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To Meat or Not To Meat?

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How do you know if someone’s a vegan?

They’ll tell you within the first five minutes of meeting you.

A bad joke we know, but one that’s doing the rounds quite a lot at the moment. We see the topic of veganism/vegetarianism cropping up on an almost daily basis as war is waged in the comments section of social media posts and articles.

Meat eaters boasting of their meat consumption and robust health, counteracted by vegans posting pictures of agricultural animal cruelty and vegan bodybuilders, before everything descends into insults and the overuse of the C word. Some athletes are very successful on a vegetarian or vegan diet but this doesn’t make it a template for everyone to follow.

There’s also nothing macho about eating meat, even meat you’ve hunted and killed yourself, it’s a flagrant disrespect for the animal you’re consuming to adopt a macho attitude about your meat consumption. We still remember hard man/gobshite Gordon Ramsey, an aggressive critic of vegetarianism, completely bottling it when it was his turn to shoot a deer. If you’re struggling with your masculinity then take up a combat sport, don’t pick on vegetarians and vegans. Where do we go from these clashes of ignorance. What are the facts, who’s right, who’s wrong? Well, it’s a mix of both from where we stand. We like vegans and veggies and we like a lot of what they say and their reasoning behind veganism/vegetarianism. We are, however, meat eaters, and will continue to eat meat for the foreseeable future as long as it’s organic, free range and carefully sourced.

Why?

There’s a lot to be said for veganism, if done correctly. It eliminates a lot of toxic build up, it’s easier on the environment and no animals were harmed in the making of this meal.

It’s estimated that around 7kg of grain is required to produce 1kg of beef, for much of this grain to be grown, forests which are natural carbon sinks must be destroyed to make way for fields of grain. The subsequent transportation of animals and refrigeration is also extremely energy intensive. Raising animals for food currently takes up 30% of the earth’s land mass and it takes 2,400 gallons of water to produce just 1lb of meat.

All these processes involve a huge amount of green house emissions. As eastern economies grow more affluent and they look to emulate the western diet rich in meat and dairy, this demand for production will increase, exacerbating the issues we’ve mentioned above.

The current process of agriculture in regards to meat production is a huge tax on resources and creates a huge amount of waste. It is essentially unsustainable as a long term model. The majority of meat from supermarket chains has been produced using these methods and when you look at a whole chicken that costs £2.99 you have to wonder how the hell they’ve done that.

A whole lot of corner cutting, mistreatment, overcrowding, steroids, hormones and antibiotics. That’s how. The intensity with which we push livestock to produce and grow is creating a range of issues from lameness and collapsed legs to heart conditions and other traumas. This 'food' therefore arrives on our plate full of poisons.

It’s a bit of a mess really when you look at our current methods of food production. And the problem is a global one. If the current rate of deforestation continues, the planet’s rainforests have 100 years left. That’s a pretty scary thought, especially as we intend to live for a long time.

So why don’t we all go vegan? Why are we even thinking about eating meat given all the information we’ve just given you? Well, for us it depends on two things; how much meat you’re eating and exactly where that meat comes from.

A large portion of the population require meat in their diet for robust health. We descend from hunter gathers (clue is in the name) and populations throughout history have been nomadic, following herds to sustain them nutritionally with meat. The term nomad actually means follow the meat. It’s in our DNA and our blood types to eat meat. With the advent of metabolic typing and eating for your blood group and genetics, it’s now possible to drill further down into the right balance for your body.

Throughout history, many people north of climates where the ground never freezes would find it very difficult to survive on a plant based diet and this becomes increasingly difficult the further north you go. Depending on your ancestry, meat could be something your body needs for optimal health and functionality.

Your body is full of different glands and organs with a variety of nutritional requirements. If you pigeon hole that nutrition into fruit, grains, nuts, seeds and vegetables then you’re seriously limiting the quota of nutrients it needs to function optimally. Purines, amino acids, essential fatty acids and a whole host of minerals and micronutrients come from the meat we consume and digest. For that very reason we’ve added a number of glandular compounds into the Matrix Pak to assist with full body recovery after heavy exertion. It matches our energy requirements as physically active humans to build a meat element into our protein and fat consumption. If we had to get by without it, we probably could, but we’re not here to just get by.

