But I Must Have Animal Protein!
After making the transition to a whole-food, plant-based diet, you may encounter others who have also tried to go plant-based, yet have failed. The main reason for returning to their animal-based diet was due to lack of energy. They claim that they feel better when they eat animal protein. Dr. Michael Klaper addresses this issue and offers a possible theory of what may be causing their fatigue.
Most medical issues start in childhood. By the time a child reaches 3 or 4 years of age, their bodies are accustomed to eating a high-fat animal-based diet. Three or more times a day, day after day, their organs and intestinal membranes are bathed with a diet low in fiber, and high in fat, salt, sugar, oils, and animal protein. Their body adapts to this food stream and becomes very efficient at absorbing and metabolizing nutrients. Even the mucus covering the intestinal villi adapt. This adaptation maintains perfect viscosity and acidity which facilitates maximum nutrient absorbability. These nutrients then travel to the liver where they are released throughout the liver cells. The liver has also adapted to the animal-based food stream and has adjusted its enzymes for nutrient absorption.
Animal flesh contains two substances; carnitine and creatine. These substances are also produced by our bodies. When these substances are eaten on a regular basis, the liver becomes accustomed to the steady flow; thus, producing less on its own. After many years of an animal-based diet washing over every cell of the body, the genetic metabolic code has changed. New research reveals how gene expression can be permanently turned on or turned off. This is called genetic imprinting. As these cells duplicate, the gene expression responsible for producing the enzymes needed to make creatine and carnitine could possibly be turned off, or significantly down-regulated. Additionally, after switching to a plant-based diet, the steady stream of carnitine and creatine coming from animal flesh has stopped. This would explain why some people feel ill, crave meat, or fail to thrive when they suddenly stop consuming animal products.
Dr. Klaper emphasizes that changing the content of the food stream alters a person's entire metabolic composition. His theory suggests that after changing the diet, all of the components of digestion (that were once very efficient at absorbing nutrients from a high-fat, low-nutrient diet) are no longer as efficient. Even the liver would once again have to begin making carnitine and creatine after years of minimal or no production. Based on Dr. Klaper's theory, he believes that nutrients may not be as easily absorbed and utilized as they once were. This could lead to a depletion of stored vitamins and minerals, causing symptoms like fatigue. This depletion is not due to a plant-based diet being nutrient-deficient, but due to the decreased absorption of nutrients caused by decades of consuming burgers, pizza, and French fries.
Dr. Klaper comes to the conclusion that the typical American diet produces a physiological addiction to animal products. The fatigue which is felt is due to a lifelong "acquired dependency on a flesh-based diet fostered since infancy." He says that being addicted to a substance produces physical withdrawal symptoms when the substance is no longer ingested. This observation reaffirms his beliefs. Feeling fatigued and depleted isn't an indication that a vegan diet is deficient; it's an indication that the person's entire metabolic composition became addicted to an animal-based diet. You will not want to miss this excellent 18-minute presentation!
For additional information, click on the following links:
Michael Klaper, MD Links
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