October 23, 2017

‘Why do you promote eating meat?’: A DM response.

Hi ——————– ,

Thanks for your message and questions!

In answer to your first question, no I don’t have any certification/training in human nutrition, and I always try to be careful to point that out to people.  If you watched my last Instagram Live I gave a big disclaimer at the start; I never want people to think I’m something I’m not, and I want what I say to be taken in the correct light! I took some nutrition/physiology/biochemistry classes in university which give me a bit of understanding for understanding science behind what we eat which I LOVE but I also know I’m not an expert and try not to talk as a nutrition expert.

Our bio says, “a husband and wife journey in loving our bodies with what we love to eat”. I use the same tag line on the blog and my goal in using that line is to explain that we’re not experts, we know we don’t have all the right answers, and we’re on a journey. Also, I’m trying to convey that it’s a personal journey. It’s not what I think everyone should do, but it is our personal journey and I show it to show what a real life journey of two married and very different people, living on a not massive food budget can look like. My goal is not to tell people what to do, but to show people how it works for us in the hope that that can inspire and help others on their own personal journeys.

Over the years I’ve absolutely changed the way I eat a LOT. I’ve done plant based vegan, fully raw, vegetarian, healthy, unhealthy, underweight, overweight and I’m aware that the way I eat may always change in the future so I try to be humble in what I currently believe to be ‘the best way to eat’ and always relate it only to myself in terms of using the word ‘best.’ Personally, after 15 years vegan and vegetarian my body just wasn’t healthy. My hair fell out, I spent periods underweight and emotional unhealthy towards food, I was eating too much (natural plant sugar) and I needed to find balance for my body and health again, so I introduced meat, grains and eggs.  I’m 100% sure, in hindsight, that I could have been healthy on a raw plant based diet but  I didn’t know how to do it at the time, so for me I needed to add meat back in. Being emotionally healthy is a huge part of physical health,  sometimes I think emotional health alone is a reason to eat some things that on paper aren’t stand alone text book ‘healthy.’

Fast forward a few years and I married a meat loving Texan. He says himself he ate a ‘standard college bachelor diet’ and wanted to get healthy. He’s all about slow change – search for a blog he wrong on it! – and I respect him for that. It’s the kind of change that lasts – but it maybe means you don’t land on the ultimate ‘perfect’ quite so quickly, but you find perfect for each individual moment, which I think is really important. The first thing we did was not change any of the meals we ate but replaced them with high quality ingredients.  Whatever the ‘perfect diet’ is I think everyone can agree that high quality, simple, organic ingredients are better than low quality, processed, out of season, GMO filled ones ? So we started making those switches. We switched office snacks with GMOs, refined flours and HFCS for cookies made with raw honey, nuts, seeds, pastured eggs, and organic cocoa (and other simple organic ingredients.)

Today we’re still on that journey together. Finding emotional, relational, and physical health through food, and so everything we eat isn’t meant to be a promotion of a certain food or perfect diet, as much as a ‘here’s a cleaner way to do this,’ or ‘here’s how we do this’ or just ‘here’s a recipe – take it or leave it.’ I never want to tell people how to eat and assume I know what’s best for them. I do let people know how WE eat and what we feel is best for us as a family right now based on what we know now.  Most recently that journey has led us to adopt ‘Meatless Mondays’ which I actually try to make fully plant based Mondays, reducing our family meat intake. It’s actually though not because I think the total 2-3lbs of pastured organic, locally raised meat we eat weekly as a family is unhealthy, but because I think for the average american based family, if for nothing more than the environment, decreasing meat consumption at least a tad, could be a good move.   I also love that cutting meat for a full day focuses people more on increasing vegetable intake, which is a great thing in my mind!

I don’t really want to touch on the actual science side because I don’t feel qualified to defend how we eat scientifically (you can find real research that seems to go ‘both’ ways) but I will make one point that I think it KEY for people.

We can tend to polarize extremes in eating so that we think people are either eating badly raised meat and dairy based fast food, or they’re 100% vegan. Maybe you think those are too far extreme (!) but in general only two ways of eating are given in these discussions. And it’s assumed that there is only one ‘best.’ I think that can be misleading, and can make people feel like they’re failing, or unequipped to find the ‘right’ way for them.  I actually think there is a lot of middle ground, that may actually have an impact on the health benefits/disease causing abilities of food. Just for example, even if a plant based diet is the best way, I do NOT think a non organic, out of season, chemical sprayed, GMO plant based diet is healthy. And a fully organic plant based diet just isn’t available to most people on the planet. (For the record I also don’t think a diet loaded with corn fed, non organic beef and chicken, hormone filled milk, or farmed fish is beneficial either!) But I think we have to be a bit less binary about food, and so personally we take it, and attempt to portray it, as a journey.

I really believe in the principle of stewardship, we are meant to do what we can, do what we believe is right with what we believe to be true, be humble and listen to other opinions, but ultimately do the best with what we have and where we are physically, emotionally, financially, socially and with what we know. And for us, that is what our journey has always been, and what it currently is, and what it always will be. I hope I always convey that well!

If it helps – I get asked a lot of more nutrition based questions on DM, and get asked to create meal plans to solve nutritional issues, and I always say no, or tell people what I would do if it was me, but not overstep my knowledge! (*To clarify – I DO help people with meal plans but only in a coaching style to help them organize and manage time and budget, NOT to tell them what they should be eating) and as I said earlier, I give disclaimers everywhere I can, and I always hope it’s clear to people.

I hope that helps you and if you have any questions, or ever feel I don’t communicate where I’m coming from well you, and everyone, are always allowed to shoot me a question or comment!



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