Meat. Should it be on the menu?
I recently hosted a webinar and received some fantastic feedback. I was blown away to have so much interest with people registering across Australia, the USA, and even the middle east! Such a fantastic way to present and deliver information.
However, not all the feedback I received was fantastic... Thank you Lois, I really appreciate it. Lois honestly shared that she thought the recipes I gave included a lot of meat. Yes, she is right, meat dominates the LUNCH BOX RESCUE recipe list as a protein source, and I realised I should've prefaced the call with why this was the case.
There's so much discussion on the pros and cons of meat… let's chew the fat!
Meat offers a fundamental nutrient to the body that is only found in animal products. B12. We are not healthy without good levels of this crucial vitamin. B12 is critical for keeping our blood and nerves healthy. A deficiency can cause tiredness, weakness, constipation, weight loss and nerve problems such as numbness and tingling in hands and feet.
Now just a sec while I get a bit technical… 'B12 is the only vitamin that contains a trace element (cobalt), which is why it's called cobalamin. Cobalamin is produced in the gut of animals. It's the only vitamin we can't obtain from plants or sunlight. Plants don't need B12 so they don't store it. B12 is found exclusively in animal foods, such as liver, clams, oysters, mussels, fish eggs, octopus, fish, crab and lobster, beef, lamb, cheese and eggs' Dr Chris Kresser.
Somewhere along the line, 'red meat' became taboo in the world of nutrition. However as Dr Joseph Mercola from mercola.com highlights, 'If you put good ol' fashioned grass-fed, organically raised meat in a nutrition analyser, you'd find it's one of the most nutritious foods you can eat'.
So why has it got such a bad nutritional wrap? Let's take a quick look at cattle. As an example, cattle brought up in feed lots, housed inside cavernous sheds, fed on grain and other nutritionally depleted foods, kept 'healthy' with antibiotics and removed as far away as possible from their natural environment, offer nutritionally depleted, inferior, 'sick' meat that we really don't want to ever consume. Any animal subjected to similar conditions is 'sick' and perhaps even 'toxic'. Thankfully, we don't have a lot of cattle living this way in Australia, although many are 'finished off' in feed lots on grain. However, the 'sickness' associated with this form of meat has filtered across the nutrition world and rightly so, but at the same time all forms of red meat have been tarnished - unfairly.
Healthy meat, especially red meat has an important part to play in the diet of most of us - especially or fundamentally in our children. Hence, the reason the LUNCH BOX RESCUE menu, shares a range of meat based recipes. However, if we are critically ill, or our digestion is impaired and our bodies need to put all its energy toward healing and repair then, yes perhaps red meat (with it's harder-to-digest protein molecules) should be avoided or limited.
Importantly, if you are well and you're not sure if you should eat red meat or not. Listen to your body, how do you feel when you don't have red meat or do have it? Your energy? Your clarity? What do you instinctively know your body needs or craves?
To reflect on my own experience, there are a couple of things that sway my humble opinion;
- I've worked with a number of women who have been vegetarian and to get their health back on track, they have reintroduced red meat back into their diets.
- I grew up on a farm and red meat was served regularly… perhaps daily, (actually, I have a very clear and fond memory of falling asleep at the dinner table, after a long day at school, with the sole purpose of avoiding chops for dinner… again)! So, for me, meat is part of my DNA, I feel good on it and may be a little bias.
All that aside, some of us do do well with little meat in our diets. However, if you're beginning to feel a bit 'off kilter' perhaps it's worth doing some further testing with your Doctor and just making sure.
I work with a wide range of clients with different dietary preferences, all with successful outcomes.
What experience have you had taking meat out of your diet or alternatively adding it into you diet? We'd love to hear.