What Is Vegetarianism: How To Do Vegetarianism Right
By Jayton Miller
First off, it is important to identify what it means to have “Optimal Health.” In the perspective of Thermo, the view on health in the human body is from a systemic or holistic view. The body has one whole system that operates optimally only when two major conditions are fulfilled.
All micronutrient deficiencies are corrected (therefore, anything that causes micronutrient deficiencies would be anti-health).
The body is hormonally balanced. This means that the stress hormones (like cortisol, estrogen, prolactin, and SHBG) are low, while protective hormones like all of the reproductive hormones and thyroid hormones are high. The balance of the ratios of stress to protective hormones are absolutely essential for health in the body. (Therefore anything that causes hormonal imbalance and endocrine disruption is considered unhealthy).
If anybody disagrees that the body does not need adequate micronutrient levels to operate properly, or that the body should have higher stress hormones and low reproductive hormones, then it is understandable that they would disagree with the Thermo philosophy.
Many people are now taking up largely plant based diets, and for some it is completely reasonable (ethical, religious/spiritual reasons). However, doing this to optimize the health of the human body is NOT ideal. The human body cannot THRIVE on a diet that is composed solely of plants. This is why the decision to undertake a vegetarian diet would be the most wise when looking to transition to a largely plant based diet.
In this guide, you are going to learn the 5 Laws of Food for Thermo that are needed in order to optimize a vegetarian diet by eliminating as many micronutrient deficiencies as possible, and bringing the hormonal status of the body back into a state of balance.
Table Of Contents:
What Is Vegetarianism?:
The definition of Vegetarianism that is used for this guide is
Not consuming any animal products that were produced through slaughter of an animal.
In this light, vegetarians can consume:
- Fruits and vegetables (and associated derivatives from plants)
- Dairy products
Where The Vegetarian Diet Falls Short:
Whenever it comes to a largely plant based diet, there are key aspects that we need to consider when looking to optimize it such as:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin K
- Creatine (not essential but aids in optimal muscle and brain function)
- Carnosine (not essential but aids in optimal muscle function
- Vitamin A (retinoids)
- Calcium (not a problem with this version of vegetarianism)
- Protein Deficiency - Not enough protein is consumed, especially not in a bioavailable form. Even less is digested due to the digestive inhibitors in the foods chosen to be consumed. Protein deficiency leads to a deficiency in enzyme production, muscle wasting, excessive hunger, aching, thinning hair, brittle nails, weakened bones, fatigue, mood swings, sleep problems, and slow wound healing, among other things.
Excessive Exposure To:
- Excessive goitrogen exposure - (Anti-thyroid compound that inhibits uptake of vital nutrients needed for thyroid function such as iodine.)
- Increase in bacterial and fungal growth in the intestinal tract due to fiber. (This has also been shown to increase SHBG lowering the amount of usable protective hormones in the body)
- Excessive Carotenoids (the less favorable form of vitamin A) (Excessive vitamin A blocks optimal functioning on the thyroid especially in carotenoid form.)
- Excess amounts of age promoting fats (PUFAS) (Potentially the closest thing to poison we can consume. This type of fat is highly unstable in the presence of light or heat creating inflammation and acting as a precursor to estrogenic activity in the body.)
- Excess intake of phytic acid (This is a compound that attaches to various minerals and “steals” them from the body.)
- Excess intake of trypsin inhibitors (This leads to poor digestion performance, especially digestion of protein)
- High gluten intake (A storage molecule that creates an autoimmune response in people with compromised digestive systems. It has also been shown to significantly increase prolactin levels.)
- Excess intake of phytoestrogens
- Soy (isoflavones, daidzein and genistein)
- Flax (lignans)
How To Do A Vegetarian Diet Correctly - The 5 Laws Of Food:
So what are some of the steps that a vegetarian can take in order to alleviate these deficiencies, avoid the problems commonly seen with a largey plant based diet, and promote an optimal state of health?
Get Enough Protein -
80 grams for women and 120 grams for men at minimum.
