With more people becoming vegetarian or vegan I often get the question if eating no meat is truly the better and healthier option. While meat is rich in protein and vitamin B12, it is also high in cholesterol and unsaturated fats which can lead to many life-threatening diseases.
So do we all have to become a 100% vegetarian or vegan to stay healthy? The answer is no, but many of us, however, drastically need to reduce their intake and make sure it comes from a reliable, organic source to avoid hormones, antibiotics, and other nasty chemicals.
Also read: Vitamin B12 Deficiency, A Silent Epidemic
This is a term which is quite new and covers people, just like my hubby and me, who mainly eat plant-based foods with the occasional inclusion of animal products. So actually a flexitarian is just a fancier word for a semi-vegetarian.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, it is important to eat a well-balanced whole food diet, with the focus on fruits and vegetables. There is actually no need to exclude certain food groups from your diet, unless you choose not to eat animals or animal products or are allergic to certain foods, such as gluten.
It is all about finding the right balance and eating certain foods – such as grains and meat – in moderation. And of course, it is also important where you get them from.
UPDATE: since September 2017 we decided to try a 100 percent plant-based lifestyle and we feel great. Though this again doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Meat coming from healthy sources can be part of a healthy diet. Avoid meat coming from big meat farms and deli meats. they are the worst kind.
Whether you choose to be a flexitarian, vegetarian or vegan, reducing your meat consumption will definitely benefit your whole body and here’s why.
Benefits Eating Less Meat
#1 Lowers blood pressure
Studies have shown that reducing or eliminating meat helps to keep your blood pressure under control. People who mainly eat plant-based foods generally have a lower and healthier blood pressure than people who eat a lot of meat.
ALSO READ: How To Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally
#2 Reduces the risk of cancer
High consumption of red and processed meat has been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer. This is mainly due to the amounts of unhealthy fats and hormones as well as the way it is being cooked or processed.
#3 Lowers the risk of overweight/obesity/diabetes type II
People who eat more vegetables and fruits tend to be at their ideal weight and are also able to maintain their weight. Meat consumption is linked to obesity and overweight since it is rich in fats and cholesterol. Research also suggests that eating less meat would reduce the risk of developing diabetes type II as it is closely related to being overweight or obese.
#4 Healthy, glowing skin
Fruits and veggies are packed with water and antioxidants which keep your skin toned, hydrated, and smooth. People who eat a lot of meat are more often plagued by acne, wrinkles, and other skin issues.
Scroll down to discover more health benefits of eating less meat.
# 5 Reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases
Meat contains a lot of saturated fat and cholesterol which contributes to clogged arteries, heart failure, and other cardiovascular diseases.
#6 Longer life
Research has shown that people who are on a plant-based diet live longer compared to those who eat meat on a daily basis. Processed meat in particular, like deli meats and hot dogs, contain chemicals and toxins which are associated with many diseases such as heart failure and cancer.
#7 You’ll get enough protein
Our body needs protein to build and repair cells, tissues, and organs. It also plays a significant role in the formation of many hormones. While meat is indeed rich in protein, there are so much nutrient-dense plant-based foods out there – like lentils, quinoa, chickpeas, to name a few – that will make sure you’ll get enough of it.
Also read: The Top Plant Protein Sources
#8 Saves more money
Meat is one of the most expensive foods out there. Especially if you buy them organic. Which you should actually do to avoid hormones, antibiotics, and other nasty chemicals. If you reduce your meat intake to twice or thrice a week, you’ll save plenty which you can spend on high-quality organic meats. Or if you decide to take it all the way and become a vegetarian or vegan, you’ll definitely save a lot.
#9 Help save the planet
One of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases – and climate change – is the meat production sector. Dutch researchers predicted that universal vegetarianism/veganism could reduce agriculture-related carbon emissions by 17 percent, methane emissions by 24 percent, and nitrous oxide emissions by 21 percent by 2050.
ALSO READ: 30 Easy Go Green Ideas For Your Home
By changing your eating habits, you’ll not only do your body a big favor but Mother Earth as well. If you still eat a lot of meat, “Meatless Monday’s” or “Vegan before 6” are great initiatives to get you started.
And if you thought eating a plant-based diet is boring and tasteless, think again. There are so many yummy and easy recipes out there… it’s up to you to experiment with those new flavors.
Thanks for reading. Until next time!
Crazy cat lady, life and food lover, certified biologist, and holistic health coach.