Last week I wrote an article about how following a paleo diet helped me become a more ethical meat eater. Now it’s time take a look at the other side of the coin: staying healthy as a meat-eater.
The battle between herbivores and omnivores is a long and frustrating one. Both claim scientific evidence that supports their argument. Both claim various benefits for health, the economy and the environment. Once again, I’m not here to declare a winner. Instead, I want to share some common sense tips from nutritional experts that will help you be the best omnivore you can be.
First, I want to start with some recent research that really makes sense and I hope will inspire people to give up their quest for the one, magical cure all diet. The title of a piece published in the Atlantic sums it up brilliantly: “Science Compared Every Diet, and the Winner Is Real Food.” Forget Atkins, the South Beach Diet, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers and all those other diet plans that push pre-packaged, processed foods as some sort of short-cut to a slimmer, healthier you. They’re all liars.
The truth, discovered Dr. David Katz and Yale colleague Stephanie Meller, is that while no diet can be declared “best” there are common elements across eating patterns proven to be beneficial to human health. “A diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention,” they wrote.
It’s not veganism. It’s also not eating bacon and eggs three times a day. It’s moderation, with a focus on real food and vegetables. In light of this epiphany, here are some tips meat eaters should keep in mind.
4 Tips for Staying Healthy as a Meat Eater
1. Don‘t eat animals that eat crap: This means consuming only pastured meat and dairy products that were allowed to graze and forage the way nature intended. Meats that are fed only grain, other animals, or their poop, are off limits. This is why sourcing from local, organic farms is always ideal–for us, the animals and the environment.
2. Mix it up: Each type of meat brings a different nutritional profile to the table. If you want to be a healthy meat eater, you have to switch it up, and maybe try some things that are a little outside the box. Check out this handy meat/poultry comparison chart that breaks each type by nutritional load and cost.
3. Focus on fish: When playing the protein game, red meat and poultry often get all the attention, when more of that plate space should be enjoyed by fish and other seafood. The latest medical advice suggests red meat should only be on the menu 2-3 times a week. The rest of the time, our protein should come from poultry and seafood, as well as veggies, nuts and seeds. Not sure where to start? Check out 10 Sustainable Fish to Put On Your Plate.
4. Processed “meat“ doesn‘t count: Most lunchmeats, hot dogs, cured meats, prepackaged smoked meats and chicken nuggets are highly processed (not to mention made from the nasty bits) and as such should NOT be part of a healthy meat-eater’s diet. Over the long term, avoiding these foods could help you avoid bowel disease and even cancer.
Got tips for staying health as a meat-eater? Share them in a comment!
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