From Charles Poliquin
Eating meat and nuts for breakfast is one of the best dietary habits you can use to get leaner, build muscle, and perform better. The first thing you eat in the morning establishes how you feel all day long because the nutrients in food set up a cascade of physiological effects, including the following:
• Neurotransmitter production for optimal brain function and energy production.
• Hormone modulation to keep you energized but calm.
• Blood sugar regulation so you feel satisfied and prevent food cravings.
• Protein synthesis and tissue repair for best results in the gym.
To make the meat and nuts breakfast work for you, do the following:
Rotate the meat regularly. Bison, venison, lean turkey burgers, lean ground beef patties, chicken breasts, and cold water fish are some of the best sources of protein and nutrients. Pasture-raised bison is perhaps the best muscle-building food because it has the greatest protein content of all meat at 21.6 grams per 100 grams versus 19.6 grams for beef.
Choose lean, organic cuts whenever possible. They are higher in omega-3 fats, contain less total fat, and provide more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) that fights cancer. Also, they aren’t packed with growth hormones and antibiotics. Did you know that two centuries ago all meat was range fed and slaughtered between 4 and 5 years of age, whereas today 99 percent of beef is grain-fed and slaughtered at 14 months leading to a much greater total fat content and a skewed omega-6 to omega-3 ratio?
Eat a variety of different nuts with the meat. Don’t overdue nut intake—a handful is all you need since nuts are extremely energy dense. Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, almonds, and macadamia have correlated with better health outcomes in a number of studies. Get raw nuts whenever possible, and watch out for nuts roasted in corn, cottonseed, and other unhealthy oils.
A recent study highlights the benefit of employing these breakfast strategies when eating the meat and nuts breakfast. Researchers compared the effect of eating 12 ounces daily of either bison or beef for 7 weeks on a number of health factors. There was one drawback to this study, which was that it used conventionally raised meats. The beef was from feedlot cows, whereas the bison was pasture-raised, but not organic. We’ll keep this in mind as we look at the results.
The group that ate the bison had much better health markers: They had reduced inflammation, lower oxidative stress, and better vascular function than the group that ate the beef. They also had better cholesterol levels than the beef group, which may be due to a higher CLA intake, and a more equal omega-6 to omega-3 fat ratio in the bison, which ate mostly grass.
In addition, the bison group improved diet composition compared to the beef group. They decreased carb intake from 348 grams a day to 268 grams (still a lot!), maintained fat intake and increased protein from 124 grams a day to 184 grams a day. These effects weren’t part of the study design—participants were allowed to eat what they wanted in addition to the 12 ounces of beef or bison daily.
The bison group also lost almost 1 percent body fat despite increasing caloric intake by an average of 130 calories, indicating that eating pastured meat with the ideal amino acid and fat profile can help you improve body composition.
Take away the understanding that red meat is not bad for you as long as it is raised in a way that provides a healthy nutrient content. This means you want to eat pastured, organic meat whenever possible. The hierarchy of meat choices is as follows: Organic pastured bison, organic pastured beef, wild cold-water fish, organic poultry, and conventional pastured bison. Avoid all other conventional meats.
McDaniel, J., et al. Bison Meat Has A Lower Atherogenic Risk than Beef in Healthy Men. Nutrition Research. 2013. Published Ahead of Print.