Do the Gains Outweigh the Risks?


Which is best? Meat? Or vegetables?

I believe meat is best. However, I also think vegetables are important – a nice balance is best.

Even though each of us must answer that question for ourselves, we can make an informed decision.

For decades, especially in the USA, the powers that be said vegetables, especially grains, were better and healthier. So many people either ate less red meat and/or became vegetarians.

Nevertheless, there were plenty of people who did not tow the line and who sang the praises of red meat.

maasiEven though I never wrote about them before, there has always been the Maasai Tribe in Africa to think about!

They drink little but cow milk and cow blood and eat cow meat. Two-thirds of their calories are from fat, and 600-2000 milligrams of cholesterol. Yet they have one of the lowest blood pressures and less heart disease on earth. Due to drought and modernity the Maasai do grow and eat more vegetables these days.

Nevertheless, they eat meat. Yes. They basically eat only red meat.

As far as health benefits go red meat has much to cheer about. Red neat is full of: protein, iron, zinc, and B and D vitamins.

With this background today I share some new recent research that indicates that there are mental health risks for those who shun meat and eat more vegetables.

In other words are you happier when you eat more vegetabkes?

Women’s Health magazine cautions people that eating less red meat may negatively impact ones mental health.


The article cites an Australian study from last year which found that vegetarians reported that they were less optimistic about their future more often than people who kept meat in their diets. That same study found that vegetarians were 18 percent more likely to report having depression and 28 percent more likely to experience panic attacks and anxiety.

The question that people considering a vegetarian diet have to consider is whether or not the gains outweigh the risks. Will the number drop on the scale be worth it in the long run if you feel more sluggish or anxious than usual?

While there might be some clear reasons to avoid meat, it has benefits as well that impact your mind and your mood.

B Vitamins, zinc, iron and tryptophan are all found in abundance in meat and are often time in low quantities, or missing altogether, in vegetarian diets.


Despite all this the debate goes on and on and on and on.

So what is an intelligent human to do?

I hedge my bets. I eat what I damn well want. I just eat a bit less of it and add another vegetable to the plate.

How is that for diplomacy?


Featured Recipe    Chicken and Grapefruit




This dish is beautiful, easy, easy, easy, quick, and SO delicious. Did I mention healthy too?!!!

This is what you will need for 3 -4 people:

3 – 4 boneless chicken breasts

½ tsp dried tarragon

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ c cup white wine

¼ cup chicken broth

2 teaspoon sweet honey

3 – 7 oz cups grapefruit, cut into segments with juice***

Mache, endive, or curly lettuce

Salt and pepper to taste

*** I used to make this with half a 14 ounce glass jar of grapefruit. They do not sell this any longer. So I used 3 – 7 ounce plastic jars. COSTS MORE!


Here is what you do:

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Salt and pepper the chicken.


Measure the wine, broth, grapefruit juice, and honey. Set aside.


Heat the oil in frying pan over medium high heat.

Cook the chicken about 6 minutes per side, or until cooked through and nicely browned on both sides.


Sprinkle on some dry tarragon.

Add the wine, broth, grapefruit juice, and honey.


Simmer until reduced to about ⅓ cup.

Taste sauce and if necessary add a bit more salt and pepper.

Turn the heat off. Add the grapefruit.


Arrange some greens on plates.

Top greens with a piece of chicken and spoon over some sauce and grapefruit.


Serve with some bread and butter.

Now how easy is that? Enjoy!

Bon Appétite

3 chicken breasts                 $4.76

½ tsp dried tarragon            $0.36

2 tablespoons olive oil           $0.90

¼ cup white wine                 $1.85

¼ cup chicken broth             $0.44

2 teaspoon sweet honey        $0.41

3 – 7 oz cups grapefruit         $3.00

Curly lettuce                          $2.29

Salt and pepper to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Total cost = $14.01
Cost per person = $4.67
Quotes of the Day

Red meat is not bad for you. Now blue-green meat, that’s bad for you!

Tommy Smothers


The simple answer as to why we get fat is that carbohydrates make us so; protein and fat do no.

Gary Taubes

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2 comments to Do the Gains Outweigh the Risks?

  • Interesting question Roberta. I grew up in Southern Africa where meat was cheap and plentiful, we ate meat every day often 3 times a day and mainly beef and pork. We did eat vegetables, more green varieties than seems the custom here in Canada where squash appears to be the most commonly served vegetable.

    I am not convinced that my heart attack was the result of eating meat. I do believe that my recovery was aided by the protein I get from including meat in my diet.

    It’s hard to determine cause and effect from the results of the survey you quote.

    Does becoming a vegetarian increase one’s tendency to pessimism and depression? Or, do greater numbers of pessimistic and depressed people become vegetarians?