Meat, Animal Fat & Guilt?

Raluca Schachter

Raluca Schachter › Raluca Schachter is a passionate Nutritionist and Metabolic Typing Advisor®, with a background in both nutrition ...

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“One man’s meat is another man’s poison.” – Lucretius

Imagine you’re an Eskimo. You can eat up to 10 pounds of meat a day, huge amounts of fat, and literally no carbohydrates. But you are perfectly healthy. Your entire family is healthy and your ancestors were too.They didn’t know what cancer or heart disease were. But then you decide to move to the jungle of South America and live with the Quechua Indians, that have been thriving for a long time on a nearly vegetarian diet. You marry a local and you have kids.

So…what will YOU eat then to stay healthy? And even better, what will your kids eat to grow healthy?

Well, here is my personal short story about the culinary journey I experienced: I was raised on an Eastern European traditional diet which included a variety of meats, organ meats, animal fat, fish and caviar, fermented foods, local vegetables and fruits as well as some grains.

After 1989 our country started receiving western imports of “modern” foods that were advertised as “healthy” like: margarine, pudding powders, milk powders, vegetable oils and other types of processed junk. We ate it since we were told it was good for us and at that time there were not many “experts” around to tell us otherwise. My health started to deteriorate. Well, usually that happens when you believe that Snickers is good for you since it has peanuts which contain “protein”…

Then I moved to US and was overwhelmed by the huge variety of foods from all parts of the world. I went with the mainstream dogma of eating LOTS of vegetables and grains and kept it low on animal fat and meat. Meanwhile, I started my nutritional studies. My health got worse, and I was underweight. I couldn’t understand it. Then I started my studies in Metabolic Typing  and ALL my questions and confusion ended. Obviously, the traditional Eastern European diet I used to eat in my childhood was actually the one I was thriving on! Larger quantities of animal fat and meat had to be my staple, along with full fat dairy, certain vegetables and very little grains.  I worked on eliminating blocking factors that were stopping my metabolism to function correctly. I gave my body the right chance to heal itself. In less than a year I gained the desired weight and my health got better and better each year.

So, would you feel “guilty” to eat red meat and animal fat if you were me?

Now here are some valid, irrefutable evidence, scientific and nutritional facts verging on natural law that support the above:

1. METABOLIC INDIVIDUALITY

It’s high time we think beyond mass marketing nutrition, since no one size/ diet fits all. And no one “meat” and “fat” fits all. There are metabolisms that thrive on high amounts of red meat and fat and there are metabolisms that thrive on lean, white meat instead. Ratios of animal proteins and fats as well as the type of proteins and fats vary tremendously from person to person, from culture to culture, from metabolism to metabolism. But these food groups have always been a staple in most cultures throughout the world.

The only healthy diet is the one that meets one’s genetically-based requirements.

Our nutrient requirements are also heavily influenced by our environments and the kind of lifestyles we lead. Both of which have shifted dramatically over the course of the last century.

We are all unique on a biochemical level as we are in our fingerprints. Biochemical individuality is responsible for the fact that nutrients behave differently in different metabolisms. William Wolcott, founder of the Healthexcel System of Metabolic Typing explains :

“Fat doesn’t make you fat. Protein doesn’t make you fat. Carbohydrates don’t make you fat. And even calories per se don’t make you fat. But what does make you fat is the inability to properly metabolize, or convert to energy, carbs, proteins, fats and calories.

Eat the right foods for your Metabolic Type (metabolism) and eat the right ratios of macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbs) and you’ll be giving your body the right kind of fuel for your engines of metabolism. Science is beginning to awaken to the idea that much of what our bodies do with food is in our genes.”

2. NUTRITION

Saturated fats play many important roles in the body. They provide integrity to the cell wall, promote the body’s use of essential fatty acids, enhance the immune system, protect the liver and contribute to strong bones. The lungs and kidneys cannot work without saturated fat.

Dietary cholesterol contributes to the strength of the intestinal wall and helps babies and children develop a healthy brain and nervous system.

Cholesterol is vital for making our hormones, which have a profound influence over how we feel and act.

Red meat is a rich source of nutrients that protect the heart and nervous system; these include vitamins B12 and B6, zinc phosphorus, carnitine and co-enzyme-Q10.

