So I don´t know about you but I feel like saying that you´re a meat eater doesn´t seem to go down so well these days. Most of us will at least have one vegan friend who will bombard us with guilt and try and convince us to follow their path. Now I totally believe that we could all do with reducing our consumption of meat but I don´t think going vegetarian or vegan is for all of us. It´s certainly not for me...
I agree that the way animals are being treated in slaughterhouses is shocking and I don´t agree with any of the suffering they are being put through before ending up on our plates. I don´t think it´s good for our environment to be such large consumers of meat, nor that it´s particularly beneficial to our health. But instead of trying to convert myself and others to becoming strict vegetarians or vegans, I think the solution lies in becoming more mindful of our consumption of animal products, both when it comes to the quantities and the sourcing of it.
All the way through history meat has been considered a luxury and something we enjoyed occasionally as part of festivities or on a special night of the week, like Sunday roasts. The trouble is that in recent years as our demand for meat has grown, so has the supply for cheap meat, so now we´re knocking back chicken breasts and steaks like it was going out of fashion, which it hopefully is.
In my work as a Health Coach, I often get asked if meat is good or bad. My answer is always that it depends on where you get your meat from and how much of it you eat. If you get 2 Euros/USD/GBP steaks at the supermarket for your supper 5 days a week, it´s probably not going to be the best quality meat. You´re probably eating a mix of hormones & antibiotics that have been given to a cow that has lived its life in conditions similar to those of a concentration camp. Now if we really are what we eat, which I believe we are, then eating that cow is not going to make you the happiest, healthiest person on Earth.
If on the other hand, we could all be a bit more mindful of the sourcing of our meat and be prepared to spend the extra money by getting free range chicken (preferably from a farmer who actually lets his chickens run free) and doing so less occasionally, then I think we might be on to something. This would benefit the farmers who haven´t bought into factory farming, make a difference for our planet, for our health & for the wellbeing of the animals before they get killed.
Meat has come under a lot of fire recently because of its supposedly bad effect on our health but I think we should be mindful of not throwing out the baby with the bath water here. Yes most of us are consuming too much of it but I also think it´s been creating havoc on our health because of the way it is being produced today! Every time we eat meat we also ingest all the products that these poor animals are being injected with to grow faster and to survive long enough until they are ready to get killed. We are what we eat eats.
Hence why it´s probably worth noting that most cows these days are being fed grains even though they are not designed for this and that it´s creating havoc on their digestion... So they are being given drugs. A grass fed cow will not be subject to these problems. The nutritional value between a grain & grass fed cow differs too. The nutritional value of grass fed beef generally contain LESS TOTAL FAT but up to 5 times MORE HEALTHY FATS in the form of Omega 3s than grain fed beef. So going grass fed is definitely a better choice when it comes to your health, and theirs.
For moral reasons, I truly wish I could say that I don´t eat any animal products but after a few weeks on a vegan diet I start feeling weak, even though I´m always mindful of eating a lot of protein in the form of lentils, chickpeas, tempeh, quinoa & hemp. I just feel like there´s something missing and I feel much stronger, more alert and have more energy as soon as I reintroduce a tiny bit of chicken, fish, meat or eggs, even just one or two servings a week.
It might have to do with the fact that I´m a blood type O which means I´m a natural "meat-eater" and strive on a hunter-gatherer style diet. Blood type As strive on grains and often find it easier to let go of animal products but it really depends from one person to another. The best way to find out is to experiment for yourself and see how it makes you feel.
So in essence I don´t think meat is bad for us but I think our overconsumption of it and modern farming is where the problem lies. And the only way we can do anything about this is to reduce our consumption and to be more mindful of where we source from. I ´ve reduced my consumption of animal products by 90% in the past 4 to 5 years so it´s a slow process but I feel much better for it. Even though I´m a carnivore, I was having way too much of it and by replacing most of it with vegan sources and only keeping it as an occasional treat, I feel lighter, my digestion has improved and so have my energy levels. I hope this inspires you to do the same.