Hi, friends! In yesterday’s Carne Asada Flank Steak Salad Recipe post I started writing about my experience avoiding red meat for 4 years and why I put it back in, then I decided this topic deserved a post all of its own! You guys asked for more Nutrition Topics so let’s do this! Plus at the end of this post, I’ve got an awesome deal to offer you from Butcher Box!
Why I Started Avoiding Red Meat
My friend said, “I don’t eat red meat anymore.” This is the same friend that told me about spaghetti squash which sounded equally insane to me at the time. She said she didn’t need it, it wasn’t good for you, and she easily cut it out of her diet. It was a few months later that I began calorie counting to lose weight and realized that meat was generally higher in calories than poultry and fish. I also looked up weight loss articles which often advised to avoid high-calorie meats. So that was it, I basically just stopped eating it because I thought I was making a healthy decision that would keep me “skinny.” After I graduated with a business degree from the University of Arizona, I went on to totally change my career path and become a Dietitian. I ended up at Loma Linda University completing a Masters of Public Health in Nutrition, I went there despite the fact that the program emphasized vegetarian and vegan nutrition. During that time, many ideas about the ill health effects of meat were solidified in my head. Increased consumption of red meat is correlated (not causative) with increased risk of certain types of cancers, obesity, and heart disease. I actually ended up doing Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet which emphasizes a vegan diet with limited grains, and I gained 10 pounds. So that didn’t work out well for me. (hello nut butter for every meal) Shortly after that, I made the decision to go off birth control and my period never returned (and continued to be absent for 5 years). A few lab tests revealed borderline Vitamin D deficiency and anemia, which they did not tell me how to address. I also wonder about the increased amounts of soy that I was consuming during that time.
PS I have tons of clients who are vegan/vegetarian, I am not discounting a plant-based diet at all. One of our good friends runs an awesome vegan youtube channel as well! I help my clients get the right nutrients so they don’t become nutrient deficient like I did. Just because a certain way of eating doesn’t work for one person doesn’t mean it’s a bad diet, just means it wasn’t right for that person.
Why I Started Eating Red Meat
For starters, correlation does not equal causation. Those studies are not saying that red meat causes any kind of health condition. In fact, for a long time, studies did not separate out highly processed meats (including those with nitrates, additives, etc) with red meat. Also, think about it, someone who says they avoid red meat may be consciously trying to live a healthier lifestyle overall. Working out more, not smoking, etc… the majority of the studies don’t control for that. Then, the research revealed that saturated fat may not be the evil we once thought it was, it may even be slightly protective. And as far as fat and calories go, those things no longer scare me. As far as staying skinny? Well turns out if you want to stay healthy long term, making sure you have enough fat in your diet is crucial. Even five years later it became obvious my iron levels never fully recovered. I was still cold all the time and bruised REALLY easily. I had to go on a strict supplementing regimen to finally get my levels back up but I also started adding red meat back into my diet because nutrients are always best absorbed from food. (Iron in particular is best absorbed from animal protein when paired with vitamin C rich vegetables.) I finally got really comfortable eating red meat when someone explained to me the difference between conventionally raised meat and grass-fed meat, it finally just made sense to me.
It got to a point where even five years later it became obvious my iron levels never fully recovered. I was still cold all the time and bruised REALLY easily despite having normal hemoglobin and hematocrit. Turns out my ferritin was still really low. I had to go on a strict supplementing regimen to finally get my levels back up but I also started adding red meat back into my diet because nutrients are always best absorbed from food. (Iron, in particular, is best absorbed from animal protein when paired with vitamin C rich vegetables.) I finally got really comfortable eating red meat when someone explained to me the difference between conventionally raised meat and grass-fed meat, it finally just made sense to me.
Why I Only Eat & Recommend 100% Grass-fed Meat
Have you ever heard the saying you are what you eat? That is especially true for cattle. Cows fed grain and soy are fatter and that’s probably why only 1-3% of the beef in the US is 100% grass-fed, it isn’t fat so most people don’t want it. It doesn’t taste like fatty meat, it tastes like nature intended it to taste, freaking amazing! Grassfed cows graze on omega 3 rich grass and are leaner, plus they have 1-5x more anti-inflammatory rich omega 3 fatty acids in their meat. Another benefit? As if you needed more? 100% Grass-fed meat will have 2-5x more CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) a potent antioxidant that may help protect against heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. It’s also been shown to have a small but beneficial effect on weight loss/weight maintenance. (All the same, reasons why I try to consume as much grass-fed dairy as possible as well.) So to me, it became obvious that it isn’t red meat that is unhealthy, it’s the quality that makes all the difference.
DON’T GET CONFUSED! A few ways companies try to trick you:
- not all organic meat is 100% Grass-fed – Organic just means they could have been fed organic soy/grains, still GROSS
- not all meat that says Grass-fed is 100% Grass-fed – yep you read that right. I often see at the grocery store packages of meat that say “grass-fed” on them. BUT, they don’t say 100% grass-fed. Actually, most if not all cattle are fed grass but then are stuffed with grain at the end to fatten them up. GROSS, and you won’t get any health benefits from that.
Because of those things, I used to drive the 25 minutes to Whole Foods just to track down 100% grass-fed red meat once or twice a month. Then I would agonize over how much to justify spending. Thankfully, I don’t have to do that anymore, thanks to my new favorite doorstep service Butcher Box!Isn't red meat bad for you? This Dietitian decided to add it back into her diet, find out why!Click To Tweet
Highest Quality Meats – Sent to Your Doorstep
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And getting the best ButcherBox to you is super easy! All you have to do:
- Select your box– choose from four different types of boxes, all including my favorite box the all grass-fed beef and change your box type anytime
- Customize to your liking – beef up your box by selecting some of our tasty add-ons like paleo bacon, burgers, and ground beef
- Set your schedule – ButcherBox is a monthly membership service but you can adjust your frequency to receive a box every other month or every three months. You can also cancel anytime
ButcherBox offers 2-5 day FREE shipping to the contiguous 48 states. The chicken, pork, and beef is flash frozen at the peak of freshness, packed with dry ice, and shipped directly to your door each month. I LITERALLY can not believe every time it gets to my doorstep in 120-degree weather and it is still completely rocks solid frozen, it’s AMAZING! The convenience and taste were definitely enough to convince me but I wasn’t the one that needed convincing. After tasting it, Mr. Hungry agreed, Butcherbox is the ONLY way we get meat from now on! The taste and quality are just unbeatable, plus every box comes with 6-10 pounds of meat (depending on cuts).
Hungry Hobby readers can now get $10 dollars off and free BACON! That’s $10 off your specialized order with free meat AND free shipping! I know you guys have seen me talk about them on social media already and mention them in a few recipes like yesterday’s Carne Asada Steak Salad, this three ingredient meal, and these Bloody Mary Steak Tips Kebobs. Make sure you tag me with your delicious meals, I can’t wait to see your creations!I love getting all my meat sent directly to my doorstep by @butcherbox oh and FREE BACON! http://fbuy.me/fIaALClick To Tweet