Plant based or meat and plant based diet?

Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

I was attending a summit that was discussing the current obesity epidemic and almost every speaker was proclaiming a plant ONLY based diet as the way to combat the issue and the issues of major health concerns today. I am a meat eater and was chastised and strongly encouraged to mend my ways or my health/life was in grave danger. I certainly didn't feel welcome as a participant so I left.

I am curious to know what this community is hearing, thinking and feeling regarding this trend.


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,408 admin

    Sorry to hear that you were chastised by the "plant-based diet" community at the summit you attended. I don't think you will find that on this site. TNG offers courses in raising Rabbits, Chickens and Ducks for Backyard Egg & Meat Production. I do think that as a society we eat far too much meat; triple burgers, 24 oz. steaks at restaurants, etc. But that being said, I don't think that a plant based diet is the entire answer particularly for obesity. Just because you are eating a plant based diet, that doesn't prevent you from having fries with that beyond meat burger on a white bun, or stop you from gorging on potato chips or chocolate cake or drinking quarts of sugar based products. Over-eating is just that, overeating. Plant-based diet proponents also contend that the production of animal protein is inefficient compared with the production of vegetable proteins. However, artificial meat proteins are generally GMO and how much of it is organically grown.

    We all know that money is at the root of all evil, so follow the money trail. Who is it that profits in the end from everyone switching to a plant-based diet?

    Moderation and balance in everything.

  • pamelamackenzie
    pamelamackenzie Posts: 143 ✭✭✭
    edited February 2020

    I have been reading plant-based books and cookbooks, and watching videos about it. I think I need to eat more plant-based food and less sugar. So I try to stick with the whole food plant based (WFPB) cookbooks with no added salt, oil, or sugar and using whole grains (whole wheat flour, not white flour for instance). Using these cookbooks helps me increase my plant intake of veggies and whole grains. However, they are not my only way of cooking/eating. I do eat meat and I often use low sodium or sodium free chicken or beef broth instead of veggie broth. The store-bought veggie broths, especially sodium-free, often have herbs that don't necessarily go with what I am making. I have greatly reduced my consumption of cheese but allow myself the occasional pizza. I try not to purchase cheese by itself (i.e. not on a pizza). However, I will enjoy cheese crackers at party. Some of the studies the plant-based speakers rely on are on populations that eat mostly whole foods, lot of grains/plants and just a little meat. So they were eating just a little meat but the wfpb speakers say no meat? Maybe they say that because one of the biggest names in wfpb is trying to save the lives of persons diagnosed with death sentence from serious heart disease. Others are trying to reverse disease in adults who ate much junk in their lives. Maybe if our kids ate more plant-based whole foods from day one, a little bit of meat here and there would not be considered so bad and we would have less food / junk-food based illnesses to worry about. (especially if we were using good meat not from factory farms). Or even if we in US would eat more whole foods, then maybe the argument against meat would be less. It is amazing when magazines have new years resolution meal plans that are simply geared at having you cook homemade food for a week or two instead of eating processed. But that is where we are at and people are going overboard trying to get us away from the processed foods.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,218 admin
    edited February 2020

    @desireet02 My take...I don't know that we are eating too much meat. I think where the problem lies with meat in general is how it is fed. I think of corn, soy, & other "foods," fillers & supplements that would not be a normal part of an animal's diet. There is also all the meds & pesticides used on/around confined livestock (especially in intensive operations), where disease can easily spread. It also depends on just what type of "meat" is being eaten. For many, it is unnatural, indigestible additives are added. I think therein lies that issue.

    Plant based can get a bit scary. What I mean by this is the GMO & dangerous synthetic sprays that are used in the growing season...that & the increasingly depleted soils that are used to grow these crops. Then, there are these foreign, unnatural additives that are so prevalent in these types of new "foods."

    Then...there is highly processed anything...flours, milk, etc, where enzymes are destroyed, the chemical makeup is altered, & heat is used, destroying nutrients. This creates another unnatural food.

    So then, you are taking in indigestible, nutritionally incomplete foods in both the meat & plant worlds, & you will eat more as your body searches for what it needs. In comes processed sugars & all the additives & emptiness that accompanies that. All this convenience is easy and fast and gives an illusion of filling, but doesn't satisfy as it is empty. So overeating becomes a thing.

    Plant based is not the answer. Carefully grown, minimally, properly processed, and a balance in the consumption of whole foods is the true answer.

    A comment on what I am hearing about the plant based trend? It is supposedly popular. It is being marketed heavily as being a healthy alternative. The whole truth is not being presented (that would be poor marketing in this case.)

    It won't bother me, however, as we don't buy into their marketing. We will continue to eat as balanced as we can and as unprocessed as possible.

  • @desireet02 plant based only is not the best way as well as all meat and fat is not the right way. Just my opinion.

    Moderation is the best way. I think once a week meat is a good way forward.

