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Whole Grain Benefits

Eating Meat on a Sustainable Diet: Tips and More



If you are concerned about the environment, you may be wondering if you should keep eating meat.

Food production has an impact on the environment as it consumes water and land. Hence, it is often said that eating foods that are made with fewer resources (and that do not contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions) is better for the planet.

Plant-based foods are generally considered to be more environmentally friendly than meat and animal products, and vegan or vegetarian diets are often referred to as sustainable.

However, there are many points to consider when assessing the environmental impact of meat. In fact, there may be ways to eat meat more sustainably – and eat less of it – without completely giving up it.

This article explores the nuances of meat’s environmental footprint, then discusses tips for consuming meat while following an environmentally friendly diet.

Raising animals for food requires large amounts of land and water. It also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions through animal feed, manure, and methane emitted by burping (1).

In fact, farm animals are responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. In addition, industrial livestock farming leads to deforestation, soil erosion, freshwater pollution, and air pollution (1, 2).

Beef is said to have a greater environmental impact than dairy, pork, fish, eggs, or chicken, but the footprint of these foods varies depending on how they are made (3).

Whole, minimally processed plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and olive oil have the lowest environmental impact (3).

Still, it is difficult to compare every type of animal and vegetable product. Some plant-based foods, like certain nuts and highly processed products, have a much greater impact on the environment than other plant-based options.

It is also important to consider the extent of meat production – small farms versus fattening farms – when assessing the environmental impact of meat, as the debate about the role of livestock in climate change has many nuances.

Focus on the environmental impact of beef

While the meat industry typically uses more resources and contributes more to climate change than plant-based foods, certain methods of meat production are more sustainable than others.

Although beef is widely considered to be more polluting than other meats, some analysis suggests otherwise.

For example, beef is produced more efficiently in the United States than in most other parts of the world. Innovations like better breeding and feed additives are helping farmers use fewer cattle to feed more people and reduce environmental pollution (4, 5).

It has been shown that adapting the diet of dairy cows to a specific type of algae improves digestion and reduces methane emissions by up to 60%. In the case of beef cattle, the reduction in methane emissions through the addition of algae can be up to 80% (6, 7).

Current research suggests that US beef production accounts for 3.7% of national greenhouse gas emissions and less than 0.5% of global emissions. The total agribusiness accounts for 10% of US emissions, while the transportation industry accounts for 29% (8, 9, 10).

Proper cattle husbandry can have environmental benefits

Although beef cattle production emits more greenhouse gases than poultry, pork or dairy products, most US cattle are raised in areas unsuitable for growing vegetables and other plant-based foods. Using this land to raise meat can be seen as an efficient way of feeding people (9).

In addition, beef and other meats have health benefits. Meat is very rich in protein and contains essential micronutrients.

Many communities in the United States and around the world rely on livestock for both food and work.

Additionally, some people may not have access to a nutritionally adequate plant-based diet, which means that consuming less meat can harm their diet and livelihood. Eating meat can also be an integral part of their culture or traditions.

After all, well-managed livestock can help keep the soil and land healthy. Adequate grazing techniques can make the land more resilient to flooding and keep carbon in the soil instead of being emitted into the atmosphere.

These techniques involve grazing cows on long grass while preventing them from grazing or decomposing the ground with their hooves. As a result, the grasses retain healthy, long roots that can absorb water and bind carbon in the soil (11).

Grazing cows can also help prevent forest fires by reducing the amount of grass available to fire (12).

CAFOs in focus

All food production has some impact on the environment, which largely depends on the production method.

Concentrated animal feeds (CAFOs) – known as feedlots in the beef industry – have many negative effects on the environment (13).

Animals in CAFOs are kept in a confined space and are not allowed to graze. Not only does their manure pollute the surrounding land, water, and air, but the cramped conditions are also a breeding ground for diseases and infections that can spread to humans (14).

Grass-fed, grass-refined, and pasture-raised meat and animal products are generally considered to be more environmentally friendly than meat raised in CAFOs and feedlots.

Farmers who produce these types of meat aim to restore ecosystems and reduce environmental pollution on soil and water. For example, they manage manure better than CAFOs and may use pasture techniques that promote healthy, flood-resistant land.

