For the week of April 30, 2018

Moderation and variety

By John Schlageck, Kansas Farm Bureau 

The key to a healthy diet today is to eat a variety of foods including grains, milk, vegetables, meat and fruits – all in moderation. Each of us needs to make smart choices about when we eat and how much.

Another key ingredient in personal health is exercise. Something as simple as a 20 minute walk several times each week will go a long way toward personal health.

In spite of this widespread consensus to eat in moderation and variety, there are plenty of detractors who are trying to limit the amount of protein, especially red meat, from the everyday diet. Most of these opponents preach eating less or no beef.

Dietary guidelines about what we should eat for good nutrition are as plentiful as the food selection in our country today. Numerous organizations have been issuing their own guidelines about what they would have us eat based on their agendas. Oftentimes these guidelines are too narrow, containing specific recommendations for everyone while overlooking allowances for individual differences.

A recent example involves the attack by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) on beef. This group has specifically discredited the beef industry claims that lean beef can be part of a healthy diet that helps manage cholesterol.

The PCRM filed a complaint with the state of Texas, charging deceptive trade practices. Before we jump to conclusions, consider the source here.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine may not always be responsible and less than 5 percent of its members are physicians. Some suggest PCRM is intent on removing eggs, milk, meat and seafood from the American diet.

This nation of ours is made up of individuals who need to adjust their diets to allow for their own states of health, age, development, risks of chronic disease and personal tastes. When it comes to choosing meats as a source of protein, the key is to choose lean cuts and trim the fat from the meat before or after cooking.

Beef, chicken, fish, lamb, pork and poultry can be roasted, baked, broiled, grilled or simmered. No matter how you cut it – scientific research indicates all lean meats are high in nutritional quality.

They’re good for the body as well as the mind. Beef, pork, chicken, fish and lamb have been recognized as healthy sources of top quality protein. They also contain thiamin, pantothenic acid, niacin and vitamins B-6 and B-12.

Red meats are also excellent sources of iron, copper, zinc and manganese – minerals not easily obtained in sufficient amounts in diets without meats. Well-trimmed, lean meats contain approximately 4 to 9 percent fat when uncooked.

When it comes to eating, the truth is, nothing compares to the smell, sound and taste of a steak sizzling over an open fire.

Cheeseburger, pork chop, grilled chicken or T-Bone anyone?

John Schlageck is a leading commentator on agriculture and rural Kansas. Born and raised on a diversified farm in northwestern Kansas, his writing reflects a lifetime of experience, knowledge and passion.