THE VALUE OF VEGETARIANISM
As a cleansing diet, vegetarianism is a good choice. Several health conditions (e.g., gout) can often be ameliorated by a temporary reduction in animal products with an increase of plant foods. But such measures must not be continuous throughout life: there are vital nutrients found only in animal products that we must ingest for optimal health. Furthermore, there is no one diet that will work for every person. Some vegetarians and vegans, in their zeal to get converts, are blind to this biochemical fact.
"Biochemical individuality" is a subject worth clarifying. Coined by biochemist Roger Williams, PhD, the term refers to the fact that different people require different nutrients based on their unique genetic make-up. Ethnic and racial background figure in this concept as well. (The current theory of blood type influencing nutritional needs is false, as discussed below.) A diet that works for one may not work as well for someone else. As a practitioner, I've seen several patients following a low-fat, low-protein, high-carbohydrate diet with severe health problems: obesity, candidiasis, hypothyroidism, leaky gut syndrome, anaemia and generalised fatigue. Most of these people have been vegetarians. Because of the widespread rhetoric that a vegetarian diet is "always healthier" than a diet that includes meat or animal products, these people see no reason to change their diet, even though that is the cause of their problems. What these people actually need for optimal health is more animal foods and fewer carbohydrates!
Conversely, some people do very well on little or no meat and remain healthy as lacto-vegetarians or lacto-ovo-vegetarians. The reason for this is because these diets are healthier for those people, not because they're healthier in general. However, a total absence of animal products, whether meat, fish, insects, eggs, butter or dairy, is to be avoided. Though it may take years, problems will eventually ensue for these people. The reason for this is simple evolution: humanity evolved eating animal foods and fats as part of its diet, and our bodies are suited and accustomed to them. One cannot change evolution in a few years.
When it comes to good nutrition, it's best to stick with the tried and true, rather than the untested and new. Humanity has been consuming animal products and saturated fats for thousands of years as part of its diet. Today's health-conscious person needs to follow humanity's historical example and make ample room for all of the gifts of life provided to us by our animal friends.
NOTE ON BLOOD TYPING THEORIES
There is a nutritional "fad" at the present time, spurred on by the book, Eat Right 4 Your Type, by Peter D'Adamo, ND (Putnam; USA, 1996). The main tenet of the book is that the four major blood types (O, A, B, AB) evolved sequentially as humans colonised the Earth. Anthropologists, however, have disputed this and have produced considerable evidence that all four types were present at the same time. On top of this obvious difficulty is the reality that there are well over 400 blood types found in human beings! Though most of these are confined to small groups of isolated peoples, the fact remains that such diversity argues against the blood type/nutrition theory.
Clinically, I have seen patients who have had a lack of stomach acid who were type Os. According to the theory, type Os should produce plenty of HCL acid to handle more meats. Additionally, I have seen blood type As with no HCL acid deficiencies. According to the theory, type As should have low HCL levels. Such experiences strongly argue against the blood typing/food theory.
For more detail on this subject, I refer readers to the article, "Eat Right 4 Your Type Hype," by Sally Eauclaire Osborne, published in The Price-Pottenger Nutrition Journal, Winter 1998, link to "Eat Right 4 Your Type Hype," by Sally Eauclaire Osborne.
The author would like to thank Sally Fallon, MA; Lee Clifford, MS, CCN; and H. Leon Abrams, Jr., for their gracious assistance in this paper. This paper was not sponsored or paid for by the meat or dairy industries.
About the Author: Stephen Byrnes is a naturopathic doctor and registered nutritional consultant who enjoys robust health on a diet that includes butter, cream, eggs, meat, whole milk dairy products, and offal. He is the author of Healthy Hearts: Natural Medicine for Your Ticker, Digestion to the Max!, and Overcoming AIDS with Natural Medicine (available off of www.amazon.com), as well as numerous magazine articles, published worldwide.
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