Before I dive into this post I want to ask you to please watch Food, Inc.. Even if you have watched it before…watch it again! This is a very easy way to learn a lot in a mere 91 minutes of your life. And hopefully you will join us with a completely renewed perspective when it comes to eating meat. After watching the movie I’ve heard some people say they would never eat meat again (which we of course do), and others say they went out and had a Big Mac the very next day. So don’t take anyone else’s word for it…watch the movie and form your own opinion. And if for some strange reason you don’t watch it, at the very least please read my summary of the film.
Now I’m going to break down our thoughts about meat into two parts…
Not only do we like to promote eating locally raised meat, but just about anything you can buy through your local farmers will be better for you and the environment. I wrote a post a while ago about how produce, on average, travels 1500 miles from the farm to your plate. Not only do those fruits and vegetables lose nutritional value during their trek, but the by-products from all of that travel also have a very negative impact on our environment.
When it comes to industrialized meat, not only does the travel aspect take a toll on our environment, but the resources used to raise, feed, and slaughter the animals do as well. Secondly, the only way to truly know if the meat you are eating was humanely raised is to ask the farmer yourself. And even if the meat comes from an organic factory farm it doesn’t necessarily mean it was raised or fed properly. And the health of the animal directly affects the nutritional value that their products provide you.
Reducing Meat Consumption
I know I’ve said it before about our society’s sugar consumption, and I’ll say it again about meat…it is way overdone. According to Mark Bittman in his book Food Matters, “60 billion animals are raised each year for food – 10 animals for every human on earth.” He also goes on to say that this rate of industrialized meat production is causing “enormous damage to the earth, including the significant acceleration of global warming.”
Secondly, consuming meat at the alarming rate that it is being produced is not good for our health. Bittman says that our current rate of meat consumption has “stimulated a fundamental change in our diets that has contributed to our being overweight, even obese, and more susceptible to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and perhaps even cancer.” Michael Pollan sings a very similar tune in regards to the effects our over consumption of meat has on our health. Learn more about his viewpoint in my post about “Becoming a ‘flexitarian.’” The moral of the story is the less meat you eat the more of something else you will eat instead, and let’s hope that turns out to be vegetables and fruit.
132 thoughts on “How We Feel about Meat”
Have you watched “The Magic Pill”?
Hello. Yes, I have. Not sure about the rest of the team.
Also watch forks over knives movie. I am following a plant based diet and have cured my allergy issues. I am losing weight and has helped my joint pain.
We are lucky enough to eat wild game that we harvest ourselves. It is much leaner than store bought meat & I think a necessary component of our diet (esp iron). We eat it almost daily & have cut out processed foods & refined sugar & minimize grains with great results in improving how we feel & getting to healthy weight. I would not consider reducing our intake.
I lost 90 pounds over 18 months by cutting out the majority of processed foods and lowering my carb intake. I ate lots of veggies and fruit, and meat, to make me feel satisfied and full. We would like to cut our meat consumption, but can’t up grains much as it raises my blood sugar. How do you feel full and not feel like you’re starving 2 hours later with little or no meat?
Hi Shannon. You can add things like nuts, seeds, and beans as well as healthy fats. Avocados are a good example of a healthy fat.
So, I love the idea of cutting down meat and I was starting to do this until a couple of years ago when I discovered I have some food sensitivities (allergies) that needed attention (dairy, eggs and gluten). So, I went back to eating primarily meat and vegetables, which makes it hard to cut down on meat. I was under the impression that a lot of the diseases like cancer and heart diseases and other illnesses were contributed to by eating conventional meat (raised on antibiotics, etc). Are you saying that regardless of where your meat comes from (we strive for local, grass-fed, antibiotic free, etc), there is a greater risk of illness if you are eating meats, especially red?
Hi Angie. While buying local, organic, grass-fed etc. makes your meat consumption smarter and better for you as well as more sustainable, it is still a very good idea to have meat be the smallest portion of your meal. The rule in our family, if serving meat, is that 3/4 of the plate be veggie/salad/fruit and a bit of whole grain (quinoa, brown rice, etc). This article might shed a bit of light: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4698595/.
