Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Why We Should Eat Beef (and play with legos :)

I love the taste of beef!  There really is nothing that compares to that juicy slab of meat melting in my mouth.  How I have wanted to keep you dear beef as a part of my diet, but are you healthy or bad for my health?

The answer is both.  So what does that mean?  Very simply put, whether or not beef is healthy for you depends largely on what kind of beef you eat. 

Why we should eat beef...

The scientific explanation... There are 50,000 different kinds of proteins out there.  Each person needs protein for the formation of organs, nerves, muscle and flesh.  All proteins are combinations of just 22 amino acids that our bodies need to function.  Of those 22 there are 8 that cannot be made by the others (note the legos :), and so we must get them entirely from what we consume.  If even one of those 8 is missing, or in short supply, then the body cannot form the other 14 amino acids, even when over all protein intake is high.  If the 8 amino acids are all present then our bodies can usually build the other 14 amino acids we need. (source- Nourishing Traditions book)

There are only a handful of foods that have the perfect required balance of amino acids.  They include "proteins derived from animal foods (meats, fish, poultry, cheese, eggs, yogurt, and milk) are complete.  Proteins derived from plant foods (legumes, grains, and vegetables) tend to be limited in essential amino acids." (source).  Quinoa is a rare grain that has all the essential amino acids, as well as soy (however most soy today is genetically modified, so I don't recommend it). 

More reasons to eat beef... Beef is high in the natural form of vitamins A and D, which need fat to be absorbed into the body.  Beef is also a great source of B12, a vital nutrient for our bodies, that only comes from animal products.  Here is a break down of how beef can benefit our nutritional needs...

Nutrients in
4.00 oz-wt (113.40 grams)
Nutrient%Daily Value



vitamin B346.2%


vitamin B634.5%

vitamin B1230%



Calories (218)12%
Wondering what is a good portion size?  For an adult think a piece of meat the size of a stack of cards.  Since it is harder for the body to digest red meat eating it in moderation is important. For our family it's usually 1-2 times a week that we include it in our dinner.  Eating meat with vegetables is helpful as it increases the amount of fiber that helps meat move through the digestive tract, and the fat in the meat helps fat soluable vitamins to be absorbed.

Most of us love steaks and hamburgers.  If you are ready to be a bit adventurous try some beef liver, which is very high in a lot of nutrients.  Here's a recipe for chili if your ready to take the plunge, or just go eat your steak. 

Bon appetite!

Coming Soon-  What Kind of Beef Should I be Buying?

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