Just over two years ago, I decided to go vegan. I believed eating fully plant-based was the ideal diet for my personal physical and spiritual health. I knew very little about the science of nutrition and supplementation and made this decision with hopes of healing, as I was in seriously poor health due to my past toxic lifestyle.
Throughout my journey, I tried many versions of the vegan diet such as “raw food-ism“, “fruitarianism” and “high-carb, low-fat” and, in hindsight, I wish I hadn’t for health reasons. However, looking back, I am thankful for the experience and wisdom it taught me about balance, and how you have to have it for personal growth.
In addition, a huge part of me was/is a compassionate animal lover who delighted in the fact that I would seemingly be causing less harm. When I started dating my boyfriend, he helped me to consider that not ALL animal products are toxic or unethical (just the ones raised in toxic and unethical conditions), and reintroducing them could change my healing game for the better.
As you can tell by the title of this article, my food choices have changed and so has my perspective on whether eating animal products is morally acceptable, healthy and necessary. But, only if they’re ethically and sustainably-raised!
Below is a list of 3 reasons why I choose to eat meat for my optimal life:
Animal Products Are Insanely Nutritious
When I first began to stray from the vegan diet, the first thing I tried was pasture-raised, organic eggs from Vital Farms. I always make sure to cook them sunny side up (hard whites, runny yolks) to ensure excess histamine cooks off but maintains the nutrition in the yolk, the most nutrient dense part of an egg. Healthy eggs are notably high in choline, iodine, A and B vitamins and K2 and an awesome fat source for expecting and nursing mothers (which is something I’m actively preparing for.)
When I cracked the first one into my pan, I noticed that the yolk was bright orange and not pale yellow like the conventional eggs I was raised on were. I did some research and found that the more vibrant the color, the healthier the egg. Score! Being someone who was prone to nutrient-deficiency on the vegan diet, I was THRILLED to be getting more vitamins and minerals from somewhere other than B12 and zinc supplements.
“Being someone who was prone to nutrient-deficiency on the vegan diet, I was THRILLED to be getting more vitamins and minerals…”
After eggs, I added dairy. By dairy, I solely mean unsalted, grass-fed butter from Kerrygold. Prior to it’s reintroduction, I was convinced that I had a lactose intolerance. Which, wasn’t COMPLETELY false. The truth of the matter was, I was intolerant to shitty-quality foods, pardon my French. In hindsight, I realize now that my whole life I’d been consuming poor-quality products.
High quality butter is full of CLA, butyric acid, vitamin A, K2 and so much more. Fueling my body with clean, grass-fed butter (and, additionally, more coconut oil), I started seeing major improvements in my health. My skin got clearer, my brain fog lessened, my energy increased and my bowel movements were more frequent and healthier. GOOD FAT RULES!
“…I started seeing major improvements in my health. My skin got clearer, my brain fog lessened, my energy increased and my bowel movements were more frequent and healthier.”
Last but most definitely not least *drum roll* Grass. Fed. Meat. Specifically, beef. OMG. It’s full of gut healing properties. We even consider it the #1 superfood in our household. In Asheville, NC we are lucky to have locally grass-fed beef from Hickory Nut Gap Farm and, when that’s not available we opt for Thousand Hills.
It’s comprised of protein and fat, both of which are vital when regulating, cleansing and building the body. Health is all about balance and, with fats, it’s important that the foods we eat have the right ratios of Omega-3/6. It’s abundant in CLA, B vitamins, amino acids, bio-availabile iron (which is different than the iron that leafy greens provide), as well as zinc and selenium. Not only that, it’s quite tasty. Sorry vegan friends…
All Lives Are Equal
Before I explain this one, I just want to remind you that I was vegan at one point in my life, so I whole-heartedly understand the belief that killing and eating the flesh of another was wrong and inhumane (sounds especially gruesome when worded like that, yikes!)
When first decided to eat meat and animal products again, this was my biggest conflict. I couldn’t help but feel sadness for the cow I was eating or the baby cow whose mother’s milk was taken to make my butter. But, the other night, as my man and I were enjoying our dinner filled with grass-fed ribeye, I had a realization. Something totally clicked in me that helped me accept that it’s not wrong to eat this way.
Each life is as equally valuable as the next. If you believe in a higher power like God, Spirit or the Universe, like I do, you probably already know this in some way. Everything was/is created by and from the same source. Now I know this might sound totally crazy, but what makes an animal’s life more valuable than a plant’s? Seriously asking.
Just because a plant doesn’t have a face or heart like us, doesn’t necessarily mean it feels any less than a cow when it is killed. Just because we don’t perceive it to be suffering when we harvest it, doesn’t mean it isn’t. I’m sure there is a way to scientifically measure a change in it’s frequency but, besides that, I like to assume that plant life is just as valuable as animal life as well as human life.
If that’s the case, then that means SOMETHING has to die in order for something else to live. If the quality of my health depends on eating another living thing, I believe it’s necessary to do what it takes to, not only survive but, thrive. Karmically speaking, eating causes harm either way so, I might as well cause the harm that benefits me most.
Sustainable Farming Promotes Healthy Soil
Okay, this one’s for my environmental lovers out there. It’s pretty simple. I used to think that all farming of animals had a negative impact on our Earth. Little did I know, when healthy, happy animals spend their lives grazing and eliminating on land, the nutrients found in their waste does absolute WONDERS for soil quality. It provides nutrients that the Earth is seriously benefits from. Quite the opposite when compared to conventionally raised animals.
“…healthy, happy animals spend their lives grazing and eliminating on land, the nutrients found in their waste does absolute WONDERS for soil quality.”
Conventional farming of animals typically involves grain feed (wheat and corn), due to it’s cheap cost and bulking ability. This is detrimental to their, and our, immune function (especially if you have a known intolerance to these foods). To combat the consequences of poor quality feed, hefty amounts of antibiotics and growth-hormones are given to prevent the spread of infectious disease and promote the speed of production in order to increase monetary profit. Sad right?
It only makes sense that sick cows = sick humans & soil. Unfortunately, every bit of waste that conventionally-raised animals produce is toxic to our Earth. This is why I am such an advocate for only investing in and consuming high quality, sustainably and ethically-raised animal products. When life is allowed to exist in its natural state, everyone (including us) benefits…
My health is my #1 priority and discovering the truth of what is best for me is a constant journey. Veganism played a huge role in my personal growth and I am forever grateful for the lessons and experiences I acquired during that time. Incorporating quality animal products into my diet has substantially improved my health, energy and appearance.
I will always be the compassionate being that wants to create as little harm as possible, but I can only do that fully if I am in a healthful state. For now, this is what works best for me. I encourage you to do your research on whatever it is you decide to pursue in your life. Knowledge is power!
∞ Love & Gratitude