Vegan Podcast | Skipping the Middle Animal – The Nutrients We Need Are From Plants

Welcome to Food for Thought. I’m Colleen Patrick-Goudreau from Compassionate
Cooks, which I founded to empower people to make informed food choices and to debunk myths
about vegetarianism and animal rights. You can learn more about who we are and what
we do by visiting Because we’ve been taught to be a culture
obsessed with single nutrients, I’m asked questions on a regular basis about single
nutrients such as protein, calcium, etc. I cannot emphasize enough how important it
is to eat as many WHOLE plants foods as possible and not worry about counting micrograms of
single nutrients. Eating a whole foods plant-based diet gives
you the best shot at consuming and absorbing all the nutrients that give us optimum health. Just to clarify, when I say “whole foods,”
I’m referring to foods as close to their natural state as possible. So, for instance, whole wheat is a whole food
– white rice or white bread is not, because the wheat and fiber have been removed. We’re taught – by the industries who have
the most to gain from these lessons – that the nutrients we need are most readily available
in animal flesh and secretions, right (the meat and milk and eggs of animals). The meat, dairy, and egg industries have done
such a good job promoting and marketing this concept that it’s rarely questioned by the
media, health professionals, and certainly the public. I’ll show you how effective they’ve been
with this little exercise: You can answer these questions out loud or in your head:
*What’s the first thing you think of when someone says “calcium”? Milk, right? Cow’s milk in particular. *If I asked you where we should get our protein,
you’d say……Meat. Good. *What if I said “what’s the best source
of Omega 3 fatty acids. You would say: Fish
*So, let’s start with calcium. (You can find a more extensive discussion
about calcium by visiting What is calcium? Where does it come from? It’s a mineral, right – it’s found in
the ground. Why do cows have calcium in their milk? Because they eat plants, grass. Grass – like all green-leafy plants/all
green-leafy vegetables contain high amounts of calcium. But, these days, because 3 out of 4 cows are
NOT eating grass – they’re NOT let out to graze but rather, confined on dry lots,
cows aren’t getting calcium. Hmmmm…So, their feed is supplemented with
it. Yes – supplemented. So, let’s think about this purely from a
resource perspective: we’re impregnating cows, who gestate for 9 months, supplement
her feed with calcium, confine her and have machines milk her three times a day, take
her baby from her when he or she (sending the he to veal crates and slaughter, sending
the her to follow her mother’s path) is born, impregnate her again (milking her almost
the entire time she’s pregnant), and start the process all over again. All so humans can get calcium. Gosh, seems like quite an expensive and extensive
process just to get this readily available nutrient into humans. Couldn’t we just eat the greens and cut
out the middle man – or middle cow, in this case. Couldn’t we just drink fortified non-dairy
milks and orange juice and get vitamin D, calcium, vitamin c, and lots of other nutrients
directly from these foods. For that matter, couldn’t we just take a
calcium supplement like the cow is given? And keep in mind also that the calcium in
cow’s milk isn’t that well absorbed anyway, so kids are drinking more cow’s milk than
ever and actually not getting the calcium they need. Seems like cutting out the middle cow would
save a lot of unnecessary energy, cost, suffering, and waste. I wonder why we don’t just do that. OH, that’s right – the dairy industry. I forgot. They care about us and want us to get our
calcium – from cow’s milk. The other thing I want to just say about cutting
out the middle cow – is that keep in mind that when nature is allowed to take its course,
the offspring of any mammal drinks her mother’s milk only to a certain age, depending on the
mammal. Even when she is weaned, she goes directly
to the source – to the ground, to the grass, to the vegetables – to get her nutrients. So, why should humans drink the milk of another
species when even the offspring of that species doesn’t drink her milk into adulthood. Doesn’t make much sense to me. *The other single nutrient people obsess over,
of course, is protein. People are obsessed with protein, and it’s
no wonder, because they’ve been told for years that animal protein is superior to anything
else – to anything. They’ve been told they have to combine foods,
that vegetable protein is incomplete, that animal protein makes you strong, that we’ll
