If you want to lose weight and live a greener—and longer—life, the first step you should take is eliminating meat, right? Yes…and no. It’s true that excessive consumption of red meat has been linked to higher rates of premature death, heart problems, and certain forms of cancer. And raising any form of livestock in the polluting, antibiotic- and hormone-driven factory farms so favored by big agribusinesses leads to unnecessary water and air pollution, and could be contributing to the problem of antibiotic-resistant diseases in humans.
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But that doesn’t mean you should chuck it all and go veg for the rest of your life. Meat, particularly healthy red meat, is rich in muscle-building amino acids, and the fatty acids found in all forms of meat help build your brain, which is 60 percent fat. It’s all about finding the healthiest meats for both you and the planet. These six healthy alternatives are better for your body than the mass-produced, factory-farmed fare that is high not just in antibiotics and hormones, but also in omega-6 fatty acids (thanks to the animals’ steady diet of corn and soy), which have been linked to Parkinson’s disease and other forms of cognitive decline.