Do I Have to Eat Meat on Whole30®?

Do I Have to Eat Meat on Whole30®?

January 17, 2018

The #JanuaryWhole30 Challenge is in a full swing. Does it make you curious? We discussed the benefits of the Whole30® program in our previous blog. Today, we want to address a common concern.  


Do I have to eat a lot of meat while on Whole30?

The answer is complicated. While vegetarian and even vegan versions of Whole30® are available, you might want to consider adding meat to your diet while on Whole30® program. 

Here are four reasons why:


1. The Program is a self-experiment


In short, Whole30 is a 30-day program that helps you understand what  food is doing to you. Through the strict elimination of certain food groups, you learn which foods make you less healthy and which foods have an unhealthy power over you.

It is important to understand that Whole30® doesn't encourage you to become a carnivore but rather an omnivore.  The recommended serving of meat on Whole30® is 1-2 palm-size portions, depending on your personal preferences and activity levels. Whole30® strongly encourages you to fill up on your veggies. You can think about it this way: you get to eat all these wonderful veggies, with a side of meat.

You are in the driver's seat. YOU decide how much meat you want to eat. Whole30® considers meat and veggies to be a complete meal, not just a massive serving of meat.

At Wild Zora, we support this approach That's one of the reasons we created meat & veggie bars, and not just another type of jerky.

 

    
2. Meat Is Actually Good for You

Many vegans and vegetarians believe meat is not healthy. This is a complicated issue and frankly, you can find a plethora of anecdotal evidence supporting either side.
Let’s look at a few facts:
Humans evolved as carnivores. We are meant to eat some meat. Hunters and gatherers relied on meat for nutrition.  Now, with a wide variety of foods at our fingertips, we don't feel that need as keenly.  However, our bodies still need some nutrients only found in meat or eggs, such as complete protein, vitamin B12, and iron.

Yes, you can get protein from plant sources. Unfortunately, most plant-based protein is incomplete. This means you won't get certain amino acids, your body's building blocks, from most plant sources. The best plants to supply you with protein are legumes. Legumes are a food group you are to eliminate while on Whole30®.  Sadly, legumes contain phytochemicals that can potentially acerbate your existing health conditions and contribute to chronic inflammation.   

3. You Can Choose Ethically Sourced Meat

We have quite a few vegan friends who choose not to eat meat because they don't agree with the way the animals are treated.  We understand their point, however, we believe that we need to eat some meat for optimal health.

When we first thought of making Wild Zora bars, we knew we wanted to only use meat from animals that were treated with care and respect throughout the whole process, including the slaughter.  We could've made things easier on ourselves by just using conventionally raised meat or settle for "organic" label.  We quickly learned that the different labels, like "natural", or "organic" don't necessarily mean the animals were humanely raised and slaughtered, so we embarked on the journey to meet all of our suppliers.  We buy our meat from farmers in the U.S. that we personally visited. Ethically sourced meat is a high priority for us.

If you feel lost in the sea of various food labels, Whole30® website offers a handy guide to help you understand what each label means.

The bottom line is, you can love and respect animals and still eat meat and eggs. You can support farmers who treat their animals humanely.  

4. Texture Issues? We Can Help!

Meat has a distinct texture that is not everyone's favorite. In fact, I have a quite a few friends who just won't eat steak because the texture makes them gag. If this is you, here are a few tips on how to "survive" your Whole30® journey:

Go with ground, well-seasoned meat. If the "stringy" meat is highly unappealing to you, choose the ground meat (higher fat content will make it less dry) and season it well.  Don't feel like cooking? Grab one of our popular bars. They are soft and oh-so-tasty!

 

Be picky! Whole30® doesn't mean you have to start eating beef if you can't stand it. Poultry, fish, and seafood are perfectly fine. They will still give you that wonderful protein and nutrients your body needs.

Start small. Remember that the recommended serving was 1-2 palm-sized pieces? Start with the smallest portion possible.  Cut the meat into smaller pieces and make a stew, with a bunch of your favorite vegetables.

 

Whole30® is about discovering the right food for your best health.  Approach it with an open mind. Best of luck on your journey!

 

 

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