What If I Ate Meat Once a Week? (Radio Show 003 Transcript)

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The following is a transcript from my radio show, Your Health At The Crossroads, which airs on 100.5 FM in Middle Georgia on 1st and 3rd Tuesdays at 5:00 PM.  This particular show aired on February 7, 2017.  If you don’t live in the area, you can stream it online at macons1005fm.com.

I’m going to start tonight’s show by suggesting an idea to you that might seem so preposterous and so different that you might consider immediately tuning me out.  But I want to encourage you to please just hear me out tonight for the next 15 or so minutes because I believe that what I’m about to suggest to you just might change your health and your life.

Ready?  Alright, here we go.

I challenge you to ask yourself this question…what if I were to eat meat once a week for the rest of my life?  What if I were to consume meat – whether you’re talking chicken, beef, fish, pork…whatever – no more than one day out of every week?

Now somebody just immediately said “ohp…can’t do it.  You done gone too far tonight, Shawn.  I thought you were straight for a while, but I see now that you’re on that other stuff.  I gotta have my meat.”  Trust me, I got you, I got you.  I would have felt similar a few years ago, but I see it way different now.  I really do.  Let me tell you why.

Meat, the American Way

In our society, we eat meat at least three times a day on average.  Sausage for breakfast, maybe a sandwich with chicken breast or something like that for lunch, and a steak for dinner.  Or you might be more of a fried chicken for lunch and dinner kind of person.  Or beef tips.  Everybody’s different, but the point is that we, on average, eat meat about three times a day.

Not only do we eat meat about three times a day, but meat is the centerpiece of each of those meals.  What I mean is, the meat on our plates is the “main attraction,” if you will.  If you have a meat and two sides meal, the meat would be the Michael Jackson, and the two sides and bread would be Randy, Tito and Jermaine Jackson.  The meat is that part of the meal that you brag to your guests about as you present it on the kitchen table, or as you open up your grill.

Meat consumption is so big of a part of our culture that to not eat it would probably be considered to be rude, pious, or even “un-American”.

So why all the fuss about it?  Isn’t meat a part of a healthy diet?  Doesn’t meat make us stronger?  Well, yeah both of those are kinda true, but there’s more to it.

Protein is One of Three Main Macronutrients

All of the foods that we eat can pretty much fall into one of three broad categories of nutrients that we need in our diets.  Those categories are carbohydrates, fats and proteins.  Carbohydrates are broken down into sugars by the body and are what our bodies use as a first energy source if they are available.  Fats are broken down into fatty acids that our bodies use as an additional source of energy, and they’re very important when it comes to hormone production as well.  Proteins are broken down into amino acids and are used for rebuilding tissues in the body.  Meat is a major source of protein.

Now there’s no disputing that the meat in our diets supplies us with a vital nutrient, protein, and that it helps us to get stronger and to grow more muscle.  There’s a reason you see that guy in the gym always eating those chicken breasts.

Now, let’s switch gears a bit and take a look at another culture that approaches meat consumption very differently, and yet still thrives.  Let’s travel to India.

We Eat a LOT More Meat than India Does, Man

I was writing a blog post on my website, YourHealthAtTheCrossroads.com, about a year and a half ago, and I came upon some research that compared meat consumption in the states to the same in India, and the difference was shocking to me.  In 2007, the average per person/per year meat consumption here in America was 270 pounds.  Now, that didn’t really mean a whole lot to me…until I saw that the average per person/per year meat consumption in India in the same year was only 7.1 pounds.

Yes, 7.1 pounds.  It takes the average Indian a year to eat the amount of meat that the average American would eat in roughly a week and a half.  Let that marinate for a minute.  There are some cultural and religious reasons for the differences, but let’s think about the physical implications for the purpose of this show tonight.  What do you think about that?

I have a feeling that somebody out there is thinking, “how does somebody survive with that little meat?”  Obviously the country of India is surviving, because theirs is a very prominent and thriving country on that side of the world.  So you know what that tells me?  That tells me to the least that survival is more than possible without eating all of the meat that we eat here in America.

But it ain’t enough to do something just because somebody else does it.  It’s something to consider, however, if you can get some benefit out of it, right?  Well guess what, there is definitely a benefit to eating less meat.

