In yesterday’s post, I posed the question “If I have high cholesterol can I still eat meat?” and promised to answer it. Well, I really should do some research BEFORE I say things like that as this is quite the hot topic! There are two schools of thought:
1- never eat meat, meat is bad
2- always eat meat, meat is good
I guess this means it depends on the source! As a disclaimer, I happen to like meat and while I have drastically cut back, especially with red meat, I don’t want to give it up completely so this post is coming from that point of view.
I grew up eating meat 3 times a day everyday because that’s how Americans eat. Not surprisingly, a huge percentage of Americans die from heart disease and other factors associated with a diet that is high in saturated fat and most meat falls into that category.
If you choose to eat red meat, pay attention to the type. Beef- go for round, chuck, sirloin, and tenderloin. Also get choice or select and not prime as prime as more fat. We were raised to think that more fat is better, which it is tastewise, but not healthwise. Pork- go for chops or loin and trim extra fat. Wild game (buffalo, elk, deer) are all very lean and low in saturated fat. Liver and other organ meats are very high in cholesterol which is fine with me as I don’t have any urge to eat liver, kidneys, and the like.
I prefer skinless chicken breast but I just read that skin on/skin off doesn’t matter. That might be a topic for another time.
If you buy ground meat, look at the fat percent. Buy 98% fat-free, this isn’t as good for grilling but better for your body. Watch out for ground turkey, some of it is fattier than ground beef so read the label. These items should be eaten sparingly, if at all: hot dogs, sausage, bratwurst (oh, no! I’m going to the Packers game tonight, what will I eat?)
In place of red meat, fish with Omega-3 fatty acids should become a regular item on your plate. I am not a fish/seafood fan but I’m trying to find recipes that I like, too bad they all involve batter and frying! Fish high in Omega-3’s include: anchovy, herring, lake trout, mackerel, salmon, sardines, tuna, and whitefish. You should eat these 3-4 times per week.
There is SO much information out there that I can’t weed through it all so I am going to sum it up that “everything in moderation” is the key here. Think about having a meatless day once or twice a week, this doesn’t mean you have to just eat vegetables, there are lots of great pasta and bean dishes and a meatless pizza is always good. At the very least, cut your meat consumption to twice a day (once is even better) and choose smaller portions. Check with you doctor or dietician if you have concerns.
* But only once in a while and if it is very lean and you eat a small portion.