Our Ancestry and Conditioning around Food
Are you flexitarian, reducetarian, vegetarian or vegan that is looking for some tips to improve the diet so you give your body all the nutrients it needs to be healthy and thrive?
I believe there was a time in history where the meat helped us survive. The Omegas from the fishes helped us grow our brains bigger, and hunting an animal by a human was part of a natural life cycle. However, where we took it with the industrial revolution has nothing to do with the natural food cycle anymore. Some animals are being born just to be thrown away, abused during their short lives, and the prices of meat are extremely low and sponsored by the governments. Considering plant- based diet (plant-rich diet is a diet consisting mostly or entirely of plant-based foods. Plant-based foods are foods derived from plants with no animal-source foods or artificial ingredients. While a plant-based diet avoids or has limited animal products, it is not necessarily vegan) in some form is needed more than ever.
I stopped eating meat gradually and had longer periods on a vegan diet. Especially during the winter months, I would come back to eat some farm eggs and dairy products. I noticed most times people go hard core vegan and will experience health problems after some time. After I did 6 weeks long course on how to implement more plant-based diet into your daily routine, I wrote this article since I believe it can be helpful. I am vegetarian for almost 4 years now and didn’t know many of this information.
Eat meat- Stop- Eat meat Again
We can decide not to eat meat with our thinking minds, but then usually the results will be short- lived, and after some time we might revert to eating meat, fish or dairy products. How many times you heard people stop eating meat and dairy products, and after a few months or years they come up with. It is not for me, I have health issues, my doctor told me to eat meat or I am low on energy. Is it we can’t live without meat and be healthy? Of course not; there is proof of happy & healthy people living on plant-based diets. It can be a shock to our body to quit immediately, and we might lack important nutrients.
After a week or two on a plant-based diet you can see for yourself how are your energy levels? How do you feel overall? Most of the people will feel lighter and better. However, when you decide to apply a plant-based diet on a long-term basis, it is highly recommended to check if your body has all the nutrients it needs.
Vegan or vegetarian diet does not always mean healthy, it’s usually lighter, the fat decreases however sugar or processed foods intake can still be out of control. Plant-based diet is great to apply when you have a high level of cholesterol.
If it doesn’t feel right, don’t quit immediately all meat and dairy, but have an intention and motivation to reduce. You can also choose to eat plant-based for a week or two, every 2 or 3 months. Perhaps even starting small, replacing one, two, or half of your dishes with plant-based food is Great! We don’t need more labels, we need action. Imagine if the entire world would cut down meat consumption in one year just by 20%-50%. It is a lot of animal life that would be saved.
6 Very Simple Action Steps:
1. Apply this One Simple Rule.
Eat whole foods, eat locally and seasonally and no(or less) processed and sugary foods.
2. Diversify your dish.
Include proportionally fruits, grains, leafy greens, plant based protein, legumes, vegetables and nuts. Mix and Match as much as you can.
3. Add missing Nutrients through Food or Supplements.
Add high quality plant-based supplement (without unnecessary glues, binders to hold the tablet together, colourings, go for the pure active ingredient). I suggest only essential supplements, the most should come from food, since nobody wants to pop 10 pills per day.
People that are so-called reducetarians or flexitarians and consume less animal based products should think about this as well. Also, if you are a vegetarian, but you eat dairy products only once per week, it is too little, so you might consider supplementation as well.
Vitamin D is important for healthy bones and teeth, helps maintain healthy muscles, but also affects our heart, brain as well as immune system. Foods providing the highest amount of vitamin D per gram are from animal sources. Many non-vegetarians are deficient in Vitamin D as well, especially during the cold months or months when you have no sun exposure.
The right dosage for Vitamin D is between 2000IU- 5000IU, if you take the higher doses consider taking it together with vitamin K for better allocation of the Calcium (vitamin D3 improves your calcium absorption, vitamin K2 allocates where that calcium can be used in the body)
Vitamin D is fat soluble, so don’t forget to take it with some fats, either with your meal or a small spoon of coconut oil or tahini.
Vitamin B12 is essential for our nervous system. It is tricky since there are more forms of it. I prefer the natural forms such as methylcobalamin or adenocobalamin, they are less stable so you need to take higher doses and if you are on a strict vegan diet or eating little dairy products – it’s a good idea to get the tests done to make sure you are not vitamin B12 deficient. You can start with the dose of 1000 mcg per day for Methylcobalamin or Adenokobalamyn. (Cyanocobalamin contains a molecule of cyanide, which makes it more stable form. If you decide to take this one, the dose is around 250mcg a day). If you decide on the natural form, you can also try a supplement combining Adenocobalamin and Methylcobalamin.
