The Blog

Young People Want to Wear a Vegetarian 'Label' but Aren't Interested in an Education in Nutrition

We all take our joints for granted until or unless we have arthritis and by then unfortunately we are constantly aware of them because of the almost intolerable pain whenever we do anything. This is occurring at younger and younger ages in casual vegetarians because of a lack of quality protein amongst other things.

To be in opposition of vegetarianism these days in some sections of society is a little like being anti-CND in the 1970's but for all wrong reasons. There was and is after all an implicit logic to being in support of C.N.D. (They want the abolition of weapons of mass destruction, in particular chemical and biological weapons).Every article I have written for the last 20 years warning against the pitfalls of the adoption of a 'casual' vegetarian diet, i.e. remove the meat from your plate and make no addition to replace the lost nutrients, has been virulently and single-mindedly attacked from all quarters by a mainly parochial and partisan crowd completely closed to any kind of discussion or debate on the matter-just like the followers of CND but without any of their true moral high ground yet with the same fervor of a political group. Many of the letters I receive are from people who mind-numbingly associate eating meat directly with animal mistreatment and even experimentation!

We all know the negative effects of Nuclear Missiles and they are undeniable but most of us don't really think about the negative effects of bad nutrition until we experience them first hand. We all take our joints for granted until or unless we have arthritis and by then unfortunately we are constantly aware of them because of the almost intolerable pain whenever we do anything. This is occurring at younger and younger ages in casual vegetarians because of a lack of quality protein amongst other things. Many studies made in the last decade report that protein supplementation lowers death rates and shortens hospital stays and reduces bone loss among people with osteoporosis. I have met many overpoweringly persuasive 'vegetarians' who love to rant against eating animals and pressure others for eating meat while they themselves freely enjoy smoking, drinking alcohol and eating sugary foods and never take any exercise. Eating animals is not the only sin that should concern us here! Pushing vegetarianism as a moral or ethical choice is one thing but to blindly push it as a superior health choice over eating meat is ludicrous.

Good health is holistic and should be taught as such and yet many young people who don't yet have the critical faculties to make wise choices by gathering and reading all of the facts available are often peer pressured into this lifestyle choice. If they object they are often made to feel humiliated or even evil for choosing to eat meat-"meat is poison" they are told. They are often literally bombarded with a barrage of modern pseudo-cultural anecdotes to overwhelm any sense of judgment or intellect-I know as I see it first hand in debates with and between young people in schools, colleges and universities all over the world. This can be very frightening if you're even a little intimidatable and enough to make most students nod in support just avoid persecution themselves. Too many campaigning parties in this world of every kind have a stance that one being neutral makes one a part of the problem.

Here are the facts in just one area of human health; the ends of human bones inside the joint are covered by a thin layer of cartilage on which the bones glide smoothly every time we move. Another membrane called the synovial membrane, also surrounds the ends of bones and secretes a fluid that effectively "oils the hinges" as it were and provides even smother movement. These are all in place in good order when we are born but are only maintained with regular correct exercise and good nutrition. Contrary to popular belief arthritis is not an unavoidable symptom of aging and can quite easily be avoided or even reversed using the same process as for maintenance.

Animal fats, natural minerals and fresh pure water are all essential to supply the nutrients we need to keep joints in tip-top order. Poor nutrition and overuse will severely compromise efficiency in our joints. The synovial fluid also contains mucus, which gives it its lubricating properties. The mucus must be produced in our bodies by living cells from raw materials furnished from our food. If our body does not have the required levels of any amino acids, vitamins, minerals or other key nutrients it begins to disappear. Likewise if our cells are tarnished by toxins contained in such things as sugary and spicy foods, alcohol or cigarettes then these lubricating properties are compromised or absent-this is what we refer to as arthritis (actual meaning is none specific bone and joint pain). The consistent and excessive (daily) consumption of sugary and processed foods will encourage the formation of acid crystals in the body that accumulate around joints. This leads to a yet another condition commonly known as gout. With more severe conditions like osteoarthritis the cartilage and bone-end joint tissues are completely destroyed and the bone underneath exposed. Sometimes, bone spurs and pieces of joint tissue remain in the joint and become calcified through lack of movement, sticking out above the surface of the joint, rubbing against each other and causing severe pain and restricting movement of the joint. In worse case scenarios if left unattended the joint tissues can eventually diffuse and no movement will be possible at all. I see this problem in younger and younger people all the time. Many of them have caused this problem not only by poor nutrition but also by incorrect or excess exercise, in pursuit of being fashionably thin, training 5, 6 or even 7 times a week.

There is simply no logical reason for anyone to train seven days a week-even if they are getting ready to compete in the Olympics. Overtraining is the number one cause of joint problems in athletes. Long, hard running sessions or multiple sets of exercise repeated in high volume will wear out joints prematurely and will hasten the end of any would be athlete's career. Weight lifting is the only way to strengthen and build bone and joint density and muscular strength so be sure to incorporate some fairly heavy lifting into your regular program. Always exercise using good form at all times with no bouncing or jerking when training as this is particularly hazardous for joints. If you are a regular jogger, avoid running on hard surfaces or in worn down, unsupportive footwear. Finally, remember to use a quality Calcium supplement. Calcium is a key neutralizing mineral and is used to remove acidity from your body (caused by excessive eating of spicy foods and processed 'junk foods' and also from smoking and drinking alcohol) If your body doesn't have enough calcium coming in to carry out this function it pulls out the 6 to 8 pounds of calcium stored in your bones and teeth. This is the main cause of osteoporosis and brittle bones. This is without me even touching on the problems that poor quality protein levels have in causing anemia and missed periods or the dangers to post menopausal women in a multitude of ways! My professional status remains the same despite the detractors; I will not stop saying what I know to be true just because it upsets someone and I never will and I encourage you all to do the same. As for fear of social labeling remember this old adage; it ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to that counts.