By Kansas Living on October 15, 2019

Make Mine Meat

Meat is an essential part of a balanced, healthy diet

We are fortunate to have choices. Whether it's a brand of makeup, brand of car, the type of music we prefer or whether or not we like pineapple on our pizza, the option to have choices in life are paramount to being happy. Being happy and healthy is important to each of us, including three athletes who choose to include meat in their diets for the nutritional value. 

Meet DJ Rezac, a cyclist; Katie Sawyer, a runner; and Katie Ingels, a strength trainer. These individuals are busy with work and families, but set aside time to be active. They maintain their respective active lifestyles by including meat products in their diet. 

"Meat is muscle and when you require strength and performance, eating meat equals muscle," Rezac says. "There is no replacement."

Each athlete includes meat for a variety of reasons: the nutritional value, the great taste and the love of family farmers who raise meat products.

"Growing up on a diversified livestock and row crop farm, and raising cattle ourselves now, I couldn’t be more proud of the opportunity to help raise food for our nation and be part of this industry," Ingels says. "I understand the importance of raising a safe and wholesome product for not only the world but my family too."

"I am a mom to two growing boys," Sawyer says. "They need meat that is nutritious enough to keep them healthy, but delicious enough to keep them asking for more."

Nutritionally, meat provides essential nutrients important to maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle.

"Animal protein plays an essential role in your diet – literally," Eryn Carter, a registered dietitian, says. "Protein sources are rated with the consideration of their digestibility and utilization of amino acids in the body. Generally, animal protein sources score well on rating scales due to their amino acid make up. Animal meat products contain all nine essential amino acids that your body cannot produce but needs in order to function. In addition to amino acids, animal meats also contain vital nutrients the body uses to function. These nutrients are essential for energy production, proper hormone function and transport of other elements in the body. Consumption of animal protein can also be beneficial for satiating appetite – keeping you fuller longer –which helps promote eating regular meals and maintaining a healthy weight."

Kansas is a top producer of meat, specifically pork and beef. Kansas ranks third nationally with 6.35 million cattle and 10th in hog and pig inventory. Meat in one's diet means supporting the family farmers and ranchers who provide these products to your family. 

Social Media Contest

To celebrate meat products, a social media contest showcasing why you choose meat for your diet will be held until Nov. 8, 2019. Participants who post a photo of their favorite meat product, recipe or reason they choose to include meat in their diets using the hashtag #MakeMineMeat on Facebook and/or Instagram will be entered to win one of three $100 gift cards. Gift cards will be to a local grocery store so winners can purchase great-tasting, high-quality, nutritious meat. Private profiles may send a direct message of their post to Kansas Living’s Facebook account or Instagram account.

Join Us Live!

In conjunction with National Food Day, a Facebook Live will occur Thurs., Oct. 24 at 3:30 p.m. central. Visit Kansas Living’s Facebook page to hear from Chef Alli, a well-known Kansas chef and personality; DJ Rezac, an athlete who chooses to include meat in his diet; Chris Downs, the manager of the Manhattan Meat Market; and Eryn Carter, a registered dietitian.

To learn more about the nutrional value of meat in your diet, and for great meat recipes, visit these additional resources: