This is an open letter to one of my favorite artists, Jay-Z. I grew up listening to Jay-Z and can rap every word to Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life.
I read this article in Rolling Stone about Jay-Z adopting a vegan diet until Christmas. And I get it. I’ve been there and done that. Like a lot of people, we’re led to believe that a plant based diet is healthier, it’s better for the environment, it’s SPIRITUAL.
Except…it’s not and it isn’t.
No one tells you that a vegan diet eliminates necessary fats and vitamins. No one tells you that grain and legume production is destroying American (and Brazilian) farmland. No one tells you that it’s more spiritual to buy local, organic animals that were raised on a nearby farm with love and sunshine; to know where your food comes from and develop a relationship with it. I don’t know about you, but here in DC, I’ve never in my life (because I’ve lived here all of my life) seen soy at a farmers market, or a lentil, or even a fucking bean.
No one tells you these things about veganism. Because that shit is TRENDY.
I get it. It’s cool to be vegan. It’s like an exclusive club that you have to half starve yourself to get into. So let’s quickly examine what you’re missing out on by adopting a plant based diet.
There are no plants based forms of vitamin B12. B12 is produced in the gut of animals and it is literally impossible to obtain from plants (they do not store it).
And really, is this an ideal diet if you can’t obtain necessary vitamins and minerals from your food? I mean, that’s literally the whole point of eating.
B12 deficiency can cause permanent damage. Proper B12 intake reduces risk of heart disease and is necessary for the production of red blood cells, DNA and several other bodily functions. Deficiency can cause weakness, fatigue, nerve damage, depressed immune system, paranoia and so much more.
The best forms of B12 are liver, shellfish, beef, lamb, grass-fed dairy and fish eggs.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
“But flax seeds! But chia seeds!” BUT NO.
Flax and chia seeds are rich in ALA (alpha-linoleic acid), not EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) or DHA (docosahexaenoic acid); and flax does not convert to EPA and DHA in humans. There are no viable plant based forms of EPA and DHA, which are necessary for proper brain growth in children, so I really hope you’re not making Blue adopt this plant based bullshit (no offense, I’m just concerned!).
A proper omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of about 1:1 not only reduces inflammation, but in doing so reduces the risk of developing all diseases (particularly heart disease), and as a 44 year old man who is super famous (and I imagine under a good deal of stress regularly), you need to be aware of this! If you avoid healthy animal foods like wild salmon, you are doing your body and your family and your fans and me a disservice!
If anyone reading this is not up to date on nutritional science, let me blow your mind right quick: cholesterol intake does not significantly affect cholesterol in the blood. In fact, dietary intake of cholesterol does not cause heart disease, it doesn’t cause inflammation (actually quite the opposite) and it doesn’t cause obesity.
To find out more about cholesterol, I highly suggest reading Dr. Peter Attia’s analysis here. From Dr. Attia,
Cholesterol is absolutely vital for our existence. Let me repeat: Cholesterol is absolutely vital for our existence. Every cell in our body is surrounded by a membrane. These membranes are largely responsible for fluidity and permeability, which essentially control how a cell moves, how it interacts with other cells, and how it transports “important” things in and out. Cholesterol is one of the main building blocks used to make cell membranes (in particular, the ever-important “lipid bilayer” of the cell membrane)…One of the unfortunate results of the eternal need to simplify everything is that we (i.e., the medical establishment) have done the public a disservice by failing to communicate that there is no such thing as “bad” cholesterol or “good” cholesterol. All cholesterol is good!
Some of the healthiest forms of cholesterol come from animal foods: pastured liver and egg yolks, grass-fed butter and wild fish, salmon, etc.
True Vitamin A (Retinol)
What do you think of when you hear vitamin A? Carrots? Squash? Other orange colored veggies? The truth is that these contain beta carotene, not retinol. Retinol is the active form of vitamin A that the body needs. While a small portion of beta carotene can be converted into retinol, most people are unable to effectively make this conversion.
Vitamin A deficiency does not only cause poor eyesight, it can stunt growth in children, cause asthma and result in a loss of bone density.
The best forms of vitamin A are pastured egg yolks, cod liver oil, raw milk and liver.
I know you and B have the best intentions with this. I just want to let you know that I’ve gone vegan, I’ve been where you are. I thought it was healthier. I thought it was kinder. I thought it was better for the environment. I thought it was the ideal human diet. You miss out on so much without even realizing it. You starve your body of vital nutrients. And then one day you wake up and can’t get out of bed and you’re completely anemic and weak and suffering from severe dysmenorrhea (wait, all except that last part).
So you do this until Christmas. But then I challenge you to eat like your ancestors. Eat local, eat organic, eat grass-fed, eat wild. Eat a shit ton of vegetables covered in grass-fed butter. Take a trip to your local farmers market. Find out where your food comes from, who grew it and connect to it. I guarantee that you and your family will love it. Do you know how much influence you have? Everyone is already brainwashed into thinking that vegan diets are healthy and environmentally effective. You could start a sustainability movement! You could teach people to boycott GMOs and shop locally from farmers who they build relationships with. You know, you could basically just do what I’m trying to do, except on a massive scale. Because I’m not as popular as you…yet.
Then you can keep making music I really like rapping to. Thanks Hov!