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Is Red Meat Still For You?

By on September 27, 2011

You know there’s nothing like a good steak. I mean the kind you don’t mind investing in and taking your time to savor every bite. I am a steak lover, but the downfall was that I noticed I was always very lethargic after each serving. It was especially overwhelming considering if I had more than one serving of steak a week. I know I’m not the only one, right?

About three and a half months ago I started tapering off of red meat altogether, just to see if it made me feel better. I have to admit there was a dramatic difference in my energy and there was significantly less strain & odor during bowel movements. This intrigued me so much that I decided to continue on with my experiment and find if there were any other significant changes.

I always had a feeling that red meat might be linked to some health issues especially in black men. Well, in studies for cancer prevention, epidemiological studies have suggested that intake of red meat may be associated with increased risk of prostate cancer in black men specifically. Red meat consumption is associated with cardiovascular diseases, possibly because of its high content of saturated fat. Specifically, increased beef intake is associated with ischemic heart disease.

This struck a nerve within me because my father loved ribs. He also consumed unreal amounts of pork ribs as well. The downside was that he also ended up (at an early age) suffering from heart disease, a mild heart attack at age 33, a triple by-pass by age 39, Type II diabetes by age 52, a minor stroke followed by congestive heart failure and death by age 56. High cholesterol runs rampant in my genetic code and even with a balanced diet and exercise, my liver produces higher amounts of bad cholesterol.

After a while my colleagues invited me out for dinner at this amazingly greasy but highly publicized burger joint. I knew I hadn’t eaten this way in a while, but I decided to try it anyway. Afterwards, I could metaphorically feel the grease pouring out of my pores and the smell that came out of me was horrendous. I made a personal vow to my body that I’d never eat that way again. I’m not saying that those who enjoy red meat are going to die; it’s just a personal choice I had to make for myself.

If push comes to shove and you just HAVE to have it, cooking red meat, leaving it rare or even charring it creates another set of health issues. Medium rare and rare meat leaves you more susceptible to contracting intestinal pathogens or bacteria. ALWAYS cook your meat thoroughly, but not to excess. When you resort to charring red meat (where it is chalky black) you will create cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines. If cancer runs in your family, this method of cooking should be avoided this at all cost. The bottom line is that it’s up to you whether you choose to eat red meat or not but if you choose to do so:

1. Eat grass-fed red meat exclusively.

2. Avoid processed meats.

3. Do not eat rare or charred meat.

Do yourself a favor and do your own research to find out family traits and health history. Don’t wait until there’s a problem with your health. Preventative measures could add an extra 30-40 years to your life as a black man. Now that’s worth a vegetable plate. Live well; eat well. Bon Appetite!


Anthony Charles Williams II is B.Slade™ and Contributor to healthyblackmen.org. He can be contacted at bsladetv@me.com, www.bsladenow.com,  or via Tumblr: www.Openminded2040.tumblr.com. 

One Comment

  1. DrKay

    September 28, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    The importance of this piece cannot be over-emphasised especially among young Black populations.
    As Hypertensive and Ischaemic Heart diseases rank top as leading causes of debility and death from non-communicable diseases among Blacks,preventive measures as succinctly expressed in this write-up remain invaluable.
    This is a must-read for any adult hoping to take longevity beyond just word of mouth.
    God bless

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