In conducting my nutritional research and delving into the course material for my upcoming certification exam (March 2016), I endeavour to keep an open mind. I look for scientific publications backed by credible studies with medical evidence.
One very interesting and thought-provoking documentary I came across recently is called "Forks Over Knives". It provides persuasive and compelling research and examples of real-life people who struggle with serious health issues and who changed their diet to one that is primarily plant-based, whole food and low fat. This film also outlines traditional Western beliefs around food sources and what constitutes a "healthy" diet. I agree with much of what is presented. Check out the trailer here:
In my opinion, the exponential increase of lifestyle related diseased such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and cancer...is due to an abundance of calorie-rich, nutrient-poor foods that taste good (and therefore cause people to choose these foods), a much more sedentary lifestyle especially among younger generations, and a decline in morality values which emphasize self-respect (e.g.. body as a temple: Corinthians 1, chapter 6, verses 18-20), wholesome socializing and supportive communities, humility, gratitude, spirituality and prioritizing of holistic wellness.
However, I believe that high quality animal protein does have a modest place in the human diet. Our physiology and digestive systems were designed to handle an omnivorous diet, and so the presence of cooked lean organic poultry, wild unpolluted fish and seafood, and the occasional small piece of tenderloin all can be accommodated within a healthy diet. However, meat EVERY day, garbage meats (luncheon meat and sausages for example, or fast food burgers), fried eggs, battered fish sticks, fried chicken fingers, etc. - THESE do not belong on a healthy eating program. If one was to fill every meal with a large amount of fresh produce, some protein-rich high fibre grains, nuts and legumes, and then add a small piece of animal protein...then those meals would be promote incredible nourishment and abundant health.
"Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food". - Hippocrates