Monday, September 7

Thoughts on eating less meat/animal protein

About seven weeks ago, one of my business partners handed me a book - The China Study - which discusses the occurrence of "affluent diseases" in particular parts of the world and how diet is strongly correlated to them. Affluent diseases as in cancer, MS, diabetes, heart disease and so on.

In addition, a friend of mine took me to see Food Inc. at an art theater by NWC which also discussed how agrofarming and the consolidation of the food industry has brought about dangerous change to our food supply - particularly with regard to animal products.

So, seven weeks ago, I decided to see if I could go along with the diets suggested by The China Study - a reduction of animal products in my diet which included dairy and meat. I would increase my intake of plant-based foods and increase my intake of whole-grain and sprouted grain products, instead of refined flour or sugars.

The impact of this diet on my life has been remarkable.

Since the diet, I have seen:
  • My weight drop ten pounds and my stomach bloating disappear
  • My sleeping habits have been incredibly improved and with more energy to do other things
  • My cholesterol - which was being managed by my Lipitor to 150, now down to 87
  • My mental faculties have been improved and enhanced - clarity in terms of remembering things from long ago and processing speed in terms of problem solving speed above my normal state
Now, I do enjoy some meat or dairy products now and then - but I try to keep it to once a week in terms of meat (though I am on 2.5 weeks without it now) and dairy very seldom (though I had a slice of pizza a couple of days ago).

I am now finding that learning a programming language and architecture, which would have been more of a challenge to me in the past, is incredibly easy and accessible. I keep discovering some past thoughts and concepts that I once focused on before - and completely forgot - are returning with alacrity and vibrancy.

It has been interesting - since I did not think I could do a vegan/vegetarian diet - especially after being such a fan of meat for so long. But the challenge has been not as great as I thought - especially when you begin to realize that fiber is a major component to our health, and not the Metamucil we see on TV all the time. Plant fiber and whole grains turn out to be better than any vitamin or pharmaceutical product one could provide.

Is being a vegetarian right for you?
Not sure. You might think it something to try - and I would avoid the crazy diets and such. Just enjoy the noodles and vegetables you are finding in the supermarket. Entire empires and countries (like India and China) subsist off of these diets and, if given access to the quality and quantity we in the States are enjoying through our organic channels, I think the benefits of long life, old age with clarity and reduced chance of affluent diseases is reason enough to engage it.

Do I consider myself vegetarian - no. I still look forward to my sirloin or some other fine piece of steak. But nowadays, I carefully choose that piece of meat - if only because I know that 5% of your diet can be animal protein - and that is just fine with me.


neilc said...

Sanford, I'm happy for how this has worked out for you, and I'm personally a strong believer in increasing fiber and reducing the consumption of refined carbs. I'm slightly skeptical of some of the science presented in The China Study tho. Indeed, I find it ironic that the wikipedia article for the China Study links to this:

Sanford Dickert said...

Neil -

Thanks for this - very interesting reading. What I see is that the science of The China Study might not be as free of flaws as they propose. Hmmm...