Do I Need to Be Vegan/Vegetarian?
I go into this topic in great length in The Beauty Detox Solution and The Beauty Detox Foods. So it’s really hard for me to just write a short blog on it, but here is my best attempt at a quick sum up: I personally am 100% vegan and do not eat any animal products at all. I do not believe there is any reason to include animal protein in your diet, from a nutritional standpoint, and for the reasons I talk about briefly below, you may achieve higher levels of health and beauty without them. Animal products are acidic and have congestive qualities- they will never digest cleanly the way plant foods do and there is no getting around that.
While diets are out there such as those that cite blood typing as a reason that some people do better with animal products than others (see my review on this), I agree with T. Colin Campbell, PhD in his book Whole when he states that, “the ideal human diet is made up of plant-based foods in forms as close to their natural state as possible”. As in ideal for all humans. He also states, “...there is some evidence that high-protein diets enhance free radical production, thus encouraging unwanted tissue damage.” Aka aging. A whole food plant-based diet will not have these same aging qualities.
That being said, I have clients who still eat animal protein but in much smaller amounts (a few meals a week), and that is a huge improvement from eating egg whites in the morning, turkey or chicken for lunch and fish for dinner- the prior three times a day plan (!). The Beauty Detox way of life isn’t all or nothing. As long as you’re making forward progress, you don’t have to be “perfect” and follow all of my guidelines. You can still see improvements as you take steps to clean up your diet, increase the amounts of whole plant foods overall.
Reasons to Avoid Animal Products
While you don’t have to eliminate all animal products from your diet, there are some compelling reasons to greatly reduce their consumption:
Dairy is cancer-causing and clogging to the body. If there’s any area of the Beauty Detox diet I would like to see everyone adhere to perfectly, it’s the removal of dairy from the diet. Dairy has been linked to acne, breast cancer, and prostate cancer, partially because of the ingestion of hormones in the milk itself and the effects milk consumption has on hormones once it’s inside the body. Milk and other dairy products have also been linked to constipation, making the removal of waste from the body—along with any toxins that might be on their way out—much slower and more difficult.
Meatless diets are better for the planet.
If you thought commuting to and from work in a gas-guzzling SUV was bad, you’ll be shocked to read this report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: livestock production is responsible for 18 percent more global greenhouse emissions than all transportation (that’s cars and SUVs) together. Guess what else? The livestock have to have somewhere to live, and they also have to have food. They’re using up a whole lot of land, contributing to massive deforestation.
Meat is acid-forming in the body and difficult to digest. Food pairings involving meat aside, the human body has a difficult time digesting meat at all. It putrefies in the very long human digestive tract because there’s no fiber to push it through quickly. That leads to unhealthy bacterial growth, toxicity, and a sluggish, heavy feeling – thought it may be counteracted with digestive probiotics, however it will only help slightly and incomparable to a healthy diet.
Vegetarians May Live Longer than Non-Vegetarians
There’s a study that praises vegetarianism as a secret to living longer. It followed the lives of Seventh-day Adventists (who are encouraged to eat a vegetarian diet) as well as non-vegetarians.
It’s worth noting that there were four types of vegetarians in the study: vegans, lacto-ovo, pesco, and semi-vegetarians (this type only eats meat a few times per week, but consumes eggs, dairy, and fish on a regular basis).
As a whole, the vegetarians were 12 percent less likely to die than the non-vegetarians over the course of the study. Each group of vegetarians had a disease (or a few diseases) they were less likely to die from than the other groups. So even just cutting out some types of animal products could lead you to see incredible results, especially when paired with other Beauty Detox principles.
Other Places to Get Protein
If you’re familiar with the Beauty Detox plan at all (you probably are if you’re here, but maybe this is your first post), you know that I’m a huge fan of getting your protein not from animal sources, which are acid-forming in the body, but from plant sources. You can cover all of your protein needs by eating a nutrient-rich diet, getting this macronutrient from seeds, nuts, greens, whole vegetables, and grains (it really does add up throughout the day!). You don’t need excessive amounts of protein like some diets say you do. In fact, too much protein can be harmful to your body.
Some of the best plant-based sources of protein include:
- Green vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Spirulina and chlorella
- Organic, vegan protein powders (brown rice, hemp, pea, etc)
- Other vegetables, like Brussels sprouts
- Quinoa or millet
When Being an Omnivore Is Better Than Being a Vegetarian or Vegan
You could still be healthier as an omnivore than a vegetarian or vegan despite all the health benefits of cutting animal products out of your diet. If you swear off bacon and eggs, fish and poultry, and then fill your body with refined carbs and sugars, you’re going to be worse off than you would if you just consumed meat every now and then (even a few times per week).
The Best Animal Products to Consume and When to Have Them
If you don’t want to become a vegetarian or vegan but you still want to make the best choices possible within the framework of your own type of diet, know that there are some animal products that are better than others.
Dairy is always a no-go. Dairy is one of the worst things you can put into your body. A human drinking a cow’s milk or eating products from that milk is just unnatural. If you must have cheese, have raw goat cheese on occasion. If you need milk or yogurt or you’ll go crazy, try the almond or coconut variety.
Land animals are the worst kind to consume unless you have the ability to be very picky about what you’ll buy and consume. You want organic, hormone-free animals. Even then, when compared to fish and other seafood, the meat is tougher and harder to digest. When you have the choice, choose poultry, eggs, or wild (never farmed) fish over things like beef and pork.
If you do want to keep animal products in your diet, you can still try to have them only five meals per week at first (it’s easier to have vegetarian lunches for most people as well), then cut down to three nights when you’re ready. You’re not officially a vegetarian or vegan that way, but you’ll reap some of the benefits of having less animal protein. For the most Beauty Energy throughout the day, always eat it at dinner, never lunch or breakfast.
Progress by Your Own Rules
I understand that some people wish to continue eating meat or eggs as a personal preference or as part of their culture, and I would never tell you that you can’t meld that part of your life with the Beauty Detox guidelines. I encourage you to cut the consumption of animal products down if you’re eating them several times per week, but you don’t have to cut them out entirely if you don’t want to. It’s all about progress to a healthier lifestyle, whether that just means more vegetables in your diet and taking probiotics, learning to pair foods properly for optimal digestion, or going all the way with a vegan diet, properly combined foods, and all of the other Beauty Detox principles.