Going meatless can make you crazy, it seems. Going without bacon would certainly do it for me. Excerpt:
More and more women are vegging out…of their minds. New research suggests that along with shedding pounds, slashing cancer risk, and boosting life expectancy, vegetarianism could come with lesser-known side effects: Panic attacks. OCD. Depression. WH investigates the puzzling blow of going meatless—and how to stay plant-based without going mental.
Her symptoms were sudden and severe. Drew Ramsey’s 35-year-old patient had always been fit and active, but her energy had flatlined. When she did manage to drag herself to the gym, it didn’t help. She felt anxious and was often on the verge of tears for no reason, even when she was with friends. Worst of all were her panic attacks, a rare occurrence in the past but now so common that she was afraid of losing her job because she had trouble getting out of bed, and she’d become terrified of taking the New York City subway.
Ramsey, a Columbia University professor and psychiatrist with 14 years of experience, wanted to put her on medication. His patient demurred. She was so conscious of what she put in her body, she’d even given up meat a year ago, having heard about all the health benefits of vegetarianism. So Ramsey prescribed something else: grass-fed steak.
It may sound like an episode of House, but Ramsey had a hunch. He’d seen a dramatic link between mood and food before (he even researched it for his forthcoming book Eat Complete), and guessed that his patient’s well-intentioned meat-free diet was the very thing causing her mental deterioration. Sure enough, six weeks after adding animal protein back onto her plate, her energy rebounded and her panic attacks dropped by 75 percent.
Let’s be up front about this much: The patient described above’s meat-free diet may have been “well intentioned,” but it was ultimately meaningless; “ethical veganism” has been roundly debunked. The massive cost in animal lives of plant agriculture alone puts the lie to the “death-free lifestyle” claims of vegan activists.
But we’ll set that aside for the moment. Let’s use some actual reasoning; humans evolved as omnivores. We have relatively unspecialized teeth capable of dealing with all sorts of foods. We have an intermediate digestive system, neither the big fermenting stomachs of obligate herbivores nor the short acidiferous guts of obligate carnivores, but rather something in between.
In the past there have been near-humans who specialized in a vegetarian lifestyle. They died out. Our ancestors were likely adaptable, quick-witted scroungers and scavengers who made a decent living in the African savannas by eating almost anything available.
In fact, the science behind our diets provides an explanation for the nitwittery of vegan nutbars; the article continues:
Yet anthropological evidence shows that, long before we could choose to subsist on cashew cheese and tofu, animal flesh provided the energy-dense calories necessary to fuel evolving cerebellums. Without meat, we’d never have matured beyond the mental capacity of herbivores like gorillas.
Today, stronger brains are still powered by beef—or at least, by many of the nutrients commonly found in animal proteins. At the top of the list are B vitamins, which your noggin needs to pump out neurotransmitters such as glutamate; low levels of it have been linked to depression, anxiety, and OCD (sound familiar?). Similarly, meager levels of zinc and iron, two nutrients far more prevalent in meats than veggies, may manifest as moodiness—or worse. “I’ve had vegetarians come in thinking they’re having panic attacks when it’s really an iron deficiency,” says Deans. Without iron to help blood shuttle oxygen around, the brain gets less O2, leaving it sluggish and more prone to misfiring. Then there’s tryptophan, an essential amino acid found almost exclusively in poultry. Your body can’t make it on its own and needs it to produce serotonin, a hormone that acts as the brain’s natural antidepressant.
Need to engage the old brain pan? Eat some steak first! Or better yet, some bacon. Or a steak with bacon. And fried chicken.
It’s what’s for dinner – and it makes you smart!