We have an epidemic of malnutrition today which goes almost entirely unrecognized, and yet is clearly evidenced by the state of our health; we see far more disease now than we have ever seen in all of human history! Of course toxins in our environment and in our food supply play a major role in this, but perhaps more so I believe, or at least equally to blame, is the fact that our food is so lacking in nutrients as to make it impossible to build and maintain the health and vitality our Creator intended and designed for us.
ARE TOXINS TO BLAME?
Note that many of the toxins we find in our environment today are agricultural in nature, and thus very much present in the foods and beverages we consume. But there certainly is more to our state of physical (as well as mental and social) decline than just this.
Many see huge improvements in their health simply by giving up the Standard American Diet filled with sugar, toxic and damaging industrialized oils, factory-farmed proteins of all kinds, genetically modified and devitalized , toxic grains, etc. Yet this alone can not explain the infertility, birth defects, disease, cancer, degeneration of body parts designed to function through life’s natural end, etc. that plague us today.
WHY ARE WE SO CONFUSED?
With the many dietary dogmas of today it can all be so confusing, but it need not be so! There is much faulty information, profits to be made, egos to stroke, and ideologies at stake. Yet if we take a deep look into human history, as the late Dr. Weston A. Price did, as well as biblical examples and dictates, we can see the need for animal input to meet our daily needs.
FROM THE GARDEN OF EDEN UNTIL NOW
“Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground-everything that has the beach of life in it-I give every green plant for food.’ And it was so.” Genesis 1:29-30
A core principle to grasp is this: in the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve did not have the same dietary needs of later people. They were created perfectly, free of defect. They lived in a perfect environment with a perfect atmosphere. There were no toxins, no degeneration. And yet, once thrust from the garden things began to change.
After the garden Abel raised sheep and goats, but why? Was it for the beautiful dairy products this type of livestock produced? Did they drink milk, make yogurt and cheese? We have no real idea!
What we do know is this: after the flood of Noah’s time, literally everything changed!
“And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you. As I gave the green plant. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.’” Genesis 9:1-4
If this isn’t convincing enough, consider the animal sacrifices; all were both, “a pleasing aroma unto the Lord” and food for the priests and their families. The Passover meal was centered around lamb. The heavenly visitors of Abram and Sarai were fed veal and milk (curds). The Old Testament is full of countless examples and directives for consuming meat and dairy, with the New Covenant continuing-even with the inclusion of “unclean meats”; and yet many today still claim that, from a Christian perspective, we should be vegetarian!
(Picture the author, shaking her head and throwing her hands upward in disbelief…)
Some will also point to the Hindus of India to show that we don’t really need to consume animal products. But in fact, even today Hindus consume a variety of animal foods, while eschewing flesh meats from cattle. Some eat lamb or mutton, a few even pork (though not popular or common). Dairy products are not only acceptable, but preferred and a common source of nutrition. Veganism is not a Hindu practice!
From Dr. Weston A. Price’s research around the world, he found that several cultures consumed the majority of their calories from animal foods, such as the Massai in Africa, whose primary diet was sourced from their herds, or the Eskimos of Alaska whose diet was very much dependent upon whales, seals, and other seafood. He also found some groups whose dietary needs were met primarily from grains, wild berries, and vegetables along with small rodents and insects. These people were all strong physically and produced generation after generation of equally strong and healthy offspring! The physical differences found were of stature primarily, with the Massai exhibiting an impressive physique, reaching upwards of 7’ in height; while those who consumed mostly plant-based foods were far smaller.
CAN WE GET VITAMIN A FROM CARROTS, AND WHAT ABOUT VITAMIN D?
Fat-soluble nutrients are an example of the need for animal foods. Consider which are the best sources of the critical nutrient, Vit D3: liver, seafood, eggs yolks, and dairy products from pastured or wild animals. I personally utilize the broad-spectrum of Vitamin D found in cod livers, in particular a fermented cod liver oil product which I know and trust, taking about 1 tsp daily.
The best plant-based sources are found in a few mushrooms which have the ability to synthesize Vit D2 when exposed to sunlight, but it would take quite a lot of Morell mushrooms to obtain the quantity our bodies need!
We humans have a limited ability to synthesize this critically important nutrient, and doing so requires two important factors: the presence of cholesterol in the subcutaneous layer of skin, and exposure to beta rays from the sun. These short rays are present at the height of day, a time when we’re discouraged from being outdoors, and still only reach through the earth’s atmosphere when the sun is closest to the earth, ie summer time, or in those areas closest to the equator. Add to this that we are constantly told of the dangers of sun exposure and urged to wear sunscreen (which, by the way, has clear links to skin cancer). Thus, we must obtain most of our Vit D from food.
Fully-formed Vitamin A, a critical factor in the growth and development of healthy children, is found only in animal foods; contrary to popular teaching, there is none in carrots! As with Vit D, our bodies have the ability to synthesize this nutrient from carotenoids in colorful vegetables (such as carrots) within our guts; yet the ability to do so is relative to the condition of our gut lining, and dependent upon the inclusion of fats when consuming these foods primarily in a cooked state, rather than raw. However, ruminant animals, with their multi-chambered stomachs and specialized digestive systems, are ideally suited to do this important work for us!
