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We’re a meat-eating family. I consider meat to be beef and pork. I consider chicken and turkey to be poultry, and while technically still a meat I don’t call them meat. (Ask my Mom, I’ll argue it until I’m blue, it’s how I ate chicken on every Good Friday.) I often see “meatless” recipes in my internet travels, and even know many bloggers who often share them. Now we don’t typically avoid meat except if we don’t have any for some reason or just aren’t in the mood for any. Or if we’re doing something simple and quick like spaghetti and jarred red sauce. My inner carb lover and my inner fat girl (they’re twins) has had many, many dishes of nothing but pasta and sauce. But then in thinking about it, even that jarred sauce usually has meat in it. I never really thought about being meatless until Alicia offered me some info, which I am now sharing with you. I don’t know that I’ll be choosing to go meatless for any new reasons any time soon, but can say that some of the reasoning makes sense and I can see why some would chose to do it.
Create a Healthier Lifestyle By Choosing a Meatless Diet
Coming up with themes for the meals of the week can be a fun way to get you and your family excited about dinner time. Why not try meatless Monday? Whether you are going vegan or just trying to stay healthy, meatless Monday recipes could be the answer to the question, “What’s for dinner?” Some people believe that making meatless meals once a week could possibly reduce the risk of extreme health problems such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart conditions. Before you decide to join this movement, consider some of the benefits and healthy ingredients that go into these meals.
6 Health Benefits of Going Meatless
As you look through these health benefits, it is important to note that going meatless once a week is not enough. You also need to add other healthy foods into your diet throughout the rest of the week. For those who have joined the movement, they suggest that you add meat-free alternatives or meat that is hormone-free, grass-fed, or locally-raised. Here are six benefits to going meatless:
- Limits Your Risk for Cancer. Studies have shown that you may be able to reduce your risk of cancer if you keep a diet that is high in vegetables and fruits. Colon cancer has been specifically linked to the consumption of red and processed meat.
- Lowers Your Potential for Diabetes. Like colon cancer, type 2 diabetes has also been associated with a high intake of red or processed meat.
- Reduces Your Risk for Heart Disease. Research has shown that you can reduce your risk of heart disease by 19% if you replace foods which are rich in saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat-rich foods. This means you should eat more seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils, and less meat and dairy with full fat.
- Stops Obesity. Long-term weight gain has been shown to be prevented by consuming less meat. You may also find that you will have a substantially lower body mass index and body weight if you stick to vegetarian or low-meat diets.
- Improves Your Overall Diet. By going meatless, you would have a lower saturated fat and total fat intake. Instead, you could have higher intakes of protein, zinc, fiber, folate, magnesium, and iron.
- Live a Longer Life. The increased risk of death from cancer, heart disease, or total life has been associated with the consumption of red and processed meat.
No Meat? What Now?
If you have never gone meatless before, you may be wondering what type of ingredients you can use to replace that protein. You probably don’t want to have a salad every night of the week. There are actually many different recipes you can use that are healthy and delicious. Usually meatless meals are made with certified non-genetically modified and organic foods. Some of the ingredients that are often used in recipes are:
- Nuts and Seeds
- Grains (Millet, Amaranth, Quinoa)
- Eggs or Low-Fat Dairy Products
Learn Meatless Recipes
Now that you know some of the ingredients that go into meatless meals, it’s time to find some recipes that you can incorporate into your family’s diet. You may even be able to find some of your favorite recipes such as pot pie, stir fry, or wings that use plant-based foods which have a meaty texture to them. This way you can have your “meat,” but it will actually be made from wheat and pea proteins, soy, grains, and vegetables. Want some lasagna? Try replacing the beef with mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, and red peppers. These ingredients can give you all the protein you need and may be a much healthier option. Other great meatless meals could include pasta dishes, rice bowls, or salad wraps. There are so many options out there for you to choose. Just look for the ingredients listed above and you will find the perfect meatless recipe in no time.
Going meatless may seem like a daunting task. It could be a complete diet change and may take some innovative thinking when it comes to finding recipes that will work. However, your body will thank you later. There are a variety of health benefits that have been studied and researched over the years that show how incorporating meatless meals into you and your family’s diet could be good for your body in the long run.