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6 Tips For Health-Conscious Meat Eaters

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6 Tips For Health-Conscious Meat Eaters

Now more than ever, going green is the movement that is sweeping the nation. Most people are making an effort to be more ‘green,’ or environmentally conscious. Even our diets are changing, with many switching to leafier organic meals rather than traditional American meat and potatoes. Some of us have gone all out veg-head, while others prefer to have a little meat on their plates, despite the health warnings.

6 Tips For Health-Conscious Meat EatersIn 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 carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and insist that we should minimize 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. That means when we get sick, the antibiotics prescribed to us don’t work. (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 from the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org):

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.

2. Eat more vegetables.

6 Tips For Health-Conscious Meat EatersThese 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 “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.

Toxins are carried in animal fat. Get cheeses such as cream cheese, skim milk and non-fat yogurt. Again, go organic as often possible.

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.

Here’s another video from Chipotle that animates how we went from what we tend to think of as “farming”, to the  industrial-style farming that is used today:

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.

47 Comments

  1. Lela House

    Those are very important tips for every human being life!

  2. Rosemary Robles

    Hands down, one of the most helpful posts I’ve read.

  3. Jessica Carlson

    I think the food we eat and why our body craves for those has nothing to do with our mental preference. Our body knows what we need, and it will always send signal to our brain. And what our bodies naturally crave is affected by a lot of factors like geographic location, or the weather conditions, among others.

    I have met someone who lives in a tropical country, and I learned that they like salty foods or maybe just a little bit more salty than what we are used to here in the west. I told him that too much salt is bad for the body. That person explained though that since they live in a tropical country where it’s hot all throughout, their bodies need salt to retain water. It’s not that they want salty food, but their bodies crave for it. And over the centuries, their ancestors have created dish that is suited for them.

    I think moderation is the key to a healthy diet and body. Natural and organic are the spare ones. And listening to the body’s cravings and not to our mental preference, which is highly influenced by advertisements, is the door.

  4. Jessica Carlson

    I think moderation is the key. And natural and organic are the spare ones. 🙂

  5. Roberta Bennett

    I’m a vegan, but I will not tell another what to eat, respect each others eating habits. All I would ask is that they eat with a conscience and be as kind as they can. 🙂

  6. Frances Seifert

    Hello, Hilary! Thanks for sharing! I always thought all meat was created equal, and am just now learning that is not true- the older I get , the more I realise I dont know.

  7. Kimberly Thompson

    I would love to only eat local and organic but where I live it poses two main problems: Availability and cost, when I win the lottery it will solve to affordability part, and then I can move somewhere to solve the availability part. Until then I can only try to make the best of it here LOL

    • Maybe there are organic food delivery services in your area? You may get lucky if you check online.

  8. Emma Blackwood

    Excellent article. Love it. I don’t have to change a thing! Real food for the win, but keep it as natural as possible and moderation. 🙂

  9. Catherine White

    Thank you for posting this article! I believe meat eating should be done at a low level like once a week or twice a month if at all. Support local farms and eat if you must grass fed, beef that is free range and not confined. Factory farming cows, dairy and beef is dangerous.

  10. Nicky Bryan

    Great article! I am not a meat eater, but I love how this article is different than all those many articles and people on the internet who depict meat eating as “only” bad, and I don’t believe that is true. My personal reason for not eating meat is simply that I don’t want to eat animals, because I love them. No health reasons at all. Nobody can eat completely healthy, there is always something, be it pesticides, risk for diseases, contamination, or whatever. It’s just the issue to choose which kind and level of “unhealthyness” you want.

  11. Pearl Nguyen

    Agreed, for the most part. I still eat chicken and fish and make the effort to do so in a manner that is as healthy and responsible as possible. Of course, to most vegans this will never be responsible. But that’s how I eat. To each to their own.

  12. Leslie Williams

    Thanks for the article. Very informative and motivational. Some good links too.

  13. Emily Wentz

    I think that the article is very informational and it doesnt force an issue one way or the other… well done!

  14. Sibel Jenkinson

    Great article Hilary! Thank You for the information. It’s always interesting to learn something new, especially when it’s helpful like this.