However, some claim that grass-fed and prepared meat can cause more greenhouse gas emissions than other species.

Grass-fed cows have a longer lifespan than beef cows and therefore release more methane through belching during their lifespan. Additionally, as more people choose to eat grass-fed beef, the number of cattle and land area used to produce that meat may increase (15, 16).

However, some studies suggest that the increased emissions are offset by the carbon that grazing cows store in the soil (17).


The environmental impact of meat is generally greater than that of plant-based foods. Meat production uses large amounts of land and resources, but some techniques related to raising animals can help maintain healthy ecosystems.

Analyzing the environmental impact of meat is complicated.

While some environmental advocates suggest avoiding meat and animal products entirely to combat climate change, many other considerations speak in favor of keeping animal products in an environmentally friendly diet.

In general, eating more whole, minimally processed plant-based foods is a step in the right direction. These foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Limiting total meat consumption and choosing sustainably grown animal products are also helpful.

Here are some tips for including meat as part of a green diet.

Choose meat that is grass-fed or raised in pasture

Check the label before buying meat and limit or avoid products raised in a CAFO or feedlot.

If the label doesn’t say grass or pasture husbandry, it is likely from a CAFO.

If you can speak to the farmer directly, for example at a farmers market, you can inquire about the sustainability techniques they are using.

Although grass-fed or pasture-reared cows may have higher methane emissions than conventionally reared cattle, the overall impact on the local ecosystem is much smaller – and possibly even positive.

Invest in a meat stock

Local farms may offer meat cuts that allow you to buy a package of sustainably raised meat to pick up every week, month, or quarter.

Cut down on your meat portions

The addition of meat in small quantities, e.g. B. in a side dish or as a side dish can help you reduce your overall intake.

Experiment with making meals that are mostly plant-based but have small amounts of meat, such as salads with beans as the main source of protein plus a few slices of chicken or stir-fries with lots of vegetables and grains and a small amount of beef.

Set a realistic goal to reduce your meat consumption

Don’t force yourself to cut out meat at once. Instead, try the following suggestions to help you eat less meat without removing it from your diet:

  • Try Meatless Monday – an international movement that encourages people to cut out meat on Mondays in order to reduce their meat consumption.
  • Only eat meat for dinner.
  • Prepare plant-based lunches.

Choose an option that works for you and go from there.

Divide a serving of meat into several recipes

You can add small amounts of meat to myriad recipes without it being the focus.

For example, 1 pound (454 grams) of ground beef can be spread over burgers, tacos, and soups.

You can make burger patties with beans, a whole grain, and a small amount of beef, then change your favorite taco recipe to use half mushrooms and half beef. Finally, cook the remaining beef in a bean-based chili.

Focus on adding new plant-based foods to your diet instead of cutting back on meat

If you are struggling to cut back on your meat consumption – perhaps out of convenience or habit – focus on new foods to try instead.

Browse food blogs and cookbooks for plant-oriented recipes, and make it your goal to try a new dish every week. For example, if you’ve never tried lentils before, experiment with dal or lentil-weight grain shells. Lentils can also be used to make meatless “meatloaf” or stuffed peppers.


Choosing meat from grass and pasture, limiting your meat consumption, spreading a single serving of meat across multiple dishes, and making plant-based foods the focus of your meals can help the environment without cutting meat from your diet.

Like all food, meat also needs resources to produce. While it generally has a larger environmental footprint than plant-based foods, the bigger picture is more nuanced.

Animals raised in CAFOs affect soil, water, air, surrounding communities, and global warming far more than pasture-raised and grass-fed animals. The cultivation of plant-based foods, on the other hand, is generally considered to be more environmentally friendly.

If you are interested in an environmentally friendly diet, try to moderate your meat consumption and eat more whole, minimally processed plant-based foods. If you eat meat, try to be pasture, grass-fed, or sustainably raised.

Whole Grain Benefits

For the 55-and-over crowd, March 27-April 3, 2022 | Local News



For information about services available to older adults, contact Pam Jacobsen, director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Helen Mary Stevick Senior Citizens Center, 2102 Windsor Place, C, at 217-359-6500.

