How about a side of superbugs with that grilled chicken breast? Could that slab of meat on your plate kill you over the course of the next couple of days? Possibly. And not what you were probably bargaining for when you were trying to eat your lean protein cut.

Thanks to antibiotic misuse in animals, the very bacteria those antibiotics are supposed to kill could resist their feeble attempts, ultimately wreaking havoc on your own digestive probiotics. While the Beauty Detox plan doesn’t advise consuming large amounts of animal protein (yes, it’s totally possible to get all the protein you need from plant-based sources), but I know some of you still enjoy keeping some meat in your diet, so I thought it was important to share this.

Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs Have Been Found in Meat

In February, the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) released its annual report on retail meat. The results were scary.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyzed the findings on samples of poultry, pork, and beef, and concluded that there were antibiotic-resistant salmonella and Campylobacter bacteria on:

  • 81 percent of ground turkey2008_06_12-chicken
  • 69 percent of pork chops
  • 55 percent of ground beef
  • 39 percent of chicken breasts, wings, or thighs

Salmonella and Campylobacter are no walk in the park to begin with, but in the past, antibiotics were able to get you back on your feet within a few days. But now, superbug versions of bacteria severely limit the possible medications that will make you better and could land you in the hospital for quite a while. In some cases, you may develop chronic arthritis from salmonella complications, or even die. According to EWG, Campylobacter can result in Guillan-Barre Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that could leave you paralyzed.

In addition, the EWG report states that 53 percent of the chicken samples contained superbug versions of E.coli bacteria, which can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, according to the Mayo Clinic. points out that it could also cause kidney failure and death. It’s straight up scary.

Are you wriggling in your seat yet? Does that really sound like “clean” food to you? That turkey burger you were planning to have for dinner may not sound so appealing anymore. You don’t have to swear off burgers forever, though. Try the Alkaline-Grain Veggie Burger made from millet, not meat. Even my dad likes them!

Misuse of Antibiotics in Livestock

So how did these superbugs come to exist? Essentially, it boils down to the overuse (and misuse) of antibiotics in livestock. Livestock is pumped full of these antibiotics in order to promote rapid growth, maintain their health even in cramped and unsanitary conditions, and to prevent and treat diseases. According to the PEW Charitable Trusts, nearly 30 million pounds of antibiotics were sold for use on animals raised for food. Only 7.7 million pounds were used to treat sick humans. Sounds like a lot right? Well it is!

According to CNN, the FDA is attempting to collaborate with the meat industry rather than enforcing regulations for now. They’ve suggested cutting back on unnecessary antibiotic use in animals, but whether the farmers decide to do so is ultimately up to them (great!). The FDA doesn’t track how the antibiotics they purchase are actually put to use, so when you buy meat in a restaurant or a store, you won’t know what you’re getting unless you’re extremely careful.

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?

Even if you aren’t worried about the superbugs affecting you because you use a meat thermometer to make sure your food is thoroughly cooked and you’re meticulous about washing your hands, not re-using utensils, and cleaning up when you’re done, you could still be affected. Guess where the antibiotics- along with a brew of toxins, chemicals, hormones, and even steroids (definitely what not to eat while pregnant!)  end up when you eat those meats, even if you’ve killed all the bacteria during the cooking process? Your body. So what can you do to avoid getting sick now from the bacteria, or later, when the additional toxins have had a chance to make a home in your cells?

The first, most obvious reaction–and one that I recommend as part of the Beauty Detox plan- is simply to eliminate or at least greatly cut down on your meat consumption.This will help you to not only avoid harmful bacteria, but also make your body less acidic, and ease all the Beauty Energy you have to waste on digesting meat.  Digestion concerns aside, you’re still putting all the toxins those animals were fed into your body when you eat them. So even if you don’t get sick from the meat now (because your meat was thoroughly cooked and handled properly, always important), it could make you sick later, once the toxins have built up. Any of these chemicals, hormones, etc, will put a damper on your beauty and energy levels, and will also age you more quickly.

If you do still wish to eat meat, make sure you buy organic, hormone-free animal products. If you can, take it a step further and purchase from a local farm or source and don’t hesitate to ask questions about how the animals are cared for. By making this tweak to your buying habits, you’ll not only cut down on your potential exposure to superbugs, you’ll conserve Beauty Energy by not ingesting toxins, either. Check out restaurants that source such meats, if you eat out.

Another thing you can do is switch to sea animals for some of your meals that contain animal protein. While eating seafood comes with its own list of concerns and toxins, you can temporarily escape some of the issues with livestock and superbugs by occasionally having fish a few times a week, maximum. Be sure to choose fish like wild Alaskan salmon, mahi-mahi, sole, tilapia, trout, striped sea bass, haddock, halibut, and whitefish over the ones that are higher in toxins, like swordfish, tuna, shark, bluefish and Chilean sea bass.

Beauty Proteins to eat instead include:

  • green-leefy-vegetablesRaw nuts and seeds
  • Chlorella and Spirulina, both of which are algaes that are 65 and 60 percent protein, respectively
  • Quinoa, one of the top Beauty Foods for building long, lean muscles. Try this quinoa stuffed peppers recipe.
  • Green vegetables (Broccoli has 11.2 grams of protein per 100 calories whereas steak only has 5.4 grams!)
  • Legumes and beans

Rather than leaving an acidic residue in your body as meat would do, these Beauty Foods will help your body become more alkaline, which is the key to your beauty and your health.

Remember, soy and whey protein powders are not part of the Beauty Detox plan. Raw hemp protein powder and hemp seeds are much better for you and provide you with 11 grams of protein per 30-gram serving. Hemp is another one of the best Beauty Foods for a gorgeous, toned body. Sprouted raw protein powders are great also.

If you’re eating Light to Heavy each day as I recommend in the Beauty Detox plan, you’ll be eating animal protein later in the day, if at all. I don’t recommend eating it more than once per day. It’s not necessary, and limiting your intake is another way to lower your odds of consuming meat that will make you sick.

Your immune system will also be stronger if you’re following the Beauty Detox plan, so if you do get sick, your body will be able to do everything it can to make itself well again (though that is definitely not an invitation to skip seeing the doctor for a prescription and care!). The stronger your immune system, the more likely you’ll be to recover.

Alternatives to Meaty Mealsquinoa_topic600

If you’re ready to let go of animal protein for good or just for more meals per week, try mixing in whole grains that are complete proteins, like quinoa, to fill you up and make the transition easier. You can also pulse nuts in your food processor until chunky to make traditionally meaty favorites, sans meat.

Some of my favorite hearty Beauty Detox meals include:

Enjoy and be well!

New York Times Bestseller and Nutritionist