I just want to preface this by saying there are many excellent reasons to become vegetarian. Especially cost and not wanting animals to die in order for you to live. I get it. And I fully respect you if you choose not to eat meat for any reason. So if you’re happy not eating meat. As you were. (Oh and you might enjoy the vegan variations in the recipe below.)
But I’ve known many people over the years who have chosen not to eat red meat in favour of fish or chicken because they think its healthier. If you fall into this camp, this post is for you!
When I was pregnant I found myself getting incredibly tired. And even though I was sleeping a good 10 hours+ a night I couldn’t seem to shake it.
Then something made me think about iron, and that lack of energy is a typical symptom of iron deficiency. Which of course made me think of red meat. So I decided to conduct an experiment and have a week of eating red meat every day.
And the result?
My tiredness vanished. I was still sleeping like a trooper but I felt great! Now when I get that feeling of being just so tired (which doesn’t happen very often even with a 3 month old in the house) I plan a few more red meat meals. Easy.
6 reasons red meat is good for you.
1. It’s high in ‘heme’ iron.
This is important because heme iron is the easiest for your body to use. But not only that, it makes it easier for your body to use non-heme iron from plant sources as well. So you get and extra boost .
Of course there are other ways to get iron. For the pescetarians go for molluscs such as mussels, clams and oysters. And all liver (think) pate is even higher in iron and tends to be much cheaper than a steak!
2. Red meat also contains other minerals.
Such as zinc, selenium and magnesium. And as with iron, the form of these minerals is easy for our bodies to use.
3. Red meat contains lots of vitamins.
You may already know that meat contains. Vitamin B12 but it also contains significant amounts of other vitamins including thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folate, niacin, and vitamin B6. It also has Vitamin D, which important if you aren’t exposed to enough sunlight.
4. It can contain ‘good’ fats.
Red meat from animals that have been fed grass or ‘pastured’ actually contains good levels of omega-3 fatty acids (you know the ones so found in fish that are good for your brain among other things).
5. It doesn’t increase the risk of heart disease.
Remember how we were told to reduce our intake of saturated fat to avoid heart disease? Well turns out as saturated fat intake has decreased over the years, the amount of heart disease has actually gotten worse.
I know. This is because what you replace the saturated fat with is important. It’s actually better from a heart disease perspective to stick to saturated fat than replace it with refined carbohydrates or processed oils.
The other thing to remember not all fat in red meat is saturated. A significant proportion is monounsaturated (like olive oil).
6. It’s a great source of protein.
But you probably already knew that. :)
Surely eating large quantities of meat can’t be a good thing…
Eating large amounts of anything tends to cause problems.
I’m not suggesting that you need to eat steak 24/7. Nor is it a good idea to chow down on factory farmed and processed meats.
Just that red meat can be included in a healthy lifestyle. And can make it easier to get many nutrients we need to be happy and healthy!
Beef, Broccolini & Basil
I love using ground (minced meat) because it’s more forgiving to cook and tends to be more affordable.
Enough for 2
2 bunches broccolini, chopped
450g (1lb) minced (ground) beef
1-2 small red chillis – fresh or dried, chopped, optional
1 bunch basil, leaves picked
1. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan or wok. Cook broccolini, stirring until no longer super crunchy.
2. Remove veg from the pan. Add a little more oil and cook the meat and chilli, if using on a high heat until well browned.
3. Return the broccolini to the pan. Taste and season with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
4. Serve with basil leaves on top and lemon halves.
vegan / vegetarian – replace meat with cooked lentils – I especially like French-style or ‘puy’ lentils here. And serve with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to stop it being too dry. A splash of soy sauce will also help give more complexity.
different veg – replace broccolini with broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, green beans or even cauliflower.
different meat – most ground (minced) meat is good here. Even chicken or pork. And sliced tender cuts such as beef fillet, lamb backstraps or chicken breast can also be used – just be careful with the cooking time.
budget – serve on a bed of cooked lentils to make your meat go further.
different herbs – replace basil with flat leaf parsley or coriander (cilantro).
Video version of the recipe.