Getting tired of hearing all about “plant-based diets” and still have no idea what it means? You’re not alone. In fact, most American consume meat daily, if not with every meal. However, many other Americans are starting to realize that eating so much meat, especially red meat, can have detrimental effects on their physical health. Studies have shown that overconsumption of meat can lead to weight gain and increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
This is where all the talk of plant-based diets began. Eating a plant-based diet essentially means eating less meat—or no meat—and eating more vegetables. But since cutting meat out of your diet completely, or even dramatically reducing your intake in a short period of time, can be a shock to your body, many people opt for #MeatlessMondays—a trend that involves going without meat for one whole day out of the week. Other variations of this trend include having one meatless meal every day.
What are the benefits of Meatless Mondays?
Many researchers agree that reducing meat consumption has a number of different health benefits, including:
Decreasing your risk of cancer. Multiple studies have found a connection between diets high in red meat and colorectal cancer. If you have already cut out or limited your red meat intake, then eating more vegetables can reduce your risk of cancer since most vegetables are full of nutrients and antioxidants.
Helping you maintain a healthy weight. A diet rich in vegetables decreases your risk of obesity because most are full of fiber. Fiber helps you feel full but is low in calories.
Having a healthy heart. The nutrients in fruits and vegetables play a big role in heart health and can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.
What are the disadvantages of plant-based diets?
If you decide to go completely plant-based, then you have to make sure your body is still getting all the nutrients it needs to function properly. People who don’t consume enough meat tend to have deficiencies in B12, iron, and riboflavin. Furthermore, people who have also cut out dairy products as an extension of a plant-based diet tend to have deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D.
What kind of foods should I eat?
To ensure you’re getting all the right nutrients with a plant-based diet, make sure your diet includes the following:
Beans—they are high in protein and make a great substitute for meat in many dishes.
Nuts—and nut butters are also high in protein and a good source of iron.
Broccoli, kale, and other dark leafy vegetables—these are a great source of calcium and riboflavin.
Dairy products—if you aren’t cutting out dairy, then dairy products like cheese and yogurt are great sources of calcium and vitamin D.
Plant-Based is Not Necessarily Vegan or Vegetarian
So many people have a negative connotation when they hear vegan or vegetarian. Plant-based diets don’t have to eliminate all meat. In fact, most people choose plant-based diets because it is sustainable for the world to continue eating meat in moderation.
Try Some of These Plant-Based Recipes
Our friends at Hello Spoonful, have some of the best plant-based recipes in Atlanta. Check out their blog here: https://www.hellospoonful.com They really know how to make a good dish!
Here are few Vegan favorites from their blog!
So next Monday, try going meatless and see how you like it. Drop us a comment with questions or your best plant-based recipes.