Posted on 4 Comments

The Dangers of Eating Meat

“You need meat!”
Quite recently, after informing one of my lecturers that I don’t eat meat (animal flesh), he kindly encouraged me to include even small portions of animal protein into my diet for good health. He went on to support his advice with an exceptional story about a man who nearly died from a blood disorder (the description resembled haemophilia) because of his vegetarian diet. Another person recently told me of another man who would faint frequently because of his refusal to consume anything that wasn’t green. These and similar stories are usually conveyed in an attempt to dissuade the listener from eliminating meat from their diet. Although my lecturer probably doesn’t know what protein is good for, nor how much of it he needs to maintain his health, he is convinced that he must get his daily supply of protein from an animal. This is belief is held and perpetuated, in spite of the larger number of vegetarians living in Jamaica – think Rastafari and Adventists.

“No, I don’t.”
When I decided to stop eating meat, I made sure to re-educate myself. I felt that I needed to learn what my body needs and how to go about getting it. I needed to hear this information from the experts – medical doctors, nutritionists, etc. So, I did a lot of research: attended workshops, read books, articles, blogs, and watched documentaries and lectures.

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest her or his patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” – Thomas A. Edison

“How do you know that?”

One of the most informative lectures I came across was by “A Diet for All Reasons” by Dr. Michael Klaper. Select this link to watch Dr. Klaper’s lecture: A Diet For All Reasons. In his presentation, Dr. Klaper he outlines that a diet that includes a high consumption of animal flesh:
1. Makes you fat (overweight or obese)
2. Clogs your arteries (atherosclerosis)
3. Causes some cancers (breast cancer, prostate cancer)
4. Causes calcium loss (because of too much protein)
5. Causes colon diseases (because there is no fibre in meat)
6. Causes high blood pressure (because of too much sodium)
7. Causes PMS in women (because of prostagladin 2)
Checks with your doctor will reveal that most chronic diseases (e.g. atherosclerosis, heart disease, stroke, obesity and type 2 diabetes) are lifestyle diseases which are treated by one of the following: lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, etc), surgical procedures, or medications. The choice for me is very easy!

“How much protein do we need?”
We only need about 30g of protein daily. According to the United States Dietary Guidelines published in 2010, for a male (19-30yrs) the daily requirement is 56g and 46g for a female (19-30yrs). This would translate to weekly requirement of:
Animal protein: 8oz of seafood or 26oz of meat/poultry/eggs
Plant protein: 13oz of beans and peas or 10oz of soy products or 15oz of nuts/seeds

Human Nutritional Needs
Human beings do not have a nutritional need for animal flesh (red meat, poultry or seafood). There is no nutritional deficiency for ‘too little chicken’ or ‘not enough snapper’. But, our bodies require the following for optimum health:
1. Protein
2. Water
3. Vitamins
4. Minerals
5. Energy

“The single most effective thing anybody can do in order to make themselves personally healthier and make this ecosystem more stable and life-preserving is to reduce or eliminate the animal flesh in your diet.”

Posted on Leave a comment

Curried Mince with Eggplant

This recipe generates pleasant memories for me. I’ve modified a recipe that was passed on to me by a Japanese lady who runs an amazing kitchen. Thanks Junko!


½ cup veggie mince
2 eggplants
1 tomato, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 stalk escallion, chopped
1 tsp ginger, minced
1 spring thyme
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp honey/sugar
2 boullion cubes
½ tsp jerk seasoning
½ cup water
salt and pepper to taste

1. Chop the eggplants into bite-sized pieces and soak in water for about 10 minutes.
2. Re-hydrate veggie mince in hot water (follow package directions).
3. Heat oil in a pan then stir-fry onion, garlic, escallion, ginger, tomato, and thyme.
4. Drain eggplant then add to pan along with veggie mince.
5. Add curry powder and coat mince and veggies evenly.
6. Add soy sauce, ketchup, honey, boullion, jerk seasoning, and water.
7. Simmer on low heat for 5-minutes.
8. Put on medium heat until water evaporates to a thick sauce.

