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October’s 31 Days of Real Food-Day 8

by Olivia Furlow

Day 8-Eat Meat? Or Don’t Eat Meat? And my humble opinion….

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Nutrition has become a subject that usually hits on the same frequency and sensitivity as politics or religion. I have always been told that proper etiquette in general conversation is “never talk about religion or politics” because of its sensitive nature of different opinions and beliefs. Should we add nutrition to that list of topics that are off limits?!

Much like our religion or politics, many of us identify ourselves these day by what we eat: “I’m Paleo”, “I’m gluten-free”, “I’m vegan.”

Like religious or political beliefs, it can cause disagreements and hostility between people and/or provoke aggressive judgment like “I can’t believe your gonna eat that!”

 

So, what’s my take?

Unless you have a particular food allergy, sensitivity, or medical condition, there is no single, prescriptive, one-size-fits-all “diet” that universally, we all should adhere to.

I do not judge those that choose to eat differently than I do.

 

On that note I would like to give you my opinion on eating meat…

I believe meat belongs in a healthy diet. Meat consumption has gotten a bad rap and is blamed for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Lets replace sugar and processed foods in place of meat consumption in that last sentence. I believe meat isn’t the culprit behind these health issues but sugar and processed foods are.

For more than two million years we were primarily meat eaters. Our genes were developed before the agricultural revolution. That being said, our bodies were genetically programmed for optimal functioning on a diet that includes meat. Did you know that as humans our digestive system hasn’t changed for 40,000 years?! By nature, humans are meat eaters and our bodies are designed for it. That is why we have incisors for tearing meat and molars for grinding it.

Now on to the health benefits….

Meat helps keep blood sugar levels stable due to its fat and high protein content. Steady blood sugar is critical in preventing type 2 diabetes, as well as other chronic diseases. It also helps keep energy levels steady and creates a feeling of satiety between meals which reduces cravings for unhealthy foods. With stable blood sugar, you’re less likely to crave junk food snacks and sweets between meals. Battle sugar cravings by eating more meat 🙂

You have to fuel your body with the right nutrients. The best source of protein is meat. Meat also contains vitamins and minerals that aid in muscle growth like zinc, which assists in muscle repair, and iron, which boosts energy levels and combats fatigue. Meat also contains creatine, a nitrogen-containing compound that improves protein synthesis and provides muscles with energy. It also helps burn fat! Meat has a high thermogenic effect because of its protein content, so that approximately 30 % of its calories are burned off during digestion alone. Digesting carbohydrates produces only a 6-8 % increase in energy expenditure.

Meat also helps with neurotransmitter imbalances in our bodies. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that regulate many of our functions, including physical, cognitive, and mental performance. As well as our sleep cycle, weight, and emotional states. Meat protein provides all of the essential amino acids human bodies need. People who don’t eat meat are especially vulnerable to neurotransmitter imbalances, which can result in problems like depression, anxiety, and hyperactivity.

Meat equals energy! Simple carbs are broken down into sugar that our body burns through quickly, causing us to crash. Protein in meat supplies us with sustained, long lasting energy.

One of the best sources of iron is meat. Iron deficits put you at risk for anemia and low energy, which is why anemia is a chronic problem for vegetarians. Pair meat with vegetables boasting a low glycemic index and you will be feeling energized all day!

There are many nutrients in meat that are critical to overall health. While there are many sources of protein, meat is a great source of complete protein, containing all the amino acids our bodies needs, including the ones our bodies can’t produce.

All B vitamins are found in greater concentration in meats than in plant sources, and vitamin B-12 can only be found in animal sources. The B vitamins are critical to health, especially mental health. Deficits in these vitamins can cause confusion, impaired senses, aggression, insomnia, weakness, dementia, and peripheral neuropathy.

The last reason eat meat? It tastes damn good. I love meat and meat loves us back with a host of critical health benefits. So be true to your human nature and to your taste buds. Don’t cut meat out of your life. It has way too much to offer!

 

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