Plant-Based Eating vs. Meat-Inclusive EatingOct 28, 2020
This is always a big debate with any disease: What is better, eating meat or going vegan? There are more antioxidants in plant-based foods, but there are more proteins and omega-3 fatty acids in animal-based foods and seafood. Meat and fish do contain omega-3 fatty acids; however, we can get them from plant sources, like chia seeds and flaxseeds. I believe what you eat is your personal choice, and I encourage you to do what is right for you.
Vegans with anxiety should be vigilant to make sure to get sufficient omega-3 fatty acids, and you would want to consider taking vitamin B-complex supplements, especially B12—the reasons are explained in my new book Anxiety-Free with Food in the “Top Anti-anxiety Supplements” chapter. A meat-eater can get all of these nutrients from meat and fish. Even so, I would recommend that meat-eaters make sure to eat a majority plant-based diet, filled with plenty of vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits because of how a plant-based diet protects against chronic oxidative stress-related anxiety. Plants are generally higher in antioxidant content than meats.
In a study of different foods, which were scored for their antidepressant content per serving of 100 grams, vegetables scored the highest (48 percent), followed by organ meats (25 percent), fruits (20 percent), seafood (16 percent), legumes (8 percent), meats (8 percent), nuts and seeds (5 percent), grains (5 percent), and dairy from cows (3 percent).1 This shows us that we should indeed increase vegetable consumption to experience a natural antidepressant. As I discuss in the book, anxiety often goes hand in hand with depression.
Personally, I do eat a modest amount of animal protein. I tried to go vegan when I was sick, thinking that was the “right” thing to do, but it made me feel weak, so I reintroduced some animal protein here and there in my meals, and it gave me the strength to heal. A vegan may not understand that, but something similar has happened to a lot of people who have healed brain issues and cancer. Science will show us there are certain nutrients and proteins we get from animal protein that are incredibly beneficial for our health. I certainly do not mean to advocate the consumption of massive portions of meat, just eating the right amount for your body.
1. M.H. Carlsen, et al., “The Total Antioxidant Content of More than 3100 Foods, Beverages, Spices, Herbs and Supplements Used Worldwide,” Nutrition Journal, vol. 9 (January 22, 2010), p. 3, doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-3.