Eating well—we’re all trying our best, aren’t we? Now that winter and kidney season is upon us, letting where you live determine the choices you make about your family’s diet is incredibly important. Here’s why.

Location, location, location

Surviving the winter in Minnesota looks extremely different than surviving the winter in places like Florida or Southern California. That’s why choosing your diet according to where you are currently living really matters for your health.

Think about Minnesota. The generations of people who lived here before us thrived on eating animal meat to keep their families healthy and strong through the winter months. Mimicking a similar diet of the people who lived here years ago can act as a valuable diet guide for us today.

What’s so special about animal protein?

Protein can come from many other foods besides animal meat. But animal meat provides specific and important qualities for those of us living in a northern climate that other sources of protein don’t possess.

These very same animal proteins keep the heart strong and actively working to move blood to all our little extremities. As an added bonus, the kidneys are strengthened which allows our blood pressure to move the blood more fluidly to the areas that are harder to keep warm, like hands and feet.

So what’s for dinner? And lunch? And breakfast?

Well, where are you living? If you currently find yourself living in Southern California, a vegetarian or vegan diet might be just the thing for you. But if you call a northern climate like Minnesota your home, then a diet based on small, consistent portions of animal meat will be essential to help your body stay healthy through the long winter.

How much meat is enough?

Venison, bison and lamb are great blood-building meats. The key is small consistent portions – even just a couple of bites per meal! Encouraging your kids to have a few bites of bison meat before they’re out the door in the morning or offering your toddler some bites of a chicken thigh with lunch are practical ways to incorporate this protein into your everyday life.

The goal for those of us living in the north is to try to incorporate a small portion of animal protein into each meal throughout the day.

Simple. You can do that, and perhaps you already are! Good job, you.

Still curious? Ask Dr. Brad next time you’re in the clinic about the best food options for your body this winter.