If you’re the kind of person who gets misty-eyed at the thought of a slow-cooked leg of lamb with all the trimmings, then the idea of going a whole week without meat might seem as ludicrous as holding your breath for two hours!
The world has changed dramatically since the days when vegetarians struggled to order a meal in a restaurant, and vegans were such mysterious beings that they may as well have been druids worshipping at Stonehenge.
Not only have we become more informed and educated about our nutritional choices but the growing body of scientific evidence emphatically decrees that we need to be moving toward a diet high in plants.
If you’re a paleo fan you’ve probably pondered our ancient ancestor’s diet, which research suggests that it would have comprised mostly of plants with only a little bit of meat resulting from a successful hunt.
Given that humans evolved this way over many thousands of years, it makes sense that eating an abundance of plant foods supplemented occasionally by a meat-based protein might be the optimal approach to eating in the 21st century.
Without getting all hippy trippy or druid-worshippy here are some great reasons to give meat the flick for a week:
You’ll be a good global citizen
Paul McCartney has been telling us for years that meat production is bad for the planet. The man is a Beatle – we should listen to him!
According to the UN Report: Livestock’s Long Shadow ‘Animal industries are one of the most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global’.
Obviously eschewing meat for the rest of your days will have the most impact, but even a modest reduction in meat consumption from every meat eater on earth would have an unbelievable effect on the environment. So your decision to go vego for just one week will make you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside.
Weight loss might happen
I know, I know we didn’t say WILL happen but unless you replace meat with hot chips, then a plant-based diet will result in the consumption of fewer calories. This is the perfect excuse to dial up a few of our scrumptious recipes, which are guaranteed to make you feel full and contented even though they are naturally low in kilojoules.
Give your heart health a boost
A 14 year study of 110,000 people undertaken by researchers at Harvard University concluded that the higher a person’s intake of fruit and vegetables the lower their risk of developing heart disease. Those who consumed eight or more servings of plant-based foods were 30% less likely to have a heart attack or stroke compared to those who consumed less than 1.5 daily servings. Those eating the most vegetables also had lower blood pressure than those who ate less. There’s your proof. 110,000 people is a LOT of people!
Ward off Diabetes
The modern epidemic of diabetes is a global issue. In Australia, nearly two thirds of men and half of all women are overweight or obese. According to Diabetes Australia, this is the key factor in the alarming rise of type 2 diabetes. Up to 60% of cases of diabetes can be delayed or entirely prevented by the reduction in body mass of the affected person. If you stick to a plant-based dietary regime, expect to see a positive reduction in body mass and give yourself an insurance policy against type 2 diabetes. It has no cure.
Lower your cholesterol
Did you know that plants contain no cholesterol whatsoever? Not even the ‘fatty’ ones like coconut and cacao. Going the full mad vegan for one week will give those arteries some blessed relief. Replacing saturated fat (primarily from animal sources) with monounsaturated fats such as those derived from nuts, avocado and olive oil reduces the bad LDL cholesterol without letting the protective HDL cholesterol get too low.
Have you seen the price of meat lately? It’s crazy. By not buying any for a week you can use the money you save to splurge on some delicious organic fruit and vegetables or some of the pricier oils such as cold-pressed coconut oil and cacao. Get busy in the kitchen with your new and exciting ingredients and before long you’ll be creating some of the most mind-blowingly delicious meat free meals with the exotic (and healthy) additions you thought you previously couldn’t afford.
So there you go – rather than depriving yourself, what you’re doing in no particular order is saving the planet, warding off disease, losing weight and eating delicious food with extra money in your pocket. That’s one spectacular week!