To Meat or Not to Meat: That is the Question

Laurie Powell

Laurie Powell

Guest Contributor | BIO

In my last column, I discussed the collusion of the dairy and flesh foods industries with the US government and Big Pharma to keep Americans fat, sick, and on prescription medications. There is so much confusing and contradictory information about what constitutes a healthy diet and I’ve been giving it much thought.

I have always cooked my own food from scratch, and as a gardener, my diet has been predominantly clean, green, and lean. After 18 years as a vegetarian, I inexplicably began to crave flesh foods. I thought I should listen to my body because it was telling me I needed animal products. I reintroduced them into my diet, albeit organic and “healthy.” By healthy, I mean local, free-range, antibiotic-free, and growth hormone-free animal flesh foods. But, are any dairy and animal flesh foods really healthy – organic or otherwise? I’d like to explore that here based on the information I gleaned from watching the documentary film, What the Health by Kip Anderson.

To start, I did notice, to my consternation, that reintroducing flesh foods into my diet caused me to gain a lot of weight. The two decades I was vegetarian, I was very lean, despite a diet that consisted of vegetables, fruit, and (the supposedly fattening) pasta – which I often ate several nights per week. When I began gaining weight as a meat eater, I cut out pasta because, at that moment in time, carbs were being blamed for the obesity epidemic. Despite, giving up pasta, I continued to gain weight. Was there a correlation between my meat consumption and my weight gain? The film, What the Health made me wonder.

We hear in the healthcare news that the source of most disease is inflammation. Cardiovascular disease including atherosclerosis, arthritis, some cancers, allergies, lung diseases like asthma, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, and many health disorders are all inflammatory diseases. According to Dr. Michael Greger, founder of,  “Dead meat and bacterial toxins cause a burst of inflammation in your system within minutes, paralyzing your arteries.”

If the medical community knows that inflammation is the root cause of most life-threatening diseases, why aren’t they educating their patients about it and encouraging them to pursue the reduction of inflammation?

The World Health Organization found that processed meat causes cancer in humans. Consumption of just one serving daily increases your risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. That’s your or your kid’s daily deli sandwich at lunch! In addition to deli meat, processed meats include hot dogs, bacon (hell, yeah! I said it!), salami, and pepperoni, etc. Processed meats are classified as a Group 1 carcinogen.  They’re included in the same category as cigarettes, asbestos, and plutonium. Class 2 carcinogens include red meat. Over 800+ studies showing the carcinogenic effects of processed meats have been in medical literature for decades. Yet, there are no health warning labels on these products as there are on tobacco products. Which probably explains why one out of every four deaths in America is from cancer.

Filmmaker, Kip Anderson was shocked to see dietary recommendations on the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) website that consisted of the proven Class 1 carcinogenic foods, namely deli and other processed meats. He tried to interview the ACS regarding their website’s diet recommendations but they cancelled the interview just before the scheduled meeting was to take place when they found out Kip’s interest was in the correlation between diet and cancer. The ACS rep stopped returning his emails.

The American Cancer Society does not want to talk about the link between cancer and diet because they are also funded by the meat and dairy industries, much the same way that Pharma subsidizes the ACS. Pharma wants that first line treatment of disease to be treatment with drugs and not disease prevention through cleaning up one’s diet.

Dr. Neal Barnard says that a meat-based diet also causes diabetes. Not sugar. Not carbohydrates. It is rather the buildup of animal fat in the blood. Our bodies need sugar for energy but the sugar cannot get into our cells. With fatty blood vessels, our cells become unable to absorb the sugar that naturally occurs in foods and that’s what leads to insulin resistance. Our focus on avoiding sugar has taken the focus off of flesh foods and dairy products, which are what make our cells insulin resistant. What the Health has a great animation that illustrates this process.

Laurie Powell

Guest Contributor


Valerie Pawlowski

Thank you so much for these detailed statistic which shed new light onto on an area which I believed was being remedied by removing a boy RED meat. It obvious this is far reaching into every flesh food category and will require more drastic adjustments immediately towards Elaine Atkin of the deadly diet and implementing the MOST healthy one

Laurie Powell

Thanks for your comment, Val. In my opinion, and after a decade in the Pharma industry, I’ve concluded that drugs are the not the answer to our ills. Food is our medicine. If consuming flesh foods is your choice, make the most knowledgeable decision about what you put in your body by meeting your farmer. There are many small (non-factory) farms springing up across the nation. See where and how your food is raised before consuming. As for restaurant eating, ask to see their shipping receipt to be sure the free-range chicken you ordered is in fact from a conscious farmer.

Lorrie Desmarais

Very interesting and informative article. I don’t eat much meat as it is and now, I will probably not eat any at all. Also, I have been a diabetic since 2005, 12 years now. Thank you again for having me open my eyes, Sincerely, Lorrie


I’m glad you learned something from my blog, Lorrie. Please keep me apprised of how you feel after making this dietary change. Both physically and emotionally.


Hi, Thanks for your article. This comment is a bit late, but I was wondering what your thoughts are on consuming eggs in addition to a whole foods plant based diet? I have been eating mostly WFPB (rarely fish or something cooked with oil or an egg, plus I’ve never been able to 100% stay off processed wheat/sugar/salt/oil products) for a couple of years, but started having major hair shedding last month, so I decided to add in some olive oil, fish and eggs (pasture raised organic). The fish mostly disgusts me, but I can’t take DHA supplements without nausea. I had my thyroid levels checked and they were all in normal range. I also did a vegan health panel which showed my iron, ferritin, vit D etc were all within normal range. I’m guessing it’s likely hormonal (early 40’s still breastfeeding), however I probably won’t get those levels checked until after my nursing toddler is weaned. I don’t think I want to continue eating fish on a regular basis, but I could probably do eggs if the health/hair benefits outweigh the risks. There is just so much conflicting information out there, and I have conflicting feelings about it as well. Are you strictly plant based now?
I also have trouble trying to feed my picky children products without added sugar. My school age one feels deprived, and the toddler is so picky, he will refuse to eat. It doesn’t help that he’s on the lean side. I end up giving in on the processed carbs just to get him to eat something. My husband is not supportive of plant based eating, which also adds to the problem. He wants meat, dairy, eggs and sugar in the house and in his meals.
Thanks for any input/advice!


For your hair shedding, it sounds like it could be vitamin B12 deficiency. Taking B12 supplements is a must when you go whole food plant based. Get tested 🙂

Shaun B

“Even though studies show that one serving of processed meats like your child’s lunchtime ham sandwich will increase the risk of diabetes by 51%!”

Which studies are these? What nonsense. Meta-analysis show an association of around 19% for processed meat, and none for unprocessed red meat.

The association holds across any type of processed foods

“The more carbs one ate the less diabetes they had but meat was strongly correlated… the starches, the carbs, are good for you. They’re not bad for you.”

Again, not true. Processed carbs have the same association as processed meats.


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