I had no idea that I’m a flexitarian until I read this! I just thought I was someone who doesn’t eat meat every day, but isn’t willing to give up Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas prime rib, and the occasional other meat dish.
I will like to take the 100- day challenge. Just me and my husband. Please sign me on!
I went Meat Free after watching Forks Over Knives and then Food Inc. It’s extreme, but I didn’t even want to do the “healthy” meats….the result…..my glucose readings came down to normal after eliminating all animal products :-)
We are a family of 4. Two adults, 2 children. I plan on doing this for the week. We are “flexatarians” so hopefully this won’t be too hard.
Can we eat fish on week three in addition to meat or is it all under the same umbrella? I live by the coast and so have local caught fish always to hand. My husband likes meat or fish at each meal, trying to plan ahead :)
Hi Lorraine. Same umbrella. :)
2 adults starting this week! My husband works for a local meat producer so we usually only eat local meat anyways. :)
I’m turned off of food documentaries since the last time I watched one. I can’t remember the title right now, but it covered a range of topics, including a section on MSG.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m no fan of MSG and I try not to eat it. But this documentary made it abundantly clear how biased the “whole foods movement” can be. A segment talked about lab rats, and how in order to make lab rats and mice obese for trials, they give them MSG. Well, I looked up the information for myself and it’s not that straightforward. MSG is injected under the skin of mice/rats in large quantities when they are very young to make them obese, not fed to them in seasoning quantities as the documentary was implying. There are countries that use MSG as a regular table seasoning the way we use salt in North America, and they don’t have higher incidence of obesity, cancer, or other hot-topic health problems.
Again, I don’t like the idea of MSG and I avoid it whenever possible. And I’m here on this site because I prefer to eat real foods and avoid synthetic and highly processed ingredients. But this just goes to show how documentaries can go overboard to the point of spreading misinformation in order to start hype and gain viewers.
We are very lucky to have Colorado Sustainable Farms only about 15 miles away from our home. This farm is run by some friends of ours (who used to be our neighbors, then moved away to build their farm). Their website is a wealth of information on sustainable farming. Not only are their animals managed in the most natural way possible, but their prices are comparable to the local grocery store foods. They can be found at: http://www.coloradosustainablefarms.com/
I’m going to start buying meats from them (except for seafood, of course).
This week was an easy one for me, My parents rise chickens and my neighbor is a farmer! So I’ve been buying local meat for awhile now. The movie was an eye opener!
So I am on day 3 of exploring this website after accidental discovery via Pinterest! I am so inspired! Have not yet committed to any pledges, but as I learn more there is certainly potential for commitment! However, the problem is I have like so many others, a meat loving, soda guzzling, potato chip devouring husband! I can get him to try new veggies and grains, but meat is a non-negotiable for him at this point! There are some local farms that offer CSA boxes, Obviously veggie shares but also meat shares! I have flirted with the idea and the numbers budget wise….it’s just the two of us, my fears are as I work full time… And sometimes more, how would I handle all the time and attention a meat or veg box would require… Even a half share. Any suggestions, or can you refer meto some part of this website I have yet to discover!?
Hi Bre. Regarding your husband, this might help: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2011/07/07/convincing-a-reluctant-spouse-to-eat-real-food/. Time saving and meal prep consolidation can happen if you choose a weekend afternoon to cook a couple big recipes and throw them in the frigde/freezer for use throughout the week/s. Also, using your slow cooker can happen even while you work and you can add that to your freezer cache. Now, I am not a particularly organized person (creative type :) ), but I have found that taking the time on Sunday afternoon to plan and cook for the week, to be a giant reliever of stress. I end up wasting less, too, because many of my fresh ingredients get used immediately. Hope that helps. ~Amy
One adult for week three! We buy local meet anyway, so that part is covered. I eat less meat than most people, but I think having it only 3-4 days even for flavoring will be tough. Pretty sure I’ll just not order meat in a restaurant unless I know for sure where it’s from, that might be the most challenging part!
My family of 5 is taking this pledge starting November 17th. Two adults and 3 kids. It was tough to find local meat sources, but I did it!