Reason #1 To Eat Less Meat:  Disease Prevention

I have this book called The China Study which was put together by a professor by the name of T. Colin Campbell.  It is documentation of the findings that he and a group in China came up with from a study done on the protein consumption and disease rates of Chinese people in many of the Chinese provinces.  I’ll save you all the nitty gritty details, but what the study found in a nutshell is that provinces that had higher animal protein consumption also had higher rates of heart disease, cancers, and autoimmune diseases like Multiple Sclerosis.

The crazy thing about this is that a lot of those same diseases are ones that are extremely prevalent in the United States.  That’s food for thought, right?

Alright, another thing that I want to ask you.  Did you realize that all humans were originally vegetarian?  Yep, it’s true.  Let’s go to the bible.

Reason #2 To Eat Less Meat:  The Bible Indicates That We Were Initially Vegetarian

In the creation story, God explicitly presented every “seed-bearing plant” and “every tree with fruit that has seed.”  It’s not until Genesis 9:3, after sin enters the world and after the flood, that God suggests meat as a food source.  Take a look at it when you get a chance.

So basically, we are much more suited to consume plant foods than we are to consume meat.  This is even obvious from a scientific standpoint.  If you take a look at your teeth and your digestive system, you will see that they much more closely resemble those of an herbivore (plant-eating animal) than that of a carnivore (meat-eating animal).  Technically we are called omnivores since we eat both, but when you look at your dog, for example, who is a carnivore, he has mostly sharp teeth which are made to chew meat, and he has a shorter digestive system with more stomach acid.  We are more like cows, who have flat teeth made to crunch plants, and who have very long digestive systems which allow for optimum extraction of nutrients from plants.  If meat sits in our stomachs too long because of the distance it has to travel, it’s more likely to putrefy (rot).

Now so far, we’ve talked about how high meat consumption has been linked to a lot of the degenerative diseases suffered in our society.  We’ve also talked about how, according to the bible and even to science, we are more suited to consume plants rather than animals.  Those two might be enough for you to consider eating less meat, but I want to refer back now to a story I mentioned briefly on my last show.

Reason #3 To Eat Less Meat:  Our Parents/Grandparents Did Just Fine Without So Much

I talked with my father-in-law a bit during the holiday season, and he told me about how on Monday through Saturday, pretty much all he ate as a child was beans and cornbread.  His mother would cook different kinds of beans throughout the week that he and his siblings would eat on, and it wasn’t until the Sunday after-church meal that his mother would cook some kind of meat like chicken for them to eat as well.

I believe that you, or at least your parents or your parents’ parents might have had the same experience with not eating a whole lot of meat.  What was the reason?  Well, the main reason was likely because meat was more expensive!  It didn’t cost a whole lot for mom and dad to buy beans and rice.  Even now, you can get both for cents per pound.  But meat was different.  Usually the only meat that you might get through the week was the meat that the beans or the greens were cooked with, which means you might get a small chunk here and there.

Hundreds of years before our supermarket society, folks used to have to hunt for their meat.  I’m sure that they weren’t always successful on their hunts.  And when they were successful, it was usually a really special thing for the community when folks brought the meat back.  It’s only in relatively modern times that meat – ‘cheap’ meat – has been so accessible that we can eat it so much.

Let me get back now to the original question I told you to ask you at the beginning of the broadcast, which was,  “What if I ate meat once a week?”  With everything that we’ve talked about tonight, I want you to ask yourself that again.  What if you did?  Modern day cultures thrive without eating so much of it.  You or your parents survived without eating so much of it.  Studies show that high consumption of meat is linked to all kinds of diseases that we see too often in our society, so eating less of it could indeed lower your risk of disease.  The bible indicates that we were originally made to eat only plants, and it wasn’t until after the flood that folks started to eat meat.  Science definitely shows that we are made to eat more like cows than cats.

Other Reasons to Eat Less Meat

There’s even other cases for eating less meat, such as the fact that much of the meat we eat is produced in unhealthy and unsustainable ways.  Or the fact that meat consumption is one of the largest contributors to the greenhouse gases that are perhaps causing our climate to get hotter.  Or even the fact that it’s often better for our budgets for us to eat beans rather than beef.  Again, that’s outside of the scope of this show, but maybe you can do your own research.

So will you consider eating meat once a week?  I bet you’ll feel better.

In the next show, I plan to actually give you ideas on how to eat meat once a week, so you’ll definitely want to listen in on that.

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