Beyond this it must be noted that these vitamins (and more) are found in the fat of each animal. So please, abandon the low-fat dogma as doing so means that one is missing out on these critical nutrients! Have a little (sourdough) bread with your slice of butter. Enjoy the fat on your steak. Burgers taste best with at least an 85/15% flesh to fat ratio. Drink whole milk instead of skim. Add cream to your tea. And ham? Leave the fat on there for more flavor and better nutrition!
BABIES ARE NOT VEGAN!
In all of my years of studying nutrition and human health, one thing that I have seen many times over is the resolution of infertility by the sole means of cleaning up one’s diet, while including key animal foods such as liver, raw dairy products and whole eggs from naturally-raised animals.
In addition to the issue of fertility, children conceived and raised on a devitalized diet will typically show signs of malnourishment. These included narrow facial and skeletal structure (think: crooked teeth, narrow hips), rickets, poor eye sight, and more.
But what about all of those children born to vegan or vegetarian parents? One thing that I like to tell prospective parents is this: babies are not vegans! Whether or not Mom eats animal foods, the growing baby inside of her absolutely will take from the mother’s body itself, essentially cannibalizing in order to provide for the child’s growth. Obviously this robs the mother of her own health, and is unsustainable.
THE RESEARCH OF DR. WESTON A. PRICE
The great nutrition pioneer, Dr. Weston A. Price, discovered nearly 100 years ago in his study of “primitive” people around the world, that animal foods were understood to be absolutely necessary for conception and human health.
Dr. Price and his wife traveled over all 6 habitable continents looking for examples and principles of sound human health, wondering what it was in the diets of these people that brought about near perfection in the human form, and protection from disease. He actually hoped to find healthy people who consumed no animal products, but did not find a single culture anywhere on the planet that did not recognize the importance of, and have reverence for, animal foods. It seemed that every culture understood the need for these foods to produce healthy children and strong physical bodies! Dr. Price’s intensive work is chronicled in his book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Dr. Francis Pottenger, a contemporary of Dr. Price, found the same in his study of cats, documented in his book, Pottenger’s Cats.
One key, notable feature of these diets is that each culture consumed and highly valued not only muscle meats, but in fact preferred the organs, fat, and even the bones of the animals they included in their diets. How is it that this important information has been lost, for the most part, in today’s food culture?
KEY NUTRIENTS DERIVED FROM THE WHOLE ANIMAL
As previously mentioned, fully-formed and bio-available Vitamins A & D are found only in animal foods. Iron is also of critical importance and the most easily assimilated form is heme, which comes from red meat and liver. In fact, our digestive tract is lined with receptors specifically for this form of iron.
But also consider that protein, which is needed to build and constantly rebuild every part of the human body, is best sourced from animals. While plants contain an assortment of amino acids, the building blocks of protein, a combination of plant-sourced “protein” is only as good as the quality and quantity of each individual amino acid profile. In other words, while combining rice and beans is said to provide complete protein, one must consume sufficient quantity of each to meet our requirements.
“Primitive” people (as Dr. Price described them) obtained most of their protein from not only muscle and organ meats, but also from the skin, cartilage, and connective tissues of the animals they utilized. We do the same today when we make bone broth and meat stock in our own kitchens. These super nutrient-dense foods provide strong healing properties for the gut along with both cleansing and very easy to assimilate nutrients. This, along with raw milk products from pastured animals (Part II of this series) provide the most complete nutrition for a challenged body.
Vegetarians can obtain sufficient nutrients when they are careful to include, in sufficient quantities, whole eggs, poultry, fish and shellfish, as well as dairy products.
A CLUE FROM HOMEOPATHY
From a common-sense standpoint, I like to borrow the key principle of homeopathy: “like cures like”. In simple terms this means that when we consume any part of an animal, it strengthens the same within our own bodies. So, is your heart struggling? Eat heart! Bones or connective tissue weak or in need of healing? Drink bone broth! Kidneys, brain, spleen, adrenals, liver, etc.; all can be incorporated into the diet of today, with there being many means of getting past the “yuck” factor.
FACTORY-FARMED VS NATURALLY RAISED
It is of critical importance to understand in all of this how animals are raised and slaughtered. The book of Leviticus includes many instructions for the raising of food generally, and quite specifically the slaughter. This author believes very strongly that these laws should be followed yet today, with the example of animal husbandry demonstrating the effectiveness and need for naturally-raised livestock. This includes chemical-free, rotational planting and grazing as well as humane slaughter.
I like to say also that when God created the earth in 6 days, he did not give us a single factory; he provided all the raw materials and instruction needed to provide well for ourselves, without the inclusion of toxic chemicals and slaughter houses! So for the benefit of all, please steer clear from conventionally-produced foods generally. Our food should come from farms, not factories!
In Part 2 of this essay, we will take a look at dairy products: how the animals which produce dairy should be raised, the beneficial nutrients they contain, how best to utilize and access these foods, as well as some historical and Biblical examples.
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