I think I’m at risk of having a stroke or I just had one; can I eat meat?
Yes, you can eat meat but let’s break this down so it’ clear to all of us.
Say No to Red Meat – Or at Least, Most of the Time
You can have a steak, once in a while, but a juicy steak like the one pictured above, maybe once a month.
This is hard for me because I love steak, especially a rib eye steak. But I had a stroke so I can choose to ignore the advice from the medical professionals and dig in, or I can create a better and more healthy lifestyle that will extend my life and improve my quality of life.
What Kind of Meat Can I Eat?
This is what you’ve all been waiting for. The meats I can eat:
- Eat fish at least twice a week (fish high in Omega-3)
- Eat lean meats
- Eat Poultry
- Eat other proteins that are not meat
The types of meats listed above are recommended by the Stroke Association, the Food Revolution, Harvard Medical School along with many other organizations or institutions.
I do recall one thing my vascular Neurologist told me when I was laying in the hospital bed after my stroke. He told me I needed to switch to mostly a fruit and vegetable diet, like the Mediterranean diet but he did add one glimmer of hope. He said “about once a month, I will allow myself to have a filet mignon” but I will eat healthy meats the remainder of the time and focus more on fruits and vegetables.
So once again, moderation is key and you don’t have to cut out everything you love. You just need to start making healthy changes and be characterized by eating healthy. I say characterized by because almost no one eats perfect all the time. There are situations in our life where we need some flexibility to live.
Below is a more extensive list of healthy meats you should be incorporating into your new lifestyle.
Eat Fish High in Omega 3
Fish that is high in Omega 3 from the Mayo Clinic:
- Lake trout
- Albacore tuna
Eat Lean Meat
Here are some lean cuts of meat that you should consider.
- Lamb tenderloin
- Lamb loin chops
- Lamb leg
- Lean pork
When buying ground beef, select 90 percent or higher lean meat. It is best to choose meats labeled as “Choice” or “Select” instead of “Prime”, which usually has more fat.
Chose white meat. Ground chicken and turkey breast is best and look for 90 percent lean ground chicken or turkey. Here is a quick list of healthy poultry:
- Skinless chicken breast
- Skinless turkey breast
Protein other than meat
There are plenty of other healthy protein sources besides meat that you should start becoming familiar with. Again, start simple and easy by picking some of these you already like:
- Legumes (peas and lentils)
- Low fat milks and cheeses
- Low fat cottage cheese
There is a nice list of lean proteins on the Food Network you should check out.
This is a Lifestyle Change
Most of us probably grew up having meat, and most likely unhealthy cuts, at every meal. It may have been the primary staple in our diet. I know it was for me. I remember most every breakfast had to have some bacon or sausage on the plate.
But, as a stroke survivor, I realized that I needed to make better protein choices.
These choices actually begin by making fruits and vegetables the main portion on your plate while making the protein a side dish. That’s hard for many of us to overcome because what is the first thing that comes to your mind when someone asks, “what’s for dinner tonight?” It’s not dinner if meat isn’t the main player on the menu.
Now I know that some of you have already started to make this mind shift and lifestyle change, but for many of the rest of us, this is still an ongoing battle.
One of the things I keep mentioning in articles here is to “keep it simple” and “start with something easy.” I’m going to re-state that here again. Many of these lifestyle changes will take years to fully incorporate into your life. Don’t fret doing it all perfectly today, just take one step and start eating some healthy proteins you already like.
So, here’s my new motto…………”Keep it Simple and Enjoy the Ride Along the Way.”
The last part of the motto is for us all to realize we can be happy and satisfied while we’re on the journey and we don’t have to wait until we reach our destination.
What’s for dinner?