Avoid taking Vitamin B12 together with Vitamin C, Copper, Chlorella, Spirulina, Wake, Miso or Nori!
Omegas help us to have healthy hearts, eyes and brains. If you eat no or very little fish, consider taking a supplement. For adding plant- based Omega to your diet go for a Micro-algae oil in capsules or liquid. The dose is 350-450 mg per day and you can also add grained chia seed and linen seeds, a small spoon of each.
Calcium is essential for your bones and teeth. Many people take calcium supplements, but I would suggest to add through Calcium-rich foods since it’s many of them. Vegans should consider this part about Calcium the most. However, some vegetarians eating fewer dairy products as well. If you are vegetarian, by eating 2-3 portions of dairy foods you should be covered with a sufficient amount of Calcium in your body. Add foods high in Calcium such as broccoli, kale, edamame, bok choy, tofu, broccoli, spinach, curly kale, fortified soy milk, figs, oranges, beans. If you suspect not having enough calcium, get the test and consider taking a high-quality supplement.
Iron is an essential mineral. Plant based sources rich in iron are: spinach, legumes, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, broccoli, tofu, diet chocolate, sweet potatoes, peas, kale, chard, cereal, dates, figs, prunes, dried apricots, dried peaches, beans, tomatoes, lentils.
Protein is important to keep strength, good levels of energy in your body, to increase the muscle mass, can help with weight loss and more. Consider adding plant based protein into your daily meals. Plant-based protein is less complete that’s why you need to combine complementary proteins and eat higher amounts.
Plant-based protein is rich in these foods: tofu, spirulina, tempeh, seitan, different beans, legumes, quinoa, hemp seeds, peanut butter, chia seeds, nutritional yeast, broccoli, lentils, beans, etc.
Tip: Include powdered plant based proteins such as hemp protein powder, pea protein powder, rice protein powder or pumpkin seed protein.
Recipe: Add mix of favourite fruits and vegetables (frozen or fresh), almond or rice milk, add the daily dose of protein powder and blend and enjoy.
Iodine recommended dose is around 200 uq daily. Iodine rich sources are for example seaweed, kelp, dulse. Some supplements might have much more than that, so be careful not to take too much, take half a tablet of kelp.
To sum up: Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and Omega-3 are more difficult to get from food sources on plant-based diet, so I would recommend to supplement these three. The rest of the nutrients I would suggest to eat in the form of food if you can. It is beneficial to even get yourself tested especially for B12, Omega-3 and Vitamin D if you are on a long-term vegan diet. It is highly recommended if you have some health issues.
4. Try to find your favourite meat dish in a plant based version and cook it.
5. What are your emotional needs that are connected with food?
This can be for struggling with weight, eating too much sweets, as well and for overeating meat. What are the emotions, feelings and thought when I crave meet 3 times a day? You can decide to explore the conditioning of your family as well.
6. Take it all as meditation, not a race.
It’s not about achieving to stop eating meat, become a vegan. Rather try it, test it, feel your body, eat the right foods, supplement well, if it doesn’t work, you don’t feel good, ask for advice or get the tests done. If vegan or vegetarian diet is detrimental to your health, you can decide to read more about reducetarian and flexitarian diets.
Advocate for Change in other Ways (even if you are reducetarian or flexitarian)
You don’t have to stop eating meat to make the change. Meat is sold in the stores for very cheap prices, because of subsidies to the animal industry from the governments. Because of this, the alternative to meat will be 50-80% more expensive and people will not buy it, even though that day maybe they feel like having a plant based dinner, the price influences our decisions. The low price will cause inferior quality of the meat, and you will get cheap meat on your table full of antibiotics and potentially even growth hormones.
So what can you do even though you are not vegan or vegetarian:
- advocating to change the legislation so the alternatives to meat can compete with the price,
- paying more for non vegan products, such as meat or dairy products
- when you buy eggs buy from farm, not from the cages ideally not even the halls
- Reduce, reduce, reduce and don’t support chain restaurants, but instead local restaurants.
Even these things matter because if we are realistic, every person on the planet will not become vegan overnight, but they can start reducing meat and start changing their eating habits. If you need some advice with your plant-based diet and go more into it, I can help you with one- on- one session.