So at some point in your life you decided to make a huge life changing decision “I’m not going to eat meat ever again!”
Bravo! That’s a brave and noble decision that can lead to tremendous health benefits and a happier more fulfilling life.
(by the way, this includes pescetarians and chicken-tarians too)
Assumed Benefits of Vegetarians
The true health benefits of vegetarianism are the following:
1) Eating meat based proteins has been strongly linked to causing illness and cancers (The China Study is a great book on this)
2) A plant based diet requires less processing by the body to assimilate and digest
3) There is less toxic intake due to the removal of the additional level of animal toxic exposure. (e.g. plant has toxic exposure the animal eats plant and absorbs the toxins then we eat the animal and it’s additional toxins)
4) Plants are closer to the original energy source. (sun -> plant -> animal -> human)
This is overly simplified but still essentially the most noteworthy health benefits of a vegetarian. And they are significant!
Everything is fine and good until the big mistake happens… they cook almost all of their food!
Cooking is the Mistake
What’s wrong with cooking, you ask? Well the true benefits of being vegetarian, unequivocally, only occur if the vegetarian keeps the vast majority of their diet raw. That means uncooked fruits and veggies for most of their food intake. Boiling and frying and simmering and baking and sauteing veggies has an negative effect.
In the 1930’s Paul Kouchakoff, M.D. showed that if you eat a diet that is more than 51% cooked food, your body reacts to the food as if it was being invaded by a foreign organism. Think about that: Cooking alters food so much, your body thinks it needs to defend itself! Here’s the save: He further demonstrated that if 51% of your meals were raw, you would have no leukocytosis (no white blood cell reaction), so your immune system would not be activated with a false alarm. Ah ha!
A flaw that is almost always over looked when comparing a vegetable based diet to a meat based diet is the fact that we cook almost all of our meat.
Most studies compare COOKED meat to raw vegetables. Think about that. It’s pretty obvious that a raw carrot has a far different flavor and consistency than a cooked carrot. It stands to reason that the two carrots in question will have different nutritional content too right? It looks, tastes and feels differently for a reason…right?
That raw carrot is alive. It is made of millions and millions of smaller and smaller alive things: Cells, enzymes, bacteria, etc. that make up the thing we call a carrot. Heating that carrot up to 200+ degrees (water boils at 212 degrees) is bound to have an adverse effect on a living creature… right? Imagine someone heating YOU up to 200 degrees! If you were still alive at all you would be pretty darn drained of energy and you certainly wouldn’t be able to do much work.
The trick here is that we don’t often eat raw meat. If we are eating meat it’s assumed that it’s cooked so any scientific comparison to a vegetable based diet (assumed to be raw) will be unfair due to the inherent processing (high heat cooking) of the meat. Meat doesn’t stand a chance in the competition! It’s little wonder why a vegetable based diet will be exponentially more nutritious and healthy than a meat based diet.
Losing the benefits
So the sad fact of the matter is most vegetarians essentially lose almost all of the benefits of a vegetable based diet by cooking the vast majority of the precious energy out of the vegetable and almost (not quite though) reducing it to the same processed and altered state that our cooked meat is. Of course you are still gaining huge amounts of fiber and the body energy required to digest plants is much lower. But boiling and frying and simmering and baking and sauteing (basically overcooking) veggies constantly is lowering the quality of your life decision.
Ways to make it better
So now what? Now that I’ve made you second guess yourself for that past few years of your life… oops! It’s not that bad. You are totally on the right track and gaining benefit and NOW you can make some changes to get the full blown benefit of your awesome lifestyle choice.
9 Rules to Make Your Vegetarian Life More Beneficial:
1) Make sure that at least 60% of your diet is raw and uncooked.
2) Eat more salads. Eat a fruit salad before your breakfast and veggie salads before lunch and dinner.
3) Don’t pre-cook your veggies. If they are needed in a recipe, just add them at the end.
4) STOP EATING all that damn bread and pasta! It’s giving you a belly. Try the No Bread Week Challenge
5) Keep lots of fruits and veggies in your kitchen.
6) Keep fresh food (carrots, nuts, seeds, broccoli, apples, bananas, dried fruit… whatever) with you for snacking during the day
7) Never boil your veggies. Steam them with a steam tray instead.
8) Dip your favorite raw veggies in hummus.
9) Have at least one raw meal per day.
Obviously these 9 tips apply to non-vegetarians as well. Us meat eaters need these benefits the most!
I personally am not a vegetarian (ya never know, I may convert someday…) but I have many vegetarian friends and I know each of you made that decision for different reasons (animal cruelty, toxic poisoning of livestock, etc). I support you all 100% and want to see you gain the full benefits of that decision.
I hope that this was helpful and useful information for you and please feel free to leave a comment below.