What the HEALTH, eat meat if you want to!

After having a conversation in regards to obesity, health, diets, and supplements with Brian and watching “What the Health?” with him this weekend, I felt I needed to talk about a HUGE ISSUE.

While anything that promotes health is fantastic, there is something to be said for skewing facts, and missing a huge problem. What the health reminds me of many “food” documentaries that have been made in the past decade pushing plant based diets, how the diet will nearly cure any disease, and talking of the horrid environments of animal farms/slaughtering practices. However, I was struck with some of the facts that were stated(stretched) and all of the people they used as case studies. I feel like there is a huge thing that is missing…


Wait, what?

If you looked at the majority of diets in America, they would consist of many processed and packaged foods. I know all foods are “processed” if you cook them but I mean food that can sit on a shelf for days, weeks, and even months without going bad.

If you looked at the majority of diets in America, you would find that most have fast food on a regular basis. A 2013 Gallup poll found that 16% of Americans eat fast-food multiple times a week, while 28% of Americans eat fast-food once a week.

If you looked at the majority of of diets in America, you will find an excess of calories. You would find that most americans are overweight. The NIH published that 68.8% of Americans are classified as overweight, and 35.7% of those people are classified as obese.

If you looked at the habits in America, you would find somewhere from 25-35% of Americans are sedentary. Being inactive has been shown to increase the risk of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, certain cancers, and depression.


The things that aggravates me about these movies is that in the simplest sense most Americans would actually benefit greatly from eating a simple diet of just meats, vegetables, nuts, dairy, and fruit. There is no need to scare people into think if they eat meat their risk of dying increases tremendously. Especially because most of the people who are struggling are already confused, already frustrated, and ARE SCARED to START. Hell, if people ate actual food 90% of the time their risk of dying would decrease tremendously.

The problem in America isn’t meat or eggs. Having scramble eggs is not the same as eating cigarettes(for real though?!?!). The problem in America is the convenience of unhealthy foods, lack of prioritization of a healthy diet in a busy lifestyle, lack of owning one's problem, and the need for instant gratification.

The thing people would benefit from(in general) is losing weight and moving more. SIMPLE. Become and maintain a healthy weight and move more. SIMPLE. Go to the grocery store. Buy vegetables, buy fruits, buy nuts, buy meat, buy fish. Cook. Eat appropriate portions. SIMPLE.  Move more. Walk. Bike. Lift weights. Do yoga. SIMPLE.

Notice I said SIMPLE, not EASY.

Many people KNOW what to do. But you have to make it SIMPLE. In a world in which you can log onto the computer and order your groceries, order a pizza, look at what your 500 friends are doing, watch a movie, video chat with someone, send emails, and download music without leaving your couch, it needs to be SIMPLE. Most times when people don’t reach their goals or they have a misstep, the first thing they will say is, “ I know what I need to do, I just have to get it under control and buckle down.”  True, but guess what, that is the challenging part, it must come from within. You have to take SMALL steps. You WILL have to give up some things. And you know what, it is OK to be a little uncomfortable. But, for god's sake STOP TRYING TO SCARE people INTO HEALTH. STOP skewing facts and studies to fit YOUR BELIEFS and OPINIONS.

People who are struggling with their weight are already confused enough as they are bombarded with the newest fad, whether it be a slimming body wrap, cleanse, or workout plan that will fix their problems in 7 days. They do not need to add fear of foods that are likely much healthier than what they are currently eating. Being a vegetarian(just like being gluten-free, or vegan, or paleo, or keto, or (fill in the blank) does not automatically mean you have a great diet. I have had vegetarians show me their diet log and it consisted of nothing but packaged foods. I was a little confused and asked, so as a vegetarian do you eat vegetables? Their response, was "no." Ummm...

The people they showcased in “What the Health” as having miraculous results with plant based diets were all obese and had a slew of health problems. Of course they were going to see fantastic results within a few weeks of adopting a plant based diet. For one things, their caloric intake would certainly be lower leading to weight loss. I would take a guess at saying they generally do not eat fresh fruit and vegetables. If they go from a diet with no fruit and vegetables to several servings a day their micronutrient intake is going to increase substantially. I would guess most had many other things in their diet outside of meat, dairy, and vegetables when they started their plant based diet. By other things I mean the processed, fast-food, sugar & fat treats that most people love because of how palatable they are and how many use them as an instant source of gratification.

In order for health care to decrease and for America to become healthier a couple of things need to happen. America needs to become less fat/less overweight. America needs to move more. This is nothing new. Yet, here we are getting fatter, more sedentary, and trying to come up with new ways to solve the same problem. There is no magic pill, there is no one coverall solution, it won’t be easy, but I can guarantee the self-satisfaction and happiness it will bring will be much greater than the fleeting joy of a half dozen donuts or your next bag of potato chips. I can guarantee the ability to climb stairs without taking a break will feel empowering. I can guarantee(from personal experience) when you can deny help from men to lift a smoker from your cart into your car because you are strong enough, you will fell BADASS.

There are more ways than you can imagine to accomplish these things, find one that works for you, and DO IT. 

*** FYI, the animal cruelty part and farm malpractices I am not into… it is messed up. Yes, I think something needs to be done about that, do I ever think consumers will change that based on not buying certain things? No. There are too many people that will. DO your part and buy wisely but I do not think that will be what changes these practices. I think it will mandates that will, and that is something you can lobby for**


** DOUBLE FYI, I think vegetarians are great. I think any diet is great, as long as it prioritizes fresh foods, is sustainable for the individual, and makes the person FELL GOOD! **

Meghan Scanlon