Bacon and eggs for breakfast, a chicken sandwich for lunch and a nice and juicy steak for dinner. Without much effort, we end up consuming significantly more protein from animals than many other cultures consume only sparingly. I am not a vegan or a vegetarian and regularly eat dairy products, eggs, fish and meat (in exactly that order) but this week’s post is a little nudge to raise your awareness on the amount of animal protein, particularly red meat, we eat on a regular basis. Come and cook with us!
Did you know that Americans (and Australians and New Zealanders) consume a lot more meat per capita than any other country in the developed and developing world? It is particularly the unhealthy saturated fats that are in animal products that are cause for much concern. In fact, research has shown that regular consumption of red meat is linked to a greater change of developing cardiovascular disease, rheumathoid arthritis, and some types of cancer.
It’s Mark Bittman’s book tour that nudged me to talk about this subject. His book VB6 Eat Vegan Before 6:00 To Lose Weight and Restore Your Health… For Good is on stands right now and provides for a great approach to reducing our dependence on eating animal fats. Going cold turkey – no pun intended – isn’t what he is suggesting but being a little more conscientious about how much animal products we eat on any given day is generally a good thing. As Bittman says: “VB6 is not the science, it’s a strategy for paying attention to the science. I don’t care what anybody’s strategy is, if it works for you, fantastic. The strategy for most Americans has to be one that gets us to eat more plants, fruits and vegetables, and legumes, at the expense of industrially processed meats.”
There is no perfect diet that works for everyone. For some, introducing Meatless Mondays can be a challenge. Others might enthusiastically skip the steak and round out their diets with more nuts, beans (including soy beans and chickpeas) and protein-rich whole grains such as quinoa. I think balance is key – what works for us is to mix it up and definitely granting plant-based proteins a larger role on the weekly dinner plan. It also helps to keep portions limited, at least when it comes to a t-bone steak.
VB6 might not make any sense to you and your family but we applaud any attempt at moving our food choices towards a less processed, more plant-based diet as it is good for us and the world around us. Dare I say, Come and VB6 with us!