Got A Beef With Meat?

There is no shortage of diet options for us to choose from: vegetarian, vegan, paleo, paleo vegan, macrobiotic, Mediterranean, raw, high fat, low fat, high carb, low carb, and on and on. Can’t we just eat food. Hmmm…now we’re talking.

What’s the purpose of our food? Pleasure? Nourishment? Both? Rip Esselstyn’s book, My Beef With Meat: The Healthiest Argument for Eating a Plant-Strong Diet makes the case that plant-powered food offers both pleasure and nourishment. A former firefighter, Esselstyn also puts to rest the argument that manly men can’t live on plants alone.

He argues that:

Plants can heal. Plants can nourish. Plants can nurture. Plants can give you everything you need to be the healthiest person you can be and live the life you deserve to live.

My Beef With MeatThe book sets out to debunk 36 myths surrounding diet and takes a look at actual facts about plant and animal foods. From Plants are Plentiful in Protein to It’s Never too Early to Start a Plant-Based Diet to It’s Never Too Late to Start a Plant-Based Diet, Esselstyn explains his take on how and why plants are the way to go. Referencing science to back up his claims, Esselstyn implores us to take the plunge into the plant world and leave the beef behind. He also includes 140 recipes to entice us into the plant-strong side of life.

He cites the claim by the American Institute for Cancer Research that:

You can’t control your age, but you can control your cancer risk….For seniors, the AICR advises that all meals be based on plant-based food. A consistent diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will ‘protect against a range of cancers, including mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, stomach, lung, pancreas, and prostate.’

In full disclosure, I gave up meat (or carcass as Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D. would say) a number of years ago. It’s a decision that suits me well. I also realize that each of us is unique with our own nutrition needs. So…what to do? What to do? If you’re a carnivore, experiment with your diet. Try opting out of meat and giving Meatless Mondays a whirl. For the rest of the week, take a look at the amount of meat / animal products you’re eating. How much of your plate is covered by a hunk of meat and how much of your plate is covered by vegetables?

No doubt if you are eating meat, you think you’re not eating that much. That seems to be the refrain from meat eaters around the world according to Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. So take a look at your plate, and make a few adjustments. See what happens if you cut down on the amount of animal products (that includes dairy and seafood) you’re eating and replace them with vegetables. Pump up the volume on the amount of water you’re drinking while you’re at it. Do you feel better? Worse? Do you have more or less energy?

If you give this a try, let me know how changing up your diet works for you and whether you’ll make long-term changes or revert back to your traditional diet. Or have you already been experimenting to find a diet that suits you best?

About Deb

Deb Nelson, principal of deb nelson consulting, is a creative storyteller. She designs and implements communication plans that leverage strategic partnerships and provide innovative solutions for her clients. You can find her on twitter at @nelliedeb.


  1. Oh dear- I never select veggies & fruit first. It has always been protein & a carb. What I’ve been able to do these last few years since learning (thru all my virtual health food experts) is make sure my food is whole food- that one is easy, eat fish & chicken & hardly any beef. I do make an effort to eat whole grains, brown -not white rice, green leafy veggies. My culprit is not what’s on my plate. Sometimes it’s the amount on my plate. My conscious eating is night time snaking. I’m getting ready to reign it in.

    • Sounds like you’ve got your priorities under control Roz. I started adding more fruits and veggies a while ago – carbs are still my friend and I incorporate them into my diet as well. Being mindful is key – and you seem to have that mastered.
      Deb Nelson recently posted..Got A Beef With Meat?My Profile

  2. I have a sensitive stomach since I was a kid so I have been very aware of what I can and can’t eat. Dairy and dark meats are not eaten often. I tend to eat more light lean meats and at least go vegan twice a week. It works for me. I like warm veggies and eat them first always. Not big on salad because it doesn’t agree with me either. I found that if I go vegan and I don’t have protein, I have issues with fatigue so I use Isagenix dairy-free shake protein powder and it does the trick for the protein fix.
    Sabrina Quairoli recently posted..Small Business Stress Management TipsMy Profile

    • Trial and error seems to be working for you Sabrina. I think a lot of people go through that – using an elimination diet to see what foods agree with them. Congrats on finding what works for you.

