Around 13 years ago, I started to reduce the meat consumption in my family’s diet. In my search for natural healing, healthy foods, and healthy cooking for my digestive problems, I learned less meat is easier on the body’s digestion. Meat products are the most complex foods to digest. Their protein is difficult for our bodies to break down. It slows digestion leaving you to feel tired.
According to dummies.com, an animal-based diet isn’t as diverse in nutrients as a plant-based diet. You only get protein and fat with no vitamins, minerals, or fiber. The body needs vitamins and minerals to digest protein efficiently. And fiber to help push things through and absorb the nutrients.
The Benefits of Eating Less Meat
In my search, I also found there are benefits to reducing meat consumption. According to reducetarian.org, eating less helps to:
- Save money
- Avoid disease
- Give more energy
- Live longer
- Save the planet
Save money. Live longer. These benefits were enough to convince me to make the change. Plus, I knew eradicating meat was not an option my family would accept. It was hard on them when I removed pork and beef. Imagine if I took meat away entirely. Eek.
Buying less also allowed me to purchase quality organic meat. Never again did I purchase pre-cooked meats available at the supermarket. I ceased to purchase prepackaged meats. And I endeavored to make my own homemade Lunchables for my children.
Choosing lean cuts and skinless breasts are the healthier option. I only purchased fresh organic skinless chicken breast and turkey breast. These choices reduce your odds of developing plaque buildup, heart disease, and diabetes.
The Importance of Organic
Non-organic meat contains antibiotics, synthetic growth hormones, genetically modified foods (GMO’s), and pesticides. These are all entirely harmful to our health.
- Sex hormones are given to the animals to escalate their growth which is believed to trigger early puberty in girls.
- Antibiotics are given to the animal to keep them healthy. Experts believe this can lead us to develop dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
- Pesticides are linked to Cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, ADHD, and even birth defects.
- GMO’s can cause infertility, immune problems, cancer, stomach problems and more.
Fueling your body with whole and natural food is one of the best ways to ensure you provide your body what it needs to keep you moving forward.
What is a flexitarian, you ask? A flexitarian is someone who eats mostly plant-based foods but occasionally eats meat, poultry and fish. I couldn’t wholly migrate my family to the flexitarian diet. The occasional meat was not going to pass the acceptability test. I used this diet as my guide for adding more plant-based foods.
I started buying more fruits and nuts for my family to eat as snacks. And I purchased different and new vegetables for our daily meals. I decided our meats would be poultry and fish. And pork would be limited to holidays (roast pork).
To reduce our intake, I decided to limit our carnivorous meals to once a day. If we had meat in our dinner, our lunches were vegetarian. If our lunches had meat, our dinners were vegetarian. All our breakfasts and snacks were vegetarian. I even served smaller meat portions at every meal. (portion size should be the size of your palm)
Replacements and Adjustments
I scoured the world wide web for meatless recipes and ideas for substitutes. It became very overwhelming and quite daunting to take on this new plan. What was I thinking? I reminded myself of my goal every time I felt like giving up. Feed my family healthy, nourishing food, so their bodies will be healthy and strong.
I started with,
- added vegetables to our daily dinners.
- limiting our deli turkey meat for sandwiches to 2 times a week.
- introducing two vegetarian meals a week.
- removing hotdogs
- no longer eating at fast food restaurants
- adding beans to our meals 3 times a week.
- removing prepackaged lunch meats
- adding bean and vegggie soup once a week.
- removing frozen processed meats.
I modified our meals with,
- vegan chili instead of meat chilli.
- replaced one pound of turkey ground with 1/2 pound in my spaghetti and pasta sauce.
- refried bean quesadillas instead of chicken quesadillas.
- pureed beans to hide them in sauces or to hide in mashed potatoes.
- bean stew with half a chicken breast instead of chicken stew.
If you’re interested in some of my recipes, let me know in the comments below.
Below is one of my family’s favorite vegetarian meals
I saw this quote on Pinterest, and it stuck with me. Take care of your health now, so your body takes care of you later.
I challenge you this month to reduce your meat consumption. I want to encourage you to try and make this change. You decide for how many days and for which meals. The point is to try for the good of your health. Remember, if possible, only buy organic.
If you decide to take the challenge, let me know how it went for you in the comments below.