstream.
Our major sources of dioxin are in our diet. Since dioxin is fat-soluble, it bioaccumulates, climbing up the food chain. A North American eating a typical North American diet will receive 93% of their dioxin exposure from meat and dairy products (23% is from milk and dairy alone; the other large sources of exposure are beef, fish, pork, poultry and eggs). In simple words, it’s like this: dioxins “settle” on grass that is then fed to the cows, they accumulate in cows, that are then fed to humans, so we end up being the end carriers of all of the dioxins of the world. A worse scenario: cows being fed with animal by-products that are already full of dioxins-> we get triple  the dose of dioxins, which then stay with us for 7-10 years. The fattier the animal product, the more dioxins  it has. Even cows and animals who are WILD and GRASS FED have high levels of dioxins due to their exposure, especially in the Midland of America.

What about vegetable produce and grains? Didn’t you say dioxin “accumulates” there too? Yes and no! It can only be stored in FAT, so vegetables, fruits and grains don’t “store” it, they simply have it on the surface. Wash the produce well and you’re good to go. In EPA’s dioxin report, they refer to dioxin as hydrophobic (water-fearing) and lipophilic (fat-loving). So in the end dioxins will always end up on ( or more like, IN) top of the food chain, i.e. humans.

But that’s not the scariest thing!  Besides there not being a “safe” level of exposure to dioxins, their “half-life” is about 7 to 10 years, depending on the individual age and  levels of dioxins. That means once in our bodies, it takes about 7 years to get rid of them. What’s even scarier is that general US population already has them at or neat the level with adverse health effects. We all have it, and we all continually ingest it day after day. 

In addition to cancer, exposure to dioxin can also cause severe reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system and interfere with hormonal systems. Dioxin exposure has been linked to birth defects, inability to maintain pregnancy, decreased fertility, reduced sperm counts, endometriosis, diabetes, learning disabilities, immune system suppression, lung problems, skin disorders, lowered testosterone levels and much more. 

These effects are often hardly noticed and are attributed to other conditions and genetic problems. There’s no way to find out where weak immune systems, genetic abnormalities, cancers, learning disorders come from. And it’s even harder to pinpoint them to dioxin exposure, because it works under the radar.

However, developing fetuses and infants are most at risk from these effects.  This is because these chemicals “mimic” or “block” estrogen and progesterone, natural hormones which instruct the body on how it should develop. Hormones regulate how an unborn baby develops. If they’re disrupted, horrible things can happen. While our bodies might be big enough and strong enough to not see much damage from the level of dioxins in our systems, a little pea sized embryo will have it at a toxic level causing developmental disorders, genetic abnormalities( and thus miscarriages), diabetes at birth, hormonal disorders that lead to obesity and worse.  All humans get a first dose of their dioxins through the mother’s placenta, and then through breast milk if breastfed, making breast-feeding for non-vegan/vegetarian mothers quite hazardous. So if you’re a non-vegan female who is planning on having a kid in the next 7 years, you can be sure that baby will get a nice dose of dioxins through the placenta and then through the milk before it can even do its own damage by eating meat later in life. In just six months of breast feeding, a baby in the United States will, on average, consume the EPA’s maximum lifetime dose of dioxin. Breast milk contains high levels of fat. This means that dioxin levels in the bodies of newborn babies are already at levels that put them at risk of serious illness. “The amount of chemicals required to disrupt normal development could be as low as one part in a trillion, the equivalent of a single drop of liquid placed in the center car of a 10-kilometer long cargo train. Dioxins are also highly persistent in the environment and extremely resistant to chemical or physical breakdown.”

This was probably the biggest argument that made me reinforce my desire to not eat meat and had me stop eating most cheese and dairy products ( I still drink yogurt and kefir due to its positive effects on bacterial balance and digestion, and I eat certain types of fish that are low in mercury and dioxins, like sardines).

I have to say that  eating fatty fish is very beneficial to our health, benefits that are hard to achieve in a pill form. If you decide to eat fish for health benefits, just keep in mind that ocean fish has significantly lower levels of dioxins  than freshwater fish. So seeing as I am preparing for a pregnancy, I have allowed myself sardines for two reasons: Sardines do not eat other fish, but plankton, and they reside in the oceans, therefore their dioxin levels, as well as mercury levels are negligible compared to the healthy omega 3 fatty acids that they are full of.

If you’re eating the typical North American diet, this is where you are getting your dioxin from:

Dioxin Exposure Chart
Chart from EPA Dioxin Reassessment Summary 4/94 – Vol. 1, p. 37Now, I do know that our government is making”some” efforts to reduce the amount of dioxins in our country, it is obviously not enough. I think the most important thing is public awareness. If you want to eat meat so bad that you’re willing to risk years of your life and your baby’s health, at least it’s your decision. But people CAN NOT make those decisions without having all the facts and being educated on the matter. And articles titled “meat is bad because it raises your blood cholesterol level” obviously aren’t doing enough to make people want to stop eating animal products. Michael Jacobson, executive Director of Center for Science in the Public Interest, suggested that  food labels could include dioxin levels. That way maybe consumers would begin to eat less greasy fatty food if they were told how much dioxin was in each serving.

