Many people advocate eating an entirely plant-based diet, i.e. being vegan. There’s this attitude like just because it’s a plant, it’s better for you. I’ve got a newsflash: not all plants are good for you. Opium comes from a plant. Belladonna a deadly nightshade. Stinging nettles, well, sting.
Just because it’s vegan, doesn’t make it healthy.
A few months ago, my friend called me all excited because she’d switched out her kid’s turkey hot dogs for Smart Dogs and he was eating them without even noticing the difference. She was proud of doing something healthy for her family. I had to break the sorry news to her that the ingredients in Smart Dogs are slightly less than ideal…
INGREDIENTS: Water, soy protein isolate, wheat gluten, evaporated cane juice, less than 2% of: natural flavor (from vegetable sources), natural smoke flavor, garlic powder, paprika oleoresin (color and flavor), yeast extract, xanthan gum, guar gum, carrageenan, fermented rice flour, salt, potassium chloride.
Contains: soy, wheat
These puppies contain soy and wheat and SUGAR in the first four ingredients! Soy is quite toxic and high in estrogen, which messes up your hormone balance. Wheat is highly allergenic, especially if it’s distilled down into gluten (and we eat too much gluten as a rule, anyway). And then sugar, well, sugar does so many horrible things to your body that it’s a whole ‘nother article to cover that.
We’re all victims of marketing in lots of areas of our lives; food is no different. Just because it’s in a package with a healthy looking label, just because it’s found at Whole Foods (in the vegan section, no less) does not make it a healthy food.
The rules for a healthy diet are much, much simpler than the giant food manufacturers would like for you to believe. First and foremost, eat real food. Forget meat substitutes, fat free products, and all things that come wrapped in plastic. These are not food. They are food-like products. Sure, you can consume them and they won’t kill you, but you can eat Elmer’s Glue, too. That doesn’t make it good for you.
I drink real cream in my coffee every morning (and yes, I do drink coffee, one cup per day, brewed in a French press because I love the way it tastes). I put real cheese on my eggs. I eat egg yolks. I eat hamburgers, too.
And that brings me to the second rule of eating, which is to pay attention to where your food comes from. This is so important, I’m going to say it again, this time with exclamation points: Pay attention to where your food comes from!!!!
A large part of the food confusion is that the veggie maniacs out there are looking at the way conventional meat, eggs and dairy are raised, which is truly abominable. The poor animals are kept in conditions that have got to be worse than slave ships coming from Africa. It doesn’t just border on abuse, it is abuse. And, by proxy, these products are toxic, full of chemical hormones and other crap. You don’t even want to know what your food has been eating when it’s raised in a feed lot.
So, yeah, this stuff is bad for you. Then the veg-heads tell you that you have to go vegetarian if you want to be healthy. But there’s a middle ground where you can have your hamburger and eat it, too. If you check the sources for your food and stick to organic, grass-fed, pasture raised, free range meat, eggs and dairy, you’re eating much more naturally and much the way our ancestors did.
It’s not the fat in meat that’s bad for you, by the way. The Inuit tribes of Alaska subsist solely on whale blubber during the winter and they’re just fine. It’s the toxic fats that come from eating toxic foods and getting injected with toxic hormones. So eat your red meat and enjoy it, just make sure it’s grass fed.
And a word on vegetables? They’re good for you, too. Just watch for frankingredients like the ones found in meat substitutes (above). Stick to fresh salads and veggie soups, braised greens and things that, well, look like vegetables.