1. Better Health
Animal foods, especially red meat, are among the largest sources of saturated fats in our diet. Eliminating meat―beef, pork, lamb, poultry―one day a week can reduce your risk of dying from heart disease and some cancers. What’s more, “cutting down on meat encourages people to eat more vegetables,” says Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University, in New York City. Adding a serving of produce to your diet each day (say, ½ cup of melon or broccoli) may lower your risk of heart disease by 4 percent and your risk of stroke by 6 percent.
2. More Money in Your Pocket
Consuming less meat boosts your bottom line. The average cost of a pound of sirloin is $6.20, compared with 90 cents for a 15-ounce can of beans, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If a family of four replaces a steak dinner ($9.30 for 1½ pounds) with a fresh bean and vegetable salad ($1.80 for two cans of beans) once a week, they will save $7.50. After a year, that’s an extra $390.
3. A Greener Planet
The livestock industry creates almost a fifth of all greenhouse gases and takes up 30 percent of the earth’s usable land, according to a United Nations report. (Vegetables and other produce don’t even come close.) Eliminate 1½ pounds of meat (about what a family of four eats for dinner) once a week, says Gidon Eshel, a professor of physics at Bard College, in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, “and you’ll get almost the same benefits as trading in a standard sedan for an ultra-efficient Prius hybrid.”
As we all know it Memorial Weekend is quickly approaching and most of you plan on doing some grilling. A friend of mine asked me a really good question; “Which is worst red meat or processed meat?” Hate to ruin it but the fact is that they are both bad. Now before you fire up that gas grill and throw those thick juicy Ball Park Franks or T-bone steak on; let’s take a look at which one of these is the less of the two evil.
First, I would like to tell you that there’s some pretty nasty stuff in your hot dogs and bologna. You will find all the parts of the animal that usually would get thrown away (depending on your cultural background) like the facial muscle, tongue, and lips! But besides containing a lot of fat, the really ghastly stuff doesn’t get put in until the meat is processed. What could be so awful that it is processed with you may ask? The main ingredient you will find in processed meat is sodium nitrate, another word for Chile saltpeter or Peru saltpeter (due to the large deposits found in each country) to distinguish it from ordinary saltpeter, potassium nitrate.
The salt peter primary function is to prevent bacterial growth and preserve the meat so it can be stored for a long time. This is the same ingredient that they use in smoke bombs, solid rocket propellant, in glass and in cigarettes to make them burn longer. Now I’m no rocket chemist but that sounds like a time bomb ready to go off in my stomach! Studies have shown that eating a limited (keyword “limited” my foodies) amount of fresh meat, beef included, doesn’t pose a major health risk.
However, processed foods on the other hand can pose a really large risk. Sausages, hot dogs, bacon, and processed lunch meats are the worst things you can find behind your local meat counter. According to CNN, “Eating unprocessed beef, pork, or lamb appeared not to raise risks of heart attacks and diabetes, they said, suggesting that salt and chemical preservatives may be the real cause of these two health problems associated with eating meat. The study, an analysis of other research called a meta-analysis, did not look at high blood pressure or cancer, which are also linked with high meat consumption.”
For my entire carnivore foodies try to stay with the meats like minimally processed chicken, roast chicken, and roast turkey. Not only do the processed meats pose a great risk of cardiovascular problems because of the salt and fat, they increase the risk of colon cancer as well. And surprisingly there was no evidence showing increased risk of heart disease in people who ate unprocessed red meats…hmmm. Don’t take my word for it. If you feel the urge to indulge in red meat just keep in mind to eat it sparingly. (Just a little FYI it takes 14 days to digest beef and 4 hours for it to begin rotting!!) Your foodie “Roo” signing off.