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Before I delve into the health benefits, please know that I think that diet is a personal choice and that I do not judge anyone based on the diet that they choose. However, I think that most of us would agree that going meatless once a week is a very modest dietary modification that any of us can make--and research has shown that cutting some meat from the diet has distinct health benefits.
One of the most significant health benefits of cutting back on meat is that it lowers the risk of heart disease. Many meats contain fats that are bad for your heart and increasing the amounts of fruits and vegetables may help you reduce the risk of heart health problems. In addition, eating red meat and processed meats can increase the risk of some cancers. Cutting back on meat has also shown to be helpful for reducing risks of Type-2 diabetes. Finally, eating more fruits and vegetables over meats reduces weight and helps to reduce obesity problems.
The key with making good Meatless Monday decisions is to create a well-balanced diet. Meatless Monday does not give us permission to go all in on the French Fries and Cheese Pizza Diet. You have to make smart choices that are not only good for the planet, but good for your health.
The planetary benefits are many.
First of all, there are the greenhouse gas benefits. Animal flatulence releases huge amounts of methane--a potent greenhouse gas. Indeed, meat production produces more greenhouse gases than our global transportation sector. In addition, meat production is responsible for around 75% of all of the agricultural land in production. It is not just the grazing land, but the acres and acres of land that is used to grow food for animals. Imagine how much wilderness we could get back if we cut back on meat eating just one day a week? The recent destruction of vast areas of the Amazon is due largely to the need for more meat production. Meat production also uses huge amount of energy and water--water that is often returned to the environment polluted.
Everyone reading this would certainly agree that Meatless Monday is a great way to become healthier and a great way to help heal the planet. Next week I'll review some of my favorite Meatless Monday go-to meals.