Potatoes, specifically white potatoes are the best possible plant derived protein there is with 110% qualitative protein. Yes, they are more than perfect as the body can take the keto acids in the potato and create even more protein.
Eggs should be consumed not only for the protein content, but also for the choline, b-vitamins, vitamin A (the good kind), vitamin E, and other nutrients found in the yolk. Make sure to cook the egg whites as the protein is more easily assimilated, the nutrients in the yolk are best assimilated and do not degrade when the yolk is still runny.
Cheese and Milk are not only going to be major sources of protein on this type of diet, but are a great source of calcium, which is needed to help balance the calcium to phosphate ratio in the body to allow for various metabolic processes to take place properly. Some of the best types of cheese are Parmigiano Reggiano, Ricotta, pecorino, and cottage cheese. Goat milk is more easily digested for people who tend to have problems digesting cow's milk. Make sure to look out for any gums, additives, or flavorings that might be added to these. Usually, when looking at the ingredients section, it should only have 2-4 ingredients.
Mushrooms are a decent source of protein on a largely plant based diet, however, you want to make sure that you cook them very thoroughly as they have defensive compounds in them that can be toxic to the system when they are not cooked out. Boiling them for 30 minutes or so should be sufficient to break down the defensive molecules. You can also slice them extremely thin and saute them on a medium high heat for several minutes until they are very soft.
Focus on fruits and roots.
Ideally, when doing this type of diet, you would avoid vegetables in their entirety. Unfortunately, many people have misconceptions about the botanical definition of fruits and vegetables.
Fruits are anything that have seeds and grow from a flower. In this context squash, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, avocados, etc. are all fruit.
Make sure they are well ripened. Eating unripe fruit takes a toll on the digestive system and over time can lead to issues so make sure the fruits and roots you eat are well ripened.
Learn More: Sugar Is Good For You
Focus On Saturated Fats -
Saturated fats are favorable because of their stability at high temperatures. Their single bonded molecular structure makes them extremely flexible and stable when exposed to light or heat.
- Coconut oil (potentially the most metabolically friendly saturated fat)
Mono-unsaturated fats can be consumed in moderation but should not take priority over the saturated variety.
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Argan oil
- Eat Salt!
Eat Salt -
Sodium is one of the most abundant electrolytes in the human body. Salt is the best way to get this into the body, and can even help with stomach acid formation due to the chloride content.
Salt is able to help pull the body out of a stressed state by downregulating stress hormones like aldosterone and cortisol. When these hormones are lowered, we are then able to better hold on to other minerals more effectively such as magnesium.
Salt is necessary for proper nervous system signaling and muscle contraction. Without enough of it, we would have misfirings and the entire system would go into disarray.
- Celtic Sea Salt
- Redmond Real Salt
- Aztec Sea Salt
- Morton's Pickling Salt
Even when not being on a plant based diet, there are certain supplements that are not easily gotten even on the most ideal diet. Due to soil degradation and poor nutrient density of the food we consume today, there are certain nutrients we simply cannot get enough of from food alone on any form of eating. This is why strategic supplementation is a necessity when looking to thrive.
The most common deficiencies that are seen, especially in the west, are magnesium, vitamin D, Vitamin K, Vitamin E, and choline. Choline can be gotten in eggs and liver, but getting a bit extra from supplementation can ensure that the health of the liver is optimal as choline is used to export cholesterol from the liver and helps to keep it lean and healthy.
When it comes to a largely plant based diet, there are several trace minerals that become deficient as well and remain hard to get without consuming animal products, such as zinc, copper, selenium, and iodine.
Supplementing with these nutrients is going to be crucial in order to optimize your health and make sure your body is firing on all cylinders when on a largely plant based diet.
Using these 5 Laws of food found throughout this guide is going to allow for the best possible results when looking to optimize your health and remaining true to the vegetarian diet.
If you would like a step by step guide on how to eat in order to optimize protective hormone production and eliminate micronutrient deficiencies then make sure to check out The Thermo Diet only inside of UMZUfit!