A final note on the dioxin topic: There’s no way to get rid of dioxins for men. They have to wait until dioxins break down in 7-10 years. Women have two ways to expel dioxins out of their systems: through the placenta and through breast milk, neither one is viable for obvious reasons. I would also imagine that you can somehow get rid of dioxins in your system through weight loss since they’re stored in fat, however the danger of that I’d imagine is the increased amount of dioxins in bloodstream that needs to be cleared out by your liver and kidneys. So if you’re losing weight and were a big meat eater, make sure you do everything to properly support your liver and kidney functions.

So with all that being said ( and I hope I haven’t lose you yet),

 is there ANYTHING GOOD about meat?

Well, red meat is high in iron, something many teenage girls and women in their childbearing years are lacking. The heme iron in red meat is easily absorbed by the body. Red meat also supplies vitamin B12, which helps make DNA and keeps nerve and red blood cells healthy, and zinc, which keeps the immune system working properly.Red meat provides protein, which helps build bones and muscles. 

“Calorie for calorie, beef is one of the most nutrient-rich foods,” says Shalene McNeil, PhD, executive director of nutrition research for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “One 3-ounce serving of lean beef contributes only 180 calories, but you get 10 essential nutrients.” 

However, I think all that can be found in other varied foods, as well as supplemented, to be sure.

How come our predecessors lived just fine eating meat? The first questions is DID they? Back then the average median age was 40 years old. Now, I wouldn’t link it to meat consumption, however  you cannot compare what our predecessors did or did not do due to completely different circumstances and environment we live in. First of all, our planet wasn’t as polluted as it is now, with dioxins poisoning us. Secondly, our predecessors had  much healthier lifestyles and diets, working in the field all day, and not sitting at the computer. They also didn’t have all the processed foods we’re having now, even if you think you eat relatively healthy. They didn’t have restaurants stuff their food with MSG and fats for better taste and present them with portions 3 to 4 times larger than an average serving. They had healthy trim lean cows that ate clean grass rather than animal by products, chickens that ran around all day, rather than be locked in cages and pumped with hormones and antibiotics, wild fish that was caught in the clean unpolluted waters, unless nowadays when farmed salmon while being a healthy fish in the wild, is so fat, it’s no longer worth eating it for the sake of its barely existent omega 3s. Our predecessors didn’t smoke, didn’t abuse alcohol, didn’t breathe the polluted air we breath.

So we have to deal with the time we live in now. And as far as I am concerned, while there’re certain things I cannot help as much I’d like to, such as what I breathe ( pollution), mercury content in fish, dioxins in animal products, one thing I can control is what I put inside of myself willingly. There’re plenty of reasonable and tasty ways of getting enough protein and B vitamins and iron in my body that I do not need to rely on contaminated products. I chose health, I chose exercise, I chose being educated and knowing my facts and making my own decisions, I choose to be prepared. I choose to  live as long as I can, for my kids and my husband and my parents. It might NOT be your choice, I realize that. Some people choose to be lazy and not exercise regardless of numerous studies showing that how exercise modifies our whole body: keeps us healthy, stress free, disease free, it keeps our brain sharp. ( That’s another post), and it’s their choice. Others choose to eat whatever their heart desires and be obese, regardless of consequences. Those are their choices and they will have to live with them. So this is your choice as well, like any other.
But I choose NOT to ignore my facts and take care of myself.

I really hope that you got something useful out of  MY choices and reasoning behind them. And I hope you will make your own decision to be healthy, even if it’s in you own way.

Some people will say: “So what now I can’t live at all? If we’re worried about everything then it’ll be no fun to live?”

Yes, and it won’t be any fun to die prematurely, will it? Or have a baby with birth defects, or diabetes, or cancer, or asthtma or high blood pressure, caused by your unhealthy lifestyle. One thing I can tell you from my own experience is that you LIKE what you’re USED to. Once you make the choice to change your habits and stick with them, it becomes an easier choice every day. You eat an pear instead of a cookie, you make beans and veggies instead of meatloaf,  you cook a vegetable pizza on a whole wheat bread, instead of ordering Pizza Hut, you drink water instead of Coke, you eat salt water fish instead of steak. It becomes second nature and you enjoy it just as much. You enjoy the clarity of mind that comes with clean eating, the unstoppable energy radiating from you every time you eat, you enjoy your lean body that doesn’t seem to gain any weight regardless of how much you eat, you enjoy your clear skin and most importantly you enjoy passing it down to your children and bringing them up in the same manner, to be healthy and young forever.

I’m not saying meat will do it all. You have to start somewhere, and removing the biggest offender is the first move.
I am a vegetarian and my husband just turned vegan about 4 months ago. He has lost about  30 pounds without cutting calories or dieting by just becoming vegan and has never been clearer minded and more full of energy. I will probably turn vegan as well, once I’m done making babies and breastfeeding, but for now I do allow myself kefir/yogurt and sardines for health benefits.

I’d love to learn about your experience with food and meat and weight loss and health. How do you feel about meat?

{I am currently writing a post about healthy eating and weight loss in general, not centered on meat,
so look forward to many tips on how to make your diet more healthy and clean}

Please feel free to share a link to this post with your friends and family or reblog it on your sites. I think it’s important to spread the information out as much as possible because our government doesn’t seem to think it’s important enough and people tend not to listen.

 

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Please don’t forget to VOTE daily!


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Comments (40)

  • Leeka K.

