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While eating a largely plant based diet is important for your health, if you eat meat you want to be sure you are getting adequate amounts. This means about 10 to 15 percent from lean meats, poultry, and fish. There are some essential nutrients found in animal protein foods.
Getting adequate fish is good for boosting your omega 3 fatty acid intake. These fats are responsible for helping to combat inflammation. You want to stay away from any farm raised fish and stick with those that are fresh water. Try to limit or avoid bottom feeder fish like Tilapia. Instead stick with a healthy fatty fish like Salmon or Mackerel. When in doubt about a fish you can check the Sustainable Seas website to see what is the best quality seafood out there.
Research indicates that incorporating poultry as part of a veggie rich diet can help to reduce the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. Poultry is rich in vitamins and minerals including the B vitamins (thiamin, B6, and pantothenic acid), iron, copper, and zinc. B vitamins are needed for cell function to improve metabolism, strengthen bones, and help makes you happy through the production of serotonin. They also give your body the ability to deal with stress (norepinephrine), and create red blood cells (1).
The other nice thing about poultry is it has a high biological value protein which means it it is easily absorbed by the body. Chicken and other lean meats have been shown to increase absorption of iron, copper, selenium, B12 and other b vitamins over plant foods with the same nutrients. It provides a good amount of iron in comparison with red meat. 100 grams of chicken thighs provides 1.4 mg of iron with 1.3 mg of 100 grams of rump steak.
Beef can be part of a healthy diet but you want to make sure that you are getting the best quality. You want to opt for grass fed organic beef. Grass-fed organic beef has been shown to have a higher omega three fatty acid profile than regular conventional meats. A study of Australian beef cuts that were grain-fed showed higher amounts of omega 6 fatty acids and trans fats when compared It also is high in iron which is an integral part of our diet (2)
The quality of meat we eat is so important and sometimes you just can’t find good stuff at the food store. I recently was introduced to this great meat service called Butcher Box. The best part is that the products are delivered right to your door. It is like a CSA for meat and is a great quality. All of their products are organic and pasture raised. It is a subscription service, but you can put it on hold at any time. I like it because of my busy schedule. Not sure what meats you want? Try the mystery box! Butcher Box provides you with different cuts of poultry and meats.
Don’t like meat? No problem!
You can get a box just filled with chicken and now they offer fresh water salmon! They come in different sizes so if you are a smaller house of just 1 or 2 you can get a good amount of meat to last you a few months.
So how much meat should you eat?
You want to stick to maybe red meat only two or three times a week. The other 2-3 days you should incorporate poultry, pork, and freshwater fatty fish.
One thing to remember is the meat should be thought of as a side dish with the other part of your plate filled up with vegetables.
You want to aim for at least 9 to 10 servings of vegetables a day. This equates to about 4 or 5 cups of vegetables. Break this down to 1.5 cups per meal and you will easily get to your recommended intake.
Have questions about your meat intake? Comment below or contact me HERE!