RSVP and the Stevick Center are administered by Family Service of Champaign County.


  • Active Senior Republicans in Champaign County’s monthly meeting will be held at 9:30 am on April 4 in the Robeson Pavilion Room A & B at the Champaign Public Library. This month’s speakers will be Jesse Reising, Regan Deering and Matt Hausman, Republican primary candidates for the newly redrawn 13th Congressional District.
  • Parkland Theater House needs four ushers each night for “The SpongeBob Musical,” opening April 14. There will be nine shows in total — April 14-16, April 22-24 and April 29-May 1. For details, call or email Michael Atherton, Parkland Theater House Manager, or 217-373-3874.
  • Parkland College also needs four volunteers for commencement. The commencement ceremony will be in person at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at 8 pm May 12. Volunteers needed from 6:30 to 8 pm For details, contact Tracy Kleparski, Director of Student Life, at or 217- 351-2206.
  • The Milford High School National Honor Society and Student Council is hosting a Senior Citizens Banquet at 6 pm April 22. The event will be held in the MAPS #124 Gymnasium (park at south doors at Milford High School. To RSVP, call Sandy Potter at 815-471-4213.


Knit or crochet for those in need:

Meditative Movement with Yoga:

  • 9 to 10:15 am Tuesdays and Thursdays.


  • 11 am to noon, second and fourth Tuesdays. Call 217-359-6500.


  • Noon to 3 pm Thursdays.


Card game 13:

  • To sign up to play, call 217-359-6500 and ask for Debbie.

Men’s group:

  • 9 am Monday-Friday. Join us for a cup of coffee and great conversation.


The Peace Meal Nutrition Program provides daily hot lunches at 11:30 am for a small donation and a one-day advance reservation at sites in Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul, Sidney (home delivery only), Mahomet (home delivery only) and Homer.

For reservations, call 800-543-1770. Reservations for Monday need to be made by noon Friday.

NOTE: There is no change for home deliveries, but at congregate sites, you can get a carry-out meal.


  • BBQ pork sandwich, mini potato bakers, corn, creamy cole slaw, bun.


  • Turkey pot roast with carrots and celery, Italian green beans, pineapple, whole grain roll.


  • Savory sausage stew, broccoli, chunky apple sauce, biscuit, surprise dessert.


  • Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and brown gravy, tomatoes and zucchini, apricots, whole-grain roll.


  • Chef’s choice — regional favorites will be served.


If you are 55 and older and want to volunteer in your community, RSVP (funded by AmeriCorps Seniors and the Illinois Department on Aging) provides a unique link to local nonprofits needing help. We offer support, benefits and a safe connection to partner sites.

Contact Pam Jacobsen at or 217-359-6500.


Senior Volunteers.

  • RSVP of Champaign, Douglas and Piatt counties/AmeriCorps Senior Volunteers is your link to over 100 nonprofit organizations. Please contact Pam Jacobsen at or call 217-359-6500 for volunteer information.

Food for seniors. Handlers needed to unload boxes of food for repackaging at 7 am on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. We are looking for backup delivery drivers to deliver food to seniors. Contact Robbie Edwards at 217-359-6500 for info.

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Whole Grain Benefits

The future of nutrition advice



By Lisa Drayer, CNN

(CNN) — Most of us know we should eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

So why would the National Institutes of Health spend $150 million to answer questions such as “What and when should we eat?” and “How can we improve the use of food as medicine?”

The answer may be precision nutrition, which aims to understand the health effects of the complex interplay among genetics, our microbiome (the bacteria living in our gut), our diet and level of physical activity, and other social and behavioral characteristics.

That means that everyone could have their own unique set of nutritional requirements.

How is that possible? I asked three experts who conduct precision nutrition research: Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Martha Field and Angela Poole, both assistant professors in the division of nutritional sciences at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology.

Below is an edited version of our conversation.

CNN: How is precision nutrition different from current nutrition advice?

dr Frank Hu: The idea of ​​precision nutrition is to have the right food, at the right amount, for the right person. Instead of providing general dietary recommendations for everyone, this precision approach tailors nutrition recommendations to individual characteristics, including one’s genetic background, microbiome, social and environmental factors, and more. This can help achieve better health outcomes.