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    Elena, thank you so much for writing this! Very Helpful and informative! :)

    Reply

  • Irina

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    This is an excellent post. Can I make a suggestion? It’s much too long. I loved the beginning. I prepped myself on the pillows to enjoy it all, but after I got to the “Facts” I had to just run through, because each was so long. A point after point would have made it so much more reader friendly.
    Otherwise, I’m on the same page. We’ve talked about it. I stopped eating meat without even realizing it. I just began buying more of the things I REALLY love – fruit, veggies, fish,- and noticed I didn’t want to bother preparing meat. Now, I see the difference: I feel lighter. My body feels cleaner and more alive. When I think of someone consuming large quantities of meat, I immediately picture a red, round, shiny face, fat and grease oozing from every pore. However, I believe it’s a personal choice. If my date orders a Steak, I might try a little piece if he insists its good, but inevitably I just get more convinced how much I DON’T miss eating meat.

    Reply

  • Iva

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    Wow, you sure did read a lot of stuff :) It was really interesting reading all of your arguments, especially since you know we don’t quite share the same views on this topic :) But I couldn’t help but notice that all of the studies are American ones. Not that eating the same meat is any different depending on where you live, but I believe Americans eat much more processed foods and it’s quite hard to compare some lean chicken breasts that have been cooked at home (or even at a restaurant – it’s not that different over here) to chicken mcnuggets for example. Plus American doctors say that you should substitute butter for margarine for a healthier lifestyle and everyone here knows margarine is probably one of the worst things you can possibly eat. It is even illegal to cook food with it in kindergardens here (only butter and olive oil allowed).
    And as a friend of mine said “Thanksgiving food is probably the healthiest meal Americans eat all year, they just eat way too much.” And yeah, he’s an American.

    The thing about how animals are fed and all the shitty stuff they put in them, now that I completely agree with! And that is the reason why I don’t eat anything that comes from the US (or any other country for that matter), especially meat (can you imagine they ship all the meat for KFC for example all the way to here?) The thing is, here it’s very easy to buy an animal and take good care of it. For example, my dad and some of his friends bought a pig a couple of years ago, hired a man to take care of it and in the end we got good quality meat that we knew for sure was good. Or you can very easily get milk straight from a cow (even my parent’s neighbors have cows and we see them graze every day).

    And last, I think if humans were meant to be vegans, then we would just be herbivores and our teeth would look differently and babies wouldn’t need breast milk. My personal belief is that the closest to nature we stay, the better.

    Reply

    • E

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      I agree, but see, even the cleanest meat is contaminated due to our pollution. Dioxins are at the same level in a remote village as they are somewhere in America. Regardless of where you get your cow, they’re still full of dioxins. So yeah we were meant to eat meat, but we werren’t meat to eat polluted meat. And that’s something we can’t get away from.

      I wouldn’t say a typical american eats chicken mugnuggets instead of well cooked chicken, I mean we’re not all fast food junkies here. Most normal people avoid fast food just like anyone else in Europe. But there are still some other reasons for why meat is bad that I mentioned here, besides the typical hormone shot, animal fed, antibiotic full meat.

      Reply

  • Sonya

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    “I was still eating like shit” hahahahah, this is why I love your blog!

    This post made me giggle, and I am so giving up meat after this…like honestly, blehhh I want to live till I’m 114 years old :] no joke

    Reply

  • Elisa Hirsch

    |

    Great info. Very interesting to read 😉

    I found you from the blog hop. I’m following.

    ecwrites.blogspot.com

    Reply

  • Sharon

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    Read the book The China Study. It explains why animal protein causes cancer. Cancer shouldn’t grow unless it is fed with animal protein. I just found your blog through Sunday Snapshot. Love your photography and when I found this post it was all over for me. My husband who was a huge meat eater turned Vegan after reading The China Study. He tells me I should make a cookbook that shows men they can be full and satisfied on a vegan diet, because he, like a lot of men, didn’t think it were possible. Now he brags to everyone about the meals I make for us. Great blog and I can’t wait to check out more of it!

    Reply

  • Iva

    |

    Hey, I was reading about saturated fats and found some articles about the connection between saturated fat and cholesterol. I am in no way trying to persuade you to eat meat or anything (god no!!) but the first point you put out there is just simply not true.
    http://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/low-carb-diet
    http://abcnews.go.com/WN/story?id=5388954&page=1
    “While low-fat dieters lost an average of 7.3 pounds over the two-year period, those following the Mediterranean diet shed 10.1 pounds. The low-carb dieters peeled off the most weight, losing an average of 12.1 pounds.
    And perhaps the most surprising: people on the low-carb diet, even after two years of dining on meat and cheeses and eggs, did not have increased cholesterol levels. In fact, it actually lowered the cholesterol numbers of study participants.

    “A low-carb diet, by giving up pasta, and bread, and potatoes, lowers insulin levels in the body,” Dr. Eric Westman of Duke University said. “And when there’s less insulin, the body produces less harmful cholesterol.” ”

    There’s even a lot of information and links on wikipedia too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-carbohydrate_diet

    The thing is the US apparently supports low fat diets with a lot of carbs (we adopted that in the EU I checked:) and the government is the one deciding for which studies to pay. Which means that of course it will invest in more studies that support their view. Whether it’s cheaper or easier to produce carbs rather than good quality meat or diary and therefore they advocate for it so much we will never know. But their views towards fat are slowly starting to change.

