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Red meat craving means dietary lack

Moo!
Moo!Bill Tarpenning/USDA/Wikimedia Commons

Question: For as long as I can recall I have had a strong craving for red meat. It can be beef, buffalo, venison, moose--just so long as it's juicy and ruddy, preferably rare. Now doctors say red meat is bad for me. Why do I feel sick, then, if I don't get red meat daily?

Answer: For starters, let's establish one fact: allopathic doctors and nutritionists have waffled back and forth on this subject. When baby-boomers were young, back in the sixties, they were told to eat plenty of red meat, that it was beneficial. Being chock full of not just protein but iron and Vitamin B12, there was no caveat as today. Now they shoo us all away from red meat consumption, claiming it has too much cholesterol, too much fat, and will turn your heart and arteries into virtual cement. Eat red meat, the conventional doctors say, and you'll drop dead of heart disease at a young age.

However, most of the farmers a couple or more generations ago ate plenty of red meat--beef, venison, whatever they either raised on their farms or brought home from the forest, as many Michiganders do even today. Did they keel over in middle age? The truth is, most of those old farmers hung on for eighty or more years and were healthy as horses throughout most of their lives. If you pitched any of them against the yuppies of the current generation for a day's work, the old guys would give them a run for their money. Was coronary or artery disease, or diabetes, at epidemic rates as it is now? Nope. Was obesity the norm rather than a rare exception? Not at all. Nor did cancer take as many lives as it now does. Why, you may wonder, if people ate all that terrible red meat?

The answer is a mixture of reasons. First of all, the beef farmed in modern times isn't your grandfather's beef; it comes from factory farms where the cattle rarely see the light of day nor do they get outdoors to graze on natural turf, breathe fresh air, and live normal lives. Instead they are pumped full of growth hormones, antibiotics and various steroids, drugs and even chemicals after they are slaughtered to make their meat appear redder.(Check the color of organically-raised, all-natural beef.) Preservatives and even flavor enhancers often are also added depending on how the meat is processed later.

An additional factor in the red meat debate is that today, most people live in highly-artificial environments as opposed to the farm families of the early twentieth century and before. From the time they are born to their death, how many modern Americans spend most of their days outdoors, doing hard physical labor? How many, too, have diets consisting of all-natural foods outside of their meat intake? You can't state that one particular food, then, such as beef or other red meat, is the culprit in the demise of today's aging citizens. Refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, chemical additives, and a sedentary lifestyle are strong factors contributing to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.

The truth is, red meat--when it is lean, well-cooked to prevent food poisoning, and free of harmful additives, is healthy for you. The iron is necessary for your blood, especially for young women. The Vitamin B12 is vital for people of all ages, and the protein is a nutritional building block. As for your craving red meat--on a personal level--it points to a likely lack of the aforementioned nutrients at an early stage of your development. During your mother's pregnancy with you, and/or your first five years of childhood, the probability is strong that you did not eat this type of food often enough if at all.

Compare the nutrients of beef vs. chicken, for instance, at the following links:

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/beef-products/10526/2

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/poultry-products/703/2

http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-005116000000000000000.html?maxCount=59

http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-013116000000000000000.html?maxCount=206

Clearly, beef contains more Vitamin B12 and iron than chicken.

Detroiters: want to find local healthy, natural red meat sources? See the following links:

http://www.localharvest.org/forum/thread.jsp?thread=872&forum=6

http://www.eatwild.com/products/michigan.html

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