3. TRADITION and ANCESTRAL DIETS

We live in a genetic melting pot. Our ancestors came from different parts of the world and most of us have lots of different blood running through our veins. A brilliant and world-renowned scientist – Dr. Weston A. Price traveled all over the world and sought out all the indigenous populations to study their diet and their health. His book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration is a remarkable study. He discovered that:

  • The diets of all the indigenous peoples were tremendously varied (being dependent on geography, climate and the food stuffs naturally available)
  • Yet those indigenous people who followed their ancestral diets were robustly healthy.
  • But those who moved away or for other reasons strayed from their ancestral diet developed degenerative processes.

Dr. W. Price analyzed the foods of indigenous people compared to the American diet of his day and found that they provided at least TEN  times more fat-soluble vitamins from animal foods such as butter, fish eggs, shellfish, organ meats, eggs and animal fats.

4. GENE HEALTH AND BEAUTY

The isolated groups Dr. Price investigated understood the importance of preconceptual nutrition for both parents. Many tribes required a period of special feeding before conception, in which nutrient-dense animal foods were given to young men and women. These same foods were considered important for pregnant and lactating women and growing children. Price discovered them to be particularly rich in minerals and in the fat-soluble activators found only in animal fats. The isolated people he photographed had fine bodies, didn’t have any fertility problems, didn’t have cavities and presented perfect dentures, were emotional stable and free of degenerative diseases.

People “designed” babies since ancient times. They were aiming for healthy, bright, happy babies, all necessary traits to the community long-term survival. Common sense, wisdom and careful observation helped them understand that when certain foods were missing from their diet, children came out with health problems and anomalies. So they learned how to use foods to avoid health problems. For example, locals from the Yukon Territory (in Canada) knew about scurvy, a disease of vitamin C deficiency and how to protect themselves against it. No, it was not by eating lemons, but the adrenal glands of the moose they were hunting!

In the Scotish Isles people used cod’s head (rich in essential fatty acids) as a staple food. The Maasai in Northern Africa drank mainly milk and cattle blood and presented amazingly, perfectly sculpted bodies and teeth. They didn’t eat any fruits or grain, but the milk they drank contained five times the brain building phospholipids of American milk.

Blackfoot Nation women utilized the still unknown nutrient systems found in the lining of the large intestine of buffalo to make the baby have a nice round head. In Fiji, islanders would acquire a certain species of lobster crab which the tribal custom demonstrated to be efficient for producing a highly perfect build infant. And such examples are many.

In her book Deep Nutrition, Catherine Shanahan, MD talks about how genes are affected by the foods we eat:

“Epigenetic researchers study how our genes react to our behavior, and they’ve found that just about everything we eat, think, breathe, or do can, directly or indirectly, trickle down to touch the gene and affect its performance in some way. (…) Not only does what we eat affect us down to the level of our genes, our physiques have been sculpted, in part, by the foods our parents and grandparents ate (or didn’t eat) generations ago.”

5. SUSTAINABILITY

”…Here are the questions you should ask, a new form of grace to say over your food. Does this food build or destroy topsoil? Does it use only ambient sun and rainfall, or does it require fossil soil, fossil fuel, fossil water, and drained wetlands, damaged rivers? Could you walk to where it grows, or does it come to you on a path slick with petroleum?”

(from The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith)

On Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm (“the mecca of sustainable food production” as L. Keith likes to call it), his rotating mixture of animals on PASTURE is building one inch of soil annually. Which is huge! Compare that to one-sixteenth of an inch of soil that a pine forest can build in fifty years!!

We all know factory farming is destroying our health and planet. But pastured animals will save it. If you are supposed to eat meat, then by all means look for grass fed varieties.

6. ETHICS

“The fact that life requires sacrifice has profound spiritual ramifications. In order for something to live, something else must die. And that should provide us a lesson in how we serve one another and the creation and Creator around us. Everything is eating and being eaten. The perpetual sacrifice of one thing creates life for the next. To see this as regenerative is both mature and normal. To see this as violence that must be stopped is both abnormal and juvenile.”

(from Folks, This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin)

If you do have a craving for fat and meat you should listen to your body since it IS talking to you. Re-learning how to interpret the signals your body is sending you daily is vital for health and survival. The natural law will always be above science, technology, the latest diet trends, imposed philosophies or beliefs. The race after “newer, easier, bigger, faster” took out of the equation the ANCESTRAL WISDOM. And I think it’s high time we go back and re-learn precious knowledge we wanted to forget.  That too, would be ethical.

Resources:

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Dr. Weston A. Price

The Healthexcel System of Metabolic Typing

MetabolicTypingOnline.com

Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan

Folks, This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin

The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith

Weston A Price Foundation 

Do you crave meat or animal fats? 

This article originally appeared on Guide2Health.net. It is re-posted here with permission from the author.

Photo Credit: Hestina’s Kardia