In the last few weeks, you’ve probably heard a lot about so-called “pink slime.” Otherwise known as “lean finely textured beef trimmings,” pink slime is a processed meat byproduct found in 70% of packaged ground beef in the United States. Rather than being made from muscle tissue, this meat-ish byproduct is created from connective tissue and treated with ammonia hydroxide to kill salmonella and E. coli.
Doesn’t sound too appetizing. And really, the publicity about pink slime was one of the rare instances where mainstream consumers peered behind the veil and saw the unpleasant reality of industrial farming. The family farms and red barns that adorn product packaging are far cries from the shocking truth about how our food is made.
Despite the unappealing process by which it’s created, the USDA considers pink slime safe for human consumption. Moreover, when it is added to ground beef, current regulations do not require that it’s disclosed on labels.
Of course, safe and healthy are two different things. Twinkies are safe for consumption, but certainly not part of a healthy diet. The truth is, most Americans eat far too much red meat – pink slime or otherwise. In fact, a recent study by Harvard researchers concluded that 9% of male deaths and 7% of female deaths would be prevented if people lowered red meat consumption to 1.5 ounces (or less) per day. That’s a sobering statistic.
The moral of the story is to eat less red meat. Period. It’s not that we need to exclude red meat entirely, but most of us would be significantly healthier with less red meat in our diets. Back in January, I made the decision to limit my red meat consumption to twice weekly. Instead of including red meat as a staple in my diet, it’s more of a special treat – and, when I do eat red meat, I usually opt for healthier, grass-fed varieties.
If you hold the mindset that your body is a temple, then you’d want to fill that temple with those things that honor it. Twinkies, pink slime and the like certainly don’t make the cut; make those food choices that nourish, energize and lift up your body.