Avoiding Nutritional Deficiencies
Many people (including myself 2016-2018) have dabbled in Veganism only to lose energy, get sick, burn out, weaken their immune system and atrophy their muscles due to a lack of knowledge on how to supplement and what foods to include in your weekly routine. Becoming deficient in Iron, B12, zinc, magnesium, protein etc is needlessly common and easily enough avoided. Why does this happen? Simply, meat is extremely nutrient dense and packs a massive mineral punch per calorie consumed it also offers these nutrients in their most bio-available forms (meaning they are more easily absorbed and used by our bodies than minerals and proteins from plants, in most cases). I love being my own Guinee pig and intend to monitor myself through the whole process. I will be tracking my bloods but also just checking in with yourself to see how you’re feeling for energy, mood, concentrations levels is helpful.
Likely deficiencies best supplements
Protein: You need enough everyday as your body is constantly repairing and growing so a range of the amino-acid building blocks are critical. There are nine essential amino acids that cannot be made by the body and are critical to our function to ensure a ready supply of these. Collagen is the scaffold of our body as well as hugely important for gut health
Zoo nutrients: L-carnosine, creatine, taurine and Heme iron are unavailable from plant but essential to our energy systems, immune systems and cognitive function
B12 & vitamin D3: essential for nervous system function, immunity and energy systems, they are unavailable from plant sources
Zinc, magnesium, calcium: these can be found in plant foods but not in the abundance we need them and so supplementing is key. Our nervous system, skin, reproductive health muscle health and regeneration rely critically on them. Simply, our cells do not talk to each other and cannot create any effective action without these key electrolytes.
Why the 3:4 day balance?
I value the nutritional benefits meat delivers as well as the social connection I feel sharing meat with family and friends. This is not to say I don’t feel connection to friends over lentils and mushrooms, rather, meat has strong roots in my culture and Sunday roasts and winter meat stews hold a special place in time and memory. I will look forward to and enjoy these occasions all the more for feeling into the novelty of it, knowing I will enjoy a different way of nourishing my body the rest of the week. Three days a week eating meat will allow me the flexibility added nutritional opportunities I thrive on. To this, I also really enjoy meat, the textures, and flavours as well as the nostalgia. Getting to keep it as a smaller part of my diet will ensure the sustainability of this foodie journey and keep me interested.
Relationship to the planet
Humans have so much to offer, we are the only species that can plan ahead, the only species with our level of communication abilities and its time we put these skills to use for the better. As things stand we’re a burden and will be for the next few generations but making a few key changes here and there helps. Sometimes it does just feel like a drop in the ocean but being the mindset of wanting to do better feeds into the positive values:
- You deserve to live in a great environment and so should take care of it.
- You can be happier living simply, less is more.
- It feels good to rise to the occasion rather than hoping the politicians will turn the tide, feel into the sense of stewardship, think on the planet you want to leave your kids and give it your best shot, the shot you feel good about.
When I started thinking about cutting down on meat, I thought one or two days a week would do but soon my mind was a’spin with so many ideas. Silken tofu-based dips, cashew cauli soups, sautéed mushrooms over hummus and I thought, I’ll need an extra couple of days. I’m jumping to pull back out my old pumpkin bread recipe and polish off others as well as uncover new foods. It’s a big wide world out there and the thought of experimenting has me dreamy for markets and my kitchen, it feels good to be this excited about cooking again and this is how it should be. Change can be daunting, and often our first thoughts are horror at what we will have to cut out and have less of rather than what we will get to add in and have more of. I understand completely it will be harder (not impossible) to put muscle on and progress with my strength but I feel so blissfully content with where I am and look forward to focusing on other aspects of my health.
As a certified nutritionist and personal trainer I can help you uncover the bigger picture of your health and how to best achieve your goals as well as simplify the finer details that can make such a difference.