For those of you who are of the opinion that animal products are a necessary part of a healthy diet, I have a few questions for you.
1) Which ones do you consider the best?
2) How often should they be consumed for optimal benefits?
3) In what quantities should they be consumed?
We have eggs every morning. My mother-in-law tells me we should only eat two eggs a week and I think that's ridiculous. We have a lot of eggs. We have less meat - maybe a small serving a day at dinner. Partly because meat raised the way we buy it is very expensive. It's more expensive, but it's important to me so we just don't eat a whole lot of it.
I will love hearing what the folks who know more about this have to say!
I think this is a very personal decision. I have done many different diets, but ultimately returned to what feels right for my body and mind. For me, that is drinking fresh raw goat or cows milk almost daily. I also eat an egg from my own chickens every day. I eat beef or chicken stock made from the bones when my husband eats meat. The minerals and gelatin are great for my skin and digestion. Occasionally, I will have a small portion of meat, but I do not like eating meat because I do not want an animal to die for me. I think animal products can provide many easily digestible nutrients in your diet as long as they are pasture raised. Local is best. The healthiest diet for me, is one that can mostly come from local sources. I believe the healthiest animal products can really be any animal product, but must be pasture raised and eating it's natural diet.
V + E=baby G in 2012. Rural Midwestern homesteaders going back to their roots.
“A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.” -Paulo Coelho
1. I buy the most natural products we reasonably can. Free range eggs, grass fed beef, wild fish, etc. Part of this is limited to where we live and what we have available to us. I think part of what is "best" is variety in the part of the animal being consumed as well as the type of animal. For example, broth made from chicken or beef bones is SUPER nutritious. Organ meats are super healthy as well, but we aren't doing well actually eating them.
2. We eat paleo, so 3 meals a day here are planned with animal protein. We mostly eat animal protein and vegetables. Fruit is our candy.
3. The quantity should be satisfying -- which will vary a lot depending on how active a person is, what stage of life they are in etc. Rather than focusing on the quantity, I would focus on getting all non-helpful foods out of the diet. It is fine to eat to satiety when everything we eat is healthy. We really will get full and stay full. The problem with modern foods is that they screw up our systems so much that we do not experience appropriate signals from our bodies, so we stop trusting our bodies. Once we stop consuming the problematic foods, then our bodies send up true signals. (BTW, if I drink even one diet soda or have a little bit of flavoring in coffee, I will eat more food the next day.)
a note of cost -- I was concerned that when we switched to this way of eating, our food bill would go up. But it hasn't. We eat less because we get full and stay full. The food is more expensive, but we eat less food, so we spend about the same amount of money.
but everything has pros and cons
Thanks for the reply. I've allowed myself to become very confused about nutrition. I'm looking for a simple guide to use which is supported by a lot of good evidence.
We ate vegan for many months, and felt wonderful, and then mostly out of convenience we went to vegetarian for a few more months, consuming dairy products at least once/day...mostly non-organic. Our health has suffered (we have lack of energy and my teeth and gums are giving me trouble) we're ready to get back on track, but I feel unsure of which direction to go. I have doubts about the vegan diet being right for our family, but I feel overwhelmed with which direction to go in. Currently, we've added free range veg-fed chicken back in about once/week, wild salmon once/week, eggs nearly every day, and butter. We try to eat several servings of vegetables/day, but the fruits usually win out on quantity. We eat tons of grains (I'd like to learn more about sprouting to decrease anti-nutrient intake).
I just want to feel confident in our choices...and I'm not. I feel like there is conflicting and convincing information everywhere I look.
What's a mom to do? I also struggle with being able to find and afford the highest quality foods possible. Much of our food comes from our local grocery, with most being all-natural, and some organic. I make twice/month trips to a health food store to supplement this. I do the best I can, but I'm finding it increasingly difficult to make the right choices for my family.
I can really relate. I'm a former vegetarian. I was vegan briefly, but it really didn't work for my body in huge ways. The way that I ended up eating how I do was by having some health problems, and just trying different things to get to the bottom of them. It was either that or start on a bunch of drugs without any hope of ever going off of them.
Gluten is poison for me. It is the thing that makes the most difference for how I feel. Butter is fine, but other dairy products needs to be minimized (used more like an occasional condiment rather than a food).
In trying to figure out how to make eating this way consistently pleasant, I stumbled upon Paleo, and it really seems to work for my body for now. For one thing, I find the food very tasty and filling, and more importantly, I feel healthy and well again.
I think that all you can do is try something for a month, and see how it works out for you. It can take time to know for sure -- I went through a really crappy withdraw period when I took gluten out -- days 2 and 3 were rough, but by day 7 I felt better than I had in 2 years.
It sounds like right now, you have a fairly high carb diet (fruit and grains are carbs). You might try replacing some of those carbs with protein and healthy fats and see if that helps keep energy levels more even.
but everything has pros and cons
I don't think there is one diet that is best for everyone - our individual biochemistries vary greatly, so what is best for one person probably won't be best for another. So I don't think animal products are absolutely necessary for a healthy diet, but they are one efficient way of providing certain nutrients.
1) Which ones do you consider the best? I don't really think any are "best" since it depends on the individual. However, eggs are very nutrient dense and affordable, and don't require the death or mistreatment of the chickens. I think whole fat dairy is the best for people who can process lactose, and for meat grass-fed, antibiotic free is preferable when possible. If someone tends to be low on iron, I think red meat is good.
2) How often should they be consumed for optimal benefits? As frequently as necessary to feel good. I could eat eggs every day, and usually eat at least 1 serving of meat, if not more. I think some animal products a few times a week is most likely enough.
3) In what quantities should they be consumed? Whatever feels right for you. I know some people who feel great on a Vegan diet, and others who eat Paleo and consume a lot of animal products. I'd be wary of going toooo overboard on meat, most of us get plenty enough protein and excess can lead to gallstones and such.
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