Quality Matters Most When It Comes To Meat!
Is Meat Bad for Me?The answer is…yes and no. I don’t say this to confuse you, but the truth is some meat is indeed bad for you and some is not. It all depends on the quality of the meat. I received a message recently asking my opinion on the Netflix documentary, What the Health. In a nutshell my response was this…the film was created by First Spark Media, a company focused on activist projects. The film has a clear agenda-become vegan. I then directed the individual who contacted me to read the brilliant piece written by Robb Wolfe, as he answered any and all questions regarding the claims in the film. I suggest you read the article as well, as it provides insight into just how misleading information can be nowadays because everyone seems to have an agenda. I would feel disingenuous if I didn’t state my opinion of the film here however, so I’ll tell you my take. It is inflammatory propaganda of which the likes causes more confusion in the world of health; the last of which the world needs right now. (And it was produced by Joaquin Phoenix who can be found videoing himself pretend drowning in order try to convey the pain and suffering of fish, folks! Need I say more regarding the import of being discriminating about where you get your “health” information?) But I digress.
So should you eat meat?The answer is yes, but when it comes to food quality, this is an area you cannot skimp. I have previously written on the importance of eating animal based protein, so I will not repeat those reasons here. Suffice it to say, it is necessary for a plethora of reasons but you have to pay close attention to quality. Here is a simple guide to determining what meats you should or should not eat: 1. Grass-fed vs. factory farm/feedlot. There is a huge difference between consuming meats from a local farmer, who has allowed the animal to free range (and avoided feeding grains) and feedlot meats that are pumped full of hormones, antibiotics and steroids. There are plenty of resources out there explaining the vast differences in these two but I encourage you to keep in simple. By consuming animals, you are ingesting what they have been exposed to. Just this basic understanding is reason enough to avoid feedlot meats. Find a local source and order you meat in bulk. In the long run this is more cost effective than buying supermarket meat and the taste and quality is far superior. 2. Pastured vs. conventionally raised chickens and eggs. This is an area of great confusion and too many terms to try to keep straight! Conventionally raised are kept in cages that are both inhuman and unhealthy. These birds are also fed all sorts of horrific things such as other dead chickens, dead cows, litter, plastic and of course GMOs and all sorts of antibiotics to keep them sort of alive. Caged chickens tend to be unhealthy, stressed out and die quickly. Hence why there has been a movement towards cage free egg layers. Cage-free means without cages so these birds are virtually no healthier. The manufacturer simply removed the cages. Free-range in most cases is not better, as the birds are only required to have “access” to outdoors 51% of the time. In reality, these birds never see the light of day. Pastured birds and eggs are the healthiest for us to eat. They have the highest level of vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids and the lowest levels of toxins and stress hormones as well as lower levels of cholesterol and saturated fat. Pastured chickens eat bugs and grass. Your best bet is to again find a small, local producer or buy chicken and eggs at a natural market or farmer’s market and ask how they are raised! 3. Avoid processed meats and most deli meats. Sausages, bacon and deli meats are typically chalked full of nitrates, preservatives, corn syrups, and other harmful ingredients. The cardinal rule here again is look closely at the list of ingredients and know the source. Avoid all “big name” brands. It is entirely impossible for large labels to use quality, simply based upon the amount of food they are producing.
Prioritize your grocery budgetAfter reading these guidelines, you may be saying to yourself, “yeah, sounds great but that is going to be expensive!” Correct, high quality protein sources are more expensive than their toxic counterparts. However, it is less expensive than treating disease, buying over the counter medications and facing the life altering effects of illness. When planning your food budget, move quality protein to the top of the list and remove unnecessary packaged items. Another way to save money is to buy in bulk. Purchase a 1/4 or 1/2 grass-fed cow 1-2x per year (this will save you hugely over weekly purchases at the grocery store!) Plan your meals first and leave the snack items for what money you have leftover.
As you have probably come to expect, my truth and opinions can be found somewhere in the middle. I am not attached to dogma when it comes to nutrition (or any subject for that matter). I do not support a strict ketogenic, paleo or Atkins style diet. Equally, I question the long term deficiencies and proper implementation of a strict vegan diet. Instead, my advice is to keep it simple! EAT real foods from excellent and trust worthy sources. Get familiar with the source of your food and you will have to worry a lot less about what you should or should not eat. Here’s to EATing for life! ~Evie Fatz
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