Red meat has gotten a really bad rap over the years. Every year I hear more and more people tell me that they eat healthy because they avoid red meat when they can, or even worse, they tell me they are vegetarians, thinking that it is the healthier option. There are several misconceptions that have come about because of mainstream health “experts” and associations like the FDA (Food And Drug Administration) and the AHA (American Heart Association) espousing us to stay away from harmful red meats. These are the misconceptions I would like to spend some time to correct today. By the time you finish reading this article you will know which red meats are bad for you as well as how to choose the meats that are full of health benefits.
Most red meats are produced en masse, in what are called “CAFOs” or Concentrated Animal Farming Operations. At these facilities, the cattle are given feed that is not what they were naturally meant to eat. The grains that they are fed increase the cattle’s weight (fat) in order to ultimately sell them for more profit. The effect of this feeding process causes bacteria (E. coli) to collect in their rumen (stomach), which then in turn makes them sick. The farmers retaliate against this spread of bacteria by providing the animals with antibiotics. This i creates more resistant bacteria which then end up in the manure that collects in their small living spaces, so the cows actually have to stand knee deep in their own droppings.
The farmers cart away this manure manually by the truckload. Some of this waste ends up on the cow even when it gets slaughtered, which can then contaminate the meat. Conventional farmers combat this problem by washing the meats with ammonia (a toxin) as well as intermixing chemicals to kill the bacteria in the ground meat produced in their factories.
Unfortunately, I haven’t yet made a good case for you to decide to include red meat into your everyday diet.
I do understand why this would turn anyone off from even thinking about having a burger. But I want you to think about the reasons I’ve stated that make you want to stay away from eating one. Notice that none of them have anything to do with the nutrient content in the meat itself.
I am making a big deal about this because what we constantly hear from the FDA and AHA is that red meat is bad for us because it is high in saturated fat, which increases the risk for cardiovascular disease.
This is a flat out lie.
Why haven’t they told us about these faulty farming practices?
To date, there is no evidence to show that saturated fat has any connection to cardiovascular risk. In fact, the opposite is true. Saturated fat has been proven to increase beneficial HDL cholesterol and lower inflammation in the body. Think about highly beneficial coconut oil, which is mostly saturated fat and serves as a potent antiviral and antibacterial. Coconut oil boosts thyroid activity and improves gut flora balance in the digestive track.
Newsflash for all you people:
The fat in red meat is MOSTLY UNSATURATED. Not saturated like everyone has been having us believe.
My point in writing this is that we have been eliminating red meat for all the wrong reasons. Saturated fat is not the problem. If anything, having toxins in your food, the wrong fats, getting an antibiotic load, extra ammonia and other chemicals, pesticides from the non-organic grains, and possibly E. coli exposure is what is causing our increased risk of all sorts of diseases.
Instead of eliminating red meats from your diet, you can find the right ones that are full of health promoting benefits.
Look for organic and 100% grass fed meats.
When looking for meats it is important that they are 100% grass fed, not just grass fed. Farmers are starting to become aware that more and more people are looking for grass fed meats before they buy. Farmers now spend time grass feeding some of their cows and then the last couple months of their life they feed them the same grains and other crap that all the rest of the other cows eat on a regular basis in order to fatten them up for sale. This completely undoes all the benefits of having a cow grass fed in the first place.
Grass fed cows are out in a pasture, where they get to graze on the food they were naturally meant to eat. When they leave their excrement it serves as natural manure for the land, which keeps the grass healthy. They don’t need a truck to carry their waste away and they do not require antibiotics that get into the meats we eat.
Grass fed cows have a higher nutrient content than conventionally grown cows, and less fat overall.
We have all heard the hubbub about omega-3s and how important they are. I know I’ve written about the benefits of taking omega-3s more than a few times, and it is the number one supplement I recommend to most of my clients. We have been led to believe that the only source of omega-3s in our diet comes from fish.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Cows, when 100% grass fed, have similar omega-3 content in their meats as fish does. When someone eats a diet rich in 100% grass fed meats and wild caught fish, they don’t have to supplement with as much fish oil because they are getting plenty of omega-3s from their wild meat consumption. The grass that the cows graze on is full of omega-3 fatty acids unlike the grain that conventional cows eat. They naturally convert these omega-3s to forms easily used by our systems.
Other meats that have high omega-3 content:
-The more wild the meat, the higher the chance that it wasn’t conventionally farmed-
Another healthy fat to include in your diet is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has several benefits:
- Reduces cortisol’s effect on the system, increasing your body’s resistance to stressful situations.
- Reduces belly fat formation keeping you leaner.
- Improves maintenance of lean muscle mass, making it easier to build the body you deserve.
- Has been shown in multiple studies to have anti-tumor effects.
All this is not to be found in conventional meat.
Even fish are succumbing to the modern farming system evils. Now, instead of eating omega-3 rich crustaceans, the fish are being trained to eat grains, which again, have no omega-3 content. Fish, unless wild caught, have less omega-3s than they used to have.
Understand that meats based upon their type don’t make one form better than another. What makes a particular meat better than another is the way it was raised. This completely changes its nutrient content and hence it’s benefits to the human body. I hope that I’ve convinced you that red meat is not bad to eat. One must be careful which red meats we choose to eat. However, when making the right choices (100% grass fed and organic) red meat can be an extremely healthy addition to anyone’s nutritional plan!