Less meat in your diet can change your body. Being meat-free or meatless for even one day can positively impact health. Summer is a bountiful time of year when gardens and farmers’ markets are filled with vegetables, so going with less meat is cheaper and easier.
Learn what food agrees with you
There are so many guidelines about eating the right food, the best food or the newest diet. What kind of food is better than others or different than others is often brought into question. Empowered Selfhealing suggests experimenting to find what works well for you. Less meat could work for you. If when you eat something you do not feel well, stop eating it. Fatigue, diarrhea or constipation after eating are clues that something is not working.
What is really important is to find the best food for you. Many people are attracted to comfort food with a lot of meat or cheese or quick to prepare processed food. Follow a regimen and see how you feel. If you need to lose some weight and you are, without being tired or fatigued then you have found a good healthy eating habit for you.
Proteins, vitamins, minerals, fats, and soluble elements are all important and part of human nutrition. Nutrition guides typically divide foods into food groups and recommend daily servings of each group for a healthy diet. Food can be grouped into 4, 5, 6, or 7 food groups but the usual are four main food groups that often you see health experts or nutritionists mention when they are talking about balanced diet. For each of the groups of food, there are then serving amounts suggested for adult and for children. Remember that the amount you eat makes a big difference.
For meat, fish, poultry and beans 2-3 servings a day is recommended. These foods are under the group of Protein and are great sources for that. Cooked beans are especially good for your health because they are low in fat. Some other protein-rich foods include; hamburger, eggs, beans, chicken, fish and peanut butter. Consider less meat or meat alternatives.
Dairy is important for calcium and protein for those who can digest it. You can choose the low-fat dairy option as well but it is not as necessary as the media would have you believe. It is recommended to have 2-4 servings of dairy a day. It should include, cheese, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese or anything that contains milk.
Fruits and Vegetables are so important and they are low in fat and calories. They are not only a great source of vitamins, potassium, fiber and carbohydrate energy, but they are also very nutritious. Orange or yellow vegetables contain Vitamin A. All citrus fruits, including lemon, contain Vitamin C. It is vital to have 2-4 servings of each every day. These include juices and all the vegetables and fruits either cooked or raw.
Grains are known as complex carbohydrates. They provide vitamin B and fiber, which are a great source of energy. For some people carbohydrates are easy to digest; for others not so much. This group includes; pancakes, pasta, bread, rice, and cereal.
Fats and oils in the diet include; oils, butter, sour cream, soda, candy and anything that has lots of calories. Fats and oils have to be really balanced to give you a healthy diet. Most people enjoy fat and oils rather than the other food groups which are equally important for the diet.
The Meatless Mondays campaign started back in 2011 started as a response to the Healthy People 2010 report which suggested that people reduce their intake of saturated fat by 15%.
But to change a daily diet from meats and processed food to fasting and vegan eating is difficult. However, going meat-free one day per week assists in lowering fats, improves overall health, and reduces the resources used to produce that meat.
The health benefits of a plant-based approach to nutrition are not insignificant. Research has been performed for decades trying to figure out how what we eat affects us. This has led to no small number of important global studies showing that eating vegetables, fruits and other plants can make you healthier than if you choose a diet lacking in plant-based nutrition.
Some stats to consider
- When it comes to meat, USA has the highest average consumption per person per year, at 120kg. New Zealanders eat 106.4kg, Canadians 94.3kg and Britons 84.2kg, all more than double the world average. The world average is 41.9kg.
- Replacing saturated fat-rich foods such as meat with polyunsaturated fats like nuts and seeds may reduce the risk of heart disease by 19%.
- Reducing overall meat consumption can also prevent long-term weight gain.
- Eating fruits and vegetables that are in season boosts gut health and reduces the risk of inflammatory bowel disease and bowel cancer.
- For those who choose to eat red meat, the World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting the amount to no more than 500 grams cooked red meat per week and suggests consuming very little, if any processed meat.
- The World Health Organization has classified red meat – including, beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse, and goat – as “probably carcinogenic to humans”.
- Eating vegetarian 1/7th of the time can help you lose weight, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, along with reducing the risk of heart disease, colorectal cancer and Type 2 diabetes. According to a study from Harvard of 440,000 participants, eating 3.5 ounce (100 gram) serving of red meat increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 19%; a 1.8 ounce (50 gram) serving of processed meat increases that risk by 51% in addition to increasing the risk of heart disease by 42%.
The Protein Myth
There is an unfortunately widely believed protein myth. HINT: Beef, chicken and other meats are not the only way to get protein into your body, and they may not be the healthiest protein providers either. But many people making the transition to vegan or vegetarian say that they are lacking energy and feeling generally unwell, and I say moderation. Try less meat. Don’t suddenly start a long fruit fast or only eat kale.
A few plant-based protein sources are complete. One example is quinoa; others include buckwheat, chia and soy. To show the advantage of plant protein, let’s compare a 1-cup serving of shredded beef and the same of quinoa. The beef has 348 calories, 23 grams of fat of which 9 grams are saturated and 105 mg of cholesterol. Making the same comparison of quinoa, it has 625 calories, 31 grams of protein, 10 grams of fat of which 1.2 grams is saturated and 0 mg of cholesterol.
