Keep'er Fit

Gary Wallace

To go vegan or not?

Over the past year or more I have really cut back on meat consumption.

It started off by reading and hearing more stories about the health benefits for myself and the environment.

But these were only stories and I wanted some hard facts to consider on whether I should go full time vegan or not.

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This is something I have been really toying with. I feel much better after eating a vegan meal but I do love a medium/rare steak.

To help test the water my next 30 day challenge will be to go completely vegan.

This means going vegan for the Christmas period! (My current 30 day challenge is #morningmindset, you can check it out on our social media platforms).

What I plan to do at the start of the journey is get a full health check and compare the results post challenge.

I want to see what, if any changes happen to me internally.

I will also be recording how I feel and look. Don’t worry, I’m not going to be shoving it down your throat.

I want to try it out for myself and if I discover any positives and/or negatives I will share them with you.

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What you do with that information is entirely up to you.

No two people are the same and whatever works for me might not be the same for you, but please be open to challenging your own beliefs and try something new.

Let’s get into some reasons for and against veganism.

Are we designed to be meat eaters? Not really.

We don’t look like carnivores as our teeth are not great for ripping flesh, and our guts are too long.

So, are we herbivores then? No. Our guts aren’t long enough, and our teeth don’t quite fit the bill.

We are, it seems, omnivores.

Our bodies can handle both meat and plant matter pretty well.

But that doesn’t really clear the matter up.

Simply by looking at our teeth and guts doesn’t disguise that we are one type or the other.

The jury is out on this theory.

The next thing to look at is, do vegans get the right type and amount of vitamins and minerals in their diet?

When you ask this questions one vitamin keeps popping up, B12.

Vitamin B12 is vital for proper health and is only required in small daily doses.

Meat is rich in protein and vitamin B12 and is also a good source of iron, so it’s easy to see how incorporating meat into their diet helps.

Today, however, protein is much easier to come by such as in nuts and beans.

Vitamin B12 can be found adequately in cheese, eggs, milk, and artificially fortified products, and iron can be picked up from legumes, grains, nuts, and a range of vegetables.

This is good news for vegetarians but not vegans who may need to supplement vitamin B12.

Another theory is that low vitamin B12 levels can apply to meat eaters as well.

Vitamin B12 is produced through the soil and since our soils are not as rich anymore there isn’t the same amount of nutritional value to be absorbed into grazing grass for our livestock.

Cattle naturally get B12 and bacteria that produces B12 from clumps of dirt around the grass roots, and chickens get B12 from pecking around for worms and other insects.

Not only is the soil no longer rich enough, but most factory-farmed animals are kept indoors and never see soil during their lifetimes, so would certainly be deficient without supplementation.

In fact, around 95 per-cent of all B12 supplements manufactured are actually given to farmed animals.

So should we just cut out the middle man – or animal in this case?

There are many health benefits for going vegan like lower risk of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cancer, and lower blood pressure, and they may fend-off childhood obesity.

On this matter, at least, the jury is well and truly in.

Studies suggest that we should cut back and not totally cut out the consumption of red and processed meats to one to two times per week to help reduce the risk of the above diseases.

Finally, there is the environmental and humanitarian argument.

Researchers at the University of Oxford found that cutting meat and dairy products from your diet could reduce an individual’s carbon footprint from food by up to 73 per-cent.

Meanwhile, if everyone stopped eating these foods, they found that global farmland use could be reduced by 75 per-cent, an area equivalent to the size of the US, China, Australia and the EU combined.

The findings reveal that meat and dairy production is responsible for 60 per-cent of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions, while the products themselves providing just 18 per-cent of calories and 37 per-cent of protein levels around the world.

That’s pretty heavy going on the environment.

Again it comes down to you what you eat and don’t eat. If you are interested in joining me for my next 30 day challenge, then get in contact and we can go vegan together.

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