The Question: Meat . . . How Much is Too Much?
So many words . . . flexitarian, vegetarian, vegan . . . but they all seem to lead to the same end. Practically no meat. Sort of depressing. Must we really eliminate meat to be optimally healthy?
For red meat, there are pros and cons. Red meat is an excellent source of protein, iron, B12 and a component called carnitine which aids in fat metabolism and athletic performance. But, with the red meat comes saturated fat and cholesterol which can contribute to cardiovascular illness. Enjoying red meat occasionally (1-2 times per month) is typically fine, but be sure to choose lean cuts like sirloin or tenderloin or 98% lean ground beef to minimize the saturated fat and cholesterol that you are ingesting.
Don’t forget that other meats like chicken, pork, lamb and turkey are also sources of protein, iron, B12, saturated fat and cholesterol. Though just because chicken breast might be ‘leaner’ than lamb, it shouldn’t be eaten every day. As a general rule of thumb, I encourage my clients to get most of their food from plants, with occasional dairy, meat, fish and eggs throughout the week.
As an example, here is my breakdown from a recent week: I had pork one time, lean ground beef in a recipe and a few eggs from my lovely friend who has chickens. I enjoyed cheese and crackers one evening with company. This moderate intake of animal-based food ensures I get more than adequate protein and vitamin B12 in my diet without overdoing it on saturated fat and cholesterol.
Want to learn more? Join us on April 6 for Road Map to a Plant-Based Diet. You might actually enjoy the journey!