As I’ve mentioned in my previous New Year’s resolutions blogs, resolutions are successful when they are specific in nature, measurable and realistic. Continued success is enhanced when a plan or steps detailing how the goal will be achieved exists. There are many food related resolutions one can make: reduce portion sizes, minimize late night snacking, always have breakfast, limit sugary beverages, etc. This blog focuses on one particular food related resolution that will have an impact on your health and on Mother Earth.
More plants please!
Americans consume almost double the protein their bodies need. Most of this protein is animal protein, which tends to be high in fat and saturated fat. The Western diet is heavily based on meat and research shows that it might not be the best for us.
A plant-based diet has its benefits; including an increased intake in fiber and reduced consumption of fat. Because of this, and concerns about the earth’s resources (it takes more resources to sustain cattle than to grow plants) vegetarianism continues to grow all around the globe.
One way to start reaping the benefits of plant-based foods is to make a concerted effort to include them in our diet. A simple way to do this is to elevate the importance of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and other plant based foods in our meals. With the Oscars coming up, I thought of a great analogy. Instead of meat being the best actor, make it the supporting actor. Point the cameras and shine the light on non-meat foods!
Another strategy is to designate one day a week as a meatless day. Meatless Monday not only has a ring to it but it is also the name of a nationwide evidence based initiative that promotes eating more plant-based foods. This initiative based out of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has a goal to reduce meat consumption by 15 percent “for personal health and the health of the planet.” The site, www.meatlessmonday.com has more information about this initiative, provides recipes, promotions and more.
Many people are concerned that following a meatless diet will not provide enough protein. There are plenty of meatless sources of protein such as: beans and other legumes, eggs, dairy (yogurt, milk, etc.), soy products (tofu, tempeh, etc.), and nuts and seeds. There are other sources as well, which will be discussed in future articles.
So, make yourself a promise to include more plants in your life, and not just houseplants to beautify your home. Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables and designate the Mondays in your schedule as Meatless Mondays!