Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Meat and Mood

I found this article, Meatless Monday: Anger Management, from the Huffington post to be quite interesting. ASU gets a mention too, so that makes it extra cool.

However, I'm about to stop reading comments on articles like this forever. They just get me riled up with all the venom people spew from every side of an argument. And even though there might be some good information tucked in them supporting, or not, the themes of the article, I can't stand sifting through all the mean-spiritedness and insults. If that's not a perfect example demonstrating how easy something can affect our mood, I don't know what is.

So, the article might not be perfect and the research might not be either, but I think there is something to the idea about meat affecting emotional health. My own experience is that when I stopped eating meat I felt lighter and happier than ever before.

Here's an excerpt:

"Recent research by Arizona State University showed omnivores who went meatless felt better emotionally. Of the 39 people studied, one group kept to their omnivorous ways, a second group ate fish but no other source of animal protein, the third group ate no fish, no meat, no eggs. The first two groups reported no change in emotion or cognition. The plant-based party reported they felt more relaxed and focused than they did eating meat. .... I'm saying there's a real correlation between how eating meat and feeling anger affect the body."

Yeah, it's from a small pilot study. And the research doesn't look to have explored WHY people feel better without meat, but that is something I'd be interested in learning more about.

The idea that meat can affect your mood is not a new one for me. Not only do I think our bodies are happier without meat, I think our spirits tend to be so too. Meat equals the death of another being, and I just believe that's got to affect us negatively on some level.

I remember reading about a belief/theory/idea that when an animal is slaughtered, whatever they are feeling triggers chemicals in the body and those chemicals stay in the meat which people later eat. So if a cow is feeling terror and pain and anger, and I believe they do, people who eat meat also ingest those chemicals/hormones which can affect their own mood and well-being, therefore increasing their own levels of anxiety and anger and depression and even adrenaline. We're not even talking about injected hormones and antibiotics, these are chemicals that would be present in organic meat of slaughtered animals.

I think this is true with toxins too. And maybe we are ok at first with our body being able to detox and clean out our systems, but progressively both toxins and chemicals and hormones build up. But our deterioration can be slow and we adjust to it so it feels normal.

Anything we ingest plays a part on how our body feels, and our mind and body and spirit are connected. If we are not nourishing one, the others suffer too. Sometimes feeling bad is noticeable, but often we get so used to feeling a certain way that we don't know we can feel better with just a few diet adjustments. It's only when we have big dips that we actively strive to make changes. I think this is what happened to the people in the ASU study. They felt better without realizing they even could, just by not eating meat.


Rikki Cupcake said...

this was great, thank you for sharing. i tell customers at tj's that we have enough stress in our lives why take in the stress that is stored in animals bodies into our own. we will after all only be ingesting fear, anguish and pain. no one wants that.

Anonymous said...

I don't like reading comments on most articles either. People are ridiculous with them.

You know, I never thought about it, but your point about the terror of animals and their toxins makes sense.

Kenike said...

I just wish I could remember where I first read this idea or find a good source that talks about it intelligently with science and support.

Duke said...

If it were true (and I'm not saying it isn't) meat causes negative emotional reactions, then it would show up in the number of non-vegans being treated for depression or other mental illnesses.

I've never heard from the medical community that vegans suffer fewer mental health issues than non-vegans. If meat really causes a deterioration in our emotional state it would show up in how many get treated.

It seems a lot more study needs to be done before we conclude eating meat causes an emotional degeneration. It could very well be true, but the facts don't seem to be out there yet.

Kenike said...

I agree the facts aren't out there. This is all food for thought.

It's hard to say where the cause-effect relationship might be exactly. And some people may be more immune to certain triggers than others. I think it would take decades of dedicated research to figure it all out.

There's still a huge biological component related to mental illness, and we have lots of toxins that even vegans have a hard time avoiding that I believe put stress on our bodies.

And how would one take into account the fact that some people were born and raised vegan, whereas others converted later in life with damage maybe already done. And I just read this article that said what your grandmother ate affects your health. Wow, talk about long-term consequences of unhealthy/healthy eating.

Not completely unrelated is the example of diet on exacerbating autism spectrum disorders. There's still not enough research on it, and most of what is out is anecdotal, but kids with these diagnoses who have certain foods eliminated from their diets have shown marked improvement in behavior and emotional well-being. Two of the biggest culprits among trigger foods include gluten and dairy.

Anyway complicated topic. And I know my thoughts also come from a more 'spiritual' place than scientific, but I just hope the science catches up to shed some light on it all.

Duke said...

There's evidence humans ate meat as far back as we've been able to determine. Animal bones were found around caveman sites. We've apparently evolved to handle it.

I suspect whatever emotional problems they find consuming meat will be due to something recent. Probably because of the horrible conditions in these factory animal assembly lines. They are shooting animals full of chemicals, hormones, drugs, and who knows what. Those contaminates not only poison the meat but also milk, eggs, and everything to do with the animal.

Anyway, that's my opinion. I think the problem is in the way all corporations mistreat animals and poison the meat. I think we did this to ourselves in the last 50 years or so.

Kenike said...

It's been in the last 50 years where animals have been raised in factory farms...that's part of the point. Back in the old days animals lived free or on a large farm, happy for the most part, until their death. Now, they are unhappy most of their life including their death.