We don’t live in a perfect world. In a perfect world, the soil we grow foods in would not be stripped of its nutrients by industry. In a perfect world we would not have to genetically modify foods for a higher yield. We would instead learn to work in symbiosis with the Earth’s ecology to grow fruits and vegetables and raise healthy animals for consumption. In a perfect world, food would be produced in small batches locally making the small farmer much more relevent in today’s society. It would be like small batch micro brewed beers. Super high quality foods raised and grown in small batches all over the country. Now that’s an idea I think we can all get behind.
Take away my feelings about animal rights (this is a personal philosophy and not something I would ever force on another person) and I will tell you that animal foods are loaded with nutrition that is easily assimilated by the body. The only problem is that the animal food industry has become more about the bottom line, and less about a healthy and safe product for consumption. I’ll be the first to admit that the big plant food industry has some of the same problems, but I feel like quality control in plant foods is much more manageable. It’s much easier to grow your own kale than it is to raise your own cow for milk and slaughter. The only way to guarantee the quality of our animal foods is to raise them ourselves. This is a fairly utopian idea, and one that is not realistic in today’s society. So what are we left with? Locally grown, organic produce in small batches. Micro grown veggies!
What I would like to do in this post is list some important vitamins and nutrients that are common in animal foods, and give plant-based alternatives to get these nutrients.
The queen mother of all nutrients. Where is the B-12 coming from in a plant-based diet. Keep one thing in mind first. B-12 is actually manufactured by the body. This is why B-12 is abundant in animal flesh. Animals are not given B-12 so that they have B-12 in them when we consume them. A healthy body ecology system (the micro flora in the intestine) should manufacture your very own B-12. Some sources of B-12 in plant-based foods are chlorella, miso and nutritional yeast.
Vitamin A is very important. It helps the body resist infection, as well as maintains red and white blood cells. Plant based sources for vitamin A are: dark leafy greens, carrots, squash, pumpkin, mango and cantaloupe.
D allows the body to absorb calcium much more efficiently. It is also an immune system booster. Plant based sources are: nutritional yeast and exposure to the sun.
Plays a big role in helping blood to clot. It also provides the heart the nutrients it needs for proper function. Plant based sources for vitamin K are: dark leafy greens and pine nuts.
Very important nutrient for a healthy cardiovascular system. If there were only one thing you did for your health, this is it: lower your Omega 6 intake (vegetable and processed oils) and increase your Omega 3 intake. It will protect your heart. Some plant-based sources of Omega 3 are: Flax seed and flax-seed oil, and Chia seed. One tablespoon of Chia seed will provide 150% of the recommended daily intake of Omega 3.
A very powerful antioxidant. Promotes cardiovascular health by helping to maintain a proper ration between good and bad cholesterol in the body. Plant based sources of vitamin E are: flaxseed oil, pumpkin seed oil, hemp oil, nuts and avocado.
Another big one. Cows are not fed milk to get calcium. Cows get calcium through the foods they eat, most importantly the grass they eat. Humans do not need to consume dairy products to get calcium. In fact, the body has trouble processing dairy products because they are so heavily processed and pasteurized in today’s society. Some plant-based calcium sources include: Nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens.
At this point in time, the idea of having a clean supply of grass-fed, organically raised animal products is a very utopian idea. That world just does not exist anymore for wide-spread consumption. I wish it were not that way. As long as “Big Agriculture” is in bed with United States lawmakers, that world has little chance of ever returning. Contact your congressman or congresswoman and ask them to start providing tax dollars to local farmers to grow clean organically raised food instead of giving more money to multi national corporations to produce more “Fraken-food”.