Where's The Beef?
Growing up on a cattle ranch in
southern Alberta had many highlights, but it wasn’t until I moved away to university that I realized how lucky I was to have access to fresh foods. In the summertime, my mom would grow an amazing garden and our family’s freezer was always full of beef from our ranch. My mom was on the healthy, wholesome eating fad before it was a fad. That’s why when I moved across the continent to the University at Florida State, I had a major wakeup call in the importance of what I ate. No, it wasn’t the freshman 15, it was lack of iron and nutrientrich foods. Halfway into my first year of university, I started to feel lethargic and couldn’t understand what was going on. I was eating “healthy,” I thought, including vegetables, grains and lean proteins like chicken and fish.
After my coaches and trainers shared their concerns of my health I went to the doctor and had blood tests done. The results came back that my iron was extremely low. So I did what I was told—I started taking iron supplements and ate tons of spinach, but I still wasn’t seeing the change I wanted. After talking to my mom about how I wasn’t seeing the improvements in my training, she asked me if I was eating any beef. I stopped to think about the last time I had made beef for dinner or ate it for lunch and I couldn’t even remember. She said, “Sage, you grew up on a cattle ranch eating beef and wholesome foods, you haven’t been feeding your body what it’s used to and what it wants.” She was so right! Once I started eating more beef and red meats, plus adding in more wholesome veggies like sweet potatoes and beets, I noticed a huge change in my health.
I believe in the power of red meats and the energy they give our bodies, but everyone’s body is different. That is one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to women in sports and their diets. People like to think it’s all about lean and healthy when it should be wholesome and nutritious. We all are unique and different, that’s why one diet trend may work for one woman and completely fail for another. Having red meat every other day is essential for me as a female runner, but may only be essential once a week for someone else. My advice is stay away from limiting yourself and dieting, and instead focus on eating healthy, wholesome, nutrient-rich foods.