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Stella McCartney Tells Fans To Go Meatless On Mondays; Agriculture Responds

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How should agriculture respond when celebrities promote anti-meat diets?

I was scrolling through my Instagram feed yesterday morning and was disappointed to see fashion designer Stella McCartney getting political to kick off the week. She had posted a photo of a button that read, “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, or experiment on. #MeatFreeMonday” McCartney is the daughter of musician Sir Paul McCartney, who is also an avid anti-meat activist.

Within one hour of posting the photo, McCartney had received 5,496 likes and 220 comments. It was interesting to read through the comments, where about half of folks applauded McCartney’s politics and half vowed to keep eating their beloved meat.

McCartney’s post touched on three points – eating, wearing and experimenting on animals -- and each one could spark a different debate. Today, however, I will address the issue of eating animals.

 

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In my experience, I have found that consumers ditch animal proteins for several reasons, which include misconceived notions or concerns over the environment, animal welfare or nutrition. I believe that the most prominent reason is the belief that forgoing meat from the diet is a healthier choice.

The American Meat Institute and American Meat Science Association recently released the latest video in their Meat Crusher series. This video is very fitting for this topic because it addresses the misconception that simply cutting meat from the diet will make a person healthier.

In the video, Anna Dilger, Ph.D., a University of Illinois assistant professor, discusses the variety of nutrition benefits of meat and poultry products and their role in an overall diet.

According to the Meat MythCrusher video, meat offers "a number of nutrition benefits that cannot be replaced without other dietary changes. Protein is a necessary part of the diet, and meat and poultry are considered complete proteins, meaning they provide all the essential amino acids needed for health."

The video goes on to point out that a person would have to eat a wide variety of plant protein sources over the course of a day or several days to get all the amino acids available from meat in just one meal. Meat is also rich in absorbable essential vitamins and minerals. Meat and poultry products are uniquely rich sources of iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 as well as selenium, choline, vitamin B6, thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin. Vitamins like iron and zinc are more easily absorbed from meat than they are from vegetable sources.

“Some people claim that we are eating far too much meat in our diet, but federal data shows that we’re currently eating the correct amount of protein based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. On average, we eat 6.08 oz. of protein/day. The Dietary Guidelines recommend 5-7oz.1 It’s the only category that’s being eaten in the correct amounts. Research also shows that protein offers weight loss benefits through a higher degree of satiety or “satisfaction” from hunger, which means people are less inclined to snack between meals, compared to carbohydrate or fat,” the video says.

I challenge you to share this video and resources similar to this on social media to help balance the conversation. Undoubtedly, McCartney’s reach is much wider than ours, but we can’t allow people like her to be the only viewpoint that people hear.

What do you think about McCartney’s statements? How should agriculture respond? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

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Discuss this Blog Entry 11

averageman (not verified)
on Feb 24, 2014

We grow pinto beans also. It takes 2 1/2 times more beans to the equal protein in a serving of meat, without adjusting for quality and other nutrients. If one does not count the grass and residue, corn finished beef takes the same amount of land to produce a helping of protein.

chore boy (not verified)
on Feb 25, 2014

"Vitamins like iron and zinc are more easily absorbed from meat than they are from vegetable sources"... It may be nit-picky, but the nutrients, iron and zinc, should be referred to as minerals. A higher level of accuracy and accountability goes with telling the truth!

Karl (not verified)
on Feb 25, 2014

She does say "vitamins and minerals"

katie in montana (not verified)
on Feb 25, 2014

A couple women I know on another forum that includes nutrition have gone from being vegan for the last few years to including animal proteins. The reason: IRON One of the women was so low on iron that she was extremely fatigued and getting sick a lot. She supplemented with pills and made strong efforts to get her iron through plant sources and her iron went even lower along with the side effect of constipation from the pills. Her Dr. referred her to a nutritionist and about 4 months of including animal proteins again and some other small changes to her diet, her iron was in the normal range again and she feels better. Both women fancied themselves as very knowledgeable in nutrition and thought their vegan diet was the best thing for them and their families but learned they were actually creating some significant nutritional imbalances in their bodies. While I stay clear of processed foods as much as I can, my mantra is all things in moderation except for those with special conditions such as celiac,etc.

on Feb 25, 2014

Hope they didn't have their kids on the "vegan starve the brain out" plan.

Bobv (not verified)
on Feb 25, 2014

Trying to convince some one who does not want to eat meat that their wrong is as likely to succeed as convincing a Republican about the benefits of Obamacare. So, instead of attacking that person and their choice we need to keep a positive message. Attacking, being disappointed etc. isn't going to change anyone's mind. Your base of supporters will tell you you're wonderful for taking on these meat haters but, you're not likely to convince anyone else. Better to thank her for her support of vegetable farmers and tell why I like meat. It's better to keep positive and far more likely to be convincing to those on the fence on an issue.

on Feb 25, 2014

Meatless promoters should Google: Vitamin B12 couple sentenced

on Feb 25, 2014

5-7oz of protien might be enough for somebody who sits on their a$$ all day but not for somebody who actually physically works.

Linda (not verified)
on Feb 25, 2014

How do we get a copy of this video to show ag groups?

on Feb 25, 2014
Yep, I'm a rancher (not verified)
on Feb 25, 2014

If people choose not to eat meat on Mondays, or at all, who are we to judge? It is their choice, and they are probably healthier for it. Excerpt from Harvard School of Public Health research article, Protein:Moving Closer to Center Stage:

"Animal protein and vegetable protein probably have the same effects on health. It’s the protein package that’s likely to make a difference.

A 6-ounce broiled porterhouse steak is a great source of complete protein—about 40 grams worth. But it also delivers about 38 grams of fat, 14 of them saturated. (2) That’s more than 60 percent of the recommended daily intake for saturated fat. The same amount of salmon gives you 34 grams of protein and 18 grams of fat, 4 of them saturated. (2) A cup of cooked lentils has 18 grams of protein, but under 1 gram of fat. (2)

The bottom line is that it’s important to pay attention to what comes along with the protein in your food choices. Vegetable sources of protein, such as beans, nuts, and whole grains, are excellent choices, and they offer healthy fiber, vitamins, and minerals."

A little later in the same publication, "The best animal protein choices are fish and poultry. If you are partial to red meat, such as beef, pork, or lamb, stick with the leanest cuts, choose moderate portion sizes, and make it only an occasional part of your diet, for several reasons: Research suggests that people who eat even modest amounts of red meat have a higher risk of developing colon cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, and a higher risk of dying from heart disease, cancer, or any cause. (3–7) There’s also substantial evidence that replacing red meat with fish, poultry, beans, or nuts, could help prevent heart disease and diabetes—and could lower the risk of early death."

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BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”

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Amanda Radke

A fifth-generation rancher from Mitchell, SD, Amanda grew up on a purebred Limousin cattle operation in which she and husband Tyler are active. She graduated with a degree in agriculture journalism...

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