  15. Pamela Sanabria

    Good article, thanks. I’m sure people who eat but want to have a healthier diet appreciate it. But I choose not to eat meat because I don’t like eating living things. I really don’t even like eating plant food sources since they too are live things. We have to eat, it’s just what is require to survive. Everything eats something else. I just hate how things have gotten so inhumane and cruel. American Indians would do dances and give thanks for the life given to sustain their own. We folks now take everything for granted.

  16. Delilah Peyton

    Sorry, non-vegans but no such thing as ethical meat! Killing is killing. There are some animals that require meat in their diet, but humans do not fall into that category. Millions of years of evolution have designed us humans to be vegetarians. 🙂

  17. Kaitlyn Barrett

    I simply can not associate ethical to necrophagy! Eating other beings is never ethical… Necrophagous need to evolve quickly!

  18. Camila Hilhorst

    Interesting article as are the comments. Thank you all for the information. 🙂

  19. Helena Stevens

    Eat tofu meat, veggie burgers, veggie dogs, veggie chicken etc… A lot healthier in my opinion…

  20. Olivia Peterson

    I’m no expert, neither am I a vegan. But I’m a healthy eater who loves some meat too! I’ve seen so many posts on the internet where people attack each other and get mean over this topic. People should leave the arguments over vegan vs omnivore for those so inclined, eat what is/feels right for you which is: real food, in moderations, with lots of fruit and veggies but some meat and fish in there for balance so all vitamins an minerals from the food.

  21. Randie Cadiogan

    Thank you very much. Finally an article on food that makes sense. 🙂

  22. Andrea Mitchell

    I cannot consume the flesh of another being who had to die for me to consume.

  23. Sydney Nowak

    LOVE this, although I’m a vegan. Everyone is not vegan or vegetarian, so there should be articles like this more often , for them. 🙂

  24. Shannon Bradley

    Although I seriously doubt the ability of any human to eat meat and be healthy, I can say with absolute certainty that there is no way to eat meat and be a kind person without a kind of schizophrenic worldview. We don’t have room on this planet to keep producing meat for the overabundant human population; and it is cruel to kill anyone unless it’s self-defense!

  25. Anna Kaplan

    I often find myself thinking that only chicken and fish were “healthy” meats. You’re right though – I need the nutrients from the others and need to switch it up! Thanks!

  26. Betty O'Leary

    Thank you for the great article and sharing your great tips with us! 🙂

  27. Julia MacLean

    I have been thinking about going vegan, or least vegetarian but I’m too scared to be honest. I think that I will just fail and go back to eating meat. I live in a household where everybody has a big taste for meat, so we don’t have meatless meals. But I’ll follow your advice and go meatless a few times a week to see how that works out.

  28. Celine Carter

    To those who can’t give up on meat;

    At least try to quit eating red meat. You can easily replace it with lighter meat like chicken or turkey. After that it’s even easier to switching to a full healthy diet with salads, fruits and veggies.

  29. Franny Pimms

    Very good post right there. Many people in richer Western countries have seen the meat supply as limitless – not realizing the amount of resources required to raise the meat. The planet can’t sustain all of us eating lots of meat, but then, supposedly the free market should govern this.

  30. Lana Urie

    I agree with all the tips you mentioned above but there are a few things I’d like to add like, storing meat safely! It’s important to store and prepare meat safely to stop bacteria from spreading and to avoid food poisoning by storing raw meat or raw poultry in clean sealed containers on the bottom shelf of the fridge, so the meat can’t touch or drip onto other food. etc.

    • That’s one of the advantages of a vegan diet — no more getting sick from food that’s gone bad!

  31. Monica CONOVER

    I am all for not eating any sort of meat or dairy, but it’s good to see there are ways of eating those and still keeping healthy. I’ll share this article with my Facebook friends. Sadly about 80% of them are meat eaters..

  32. Marina Henderson

    Before I went vegan, I started out reducing my use of meat with “Almost Meatless Sloppy Joes”. It uses only 6 ounces of ground sirloin. The rest of the mixture is made with canned red beans. 🙂

  33. Colleen Frasier

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

  34. 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!

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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

  39. 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.

  40. 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!

  41. 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.

  42. 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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