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Conventional meat v. vegetarianism (follow-up and what-ifs)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 26, 2012 at 7:52 PM

I'm pondering the health pros and cons of either 1) paleo with conventional meat/farmed fish, or 2) vegetarianism that excludes grains/seed oils/processed foods but includes traditionally prepared legumes, pastured eggs, and organic dairy (basically paleo - meat + legumes). Which is better, and how can one optimize either option? I found this great question and have two follow-up questions:

http://paleohacks.com/questions/111155/legumes-vs-conventional-red-meat#axzz1tAx1SfKX

First question: if someone only has the access to/means to buy CAFO meat and farmed fish, is avoiding all consumption of those animals and instead eating traditionally prepared legumes healthier? Or is paleo on CAFO meat be better?

Perhaps a simpler way to ask this is, "Over time, is eating lots of CAFO meat worse than not eating any meat?"

I understand that there are moral and environmental implications, but I'm wondering strictly about the health of the person.


Scenario two: our person's access to/means to buy meat has changed, and this person can now afford about 1-3 pounds of pastured meat each week. Keep the traditionally prepared legumes?

2 pounds of beef is approximately 160 grams of protein plus 14 eggs (2 each day a week) adds ~90 grams, so 250 grams of protein a week, or 36g per day averaged. Should the shortage be made up with farmed fish, traditionally prepared legumes, CAFO meat? Or just more fat instead of protein? Is the 0.7-1 g per pound of lean bodyweight necessary over the longterm for optimal health?

I'm not looking for suggestions on meatshares or finding farmers- this is hypothetical from a food science viewpoint. Thanks for any insights!

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on April 27, 2012
at 12:27 AM

I think this is a good question. I don't have a good answer because I am not as well-versed on the science of it as I'd like, but my personal opinion would be to take some traditionally prepared legumes if you tolerate them well. It's essentially the route my family takes, both for ethical reasons and because I can't believe that CAFO/grain-fed beef can be healthier than well-soaked/fermented beans. Granted we eat beans rarely because we're fortunate enough to be able to afford meat right now. However, I'd probably stick to as much good meat as I could afford and lacto-ovo veg for the rest.

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on April 26, 2012
at 10:11 PM

Thanks SB, appreciate the input. I didn't know that rainbow trout is a decent choice- if I see it on the menu, I usually get it. Now to find it in the store!

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 26, 2012
at 09:41 PM

You asked about dairy, and a lot of people here do alright on it. Maybe you can give it a shot to see how you react to it. That would be a good and easy way to sneak in some protein.

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on April 26, 2012
at 09:03 PM

I know it's too little food, I guess I'm asking about protein sources specifically. Suppose this person grows all the organic veggies he/she can eat, has decent butter/oils, some nuts, etc. The only component of the diet I'm tinkering with here is meat/no meat and how to most effectively get protein given the scenarios I've set up.

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on April 26, 2012
at 09:01 PM

I know it's too little food, I'm looking at protein sources specifically. Suppose this person grows all the organic veggies he/she can eat.

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2 Answers

1
78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

on April 26, 2012
at 09:37 PM

Should the shortage be made up with farmed fish, traditionally prepared legumes, CAFO meat?

Your diet can be fine without wild fish. If I had to choose between CAFO meat, legumes, or farmed fish, I'd go with farmed rainbow trout and farmed Arctic char. Farmed rainbow trout and farmed Arctic Char have omega-3s, use environmentally sustainable methods of farming and are lower in toxins compared to other farmed fish. I think that's a win-win.

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on April 26, 2012
at 10:11 PM

Thanks SB, appreciate the input. I didn't know that rainbow trout is a decent choice- if I see it on the menu, I usually get it. Now to find it in the store!

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 26, 2012
at 09:41 PM

You asked about dairy, and a lot of people here do alright on it. Maybe you can give it a shot to see how you react to it. That would be a good and easy way to sneak in some protein.

0
A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on April 26, 2012
at 08:21 PM

Eating 2 pounds of beef will probably provide you about 2500 calories (assuming it's particularly fatty). The 14 eggs will give you about 1000 calories. Thats 3500 calories, which is 500 calories a day per week. 36 grams of protein and 500 calories a day is simply too little food.

So you obviously have to add more food. If the only choice I had were the three provided, I'd probably the traditionally prepared legumes because I just can't live on only meat and eggs.

However, I'd be willing to bet that almost any whole food providing enough calories to make up the rest would also give you enough protein. 1500 calories of potatoes a day would give you another 40 grams of protein. I think most people would do fine as long as they're eating more than 70 grams of protein a day.

That 1 gram per pound of body weight recommendation is more than necessary in my opinion.

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on April 26, 2012
at 09:01 PM

I know it's too little food, I'm looking at protein sources specifically. Suppose this person grows all the organic veggies he/she can eat.

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on April 26, 2012
at 09:03 PM

I know it's too little food, I guess I'm asking about protein sources specifically. Suppose this person grows all the organic veggies he/she can eat, has decent butter/oils, some nuts, etc. The only component of the diet I'm tinkering with here is meat/no meat and how to most effectively get protein given the scenarios I've set up.

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