Danielle Smith: If you want to improve your health, eat more meat
If you were thinking of taking Environment Minister Shannon Phillips’ challenge to “eat less meat” this month, I’m happy to tell you that if you want to improve your health you should do the opposite: you should eat more.
That’s according to Dr. Shawn Baker, who has been following an all meat diet for more than a year and has never felt better.
When I say “all meat”, I’m not kidding. He eats steak for breakfast, lunch and dinner on what he calls the carnivore diet. He says some carnivore diet enthusiasts might also eat eggs, dairy and cheese to mix it up, but the main thing they all do is to avoid eating vegetables and fruit.
LISTEN: Dr. Shawn Baker on why he believes an “all meat” diet is a healthy option
If this seems impossible to eat this way and be healthy, Baker is living proof it works – and others who have been doing it for decades are alive and well too.
No scurvy from lack of Vitamin C. No blindness from lack of Vitamin A. He doesn’t even take vitamin supplements. Instead, he says everything his body needs is contained in meat.
Set aside nutritional orthodoxy for a minute to consider how this is possible. You don’t have to go very far in Canada to find a local example of a population able to survive on an all-meat diet. The Inuit have survived for thousands of years on lands covered by ice most of the year. It’s not an optimal environment for growing crops.
The Inuit have survived on a diet comprised primarily of hunted meats: walrus, seal, whale, caribou, birds, eggs and fish. It’s not an anomaly.
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It stands to reason, human beings should be able to live on a meat-only diet. As Baker points out, our evolutionary history probably began by scrounging after the leftovers of predatory animals, as the alkalinity of our digestive system is more like vultures than other primates.
As we developed tools and the ability to hunt, large movements of people followed the movement of large animals. We survived periodic ice ages when getting enough vegetables and berries to eat as hunter-gatherers would have been next to impossible. The available vegetation was mostly grasslands. Animals ate the grass; we ate the animals.
It wasn’t until 9,500 BC that agricultural crops appeared. Is it a stretch to think that our digestive systems are still getting used to eating this new way?
Gastrointestinal distress, chronic disease and food intolerances are more strongly linked to grains and sugars than they are to meat and protein.
Personally, I would never go for a carnivore diet. One of my favourite meals is a crisp salad made with romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes and baby cucumbers – served alongside a delicious cut of Alberta beef.
Eating meat is good for you. Don’t let Shannon Phillips tell you otherwise.
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