6 Tips For Health-Conscious Meat Eaters - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog

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6 Tips For Health-Conscious Meat Eaters

How meat affects your body, and what you can do to help your health.

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Like it or not, it’s time to face it — modern diets are changing, and many of us have already switched to plant-based and organic meals rather than traditional (and seriously unhealthy) American meat and potatoes. Get on the bandwagon or get diabetes. Or cancer. Or have a heart attack. #truth

6 Tips For Health-Conscious Meat Eaters

It’s not hard to see that the eco-movement has a strong foothold in the influencer crowd. A quick glance through some of the most followed accounts will show you that vegan is no longer just for hippies. And it’s no surprise given that A) being vegan is anti-aging, slimming and way healthier than any other way of eating, and B) it’s an essential step if humans expect to keep on living comfortable lives on Earth. Yes, really. Thankfully, more and more people in all demographics have realized this and are making an effort to be more ‘green,’ or environmentally conscious, and veganism is by far the fastest growing food movement out there.

In recent years, animal activists and environmentalists haven’t been shy when voicing their concerns over eating too much meat. In fact, studies conducted by the World Health Organization and the United Nations classify meat as a class-one carcinogen (meaning it’s as cancer-causing as cigarettes) and insist that we should minimize or eliminate our meat intake.

Studies also point out that by eating less meat, you’re not only benefiting your health, but reducing climate change. And for those of you in drought-ridden states, did you know that one pound of beef requires approximately 2,500 gallons of water to produce? That’s ten times the amount of water it takes to produce the same amount of soy. Oh yeah, and soy has about 50% more protein per pound. This means that producing meat is wasting a ton of our resources before it even becomes a usable food product. You can read more about the environmental effects in our article “Deciphering the Ethical Meat Trend“.

Over the years, we’ve learned that animals used for food are injected with tons of synthetic hormones. These fake hormones make cows produce more milk than they naturally would, and get pigs and chickens to balloon to twice the size they would be naturally. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like something I want to put in my body.

And it doesn’t stop there. The animals are kept in such dirty and cramped conditions that they’re given ‘preventative’ antibiotics to keep them from getting sick. The problem is that we end up ingesting these antibiotics so often that they stop being effective. On top of that, superbugs are being created in these factory farms that are so strong that no antibiotic can kill them. That means when we get sick, the antibiotics prescribed to us don’t work, and we either stay sick or die. (Hence, incurable gonorrhea. Eww.)

Here’s a quick and entertaining video, by Chipotle, that explains this with a bit more color:

6 Tips For Health-Conscious Meat Eaters

Your money pays for chickens to live like this

If all that wasn’t enough to scare us all off of meat, a hormone known as dioxin is found in many of our dairy and meat products. According to the researchers of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO), those who consume even small amounts of dioxin from meat and dairy products have a shocking 17% higher, or 7 in 100, risk of suffering from cancer. And speaking of contamination, USDA researchers have found that eating chicken exposes you to arsenic. Even low doses of arsenic can dramatically increase the risk of cancer and birth defects.

6 Tips For Health-Conscious Meat Eaters

After their babies are taken from them, dairy cows are over-milked by machine three times per day, which is why humans ingest blood and puss in cow’s milk. Almond or organic soy milk is a yummy alternative.

In the book The China Study, their research proved that people who ate the most animal-based foods (whether organic or not) got the most chronic diseases and cancer, while people who ate the plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid disease. He also adds that a vegan diet can enable diabetic patients to go off their medication. He concluded that a good diet is the most powerful weapon we have against some of the most common diseases.

Think you can mitigate your risk by buying organic meat? Well, due to a lack of labeling regulations, it’s extremely hard to determine if the meat supplied in supermarkets and restaurants are either organic and free of chemicals — or laden with hormones, antibiotics and other unappetizing treatments. Despite its label, “organic” meat and dairy from cows is often treated with hormones. When inspectors in the European Union randomly sampled “hormone-free” beef from the U.S., they found that 12 percent of the meat had been treated with powerful hormones that are banned in Europe. Yikes!!

Here’s a wonderful video that Chipotle made to help people learn about the food industry, in an entertaining way:

OK, so those are some scary facts. Are you having a hard time skipping that juicy burger but still want to save the world, and keep your health in check? Here are some tips:

1. Moderate your meat and dairy. Go meatless, even if only for one day a week.

Many stars have pledged to go meatless even for just one or two days per week. Eating less meat will decrease your health problems, and decrease both animal suffering and greenhouse gasses. Try switching to almond, organic soy or flax milk – it’s much healthier, and better for the sustainability of the planet.6 Tips For Health-Conscious Meat Eaters

2. Eat more vegetables.

These include beans, grains (like quinoa), nuts and soy/tofu. Go organic as much as possible. Check nutritious faux-meat vegetarian and vegan recipes – some taste better than the original! Although humans do ingest some herbicides and pesticides from plant foods, scientists report that animal products are responsible for roughly 80 to 90 percent of dietary pesticide exposure.