    As for the pollution, well there’s pretty much no escape from that, even if you eat vegetables and nothing else. There’s so much nitrates, pesticides etc. “They found convincing parallels between age adjusted rises in mortality from certain illnesses — Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and diabetes — and the steadily increasing human exposure to nitrates, nitrites and nitrosamines through processed and preserved foods as well as fertilizers.” – http://www.naturalnews.com/026566_nitrates_disease_diabetes.html And peeling the skin of the fruit/vegetable isn’t always of much help.

    My point is, eat whatever you like that’s not bad for you by itself and try to get it as clean as you can. If we have to worry about every single thing then we shouldn’t even be breathing because the air is polluted as well. Don’t get me wrong – I worry a lot about those things as hell but I sometimes find myself get too carried away.

    Reply

    • E

      |

      That’s where I have to disagree with you. I am in no way saying that people should be eating no saturated fat, neither am I talking about any kind of diets. The point is that saturated fats need to be in our diets in reasonable amounts, not three times the amount like most people’s diets. The first point also talks about trans fats which are by far worse than saturated fats. I’m also not worried about losing weight or such, I’m simply talking about healthy eating. And yes, people on low fat diets ( which I am not a supporter of) eat a lot of refined carbs, which is wrong. If they were to switch to whole grains and vegetables, we wouldn’t have the effects of higher insulin levels. So you’re comparing apples and oranges. I don’t believe a diet should be “low” in anything. We need both carbs and protein and a tiny bit of fats, but it all has to be the healthy types.
      Another point you tried to make is that everything we eat is “poisoned” which is true. But I am trying to pick the lesser of the two evils. Obviously, there is a lot more wrong with meat and animal products than just saturated fats. Veggetables do have nitrates and pesticides, but that’s why you buy them organic without all that mess. At least I have an option to do that.
      I don’t think eating an very lean organic piece of meat is bad, but there’re very few options for it, and people tend to eat more than just that piece, including overly processed products, like deli.
      But in light of everything that’s wrong with meat, I prefer getting my protein elsewhere, like beans and nuts and whole grains.

      Reply

  • Iva

    |

    Alright, because 20 years ago people thought saturated fats were bad for you and your cholesterol (which is now proved that is totally wrong) they decided to use unsaturated fatty acids instead. And yeah, thanks to that now we have trans fat in so many foods. Using vegetable oils and cooking those and of course the processed food industry are the biggest sources of trans fats. Not meat. http://www.organic-coconut-oil.com/trans-fats.htm
    It isn’t even proved that the trans fats that are found in the nature (meat and diary) are bad for you – “The US National Dairy Council has asserted that the trans fats present in animal foods are of a different type than those in partially hydrogenated oils, and do not appear to exhibit the same negative effects.” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans_fat ). I couldn’t find exactly how much trans fat was in meat (it just says “little amount” or “very little” wherever I looked – if you have this as information I’d love to see it because I’m really curious). Also, there’s “natural” trans fat in human milk ( about 7.2% of the total fatty acids) and I believe nobody thinks breast milk is harmful for your baby, even the opposite.

    There’s so much trans fat in baked goods though, cereals, crackers etc. Olive oil is great as long as you don’t cook with it (only butter or pure fat, as gross as this may sound, are suitable for cooking because saturated fats cannot become trans fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can). It’s a little different story when it comes to olive oil but if you heat it above its smoke point (which varies from 110 to 204ºC depending where you are getting your information from) it oxidizes and you get peroxide. Not only that but when olive oil reaches its smoke point production of glycerol starts and that turns into acrolein which is well, toxic.

    So all I’m trying to say is that meat is considered the root of all evil and if you compare what most people eat every day, meat is probably one of the healthiest things on their menu (I would put vegetables before meat but a lot of people don’t eat much vegetables, which is just crazy). So I say, remove all the processed food, eat only things that can be found in nature, get those as clean as you can (grow them yourself or buy organic when possible, including meat) and you should be okay.

    Apart from that I agree with you 100%! I also eat whole grains and beans every day, I just don’t eat as much as the USDA suggests but let’s say that’s for everyone to decide for themselves. As for the amounts of meat I believe that the reason people eat more is because they eat only meat or meat and potatoes (at least that’s the reason I was eating more meat than I should have a few months ago) If you fill more than half of your plate with vegetables and you eat those it’s hard to eat more than one piece of meat with it. Perfect example is my dad when we had lunch the other day. He ordered baked fish and I told him to get a salad and vegetables as a side instead of french fries. In the end he ate his salad and almost all of his veggies and left 1/3 of his fish (the whole piece was about 150grams), he was just full.

    Reply

    • E

      |

      You keep talking about saturated fat but that was only one of the reasons not to eat meat and as I stated a very minor one. When I was talking about trans fats I might have not made it clear but I was saying why trans fata are bad and what they can be found in. It’s an absolute given that all processed foods especially processes meat products are horrible and need to be avoided. But aside from sat fat there’s just so much more wrong with meat.
      As far as some of your information is concerned , you really can’t get the actual facts from US national Dairy council Hannah that is just too biased. The council consists of the heads of agricultural businesses and dairy businesses :). I read the same thing from the head of the agricultural council. They can deny facts all they want and twist them to prove evidence to be limited, but the independent studies are there to prove them wrong. Us dept of cancer research has no monetary gain in telling people the facts about how meat and meat products especially cause cancer.

      As far as oils are concerned you are 100% right and that is something people aren’t aware of. Recently I watched an friend of mine cook meat BOILING in oil and it took everything in me not to give him a lecture about what he’s doing to his food and body.

