Allow me a rant, if you will.
I can’t stand it when someone says this to me. I know it’s not their fault. But it pisses me off for several reasons:
- It assumes that I’m a hedonist who loves nothing more than to gorge myself on gluttonous, luxuriant meat. It assumes that this decision was easy for me because it somehow justified a deep longing within to eat nothing but meat—GLORIOUS MEAT! In fact, as soon as I realized what I had to do in order to lose the weight that had been dogging me, I went through a mini-depression. I was leaving behind foods I loved and, to a large degree, the culture from whence they came. I was going to become one of THOSE people at a dinner party. Don’t get me wrong—I do in fact love meat and always have, especially now that I know it’s the primary vehicle for the fats my body so sorely needs. But what do people think we do, have orgiastic meat banquets where we gnaw on bones, slather marrow on bacon, lick foie gras off our fingers, chomp Kobe burgers sandwiched between crispy pieces of duck skin, and let the juices of all those carcasses drip down our chins? Actually, that’s sounding pretty good…
- It assumes we’re elitist. You’ve heard the argument that grains will save the world and feed everyone, and that by eating animals, we’re somehow killing innocent babies in Africa. Or something. Hogwash. It was unexpected for me to understand how much this WOE connects us to our traditional roots. We’ve forgotten how to eat liver, marrow, brains, and other humble cast-offs, but damn sure our grandparents could’ve told us what to do with ‘em. You know what’s elitist? Wasting all that good stuff. Know what else is elitist? Judging us because we pay more for our grass-fed beef. Are they saying that everyone should happily eat grain- and corn-fed animals? That we shouldn’t demand healthier animals for healthier people? That somehow the quantity of people on earth is better than people’s health and well-being? That’s indefensible. In addition, there are many people committed to this WOE who are on a budget. Some even hunt for their own food to keep costs down. I’ve seen college kids asking for guidance about what to eat that’s cheap and doesn’t require refrigeration. This is about way more than finances and socio-economic status. It’s about embracing optimal health.
- It completely ignores the fact that we also eat a lot of vegetables and other plant matter. I think I’ve eaten more cabbage in the past 4 months of this diet than in the whole of my life combined. And I love it. When you’re not filling yourself up with empty carbs, it’s amazing how much room you have in your life for nutrient-dense foods that actually contribute to your well-being.
- It’s what our bodies want and need. This is a biggie. As I’ve gotten deeper into this lifestyle, I’ve become more amazed that people want to believe that their ill health and general yucky feelings are caused by meat. I’m going to say it again, as I’ve said before, I’ll not argue with anyone about their vegan/vegetarianism if it’s about their conscience. But I am absolutely gobsmacked that I can polish off a huge ribeye steak and feel no bloating, no gas, no intestinal distress whatsoever. My midsection remains svelte and my guts hum along happily. In addition, the more I delve into the connection between psychology/behavior and diet, the more the SAD seems downright criminal. As Emily Deans explains on her Evolutionary Psychology blog (bold mine): “All these pathways and all these signals have been running along using the nutrients and lifestyle we have evolved for thousands and thousands of generations. The signaling depends upon having magnesium, zinc, cholesterol, omega 3s and arachidonic acid, vitamin D, creatine, CoQ10, restorative sleep, appropriate lighting, proper energy efficiency and neuronal recovery and repair. Some of us are nearly bullet-proof. We have lickety-split efficient neural networks that seem to be able to run on garbage. Others of us have some sort of problem somewhere, and we need all our compensatory mechanisms working, and we need to give our neural networks all the raw materials in the right amounts.” To think otherwise is to be misled. Don’t be misled by ideas. Your body doesn’t care about ideas. Your body doesn’t care what the 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines are. Your body doesn’t understand food pyramids or ideas like “cleansing”. Just give it what it came for—all that meat.