3. Eat “greener” meat.

When you do eat meat, look for meat that has been grown organically, lean and unprocessed. There’s zero regulation on the word “Natural,” so make sure to look for “USDA Certified Organic”.

4.  Buy the right amount.

When buying meat, get small-sized portions. This will not only help you stick to a tight budget, but will also prevent wasting food or eating too much meat.

5.  Buy low-fat dairy products.

Most of the toxins are carried in animal fat. Get cheeses such as cream cheese, skim milk, and non-fat yogurt. Again, if it’s not organic, don’t eat it.

6. Speak out!

As a concerned citizen, you make the change by telling your local government to go environmentally friendly by raising livestock or pushing for nutritious meals for kids during their breaks.

 

So whether you are a vegetarian or a meat lover, minimizing meat can go a long way. Not only will you be doing your body a favor, but you’ll be giving the world a hug, too.

Read more: Deciphering the Ethical Meat and Sustainability Trend

A writer, artist and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary spends most of her time in France, but still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC and has traveled extensively around the world, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and brands to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 47 Comments

  1. Colleen Frasier

    I’m all about cooking with no meat! It’s a lot healthier and a lot less gross!

  2. Danielle Wilson

    Some of us just have to have meat!! I personally try to stay away from ground beef but I love using ground turkey! How about picking meats that are minimally processed and don’t contain curing agents, nitrates, nitrites, high quantities of solution, or other potentially harmful additives?

    • Have you tried the plant-based fake meats? They’re actually really great. We eat at a restaurant in Harlem (NYC) called Seasoned Vegan… they have soy-based fried chicken nuggets that I swear taste exactly like the real thing – they even pull apart in the same way!

  3. Aimee Marks

    Right now, I am taking my late lunch while reading this article. And with lunch I mean a burger. When I finished reading and watching the part with videos on pigs and cow, I literally looked at my burger and felt a revulsion in my gut. I kinda lost my appetite imagining all the unnatural things that came along with the patty. I always have this principle of not throwing away any food, but I don’t think I can finish what I am eating now. If this feeling will last long, I may actually become a vegan.

  4. Kimberly Vigil

    Awesome tips! They also said that instead of eating fried foods choose baked or grilled foods. We should always be aware of what we are eating. You might also want to make half portion of your plate just vegetables and/or fruits. Eating Vegetables and fruits can give you vitamins and fiber your body needs to be healthy. Instead of buying processed food why not choose lean protein foods and leaner cuts of beef.

  5. Ashley Moore

    Wow! Another informative article coming from you, added information and knowledge. For me following this kinds of articles as a way of eating will not your improve your health, make you lose weight naturally but also make you feel better every day. I’m always eating foods that were prepared by my mom or me whenever i’m at school because she said that she wants to make sure that i’m eating clean food. My mom’s not a fan of processed foods, she prefers beef because she think that it is more healthier than pork. We are also not a fan and not patronizing fast food chains.

  6. Jenny Garett

    I’m into healthy living and i’m a fitness instructor. I have to admit that if want to be fit and get healthy exercising is not enough. I think it is better to cook more of your own meals. Preparing your own meals at home can help you take charge of what you’re eating and Check what exactly goes into your food. When cutting back on unhealthy foods in your diet, it’s important to replace them with healthy alternatives. Eat Healthier and make the right changes

  7. Hazel Collins

    Nice! I’ve remembered you’ve also found articles that processed meat can also give consumers cancer. I think it is essential for us consumers to know first where the food we are eating came from and if it’s really safe and clean.You’re right when choosing meats, pick the one that were raised organically without injections and etc. I’ve also read that eating more processed can make you look a little bit older .It is hard to cut out meat specially if you’re a meat lover but you can practice lessening your consumption of it until you’re eating more healthier foods than meat.

  8. I agree that knowledge is important in this issue. The thing is, most people DO know on some level and choose to ignore or stay away from this information. People have to choose to inform themselves and make the harder choice of staying away from meat produced under conditions like that. Willful ignorance is no excuse!

  9. Jen Spillane

    Knowledge is key in this battle. I really think that if more people knew what they were actually consuming, change would come faster.

  10. foodyfoody

    Why not? Yes, I’d go for lessening my meat intake. I also noticed that those who eat a lot of meat are commonly short-tempered. Perhaps this must be caused by toxins created by undigested food. While it can be impossible to totally remove meat from the diet for some. I think a meatless day would be more tolerable. It not only lessens the risk of heart attack, it also saves a lot of money on food budget.

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