Meat has gotten a terrible rap, and it’s unfortunate that not enough good information about why meat is necessary exists. For the past 50+ years, we have been fed information suggesting that animal proteins and fats from meat and eggs are bad for us. We’ve been told we will live longer if we avoid them. That kind of information – put out over and over again – has become so embedded into our brains that we don’t question whether it is true or not.
I’m here to tell you; it’s not.
There are a lot of reasons why eating meat is beneficial. Here are the top three.
- We need protein! Our genes are made of protein so for the body to replace cells that get invariably depleted or damaged, it needs protein so it can make more DNA. As well, enzymes are protein. Many of our cells have enzyme receptors on them and to turn a process on in a cell, an enzyme (or protein) has to bind to that receptor. Think of a key needed to turn the engine of your car on. The fact that our ancestors – those cave people – ate meat is, in fact, a large reason why our bodies were able to grow and develop. The amino acids we get from meat are the building blocks needed for the brain to function normally.
- We need the fat! Fat is another thing that has gotten an unfortunately bad rap. The essential fatty acids (“essential” meaning the body can’t produce them; you have to eat them) found in meat are necessary for almost all of the chemical reactions in your body. And our cell walls – which are the gatekeepers for the body, keeping certain substances in and harmful ones out – are made of fat. Eating it contributes to the cell wall’s strength. But perhaps most importantly, fat helps our brain function by making sure that the nerve pathways are insulated, and don’t interfere with each other.
- We need the vitamins! Vegetables are quite nutrient dense. No one will argue and eating a lot of them is certainly beneficial. But meats – organ meat, beef, fish, and shellfish – are nutrient dense as well. They provide the body with many key vitamins from B to iron to zinc, and two very important fat-soluble vitamins (A and D) that many are deficient in. These vitamins play a key role in many areas of human health from promoting healthy immune function and fertility to regulating calcium metabolism and reducing inflammation. And they are in concentrated amounts and found almost exclusively in animal foods.
Next time you hear someone tell you that you will die early from eating meat remember not to believe everything you hear. There are too many factors that can affect that statement and we should question them – like the source of the meat (grass-fed, pasture-raised, organic) because that matters. We should question what we pair the meat with (breads and sugar-laden condiments vs. fresh vegetables). That matters as well.
What we don’t need to question is whether we should be eating meat. That question can be left out to pasture – with the cows.
Since practicing Functional Medicine, I have met quite a few patients who have a misconception of what Functional Medicine (FM) is. And it makes sense. Even though practicing health care in this way isn’t completely new, it is still a relatively new way of looking at and naming health.
What is in a name?
The name Functional Medicine Practitioner can be deceiving. We tend to hear it and understand the “medicine” part because that is what traditional doctors do – they prescribe medication. But the “functional” part is what people don’t tend to understand and is what needs more clarification.
Simply put, Functional Medicine is medicine by cause, not by symptom. An FM Practitioner does not treat a disease but rather your body’s ecosystem as whole. Nothing in the body functions alone; everything is interrelated and FM digs deep to find the root cause so all related parts can be addressed and treated as well.
There are many practitioners who claim they practice FM when in fact what they do falls short of that. It is important to educate yourself about just what a FM doctor does and doesn’t do in order for you to get the care you need, and deserve.
Is your doctor Functional?
Your practitioner is not practicing Functional Medicine if:
- They never asks about the quality of your bowel movements and the quality of the results of your bowel movements.
- Prescribes hormone replacement therapy, no matter what the source of the hormones.
- Puts you on more than six supplements that have no stop date.
- Never talks about food and how it affects your health.
- They do not investigate how hormones are working in your body and doesn’t do important and complete hormone testing.
- You have the sense that they are just trying to sell you supplements.
Your practitioner is practicing Functional Medicine if:
- They want to get to know you and how your body is functioning or not functioning, and become familiar with your individual issues.
- They begin the process of discovering why certain parts of your body are giving you trouble – this can be from your brain to your bowels.
- They order tests that are designed to look at the complete chemistry process of your body. They are looking for clues as to what might be wrong.
- They always start with food. Chances are food is playing a major role in how someone feels.
- Supplements may be prescribed, but they are what is called targeted supplements. A Functional Practitioner would prefer the problem be solved with food. What I like to tell new patients is that my goal is to have them feel the best they can with as little outside intervention as possible.
- The feedback and information they give you is all specific to you and your particular makeup.
- They want you to live a happy and healthy life to the fullest. It is not about money, selling you a lot of supplements or unnecessary treatments. It is about how you can live a healthy life free of pain, brain fog, or chronic fatigue.
Functional Medicine, like Functional Neurology, is one of the most important discoveries in healthcare. It truly speaks to what makes a person healthy.
Does FM sound like something you could use to help you heal? We can help! Connect with us: 978-369-7070 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Your health is our concern.