Way to go, you made it through another Monday!

After a hot weekend of backyard barbeques, I found myself feeling like I had overloaded on meat over the past couple of days. A steak night, a charcuterie tasting event, and a trip to Hi-Pointe Drive-In all added up to be one too many meals of meat. And if your weekend meals looked anything like mine you may be feeling the same way. Yes, I realize that the idea of Meatless Monday may seem like an out of date nutrition idea, and that consumers in 2018 are protein forward. And while each person’s individual protein needs are based on their height, weight, age, and activity level, even the most protein forward consumers don’t have to lock in on animal sources in order to eat a healthy amount of daily grams of protein. In fact, there are incredibly beneficial sources of protein that come from plants. And while protein needs may be something we should be taken into account, there is something that has been consistently supported through and through by research is this – increase in vegetables is linked to a decrease risk of mortality. 

Nutrition related research on some of the top causes of mortality such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes all share the same common principle – plants plants and more plants. Higher plant and lower meat consumption is linked to lower LDL cholesterol levels, better blood glucose levels, and an overall lower BMI. Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD puts it clearly in a recent press release – “This study shows that the same simple prescription – eating a plant-based diet – can reduce our risk for heart problems and improve type 2 diabetes at the same time.”

This does not mean you have to become vegetarian to cut your risks of these health concerns. Even just cutting back on meat one day per week or decreasing meat portions from 6oz to 4oz can help lower your levels. Blended burgers of half meat half plant based can be used to give meaty textures and protein profiles. Some of this may seem funky to you, but try to consider it as a way to have more fun with vegetables and feature new foods at the table rather than depriving yourself of meat. In the next few weeks I’ll be featuring meatless recipes for you to try out at home and have fun in the kitchen.

Don’t feel like starting off on your own at home? Restaurants, grocery stores and Executive Dining have made it easier on you to replace meat by offering new varieties of plant based proteins such as the Beyond Meat Burger, which is a high protein and iron source without the saturated fat or cholesterol from animal protein. It is known to be one of the best meat substitutes of 2018, looking and tasting just like a real burger. Don’t believe me? Thanks to the team at Executive Dining, you can order one for lunch and check it out for yourself. Trust me, you won’t regret it. And neither will your health risk levels.