PDA

View Full Version : Eat red meat again?



MsK
09-18-2008, 04:35 AM
First off, I do not want this to turn into a harsh debate on eating meat vs. not eating meat, but I am looking for different perspectives to both sides.
Here's my dilemma...
Until a couple years ago, my diet was a high protein/ low carb plan and I maintained a lean physique as well as felt good on this plan. I ate beef, some pork, poultry and fish for the majority of my calories.
For the past couple years, I have, pretty much, followed a pescatarian diet (a vegetarian who eats fish).
During times when I am in a dedicated strength training routine, I add chicken for the extra protein.
From an ethical perspective, I feel great about my choices.
From a dietary perspective... honestly, I feel better when my diet is mainly meat protein, including beef and pork. (I've been on iron supplements to keep me from anemia from the time I dropped red meat from my diet)
From a superficial perspective, I've also gained about 15 lbs in this time and have been trying to lose it on my high protein/low carb plan- all of my protein being fish, chicken and protein powder. Boring...
So, seeing that I look and feel better on my high protein/low carb eating plan- and knowing that this is going to be my eating plan for the rest of my life- I have been considering the possibilities of adding red meat back into my diet.
I do need to find more sources of protein. And fish and chicken get boring really fast.
Thoughts?

Judg
09-18-2008, 06:09 AM
I'm having a little difficulty understanding weeping for cows, but not for chickens or fish. That seems to be an emotional reaction, not an ethical one.

I've been semi-vegetarian for years, for health and financial reasons, but I've never stopped eating red meat. I just use a wider variety of protein sources than most people.

My advice would be to reintegrate small amounts of red meat back into your diet, but you guessed that, didn't you? I'd also tell you to learn how to cook with tofu and lentils and soybeans and chickpeas and eggs and cheese... Variety is really one of the easiest ways of ensuring good nutrition.

Don Allen
09-18-2008, 06:35 AM
Not to influence you one way or another as I've tried being a veggie, a meat eater and just about anything else but My God I made a steak in the broiler yesterday that was to die for... I figured out that if I fire the broiler in my gas oven for 15 minutes then put a steel frying pan under it until it gets red hot then slam a steak down and fry it in the pan under the broiler, IT IS FANTSTIC.... a little garlic, a little salt, a little pepper, then a hunk of butter right on top when I take it out.... No it's probably not healty but once a week it is my dinner.... This hasn't helped at all , I'm sorry....It was just so tasty......

JoNightshade
09-18-2008, 07:43 AM
I don't really have an opinion about what's better, but I do have a perspective on the whole killing-animals dilemma. :) I was a vegetarian for a while as a teen but gave up on it when I got to college because it just wasn't practical. Morally, I do not feel that it is WRONG to kill animals for food since the human race would never have survived otherwise, and animals kill each other for food all the time. It's the way of the world. But I still felt BAD about it. You know what I mean? I love animals, all of them, and I felt bad they had to die so I could eat. I realized that if I actually had to kill the animal myself I'd never be able to do it. So I tried to eat meats that didn't LOOK like the animal - no bones, etc. Nothing to remind me it WAS an animal. I tried not to think about it.

Then I spent some time living in a third world country where people are much closer to food sources. Everything that came to the table still had head and feet and eyes. Going to the market, I'd see, for instance, a goat carcass hung up with its skin in a pile on the ground. People ate dogs. I went to dinner in the country and the man of the household picked up one of the roosters running around and wrung its neck. Half an hour later I was eating that rooster's organs.

Gradually I realized, this is the way of the world. Being a vegetarian is a luxury we have in first world countries. But in a sense, there's something almost sacred to being so close to the animals you eat. It's a kind of bond. Now I try to eat meat with bones. I do so to remind myself where my food comes from - I take the 'guilt' and turn it into thanksgiving and reverence. I recognize the sacrifice the animal had to make to feed me, and I honor that sacrifice by remembering rather than shying away.

JLCwrites
09-18-2008, 08:19 AM
Try to do some research on the source of the meat. Maybe look for small farms nearby or farmer's markets. I rarely eat meat, but as JoNightshade stated, I would be more likely to eat it if I knew it's source. I am a big supporter of being more connected to the food your eat. What were the living conditions of the animal you are about to eat? What were they fed? Maybe if you had more knowledge of the source of your food, you would feel better about whats sitting on your plate.

