Nearly everyone desires more energy, yet few people make the connection between fatigue and eating meat! Most people, even health professionals, mistakenly believe that eating meat is necessary for good health and strength. In fact, eating animal flesh significantly reduces energy and contributes towards overall ill health.
Scientific studies repeatedly show that a vegetarian diet improves energy and endurance. One study, conducted by Yale professor Irving Fisher, compared the strength and stamina of active meat-eating athletes to that of vegetarian athletes and sedentary vegetarians. He found that flesh eaters had far less endurance than even sedentary vegetarians! Another study found that athletes who switched to a vegetarian diet improved their endurance almost three times as much as those who ate meat.
The power of a balanced vegetarian diet is exemplified in the lives of many world class athletes. Dave Scott, universally recognized as the greatest triathlete in the world, is a vegetarian. He calls the idea that people, especially athletes, need animal protein a “ridiculous fallacy.”
Local Hawaii legend Ruth Heidrich is another great example of the power of a vegetarian diet. Following the advice of Dr. John McDougall, Ruth switched to a vegetarian diet after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Ruth not only overcame the cancer, she went on to become an award-winning, record-breaking triathlete. She tells her incredible story in the best-selling book, “A Race for Life.” Peter Burwash, local tennis pro, has also experienced the benefits of vegetarian nutrition. When Peter experimented with a vegetarian diet, he found that it dramatically improved his athletic performance. After one year of vegetarianism, Peter was found to have the highest fitness index of any athlete, in any sport in Canada!
As these vegetarian athletes know, a vegetarian diet is the perfect source of nutrition for the human body. A vegetarian diet based on whole grains, fruits and vegetables is low in fat, a great source of fiber, and rich in energy boosting vitamins and minerals. The primary component of a balanced vegetarian diet is complex carbohydrates, which are the perfect source for maximum energy and endurance.
The complex carbohydrates found in vegetarian foods are gradually digested (and easily eliminated), providing a steady source of glucose to the blood. Conversely, flesh foods contain virtually no carbohydrates and are very high in fat and protein. The fat and protein in meat are very difficult to digest, and take energy away from the rest of the body causing people to feel tired and sluggish after eating meat. Difficult to digest flesh foods stagnate in the bowels for two to three days creating a toxic overload for the whole body, contributing to fatigue, headaches, a weakened immune system, and many long-term diseases, including cancer.
Iron-deficiency anemia is another cause of weakness and fatigue. Advocates of the meat industry falsely claim that consumption of flesh products is necessary for sufficient iron. In fact, studies consistently show that meat eaters suffer more iron deficiency than vegetarians. Many vegetarian foods, such as tofu, most beans and leafy greens either equal or surpass meat as sources of iron. Calorie per calorie, spinach has fourteen times the iron of the typical slab of flesh!
Excess weight is another significant energy drain. Study after study shows that vegetarians are less likely to be overweight than meat eaters. One study found that vegans (no animal products whatsoever) weighed an average of 10 pounds less than the rest of the population. Another study suggested they weighed 30 pounds less, and a third found that these vegetarians had 30% less body fat than the non-vegetarian population.
The facts are compelling! The idea that meat is needed for strength and energy is a fallacy. Studies repeatedly show that a vegetarian diet is the optimal source of energy for the human body.