CNN: Why is there no one-size-fits-all prescription when it comes to what we should be eating?

Huh: Not everyone responds to the same diet in the same way. For example, given the same weight-loss diet, some people can lose a lot of weight; other people may gain weight. A recent study in JAMA randomized a few hundred overweight individuals to a healthy low-carb or low-fat diet. After a year, there was almost an identical amount of weight loss for the two groups, but there was a huge variation between individuals within each group — some lost 20 pounds. Others gained 10 pounds.

Martha Field: Individuals have unique responses to diet, and the “fine adjust” of precision nutrition is understanding those responses. This means understanding interactions among genetics, individual differences in metabolism, and responses to exercise.

CNN: How do we eat based on precision nutrition principles now?

Huh: There are some examples of personalized diets for disease management, like a gluten-free diet for the management of celiac disease, or a lactose-free diet if you are lactose intolerant. For individuals with a condition known as PKU (phenylketonuria), they should consume (a) phenylalanine-free diet. It’s a rare condition but a classic example of how your genes can influence what type of diets you should consume.

Angela Poole: If I had a family history of high cholesterol, diabetes or colon cancer, I would increase my dietary fiber intake, eating a lot of different sources, including a variety of vegetables.

fields: If you have high blood pressure, you should be more conscious of sodium intake. Anyone with a malabsorption issue might have a need for higher levels of micronutrients such as B vitamins and some minerals.

CNN: There is research showing that people metabolize coffee differently. What are the implications here?

Huh: Some people carry fast caffeine-metabolizing genes; others carry slow genes. If you carry fast (metabolizing) genotypes, you can drink a lot of caffeinated coffee because caffeine is broken down quickly. If you are a slow metabolizer, you get jittery and may not be able to sleep if you drink coffee in the afternoon. If that’s the case, you can drink decaf coffee and still get the benefits of coffee’s polyphenols, which are associated with decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes without the effects of caffeine.

CNN: How much of a role do our individual genes play in our risk of disease? And can our behavior mitigate our disease risk?

Huh: Our health is affected by both genes and diets, which constantly interact with each other because certain dietary factors can turn on or off some disease-related genes. We published research showing that reducing consumption of sugary beverages can offset the negative effects of obesity genes. That’s really good news. Our genes are not our destiny.

Another area of ​​precision nutrition is to measure blood or urine metabolites, small molecules produced during the breakdown and ingestion of food. For example, having a higher concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) strongly predicts one’s future risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The blood levels of BCAAs depend on individuals’ diet, genes and gut microbiome. We found that eating a healthy (Mediterranean-style) diet can mitigate harmful effects of BCAAs on cardiovascular disease. So measuring BCAAs in your blood may help to evaluate your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease and encourage dietary changes that can lower the risk of chronic diseases down the road.

fields: The environmental effects can sometimes be on the same magnitude as the genetic effects with respect to risk for disease.

CNN: Our individual microbiomes may be able to dictate what type of diet we should be consuming. Can you tell us about this emerging research? And what do you think of microbiome tests?

Poole: Research has shown that in some people, their blood sugar will spike higher from eating bananas than from eating cookies, and this has been associated with microbiome composition. Scientists have used microbiome data to build algorithms that can predict an individual’s glucose response, and this is a major advance. But that’s not an excuse for me to shovel down cookies instead of bananas. Likewise, if the algorithm suggests eating white bread instead of whole-wheat bread due to blood glucose responses, I wouldn’t just eat white bread all the time.

At the moment, I’m not ready to spend a lot of money to see what’s in my gut microbiome… and the microbiome changes over time.

Huh: Microbiome tests are not cheap, and the promise that this test can help develop a personalized meal plan that can improve blood sugar and blood cholesterol … at this point, the data are not conclusive.

CNN: How will nutrition advice be different 10 years from now?

Poole: I think you will receive a custom-tailored grocery list on an app — foods that you want to buy and foods that you want to avoid, based on your blood sugar responses to foods, your level of physical activity and more.

Huh: We will have more and better biomarkers and more affordable and accurate nutrigenomics and microbiome tests as well as better computer algorithms that predict your response to food intakes.

