Should You Become A Vegetarian? Let’s Discuss!

by lydia on November 11, 2014

There is SO much confusion these days as to what constitutes a healthy diet. There are so many ‘diets’ under the sun enough to make anyone’s head spin. I have many clients come to me that don’t seem to tolerate meat well which makes them think they should consider becoming vegan/vegetarian. I often find myself having conversations with them as to why they likely should not choose a vegetarian diet.


Why You May Not Tolerate Meat

Years ago, I chose to ‘become a vegetarian‘. I’ll be honest, it was not the most educated decision I ever made. The underlying reason was I wanted to do something new, but I also had a hard time chewing and digesting meat. I was tired of it and wanted a break. So I threw myself into my ’cause’ to be a vegetarian.

The problem with this was, I ate a lot more soy (bad idea, read ‘A Review Of Soy‘) and a lot more grains. One positive was that I ate gobs of veggies. I also consumed more dairy at first even though I’m lactose intolerant.

The underlying reason why I had a hard time with meat was because I couldn’t fully digest it. Fast forward to years gone by when I was eating meat again. Every time I ate beef I felt awful and got constipated and a very heavy full feeling in my gut. I could not eat it two days in a row or I felt worse. I finally learned I was not tolerating it because I did not have enough stomach acid to break it down to begin with. Eureka, light bulb moment! I remember starting out by taking an apple cider vinegar tonic before I ate and even after I ate for some time and that helped a lot. It wasn’t until I began to resolve my issue with low stomach acid by supplementing with hydrochloric acid that things really began to improve.

Meat protein can cause a sense of heaviness with slowed digestion and even bloating. Often, the issue is namely with red meat but it can get worse and progress to other proteins like chicken and fish. In part the underlying reason is actually due to adrenal burnout (the story of my life). When someone is adrenally fatigued their ability to produce adequate hydrochloric acid diminishes. In order to digest protein in the first place, we much have adequate stomach acid production.

Additionally, someone in adrenal burnout is likely copper toxic and deficient in zinc. Both issues will interfere with the ability of the pancreas to secrete trypsin and chymotripsin, both are also required for the digestion of animal protein.

I share to this so that others who may not be tolerating meat well can work on improving their digestion and look into the possibility of adrenal fatigue/burnout so they can enjoy meat without the digestive discomfort. I see so many clients who have upper GI issues and a need for protein on my assessments and the two go hand in hand. We usually start out by getting them on some hydrochloric acid and choosing easier to digest meats until things start to iron out.

I had a client this summer that was starting to become a vegan, not because she truly wanted to deep down, but because her body just couldn’t handle digesting protein. We started turning things around for her and now she happily enjoys meat again. A great place to start to determine if your digestion is impaired in part due to sluggish adrenal function would be with a hair analysis test.

Ethical Meat Eating

Another consideration for many is the idea of ethical eating. Many people feel that eating animal products is ‘unethical’ because of the way they are treated and raised. I couldn’t agree more with that myself. However, that doesn’t mean giving up meat altogether is necessary. A simple switch to meats from ethically raised animals on pasture, fed the right diet and no hormones/antibiotics is certainly as ethical as it gets in my book.

Learn more about how to choose healthy meats raised in an ethical healthful way.

Why You Need Animal Protein

Proteins compose about 18% of our body. Proteins are the building blocks of the body. Our body uses and assembles 50,000 different proteins to form organs, nerves muscles and flesh. Proteins are responsible for building enzymes, antibodies, hemoglobin, hormones. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. All proteins are a combination of 20 amino acids. 10 of these are essential, meaning the body cannot produce them, therefore we need to consume them from our food.

Simply stated: Your body needs protein to heal.

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