I often get asked if animal-based products are good for health. Here’s the lowdown.
Animal products contain a wide variety of essential vitamins and minerals.
It’s not just our little darlings, the vegetables, that contain all the good stuff.
Animal meats, fats and bones are traditional foods containing vital nutrients that benefit the muscles, heart and endocrine system.
In my health coaching practice, I’ve discovered many vegans and vegetarians often suffering from adrenal fatigue and thyroid disease. They rely on vegetable proteins, like beans, but they may not be absorbed as efficiently.
Protein is essential to make thyroid hormones. The thyroid takes iodine and combines with tyrosine (amino acid) and is converted into T3 and T4. A lack of protein is associated with hypothyroidism all over the world.
My own experience with veganism when I was in my early 30’s gave me reverence for animals and how they are raised and treated. Mass produced animals are kept alive in terrible conditions that create high stress for the animals. We absorb that energy when we eat it. Mass production of animals has led to many unhealthy factory-farming practices resulting in disease-promoting products that I would NOT recommend to anyone!
Factory farmed animals are usually kept in unsanitary conditions that breed sickness, and they are not provided adequate exercise or sunshine. All creatures need sunshine and exercise to thrive, including us. Factory farmed animals are generally fed a diet of grain and soy which they are not designed to process. This makes them sick and unhealthy. They are fed a steady diet of antibiotics to help stave off disease and keep them alive. If my food has been overdosed with antibiotics then so have I. “You are what you eat,” and “you are what your food eats, too.”
Animals need to live a decent life: eat food they’re designed to eat, exercise in open fields, have access to sunshine, clean water, and fresh air. If the animal I eat is unhealthy, I risk becoming unhealthy as well. I would no more eat diseased corn than I would a diseased cow.
Energetically, most animal products (and their fats) like chicken, turkey, cow, goat, sheep, buffalo, eggs, and pork, can strengthen and warm the body. While fish and dairy are the exceptions: fish strengthens and cools the body, and most dairy products are cooling as well.
Over the past fifty years we have been taught that meat is carcinogenic, but that is simply not true. It’s the quality of our meat and how it’s prepared that determines whether or not it contributes to poor health.
If meat is burned at high temperatures it forms heterocyclic amines (HCA) that can be cancer causing. With that in mind, it’s best to NOT eat meat that is too well done or burned to crisp. That doesn’t mean you can never eat blackened, grilled or barbecued meat again, it just means to eat that type of meat less often so your body is not constantly dealing with the carcinogenic overload.
Animal products are dense with nutrients and energy. Eating too much without utilizing the energy derived from it can congest the body, and make the system sluggish. An important aspect to remember when eating animal foods, or any food (including vegetables), is “quantity changes quality.” Many foods from both the animal and vegetable kingdoms can be delicious, nutritious and health promoting, but if eaten in excess can do more harm than good.
For those folks suffering with digestive issues and having trouble absorbing meat proteins, it’s best to braise them for long periods of time, or cook in a stew to help break down the proteins.
If you are feeling cold and can’t warm up, red-blooded animals may be the best choice: lamb, beef, goat, duck, and wild game. If you are anemic, low iron, B12 deficient and low vitamin D, organ meats, like Sautéed Chicken Livers, may be a good choice.
Eggs are rich in vitamins A and D that are both needed for endocrine function. BUT don’t discard those yolks! That’s where those vitamins are. Eat one or two whole eggs, NOT egg beaters and NOT egg white omelets.
If you are suffering from adrenal fatigue and digestive problems, animal stocks, rich in collagen and easily absorbable minerals, is literally like liquid gold that can increase vitality and energy.
For many folks, when they support the adrenals their thyroid conditions naturally clear up. I worked with a client that was suffering from adrenal fatigue and goiter. She hadn’t been diagnosed with thyroid disease yet, but she was showing the signs that it was coming. She began drinking bone stocks on a daily basis and within two weeks she was feeling better than she had in two years. Stocks are powerful nutrition!
Eating warm-blooded animals can create a feeling of inner warmth, while cold-blooded animals like fish create a cold sensation in the body. I’ve worked with many clients that were eating fish as their main source of animal protein and they were complaining of feeling cold. By altering their proteins and fats, and adding more red-blooded animals, they began warming up.
If you are cold, fish may not be the right protein for you… unless you are eating whale meat. Whale is a warm-blooded mammal that’s why its protein and fat are warming rather than cooling.
As you can see, animal proteins can be a healthy choice for many folks depending on their condition and specific needs.
If you are suffering with adrenal fatigue or thyroid disease and need more guidance and support on which foods could be the best for healing your condition, join my Nourishing Thyroid Program.
In the meantime, try this delicious Braised Turkey Thighs. It’s delicious and nutritious!