The beginning of this year my husband made a health decision that surprised me. After being quite the meat eater and protein consumer ever since we first met, he decided he wanted to try a more plant based diet. We still eat meat but only about twice a week. What we have discovered is:
- We have much more energy throughout the day and rarely feel sluggish after eating.
- Our plant based meals have been very filling rarely leaving us feeling like we need more to eat.
- We do not miss meat, AT ALL. In fact when we do treat ourselves to meat most of the time we end up missing the flavors of our veggie meals.
- We are spending about half what we were on groceries every week. In fact we spend about $1.50-$2.50 per person on many meals.
Medicines cannot drug away the cellular defects that develop in response to improper nutrition throughout life. -Joel Furhman, MD
Why did we decide to cut back on our meat intake? Over the years, we have witnessed more and more friends and family suffer from chronic disease and cancer. With this in mind we wanted to be as proactive about our health as possible. We realize healthy people get sick too, we just thought the odds might be better if we adjusted our lifestyle. Along with eating less meat, we are also drinking less alcohol, and exercising at least 4 days a week.
This magical, marvelous food on our plate, this sustenance we absorb, has a story to tell. It has a journey. It leaves a footprint. It leaves a legacy. To eat with reckless abandon, without conscience, without knowledge; folks, this ain’t normal. -Joel Salatin, farmer, speaker, and author
In 2015, the World Health Organization after having over 20 scientists research processed meat and red meat in long term studies, found that both type meats were linked to cancer, placing processed meat in the same category of carcinogens as alcohol, tobacco, and asbestos. That should be reason alone to give pause to typical American thinking of eating meat at every meal from sun up to sun down.
They say that vegetable food is not sufficiently nutritious. But chemistry proves contrary. So does physiology. So does experience…The largest and strongest animals in the world are those which eat no flesh-food of any kind – the elephant, rhinoceros, and gorilla. -Russell Trall, MD
There are many things that our Modern American society has deemed the ‘American’ way that we simply never question ‘why’ – i.e. eating as much processed candy on Halloween as possible, drinking from morning until midnight on any football Game Day. Eating meat at every meal should be one of those things we ask ‘why’? Our ancestors were not consuming as much meat as we do, meat was a treat. It was served at special occasions or Sundays at big family meals. Otherwise it was a supplement to the meal (like it remains in many cultures) not the main course. And of course the meat our ancestors were eating wasn’t corn fed or shot up with antibiotics and hormones.
Your choice of diet can influence your long term health prospects more than any other action you might take. -Former Surgeon General C. Everett Coop
“But what do you eat?!?!?” Seems to be the most popular question coming mainly from people whose diet consists 90% of chicken fingers. We love food and if anything this new devotion to veggies has taught us, it is that perhaps we should rethink what we think of as ‘food’. Once we made the decision to eat less meat, it didn’t limit our food choices, instead it expanded our culinary horizon. For instance, did you know there are over 40,000 types of rice?!?!? Yes, 40,000 all with their own texture, flavor, and health benefits. Lentils were cultivated in 7,000 BC and today there are many varieties on grocery store shelves. There are over 400 kinds of vegetables with over 20 types of cucumbers and over 40 types of carrots. There are hundreds upon thousands of different fruits, over 7,500 types of apples and over 1,600 types of bananas. While I realize all varieties may not be readily available, many can be found at your local grocery store, farmers market, or health food store. Take a browse through the bulk department at your grocery store and you will find tasty, affordable treats like beluga lentils, sweet brown rice, and farro.
It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in prevention and treatment of certain diseases. -ADA Position on Vegetarian Diets 2009
But perhaps the most important factor in eating less meat was the undeniable benefits gained in eating more vegetables and fruits. This is worth the lifestyle change alone. It is a fact that plant based food that comes straight out of God’s beautiful earth supplies your body with nutrients and disease fighting antioxidants that you cannot get anywhere else. The best, most potent vitamins and nutrients come from fresh vegetables and fruits.
Incorporating more plant based proteins on a regular basis may improve overall health, lower disease, and improve body weight. -Eric Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, author of Belly Fat Diets For Dummies
Many studies find that not only eating less meat improves human health but it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 29 to 70 percent and decreases the cost of healthcare significantly.
Not curbing its taste for meat could cost the U.S. almost $200 billion each year – and the global economy up to$1.6 trillion. –Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Marco Springmann, University of Oxford
Leaving more room on our plate for plant based foods may be the key to better health, a better environment, and better healthcare. Stay tuned for more plant based recipes and in the meantime here are some plant based recipes you can try: