There is always noise in the media about the health impacts of eating meat and how we should be leaning towards veganism, but like in all good debates there is also the opposite end of the spectrum, where eating meat is healthy. So what do you do?
Firstly you have to honour your body and life needs regardless of what the media tells you. As a nutritionist I am not into any particular diet other than the one that suits where you are in your phase of your life. It’s always changing too, through the seasons and decades. It doesn’t even matter if the article is supported by the latest research or some health guru. What matters most is how your body responds to what you eat.
That being said as a society we do tend to eat too much meat so setting some goals to reduce your meat consumption and increase plant foods like:
- Fruits: apples, bananas, grapes, strawberries, citrus fruits, etc.
- Vegetables: eat lots of colourful veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, corn, avocados, zucchini, spinach, kale, peas, collards, and root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, beets (my fav)
- Whole grains: quinoa, white/brown rice, millet, whole wheat, oats, barley.
- Legumes: chickpeas, there are lots of varieties of lentils, pulses.
- Nuts + seeds: almonds, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds.
Want a handy list for your shopping…..Download my handy Plant Foods Shopping list.
If everyone, meat eaters that is, reduces their meat consumption we would help influence the reduction of the large scale meat production industry and improve animal welfare. Hormones! Do they? don’t they? This is another grey area, and the other biggest reason meat gets a bad vibes is for its carcinogenic properties especially with processed meats like ham, salami, bacon and frankfurts. Balance is key here.
So like I said you don’t have to give meat up just start considering the following:
- Try to get your protein from vege and animal sources like red meat, fish, chicken, legumes, grains, eggs, nuts, and seeds. Providing your diet with an array of B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc, magnesium and fiber is choosing vege proteins.
- If eating meat try to reduce your meat on your plate (palm size is generally enough) by crowding out with more plant foods (check above or download my list)
- Have meat free days: start with 1 day a week.
- If you enjoy red meat aim to eat 1-2 servings (100gm raw or 65gm cooked) per week. Red meat does contain good sources iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and protein.
- Reduce consumption of processed meats like bacon, sausages, salami, frankferts.
- Experiment with vegan or vegetarian cooking. I know it’s a bit of a craze and can feel overwhelming but we have many suggestions on our page of yummy plant food meals.
If you’re super stuck or overwhelmed then sign up to our “Veg it ip Series,” we send you 3 sets of emails over a 3 week period introducing you to 9 vegetarian type meals, snacks and sides. I get lots of compliments on this and hey it’s free.