Are Men Depressed or Mal Nourished?
An article recently published in the Journal of Affective Disorders points to men with pregnant wives are more likely to be depressed then their meat eating counter parts.
The media of course picks up the story and soon it turns out that the answer for most men is to eat a steak...
The study cited took 9668 men with pregnant wives and sent them a questionnaire, whereby the men answered the questions and took a small evaluation to see if they were depressed. The outcome was that because of the vegetarian/vegan diet the men in question where 70% more likely to be depressed then their counterparts.
With headlines like that a person that is thinking about becoming a vegetarian or vegan or even some already vegetarian/vegans will think twice. And when a study comes out like this, the mandatory accompaniment is a story from a former vegetarian/vegan who was vegetarian/vegan for X amount of years, now eats meat and feels so much better.
And despite what some others might say, I personally would agree with them. Some people that are vegetarian/vegan would feel better if they ate meat. But and here is where the Butt comes in....If they were eating properly, making sure that their B12 is good, making sure that they are getting the right Omega 3 fatty acids, then they would feel at least as good.
The actually study does make that statement, that one of the reasons for the levels of depression among men could be an improper diet but it also cites a vague reference that if the meat eater had the same nutritional deficiencies they would be still not depressed. But the study really can only speculate.
"Nutritional deficiencies (e.g. in cobalamin or iron) are a possible explanation for these findings, however reverse causation cannot be ruled out. " (source http://www.jad-journal.com/article/S0165-0327(16)32391-6/abstract)
What we do know is that irregardless of what "diet" we eat, if we don't get the proper nutrients we will all become sick, if not physical then mental. This isn't a question. We know it and most of us that have been vegetarian or vegan for a while have, had a little fight with getting the proper nutrients. I know that for me, it come down to my B12. If I am not careful or go for a longer period of time by B12 will become low and I will need a little top up and I can usually tell because I too get a bit moody and depressed.
And here is where there is another big BUT....
I don't believe in or became myself vegetarian/vegan because of health.
If this is the reason that you want to be vegetarian or vegan I won't discourage you but most of those that become vegetarian/vegan for health will at some point go back to their meat.
It takes some determination and resolve to remain vegetarian/vegan. When your health is good and there is a good food supply, being vegetarian or vegan is really not that difficult. But when things aren't so good, this is when things like wanting to fit into the right pair of pants or desire to be trendy disappears and a person goes back to meat eating.
And even if you know that what you are consuming comes from animals that were mistreated and abused, it takes a backseat, so to speak, to your health. How could it not?
But If you are vegetarian/vegan because you identify with the animals, find that eating meat disgusting or have strong religious or spiritual beliefs or some other empathetic cause, you go through a lot to maintain these belief systems because they are just that, your belief system.
Sadly, most people when they first start to go down the vegetarian/vegan path don't get the proper information not to mention that there are so many sources of self interest that pretend to be unbiased. These pretend unbiased sources talk about the negative side or the positive side of being vegetarian or vegan, they paint a descriptive brush that makes the other side look weak, sickly or unintelligent. So what can a person do? Newspapers report half truths, bloggers report half truths and the amazing thing is there is always a study around the corner that these people can point to, to prove their point. And these studies often don't really say what the narrative makes it seem.
The narrative around this latest study is that vegetarian/vegan men are more likely to be depressed, so they should eat steak. An insane jump in logic, if one really believes in being a vegetarian or vegan.
But that's not really what the study says. It says the vegetarian/vegan men are more prone to depression then their meat counterparts. That is it. Just like the studies that say that men that eat meat are more likely to have heart disease then their vegetarian counterparts. While that is true, one has to look at many other factors in order to see the complete truth. How much exercise does one do, how much do they (volume) eat, do they get the right nutrients to remain healthy and do they get enough sleep. These are just the beginning of the questions that one needs to answer in order to see if there is a commonality....before one can truly say that this way of eating is bad for you or not. And to be honest, whether you are vegetarian/vegan or you eat meat, if you do it properly you will be healthy.
Being a vegetarian/vegan shouldn't have anything to do with health, it might be a side benefit but can't be the only reason. All the health related issues that might exist in any "diet" that you eat can be corrected, we can change what we eat and add the proper nutrients to make sure we are healthy. That's the truth.
So be a vegetarian/vegan for the animals or the environment and do the work needed. Research what nutrition you need to be healthy, see the effect on your body when your nutrition is off and be on guard. And stay true to you...not to some research paper or some story you read or watch. Think about what is true for you.