MEAT – DO WE NEED IT OR NOT?
People often ask me whether they need to include red meat in their diet, with the main reasons for them wanting to avoid it ranging from religious beliefs or don’t like the thought of eating a dead animal, to the fact that meat can be quite expensive. There is no other food that causes such a debate as does the topic of meat consumption, so I guess the best place to start is to list the problems associated with a regular meat diet and then follow it with a list of possible benefits. I personally will crave red meat at times, and I always think you should listen to your body.
POSSIBLE PROBLEMS FROM CONSUMING MEAT
· Promotes uric acid, nitrates adrenaline
· Creates excess body acids
· Antibiotics, hormones contained in the meat
· Free radicals
· Lacks Omega 3
· Excess cholesterol intake
· Excess saturated fat intake
· Low calcium content
· Bacteria, long digestion time
POSSIBLE BENEFICIAL FACTORS
· Moderate protein content
· Supply of Vitamin B12
· Long lasting, full stomach feeling
As with all foods there is nothing to be gained by having meat in excess, so ensure that the meat portion isn’t taking up most of the plate and the side dish barely existent, as this will lead to an imbalance of sufficient nutrients. The proportionate ratio of an average steak meal will supply 0% carbohydrates, 35% protein and 15% lipids, making it obvious that you need a good amount of salad or vegetables on the side to even it out. It is a known fact that excess saturated fat can lead to heart disease and the average beef steak supplies 45g saturated fats, 1g polyunsaturated and 9g mono-unsaturated fats. Fat is our best energy source but it can be argued that carbohydrate foods are better as they require less digestive effort.
Saturated fat consumption can create a feeling of fullness for hours due to the difference in where the components of the meal are broken down and digested. The stomach is where the protein content of meat is digested, but the saturated fat component of the meat will slow down the protein conversion and can cause problems later in the small intestine and colon. The saturated fats are processed elsewhere in the small intestine (duodenum), where they are converted into fatty acids and glycerol. It is the delay between the protein conversion in the stomach and the saturated fat conversion in the small intestine that creates our feeling of fullness or satiety. The digestion time for meat is longer than any other food group, requiring 5-6 hours preparation in the stomach whereas cheese only takes 3-4 hours. It can take up to 18 hours for the meat chime to pass out of our body through elimination, and as meat putrefies easily in a warm environment, the human digestive system therefore provides the ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Saturated fats increase blood cholesterol levels.
As meat contains no fibre or roughage and hardly any carbohydrate, it can create a problem for a regular meat eater who also includes refined foods such as bread and chips as it will lead to insufficient natural movement in the lower digestive system and consequent constipation. Long term effects of this can be colon cancer as a result of bacteria caused from the build-up of toxins within the lower digestive system. One can see from all this, that if you are a regular meat eater, which contains very little fibre and carbohydrate, just how essential it is to eat foods such as pears, figs, legumes, fruit and vegetables in order to protect against the meat getting “stuck in a rut”.
Gout is the result of too much uric acid crystals in the blood, and excess meat consumption is definitely a known contributing factor. Adrenaline is produced in animals and humans during conditions of fear, excitement and other states of heightened awareness. In an abattoir the animals are penned for days with no food and awaiting slaughter, during which time they sense fear which results in adrenaline flooding through their systems into their blood and tissues. This adrenaline can be transferred to humans through meat consumption, resulting in overstimulation of the thyroid gland and general metabolism even to the point of resulting in aggression. Many processed meats such as luncheon, frankfurts and sausages contain nitrites which can be linked to cancer-causing nitrosamines in the stomach. Meat production often involves the farmer caring for his herd by giving them antibiotics, hormones and drugs which may then transfer to the person who eats the meat.
Meat is one of the most acid-forming foods and the result of too much acid in our systems can range from headaches, sluggish liver, poor circulation and constipation. Other acid forming foods include crustacean, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, coffee and alcohol. Our bodies will naturally create mucous in an attempt to protect us from the effects of excess acid in our systems. An alkaline balance is vital for reproduction and healing and foods that are alkaline promoting include nearly all fruits and vegetables, almonds and rice.
Free radicals are abundant in cooked, fried and roast meat.
Meat provides the eight essential amino acids (need to obtained from food) that is commonly termed “complete protein”. Apart from the main groups of seafood, poultry and dairy foods, numerous other main food groups such as nuts, seeds, grains and legumes also provide these eight essential amino acids.
MY OPINION (for what it is worth)
Even though I have listed a lot of negatives in the previous paragraphs with regards to possible detrimental factors associated with meat consumption I personally feel much better when I eat red meat once a week. People who have auto-immune diseases commonly suffer from low iron stores and I am a strong believer that we have canine teeth for the reason that we are carnivores who are meant to rip into meat. We can get iron from many foods such as kale which is higher in iron than red meat, but in order to absorb the iron, we need vitamin B12. The only reliable place to get sufficient amounts of vitamin B12 without eating kilos of foods such as mushrooms is red meat. Therefore if you choose to go vegetarian or vegan then it is important to take a vitamin B12 supplement, and it needs to be sucked (sublingual) or liquid form as it relies on the intrinsic factor contained in our saliva for it’s absorption. Many of the important amino acids found in red meat are lost/leached out when meat is over-cooked. If you have a feeling of fullness after consuming a meat meal then it is very possibly due to you having a lack of stomach acid. Meat digestion requires considerable digestive energy to convert it into useable protein and iron needs an acidic environment for it’s absorption. Don’t just start taking a hydrochloric acid tablet without first consulting your practitioner, but you could try some apple cider vinegar in water with your meal and see if that helps a little as it will aid your digestion by increasing your stomach acid.
Date posted: 2014-11-17 | posted by: debras