Turkey bacon and eggs for breakfast. Chicken sandwich for lunch. Hamburger for dinner. Does this look familiar to you? Meat with your meal is a staple of the American plate. It has been for generations. But is this the healthiest way to live? According to the Earth Policy Institute, since the 1950s meat production has increased by a whopping 600%. Americans are eating more meat then EVER! This causes serious and deathly consequences like heart disease and stroke.
Ok… so now you know that we are eating WAY too much meat. But being a vegetarian is too extreme.
The solution is the Flexitarian Diet.
What is the Flexitarian Diet?
Being a flexitarian is simply cutting back on the amount of meat you eat per week. Usually this is a gradual process that takes some getting used to. You can start with something like Meatless Mondays. Eventually you may choose to have meat 3 times a week or less. Recently, Mark Bittman wrote the popular diet book VB6 (Vegan Before 6PM) where he advocates a diet that eliminates meat before 6 PM. After 6PM for dinner you can eat any meat you want.
A common misconception is that meat is the only food that will fill you up and provide protein. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Here are some great alternatives!
- Whole Grains
When you cut down on meat and become a flexitarian, you can expect these amazing results:
Improved health: According to Women’s Health Magazine, decreasing the amount of meat you eat can be a major factor in improving your health. Meat consumption, especially red meat, is scientifically linked to higher rates of heart disease and cancer. On the flip side, lowering meat consumption leads to losing weight and improved energy. This is a no brainer!
A cleaner environment: The production of all this meat is a huge job that unfortunately hurts our environment. The Environmental Working Agency says that, “Producing all this meat and dairy requires large amounts of pesticides, chemical fertilizer, fuel, feed and water. It also generates greenhouse gases and large amounts of toxic manure and wastewater that pollute groundwater, rivers, streams and, ultimately, the ocean.” Plant based eating is so much better for the environment and making a shift to less meat is rewarding for you body and the ecosystem.
More money in the bank: Going vegetarian can save you tons of cash! Meat is way more expensive than the staples of a vegetarian diet. Meat that is free from hormones and antibiotics is even more expensive. Compare this to a $1 can of organic beans. It definitely adds up! Not only this, but the health benefits of eating less meat can save money in healthcare costs.
Time to get started! Not sure what to eat? No problem—we’ve got you covered. Below is a full day of vegetarian meals planned out for you.
Breakfast: Throw out the bacon and try these delicious and healthy Quinoa Banana Pancakes.
Lunch: For lunch, try these Skinny Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. The whole wheat bread, tomatoes, and basil leaves put a healthy spin on the traditional grilled cheese.
Dinner: Our Skinny Tomato, Rice & Corn Skillet Casserole is a healthy, one-skillet wonder that makes an amazing vegetarian dinner.
Becoming a flexitarian is an easy shift you can make in your life to improve your health, the environment, and save you money. What are you waiting for?