* This is part of a year-long series called “52 Weeks to Eating better than Ever”. Click on the side bar for more information and to read the previous essays.
People often ask me if I eat meat. I do.
It’s not that I don’t see and acknowledge the risks. Higher meat consumption is generally associated with higher cancer and heart disease. The risk is there.
The risk is also there playing football, snow skiing, and going out in front of 150 people to speak, but I did and still do those things too, because the rewards outweigh the risks. Like many things, I try to take a reasonable approach to red meat, which includes mainly beef and pork, and less commonly lamb. (By the way, based on my research, I’m not convinced that fish, turkey, or chicken are any healthier than grass fed beef.)
I eat red meat, and if you really enjoy it, I encourage you to as well. Eating is about nourishment and enjoying good company and sometimes you just want a steak or a burger.
My grandpa was a cattle farmer, and growing up we ate the grass-fed beef from his farm quite a bit. To give you an idea of how much healthier and different true grass-fed beef is from store-bought grain fed beef, they taste nothing alike. They were so different that we didn’t like it much as kids because it was nothing like what our public school served. It wasn’t a fatty meat like what we got at school, so as kids we complained. Grass fed beef is extremely lean and low-fat, with good flavor but little grease. It’s not as juicy, because it has much less fat, but it’s healthier by a mile.
This is what I do with red meat, and I recommend a similar approach:
- Unless you really enjoy it, just remove the risk and choose something else.
- Save beef for once a week, on the weekend as a reward.
- Choose a moderate serving size. 3-6 oz. steaks are enough and you can only digest so much protein at one time anyway.
- Refrain from charring your meats, and ask for “inside meat” at BBQ places. This will cut back on “AGEs” – Advanced Glycation End Products which I’ve written about and are unhealthy.
- Hamburgers are often tastier and less expensive than steaks.
- Cook hamburgers in a covered pan on a stove eye on low to medium heat with a small amount of water to steam them, which will cut back on charring and AGE’s.
- I know burnt meat can taste good, but so can cigarettes, and we all know about smoking.
- Choose organic, grass fed beef.
- Each time you eat red meat, or any type of meat, eat plenty of fiber and vegetables to aid in digestion and to act as an antioxidant.
- A great example of this would be choosing the Cole Slaw at the BBQ restaurant over french fries or chips.
A good burger or steak sometimes, or some BBQ at a tailgate party can be a great thing, really topping off the week.
Add some of these tips to make the reward healthier !