Summertime is a great time to explore more meatless meals, especially with the abundance of fruits and vegetables in the Farmer’s Market! Over the past few months, I have written several blogs about the many reasons to cutback on eating meat and adopting a plant-based lifestyle.
- HEALTH. Meat, especially red and processed meat increases the risk of cancer. A new report on the cancer guidelines suggests cutting back on meat. Eating more whole, plant-based foods not only decreases your risk of chronic diseases like cancer, but it also can increase the amount of fiber and phytochemicals in your diet (My blog on Cancer).
- COST. I took a grocery store tour several months ago and decided that I could feed about 60+ people quinoa and lentils for $18.48 vs. a 3.5 pound bag (about 6-9 breasts) of organic chicken at $20- $21. Swapping expensive meat with economical plant-based proteins can help save money and/or increase spending on organic fruits and vegetables! Farmers markets or CSAs are great ways to support your local communities and take advantage of great prices on fresh food! (my blog on myths about protein).
- ENVIRONMENT. Livestock and animal products are not sustainable; at least at the rates Americans (and other “developed” countries) eat them. Not only do meat and animal products contribute to green house gases, larger farms have also created astronomical environmental impacts, such as dead zones in the oceans and rivers from manure runoffs. (My blog on stewardship).
- INCREASE FOOD PRODUCTION FOR HUMANS TO EAT. Lowering the production of meat and dairy, Round River Farmers in Minnesota discovered that the region of Western Lake Superior would be able to produce enough food to feed the entire community. A Standard American Diet (SAD) would require over 500,000 acres of land and would only produce enough food for 83% of the region. Conversely, a diet lower in meat and dairy would require about 375,000 acres of land and would feed 100% of the region! Shifting towards a plant-based diet would decrease the supply and demand of animal products. means less land needed to grow feed for animals and less land needed to house animals in Factory Farms or land for grazing. Instead of using the land for soy, corn, and animals, the land could be used to grow enough organic fruits and vegetables to meet dietary recommendations for Americans...... because currently, we fail at that. (My blog from the Healthy Lives Conference).
Learning about healthier meatless options and exploring new recipes can be an exciting adventure! Reframe your perspective--- think about it as adding flavor and health to your life!!
Great plant-based sources of protein: beans (chickpeas, black beans, soybeans, edamame, kidney beans, mung beans…..), lentils, split peas, tofu, nuts, seeds (chia, hemp), quinoa, nutritional yeast, and tempeh!
Here are some meatless-meal ideas to get you started:
1. Swap the Burger for a bean burger or a Portobello mushroom.
2. Grill fruits and veggies rather than meat.
3. If you don’t have celiac disease, try some homemade seitan!
4. Try a quinoa salad!
5. Almond or pistachio crusted tofu instead of fish
6. Tempeh instead of chicken
7. Bean or Lentils for a fiber and protein packed meal
BBQ Chili (my brothers love this one over baked sweet potato fries!)
8. Zucchini "pasta" salad with a peanut sauce
9. Sarah and I also dig these Mung Bean and Black Bean pastas. 23-25 grams of protein per serving!