During the last few months, I’d been walking through life with my eyes half closed. I would wake up exhausted and the fatigue would only get worse as the day wore on. To battle the sleepy pull, I had begun to slam coffee like it was going out of fashion.
One day when I was ensconced in the office with a few writers who were valiantly pulling the weekend shift with me I decided to honour their brave efforts, I offered to buy them lunch.
“Pizza!” cried one of them when the clock struck 12pm and it was officially late enough in the day to be considered lunch territory. And while it may seem strange, it took a conversation about pizza to turn my life around.
“But we absolutely have to get meat lovers, I need more red meat in my diet.”
“That is ridiculous.” I countered.
“First of all, if you need to pump up a section of the healthy food pyramid – pizza is not the way to go. Secondly – why the hell do you need more meat in your diet? As long as you’re eating vegetables you’re good.”
“When’s the last time you ate red meat?”
It was the question that stopped me cold. Now, I won’t bore you with the full details of what followed, but suffice to say we abandoned work for a few minutes to look up the full effects of what happens to your body when you don’t eat enough red meat.
Which is why I started to slightly panic when I realised I couldn’t actually remember the last time a slice of beef passed had passed my lips. It wasn’t like I didn’t like the taste of it, I had regularly indulged in beef related fantasies whenever I found myself starving, but an unhealthy lifestyle has led to its absence in my life.
With a full on work schedule, all my nutrients of late had come from a disposable coffee cup or a vending machine. Not quite the places you’d find a tender slice of juicy beef.
But once I dug deep into the Australian Dietary Guidelines, I came upon a few reasons why I need more beef in my diet, ASAP.
According to the guidelines, beef is a particularly good source of omega 3, iron, zinc, protein and B12. Iron is especially important during infancy and for adolescent girls, pregnant women, menstruating women and endurance athletes.
Now, I’m no enduring athlete, but according to the guidelines I fall into one of the top categories of women who need more beef in their life. In fact, my life in general needed an overhaul.
According to the stats, one in three women aren’t getting enough iron. Which explains why many of my girlfriends find themselves too tired to hang out on the weekends.
I kept thinking the best thing for my health would be to join a fancy gym, buy myself a yoga mat and start chanting to the sunrise. But oh I was so, so wrong.
So, I decided to do some research and write myself up a list (because who doesn’t love a list? People who don’t eat beef, that’s who) and set about changing my life.
Laura’s Life Changing Healthy List (sourced from credible people who don’t blast their brains with coffee instead of sleeping).
1. Get more sleep.
Sounds easy, huh? Well, not so much. Most people need seven to nine hours of sleep each night to function well the next day. However, according to the National Sleep Foundation’s Women and Sleep Poll the average woman sleeps only six hours and forty-one minutes during the workweek.
The solution? For most of us, being on our phones for hours on end before we go to sleep has the ability to mess with our sleep patterns. Tip – invest in an old-fashioned alarm clock and leave the phone outside the bedroom.
But when?! I hear you ask. I don’t have time for that! Me neither people, me neither. But according to every health expert under the sun, nothing will boost your energy levels like a little exercise. It’s best to go with cardio, as it gets your blood pumping and moves oxygen through the body.
My solution? I’ve started getting off the train one stop early before work in the morning and boy has it made a difference. I now bounce into work, a little sweaty but a lot happy, instead of slumping over my desk and praying for the world to end.
3. Eat the recommended amount of red meat.
Ah, back to where it all began, the reason for my life overhaul. The Australian Dietary Guidelines tell me I should be eating three to four serves a week of lean red meat, such as beef.
This means being a little more organised during the week and not relying on vending machines for sustenance. Pre-prepping beef stir-frys, salads and sandwiches to enjoy at work is my new life-saver. Bonus – it’s actually easier on the wallet then buying lunch everyday and more funds = less stress and more energy.
4. Have more human interaction.
At first I thought this was just going to make me even more exhausted, as sometimes dealing with people is the worst. But after a bit of research I found that sitting quietly at my computer for hours on end is actually sapping my energy.
My body needs occasional movement to change channels and get oxygen flowing. Now, I’m all about walking over to talk to my colleagues, instead of just emailing.
5. Cut down on coffee.
Notice that I said ‘cut down’, not ‘cut out’. Hey, I’m only human. I still need that mid-morning coffee to get me started but I’ve traded my afternoon hit for a green tea. It’s still got a hint of caffeine and I don’t lose the ritual of nursing a warm, toasty mug.
Plus, my favourite comes in peppermint flavour. Now I’m not suffering from that caffeine come down later in the day and my energy levels think I’m a rock star.
So, now that I’ve made a change in my life, I’m going to ask you the question that prevented a pizza from being delivered but ultimately saved my health.
“When’s the last time you ate red meat?”
Beef gives nourishment to get the most out of every day. It is more nutrient rich than chicken. Packed full of iron and zinc to produce energy to support a healthy body, mind and soul.
Beef also has a transformative effect unlike any other protein. It can bring family and friends together. It can spark conversations. It can fuel everyday heroes. Whether we are preparing, eating or sharing it, beef can enhance our everyday life and transform the way we feel.