It's a great question, really. Is vegetarianism, or even veganism, more healthful than eating a diet that includes animal flesh and products produced by animals? Or does it simply come down to a matter of one's philosophy, beliefs, or cultural background? I am going to answer that question based on the most recent research and analysis now available that has long studied diets and the effects of each diet on people groups from ages past to modern day.
Nearly every culture and its dietary practices have been studied, at least in part. Two doctors who did just that immediately come to mind; two men studying two polar opposite dietary practices, both with incredible findings. The first is Dr. Herbert Shelton who was a firm believer in plant based diets. He witnessed incredible results within his own practice where he prescribed plant foods for the healing of chronic and even terminal diseases. The second is Dr. Weston A. Price who was a firm believer in raw dairy, free-range eggs, grass-fed meat, and fish consumption. He traveled to remote areas to study the health of native peoples and was astonished by their healthiness and vitality. He too, practiced and recommended such diets and also witnessed astounding results. You might ask, how can that be? It's quite obvious, isn't it? The human body is perfectly able to produce optimal health and longevity on both animal flesh and plant based diets. Whether one consumes a diet rich in animal flesh and their products or plant foods is not the issue. What is the issue is the quality of food, the quantity of food consumed, and the frequency of meals. Allow me to cite a mere two examples.
Many decades ago, an erroneous study created an unwarranted fear of saturated fats. Millions of Americans shunned the villainous saturated fats. What we witnessed as a result was the rise of heart disease to the number one killer in the United States. We have also seen the erroneous recommendation to consume six to eleven servings of grain foods daily as was recommended on the USDA Food Pyramid. What we witnessed was a rise in obesity and obesity related disease and death from the west coast to the east coast. These mere two of the hundreds, if not thousands, of errors and misinterpreted data have caused great harm to those who believed in them. If these studies and recommendations, along with the plethora of others, have caused such harm, who do we trust and what studies and data are to be believed? Let us now return to the examples of the two doctors above.
What these two doctors experienced were the results of people consuming foods that were natural, whole, and unadulterated. It wasn't until the boom in processed food production, resultant of the Industrial Revolution, that people began to experience new disorders, disease, and death related complications. One can be a vegan, a vegetarian, or a meat eater and all can experience devastating health consequences if what is consumed is processed foods and foods grown/raised on industrial farms laden with toxic chemicals. It can be easily observed in nearly every single case that when processed foods are removed from the diet, or even reduced, astounding results are experienced. When further modifications are made, such as the addition of organically grown and raised foods and fasting, health and healing are undoubtedly realized.
So, what is best? The answer is organic whole foods that are prepared properly. It matters not whether you choose to consume meat or plants only, rather what does determine health is the quality of the food consumed when eaten to satiety only, never indulged in, and when fasting becomes a regular part of one's life. Consuming meat and animal products that are from grass-fed, free-range, and organically raised animals are certainly not to be discouraged. Animals and their products are teeming with nutrients. And, on the other hand, so are plants, but only plants that are grown organically in mineral rich soils. Keep in mind that a diet that is solely plant based is not for everyone. For those who choose to consume animal products, however, it should be noted that is it advisable to eat both vegan and meat and/or animal products on a rotational basis. No one needs to eat meat or an animal product at every meal, nor on a daily basis. It is my recommendation that everyone be vegan at least one day per week. In this way, achieving optimal health becomes a reality.