The Unvegan

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Digesting Your Vitamin B12 (and Other Goodies)

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Mmm delicious B12.

There are more than a few things lacking from a vegetarian diet, many of which are more essential than tastiness. Needless to say, carnivores who enjoy a balanced diet not only benefit from all the pleasures only a medium rare rib-eye with all the trimmings can bring, but by proxy we don’t need to worry about the nutrition we could be missing out on by having selective diets.

Of course, the science behind it all is fairly fascinating. For instance, vegetarians are always taking pills to top up their vitamin B12 levels”¦but why do we need vitamin B12? What the heck is B12, anyway?

To start with, raw, unprocessed meat from the muscle is made up of 15-22% protein, 3-15% fat, 1-5% minerals and carbohydrates and 65-75% water. That’s probably a lot more water than you guessed.

Vitamin B12

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Veggies don't know how to look this good.

Humans are designed to eat meat. That’s why water soluble B vitamins from meat and entrails aid a human’s vitamin supply. To be accurate, we’re dependent on B12 vitamins from animal sources. A small portion of the muscle meat you will take in gives between 25 and 100% of your B vitamin needs and your liver will be happy to receive its vitamin A supply.

You just can’t get a better source of B12 than meat, and here’s further proof. The vitamin doctors suggest that pregnant vegetarian mothers eat meat to get to their required intake of B12 because the B12 tablets just don’t give them enough.

Science lesson number two: meat is a highly digestible source of protein, iron, calcium, enzymes, B12 and other vitamins, and amino acids. You need them every day and if found in other sources your body may not be able to utilize them efficiently.

Protein

You need protein to give the body its amino acid supply. There are about 20 amino acids. Your body makes some of them and the ones we can’t make are called essential amino acids. You’ll find them in their greatest make-up in meat protein.

It’s not the energy drink in the slim blue and silver can, but the protein that provides energy. It’s critical in two main areas. One, it is crucial for both growth and cell repairs. Two, it protects your immune system against pathogens.
Still want to turn vegetarian? Enjoy your pathogens!

Fat

Some experts say you should only eat lean meat, while others suggest that the taste and quality of meat is determined by the fat content. Fat in meat provides energy, while fat from the muscle contains fatty acids, necessary for humans. It has a high nutritional value. Various trace elements are found in meat. Iron, in particular, is utilized well by humans with a daily supply found in a portion of meat along with sufficient zinc. When you read those food packaging labels you’ll see how much of each element the FDA expects you to need for daily living. Meat will fill most needs for trace elements.

The Non-Science

Search the internet for these main items – protein, fat, B12 and amino acids – and you will find plenty of websites suggesting you avoid meat altogether. They’ll say a balanced diet of fruit and vegetables will be good for you. They give complicated lists of produce you’ll need to buy from different places in town and then suggest a visit to the supplement shop to look for anything else you might be lacking.

Why is it so difficult to eat this way when it’s so easy to eat meat and get the protein, fat and B12 you need in a form that’s easily digestible? Avoiding meat altogether is taking you away from what nature intended. You only have to look at human teeth and compare them to those of animals that eat meat to see the resemblance. We’re meat eaters by nature, and should be unashamed carnivores in practice.

If fat is of great concern to you because maybe your family history tells you that weight and heart problems may be inherited, what you can do? Eat leaner cuts of meat. Keep away from nasty oils such as industrial strength hydrogenated vegetable oils and watch the trans fat intake when eating. Those trans fats are so bad for your health that some countries have even banned them. In contrast, natural fat is found in meat. In a nutshell, If you eat your meat and throw in a little exercise here and there, the next time you take a last minute cruise you won’t have any trouble finding a bathing suit that fits.

You have your choices on a plate, metaphorically speaking. You can go to great effort to gather together all the products you need to eat with supplements or you can choose a nice cut of meat that tastes good and brings you everything your body needs.

This guest blog is courtesy of Isabella Woods. Thanks for being a part of the cause!