There’s so much conflicting health and diet information out there these days, it’s hard to know who or what to believe.
Some say eat no carbs, while others say eat lots of whole grains. Some say fear the fat, while others tell you to eat as much fat as you want.
Some say eat lean proteins, while others tell you to avoid meat altogether.
To make matters worse, there are real consequences for our actions (or inaction) when it comes to what we eat.
After years of Americans being told to eat a “low fat” diet to lose weight and avoid heart disease, our rates of obesity, heart disease, cancer, and many other maladies have soared through the roof.
Well today, I want to discuss a problem that many people aren’t even aware of. In fact, many doctors and so-called nutrition experts will tell you that eating this way is good for your health.
The problem? Being a vegetarian or vegan.
Many of the sickest people on the planet are vegetarians!
Now you might already know that I eat a primarily plant-based diet, and you could say that I’m 99% vegan, but I would never characterize myself that way.
Why? Just because you don’t eat meat, doesn’t mean that you are healthy!
And while I have the UTMOST respect for vegetarians (my wife Chelsea is one – but a healthy one), and their philosophy towards the respectful treatment of animals, there is still a huge problem.
Because being a vegan or vegetarian usually (but not always) means eating some or all of the following:
- Highly-refined grains and starches
- Processed meat substitutes made from soy, etc.
- A primarily wheat-based diet
- Lots of sugar
- Pro-inflammatory Omega-6 fats
As if that’s not bad enough, what vegans don’t eat is a problem too. They don’t get the essential fatty acids found in meat, seafood, and dairy products that can’t be replaced with vegan-friendly options.
What problems are caused by this type of diet?
- Sagging skin and wrinkles
- Dry, dull hair, skin, and nails
- Intolerance to cold
- Dry skin and eczema
- Brain fog and memory problems
- Depression and anxiety
- Compromised immune system
- Weakened muscles
In short, a vegan or vegetarian diet exacerbates aging.
Let’s break down the 3 reasons why vegans and vegetarians age faster.
- A Carb-Based Diet
Most vegetarians and vegans are actually “pastatarians” or “carbotarians.” They replace meat, seafood, and dairy products with bread, starches, and meat-substitutes, all of which are acidic and high in sugar.
These high-carbohydrate diets lead to elevated blood sugar levels and burning only carbohydrates for fuel (not fat), which only leads to craving more carbs. To make matters worse, the constant influx of sugar causes a massive spike in insulin levels, leading you down the path to insulin sensitivity, and ultimately, chronic disease.
- Lack of Essential Fats
No vegan-friendly foods contain Omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential for optimal health (minus one exception – purslane, which is a weed that has DHA, which we find at our farmers market and use in salads. And don’t get hung up on the word weed – that is how it is classified, and how YOU perceive it, yet it is a high alkaline dark green leafy vegetable).
Omega 3s are primarily found in egg yolks and fresh, cold-water fish like salmon, anchovies, and sardines.
Many of the unhealthy vegetarian foods I am talking about contain mostly Omega 6 fatty acids, like baked goods, margarine, soy, and vegetable oils. Omega 6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory and are highly acid-forming to your body. They compete with the same ezymes as your Omega 3s do, and they literally fuel inflammation and chronic disease in the body.
One of the most important numbers you may have heard me talking about lately is the Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio.
This ratio is being dubbed the ‘new cholesterol’ and next to the pH of your blood, is one of the most important numbers in you need to know about (yet how many of your doctors have tested you for it?). The ratio should ideally be 1:1, and no more than 4:1, yet the average American has 19 times more of the pro-inflammatory Omega 6 fats compared to Omega 3s.
And herein lies, what I would say, the biggest issue with being a vegetarian. Fish oil contains two key elements – DHA and EPA. DHA is so critical for a healthy brain, and for the growth and development of your children and their nervous systems. EPA is the part of fish oil that fights inflammation. So here is the issue:
THERE ARE NO VEGETARIAN SOURCES OF EPA!
Not getting EPA will massively skew your Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio, and will create a breeding ground of acid and inflammation in your body.In fact, in the book Inflammation Nation, Dr. Sunil Pai states that Alzheimer’s, now the 3rd leading cause of death in our country, parallels inflammation!
