In recent years, the virtues of vegetarianism have been widely hailed, and many people now believe that going completely meatless is a healthy choice for the body and the mind. A new research study has, however, suggested that although becoming vegetarian helps improve life expectancy, cut down cancer risk, and allow a vegetarian to shed some excess pounds, it can also lead to depression, OCD, and panic attacks, particularly among women.
You better eat a steak once in a while! Or more than once in a while!
Relation between Food and Mood
A 35-year-old vegetarian patient of Dr. Drew Ramsey (Columbia University psychiatrist and professor with 14 years of experience) had severe and sudden symptoms that saw her energy levels diminish. The patient went to the gym regularly, but that did not help. Moreover, she had anxiety issues and had intermittent bouts of tears for no reasons.
The worst of all was the panic attacks that she was experiencing. The situation had so overwhelmed her everyday life that she was on the verge of losing her job. She also had trouble waking up and then traveling on the New York City subway every day for work.
Ramsey found that his patient had given up meat after hearing about the benefits of vegetarianism for the body. Therefore, he came up with an unlikely prescription for her – grass-fed steak. The doctor had a hunch that there could be a potential relationship between food and mood, and theorized that the meat-free diet that his patient was taking was causing her mental deterioration.
Soon the doctor found that his analysis was accurate because in less than two months after the patient was put on that special animal protein diet, there was a drop in her panic attacks by 75 percent and her energy levels had rebounded too.
Author of The Vegetarian Myth, Lierre Keith, has said that she has frequently heard vegetarians complain about anxiety and depression. She further added that though many think they are consuming a righteous and natural diet, they have no inkling that there is a potential dark side to it.
The US has an estimated population of 8 million vegetarians who are drawn to the promise of a healthier heart and body weight, and of course the prospect of a better planet. They cut out pork, poultry, and beef from their diet; however, they have no idea that new research increasingly points toward a link between going meatless and a higher risk of serious mental disorders.
Propagation of Vegetarian Diet
The condemnation of meat eating as an unhealthy practice is not new, and this notion has been propagated for many decades. Every other day there is a new commentary that claims vegetarianism to be the key to becoming truly healthy and beating every disease from cancer to weight gain.
In fact, a research group from California also found that banishing meat from the diet can increase the lifespan by more than three years.
America’s love of vegetarianism has grown from being a mere medical opinion to a real cultural revolution. It is not surprising that around 29 million adults in the US now take part in Meatless Monday. Amazon.com has over 7,000 cookbooks only on vegan delicacies in its inventory, and 60 of those are among the best sellers. Yet, so many people in America still love sausage sandwiches.
Online restaurant and reservation service company, Open Table, has numerous lists that recommend top restaurants for vegetarians. These restaurants often highlight popular chefs who experiment with meals that have no meat content. Even chains like White Castle and Wendy’s are making veggie burgers.
Vegetarianism is a movement that has been championed by everyone, from celebrities to politicians, from Gandhi to Beyoncé. Furthermore, the merits of turning vegetarian have been backed by science. So it is natural to presume that vegetarianism also leads to a blissful attitude and good mental health.