The National Diet and Nutrition Survey (UK Government 2018) states that well-planned vegan diets can support healthy living in people of all ages, however, there are currently no policies being used to implement this diet. The World Health Organisation (2018) has also recognised a causal link between processed meat and cancer.
The meat industry today produces a lot of meat from animals that are fed antibiotics, hormones and often have bad health; it is not cost-effective to remove the diseased ones. This meat is universally available to buy at supermarkets and eat at restaurants, but once consumed it boosts bodily inflammation, with an abundance of omega-6 fatty acids, and a lack of omega-3s.
It is important to eat omega fatty acids; including alpha-linolenic acid, linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). They have strong anti-inflammatory nutrients and help with healthy oil production, for example well-hydrated skin, fewer blackheads, and healthy scalp and hair. These omega fatty acids also assist in mood and hormone regulation, and are important for brain and eye health. Food sources include algae, chia seeds, ground flaxseed, hemp seeds, nori and walnuts.
By continuing to eat meat, your body is increasingly prone to higher blood glucose levels, digestive problems like gas, diarrhoea, bloating or constipation, fatigue, eczema or psoriasis, or erectile dysfunction in men. These symptoms are not always apparent in everyone, the the more omega-6 consumed can interfere with the health benefits of omega-3 fats.
Likewise, dairy products contain antibiotics and added hormones that spike insulin in the body, leading to breakouts. The hormones in the dairy products also imbalance your body’s natural hormonal balance, and milk consumption can cause a 10-20% rise in key oil-producing hormones in adults that contributes to acne.
Dairy is also one of the most common food intolerances, with more and more people being categorised as ‘lactose intolerant.’ A protein called casein and a sugar called lactose are the two troubling components of this dietary issue. They can cause bloating and gas, as well as digestive issues that prevent your body from breaking down and assimilating the essential nutrients from your diet.
A seemingly obvious statement that is overlooked by the majority of the world is ‘not your mum, not your milk.’ By drinking cow’s milk that is intended to increase the mass of a 65-pound calf into a 700-pound cow as rapidly as possible, may cause cause weight-gain and hormone imbalances in people, depending on their consumption rates. Dr Michael Klaper explains that cow milk is brimming with estrogens, which can increase osteoporosis (especially in women) and cause levels of testosterone to decrease rapidly in males.
Instead of drinking cow’s milk, there are many plant-based alternatives. From my experience, some plant milks are better than others. For example, oat milk is the best in coffee, almond milk is tastiest on cereals, coconut milk works well in curries, soy milk is very good for baking cakes, and cashew milk gives home-made ice-cream the creamy texture.
RAW FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
To combat the negative impacts of these food groups, it is most effective to cut meat and dairy out of your diet completely. However, whether you are plant-based or not, raw foods are excellent for your nutrition, as they contain living enzymes that help your body break down and assimilate their nutrients content. These enzymes get destroyed during cooking (over 40°C) so it’s important to eat plant foods in raw forms to benefit from the living enzymes.
In order to maintain a balanced diet, it’s important to eat a variety of foods. Foods such as avocados, olives, nuts and seeds provide the body with healthy fats, and help protect our vital organs. Asparagus and leeks, for example, also have plant fibre that directly feeds the good bacteria in your digestive tract; even the bacteria need nourishment. Raw plant foods are also important because they scrub your intestinal villi with fibre and keep elimination regular. They also provide our cells with vitamins, minerals and essential oils.
Eating more fruits and vegetables also increases our Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, thiamine and niacin levels in the body. The antioxidants present can also help your body counteract damage caused by toxic by-products (free radicals). These antioxidants, like carotenoids, flavonoids and polyphenols can also help prevent health issues like cancer and cardiovascular disease. Foods with high water content, like cucumbers, watermelons, strawberries, celery and tomatoes also hydrate the body efficiently and can even help your mood.
Overall, I believe in the saying ‘eat good, feel good’ and have worked out which foods give the most energy, and avoid those that cause breakouts or bloating.