I’m locked away to defy and die
Welcome to today’s blog post. There are many reasons why we can be tired, but today I would like to focus on one specifically: iron. Iron doesn’t get as much publicity as lets say protein but it is really important and can affect our performance and also our well being. Without iron, your body can’t make enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells and a lack of red blood cells we become anemic.
How do we get iron? We get iron either by eating foods containing iron, or by supplementation. You might have grown up being told to eat liver because it’s high in iron. People eat red meat to get iron. But green vegetables such as iron and broccoli also contain iron. I think you may know where I’m going with this.
If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet you may have been asked ‘what are you doing to get your iron’ or you have been told that ‘you will be iron deficient unless you eat red meat’. That’s a common myth out there and it needs to be busted. If you eat a whole food plant based diet (I purposely left out the word vegan since vegan goes beyond just what you eat) you are getting lots of iron, vitamin C, A, magnesium and something really important, fiber (post coming up on the importance of fiber).
But, the really important difference is you are not getting heme iron. Heme iron is the iron that we get when we consume meat. There are studies showing that consuming iron from meat increases the risk of coronary heart disease. Why? Because iron can oxidize cholesterol with free radicals causing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). The risk has been quantified as a 27% increase per every 1 mg of heme iron consumed daily. Another study concluded that the intake of heme iron, not plant iron, was associated with the increase of stroke and diabetes. The conclusion states: ‘Higher heme iron intake and increased body iron stores were significantly associated with a great risk of type 2 diabetes. Dietary total iron, non-heme iron, or supplemental iron intakes were not significantly associated with type 2 diabetes.’ There are also studies that show an increase in cancer rates due to heme iron intake. Want to know more? Check this link out.
So why is it that we always hear that we need to eat meat, specifically to get iron? I’ve written about this before and I think it’s relative here too. There’s a lot of money to be made to continue having people consume animal products. How do you make billions of dollars by marketing ‘your’ kidney beans, or your spinach, or your walnuts. Good luck, it’s not going to happen. But, run the commercial of your sizzling juicy stake on the bbq, party going on and everyone having a good time and you are on your way! There are cultural norms around consuming animal products, especially red meat. Don’t eat red meat, you aren’t a real man. Don’t eat grandma’s casserole you just offended the whole family.
We have been marketed to to death, from pre-school all the way through adult hood.
But it’s up to you to decide what you eat and that decision can have good or bad consequences when it comes to your health.
And don’t take my word for it. Just look at history. How is it, as an example, Okinawan’s were the longest living people? Pre 1950 their diet consisted of an average of 85% carbs, with very, very little red meat.
How is it there are many life time vegans, vegetarians who never consumed red meat yet they are healthy and they aren’t anemic?
Let me ask you this. Do you know any people who eat a whole foods plant based diet, and have been for a number of years? Do you know any people who eat red meat constantly, and other animal products? Who is dying from diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke, etc.?
Do yourself a favor and take the red pill. There is so much information out there that will lead you to a healthy and long life. You just need to cut through the bro science and the bullshit. Bro science and bullshit is what sells products. That’s the world we live in, like it or not. But you have a choice. Make the right choice.
Yours in health,