There’s also a slight flaw we see with the killing argument. Animals are of course conscious creatures and the spectrum of intelligence both emotional and otherwise is vast and varied from species to species. It is therefore a fact that you are taking a life in order to sustain your own. This is also true of plants, that will develop antigens and various toxins to protect themselves from being eaten. They are also conscious and do no wish to be eaten, survival is in their behaviour and in the expression of their biology. In this sense, no matter what we eat, we’re taking life - unless we live on milk, which is definitely not advisable. It’s part of the ecosystem, we’re part of the ecosystem, not above it.

So what’s the answer to this conundrum? 

We believe there is a definite halfway house that’s not only more sustainable and respectful to the environment around us, but better for the human body.

The truth is, we don’t need anywhere near as much meat as we consume as a population and we should certainly look to reduce it down. We also tend to look at our nutrition with a daily plan in mind, rather than a weekly or monthly plan, which is much more beneficial. At least once or even twice a week, it’s advisable to give your body a rest from meat consumption, and have either a vegetarian or vegan day. This gives your body a chance to do some house keeping and clear any toxins and parasites.

On these days, work in lots of organic fruit and veg along with nuts, seeds and high quality oils such as hemp, coconut, extra virgin olive oil, avocado etc. This will ensure you still get some supply of amino acids and fatty acids. If it’s a vegetarian day then eggs, goats cheese, goats yoghurt and Primal26 will all help you to reach your protein requirements.

When you do eat meat, keep it varied. There’s nothing wrong with beef, pork and chicken, but wild game is making a huge resurgence in this country. Be sure to put some venison, pigeon, buffalo, alpaca etc into your diet. For the more adventurous, organ meats such as hearts, livers and kidneys are loaded with nutrients. The more we’re prepared to eat from an animal, the less we waste. An essential practice that urgently needs to return to our relationship with food.

With all the meat you consume, it’s important to make sure it’s free to roam or wild, organic and humanely killed. These marker points make a vast difference to the quality of the meat and how it nourishes or potentially poisons your body. This means finding a good butcher or a reliable and trusted supplier that can deliver to your home. Forget about processed meats that involve nitrates and nitrites. As good as they taste you don’t need them in your life, or if you must, then eat very rarely, once a month or less. Processed meats are regularly linked with a variety of cancers and have been shown to diminish libido.

When it comes to seafood there are certain other points that need to be considered. Is the fish sustainable? Is it wild or farmed? Is it likely to have a high level of heavy metals? Our oceans are currently under serious attack from over fishing and pollution. The food we’re killing is now coming back to kill us with contaminates such as hexachlorobenzene, DDT, chlordane, heptachlor.

For the majority of your diet it’s best to stick with small non predatory fish, such as prawns, anchovies, scallops, sardines, herrings, oysters, langoustines etc. Fish caught locally using sustainable fishing techniques are always preferable.

This isn’t just about what we eat but where that food has come from, how it’s been cultivated and how it’s found its way onto our plate. The way we farm and produce food needs to urgently change but that starts with consumer demand and initiative. We’re huge fans of the guys at Unicorn Grocery in Manchester. They’ve developed a co-operative to grow and sell well priced organic fruit and veg along with a variety of associated products that are better for the environment and our health. It’s all vegan, but that’s not something they preach about, they just make it available.

And that for us is the key, we all need to do the best we can with this. If you choose to be vegan or vegetarian then we fully applaud and support you, but your position over meat eaters should not be one of condemnation. It’s also not necessarily a healthy option for everyone. Likewise, meat eaters should really be thankful to vegans and vegetarians for the sacrifice they make, which leaves more meat for the rest of us. We reiterate the importance of vegan days on a weekly basis for all meat eaters and the importance of quality over quantity. Please stay away from processed, fast food chain or supermarket meats. Oh, and be nice to each other, we’re all in this together!

Sources

www.foodresearch.org.uk www.sustainweb.org www.chekinstitute.com www.unicorn-grocery.coop

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