Editorial by David Mulvain
Recently I read an article about making the transition to a raw food plant-based diet. The strongest message was that eating a raw plant-based diet, sans meat, is founded on love and compassion and expresses a (higher) level of consciousness. I am not sure it was the author’s intention, but does this imply that those of us that kill or eat animals for food are at a lower level of consciousness? I don’t think so.
In reference to “higher consciousness”, is it possible that there is a unifying intelligence in the universe that is expressed in nature through balance and mutual benefit? Are predator animals necessary for controlling the population balance of prey animals? Is there a higher purpose for this relationship between predator and prey animals? According to evolutionary theory, the human brain did not start to develop beyond the animal level until our little monkey predecessors became carnivorous. In other words the higher calorie content of meat provided the energy needed to develop a brain large enough to be capable of being aware of itself (consciousness).
If not killing or eating animals is an expression of higher consciousness, what do we eat when we reach a level of consciousness that recognizes the presence of God or a higher power in everything that lives and carries the essence of life? We humans are omnivores, and we are the most capable carnivores on the planet. If this is an intelligence driven universe, could there be a reason? I suggest applying our conscious awareness to being thankful for these life-giving gifts of protein and fat that made us what we are today.
What about health? Our bodies are more adaptive than our brains. Vegan diets are low in several nutrients that are essential to normal healthy brain function. Especially problematic to the brain are deficiencies of vitamins B12 and D3, and the fats, phosphatidyl choline, inositol and serine (lecithin), the essential very long chain omega-3 fat, DHA, and even insufficient levels of cholesterol.
There is a lot of research on the roles these nutrients play in the brain, but very little on the effects of deficiencies. The few studies that do exist show that a deficiency of even just one of the fats can reduce IQ in children and cognitive function in adults over time. Most of these deficiencies can be compensated for by supplements made from plant sources. For those that cannot be, I strongly suggest making exceptions to veganism and using non-vegan supplements or food when reason dictates, especially for both men and women that may have children in their future.
Incidentally, flax seed oil is not an adequate substitute for the essential omega-3 fatty acids. There are only three good sources; cold water fish, grazing animals and certain species of algae, the latter of which are okay for vegans.
Cholesterol is a problem for vegans. We do need to get some cholesterol from our diet, especially pregnant women and young children. Eggs are a good source and are also rich sources of serine, choline and inositol, and you don’t have to kill the chicken. Omega-3 eggs are a farce. They contain the wrong omega-3’s. Eating real eggs does not contribute to heart disease! Cholesterol is only a problem if it is oxidized, and even then its a small contributor to the dangerous fatty plaque compared to oxidized vegetable oils. Avoid them, and take basic anti-oxidant supplements for protection.
Could it be that the moral idea of not killing animals for food is just a temporary wrong turn on the highway of individual moral/ethical and spiritual growth?