This is one of the reasons I love gardening so much. I know where my tomato came from, I know it doesn't have pesticides, and I know the soil conditions. I also like to visit the local orchards... fruits taste so much better when they come straight from the source instead of crate ripened. :)

Also... don't eat it if you feel pressured to. As Judg said, there are plenty of options to meat. Try checking out some vegetarian cook books, or online sources. I try to introduce a new recipe/ week just to spice up my cooking repertoire. I love Greek and Mediterranean food!

kikazaru
09-19-2008, 12:23 AM
Maybe you are just bored. Have you investigated any meat substitutes? I'm not a vegetarian (I do eat red meat but mostly chicken because I really like it) but I often buy a product by Yves Veggie Cuisine called "Ground Round" it has the same texture and looks exactly liked cooked hamburger. The flavour is almost non-existent though so I will throw it in dishes that have a fair bit of seasoning - like spaghetti sauce, tacos, and Hamburger Helper. I don't tell my family that this is what's in the dish and not once have they noticed. I haven't tried any of the other products by this brand but they also make burgers, meatballs and hot dogs and a few others and I've seen lots of other brands that make "meat" with the vegetable protein as well.

If you are interested you might want to check out some of Linda McCartney's cook books. I think she wrote several and many of the recipes use the vegetarian meat substitutes.

jennontheisland
09-19-2008, 12:40 AM
Humans have spent thousands of years domesticating cows for food. I figure we have an obligation to eat them. Can you imagine what the bear/cougar/coyote population would be like if we released those poor buggers into the wild??

Your body knows what you need (within reason). If you're craving meat, eat some.

Alternatively, nuts can do great things for anemia. Add cashews to stirfrys, almonds to tacos/burritos, pine nuts to pasta, hazelnuts to brownies, walnuts to salads. Yum.

MsK
09-19-2008, 12:43 AM
Thanks for the reponses everyone.
I was never a big red meat eater; have always used ground turkey in place of ground beef for burgers, meatballs, meatloaf, etc... but the occasional med rare steak or a carne asada taco was always a treat. (One side of my family is Hispanic and they have these great outdoor gatherings in which the food is always carne asada tacos- I drool over the smell of the meat as its cooking, but I end up eating only tortillas and lettuce)
As far as the meat substitutes and other sources of protein go, my greatest problem with them (aside from the taste or non-taste of some of the substitutes) is the high amount of carbs in most of them.
I seem to function better on fewer carbs and high protein.

MsK
09-19-2008, 12:44 AM
Humans have spent thousands of years domesticating cows for food. I figure we have an obligation to eat them. Can you imagine what the bear/cougar/coyote population would be like if we released those poor buggers into the wild??

Your body knows what you need (within reason). If you're craving meat, eat some.

Alternatively, nuts can do great things for anemia. Add cashews to stirfrys, almonds to tacos/burritos, pine nuts to pasta, hazelnuts to brownies, walnuts to salads. Yum.

Good points.

benbradley
09-19-2008, 02:13 AM
In the book "The 120 Year Diet" (most recent edition titled "Beyond The 120 Year Diet (http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-120-Year-Diet-Double/dp/1568581572/)") there's a recipe for "175 Degree Steak." It's four ounces (one serving) of thin-sliced fat-trimmed steak cooked inside a plastic oven bag in a pan of hot (175 degrees fahrenheit, too hot to touch but still well below boiling) water for 20 minutes (turn over after 10 minutes). It tastes wonderful, is cooked all the way through, and doesn't have any of the carcinogens that the typical frying or chargrilling creates on the outsides of meat.

If you're going to eat it often you should of course use free-range not-shot-with-hormones-and-stuff beef (perhaps adopt your own cow). It can get expensive avoiding all the chemical crap that may have bad long-term effects on the body - apparently, living a long healthy life has its financial cost, but I bet it's cheaper than the medical procedures that might otherwise be required.

I ate that way for only a few months about 12 years ago...I really should get back to it.

