Are you willing to modify your eating habits by reducing your meat intake, but you don’t know where to start? Well, keep reading since this article is ready to guide you!
I’m from Mexico, and in my culture meat is the main ingredient in most of the meals during the day. The state I was born, Sonora, it’s considered to have the best meat in the country, no doubt!
And even when it’s delicious, consuming meat every day in the long term might cause health diseases such as cancer, diabetes, stroke, heart disease, harmful cholesterol and much more.
Besides harming your health, the high production of meat around the globe, according to the FAO (Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) has stated that gas emissions due to the greenhouse effect of meat products, represents the 5th part worldwide.
Most likely you must have already heard about the handle of cattle, pigs and chickens in the mass production farms. We just try to ignore it for convenience and that doesn’t mean there is no cruelty, hormones, antibiotics, fear and more in the animals we are consuming.
Here are some guidelines on how to better choose animal products:
- Without antibiotics
- Without colouring
- Free grazing
If possible know the farm and its conditions.
To tell you the truth, I haven’t been able to do this, due to the high cost and the lack of a car. I’m sure around Montreal might be some healthy animal farms.
Therefore I’ve decreased my meat intake and now I usually eat meat 3 to 4 times a week, out of the 21 meals per week considering 3 meals per day.
It took me time though to decrease my meat intake, it is a process. I started by implementing Meatless Monday to my weekly habits. You probably heard about it already, and it case you haven’t here are some details.
As the name says, it’s about not eating meat or animal products on Mondays.
This movement started in World War I to optimize resources after the war and it was implemented for World War II as well. It has been followed for millions of people, including celebrities.
In my case, it has extended to other days of the week. Sometimes I do eat meat on Mondays, but it’s ok since most likely other days of the week I won’t eat it. So it is a great way to start decreasing animal protein intake.
In 2003 Sid Lerner reinstated this initiative in the United States in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. And from there on the movement kept growing. Currently, this movement has been embraced by 40 countries around the world.
The impact keeps growing in the areas of health, animals and the planet since it is a global movement. If you make the math, it is 52 days a year, can you imagine the effect that has?
For more information, you can visit the Meatless Monday website by clicking here.
And you might wonder, what about my protein intake? Protein is important for the functions of the body, AND it doesn’t matter if it comes from animals or plant-based sources.
Several athletes are cutting out meat, are vegetarian or vegan. Tennis players like Venus Williams and Novak Djokovic changed their diets and they became even better on their performances.
Runners like Carl Lewis and Shanda Hill; Kevin Hills, snowboarder; and Alexander Dargatz, bodybuilder, are just a few examples of sports players that are vegetarian or vegan with a great physical condition.
Plant-based Protein Benefits
I highly recommend to expand your horizons and start to eat a variety of plant-based foods containing protein. Besides, they have great benefits:
- More accessible
- Easier to get it organic
- Contain fibre, vitamins, and minerals (not found on animal protein)
- Lower cost
- More variety
- Less consumption of hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals
- Reduces the risk of several diseases like cancer, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol
- Might help with weight loss
- Body inflammation decreases
- Energizes the body after eating
Like everything in life, it’s about changing your habits, taste and learn how to cook them. And it might be cost-effective and more practical in the end.
Plant-based Protein Sources
And talking about variety, here you have a long and yummy list with different plant-based sources.
- Leguminous: lentils, black beans, red beans, pinto beans, chickpeas
- Cereals: quinoa, oatmeal, wheat pasta, integral rice, wheat bread
- Nuts: peanuts, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, nut butter
- Seeds: chia, hemp, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame
- Green vegetables: kale, green peas, broccoli, asparagus, artichokes, avocados, brussels sprouts, arugula, beet greens, spinach
- Other vegetables: cauliflower, mushrooms, spirulina, corn, peas
- Quality soyfoods: tempeh, tofu and edamame
You can find a variety of recipes on the Meatless Monday website and even some e-cookbooks. And of course, you can search on the web.
In conclusion, reducing meat intake it’s easy. Start with Meatless Monday or any other day of the week. The variety of plant-based sources is wide and you can find lots of recipes online. And, you don’t have any more excuses since athletes around the world are already vegetarian or vegan and they are strong and beautiful.
Make yourself a favour and improve your health, believe me, your gut (literally) will appreciate it. Besides, you will help your pocket, the animals and the planet.
So, what is the next step you will take to reduce your meat intake? Write it below in the comments.
And share this article with someone you love that might be interested.