    This community is the best bet for more plant in your diet as once you grow your own vegetables you will have some times with more vegetables than you can eat. ;-)

  • Desiree
    Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    Hi @Jens, I agree with you on moderation. I have always been taught that when you are being told one extreme or another it is usually unsustainable, especially if you are reluctant in any way about "giving something up". I do agree that as a society, our culture has shifted horribly to more processed and unhealthy food. But...I am afraid it is going to take another generation to shift it back. We went from home cooked from scratch meals, to meals of convenience and are slowly edging toward meals cooked from scratch.

  • blevinandwomba
    blevinandwomba Posts: 813 ✭✭✭✭

    @desireet02 My two cents: Any diet that causes people to eat more whole foods, whether it is animal- or plant-centric, is going to be an improvement on a diet full of processed foods. I think for a lot of people who grew up on processed foods, their first time eating mainly natural foods was when they tried a strict eating plan such as vegan, keto, AIP, etc. They then see a drastic change to how they feel and attribute all of their improvement to the focus of their specific diet, whether it be avoiding meat or carbs, etc. Any diet that gets you eating more naturally has a fair chance of making you feel better.

    I don't mean that it doesn't matter what you eat, as long as it isn't processed. I just think that there isn't one ideal diet for everyone. Some people do better with more meat, some with less. Some people feel amazing when they eliminate grains or dairy from their diet, and some feel amazing when they finally add them back. Just because a change in diet improved your health, doesn't mean it will do that for everyone.

    Myself, I try to eat a lot of vegetables, legumes, and seeds, but I also eat meat and fish. I have sparing amounts of dairy, mainly goat or sheep. I eat all the grains but wheat, and I try to "soak" or sour them but I'm not strict about it. I mostly avoid caffeine, soy, and refined sugar. I feel pretty good on this diet and it has really helped my hormones and digestion- but I know it wouldn't work for everyone.

  • Obiora E
    Obiora E Posts: 517 ✭✭✭✭

    @desireet02 Based on some of what I have heard from a couple of doctors from England, octogenarians and older, as well as some doctors here in the Western Hemisphere the rise in obesity is basically malnourishment of the West. I have some friends who are 300+ pounds but do not consume a lot of meat, however, they are deficient in many vitamins and minerals.

    And yes the meat that we consume is not the same meat that my grandmother (nor her siblings) raised on our family farm, and it too does play a role, in how they are raised, slaughtered, what they eat, how many diseases they have, the antibiotics they are given, etc.

    I think that at the end of the day we have to figure out what works best for us. Every body's body is different, so what works for one person may not work for you or someone else.

  • My daughter and her husband are serious vegans, and they continually post pictures on Instagram of wonderful vegan dishes they are making or eating at restaurants in Portland (vegan capital). I'm not vegan, but I'm a bit jealous for "they" seem to be quite creative with food, and when we go to visit, I'm overwhelmed at all the yummy vegan food we discover. So I'm not ready to jump ship yet, but it wouldn't be hard. I always love a big salad anyway --- which reminds me--- time for supper----- I'm making a NICE BIG SALAD!

  • Karin
    Karin Posts: 272 ✭✭✭

    From what I have read and researched humans are more meat-eater than plant-eater as we don't have extra stomachs and long intestines to ferment vegetable matter. Having said that we obviously can eat some veges but need them cooked to be able access the nutrients. Until the Agricultural Revolution we did not eat many grains or tubers, esp humans from northern climes as not a lot of edible plant matter grew in the Ice Age. We had to eat meat and fat to survive.

  • SuperC
    SuperC Posts: 900 ✭✭✭✭

    For a DIY self project, I joined a community called Bright Line Eating with a Cognitive and Brain Psychologist Neuroscientist. Although Dr. Susan Pierce Thompson is not a health doctor, she has discovered a healthy lifestyle in which one may eat protein or plant-based foods, which, includes No sugar, No flour. Hope this provides an answer in a direction to which you are seeking. @desireet02

  • Another thought----- since I'm a huge gardener, like so many of you, we are very accustomed to creating mountains of compost piles from all kinds of weeds on our property. Compost is nice, but I'd much rather process all that green stuff through the guts of rabbits--then eat the meat! So are rabbits (and other livestock) plant-based food or are they meat?? In the context of a homestead, does it make much difference? We had rabbits once, and I want to go that direction again. They seem to eat just about anything--- and make it into yummy meat, so in one sense, it's a very sustainable way to live. Just like my pond--- put in little catfish-- do absolutely nothing--- wait a couple years---- then pull out nice yummy-size catfish to go in the pan or the smoker.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,218 admin

    DIY, from scratch, circle of life, sustainable, whole, variety, balance, moderation...doesn't that sum all of this up? It also smacks of a whole lot of satisfaction by getting outdoors, hard work, whole body movement, and improved sleep.

    Sounds like good, healthy choices to me.

  • Ruth Ann Reyes
    Ruth Ann Reyes Posts: 539 admin

    Personally, I believe to each their own. But, I'm going to enjoy my life and my meats.