Cutting back on animal meats and having more meat-free days in your week can actually improve your overall health. There are many reasons why a plant-based diet is good for you and I’m going to share with you all the benefits of eating less meat and more veggies.
The purpose of this post is not to pursue you to become vegetarian or vegan because I can tell you that I am neither. I do eat meat. Not a lot. Just a little. The key to good health is to increase your vegetable intake. That is a fact!
Why should I eat less meat?
There are 5 main reasons why eating less meat is better for you:
- It reduces your cancer risk
- It can aid in weight loss
- It can help lower your cholesterol
- It will save you money
- It’s eco-friendly
Let’s look at these individually and I’ll highlight the benefits of each.
Reduces your cancer risk:
Studies link a high intake of red and processed meats to an increased risk not only cancer, but heart disease and stroke. You can find the study here.
Aids in weight loss:
Carrying excess weight increases our risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, certain cancers and arthritis. Plant-based diets tend to be less energy dense so we can eat more and feel fuller. I teach my clients that non-starchy vegetables are unlimited. So when you reduce your portions of meat you can fill in the gaps with more vegetables. Naturally this will lead to weight loss and increased energy from all the nutrients you will be getting from plants.
Soluble fiber found in plants will actually help to pull those “bad” cholesterol particles in your blood out of your body. Kind of like a broom — cleans up the mess. Plant foods are typically low in saturated fat and some (nuts, seeds, avocados and plant-based oils) are high in unsaturated fats, which help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Eating more fruit, veggies, beans/lentils and grains provides a valuable mix of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and soluble fiber, which all work together to keep our heart and circulatory system healthy.
Read this if you want to find out other ways to lower your cholesterol.
Vegetables are a fraction of the cost of animal-based products. Enough said.
Eating less meat is Eco-friendly:
Supply and production of food (including land use) accounts for a ton of US greenhouse gas emissions. The livestock sector — raising cows, pigs and chickens — generates as much greenhouse gas emissions as all cars, trucks and automobiles combined.
Put into context, the production of 10g beef protein releases the same quantity of greenhouse gases as 162g wheat protein (the amount in 46 slices of bread, 3 cups uncooked pasta or 22 bowls of cereal). The figures speak for themselves.
What You Can Do
- Commit to reducing your meat and dairy consumption by a few meals per week and tell five friends about your choice to find alternative proteins.
- Make fresh fruits and vegetables a bigger part of your diet.
- Buy sustainable or organic fresh produce whenever possible.
I’m not advocating that everyone adopt a “meatless” diet tomorrow. But we all must develop “meat consciousness” and reduce the level of meat in our diets. Shifting to more plant-based foods is essential to good health and to our environment!