There are so many different opinions and challenges when it comes to healthy eating. Most nutritionists focus on intuitive eating habits and call it a lifestyle instead of a diet because the main focus is on long-term health. While many people still opt for a diet to get fast results, many diets cause more damage than good. Accepting your body image as it is and eating intuitively will help you live a more healthy life and help you lose weight. Including many veggies and fruits in your diet is crucial, but other foods like legumes and meat are also important. Recently, there has been a lot of discussion among nutritionists about whether meat is healthy for you and how often you should eat meat. Some studies say that it’s OK to eat meat while others oppose, and it might be confusing to decide what’s best for you because there’s so much advice for both options.
What is Red Meat?
Meat that is red when it’s raw is considered red meat. It is derived from mammals, and it’s one of the most controversial foods. It is also crucial to know what kind of meat you’re eating because there’s a big difference between the meat our ancestors used to eat and the meat we eat today. How often you should eat red meat is one of the main questions these days, along with “Is red meat bad for you?“
So let’s see what types of meat there are.
- Processed meats usually come from meat that has gone through a lot of processing methods to come to its final shape. Think sausages, salami, and bacon.
- Conventional red meat is the type of meat that comes from farm-grown animals. They are usually not processed at all, but since the animals were fed with various grain-based foods and have been given antibiotics, this type of meat is not so healthy
- White meat is every meat that is white when cooked. White meat comes from poultry like chicken and turkey. It is light and full of protein, and that’s why, sometimes, white meat is a main dietary staple when it comes to fitness.
- Grass-fed, organic meat is the healthiest type of meat you can find today. This means that the animals were raised organically and naturally fed, without antibiotics and other growth-boosting supplements like hormones.
If you love eating meat and including it in your regular diet, make sure you find organic meats from well-known sources. In other words, choose organic vs. non-organic meat.
Benefits of Meat
When you look at all of its components, meat is really healthy for you. It is packed with nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins that are crucial for your immunity. For example, 100 grams of raw beef contains 25% of RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowances) of vitamin B3, 37% of RDA of vitamin B12, and 18% of vitamin B6. Also, in that same portion, you can find 12% of RDA of iron, 32% of RDA of zinc, and 24% of RDA of selenium.
Meat is full of protein—20 grams per portion of 100 grams of beef, to be exact.In this same portion, there are 10 grams of fat. Beef is relatively low in calories, with only 176 calories per portion of 100 grams.
Creatine and carnosine are another pair of nutrients that red meat is packed with. Vegans and vegetarians usually lack these nutrients, which affects brain and muscle function.
As already stated, grass-fed meat is always a better choice, not only because of lack of other stuff like hormones and antibiotics. Grass-fed meat is also richer in nutrients like omega 3 and the fatty acid conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA has many health benefits and can be a good addition to your weight loss journey.
Health Issues Connected to Eating Meat
As you consider how often you should eat meat, look at the science. There are many studies that confirm the health benefits of eating meat, but there are also observational studies that call this into question. Observational studies are designed to detect associations, but they are not proven.
A couple of observational studies link heart disease and cardiovascular problems with eating red meat. However, that study did not show any correlation between eating unprocessed meat and heart problems. Many of the observational studies agree that every health challenge is only in people who ate processed meat, while those who ate non-processed meat didn’t have any problems.
Why Grass-Fed Meat
I love eating meat, and I include it in my diet on a regular basis. When buying meat, I make sure I buy it from the people I trust. I want to know that they have done everything to make the lives of animals enjoyable and the process as smooth as possible.
Belcampo Meat Co is my go-to place. Their meat is delicious, but they also take extra care to make the process climate friendly, they use humane practices, and they deliver premium-quality meat right to my door. They are certified humane, pasture-raised, and regenerative.
Regenerative agriculture means that, at Belcampo, they focus on the land and soil, rotating their animals around the fields. This helps draw carbon into the soil instead of releasing it into the atmosphere. Rotational grazing encourages perennial grasses and perennial clovers, which help produce the best meat possible.
How Often Should You Eat Meat vs Substitutions?
If you’re still looking to reduce your meat intake, there are a lot of substitutions you can include in your diet. That way, you get all of the nutrients and vitamins you would get from eating meat. Great meat alternatives are tofu, eggs, and legumes such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, and nuts. If you’re not consuming meat, you need to be mindful of whether you’re getting enough vitamin B12, iron, and zinc. Getting enough of these nutrients can be tricky if you eat a vegetarian or vegan diet.
At the end of the day, all that matters is that you feel healthy and intentional about what you’re eating. Processed meat is something you should avoid, but eating unprocessed meats is healthy. As in everything you do, balance is the key, so make sure to include meats, veggies, and fruits in your diet.