Can you believe it’s already March? How are you doing on those New Year’s resolutions? Or do you just not want to talk about it? If you’re trying to improve your health this year, we listed 13 ways for you to be healthier in 2013, and every couple weeks we look more closely at one of those tips, so you can work on one healthy habit at a time. We’ve already examined sleep, taking the stairs, letting go of little things, and drinking water. Hopefully you’ve been able to make gradual changes to build those habits into your daily routine. Today we’ll look at trying meatless Mondays.
Presidents Wilson, Truman, and Roosevelt asked Americans to voluntarily give up meat during the world wars. Today, Meatless Monday is a non-profit initiative designed to get Americans to reduce their meat consumption by 15 percent, for better health and a healthier planet. Idahoans love their meat, which is an excellent source of protein, iron, and other essential nutrients. But it can also be a source of fat and cholesterol, which can negatively impact our health. While it’s all right to enjoy meat in moderation, many of us are getting a little too much. The idea of Meatless Monday helps people focus on plant-based foods, and allows them to try a vegetarian diet for a day without making a full commitment. By cutting out meat for just one day a week, you could reduce your risk for chronic, preventable conditions, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. It’s also helpful for the environment.
Here are a few statistics from the Meatless Monday movement that may open your eyes.
- Replacing saturated fat-rich foods, such as meat and full fat dairy, with foods rich in polyunsaturated fat, such as nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils, can reduce your risk for heart disease by 19 percent.
- Red and processed meats have been linked to colon cancer and increased risk for Type 2 diabetes, while diets high in fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risk.
- The consumption of red and processed meats has been linked to increases in total mortality, including mortality resulting from cancer and cardiovascular disease.
- Substituting protein sources such as beans and peas for meat results in higher intake levels of fiber, zinc, folate, iron, and magnesium, while lowering your intake of saturated fat and total fat.
Just as Catholics give up meat on Fridays during Lent, anyone can give up meat one day a week and find alternative ingredients for meals. It’s not as difficult as you might think, and it can be any day of the week you choose. Going meatless for a day will likely save you a little money at the grocery store, too, and who doesn’t like that?
This is a great time to try new recipes, or modify some of your favorites. If you love Mexican food, try making your burritos with brown rice, black beans, and all the classic fillings, but leave out the meat. This is an easy way to get your family to try something new. Or go with pasta dishes, salads, frittatas, chili, or soups. Make burgers with Portobello mushroom caps or try a stir fry using tofu. If you need some ideas, click on this link for Meatless Monday dinner recipes. The possibilities are endless, and so are the health benefits.
Talk it up:
Does your family take part in Meatless Mondays?
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