Serve with rice, your favourite pasta, or garlic bread.

Posted on Leave a comment

Should We Eat Meat?

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

When we attend the Food & Nutrition lessons taught in school, we learn about the Six Food Groups as designed by the Caribbean Food & Nutrition Institute (CFNI). We are taught to use this guide to plan meals for healthy eating as it is modelled off the food we produce in the Caribbean.

The groups are:
1. Staples e.g. cassava, potato, plantain, macaroni, rice, porridge, etc.
2. Legumes & Nuts e.g. kidney beans, gungo peas, peanuts, cashew nuts, etc.
3. Vegetables e.g. callaloo, pumpkin, cho-cho, cucumber, garden egg, etc.
4. Fruits e.g. mango, guava, pawpaw, June plum, sweet sop, pineapple, etc.
5. Food From Animals e.g. meat, poultry, fish, milk, cheese, egg, yoghurt, etc.
6. Fats & Oils e.g. cooking oil, coconut milk, avocado pear, ackee, butter, etc.

The Caribbean dietary guideline is very well done, except for the inclusion of the ‘Food from Animals’ group. Although, the eating of meat is culturally acceptable for the wider society, we have had different social and religious groups who abstain from consuming animal products to varying degrees. So, we can admit that eating meat is a social normal but, are we really supposed to eat food from animals?
Dan Piraro of produced a very animated and informative video about why meat is bad for you:
As brought out in Piraro’s video, in many ways, eating meat is like any other unhealthy lifestyle or habit that has long term effects. You won’t necessarily have instantaneous physical injury or other such drastic and obvious effects from maintaining an omnivorous diet. However, the practice of eating meat has its hazards.
Many medical professionals have identified various lifestyles diseases like cancer, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease, that are the direct result of a diet based on meat and dairy products. These foods are filled with saturated fats, parasites, viruses, and bacteria. Most of the animals raised for commercial consumption are raised on steroids, hormones, and antibiotics, and these extra ‘condiments’ for the meal are not eliminated all together from the heat process of cooking.
There are more factors that could be considered as we ponder the question, “Meat – to eat or not to eat”. Yet, there are more good reasons to stop eating meat than there are to continue.
Posted on Leave a comment

The Healthy Diet: Basic Nutrition Lesson

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

We are as healthy as our body is whole, fault-free, and fully-functional. For every inch of us that lacks comfort and wellness, we are experiencing disease. Most of us are born in ‘perfect’ health and our state of wholeness changes as we grow and age. But, it is not our aging that is responsible for most of our ailments and complaints, but our lifestyle or habits.

Our lifestyle includes the way we dress, the food we eat and our physical activities. However, because the food we eat is the fuel for our bodies, it is our diet (regular food) that really determines our wellness.
To be healthy, our food needs to supply us with the chemical compounds and elements that our bodies are made of: water, carbohydrates (sugar, starch, fiber), proteins (amino acids), and fats. Other essential nutrients are vitamins and minerals.
Energy comes from carbohydrates, proteins and fats and we can get them all from plant-based foods. The Power Plate is a dietary guideline developed by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) to promote overall health and well-being. The Power Plate contains four food groups to choose from:
1. Whole Grains e.g. rice, bread, pasta, corn, bulghur, roti, etc.
2. Vegetables e.g. carrot, breadfruit, okra, tomato, yam, onion, callaloo, etc.
3. Fruits e.g. banana, mango, jackfruit, sweetsop, pineapple, naseberry, etc.
4. Legumes e.g. red peas, coconut, cashew, soy milk, TVP, gungo peas, etc.
These food groups are the sources of all the energy and other essential nutrients that we need.
Please note that it is recommended that we supplement our diet with a good source of Vitamin B12 if we choose to consume no animal products.