You may have heard the news about processed meat being linked to premature death today?
With this is the news I think people always do a quick mental check of their own eating habits to see whether they fit the category referred to by the report.
This research is about processed meats. Foods like bacon, hams, chorizo, salamis, cured meats, some sausages hot dogs and tinned meats.
It isn’t about minced meat, fresh farm made sausages, fresh 100% meat burgers or red meat in general.
It also states that the people who ate more of these processed meats tended to have other poor lifestyle choices like being smokers, not taking exercise and eating fewer vegetables; and even when this was taken into account it is suggested that there was still some risk for people eating more than two rashers of bacon and a processed sausage each day.
If you are interested in living a longer, healthier life then it makes sense to ask questions about reports like this. For example I am not going to stop eating bacon. However I don’t eat bacon daily but when I do eat it, it will always be from outdoor bred pigs and organic if possible. The same goes for sausages, when I buy them they are from butchers who make them weekly with fresh meat with some herbs, spices and nothing else.
Yes, eating a lot of meat isn’t going to be the best choice for you (eating anything to excess is going to cause a dietary imbalance) however it was also noted in this report that eating some red meat is beneficial to health.
Meat contains the vitamin B12, a vitamin that is only found, in any great quantity, in animal products. A deficiency in B12 can cause nerve problems, so numbness or ‘pins and needles’ feelings. People who complain of a burning in their feet have been shown to be B12 deficient. Given the connection between our nervous system and our brains it is also not surprising that mental problems like depression can be linked to B12 deficiency.
It has been recommended that vegetarians and vegans not eating animal products should consider taking a B12 supplement considering that the vegetarian alternatives for B12 tend to not be as well utilised by our bodies. Vegetarian sources include tempeh, brewer’s yeast and some sea vegetables. This is a subject for another conversation though.
So to remain healthy and carnivorous ensure you keep to good lifestyle choices like not smoking, exercising regularly, having a good healthy work/life balance and eating a lot of varied vegetables. Eating vegetables with all meals but especially your meat meals will create a healthy balance in your body. When you eat animal products the body becomes acidic, too much acidity will lead to disease. When we eat vegetables we become more alkaline. Therefore eating meats and vegetables together provides not only a complete blend of nutrients per meal but the alkalinity of the vegetables will counteract the acidity of the meat.
Makes sense doesn’t it?
So how can you incorporate this into your own home?
- Make your own burgers from fresh minced meat. Add seasoning, finely chopped onion and maybe an egg to bind together.
- Choose sausages from a butchers rather than ‘Walls’. I use Lockey Farm in Arborfield and they make them each week in gluten free flavours too. These are the best as they are all meat and some flavouring. Lovely!
- Rather than buying expensive chicken breasts, buy and cook a whole chicken. Use the cold meat where you may normally use processed ham in salads, sandwiches.
- Mince cold, roasted meats (beef or lamb) for making into a Shepherd’s pie.
- If you relish chorizo or salami, use more sparingly with other ingredients, like a risotto or paella.
- If you really like ham, buy a gammon from the butcher and soak and boil it yourself to remove some of the salting. It’s still processed but you will have prepared it, made yourself a wonderful stock in the process and have the knowledge that it is better for you and your family than ‘Billy Bear’ ham slices.
- Pile your plate high with vegetables at each meal.
- Eat less bacon, but when you do, eat the best you can afford.
- Finally, don’t worry too much about it. Have a sense of perspective too.