In todays show I’m revealing a few of the Biggest Health Mythes Of 2017.
It’s long been a strategy of the meat, dairy and egg industry to create doubt in the minds of consumers regarding what is healthy. To foster confusion, not unlike the tobacco industry.
It’s a super effective tactic. For a start: Healthy, is utterly subjective.
As a personal example… When purchasing cashews from the supermarket recently the check out lady observed “What a healthy breakfast!” In fact it was morning tea, breakfast had been a green smoothie with 4 types of green veg, organic berries and plant based protein powder. Much more healthy in my mind than the cashews roasted in some cheap vegetable oil that I was about to devour 3 serves worth of! My healthy is likely completely inedible in the minds of many people.
The thing is, as consumers we are each only too eager to believe what we want to believe. We like good news about our bad habits!
“Red wine is full of antioxidants?” Fab, no need to read the full article I’ll just Cheers to that!
“Coffee aids in fat burn?” Awesome, make mine a triple then!
“Saturated fat does not lead to heart disease?” Well, then add a side of bacon to my steak and eggs for breakfast… and lather on the butter like cheese. Actually while we’re talking cheese, how about a side of fried haloumi too?
My goal in this 2 part podcast is to help you avoid the persistent, pervasive and detrimental health mythes that play havoc with all your best eating and exercising intentions. With that in mind, let’s get rolling with part one (the first 3) of the Biggest Health Mythes Of 2017!
Health Myth One: You Need To Consume Animal Products To Be Healthy.
This is what kept me vego for 24 years despite the fact my daily egg and dairy eating actions felt completely incongruent with my values and beliefs.
Globally despite our medical advances we’re the sickest and fattest we’ve ever been. 75% of all U.S. health care costs are attributed to lifestyle illnesses. 8 of the top 10 causes of death in Australia are lifestyle related. In fact the ONLY diet scientifically proven to prevent and even reverse our biggest killers globally – heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes – is a whole foods plant based diet.
I will back this claim up. Garth Davis is a Houston based medical and weight loss doctor who over the past 30 years “has reviewed thousands of science-backed studies to successfully dispel the myth surrounding the need for animal protein.” In his book Proteinaholic Davis writes that animal protein is killing humans.
As the SAD – Standard American (or Australian!) Diet – invades developing countries so too undeniably does our epidemic of lifestyle related diseases.
Meanwhile across all fields of elite athletic performance plant based athletes are proving just how fit, strong and healthy your body can be without animal products. Here’s an article on 5 Plant Based Athletes. Including the worlds strongest man and perhaps the top ultra runner in the world… of all time. Let’s not forget tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams who follow a raw vegan diet during the tennis season.
Health Myth Two: Protein Deficiency Is A Thing.
For the first 10 years of my personal training career I believed you needed excessive amounts of protein to be fit, strong and lean.
I subscribed to the one gram of protein per pound of body weight rule and spent hours calculating food plans aligned with this for my clients.
More and more I’m starting to see research to suggest 50 grams of protein a day is more than enough. Beyond that, I have never seen any evidence of protein deficiency in someone who is consuming adequate calories. Put another way, if you’re not starving yourself, you’re getting enough protein. The reason high protein diets can be effective for fat loss is more about the crap-o-la processed carbs and refined sugars being eliminated than the excessive protein intake being embraced. Equally effective without the health risks discussed in myth one (AND inherent cruelty / extreme waste / unprecedented environmental destruction… ) is a whole food plant based eating approach.
Do you know what IS a thing? Fibre deficiency. One of the problems with a diet built primarily around protein is what gets left out. Too often fibrous veg and fruit are sacrificed. The recommended daily intake of fibre is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. According to the USDA, the average intake is closer to half that. Fibre deficiency can cause: Poor Digestive Health. Cardiovascular Disease. Weight Gain. Poor Blood Sugar Control.
The vast number of plant based body builders and figure competitors dispel the myth that you need animal protein to build muscle. My Instagram feed is full of them, however if yours isn’t I recommend you check out: Veganfitnessmodel(Crissi Carvalho) and IFBB Pro Nimai Delgado (who has never eaten meat!).
How about the old school body builders? I was hugely impressed to see Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent videos where he stress’s the need “to eat less meat” for your health and to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Conservative estimates state animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of ALL greenhouse gas emissions. Now in his own words Arnie will likely never be a total Vegan (I still have hope!) however equally he’s eating less meat than he ever has at around 2 times a week.
Health Myth Three: Fish Is Essential… and Healthy.
Fish seems to be the go to food choice for those interested in eating less meat for health reasons. Regularly people tell me they are eating less meat and now mostly choose fish. Now that’s pretty awesome for all those cows, sheep and pigs that are no longer ending up as breakfast, lunch and dinner… however is it any healthier?
And are fish sentient beings with the capacity to feel, perceive and experience subjectivity?
So far as the later: Macquarie University professor Culum Brown, has published a review paper in the journal Animal Cognition titled “Fish intelligence, sentience and ethics” clearing showing that fish are sentient and emotional beings who feel pain in much the same way that humans do.