Yeshanu
09-19-2008, 07:25 AM
Jo's post is possibly the best short treatise I've seen on the ethics of meat eating. A huge amount of what we call "ethical objection to meat eating" is simply emotional reactions that are the result of years of anthropomorphizing animals.

But the point remains. Food we must eat. And to tell the truth, unless at the end we have our bodies pumped full of toxins, food we will become. That's the circle of life, and there's no avoiding it.

Turkey's suggestion is excellent. There are ethical problems with our factory farming, but if you can find a source for humanely produced meat, it will help.

Each of our bodies is different. I know people who thrive on mainly fruits and vegetables, and they feel terrible physically if they eat too much meat. My youngest has a very limited diet, mostly grain products (pasta, bread and Cheerios), fruit and cheese, with very little meat. He's exceptionally healthy physically. If I tried to eat what he does, I'd get sick very quickly. I need red meat. I've tried to do without it, and it just doesn't work for me. Listen to your body, Krystal. It will tell you what it needs.

Fraulein
09-21-2008, 05:22 AM
I stopped eating meat over a year ago. It was hard to adjust, but I don't have to deal with the "guilt" anymore.

It's hard for me to show favoritism towards my pets but not towards livestock. They're all animals...

Every once in a while, I'll eat local fish or seafood. I feel like that's okay, because the seafood has been removed from a natural habitat before being caught and killed. In my opinion, abuse to seafood is minimal.



WARNING! Read at your own risk:

Factory farming is appalling. Unless you buy meat that says "humane" on the package or something of that sort, then you're buying into the despicable living conditions of the animal.

I don't eat meat, because I do not agree with the way that animals are farmed in this country. Vegetarian organizations have done countless exposÚs on factory farming. Perhaps you've heard of the big-breasted chickens? You know, the ones that are so top heavy that their legs will break, and after they break, the chicken will never be able to walk again? Tasty. :rolleyes:

I am very particular about the products that I buy. I try my hardest to buy the most humane products possible!

When I buy animal products, I will scrutinize the product's origin. I do not buy products that are produced by companies who test their products on animals- testing is often times painful for the animal and/or lethal. Testing can include dogs, rabbits, kittens, monkeys, and mice.

I buy free-range eggs, hormone-free organic milk, synthetic shoes, cosmetics that are not tested on animals, and vegetarian food. I will never buy Unilever or Mars products until they stop testing.

L M Ashton
09-21-2008, 04:06 PM
I'm of the personal opinion that different people have different dietary needs - we are not one-diet-fits-all. So if you feel better, physically, when you eat red meat, then that's what you should do. I would definitely go with listening to your body to see what it needs.

I can't go vegetarian - not healthy for me, either, and makes my genetic collagen defect go to pot even faster. And I get a protein headache if I don't take in enough. On the other hand, I also go through food aversion cycles where I can't eat certain foods for a while - chicken for a while, so I ate more eggs and fish.

Thump
09-21-2008, 06:08 PM
The question isn't so much whether it's right to eat meat. Human's are built to eat both veggies and meat therefore it is naturally right to eat meat. The problem is in how the animals we eat are raised. I think chickens have a much rougher time than cows, actually. I'm in a high-protein/low-carb diet myself but I try to buy free-range chickens and organic food. I try to encourage the ethical producers as best I can. It's more expensive to I compensate with tofu and nuts and organic cheeses and eggs.

TheAntar
09-22-2008, 03:42 AM
Not eating meat because you think its ethically wrong is simply illogical.

Deciding to become a vegetarian because you think it will stop factory farming is simply illogical.

Now, if you don't like the taste or it makes you feel physically bad then your body doesn't want it, don't eat it.

The fact is, most families need the option to eat meat that isn't expensive. Humane farming practices are so ridiculously expensive, speaking relatively to our mass-produced farming, that eliminating it is hardly plausible at this point.

If you choose to spend more money on "humane meat" (...) that's your call. But market forces dictate a need for affordable meat, and I find it unlikely that it's going anywhere.

My steak isn't your dog. My pork ribs aren't your cat. They aren't the same animal, and you are under no obligation as a carniverous organism to develop sympathy for an animal whose reason for existence is to be eaten.

