This week on The Living Experiment, we’re talking about Eating Meat — the nutritional, ethical, and environmental questions that choice raises, and how we’ve come to our own answers.
From the vegan-vs.-paleo propaganda to the disconcerting realities of factory farming, we consider both the pros and cons of meat consumption.
We wade into some of the controversies and conundrums that polarize many well-intended eaters, and we shed light on some little-considered factors that we think deserve more attention.
Finally, we offer you some experiments to help you explore on the question of how meat-eating fits into your own life, or doesn’t.
“Eating Meat” Episode Highlights
- Pilar and Dallas share where meat fits into their eating, and why
- The quandaries of eating meat in our current food system, and how well-intended eaters can easily get led astray
- The dangers of orthorexia and other misguided, counterproductive clean-eating obsessions
- Balancing the environmental, health and ethical concerns of eating meat, while recognizing that there is no perfect or “pure” solution
- The value of undertaking deeper research and reflection before adopting a major dietary change, and the importance of paying attention to the longer-term effects
- Considering your individual health profile and priorities in shaping your own eating decisions
Expose yourself to some alternate points of view on the topic of meat-eating, and strive to empathetically consider the factors that are driving others’ decisions. Be open to adjusting your own meat-eating habits based on what you learn. If you’re an omnivore, be willing to acknowledge the reality of factory farming as an unsustainable, inhumane, and unhealthy-for-everyone practice that deserves critical scrutiny and activism. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, consider reviewing the arguments and real-life experiences of former vegans as expressed in books like The Vegetarian Myth, Women, Food and Desire or The Mindful Carnivore.
Do the Whole30. This is a 30-day experiment in eating high-quality whole foods, and for vegetarians, a great exercise in eliminating the processed foods that are too often at the center of meat-free eating. If you’re a vegetarian willing to expand your health experiment to include eating some meat, the Whole30 is a great opportunity to maximize the health improvements that come with focusing on nutrient-dense, satiating, anti-inflammatory food. Be sure to especially focus on the systematic re-introduction of foods, taking note on how they impact your energy, skin, digestion, mood, and general health.
Healthy, Happy Goodness
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- From Pilar, a reminder that how you eat is as important as what you eat: “Revolutionary Act # 32: Savor What You Eat”
- “Nutritional Assessment of the Symptomatic Patient on a Plant-Based Diet: Seven Key Questions:” A terrific scientific paper on the importance of key nutritional considerations (including the potential need for customization/supplementation, as well as contraindications) in adopting plant-based diets.
- “Paleo vs. Vegan,” a roundup of leading voices from both camps, and “Progressive Eaters, Unite,” a terrific overview of the considerations faced by discerning eaters of all stripes — both via Experience Life
- “The Food-Mood Connection” and “Comfort Food for Your Brain” — two more articles from Experience Life on the important role that proteins and healthy fats from animal-based foods may have on mental and emotional health
- Insights on seasonal eating and Dallas’s Seasonal Model of Health: “Seasons”, “Winter”, “Spring”, “Summer” and “Autumn”
- It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways by Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig
- Always Hungry? and Always Delicious (releasing in March) by David Ludwig, MD
- Women, Food and Desire: Honor Your Cravings, Embrace Your Desires, Reclaim Your Body by Alexandra Jamieson
- The Mindful Carnivore: A Vegetarian’s Hunt for Sustenance by Tovar Cerulli
- The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice and Sustainability by Lierre Keith
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
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