      Reply

    • Paige

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      I noticed that the USDA also suggests a certain amount of healthy oils in your diet, if all of your protien is nuts (and fish) you get those oils naturally and healthily. If you even throw in two ounces of beef (for the once ounce of nuts you’d need to eat to make the same serving) you don’t get any of those oils. This was when I learned that we have evidence of a vegitarian diet being the healthiest everywhere (even/especially on the USDA’s resources and website, although tons of people act like the USDA is evidence of the opposite), if people care enough to broaden their mind and research a little.

      Reply

  • Flower Photography

    |

    This is really interesting! We haven’t been eating much meat lately due to the cost of it mainly. It would be a big transition to cut it out altogether and I also struggle to think of what to replace it with. Will have to do some looking up – have you got any posts on that and/or recipes?

    Reply

    • Elena @ Art of Making a Baby

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      Well, in general you should make veggies your main meal and grains and meats your side. But there’re plenty of things that you can use instead of meat in meals: beans, sauteed vegetables, veggie burgers, brown rice, whole grains.

      You can read more about a healthier lifestyle every week on GET FIT: http://prebabyblog.com/category/getfit/

      Reply

  • Gianna

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    Thanks for this post. It has given me a lot to think about. I’m still not convinced about vegans, but this was a great post with some good things to think about. Can I ask if you husband eats honey?

    Reply

    • Elena @ Art of Making a Baby

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      We aren’t really “honey” people, but it’s definitely not something he excludes or avoids. I don’t believe it has animal fat, so it’s not an issue ( though I no nothing about honey, it very well could have animal fat lol)

      Reply

  • Annie

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    Also, In response to this comment from you,

    “We aren’t really “honey” people, but it’s definitely not something he excludes or avoids. I don’t believe it has animal fat, so it’s not an issue ( though I no nothing about honey, it very well could have animal fat lol)”

    vegans don’t eat honey because they think it is harmful for the bees,

    “Like other factory-farmed animals, honeybees are victims of unnatural living conditions, genetic manipulation, and stressful transportation … Profiting from honey requires the manipulation and exploitation of the insects’ desire to live and protect their hive.” http://planetgreen.discovery.com/food-health/reason-vegans-honey.html

    NOT because it has animal fats in it. WOW. I guess you skipped your research on that one.

    Reply

    • Elena @ Art of Making a Baby

      |

      Annie,

      I am not going to respond to your earlier point, because obviously instead of taking everything I wrote at face value, you chose to read between the lines and make your own assumptions about what “I must have meant” and I just don’t have the time, energy or desire to dispute your opinion about what it is you think I said.
      However, you obviously didn’t do YOUR research because ( on the honey subject, for example), because some people become vegans and vegetarians for reasons other than just animal cruelty. For us, it’s simply dietary and health reasons. We feel better eating that way (physically) and the research supports it’s better for us health-wise. That’s all. So honey isn’t an issue for my husband as long as it doesn’t have animal fat, because animal fat is what seems to have an effect on how he feels.

      And ok, while I’m at it, yes, the idea of colon cancer did embarrass me until I read more about it and got used to idea of it ( my aunt had colon cancer too btw). And yes, cancer can get anyone (I thought it’d be a given for anyone who reads it, without making ridiculous assumptions), however taking certain steps might help mitigate the risk factors.

      I would suggest that before you assume things about people and complain about things they “supposedly meant”, you should sort out your own feelings on the matter, move them aside and then read the article the way it’s supposed to be read, as an information piece written by a person with their own opinions, ideas and lifestyle that might differ from your opinion, ideas or lifestyle. I don’t need to be a dietitian or a doctor to cite publicly available research and give my own opinion.

      Reply

      • Annie

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        I find it amusing that you felt the need to delete the part of my reply that actually had the most to do with your article. Could it possibly be that maybe you have no response to my argument because you’re wrong.
        (…)
        And I did do my research. Your husband is not a vegan if eats honey.
        (…)

        Reply

        • Elena @ Art of Making a Baby

          |

          Annie, I deleted those parts, because I wasn’t going to respond to those parts ( I actually ended up referring to them at the end of the comment). Like, I said I wasn’t even going to respond to you comment at all, but you were respectful about how you wrote things, and that always deserves respect from me as well. Besides, if you’re writing this for me to read, what do you care if I take out the parts I am referring to? You know I read them.

          I don’t care if my husband isn’t “vegan”, because he could potentially eat honey. I don’t care about labels, really. The point is he doesn’t eat most animal products. And you know what, sometimes he’ll lick the frosting off my cupcake, just because he wants to. Does that disqualify him as a vegan? There’re many types of people. Vegan is just the closest “label” one can put on him.

          Just like, I normally a 100% vegetarian, but I also almost never drank milk and ate cheese, but I wasn’t determined to avoid them. I am not vegan, I know that. And now that I am pregnant and have to eat some fish for its nutrition and iron and etc. does that make me not vegetarian? And once I am not pregnant anymore and go back to not eating fish, am I a vegetarian again. I don’t know and I honestly don’t care. I don’t understand why you feel the need to argue over labels. That wasn’t the point of the article. It was a list of reasons for why meat could be bad for you. period.

