Welcome to May!
May is one of my favorite months of the year because it’s is National Beef Month, which gives me an excellent excuse to tell my husband to get the grill ready to go because we are throwing steaks or burgers on and soaking up some warmer weather. Coincidently, May is also National Barbecue Month, so I hope to celebrate all month long.
Some say eating beef isn’t healthy, I, and many other folks, beg to differ.
Organizations like the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association advocate for beef by stumping on its health attributes, but cattlemen aren’t the only ones who sing the praises of beef. Multiple studies have shown beef provides 10 essential nutrients, including B12, zinc, niacin and riboflavin; all of which are needed to give a body fuel.
I recently came across a great article published on the website authoritynutriton.com that addresses why meat is actually good for you. The site’s contributors are licensed nutritionists, and some have PhDs in nutrition. In his article entitled, 7 Reasons Not to Avoid Meat, the CEO and founder of the site, Kris Gunnars, who is a nutrition researcher and holds a degree in medicine, dispelled many of the misconceptions about meat and beef.
One of my favorite arguments he presented for meat consumption is that the human digestive system is well equipped to make full use of the fats, proteins and nutrients found in meat.
“The truth is that humans are omnivores,” Gunnars wrote. “We function best eating both animals and plants.”
Gunnars also said humans have a much shorter digestive system than herbivores and don’t have the specialized organs to digest cellulose, the main fiber in plants. In fact, he wrote, humans have been eating meat for 1.5 million years. I guess we can say meat consumption is part of our DNA.
My maternal great-grandmother was in her mid 90s when she passed, and she cooked with lard, drank milk, loved ice cream, beef and pork, and ate cornbread just about everyday of her life. I’m sure she had been told her diet wasn’t good for her, but it served her well for nearly a century, and who am I to argue with my Granny?
Anti-agriculture groups claim the beef industry is bad for the environment, screaming that cattle production is responsible for the destruction of rain forests and consumes a massive amount of resources. There was even a documentary made about the “destructive cattle industry” staring a major Hollywood actor. I hear it is quite scathing; claiming cow burps, manure and flatulence are killing the planet. Critics of the movie have said it was purely and effort to promote veganism.
One of the weapons anti-agriculture organizations bring to the fight against farmers is a 2006 study, Livestock’s Long Shadow. It claimed meat production was responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions – more than transportation. However, a U.S. scientist found a couple of flaws in the research.
Dr. Frank Mitloehner, from the University of California at Davis said meat and milk production generates less greenhouse gas than most environmentalists claim and the emissions figures were calculated differently to the transportion figures, resulting in an “apples-and-oranges analogy that truly confused the issue.”
The meat figure had been reached by adding all greenhouse-gas emissions associated with meat production, including fertilizer production, land clearance, methane emissions and vehicle use on farms, whereas the transportation figure only included the burning of fossil fuels. I’m pretty sure the producers of the documentary left out Dr. Mitloehner’s findings.
Another point left out of the debate is that Americans love their beef.
In 2015, U.S. beef production (commercial carcass weight) was 23.69 billion pounds, and the total U.S. beef consumed was 24.807 billion pounds, and consumers were willing to pay as much as $6.29 a pound for it, according to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
So beef producers, in the month of May, give yourself a pat on the back; you’re helping to feed beef lovers around the world.
And my advice to those who think beef is unhealthy and bad the environment is to go ahead, pass up that invitation to a barbecue, stand up for what you feel is right. Stand by your principals, don’t eat beef or any other meat; it will leave more for the rest of us.