by Dr Joseph Mercola
A study done a few years ago found that ex-vegetarians outnumber current vegetarians by a ratio of three to one. This suggests that 75 percent of vegetarians lapse.
A survey shows that most former vegetarians are women (as many vegetarians are) who had been vegetarians for an average of nine years when they reverted. Most originally went vegetarian due to concerns about the treatment of animals, and most returned to meat because of reasons such as declining health, logistical hassles, social stigmas, and meat cravings.
According to Time Magazine:
“… [T]he latest form of animal activism is … only eating ethical, sustainable meat … Sustainable meat-eating is particularly suitable for those who return to omnivorism because of health problems”.
There’s tremendous controversy about what type of diet is best – and whether or not meat is an essential part of anyone’s diet. Many promote vegetarianism for everyone, but this one-size-fits-all diet advice will do some people far more harm than good.
Personally, I would never argue with someone refusing to eat a particular food based on their spiritual convictions. It’s your right to choose what you want to eat. However, I strongly believe there are health consequences for opting to avoid all animal protein. There’s strong clinical evidence indicating that few people can maintain optimal health on such a diet.
To me, a major anecdotal clue is the observations of people who actually seek to implement this practice. If it were what their body needed and they were thriving why would, 75 percent of vegetarians revert back to eating meat—oftentimes due to declining health? This does not mean that many who follow a vegetarian diet aren’t healthy and thriving, but it certainly is a major indication that many find problems with it.
Why Choosing ‘Grass-Fed’ Beef is More Important than Choosing ‘Organic’
Keep in mind that grass-fed, and particularly grass-finished, beef is almost always preferable to certified organic. There are two primary reasons for this:
- Most grass-fed cattle are fed on grasslands with limited pesticides, fertilizers, and other harmful chemicals, and the animals will never see the inside of a feedlot. Hence it’s often comparable to organic even if it’s not marked as such.
- Most organic beef is still fed organic corn, which is what causes the myriad of health problems associated with eating CAFO-raised beef. Grain diets create a much higher level of acidity in the animal’s stomach, in which E.coli bacteria can thrive.
The term “grass-finished” means the animals were grass-fed throughout their life. Some producers feed their herds grass only in the beginning, and then finish them off on grains.
Grass-fed and finished beef not only trumps grain-fed beef in terms of nutrition, but also in food safety. It has a minimal risk of contamination compared to grain-fed beef due to the difference in stomach pH in the two diets. And since grass-finished animals live in clean grass pastures, this superior level of sanitation greatly reduce the risk of E.coli infection as well. If you can find certified organic, grass-fed and grass-finished meat, you’ve essentially struck gold…
A More Humane and Healthier Option
Grass-based feeding is a very efficient and ecologically sustainable method of farming. Instead of producing tons of grain for feed — which requires extensive land, fertilizer, pest management, and large equipment for cultivating, harvesting, drying, storage and feeding — pasture-based farming lets the cows do the work. They harvest, fertilize, and feed themselves, overseen by the farmer in a carefully managed system. The net result is significantly less fuel consumption, less erosion, less air and water pollution and greater soil fertility. The animals also get to live a natural life outdoors, grazing off the land as they were intended to.
Most importantly, this natural and harmonious way of raising animals also leads to a superior food product. Grass-fed beef, for instance, is lower in fat than regular CAFO-raised beef. It also contains three to five times more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid. The milk from grass-fed cows is also higher in many nutrients, including CLA, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fats.
Health benefits of CLA include:
|Fighting cancer||Promoting fat loss||Increasing your metabolic rate||Promoting normal thyroid function|
|Delaying onset of diabetes, and improving management of adult-onset diabetes||Helping maintain normal cholesterol levels||Helping maintain healthful triglyceride levels||Enhancing your immune system|