The demand for meat in the US has been steadily declining over the last decade. There are several reasons behind this shift. For a start, the production of meat for human consumption puts a humungous drain on the environment. It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce just 1 pound of meat. On top of this is the 13 pounds of grain that must be fed to livestock to produce just 1 pound of meat.
Further along, the majority of meat consumed in Western countries is heavily doused with chemicals, antibiotics and GMO fed grain. Unless you are buying certified organic meat (which again can be risky in countries where there is no uniform definition of 'organic'), the result of this toxic concoction is a shot of these nasties directly into our bodies when we eat these animals. You are what you eat, and this statement is equally applicable to the meat that we buy and consume.
It is no wonder therefore that many people are dramatically reducing their consumption of meat in favour of seafood and a heavier focus on vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts and seeds. Reducing your intake of meat (including red meat, pork and poultry) represents a highly positive method by which we can improve your health. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Start slowly
A shift in your mindset towards eating less meat is a great start. There is no reason to go all out and radically rid yourself of all meat and meat products just yet (although by all means do this if you can handle it!)
Start off slowly by dedicating a few days per week where you don't consume any meat. Meatless Monday is a great way to start, and there are lots of online resources out there to help you find recipes. You can also flick through my Recipe page to find some great vegetarian and vegan options.
2. Try new recipes
As above, make your meat-free days interesting by experimenting with new recipes. Hint - don't replace real meat with faux meats - this is missing the point of the exercise and, in any event, fake meats taste disgusting!
Don't fall into the trap also of resorting to starchy refined carbs such as bread and rice. Load up your plate with colourful veggies instead.
3. Have fun with it
Don't think about this new venture in terms of what you can't eat. Instead, think of all of the amazing foods you can eat. Now, there is more room for vegetables, legumes, fruits, grains, nuts, seeds and oils.
Remember, you made a choice to eat this way, so adopt a positive outlook and enjoy the experience.
4. Eat more
You're probably used to a huge hunk of meat on your plate. Removing this is a daunting process for some however replacing the meat with plenty of healthy fats will keep your hunger at bay. If you start to consume too few calories, you may find yourself craving meat, which isn't the result we want. Bulk your diet up with nuts, avocado, coconut oil and legumes to tackle this.
5. Indulge a little
If you are already on the health bandwagon and not eating many carbs or sugars, cutting out meat can make you feel like you're missing out. Go easy on yourself and allow yourself little indulgences along the way. Going softly will mean you're less likely to stay on track with your meat-free crusade.