How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: The Case For Veganism, Part I
Today begins Part I in a series in which I’ll delve into the world of veganism and explain how and why it relates to thyroid health and chronic illness. Trust me, there is a link. I think it’s important to illuminate the hidden and dirty practices of the meat industry, and by avoiding animal products, vegans also avoid the health risks associated with eating meat, dairy, and poultry. However, there are drawbacks to any lifestyle diet and in future installments, I’ll explain why veganism, if not done thyroid-friendly can actually wreak havoc on our endocrine systems.
But first, I’ll start with an admission: I am not a vegan. I eat seafood (let me emphasize, wild-caught. I’ll explain why in future articles), which of course, has a face and by vegan standards, I’m not an actively practicing vegan. (I do date a rather smart and handsome vegan though, if that means anything). The fact that I no longer eat poultry, dairy, meat, or other fleshly goods doesn’t allow me entrance into the vegan club all because of the salmon or tuna every now and then. But hey, it’s cool because veganism, or at least the tenets to which I adhere make alot of sense to me, and hopefully they will to you too.
I hope it’s not confusing, but let me counter that last statement, by saying, I’m a little torn. I don’t have my mind made up about who is right because I don’t think there is one right way to eat. And largely, I like that because it allows for the idea that our bodies are different and no one eating plan will work for us all; veganism included. My opinion here of meat (I have separate issues with dairy, which I’ll recap later) is really based upon our modern mishandling of it. I’m open to the idea that a handful of “real foodÃ¢â‚¬ or “pro food” bloggers and writers (whom I enjoy reading) ascribe to: organic, grass-fed, free-range, humanely raised and sanitarily slaughtered/processed meat is good. Yep. I said it. (It’s also insanely expensive and sometimes not accessible.), And here’s where the veganism part comes in, because the conventional meat we buy at the grocery store today is nothing like nature intended.
The neatly packaged meat in the supermarket comes from huge industrial farms where animals are treated like merchandise instead of living creatures capable of experiencing pain, or, at best, transmitting diseases to people who consume them. This means, cows/pigs/birds/etc./etc. are often knee-deep in their own feces, crowded in with hundreds or thousands of other animals, cramped in spaces so tight and dark (many aren’t even allowed to see the light of day) and unventilated that viruses and bacteria (namely, bacteria from the feces in which they are forced to live) are highly communicable. Pigs’ tails are snipped, birds beaks are cut, all so that the animals, in such close quarters, don’t bite and harm each other.
In housing areas nearby these factory farms, or C.A.F.Os (confined/concentrated animal feeding operations) the rates of illness (sometimes even death) are striking. That is because the toxic sludge from the thousands of animals has nowhere to go. Because these farms are operating on such high scales, the poop literally cannot be absorbed into the ground fast enough. What results are huge toxic lagoons of shit that sit somewhere on the farm, waiting to be distributed somewhere: dry ground, a river, a stream, back onto plants as fertilizer; wherever “farmersÃ¢â‚¬ can displace the shit. Until that time, however, residents surrounding the C.A.F.O. suffer all sorts of conditions and sickness from the wafting, stinging odor. Infant mortality rates are even higher in areas near these farms.
And because of all of this, animals get sick. The solution to these man-made problems?: antibiotics. Antibiotics are used also for combating the unnatural diet fed to cows: genetically-modified corn and soy. Their stomachs are not meant to tolerate grains, so they get infected. Whether it be from standing in their own shit, being hundreds of feet from the wafting sting of the lagoons of their own poop sludge, or from the corn and soy fed to the animals, they are pumped full of antibiotics their entire sad little lives.
Oh, and did I mention that ground beef is doused in ammonia to kill bacteria, before hitting store shelves?, Or that chickens are forced to sit on a ground that is also doused in ammonia, burning the feathers off their legs and scarring the skin nearest the ground?, Yes, we’re ingesting ammonia. What’s more, according to the New York Times, “Ground beef is usually not simply a chunk of meat run through a grinder. Instead, records and interviews show, a single portion of hamburger meat is often an amalgam of various grades of meat from different parts of cows and even from different slaughterhouses. These cuts of meat are particularly vulnerable to E. coli contamination, food experts and officials say. Despite this, there is no federal requirement for grinders to test their ingredients for the pathogen… Here’s where the ammonia comes in: “;records show that the hamburgers were made from a mix of slaughterhouse trimmings and a mash-like product derived from scraps that were ground together at a plant in Wisconsin. The ingredients came from slaughterhouses in Nebraska, Texas and Uruguay, and from a South Dakota company that processes fatty trimmings and treats them with ammonia to kill bacteria…
We’ve heard about the dangers of genetically-modified foods: they are untested entities that are not indigenous to the planet and the food supply, and therefore, are a threat to public health. Animals are raised on GMOs (genetically-modified organisms) their entire lives, not to mention, most of those GMOs are also goitrogenic. It provides them little nutrition, lots of fodder for fattening, and tons of negative side effects.
This all sounds unappetizing, right?, But what does this have to do with thyroid disease?, Simply put: alot. We have to ask ourselves, can this alter the animal’s tissues and muscles and hormonal systems?, What then happens when human beings ingest this altered meat?, Is this really healthy?, What about the fact that they’re fed a steady diet of goitrogenic foods (namely, soy) — can this reside in the animal protein and then affect our thyroids?, And what about the antibiotics that were injected into that meat?; we ingest them every time we eat a hamburger or hot dog. Because our body’s natural balance of flora is the basis for our immune system and well-being, eating continual doses of antibiotics via our food supply sets us up for sickness. We have no natural defenses.
These practices are safe for our bodies?, They’re safe for the chronically-ill with weakened systems?, All those goitrogenic residues are safe to be absorbed into our bodies?
Until Next Week,
Have a question, comment, story, love letter, or rant/rave to send me?: Liz@DearThyroid.com