But these technologies cannot substitute general nutrition principles such as limiting sodium and added sugar and eating more healthy plant foods. In a few years, you may be able to get a more useful response from Alexa if you ask her what you should eat — but like other answers from Alexa, you’ll have to take it with a grain of salt.

The CNN Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Are Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches Healthy?



In order to assess its nutritional value, first we must discuss the breakdown of this sandwich.

Typically, there are three main ingredients — bread, peanut butter, and jelly — each with different nutritional values.

Nutritional value of bread

Bread can be a part of a balanced diet. The nutritional value of bread depends on the type chosen.

For starters, whole-grain bread is the best option because it provides a higher amount of nutrients. Whole grain kernels have three parts: the bran, endosperm, and germ (1).

Because whole grain bread retains all three parts, it’s higher in protein and fiber compared with other breads. These nutrients slow the absorption of sugar into your blood stream and keep you full longer (2, 3).

Whole grain bread is also richer in key nutrients, like B vitamins, iron, folate, and magnesium. Look for the word “whole” as part of the first ingredient in bread’s nutritional label (2).

Choosing sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel bread, is also an excellent choice. The sprouting process increases digestibility and bioavailability of nutrients. Studies show sprouted bread has more fiber, vitamin E, and vitamin C, and beta-glucan (4).

Sourdough bread is fine, too. Although it’s not as high in fiber and protein, it has a lower glycemic index than white bread.

Glycemic index measures how quickly food increases blood sugars. In general, foods with a lower glycemic index better support your overall health.

But keep in mind that glycemic index doesn’t tell the whole story. We must look at the meal as a whole — for example, what we add to the bread. Nutrients, like protein and fats, can help lower the overall glycemic load of a meal, and serving sizes also play a role (5).

As a guideline, look for whole grain breads that offer at least 2 grams of fiber per slice. We also suggest using bread that contains 3 grams of protein or more per slice.

If that’s not available, sourdough bread may be your next best option.


Choose breads that are higher in fiber and protein, like whole grain bread or sprouted grain bread. These varieties help slow absorption of sugars and keep you full longer.

Nutritional value of peanut butter

Many people find peanut butter delicious.

Nutritionally, it also delivers. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fats, important for all stages of life, especially growing children. Plus, it’s a good source of fiber.

Two tablespoons (32 grams) of smooth peanut butter contain 7 grams of protein, 16 grams of fats, and 2 grams of fiber (6).

Importantly, the majority of fats in peanut butter are unsaturated fats. Research consistently indicates that replacing saturated fats found in animal products with more unsaturated fats (like those in peanut butter) may lower cholesterol and improve heart health (7, 8).

For growing kids, healthy fats are vital for healthy development. Plus, fats help absorb the vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which play a synergistic role in supporting immune and brain health (9, 10).

Contrary to popular belief, conventional peanut butter doesn’t usually have more sugar than 100% natural peanut butter. However, it may have more salt (6).

When shopping, check the nutrition labels to ensure it doesn’t contain additional ingredients other than peanuts.

When enjoying natural peanut butter, the oil will separate from the peanut butter. Not to fret — just give it a good stir! This helps mix the oils with the solids.

Pro tip: You can store peanut butter upside down in the fridge to keep it from separating again!


When available, choose 100% natural peanut butter, as it’s lower in salt. Remember to stir the peanut butter before eating to mix the oils with the solids.

Nutritional value of jelly

The PB&J sandwich isn’t complete without jelly or jam. What’s the difference, anyway?

Well, while jellies and jams have similar nutritional value and taste, there’s a slight difference: Jellies are made with fruit juice, while jam is made with the fruit juice and pulp (7).

Both jellies and jams contain pectin (artificially added to jelly), which has prebiotic effects that may improve gut health (8).

However, both are naturally high in sugar, so enjoy them in moderation. To have more say in the ingredients used, you can try making your jelly at home.

If you’re buying from a store, look for jellies with no added sugar in the ingredients list. Alternative names for added sugars include glucose, sucrose, dextrose, and fructose.


Jellies are high in natural sugars and contain pectins that may have a beneficial effect in promoting good health. Try to choose jellies with no added sugars.

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