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5 Compelling Reasons to Add More Meatless Meals to Your Diet

5 Compelling Reasons to Add More Meatless Meals to Your Diet

 

Meatless is the new buzzword! These days, you can walk into a restaurant and order a meatless burger just as easily as you can a traditional beef burger. You may not be ready to become a full vegetarian or vegan but there are lots of reasons to make more meals meatless. Here are five powerful reasons to enjoy more meat-free alternatives.

 

Your Health Will Benefit

Although people who eat a carnivore diet claim that their approach works, there's far more evidence to support a diet rich in plant-based foods over one that contains an abundance of meat.  In fact, a plant-based diet may grant you a longevity advantage. One study carried out by researchers at Harvard followed over 100,000 people for three decades. Their findings? Those who ate the most red meat, especially processed meat, had greater odds of dying early.

When you eat a plant-based diet, you can also benefit from the wealth of phytonutrients in plant-based foods. These include antioxidants and compounds with anti-inflammatory activity. Plus, meat-based options contain no fiber while plants do. Fiber in plant-based foods helps support gut health and feed the friendly gut bacteria that make up your gut microbiome.

What about protein? Plants contain protein too, and studies show a well-planned vegetarian or vegan diet contains enough protein for health. Plus, protein-rich plants provide the added benefit of fiber. Some of the best sources of plant-based protein include tofu, tempeh, beans, lentils, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Many vegetables also contain significant quantities of protein. The key is to vary the types of

 

Eating Meatless is More Humane

Many of the animals people put on the dinner table come from factory farms where the creatures endure suffering throughout their brief lives. There's growing awareness of where food comes from, and more people are questioning whether they want to be part of an industry that values profits over compassion. Even if you don't give up meat entirely, eating fewer meals that contain meat will have an impact on the lives of animals. You send a message of kindness and compassion when you place less animal-based food on the table.

 

The Environment Will Thank You

Raising animals and producing meat takes more resourcse than growing plants. The cost of producing meat is an increase in greenhouse gases that contribute to environmental peril. By adding more plant-based foods to the table, you address the problem of climate change and help reduce air and water pollution. The same land used to raise meat could be repurposed to grow vegetables and other plant-based foods with less cost to the environment.

 

It'll Help Your Pocketbook

Meat tends to be more expensive than plant-based foods, especially if you choose plant-based foods, like dried beans, lentils, and split peas, from bins. These items are rich in plant-based protein and versatile too. Other options you can buy in bulk from bins are whole grains and seeds, like quinoa. In fact, quinoa contains more protein and fiber than brown rice and makes a great rice substitute. If you look online, you can find an abundance of recipes that use these high-protein plant-based components at a considerable cost savings to you. Likewise, you can save on fruits and vegetables by buying frozen ones on sale. They're often as nutrient dense or more so than fresh ones because freezing prevents further nutrient loss.

 

Eating More Meatless Dishes Will Expand Your Culinary Horizons

Eating more meatless dishes will tickle your taste buds and expand your culinary horizons. Meatless dishes are often more flavorful than meat dishes due to the abundance of spices used to give meat-free fare its flavor. Many people who think they "can't" reduce their meat consumption are pleasantly surprised by how delicious meatless meals can taste. You may have heard stories of people who bit into a meatless burger and never realized they weren't eating beef. Improvements in meatless fare is happening at warp speed, but you don't have to eat ultra-processed vegetarian or vegan food. It's not hard to make your own meatless burgers at home using beans, lentils, or quinoa. Expand your horizons a bit and discover new tastes while doing good things for your health and the environment.

 

The Bottom Line

Now you know how enjoying more meatless meals can benefit you, animals, the environment, your taste buds, and even your pocketbook. So, explore your options and discover what the plant-based culinary world has to offer. You'll be glad you did!

 

References:

MDAnderson.org. "5 Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet"

Harvard Health Publishing. "What is a plant-based diet and why should you try it?"

Heart.org. "How does Plant-Forward (Plant-Based) Eating Benefit your Health?"

Tuso PJ, Ismail MH, Ha BP, Bartolotto C. Nutritional update for physicians: plant-based diets. Perm J. 2013;17(2):61-66. doi:10.7812/TPP/12-085.

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