Posted by | Leah Beyer | 24-Mar-2021
For most of my life, beef was a staple in my daily diet. But over the years, beef has gotten a bad rap: bad for the environment and/or bad for our health. After digging into sustainable nutrition and beef’s role on your plate with Sheri Glazier, MS, RDN, LD, I learned beef may not actually be the demon we are being told.
Earlier this month, Sheri joined me on the Animals Rediscovered podcast, and we talked all things food, nutrition, dieting, and feeding our families. She spoke straight to my beef loving heart when she shared, “People want to eat meat - they enjoy the taste. Why can’t this be a good thing? Pair the beef with fiber rich foods. It can be a win-win!”
She then went on to share how she, a fellow rancher, thinks beef has been out running with the wrong crowd. Fast food – that is what many think of when they think of a beef-based meal. The beef automatically becomes the culprit of all the bad things. She challenged me to compare two meals:
Meal 1: Double meat cheeseburger, loaded French fries and a sugar sweetened beverage
Meal 2: Cheeseburger, strawberry poppyseed spinach salad, and unsweet iced tea
Is beef still a bad guy?
I also hear a lot about how cattle are perceived to be bad for the environment, and Sheri shared some real nuggets of truth here too. Sustainable nutrition definitions focus on the diet being respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems. Well, beef cattle play a crucial role in the ecosystem. Much of the land cattle graze is not suitable for crop production and is not in competition for human food supply. Cattle graze non-usable lands that can grow edible grasses and upcycle them to a nutrient dense, high quality protein while managing grasslands that ultimately mitigate wildfire risk as well and fertilize the land as they go. In the U.S. cattle producers produce the same amount of beef using 69.9% of animals, 81.4% of feedstuffs, 87.9% of the water, and only 67.0% of the land required compared to 1977 thanks to prioritizing animal health & welfare, animal nutrition, and animal genetics.
Is beef still the bad guy?
Beyond just beef, Sheri shared a critical takeaway I am going to implement immediately with my family: food is a happy place. We do not have to talk negative about food. There aren’t bad foods or good foods on a balanced plate, especially if we have a united plate with protein, fiber rich foods, and even a little bit of dessert.
Be sure to listen in to Episode 18 of the Animals Rediscovered podcast to learn more.
Follow Sheri Glazier, MS, RDN/LD