          Also, I don’t see how this post could be offensive to cancer survivors. If anything, I was trying to let people know how to possibly help them avoid it in the future. Education and knowledge is something cancer patients would support. Because I was embarrassed at of colon cancer before I got used to the idea? Because I wrote meat can cause cancer? Doesn’t make sense to me.
          Different people get weirded out by different things. Some people are embarrassed by nudity, others gets squirmy when they see a woman breastfeeding. Again, don’t assume your opinions and feelings are the only one way to do things out there.

          You seem to be reasonable enough to know that you can’t TELL people how to FEEL or THINK. It’s something they have to work through on their own.

          Reply

          • Annie

            |

            I am not big on labels, but you say that you and your husband stick to a strict diet. You can’t be a vegetarian if you eat fish. That makes you a pescatarian. And, your husband cannot be a vegan if he really isn’t a vegan. I live by the beach, but that doesn’t make me a surfer.

            And you’re right,

            “Education and knowledge is something cancer patients would support”

            but only when it comes from a trained medical professional. I’m pretty sure my Mom would have snubbed some random blog on the internet claiming to know the secret behind preventing cancer. You can’t make assumption because like I said earlier, you’re not a doctor.

            When you write a blog for everyone to see, be consistent. I am not even going to go into everything else I see wrong with this article, because I have a beautiful son who I want to spend the rest of my day loving on. I guess we’ll agree to disagree. Good luck through the rest of your pregnancy.

            Reply

          • Elena @ Art of Making a Baby

            |

            Did I say we stick to a strict diet? I don’t remember that but maybe it was that way back then. Not anymore, as time went on, we had to make adjustments and such. I am now not a vegetarian, but I was before pregnancy and will be after, I think. It’s a bit hairy, because I change things as circumstances change.

            “only when it comes from a trained medical professional. I’m pretty sure my Mom would have snubbed some random blog on the internet claiming to know the secret ”

            You don’t need to be a doctor to put out there some more or less well known info and cite publicly available studies. I wrote about what I know personally . And hope that would prompt someone else to do their own research. I started on this path because I read something here, something there, and then kept going on my own and finding info. Without that initial push, few people would even know to look into that. And hell no, I don’t claim I know the secret behind cancer. That’s just a crazy assumption!!!! And a bit offensive, if you want to go there. Avoiding cancer is soooooo much more than simply avoiding meat. You keep concentrating on the cancer part in this post, while you SHOULD on the meat part, why meat isn’t so good for you ( especially in the amounts most people eat). That was my sole point. Cancer just showed up there, because it’s linked so much with meat consumption. Face value, Annie, face value.

            I agree that we both have a lot more important things to do ( which is why initially I didn’t even want to get into it), than argue over semantics. Enjoy time with your beautiful son! And I am off to enjoy this beautiful weather with my husband and Alexis.

            Reply

  • Sarah

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    Great post. I agree 100%. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was ~15. 😀

    Reply

  • Hannah

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    I know this comment is a little late, but I have only just found your blog and I felt compelled to give my two cents.

    Interesting post, but as I noticed in much of the research you quoted, as well as research I have done myself, red meat and processed meats seem to be the culprits of the adverse health effects noted, not white meat. Putting all meat into one category and saying “meat is murder”, is a little misleading. (Lean and unprocessed) white meat and many types of fish offer more benefits, in terms of protein, minerals and vitamins, than negatives.

    I fully agree with your points regarding red meat and processed types of meat, though, so I try to steer clear of them.

    Hannah

    Reply

  • Abbey R

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    I just read this post that you wrote. I have several thoughts if I may:
    1. The food industry, as a whole, is very corrupt. There are so many genetically altered food, that to say, “become a veritarian” is not that simple. There are far more toxins and poisons, if you will, in the grocery store than just the meat and dairy section. The FDA, oh Lord, I will not get stared on that.
    2. To say that you should buy organic meat and dairy is really crap. Did you know what qualifies “free range” eggs and chickens? It’s a door. Chickens don’t know that they can go out if they are not taught. So you have tons of chickens crammed into a chicken house and not taught that they can wander out and they live the same life as the ones in a pin with their peaks chopped off. Do your research and know where your meat is actually coming from. Organic does not really mean “organic” anymore.
    3. You (and by that, I mean the general public, we do!!) should be buying local and talk to your farmer. Ask them what they are using to spray their farm, if anything. Ask them to come and visit the farm. If they are doing what they should be doing, they will be so excited to show you their farm and the work that they are doing!

    But please, do not say “buy organic” without doing your homework first! Know where the source of your food is coming from.

    Reply

  • christie

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    Wow wow wow wow wow. This information is SO wrong and SO inaccurate. I don’t even have time for this, but just felt compelled to tell you that you have missed the mark BIG TIME.

    Just spend a few minutes over at the Weston A Price Foundation website, and read information from credible sources from an honest organization.

    Oh and I know for sure, I will NEVER stop eating meat.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Oh do you mean the foundation that “has been criticized by medical and health experts for “purveying misleading information” and “failing to update their recommendations in light of contradictory evidence””?
      Oh yeah I’m tripping over my own feet trying to hurry to read what it has to say.

      Keep eating your meat, girl, no one is taking it away from you.

      Reply

  • Jenna

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    I recently stumbled upon your blog and love it! You’re a great story teller. However, I respectfully disagree with this particular post—specifically reason #5 on why one should not consume meat.

