While I choose not to include meat in my diet, my intention is not to convince you to do the same. I simply urge you to analyze your eating habits & be mindful of the health risks/benefits that correspond to the amount of meat you consume.
One of the reasons I decided to extensively study food and the WFPB lifestyle is because I already had a solid foundation on the subject. Over the past 10 years, I've had to defend my food choices to others. During the early stages of my meatless journey, I mostly kept my beliefs & choices to myself because I feared judgment & criticism. I began anticipating the question, "Where do you get your protein from?" I accepted the fact that my diet would be sarcastically compared to that of a rabbit's, and eating out wasn't always easy. I remember going to Applebee's with friends and ordering the Oriental Chicken Salad without chicken every. single. time. Eventually, though, I realized that I should be embracing my choices. I decided to turn my fears of judgement & criticism into a positive. I began educating myself on food so that I could educate others and confidently talk about the health benefits of limiting or removing meat from ones diet. I wanted to change the perception.
Today, I could go on and on about where I get my protein from. My diet is colorful, fun, and I never feel deprived. Eating out has become adventurous and I beam with excitement every time I see new meatless options on restaurant menus (Shout-out to Forage Public House for the BEST Vegan Mac n Cheese I've ever had).
Anyway, there are numerous reasons to participate in Meatless Monday including reducing your carbon footprint and preventing billions of animals from being factory farmed -- however, I will only be touching on the health-related benefits (although I strongly believe in & agree with the others).
I wholeheartedly promise that I am not trying to turn you into a Vegan. I just want to provide you with some facts & information to be mindful of. I want you to be your best YOU. After all, you are what you eat.
Benefits of Meatless Monday:
Going meatless one day/week is a small change that can improve your health in a big way. The point of Meatless Monday is not only about subtracting from your diet, but also about adding more whole grains, beans, lentils, fruits & vegetables to your diet, as well.
- Reduce your risk of heart disease & stroke - Cutting out meat, even just once/week, can dramatically decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Reduce your risk of cancer - There is evidence that red & processed meat consumption increases the risk of colorectal, esophagus, lung, pancreas, and endometrium, and stomach cancer. Also, women in countries that eat very little animal products have a much lower risk of breast cancer.
- Improve your blood sugar levels- Diets low in processed meat can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. Plant-based diets have also been known to reverse type 2 diabetes.
- Lose weight - People who limit their meat intake tend to have a lower BMI. Plant-based diets are rich in fiber (not found in animal products) which contributes to fullness, resulting in lower calorie intake and less overeating.
- Alleviate inflammation - A diet high in animal foods promotes acidity which can lead to arthritis, gout, chronic stomach inflammation, etc. On the contrary, plant-based foods lower inflammation, especially those rich in omega-3 fats like chia and flax, along with leafy greens that contain chlorophyll.
- Increase your energy - Animal foods are extremely hard to digest. Your body becomes exhausted when your digestive system is overwhelmed. Plant-based foods are basically fiber, water, healthy fats, and plant-based protein. There’s nothing in those foods (unless you choose highly processed versions) that cause your digestion to slow down.
- Improve your skin - Plant foods are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, antioxidants, water, chlorophyll, and vitamin E, which all do amazing things for your skin. Some of the best foods for healthy skin are: apples, oranges, berries, leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, avocados, lemons, beets, squash, and tomatoes.
- Decrease PMS symptoms - Many women experience less-intense PMS symptoms or the disappearance of symptoms altogether by removing or limiting meat and dairy from their diet.
- Sleep better - Reducing meat consumption will likely cause you to feel more calm, helping you to fall asleep easier. Certain foods such as bananas, sweet potatoes, broccoli, peanut butter, avocados, kale, almonds, walnuts, spinach, and squash all contain vitamin B6, trytophan, and magnesium, which ensure a healthy sleep cycle.
- Reduce hormone consumption - Eating animals that have been given hormones to speed growth (a common practice in the meat industry) means those hormones go into your body. Not only can this disrupt the natural balance of your hormones, but some of the hormones given to animals have shown to cause tumor growth in humans.
Plant-Based Protein Sources:
Some plant-based protein sources include: lentils, black beans, quinoa, peas, artichokes, hemp seeds, oatmeal, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, edamame, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, green beans, almonds, chickpeas.
Contact me if you have any questions or would like tips on getting started. I'd love to create a Meatless Monday meal plan for you.