  3. I’m not a huge red meat eater, but Joe loves his Prime Rib… I love being creative with Veggies, playing with colour and flavours. Joe and I don’t eat processed food and eat food as close to it’s natural state as possible. I don’t drink Dairy.. this was the biggest benefit and felt it within days. Almond Milk is my go to for baking. Gave up coffee and drink green and herbal teas. I’ve never felt better.
    Gisele Grenier recently posted..How a Tomato Timer and the Sound of Rain Saved Me from Ripping My Hair OutMy Profile

    • You seem to have control of our nutrition, Gisele. A colorful plate, ditching the dairy and processed foods. I also gave up dairy and switched from coffee to green tea and feel sooo much better! Gotta listen to how our bodies react to presence and absence of different foods – glad you’re onto what works for you.
      Deb Nelson recently posted..Got A Beef With Meat?My Profile

  4. Food has been the ultimate experiment for me in my own journey back to health, Deb. The fact is I do much better on an animal protein, (organic chicken mostly) with some dairy, like plain organic yogurt, diet. I have always known this and yet have tried to add more grains and legumes into my diet and the results are less than encouraging. I do eat a lot of leafy greens, mushrooms, blueberries and walnuts.

    Today in a conversation my friend listed a lot of other veggies, none of which appeal to me. I used to juice, however, find the concentrated sugars too high for me. I will occasionally eat some quinoa or rice, however, again…they are too heavy for my system. Ironic, as most people think animal protein is too heavy to digest. I’ve read many theories on the best “diet” and most of the ones that make sense to me include animal protein. We simply need the protein and saturated fats they offer us. Weston Price is one of the early food pioneers who researched this. Personally I don’t eat seafood either and my red meat consumption is very minimal, which is one thing I have dramatically changed over the last few years. My concern for the environment and for animals aligns with eating less meat.

    There are also interesting reports that show that in many cases growing vegetables actually uses more of our resources than animals do. It is an interesting world where you can always find science and research to back your beliefs. I think I just saw that the U.S. Congress voted 50-49 saying that Climate Change is not manmade. Hmm. We live in a time when we are being asked to question our beliefs and do the research on our own too to substantiate them. Appreciate you sharing your perspective on a plant-based diet.
    Beverley Golden recently posted..Hippie: Think Values <i>Not</i> LifestyleMy Profile

    • Thanks for post Beverley – I love that you have explored what dietary / nutritional options work best for you. Most people, unfortunately, just eat what is easiest / quickest to prepare or the closest fast-food option available. Mindfulness is key and you have that one covered for sure. One of the statistics that’s most troubling to me is obesity – too many animal products, too much processed food, too little exercise. I suspect you are eating moderate portions which has a significant impact on both your health and the environment. Glad you followed a path that led to health for you!!

  5. Hi Deb 🙂
    Well for me, I have to honestly say I love meat (mostly chicken, Perdue, hamburger, pork and beef) and I do not think that I could be a vegetarian , but I would not mind giving it a try maybe someday, as I love veggies!

    As for dairy I changed from drinking milk to drinking Almond milk and I prefer it over milk just tastes better.

    I try to eat a balanced diet daily and get my fiber in. I eat more salads then fruits but working on that one lol

    Thanks for sharing this awesome post!
    Joan Harrington recently posted..How To Use Content Marketing To Turn Your Blog Readers Into Paying CustomersMy Profile

    • Good for you, Joan, for finding what works for you. I think the important thing is to be aware of what you’re eating, how it makes you feel, and what kind of cravings you’re experiencing. Sounds like you’ve found a combo that works for you!!
      Deb Nelson recently posted..Got A Beef With Meat?My Profile

  6. Deb,
    Nice blog. 🙂 I agree that veggies are definitely part of a balanced diet, but I am not a fan of going meatless. I agree with Beverley that if one looks hard enough, she can find science and research to support almost any claim, especially with the American government, cattle ranchers, soy farmers, corn farmers, and dairy farmers all at war with each other. I wonder: if our food sources were truly, truly clean and devoid of all chemicals, pesticides, or toxic runoff spills, and not tainted with any crap that caused cancer and other horrible illnesses, would these conversations still occur? Sorry. Rant over.
    Liz Benoit Cozby recently posted..Who’s In Charge Here, Cupcake? (Ego Versus Soul)My Profile

    • Excellent points, Liz – I would love to see our food sources clean and devoid of chemicals, etc. I suspect we’d find a whole new level of health!! In the meantime, no meat for me – and for those who do, small portions with a heaping side of veggies=>
      Deb Nelson recently posted..Got A Beef With Meat?My Profile

  7. Hi Deb
    I currently try to stick to the Mediterranean lifestyle. I eat lean meats and veggies. I eat more good carbs in days I do a lot of endurance cardio. I recently read that the meat on our plates should resemble a “side dish.” I have started increasing the veggies and decreasing the meats. Great post!
    Sharise Hemby recently posted..Test postMy Profile

  8. Hi Deb, I have cut way down on red meat – I eat mostly seafood and chicken; though pasta is still high on that list. I have included more vegetables and cut our dairy, with the exception of some Greek Yogurt at least once a day as a protein snack. I drink way more water than anything and have started to drink tea – fruit teas I like best. I drink some cammomile and lavender tea to relax before bedtime.
    Tamara MacDuff recently posted..Be Like TamaraMy Profile

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