Hello to my favorite avocados!
So, my last post was about why you should try going vegetarian for at least one meal per day because of how it’s great for the environment.
(Oh, heads up: when I say meat, I mean everything that is normally considered meat except for seafood – I will never tell someone not to eat fish because everyone should always eat fish.)
But, the issue with trying to appeal to people’s inner environmentalist is that, tbh, the environment is not the most important thing for some people. You know what is important, though? Your health. So let’s talk about why cutting back on meat is good for your body!
Animal proteins usually mean more fat
Americans eat a lot of protein. Like, more than what is recommended. And one key source of this protein is meat – red, white, all of it. It is recommended that males get 56 grams and females get 46 grams per day – but, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that the average person consumes twice this on a daily basis.
But, that doesn’t matter too much because research has shown that there are few clear-cut bad things about consuming protein – still, keeping your intake in the recommended range is not a bad idea at all.
The issue with this is that animal proteins are often high in fat – like meat! Eating a diet high in fat – especially saturated fat – can lead to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and potentially certain types of cancer. Cutting out meat for just one meal – at least red meat – can greatly reduce the amount of fat you consume per day.
For those people out there who are concerned that they will have to start chugging protein shakes after lunch: do not worry – there are plenty of low-fat protein options such as soybeans (but watch out for the estrogen in those) or milk (which has shown to protect against cardiovascular diseases despite its fat content) out there just for you.
It’s not necessarily the protein that is bad – although it wouldn’t hurt to swap out the soybeans for some broccoli – but the fat that comes with it.
Red meat consumption increases cancer risk
According to the US Department of Agriculture, Americans are one of the top meat consumers in the world and eat an average of 71 pounds of red meat per year. Also, recently the World Health Organization released information linking red meat to colorectal cancer. The article does not contain much information about why the connection exists (because it’s one of those things where you either have to pay or be a scientist to read it) but the study showed that this risk increases as you eat more meat.
So, this is not saying you should stop eating red meat at all because the risk will be small if you don’t consume it as often. This is because red meat contains a lot of great nutrients such as iron (speaking of iron, you should check out my post on iron deficiency because literally so many people are slightly anemic). But, on the flip side, if you want iron there are a lot of vegetables that can provide that without some of the drawbacks.
Searching for stuff to fill your plate is an adventure
Disclaimer: do not over analyze your lunch – eat the ice cream, drink the soup, do not fear the pizza. This is not me telling you that you need to think more about what you’re eating and start replacing bread with piles of spinach.
Basically, when you’re searching through the cafeteria for some meatless stuff, reading all the labels and poking at salads that will probably have bacon in them, you will discover vegetables, pita bread, tomato soup, and hummus – and it will be glorious.
I went for about three weeks straight without eating meat at lunch and over that time period I ate a bunch of stuff that I normally never even think about shoving in my mouth because my plate was filled with something non vegetarian.
Here’s the thing with telling people how to eat – almost everything has benefits, drawbacks, possible substitutions etc so there isn’t a right way to eat. I’m not going to tell you that red meat and protein and fat are all horrible for your health because they’re not!
But, if you get the help the environment and improve your health in certain ways without completely giving up meat, then maybe skipping out on meat for one meal is something you will try.
Do it! Next week. It will be great. Good luck on your adventures in the foliage – I hope you discover the wonders of a meatless lunch.