These are the cries of the carrots, the cries of the carrots! You see, Reverend Maynard, tomorrow is harvest day and to them it is the holocaust.

Fraulein
09-22-2008, 04:03 AM
Not eating meat because you think its ethically wrong is simply illogical.

Deciding to become a vegetarian because you think it will stop factory farming is simply illogical.

Now, if you don't like the taste or it makes you feel physically bad then your body doesn't want it, don't eat it.

The fact is, most families need the option to eat meat that isn't expensive. Humane farming practices are so ridiculously expensive, speaking relatively to our mass-produced farming, that eliminating it is hardly plausible at this point.

If you choose to spend more money on "humane meat" (...) that's your call. But market forces dictate a need for affordable meat, and I find it unlikely that it's going anywhere.

My steak isn't your dog. My pork ribs aren't your cat. They aren't the same animal, and you are under no obligation as a carniverous organism to develop sympathy for an animal whose reason for existence is to be eaten.

These are the cries of the carrots, the cries of the carrots! You see, Reverend Maynard, tomorrow is harvest day and to them it is the holocaust.More families should limit their meat consumption to increase the productivity of farming.

Meat production requires significantly more resources than does vegetable production.

limiting meat intake limits the use of resources: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071008130203.htm
(use of land: a high-fat diet with a lot of meat > an all vegetable diet > a mixed diet with dairy and limited amounts of meat)

http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Diet_With_Some_Meat_Uses_Less_Land_Than_Vegetarian _Diets_999.html

http://dangerousintersection.org/2007/09/22/why-eating-meat-is-bad-for-the-environment/



I don't want to be part of factory farming. There's nothing illogical about that!

Shadow_Ferret
09-22-2008, 04:15 AM
I'm strictly a carnivore because that's pretty much all my gastrointestinal system can handle.

Yeshanu
09-22-2008, 08:05 AM
As far as factory farming goes, I'm one of those who simply can't afford non-factory farmed meat at the moment, so I buy my meat at the supermarket. I'm not about to go vegetarian--been there, done that, and didn't feel at all well while I was eating like that.

But I do have ethical objections to some of the practices involved in modern factory farming, not just about our treatment of animals, but about our treatment of the waste those animals produce.

And I've had the chance to raise my own free-range chickens. So I know that there's another reason to buy non-factory farmed meat other than ethics--the taste is simply not comparable. Once you've eaten free-range chicken, factory-farmed stuff tastes like cardboard. So if you can afford it, I'd really advise checking out organic, ethically raised meat.

Your stomach and the environment will thank you.

Sarita
09-22-2008, 05:28 PM
You've already gotten loads of really great advice. Here's my perspective.

Lacto-ovo-pesco-vegetarian. First off, I don't really like red meat, chicken, or pork. But most importantly, I shouldn't eat red meat because I have weird blood that refuses to break down cholesterol on its own. Most of my relatives die with crazy clogged arteries, around age 55. Eek. I limit my dairy and eggs because of it. I try to eat fish once a week. That's it. The rest of my protein comes from things like nuts, beans, grains, and seaweed(which is really good for anemia, btw.)

Just a small comment about what Jo said here:

Being a vegetarian is a luxury we have in first world countries. I really truly do not believe this is true. In my volunteer work, I've seen a lot of families who were beyond poor, relying on beans and grains as primary sources of protein. They might have one animal per month to eat, but nothing more. It is far more economical to be vegetarian than to eat meat. Beans cost between 25-75 cents per pound, as opposed to meat that can range anywhere from 1-20/pound depending on the animal and cut.

I also think that westernized countries put too much emphasis on eating protein. If you eat a varied diet, chances are you will never have to worry about protein deficiency. Of course, everyone is different and I can remember times in my life where I felt like I needed more protein. You do need to listen to your own body and decide what's best for YOU. I think Judg said it best:


My advice would be to reintegrate small amounts of red meat back into your diet, but you guessed that, didn't you? I'd also tell you to learn how to cook with tofu and lentils and soybeans and chickpeas and eggs and cheese... Variety is really one of the easiest ways of ensuring good nutrition.