In her book Do Fish Feel Pain? Dr. Victoria Braithwaite concluded, “I have argued that there is as much evidence that fish feel pain and suffer as there is for birds and mammals.”
In one of my favourite books Eat Like You Care authors Gary L Francione and Anna Charlton explain “there are receptor sites in the head of fish that respond to damaging stimuli and fish show reactions to harmful substances.” My go to approach when deciding what works for YOU is to first break free of ignorance with volition.
Read the facts. Watch the videos. When you are then able to make an informed decision: Listen to your heart. If you can’t look at the FULL process of ocean to plate or crate to plate… if you find yourself averting your eyes then there’s something to that.
There’s clear and numerous such evidence to be easily found however as I mentioned earlier as consumers we are each only too eager to believe what we want to believe… and eating fish has long been considered Normal, Natural and Necessary.
Talking Normal, Natural and Necessary (a term coined by Melanie Joy which she labels the 3 N’s of justification for why humans eat meat) there are a few other things that society used to deem Normal, Natural and Necessary:
Slavery. Male Dominance. Heterosexual Dominance.
On the matter of Normal? I genuinely believe that in years to come enslaving, torturing and murdering other sentient beings purely because we value our taste and our convenience over their life will be considered far from normal. We’ll be horrified that we let it happen. How can it be normal to eat the flesh or excretions of an animal that didn’t want to die and yet it’s extreme to eat just plants?
On the matter of Natural? If you were to give a baby an apple and a bunny I’m sure we’d both agree on which one it’d naturally play with and which one it’d try to eat! Natural is a child’s response when they first make the connection between those cute farm animals and the unrecognisable meat cuts on their plate. UN-natural is lying to a child by insisting that lamb had a full and happy life. It didn’t suffer at all.
On the matter of Necessary? Perhaps at times in our evolution there was a necessity to consume some animal products. I’m not conceding this – however as I wasn’t there (!) I’m open to the possibility. The pure and simple fact NOW though is that it is NOT necessary. We have so many options at our finger tips for delicious, nutritious, cruelty free plant based meals. It’s 100% a choice.
To get back to the question of Essential and Healthy and quote directly from nutritionfacts.org:
“According to two of the most credible nutrition authorities, the World Health Organization and the European Food Safety Authority, we should get at least a half a percent of our calories from the short-chain omega-3 ALA. Just one tablespoon of ground flaxseed, known as one of the richest plant sources of essential omega-3 fatty acids, or walnuts, among the highest in antioxidant and omega-3 levels, takes care of that. Our body can then take that short-chain omega-3 and elongate it into the long-chain omega-3s EPA and DHA found in fish fat.”
By eating from the bottom of the food chain (nuts, seeds, algae) you get to avoid the pollutants that proliferate higher up the food chain in larger oily fish like salmon and tuna. In fact the algae used in supplements are generally grown in tanks and do not come in contact with the ocean. The documentary What The Health covers the four worries of fish: PCB’s, Mercury, Saturated Fat and Cholesterol around the 21.31 mark.
In fact, I know I’ve said it before however I cannot recommend What The Health highly enough.
It’ll dig in with each of the 3 mythes I’ve covered today in a thorough, entertaining and SCARY / life changing way. You can find it on Netflix and at: http://www.whatthehealthfilm.com/. I also recommend you watch / read the information created to discredit What the Health as it’s essential to gather your information from a broad variety of sources…. and when you are then able to make an informed decision: Listen to your heart.
I’ll be back with part 2 of the Biggest Health Mythes Of 2017 soon and I must admit, Myth four I certainly helped propagate.
Until then, I’d love to hear from you. Do you disagree with one of my stated mythes? Or are you in agreement however it’s still a struggle to break from old habits? To recap we covered:
Biggest Health Mythes Of 2017 one: You Need To Consume Animal Products To Be Healthy.
Biggest Health Mythes Of 2017 two: Protein Deficiency Is A Thing.
Biggest Health Mythes Of 2017 three: Fish Is Essential… and Healthy.
That’s it for this week in Healthification. Huge gratitude to YOU for sharing this week with me.
The Healthification podcast is proudly bought to you by my FREE ‘Easy Vegan’ plan. It took me 25 years to transition from a meat eater to a happy, healthy, non-judgemental Vegan! You can do it in just 3 days with my simplified ‘easy vegan’ plan! Get the fit, strong, and healthy plant based body you deserve… while avoiding ALL the mistakes I made along the way!
Till next time, remember Creating a body and life you love is Freedom. (If this ex-carb queen, NON-genetically gifted, naturally uncoordinated VEGAN-chick can do it – so can YOU!!!)
If you liked Biggest Health Mythes Of 2017 (part one) you’ll also like: Deliberately Addictive Craving Causing Food: 3 Myths.
If you’re yet to share the Healthification love – just click here to zip over to iTunes and leave an honest rating and review. It’d help me out big time. With gratitude, Kate.