Try One Meatless Dinner This Week!
Former president eschews meat
Have you heard that former president, Bill Clinton, has gone on a mostly plant-based diet? He suffers with coronary artery disease that has resulted in by-pass surgery and more recently, surgery to put a stent to open up one of his arteries. There is some good research that supports the idea that eating mostly plant foods, and limiting meat, can help alleviate the clogged arteries that have caused serious health problems for Clinton and others.
Hunting for food
I live in one of the hunting and fishing capitals of the Midwest. The beautiful lakes, streams and wooded areas provide an abundance of fish and game for hunters who come from far and wide to take advantage of these resources. For these sportsmen, and even those who do not hunt, meat is considered a necessary component of every meal.
Is there a problem?
The problem is that, at least here in the U.S., most of us eat too much meat, and while meat has good quality protein and other nutrients, it is also a source of saturated fat and, if eaten in excess, will replace other important foods that your body needs to be healthy. In addition, unless you are careful about the meat you buy, it can be a source of hormones, pesticides and even food-borne illnesses.
Meat does not have to be the main course.
If you are interested in limiting your consumption of meat, one way to do it is to treat it more as a condiment or side dish. Even if you are a meat lover, it is better to eat smaller portions in favor of items from the other food groups, including whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits. In this way, you can reduce the amount of artery-clogging, saturated fat in your diet as well as increase your intake of fiber and other nutrients, and make your meal easier to digest.
Many other foods have protein, too.
You might even try some meatless meals once in a while! After all, even Popeye ate a meal of spinach at least once on every show! In this way, in addition to plant proteins, you can add fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, healthy fats and complex carbs to your diet to improve your nutritional status.
Although most of the foods you eat have some protein in them, there are some plant foods that are significant sources of good quality protein. These are the legumes, grains, some vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Lentils; Split peas; Kidney beans; Pinto beans; Black beans; Soybeans; Tofu; Tempeh; Garbanzo beans; Navy beans; Peanuts; Peanut Butter; Rice; Wheat; Barley; Oats; Peas; Kale; Okra; Walnuts; Brazil Nuts; Almonds; Almond butter; Pumpkin Seeds; Sesame Seeds; Tahini.
Here are some recipe ideas for main courses without meat, including soups, loaves, meatballs and pasta and rice dishes.
As with any meal plan, try to make your meatless meals colorful and pleasing to the eye as well as to the palate. By adding a deep green, leafy salad or some deep orange or red vegetables, you will not only increase eye appeal, but you will make the meal a phyto-rich cancer fighter.
Broaden your palate to include a wide variety of foods.
Many of us remember that television commercial that was so popular a number of years ago where the punch line was, "Where's the beef?" This sentiment resonates with many who feel that a meal without meat is no meal at all.
By changing your thinking, and including meatless meals in your menu plan at least once a week, you can broaden your nutritional horizons to include a larger variety of delicious vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, which will help you toward your goal of eating a healthy diet.
Try some meatless meals, you'll like it!
Eat and be healthy with my warmest regards,
What has worked for you?
If you have a good idea for how to make healthy eating a priority, including tips about meatless meals, send us an e-mail. We'd love to hear from you!