I’m a nurse and I choose beef – here’s why
Hi ya’ll, my name is Christine. I was born and raised in a small farming community in Oregon, Illinois. We lived near a large feedlot and my grandma owned some farm ground near our home, which piqued my interest in cattle and farming. I was excited for every opportunity to be part of a working farm operation – from riding in our neighbor’s cattle feed truck, to feeding cattle at their feedlot, to volunteering to do chores in the farrowing house when they needed help. From the age of 8 I was involved with 4-H, always wanting to be a part of a livestock operation.
In 2003, I moved to the Quad Cities to pursue a career in nursing. While at college I met the love of my life and would quickly learn what it meant to truly be a “farmer’s wife.” After getting married and graduating with my degree in nursing, we purchased a small farm and our first three cows. As a nurse, I recognized the benefits of knowing where my beef came from and knew how essential beef was to a healthy, balanced diet. Twelve years of marriage and three children later, we still find it very important to incorporate beef into our daily diet.
Being a nurse, I frequently have discussions with patients about moderation and balance, two key words to keep in mind when discussing diet and nutrition. From the newly diagnosed diabetic to the heart patient looking to reduce their blood pressure, it’s possible to modify your diet without cutting out beef completely. As a runner and busy mom of three, it is important for me to consider the essential nutrients I need for my body to be fully functioning to keep up with our sons’ energy levels throughout the day and maintain my health. A balanced diet including protein, veggies, and whole grains, a lot of Jesus, plus exercise are the things I need to keep my body strong and ready to take on today’s challenges.
Why I consider beef a healthy protein source
- Beef provides protein that my body needs to preserve and build muscle while I am running three times a week. As a runner, iron is an important nutrient found in beef to help my body use oxygen as I am pounding the pavement.
- Beef is an excellent source of B6 and B12 that helps supply my body with energy to help my brain function at full capacity while working in a busy trauma center as a nurse.
- Zinc, which is found in beef, helps with immune support, especially during the winter cold and flu season when I am exposed to germs daily at the hospital.
- Phosphorous is another nutrient found in beef that helps to keep my bones and teeth strong.
Now that you know why beef is important to a daily diet, it is important to know how to incorporate beef into your diet. Eating beef in moderation is as simple as considering the portion size that you put on your plate. A portion of meat should be 3 ounces cooked (4 ounces uncooked). This is about the size of the palm of your hand or a deck of cards. Protein should be one of the three food groups that you include on your plate, along with vegetables and whole grains.
Choosing your cut
Choosing your beef cuts is also very important when considering a healthy, balanced diet. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends selecting lean cuts, which have less cholesterol, less fat and less saturated fat than other cuts of beef may have. So, which cuts are considered lean?
- Extra Lean Ground Beef (96% lean, 4% fat)
- Bottom Round Steak (USDA Select grade)
- Extra Lean Ground Beef 96% Lean 4% Fat
- Sirloin Tip Steak (USDA Select grade)
- Top Sirloin Petite Roast Boneless (USDA Select grade)
- Top Sirloin Strips (USDA Select grade)
- Top Sirloin Filet (USDA Select grade)
- Top Sirloin Kabob (USDA Select grade)
- Top Sirloin Steak: Boneless Center Cut (USDA Select grade)
AHA suggests choosing select or choice over prime due to less fat content. As you are looking at the cut of beef, choose the cut with less marbling or visible fat to help reduce the fat content as well.
How to prepare your beef
How you prepare your beef matters, too. Instead of frying, prepare lean meats by baking, grilling, broiling, roasting or stir-frying. Before cooking, trim the fat off the edges. If you are not able to purchase lean ground beef I recommend to my patients to drain the fat off of the meat after cooking it using a kitchen strainer. You can also use a paper towel to blot off the grease after cooking.
As a busy mom of three young men, farmer’s wife, runner, nurse, and lover of Hereford cattle, I find it very important to educate myself on nutrition and recommended daily intake to keep my body running at peak performance. Beef is an essential part of our daily diet at the Wexell homestead. Beef provides essential nutrients that my body needs to stay strong, active and healthy every day. We believe strongly in beef as an essential part of our daily protein intake. Our sons are one of our greatest joys and the pride of our farm, which is why we serve them the best of the best Hereford beef daily! I hope that sharing my perspective not only as a farmer but as a nurse helps as you make healthy choices for you and your family.