    Let me preface my story a bit. I grew up in MN on a hog and grain farm. My family raised pigs, corn and soybeans. In college, I met my husband. He’s a dairy farmer; in addition to milking around 270 cows 2x per day, his family also raises replacement heifers, steers, corn, alfalfa (hay), soybeans, and oats. Growing up on a family farm taught me some of life’s most important lessons. Clearly, agriculture is in my blood. I become greatly offended when people misrepresent agriculture of any form. For without agriculture (whether you are a carnivore, omnivore, herbivore, vegan, etc.), where would you be? You would be naked and hungry.

    Anyways, I wanted to offer a few comments from a farmer’s perspective.
    1) “Agriculture is a business like any other.” Well, yes, that is true. It’s how my husband and I (in addition to his parents and younger brother; my mom and dad, and numerous friends) make a living.

    2) “Faster, Cheaper, Easier” as a business model—We have implemented technologies on our farm to speed up the process of doing chores. This makes doing chores “easier” compared to 50 years ago. I digress, our real business model is do what’s right— take care of the animals and they will take care of you. We have several friends in agriculture, and I know they all would stand behind this motto. Farmer’s care. We care about producing safe and nutrition food and for the well being of our animals.

    3) “Cows are shot up with growth hormones (steroids) to make them grow faster and stronger”- You make it seem like cows are mutant animals! In agriculture, we do use approved hormones in certain situations. Growth promotants are vigorously tested by the FDA for safety—for the animal’s well-being and for meat consumed by humans. The hormones all have been proven safe. They work by stimulating growth by increasing the efficiency where feed is converted to muscle. The results in a beef carcass that has more muscle and less fat; thus, leaner beef for consumers. Still don’t believe me? Well, let’s look at a few numbers for reference on one hormone in particular: Estrogen. The daily human estrogen production is 54,000 ng for prepubescent girls; 41,500 for prepubescent boys; 480,000 ng for nonpregnant women, and 136,000ng for adult males. One serving of beef (3 oz.) has 1.2ng (nonimplanted steer) and 1.9 ng (implanted steer). 34ng in 8 oz. glass of milk, 908 ng in 1 bowl split pea soup, 993 in 1 egg,, 2,700ng in 4 ox. Of cabbage,28,000ng in 1 TBSP. of soybean oil, and 35,000ng in a low dose birth control pill. Beef isn’t looking so bad now, is it?

    4) “They are administered numerous antibiotics to keep them disease free and living longer”—You’ve got it half right. When a cow is sick, we treat her with antibiotics approved by our veterinarian. Again, this goes back to our motto of doing what is right. It’s not only right for the animal, but it’s right for the nation’s food supply. A healthy animal is a safe animal.

    5) “They’re being fed the most horrible disgusting stuff you could ever imagine: chopped up animal carcasses” WRONG. Remember that one disease, Mad Cow (actually called bovine spongiform encephalopathy, BSE)? In order to protect the nation’s food supply, the FDA implemented a rule to protect animals and consumers against BSE. In 1997, the FDA banned the feeding of animal protein to ruminant animals (cows, sheep, goats). In 2008, the FDA strengthened the 1997 rule by prohibiting brain and spinal cords (tissues that carry BSE prions) from animals 30 months and older from entering the animal feed chain. Last time I checked, our cows were fed a ration consisting of corn silage, haylage, high moisture corn, cotton seed, soybean meal, distiller’s grains with soluble, and vitamins and minerals. I’m confident to say that this diet is right in line with the ruminant digestive system’s reqirements.

    6) “These cows are stuck in modified cages…” NO. We confine our herd to protect them from the elements. However, they have plenty of room to lay down, eat, drink, or roam in our freestall barn. They are kept cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Again, it all goes back to our “business motto” of doing what is right.

    Finally, I’d really urge you to visit a farm in your area. As a farmer, I love sharing agriculture’s story. If you’re ever in MN, please let me know.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

      |

      Jenna,

      I think what you misunderstood in this post (or maybe I didn’t make it clear) is that I wasn’t referring to smaller family owned farms but the mass producing ones. There’s a huge difference.
      Like you said, your motto is do what’s right. You say you don’t do certain things and I respect that but it doesn’t mean bigger farms don’t cut corners and feed their animals crap as well as keep them in cages.

      I very much respect local farmers and support them by buying mostly locally.
      I’m not sure if I mentioned it in the post but one of the ways to get better beef is go to your local farm.

      However while I agree with most of what you said, I am still grossly against hormones and preventative use of antibiotics . If I wasn’t responding from my iPhone and had time, I’d cite the studies done against RhB (is that the right name) and antibiotic use, but those things so horribly interact with our body that there can be a case for never drinking milk again. That’s aside from the fact that humans weren’t designed to drink other species breast milk.

      Reply

      • Jenna

        |

        I have one final question for you: Where can I find a “mass producing farm”?
        Had I not mentioned that our farm is family owned, you may classify our farm as a “mass producing” one if you were to drive by. We have several buildings to house our hundreds of animals. The average dairy farm in MN is less than 100 animals. We have nearly 3x that amount in our milking herd. If you add all of our calves, young heifers, and steers the total number of animals is probably closer to 700! Also, you need to remember that large farms are important in rural communities. The rural-urban divide is great. The standards (and costs) of living in rural America are vastly different from urban and suburban America. It is important to remember, that large farms are vital to rural economies as they provide good paying jobs. We employ 3 FT nonfamily, 3 FT family members, 2 PT nonfamily, and 2PT family members at our farm. Yes, the jobs are hard work, but hard work pays off.