And, if you're at all concerned about taste, give free-range and hormone free meat a try. You will be SHOCKED at the flavor. My husband, a total meatatarian, has opted to eat less meat each week in order to afford the organic, hormone free kind.

As to difference sources of protein, there are so many great cookbooks out there to give you vegetarian options, but just one little tip from a veteran (me!) I try to toss tofu in when ever I can. I make vegetarian lasagna and use 1/2 ricotta, 1/2 soft tofu. You can't even tell. I make fruit smoothies in the summer and instead of using sweetened yogurt, I use soft tofu and add some honey. When I'm making cream of whatever vegetable soup, I use 1/2 milk and 1/2 tofu. Toss them in the processor or blender together and it turns into the consistency of thick cream. Add to your soup. Delicious cream of veggie soup. You can use it to make mushroom stroganoff, chocolate mousse, anything. It's so versatile.

Yeshanu
09-22-2008, 07:31 PM
And, if you're at all concerned about taste, give free-range and hormone free meat a try. You will be SHOCKED at the flavor. My husband, a total meatatarian, has opted to eat less meat each week in order to afford the organic, hormone free kind.



All of what Sara has said is very true, but I wanted to point this out. Yes, it's precisely what I said above, but it bears repeating. The difference in taste truly is amazing.

GeorgeK
10-03-2008, 05:56 PM
Meat production requires significantly more resources than does vegetable production.


That's a gross oversimplification. It doesn't REQUIRE it. That doesn't mean that many if not most farms in America do or don't DO it. In a sustainable agriculture setting meat production requires far less resources than production of either grains or vegetables. That said, not many farms follow a sustainable agriculture method and the methods are far from universal since they vary based on geography. Cattle, for instance, are simply not efficient for the kinds of geography and habitat that we have in the New World, whereas bison, goats and hair sheep usually are and pigs can be in some areas. Thanks to the Grange Wars of the mid 1800's, Americans have been indoctrinated that they have to eat cattle. When people have visited my farm they've been flabbergasted at how the farm runs itself for the most part and the flavor of the meat is nothing like the grocery store stuff.

As far as the biology of meat consumption goes, the more they learn the more it looks like ethnicity plays a major role. (Not what you call yourself, but evolutionarily what your ancestors 10-100 generations back had to deal with. They had certain evolutionary pressures such that if their major souce of protein was X, which for some cultures was fish, some beans, some pork or whatever, then you will probably do better if X is a major player in your diet (as far as source of protein goes, not daily caloric intake). Those who did poorly on X tended to die out with fewer children.) Of course now in the last couple of centuries, with rapid travel times and blending of etnicities, figuring out what your particular metabolism does better with can take some study and trial and error.

In the same way, the same pressures or for them lack of certain pressures have genetically sculpted our livestock. For them a generation is often 1 year, so that a century is 100 generations of evolutionary pressure. (It's actually a little less, but in a fastest case scenario it would be for most. For things like rabbits it could be more.) Our culture has been penning the animals and bringing food to them and bottle feeding the young. Not only is this very labor intensive (hence the practical truth behind the fallacy of the oversimplification mentioned earlier), but the animals have genetically lost their ability to forage and raise their own young. Some breeds of wool sheep are almost haploid they've lost so many chromosomes. These animals could not exist in the wild. The only way that they have any life at all is as livestock and then food. That certainly does not mean that they should be tortured or abused, but to think that they should be in some idyllic setting away from humans is simply misguided.

Genetically we humans are all omnivours. That includes animal protein of some sort. For some that source is primarily insects, for others it may be cattle. Most of us are somewhere in between. Once in a while there are people who thrive on a vegan diet. Perhaps that is the next phase in our species' evolution, who knows? As a physician I've seen very few. They seem to die as early as the other restricted diet people like those who avoid vegetables, just generally not of cardiac disease or colon cancer. Instead they die of complications of anemia, sepsis and osteoporosis. Realistically however, even if they lived on average to 100 it still wouldn't matter because as far as evolution and propagation of the species is concerned, whoever has the most fertile grandchildren wins. Vegan men have notoriously low sperm counts. (One of the things I treated was male infertility)