Your body is designed to heal itself given the right nutrients
How do we know the nutrients that are right for our body?
There are different levels of proper nutrition, so I will start with our basic needs based on our anatomy and physiology
These are the major building blocks for humans to grow, repair, and replace tissues as we go through life. These are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. We all need these in varying amounts, usually in larger amounts than the micronutrients. The controversy around these essential nutrients in our body is the source of the nutrients.
Do we get our protein from plant sources alone or from both plant and animal sources?
My opinion about this question is that we are omnivores, which means that we have an anatomy and physiology that allows us to digest and utilize both plant and animal protein. Cows, sheep, goats, deer, etc. are herbivores, which means their anatomy and physiology allow them to digest and utilize plant sources of nutrients, including proteins. The other classification of the animal kingdom are the carnivores, which are designed to eat flesh. This classification includes lions, tigers, etc. With this as the foundation for this discussion, I will address some of the controversies and myths concerning our sources of protein.
Vegetarian diet; There has been a lot of studies that suggest living on a vegetarian diet is beneficial for your health. People have even credited healing from various diseases to being on a vegetarian diet. Some people have gone further to advocate for a stricter form of vegetarianism to become vegan. Vegans do not eat any animal protein or by-products of animals, whereas some vegetarians might eat eggs and fish oil.
I believe that these reports and experiences are real. My view is that they may be throwing away the baby with the bath water. Animal proteins, especially in the western world, have been so polluted with toxins that they have become a health hazard.
We can begin with how the animals are raised. Modern farming practices rely on grains to fatten-up animals quickly and produce more meat for sale. Yes, some grains come from plant sources, but they are not the grass that is the staple food these animals thrive on. These animals are confined to closed environments and they are not allowed to roam and exercise their muscles to find their own food. This affects the quality of meat they produce.
Animals that are grass-fed have been shown to be beneficial for human health. They have a high amount of omega 3 fatty acids, which have been found to be beneficial in a variety of ways. Most of the studies on animal protein and health were done using grain-fed cow meats and chicken.
Meats Prepared for Consumption
The next thing we need to address is how these meats are prepared for consumption.
Grilling meat to a point where burnt marks are present may not be healthy. The burnt or crusty part contains chemical compounds that have been shown to be carcinogenic or cancer forming. So, if we can cook meat without burning it, we will not expose ourselves to those chemicals.
Meat preserved with nitrites are also not good for our health. They form compounds that have been reported to be carcinogenic as well. Beef, pork, and chicken proteins preserved with nitrites are used in deli meats such as ham, beef, or chicken cold cuts. They are also used for hot dogs, bacon, and sausages. If you are going to eat animal protein, you need to read the labels and make sure that the animals are raised in a way that is as natural as possible and the preparation of the meat does not introduce potentially toxic chemicals.
Essential amino acids are amino acids that the human body needs for normal function. These amino acids are arguably the most important part of proper nutrition and a balanced, healthy diet. These specific amino acids can only be obtained from diet, as the body cannot synthesize them. Even though you can get them from vegetarian sources, you have to be deliberate in choosing the foods that have all the essential amino acids. You definitely have to make sure you are getting enough vitamin B12. Dietary supplements can aid you in obtaining vitamin B12.
I believe you can eat animal proteins as part of a healthy diet with proper nutrition, as long as you choose the right sources.