Should you be eating more meat?

Roast Chicken

This topic of eating more meat is a tricky one.

But it’s been on my mind a lot in recent months.

On one hand there are the longevity researchers and environmental advocates telling us to eat less meat.

And then there are people like a doctor my Irishman saw who advocate a carnivore diet and believe that the science behind the ‘eat less meat’ message is flawed.

I know from my experiment of eating vegetarian for a month that I feel much better when I include some animal products in my diet.

However I had been heading down the path of eating less meat both in terms of frequency and serving size.

3 things recently made me question the ‘less is best’ approach.

First

One of my coaching clients has been having problems with fatigue and low energy.

She does eat some fish and occasionally eggs.

But not a lot.

She had been intentionally cutting back on meat for environmental reasons. And because she believed it was healthier.

When I suggested the fatigue could be a symptom of low iron she agreed.

She started having pâté a few times a week (liver is one of the best sources of iron). And her energy levels improved dramatically.

Second

I saw a doctor speak at the Low Carb Gold Coast conference.

She said she is seeing more and more vegan teenage girls who are struggling with a wide range of nutrition related health problems.

Which again got me thinking.

Third

I’m currently reading Dave Asprey’s longevity book called ‘Super Human – The Bulletproof Plan to Age Backwards and Maybe Even Live Forever’.

In it he shares his own experience of being vegan and what he calls ‘the vegan trap’.

Basically he felt amazing for the first 6 weeks as a vegan but then as time went on he started to have health problems.

So after 6 months he added some animal products back to his diet. And his health improved.

Should you be eating more meat?

Here’s how I answer this question for myself…

No I don’t need to be eating more meat.

I’m happy with my energy levels and general health.

But I also don’t think I should be cutting down significantly either.

I aim for that Goldilocks amount. Just right.

I keep my portions moderate (less than 150g / 5oz).

I have red or white meat on average twice a week. Fish once a week for dinner and about twice a week for lunch. Eggs make up my other protein.

I’ve also been having pâté at least once a week.

And I have at least one animal product-free day a week.

I’m super careful with the quality and ethics of our ingredients.

We have our own chickens for eggs.

And 90% of our meat and dairy comes from small local producers at the farmers market.

Fish is either canned small fish like sardines, herring and mackerel or sustainably wild caught from the guys at Fish & Co.

What about you?

How do you feel about animal products? Do you include them? Are you trying to cut down?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…

More on different diets

Have fun in the kitchen!

With love,
Jules x

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24 Comments

    • I’m a bit disappointed by this post. As far as I can tell there id tons of research of good quality urging us to cut out meat for health reasons and om top of that we have the climate research community urging us to cut out meat. Your there bullet points are episodical. Someone needs more iron. You don’t need meat for that. Teenage girls making bad food choices – many more of them teenagers eating unhealthy not being vegan. And someone just telling his experience – but do we know what his vegan diet looked like? You can eat super-healthy as a vegan and you can live on vegan junk food (there is a LOT of that out there). As far as I can tell the evidence is for eating less meat but making sure the diet is a good one. Just cutting out meat don’t make it healthy but adding it is mot the way to go.

      • Thanks for the feedback Lucie – and you raise an excellent point – cutting out meat won’t make a diet healthy and just adding meat isn’t going to make it healthy either – there is more to it than that of course.

    • I love this post and find it the most sensible response to the question I have read from anyone. I eat 3-5 ounces of meat or fish per day and try to avoid processed meats although I occasionally eat bacon. You clearly state that this is your answer to the question, and I don’t feel like you are trying to get us to eat more meat or any at all. Thank you.

  • I have followed the same “no mammals” diet for 50 years. No red meat, but small amounts of chicken, fish, eggs, and cheese. I’m now 76, have never been hospitalized or broken a bone, do brisk walks for more than an hour each day, and am working full time. My wife has never eaten meat and follows the same diet. Our son, meanwhile, has kept to a strict vegan diet for close to ten years and is also healthy. So we don’t see the need for meat in our household. It would be pointless to add it to our diets.

  • I have to say that vegan recipes always inspire me. When I am in the doldrums food wise I look for those kind of recipes. BUT here’s the catch. To get enough protein without eating animal products requires too many carbs to support my diabetes management. So back I go to meat. My preference is pork and it is somewhat hard to find heritage pork around my part of the woods (no idea why). Like you Jules, I keep my portions reasonable (5 oz is good) and I eat a ton of above ground veggies to go with it. We do eat beef but it is almost always a second choice to pork. My favourite pork cut is a shoulder chop but boy are they hard to find, heritage or otherwise.

  • I focus my diet on meat and vegetables, mostly vegetables. My system does not tolerate wheat, rice, or white potatoes. I am also lactose intolerant. I believe everyone’s system is different. What works for me, won’t necessarily work for anyone else. Therefore, to judge how someone else is eating is not fair. I care about humane and natural raising of animals, as well as the slaughtering process. Our ancestors, long before agriculture came to pass, ate whatever animals they could hunt, and foraged for berries and vegetation. So I’m hugely in favour of the “live and let live” philosophy regarding eating. Whatever keeps YOU healthy, is right for you. That’s why I do like this post. Jules is asking, not telling.

  • I mainly eat pulses (beans), meat, veggies, dairy (mainly hard cheeses and cottage cheese). In no particular order, I listen to my body and eat what I fancy. I feel at my best when I eat a combination of protein, fat and low gi carbs.

  • Dear Jules,

    It would be interesting to go back to the Bible (Leviticus I believe) and research the diet that God gave in his “owners manual” to see what he initially wanted us to eat. I have never had time to do this on my own but it would be interesting to see a comparison with modern diet recommendations and biblical diets recommendations to see how they intersect.

    You may have the time and the dietary experience to do this. I could see your next book, The Stone Soup – “Biblical Diet “. I would buy it!

  • In the past I was a regular blood, plasma and platelet donor. After a few years of only eating fish, vegetables and fruit I was thrown off the donor list because my iron levels were less than acceptable. My Doctor said: have a steak at least once a week. My iron levels improved and I was again accepted as a donor.

  • I would like to reduce meat for the environment, my budget and general health but I’m also trying to eat minimal carbs and I have a husband to fill up! & need to make sure my 2yo’s diet covers all the bases……… so it’s always a tricky one.

  • Blood tests can help in determining the best food plan. Cholesterol levels, iron levels, inflammation markers, sugar level, can all can help determine the foods that best support better health.

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