To be healthy, these fatty acids need to be properly balanced with Omega 3s, so not only are vegans deficient in Omega 3s, they are also disproportionally consuming Omega 6s.
Now you may be saying, but I eat a lot of flax, chia, and hemp seeds (which is ALA, which needs to be converted by enzymes to DHA and EPA once consumed).
That is good to eat these foods, but research shows it will not convert well to the usable form of Omega 3s your body needs. The MOST the research shows is a 5% conversion, but the reality, based on the current research, is less than 1%. There is still many benefits to eating these foods, but purely as an Omega 3 substitute, it doesn’t hold water, I am sorry to say.
They’re eating too many fats that kill, and not enough fats that heal. This also leads to belly fat and difficulty losing weight.
So, if you are a vegetarian, I STRONGLY recommend you take a good fish oil supplement. As I mentioned, my wife is a full-fledged vegetarian, BUT, she knows the importance to her health and body, which is why she takes a fish oil supplement every day.
If you have a philosophical concern, I get it and I fully respect it. Double the amount of plant-based Omega 3s such as chia, flax, and hemp. In addition, you can take a micro algae supplement that has DHA (even though it is a small amount, still better than not taking it).
FIND OUT YOUR OMEGA 6 / OMEGA 3 RATIO TODAY! If you are interested, I am offering a brand-new cutting-edge test that can be administered from the comfort of your own home, called the Omega-3 Acid Test. With a drop of blood from the fingertip (it’s painless, I promise, and a lancet is included in the kit I will send you to take the sample at home), you can find out the following:
- Your Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio
- How deficient you are in Omega 3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA
- How toxic your cells are via palmitic acid levels
- Risk factors for stroke and dementia
- Cognitive flexibility of brain, including memory capacity, sustained attention, and brain reaction time.
Contact Alkamind customer support at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 844.200.ALKA (2552) and mention Omega-3 Acid test and get the test at a 20% discount (special price of $197, normally $249) – we only have a select number of kits left, which will be handed out on a first come first serve basis.
- No Bioavailable Collagen
You may have heard skincare experts talk about collagen, but what is it? It’s a type of protein that is used in connective tissue in the hair, skin, nails, teeth, and joints to keep them plump, strong, and working properly.
Although your body naturally produces collagen, that slows as we age. By 40, we’ve already lost 15% of our production.
The good news is that you can eat collagen to supplement your natural supply. It’s found in chicken skin, chicken feet, bone broths, and some cuts of meat.
You don’t need much meat to boost your collagen supply, which will also help prevent Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Vegans and vegetarians try to improve their collagen supply using plant-based sources, but it’s not bioavailable, which means it goes unused.
So what’s a healthier alternative?
I have the privilege of knowing a few people who are in their 90s who you would think are decades younger than they are. They move easily without much joint pain, their skin has few wrinkles, and they still have a lot of color and vibrancy in their faces.
What’s their secret? What do they have in common? They’ve eaten real food their whole lives.
They haven’t gotten caught up in low-fat this or low-carb that. And they’ve kept their bodies moving, which means that unlike their sedentary friends, their lymphatic systems keep working well.
That’s what you want to aim for as part of the 80/20 lifestyle. Instead of going vegetarian and eating mostly processed carbs, or the opposite and eating mostly meat and unhealthy fats…
Go Alkalarian instead!
What is alkalarian? It means eating:
- Mostly plants – dark, leafy greens like kale, spinach watercress, and chards, and other veggies high in chlorophyll like broccoli, peas, green beans, leeks, herbs, asparagus, etc.
- All real foods – processed, chemical-filled “food” products are not welcome in your body
- A small amount of animal proteins, mostly wild-caught fish high in Omega-3s
- Plenty of healthy fats – avocado, coconut, chia, flax, and hemp, almonds, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, pecans, nut butters (cacao, almond, coconut), and oils such as EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), avocado, black cumin, and macadamia nut oil. I stay clear of the oils that have a propensity to oxidize quickly such as flax, chia, and hemp (though the seeds are fine).
Eating this way is not only going to slow the effects of aging and keep you looking younger longer, it will also give you boundless energy and greater overall health. Isn’t that what we all want as we get older?
Want to know which foods to eat to keep looking young and get off your acid in the process?
My Ultimate Alkaline/Acid Food Guide with 521 foods is a great resource for this. Download it now.