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Vegetarianism is a controversial topic, especially because those for and against it both have very passionate views. We tend to have a more middle-of-the-road approach at Beachside Community Acupuncture (but more on that later). When deciding whether to cut back on or completely cut out meat, read through the research and really get in tune with what feels right to you.
Some of our favorite references for vegetarianism (and even into veganism or a completely raw foods diet) are Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Diet, Diet for a Small Planet, and The China Study. Kris Carr keeps her rare cancer at bay with a plant-based diet heavily based on juicing and blending raw vegetables. In her book she goes into other healthful practices - acupuncture and using essential oils being two of them - and touches on the ethical and ecological impact the meat and dairy industries are producing. Diet for a Small Planet delves into these facets of vegetarianism even more deeply. Many think choosing not to consume animal products always stems from a stance on animal cruelty, but the choice can also be based on the damage large-scale animal "farming" has on our planet. Health can also sway a person to adopt a vegetarian diet. In his famous book The China Study, Dr. Campbell discusses how he could actually turn cancer-causing genes on and off by adjusting the amount of animal protein given in an experiment. He also surveyed various areas of China, finding that those populations who ate smaller amounts of animal protein had fewer incidences of common chronic diseases.
From a more personal standpoint, I [Kathleen Ellerie, owner of Beachside Community Acupuncture] was a vegetarian for 10 years, choosing to avoid meat after researching the health risks involved with it. I grew up near Hippocrates Health Institute, a wellness clinic that advocated raw food diets, especially for those who had serious illnesses. I saw the logic in the analysis of our anatomy - our intestinal tracts are long to better support the digestion of plant material and our teeth are not the teeth of lions and other predators that rely on meat in their diets - and knew that conventional meat usually came from sick, overcrowded animals who were pumped with hormones and drugs in order to keep up with production rates. However, while studying TCM in graduate school, many of my Chinese professors told me that I was hurting my body by being a vegetarian. Years later, I started adding meat to my diet again to see if I felt any different, and I honestly can't say that I feel great when I eat tons of meat. (Another diet I followed briefly in high school was the Blood Type Diet, and Type O's like myself are supposed to thrive on meat.) Small amounts of meat, on the other hand, are perfect for me.
The diet we promote at the clinic is one of balance: meals should contain a small amount of meat, LOTS of lightly cooked vegetables, and some healthy grains like brown rice and quinoa. If you're adamantly against consuming animal products, then we completely respect that and will always tell you if any of our supplements contain any. (Chinese formulas that tonify yang can contain substances like antler, for instance.) If your diet consists of mostly meat with a smattering of plants, we're going to strongly encourage you to shift to more plant-based meals. In either case, we always suggest buying organic and local, but with meat this is even more important. Ideally finding someone who either hunts locally or raises their animals on an open farm and kills them humanely would be best, but otherwise research the various labeling that indicate how and where an animal was raised, what it was fed, what other substances it was given, etc.
There is nothing good about animal cruelty, but we believe that eating small amounts of meat doesn't have to drive the mass-market meat industry if we buy consciously. Just as ancient cultures thanked the animals they hunted for providing them with food, so should we make the effort to find the humane ranchers and recognize the sacrifice that comes with what we eat.
Kathleen Ellerie is a Licensed Acupuncturist and the owner of Beachside Community Acupuncture. She loves providing affordable acupuncture to the residents of Addison, Dallas, and Farmers Branch, Texas, and educating the general public on how acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can treat everything from pain to infertility to stress and beyond. Click "Book Now" at the top of this page to book an appointment or feel free to contact her at (214) 417-2260.