Vegetarian, Pescetarian, Vegan, Flexatarian, or Carnivore! Many of us identify ourselves by what we chose to eat. (Or choose not to eat!) Personally, I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to identify yourself in this area of your wellness. I believe that the best approach is one that is health conscious and stays true to you.
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine reveals that the risk of dying at an early age with cancer or heart disease increases if you consume red meat.
Using data from two long-running studies of health professionals, researchers tracked the diets of more than 121,000 middle-aged men and women for up to 28 years. Roughly 20% of the participants died during that period. On average, each additional serving of red meat the participants ate per day was associated with a 13% higher risk of dying during the study. Processed red meat products — such as hot dogs, bacon, and salami — appeared to be even more dangerous: Each additional daily serving was associated with a 20% higher risk of dying. Based on these findings, the researchers estimate that substituting one daily serving of red meat with fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, whole grains, or low-fat dairy products would reduce the risk of dying in this stage of life by 7% to 19%. If everyone in the study had slashed their average red-meat intake to less than half a serving per day, the researchers say, 9% of deaths among men and 8% of deaths among women could have been prevented. -cnn.com
Wow. I don’t know about you, but as I researched this topic, study after study reported the health dangers and concerns in consuming too much red meat. But the concern doesn’t stop at red meat. Even lean cuts of chicken and turkey have some saturated fats and cholesterol. These cuts can also be high in calories. If you are like me and have done the meat research, watched Food Inc. and still have chosen to eat meat mindfully and responsibly, you may be asking yourself how to adopt balance in your meat-eating efforts? How can I balance between consuming meat in a health-focused and conservative way, and still maintain my values both personally and ethically?
First of all, know that just consuming less meat can have great gains on your journey toward optimal health.
A National Cancer Institute study of 500,000 people found that those who ate 4 ounces (113 grams) of red meat or more daily were 30 percent more likely to have died of any cause during a 10-year period than were those who consumed less. Sausage, luncheon meats and other processed meats also increased the risk. Those who ate mostly poultry or fish had a lower risk of death. -mayoclinic.com
I recognize that many people are concerned about getting enough protein in their diet, and rightly so. However, I am unsure if we recognize how much protein we actually need to consume in a day. This number does vary with sex, age, and physical activity level. However, you can estimate that adults need to gather about 10-35% of their daily nutritional needs from many different protein sources. This is going to equal about 50-175 grams per day. If you would like to estimate your personal protein needs, check out choosemyplate.gov, or download myfitpal onto your smartphone.
Your next Habitudes for Holidays Challenge is to have a Meatless Monday every week. If this sounds difficult for you to adopt, don’t freak out yet! Remember that we are taking a systematic approach toward meeting our goals. One step at a time! Here are a few helpful tips to enable you to make eating less meat a part of your wellness journey!
1. Don’t make meat the focus of your meal. Instead, build the main part of your meal around vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
2. Legumes, soy products (Non-GMO), and eggs are an excellent source of protein. A 1/2 cup cooked beans, peas, lentils, or tofu is about the same as a 2-ounce serving of meat, poultry or fish.
3. Eat low fat dairy products.
Paul’s Vegetarian Chinese Dumplings with Spicy Green Beans
Moriah’s Vegan Black Bean Burger
The Best Kale Salad!
Quinoa Protein Bars
5 Minute Complete Meal with Quinoa
Cassie’s Crustless Quiche
We love this one!! Beans Ranchero
The term “flexitarian” has been coined to describe someone who eats mostly plant-based foods, but occasionally eats meat, poultry and fish. That kind of healthy eating is the central theme of the Mediterranean diet — which limits red meat and emphasizes fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and healthy fats — and has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions. Why not work on your flexibility and start reaping some healthy benefits?-mayoclinic.com
If you haven’t figured it out yet, Habitude Fitness is a lifestyle! Yes, we work out hard, and we aim to eat healthily. But we also believe in living a balanced life, always seeking out a new challenge and opportunity to grow. This is just another area of growth that could propel you forward in great health in your body, mind, and spirit. Give it a try! If you were able to go meatless today or at least one other day this week, check this challenge off on you Holiday Challenge Calendar 2013. Every Monday until 1/1/14 you will be asked to have a Meatless Monday!
If you have further questions regarding this habitude, be sure to email me or post a comment. I know that many in this community have different eating lifestyles and can offer a wealth of information, thoughts, and ideas!