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NZ Beef and Lamb should be promoting plant-based diets

NZ Beef and Lamb should be promoting plant-based diets, says the NZ Vegetarian Society.

Following Iron Awareness Week last month, NZ Beef and Lamb released the results of an informal, unscientific survey that they themselves conducted. The results, as they note, are shocking:

'One in five respondents stated they feel ‘weak or dizzy all of the time', NZ Beef and Lamb claim.

What NZ Beef and Lamb fail to point out is that those visiting the website which hosted the survey were very likely to be almost exclusively meat-eaters. The majority of New Zealanders currently eat meat, and the site itself exists primarily to promote recipes that include meat.

The NZ Vegetarian Society suggests an alternative interpretation of Beef and Lamb's survey results: meat-eaters are not getting enough iron. "If any conclusion can be drawn from such a survey - and it would seem unlikely - the most obvious one is that a lot of meat-eaters aren't getting enough iron," Philip McKibbin, from the NZ Vegetarian Society, says. "What we know for a fact is that they are getting saturated fat and cholesterol from meat products. New Zealand already has one of the highest rates of meat consumption per capita in the world - we don't think telling people to eat even more meat is the solution. Instead, we suggest that meat-eaters consider transitioning to a plant-based diet."

McKibbin, spokesperson for the NZ Vegetarian Society says, "Vegetarians who eat a varied, well-balanced diet aren't any more at risk of iron deficiency than non-vegetarians. We would advise anyone who suspects that they are deficient in iron to stop paying attention to NZ Beef and Lamb, and instead talk to their doctor. There is an abundance of options for plant-based iron-rich foods that are consistent with long-term healthful eating. To make sure you get enough iron, ensure that you include leafy greens (like spinach), edamame, dry beans, tofu, tempeh, whole grains, and seeds (especially pumpkin seeds), in your diet. Eating iron-rich foods together with foods that contain vitamin C (such as fruits, capsicum, etc.) enhances absorption - and it's a good idea to avoid tea and coffee with meals, as these can hinder absorption."

During Iron Awareness Week, the NZ Vegetarian Society ran a successful campaign which saw vegetarians and vegans donating blood - proving that plants contain all we need, and doing a good deed at the same time!

Meat-eaters who would like to transition to a healthier lifestyle can find delicious plant-based recipes on the NZ Vegetarian Society's website: www.vegetarian.org.nz


ends

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