Monday, February 28, 2011

200 pounds of meat....

It's Monday again and what instantly pops into my head? Meatless Monday, of course!  This movement is a non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns. They provide tons of information and multiple recipes to help people start their week off with healthy, environmentally friendly meat-free alternatives. Believe it or not, their goal is not to turn you into a meat-banning vegetarian. By simply (and painlessly) removing meat from your diet just one day a week, you will cut back your meat consumption by 15%.  What an easy way to not only improve your personal health, but also the health of our planet!

Red meat can play a role in a healthy balanced diet, but the key is moderation. It provides essential nutrients such as protein, unsaturated fatty acids, iron, zinc, selenium and vitamins D, B3 and B12. However, the numbers are in and Americans are consuming TOO MUCH meat. According to the American Meat Institute, in 2007 a total of 117 pounds of red meat (per person) was consumed. Factor in the 103 pounds of chicken and turkey and that's over 200 pounds of meat in one year, or roughly half a pound a day.

The problem is that red meat consumption has been linked to cancers of the breast, bowel, stomach and pancreas. While browsing through my list of e-mails this morning, one from caught my eye. The UK is planning to release a statement urging Britons to limit their red meat consumption to no more than 2.5 oz per day, or less than 1 lb per week, to reduce their risk of developing cancer.  Joining the Meatless Monday pledge will leave you one step closer to this healthier recommendation. Give it a try!
Worried about Protein?

Good, because protein is extremely important. It is needed by the body to build muscles, repair tissues and maintain an effective immune and hormonal system. And yes, meat is an excellent source of protein. However, if you are only cutting it out once a week, it is highly unlikely that you'll become deficient. Plus, there are plenty of other impressive options, such as those listed below.
  • Beans, lentils and legumes
  • Tempeh or tofu
  • Edamame (soy beans)
  • Quinoa and other whole grains
  • Nuts such as almonds or walnuts
  • Seeds such as flax, hemp or pumpkin
  • Almond or peanut butter
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Low fat cheese or milk
  • Eggs
  • Protein powder
Start with small substitutions and get creative. Need some inspiration? Try visiting Vegetarian Times,, or a few of my favorite blogs: 101Cookbooks or VeggieBelly.

Most of all, have fun! Food is for nourishing your beautiful bod-pod but it is also meant to be enjoyed!

Enjoying a homemade s'more at our local chocolate factory this summer

Positive vibes......

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