Bob McCauley, CNC, MH
Dr. Joseph Mercola and Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of the China Study – The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health, have been arguing publicly over whether the vegetarian diet is actually healthy for a person. A vegetarian diet is one in which a person eats no meat at all, and a vegan diet is one where a person does not eat meat, fish, eggs or dairy products. I am currently a vegan and will remain one for the rest of my life. I became a vegetarian in 1980 while traveling in India. I was a vegetarian for 18 years before I became a vegan 13 years ago.
The Wrong Way to Be a Vegan
I believe that Dr. Mercola is completely wrong about the vegetarian diet, which he denounces, and the vegan, which he states is actually dangerous for us. I could not disagree with those sentiments more. Mercola sites the actress Angelia Jolie to support his case that veganism is dangerous for us because she was a vegan for a few years and became quite sick. Another person who claims the same thing happened to him is Daniel Vitalis, the elixir master, who states he was a vegan for five years before his health started to decline and five years later after the same diet he claims nearly killed him. I don’t doubt that it did, nor do I doubt that Angelia Jolie became ill after living on a vegan diet for a few years. There is a right way and wrong way to go on a vegan diet and apparently neither of them did so in the right way.
The Healthy Way to Be Vegan
I am an example of someone who has gone about it in the right way. After 12 years of being on a vegan diet, without any meat, fish, eggs or dairy in my diet, I still run daily, often at a six minute sustained pace. I am a third degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and still spar quite often. I am 53 (born in 1957) and can outlast anyone in the ring. I am no one special, and I am living proof that a vegan diet is not only healthy, but is indeed the healthiest diet that we can live on, as long as we go about it the right way.
Who Promotes What and Why
Dr. Mercola is 100% wrong in promoting an animal based diet. Dr. Mercola sells ostrich meat, salmon, buffalo, as well as fish oil and krill oil for the omega 3 fatty acids it contains, which is also unnecessary in my opinion because these fatty acids can easily be found in the plant world. Dr. Mercola believes that only “high quality” meat and fish that have not been factory farmed should be consumed. I have nothing against him selling any of these things because I think it is an extension of what he believes. However, I have seen people such as David Wolfe interviewing him and referring to him as some sort of health guru when they should be taking him to task for his promotion of animal consumption. David Wolfe is a vegan and it is my opinion that when it comes to such a fundamental principle, such as whether it is healthy to eat animal products, it does not suffice to simply say that we will agree to disagree.
Why Meat Kills
The reason that eating animal protein is one of the worst things for our health is simple. First, we should establish that everyone always cooks their animal protein. Rarely does anyone eat raw meat, fish, eggs or dairy, although there is a strong movement to consume raw dairy, in particular raw goat’s milk. I am not against this, but it certainly is not necessary for us to consume if we wish to be healthy. The problem with animal protein is that it is a pre-formed protein chain of amino acids that are then brought to high temperatures during the cooking process. The higher the temperature and the longer the animal protein is cooked at these temperatures, the more harmful the animal protein becomes to our health. Although it is not desirable, exposing plant proteins (unstructured amino acids) to high temperatures does not have the same deleterious effects on our health.
The Raw Paleo-Diet
Around 1900 – 1910, the latest health fad to sweep through Europe and the United States was the Raw Milk Cure. People found that if they began consuming fresh raw cow’s milk, they felt better and their health improved. Eating raw, organic meat, fish, eggs or dairy products is not harmful to our health, although I do not believe they are necessary for good health and are not required unless no other protein source is available. Eating raw animal protein from a commercial size factory-farm could potentially be detrimental to our health.
The Flaw in the China Study
The China Study by Dr. Campbell is easily one of the best books I have read on the subject of health and vegetarianism. It is one of the few books on health I have read twice. It is a comprehensive study, the most comprehensive controlled study in history, and it demonstrates beyond any doubt that those who live on a meat-based diet have far greater incidences of serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke and cancer. When I first read it, I was amazed to see in print what I had been saying for over 20 years, that removing meat from your diet leads to an overall healthier life. However, where the China Study falls short is in suggesting protein sources other than fish, eggs and dairy products. Nor does it attempt to determine whether there is a difference in health if we eat our vegetables cooked or uncooked.
Why They are Both Wrong
And this is why Dr. Mercola and Dr. Campbell are both wrong, although for different reasons. I am amazed that anyone in the “natural health movement”, which Dr. Mercola purports himself to be, would even consider promoting animal protein as a primary food source. I believe those that do so are sadly mistaken and are unwittingly misleading people. Dr. Jordan Rubin, Garden of Life, told me that it was important that we have meat in our diet. When I asked him why, he claimed it was because meat contains the amino acid L-Carnine, which does not stand up to scrutiny. Our bodies are capable of producing L-Carnine, therefore it is not essential, meaning that it must be consumed because our bodies cannot produce it. There are only eight essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce. In fact, there is nothing in meat that cannot be obtained in other foods. The only reason to eat animal protein at all is for the taste. Meat, for instance, is only about 20% protein on average. The other 80% of meat is essentially useless to the body since it is sinew, tendons and fat.
The Raw Food Diet
Dr. Campbell is wrong to promote a vegetarian diet without suggesting an alternative protein source other than soy, which is terrible for our health. Anyone moving to a vegetarian or vegan diet without adding an alternative protein source is eventually going to become ill, such as the case with Angelina Jolie and Daniel Vitalis, who lived primarily on fruit during his 10 years of veganism. The Hygienists movement heavily promotes the consumption of fruit and are virulently opposed to consuming algae, which is why I have benighted them the food-nazis of the raw food movement.
Algae: The Perfect Protein Source
Now that I have soundly denounced the consumption of any kind of cooked animal protein, the question must be asked as to where we should get our protein. The answer is from algae, Chlorella and Spirulina, which are 60% protein with 18 different amino acids in them that are in the correct ratio to one another. Animal protein contains high amounts of some amino acids while others barely register. It is this uneven amino acid compliment that makes animal food a poor choice for a protein base. The notion that poultry is a superior food to red meat is a myth in my opinion. For instance, chicken has 15 times the amount of methionine, a sulfur-based amino acid, than beef. This is why you begin to smell like sulfur if you eat a lot of eggs since they contain even higher amounts of sulfur. There are thousands of different kinds of algae that have been identified. Spirulina, a blue-green algae and Chlorella, a green algae, are the healthiest and easiest to grow. A person of any age could live exclusively on Chlorella and/or Spirulina and be perfectly healthy. Essentially, there are no side effects, although both are extremely detoxifying, which some mistake as side effects.
I have been consuming both Spirulina and Chlorella for 14 years without any animal protein in my diet. I have high amounts of energy, I am able to perform athletically better than I have for most of my adult life. Another claim made by opponents of the vegan diet is that Vitamin B12 cannot be absorbed from plant sources such as algae. Once again, I have had my vitamin B12 levels measured several times and they are fine. The body is capable of manufacturing vitamin B12. Probiotics stimulate the production of all the B vitamins.