        I know hundreds of farmers and have visited farms of all sizes all over the country: small (less than 50 animals) and large (over 10,000 animals). All the farms that I have visited and know are FAMILY owned and operated (even that large farm with over 10,000 animals). You should see the passion these hardworking men and women have for their farming legacy. No matter the size or facilities where animals are raised, I always see farmers caring for their animals. The whole idea of “Factory Farms” is just ridiculous and a fallacy that anti-agriculture groups have dreamed up in attempt to sway consumers from supporting agriculture. Many farmers are the 3rd, 4th, 5th or more generation farming the same land. Yes, farming practices have changed since our ancestors first settled this area, but our hard work, dedication, and care for what we do day in and day out remains intact and unchangeable. America has the SAFEST and least expensive food supply in the world.

        Okay, I will step off my soapbox, and thanks for reading, but I urge you and all readers to visit farms to really see what is happening in agriculture. Don’t take the word of some commercial on TV. Meet the real men and women who work hard to provide families across the nation and world with safe and healthy food.

        Reply

        • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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          You have a point there. I know little about actual farms, aside from what I learned through documentaries and books. And I am not necessarily ragging on agriculture. I am a non-dairy vegetarian, which means I LIVE on agriculture. I have nothing against it. But I still won’t buy meat from cows treated with hormones or antibiotics, I will still not drink dairy or eat meat, because I do not think it’s good for you.

          There’s nothing wrong with what you do and it’s great that you take pride in it, but it’s been proven many many times that a plant based diet is best for our health. That doesn’t mean that you will ever be out of a job, because plenty of people will continue eating meat and drinking milk regardless of studies.

          Reply

  • ashlee

    |

    I just found your blog this morning and immediately fell in love! Then I saw a link to this post and fell even more in love!
    My husband and i just started this process a few months ago and are so glad. Some times it is hard having people think you are legit crazy for not eating these things, when in reality it’s the best choice we could be making for our bodies! Wake up people! Oh well, you can only change yourself, share your story and hope that people open their eyes for their own well being. I know this is an old post but wanted to share my thoughts regardless =)
    -Love to you and your family.

    Here is our elimination process:

    http://ashleewray.blogspot.com/2012/07/its-not-diet-its-lifestyle-part-1.html

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

      |

      GREAT! I am glad you agree! :) It’s really an amazing change and I am so happy that most of my friends have made the change as well. Makes it easy on the “you’e crazy for not eating meat” front 😉 lol

      Reply

  • Carol

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    I think a lot of the same type of arguments can be used against not eating grains as well. I am coming into this a little biased because I was recently diagnosed with Celiac’s disease and had to switch to a gluten free diet. This has led me to research gluten and whole grains in general since they are marketed as the basis of our diets. The first thing I switched to was from wheat to organic brown rice and then started coming across all kinds of articles on how organic brown rice has high levels of arsenic. It just seems like everything now a days is bad for you.

    Reply

  • Elayna Spruill

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    I’ve been a Pescatarian for 11 months now after watching Forks Over Knives and Food INC.

    Reply

  • Jeanne

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    I commend you for your passion for healthy living and research! I was a vegetarian for fifteen years, and started eating a whole foods diet in my early 20s (I’m in my mid 30s now.) I am also really driven and motivated by research and study of nutrition. That said, I have actually put high quality, grass-fed, organic meat BACK into my diet (completely for health reasons) in the past few years. I did so on the recommendation of my acupuncturist, but not without pretty extensive research. Rather than try to convince you, I’m going to mention a few books you might want to check out. After reading these, I’m convinced that it is not healthy (especially for babies) to have a vegetarian diet. You seem like an avid reader and truth seeker, so before you fully disagree, check these out:

    Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride –

    (The science in these texts is presented thoroughly and compellingly, and dispels many commonly held myths about cholesterol and nutrition- pretty fascinating stuff.)

    http://www.amazon.com/Put-Your-Heart-Mouth/dp/095485201X

    http://www.amazon.com/Psychology-Syndrome-D-D-D-H-D-Schizophrenia/dp/0954852028/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1356831366&sr=1-1&keywords=gut+and+psychology+syndrome+by+dr.+natasha+campbell-mcbride

    Real Food, by Nina Planck:

    http://www.amazon.com/Real-Food-What-Eat-Why/dp/1596913428/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1356831586&sr=1-1&keywords=real+food

    On myths regarding saturated fat and cholesterol:

    http://www.amazon.com/Cholesterol-Myths-Exposing-Fallacy-Saturated/dp/0967089719/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1356831487&sr=1-2&keywords=the+cholesterol+myth

    http://www.amazon.com/Myth-Cholesterol-Dispelling-Creating-Health/dp/0972123377/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1356831487&sr=1-5&keywords=the+cholesterol+myth

    Check it out before you knock it. And congrats on having such a gorgeous little girl!

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Thanks for the links! I hope to have enough time to look through them.
      We have recently introduced fish back in as well. I feel that having a diet rich in fish rather than meat will meet all the requirements for iron, fats, protein etc.

      Have you read anything in your research that says otherwise?

      Reply

  • Edith

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    I used to be the same vegetarian as you believing I had read all there was to read.

    Please read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A Price and Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon… and please consider your information sources and any financial interests therein. Thousands of years of human development is not incorrect.

    “Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another-Juvenal

    Reply

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