How often should you be eating meat?
When it comes to meat consumption quality, not quantity is what’s important – Try and aim for at least two meat free days per week, and on the days you are eating meat try to limit it to one meal.producers who treat the animals fairly. Use the money you have save to support local who treat the animals fairly.
My Meat Eating habits
About two years ago I reduced my meat consumption by about a third. Initially, this wasn’t a conscious decision; I used to buy all my meat from Hazeldene Farm in Buckinghamshire, but when I moved to London I became too busy to make the trip regularly.
Having spent a number of years seeing what conditions the animals at the farm were kept in, plus having a good relationship with the farmer himself, I had a decent understanding of what it takes to produce quality meat. After I moved to London I then started buying “quality” meat from top supermarkets, but the difference in taste was drastic. I felt uncomfortable not knowing where the meat came from and not being able to see what conditions the animals were kept in. The combination of its poor taste and not knowing where it came from lead me to start reducing my meat intake.
I am now having at least three meat-free days per week. Since doing this I now seem to crave meat less, yet I am doing more strength training than ever (six Olympic Lifting sessions per week) – with absolutely no negative side effects (even though I am consuming about a third less protein) and no, I do NOT take protein shakes! I have actually put on about 4kg of muscle since reducing meat and increasing strength training.
How sustainable is eating meat?
In the rich world, each of us consumes or uses 30 or more animals a year (mostly chicken). We don’t, nutritionally need these animals to feed us. Yet, in order to eat them at an acceptable price we have to imprison them, alter them genetically and chemically, and kill them. Farming practises are becoming less and less ethical – cheap meat means corners cut on safety, health and welfare: humane treatment generally slows down a production line. We have become addicted to meat, but the quality of the meat we are eating is decreasing all the time. Even worse are people’s disconnection from the actual animals themselves, which has caused an increase in consumption. Consumers can simply purchase nicely packaged meat from a supermarket without ever making the connection that it was once an animal. If everyone had more of an understanding of where this meat came from I don’t think as many people would eat meat. If you were told you had to kill an animal every time you wanted to eat meat, would you agree to do so?
Recent documentaries like “Cowspiracy” and “What The Health” have polarised opinion and created extreme views on both sides of the argument. Although I disagree with a lot of what they say, the ethical and sustainability arguments against eating meat are strong. I do not believe that eating meat is inherently unhealthy like these documentaries are suggesting, but there is no doubt in my mind that we do not need to be eating anywhere near as much as we are.
Eating meat for protein
There has been a big emphasis in the fitness industry on the importance of protein, and rightly so, protein is a nutrient needed by the human body for growth and maintenance. It is one of the main building blocks in every cell, especially in your muscles and you need to eat more when you exercise more. The issue is the amount of protein advised is often far too high.
Recent studies have shown that the average untrained person needs as little as 60-75g of protein and the average trained person who exercises three times a week needs 1.2g-2g per kilo of body weight on their training days, and less on their rest days.
What most people don’t realise excessive protein can actually be quite detrimental to your health. Eating more protein than your body needs can interfere with your health and fitness goals in a number of ways, including weight gain (too much protein can actually be broken down into sugars that create an insulin response which can facilitate fat storage this is called gluconeogenesis), stress on your kidneys and leaching of important bone minerals.
So, How often should you be eating meat?
I am not vegetarian or vegan, I just want to get the point across that your body gets into habits very easily. If you eat meat all the time you will start to crave meat all the time. Try to reduce the amount of meat you are eating, not only is this good for the environment you will end up saving a lot of money. It is completely unnecessary to be eating meat at every meal time. If you currently eat meat all the time, trying to make meat-free meals for 1 or 2 days of your week can start to make a difference. All it takes is a little imagination in the kitchen and you can become very creative on your meat-free days.
Why not try this Avocado Cashew Nut Pesto as one of your meat-free meals this week?