Protein is definitely the key. Below are some of the best foods with which to replace meat:
Nuts (Brazil – 14g, peanut – 38g, cashew – 18g, almond – 20g, pistachio – 20g and walnut – 15g)
Lentils, 18 grams of protein per cup
Tempeh, 41 grams per cup
Black beans, 15 grams per cup
Chickpeas, 12 grams per cup
Tofu, 11 grams per 4 ounces
Green vegetables (kale, broccoli, seaweed, and peas) have varied amounts of protein
At first glance, the above foods might not appeal to you, particularly if you’ve been used to a regular diet of meat and two vegetables for many years. However, there are thousands of delicious combinations and creative ways to prepare plant-based foods.
What can you expect if you start predominantly plant-eating plans?
“Well-balanced vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including children, adolescents, pregnant and lactating women, the elderly and competitive athletes. In most cases, vegetarian diets are beneficial in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, renal disease and dementia, as well as diverticular disease, gallstones and rheumatoid arthritis.”
- Healthy, strong, beautiful skin and hair
- Diabetes prevention
- Controlling and lowering high blood pressure
- Significant weight loss, and healthy body weight management
- Improved eyesight and a reduced risk of vision-related problems like macular degeneration and cataracts
- Cancer prevention, and incredibly, even the ability to reverse cancer
- A strengthened immune system that fights off chronic disease, infection and sickness
- A significantly reduced risk of contracting heart disease, and neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
- All-day energy
Those are some pretty great benefits. Simply by making plants the focus of your eating, you can enjoy the above health advantages and more. As a wonderful side-benefit, in most cases, plant-based meals are a lot cheaper per serving than meals that have meat as their focus.
The good news is that eating a healthy, plant-based diet does not mean missing out on the foods, the flavors and textures that you love. Simply replace the following healthy, plant-based ingredients and food products for their less healthier counterparts you are currently enjoying, and your health gets a boost without your taste buds becoming upset.
Try vegetables in new ways
Natural, organic cauliflower can be ground down into a powdered form using a food processor or food chopper. It can then be used as a base for bread and wraps. It is also the perfect alternative to unhealthy, processed, preservative-filled and dairy-based pizza crusts. Cauliflower additionally makes the perfect alternative to rice or couscous. Use a food chopper, and stop when the cauliflower has been ground down to the size of rice grains. Sauté in a little coconut oil in a pan for a tasty and super-healthy rice alternative. But the versatile cauliflower is not done yet! You can also swap it into a multitude of dishes where potatoes are traditionally used. The first time you taste mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes, you will likely be shocked by the similarity in texture and taste.
A bun, the condiments and toppings of your choice, and at least one patty of ground meat, usually beef. Yummy, versatile, and full of protein, the hamburger can be pan-fried, flame-broiled or barbecued. Since immigrants from Hamburg, Germany introduced a broiled beef and onion beef burger patty to Ohio in the early 1800’s, the hamburger has been a commonplace and inexpensive item at American dinner tables. Worldwide as well, the hamburger is a popular meat-based protein source. Unfortunately, studies in recent years have pointed to animal-based proteins as directly linked to higher than average cancer rates. Try less meat.
The good news? That elevated cancer risk can be prevented, and cancer even reversed, with a more plant-based diet. Thanks to veggie-loving burger worshippers, you can still get that beefy burger taste … with a plant patty. Or make the following veggie-for-beef swaps for some surprisingly great tasting plant burgers.
Mixed beans or Black beans or Kidney beans
Wheat Gluten works for some people
One other that I like much more than soy burgers is wheat gluten. In fact, something I have loved for years in Chinese restaurants is wheat gluten. In the size of a modest slice of cake, it contains as much as 25 grams of protein and tastes like meat, has a delightfully chewy texture, can pick up any flavor, and is versatile in dishes. Wheat gluten is completely underappreciated.
Another possible plant substitute is the fast-growing zucchini, which is in season in the summer. Little known fact, a zucchini comes from a flower, which means it’s a fruit! This versatile fruit, often confused for a vegetable, is a great source of folate, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C and filled with fiber. The zucchini is the subject of countless recipes.
Going with less meat Reduces Resource Use
It takes a lot of resources to raise farm animals used for meat. For example, it takes 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water to raise one pound of beef. It only takes 39 gallons to produce a pound of vegetables. A simpler example is that reducing our consumption of meat by 20% would have the same effect as switching from a gas-powered vehicle to a hybrid.
We just don’t need to eat meat daily. Good, sustainably sourced meat is expensive. Meat needs to be a treat instead because the intensive animal farming methods which produce cheap meat is a health issue. Regardless if you decide to go meatless on Monday (or any other day of the week for that matter) for health or environmental reasons, you can help out both by doing so. And who knows? You might decide to eat less or no meat on other days of the week, too
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