die without animal protein, that we’ll look sickly, that our faces will fall off. OK – I don’t think I’ve heard that last
one, but I wouldn’t be surprised if somewhere, someone has warned of that. The truth is ALL PROTEINS ARE MADE UP OF THE
SAME AMINO ACIDS, and these amino acids are in all foods. Some foods just have higher amounts of one
amino acid than others, but bagels, oatmeal, even carrots have protein. When you think of the largest and strongest
animals on the planet, who do you think of? Gorillas, giraffes, elephants, bulls, rhinoceroses
– these are all vegetarian animals, and they get their protein from plants. Even at the time in our lives when we are
growing the fastest – when we are breastfeeding infants – we require only 5% of our calories
from protein. *Relative to total calorie intake, only 5-6%
dietary protein is required to replace the protein regularly excreted by the body. *About 9-10% protein is what the RDA has been
for the past fifty years to ensure that most people at least get their 5-6% “requirement.” For more details about protein, you can listen
to that audio file on the website – But, despite what most people think, we need
a lot less protein than we think we do. *Another nutrient that appears in nightly
newscasts these days is Omega 3 fatty acids. So now fish oil supplements are flying off
the shelves, and people are eating more fish than ever. Apart from the damage this is doing to the
oceans and marine life and the unnecessary death of millions of sea animals, fish isn’t
“health food” – it’s loaded with fat, cholesterol, and mercury contamination. In terms of Omega 3s, yes they have Omega
3s, but think back to our discussion about calcium. Why do fish have high amounts of Omega 3s
in their flesh? Because they’re eating phytoplankton, they’re
eating the algae – the plant foods that contain these fats. However, these days, fish are also being factory
farmed, so they’re suffering from confinement, just like land animals – and they’re pumping
the tanks up with antibiotics and other crap – and guess what, they’re not giving these
animals phytoplankton to munch on. So, people are eating more fish than ever,
but they’re not getting their Omega 3s. Let’s cut out this middle man again and
go right to the source. Flax seeds are the most concentrated source
of Omega 3 fatty acids, and they don’t contain mercury. They’re healthful, beautiful, easy to digest
– and noone has to die so we can be healthy. In fact, billions of animals are dying – and
we’re getting more Unhealthy. So, just a quick note about flax seeds. Buy them whole in the grocery store – you’ll
find them in the bulk section of any natural foods store. Use a coffee grinder to grind them, stick
them in a Tupperware container, and put them in the freezer or refrigerator. You don’t have to refrigerate them until
they’re ground. Add two tsp. a day to your morning smoothie,
oatmeal, cereal, salad, soup. OK? *Finally, B12 is a vitamin that comes up a
lot when talking about plant-based eating, and it’s important to mention it when we’re
talking about cutting out the middle man. B12 is found primarily in meat and eggs. Can you tell me why? B12 doesn’t just naturally occur in large
amounts in the flesh of live animals, so why is it so prevalent in meat and eggs? It’s because B12 grows on bacteria. OK? And why is there a lot of bacteria on meat? Because bacteria is attracted to flesh, to
rotting corpses, and I’m sorry if that word offends some people, but that’s what meat
is – it’s the flesh of dead animals: they’re corpses, and bacteria loves corpses! We used to consume some B12 from the ground
when we ate our vegetables and ate some soil, too, but now we scrub our veggies so much
because we’re (justifiably) concerned about pesticides and toxins, so we don’t eat an
soil. Besides, we’re depleting our soil of the
nutrients, so the best way to ensure we get B12 is to just take it as a supplement – it’s
found in most multivitamins. And please keep in mind that B12 deficiency
is found in vegetarians AS WELL AS non-vegetarians, so EVERYONE needs to make sure they’re getting
all their nutrients. If we cut out the middle man when it comes
to eating healthfully, we’re using much fewer resources, eliminating the cruel and
barbaric treatment of animals, and ensuring that we’re getting the nutrients we need
without added toxins. I also encourage people to think of WHOLE
food and not obsess over single nutrients. Eat your veggies, eat your fruit, eat your
grains, eat your beans, your nuts, your seeds, your herbs, and spices – and you’ll thrive. Please visit for more
information. Thanks for listening. Subtitles by the community

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