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Health food? Mine's meat

Health food? Mine's meat

Kansas Farm Bureau’s (KFB) brand, Kansas Living, recently launched a campaign promoting the benefits of eating meat I never would have imagined necessary when I was growing up. While it wasn’t always the main attraction, meat was always on our plates for dinner. Oftentimes it was there at lunchtime, too.

Kansas Living’s “Make Mine Meat” campaign encourages the inclusion of all types of animal protein in one’s diet for its high-quality nutritional value.

Personally, I encourage everyone to eat meat because it’s delicious anytime. That’s not a slight to all the tasty, nutritious nonmeat foods out there, either. I’m an indiscriminate omnivore when I sit down at the table. Not every meal features meat, but the ones that do are generally my favorites. Those meals also help fuel my body.

“Animal protein plays an essential role in your diet,” says Eryn Carter, a registered dietitian. “Animal meat products contain all nine essential amino acids that your body cannot produce but needs in order to function.”

The “Make Mine Meat” campaign features athletes who consume meat because its nutritional value supports their active lifestyles. Unfortunately, yours truly wasn’t asked to be a model for this campaign despite my body’s ability to hide most of its athletic features. But that’s more a result of missed gym sessions and my penchant for snacking.

Meat is always on the table for DJ Rezac, who enjoys cooking almost as much as he likes eating. A cyclist, Rezac says he eats meat to power his pedals.

“Meat is muscle,” Rezac says. “If you need muscle, you need to eat meat. That’s maybe an oversimplification, but to me and my diet, red meat is the best source for zinc, iron and protein.”

Rezac’s diet isn’t breaking new ground. Fossil evidence shows humans have been eating meat and bone marrow for millions of years. Evidence of our ancestors’ carnivorous ways has been documented by butchery marks on bones dating back at least 2.6 million years, well before the birth of agriculture in 8000 B.C.

Today, in addition to boosting the performance of countless athletes, meat adds some serious kick to Kansas’ economy. The state is a top producer of meat, specifically pork and beef. Kansas ranks third nationally with 6.35 million cattle and 10th in hog and pig inventory. And it also could put an extra $100 in your grocery cart.

Participants who post a photo of their favorite meat product, recipe or reason they choose to include meat in their diets using the hashtag #MakeMineMeat on Facebook and/or Instagram will be eligible to win one of three $100 gift cards to a local grocery store so winners can purchase great-tasting, high-quality, nutritious meat. Private profiles may send a direct message of their post to Kansas Living’s Facebook or Instagram accounts.

What’s for dinner? On my plate, it’s meat.