There are certain truisms about Americans that can be safely said. 1) America loves its animals. 2) American loves its food. 3) America values its health. Therein lies the problem. Try as some may, it does not seem like anyone has successfully produced a satisfying substitute for red meat. No matter how politically correct we become, man does not seem to have evolved beyond his primal craving for bloody red meat. Unfortunately, this is very much at odds with the animal lover and the health conscious among us. Recent studies have shown that the average American eats one hamburger a week. It seems that Americans are trying to find some sort of compromise between the urge to submit to our neanderthal cravings and the warnings of possible consequences to our health and our four legged friends. Maybe all of us should try to go for a week without eating meat and look at the possible results.
Whenever we cut something out of our diet, there is the possibility of weight loss. However, swapping higher calorie meat for fruits and veggies will result in the shedding of pounds, whether that is your goal or not. Dr. Neal Barnard of George Washington School of Medicine reveals that a week without neat will average a net weight loss of 7.5 pounds.
Healthy Gut Bacteria
Liz Applegate, Ph.D., director of sports nutrition at the University of California says the carbohydrates in plant proteins and food can change the bacterial profile of the intestines. By swapping meat carbs for plant-based carbs, researchers believe, you will increase a number of healthy bacteria in the gut. As your intestinal tract adapts to your new diet, you may feel bloated or gassy, but as you wait for these symptoms to disappear, remember that Applegate says,” Plant-based diets have been shown to lower the risk for various chronic diseases along with waist size.”
Lower Risk for Heart Disease
Studies show that death from heart disease is 24% lower in vegetarians than meat eaters. This may be due to less inflammation, as plant based foods have anti-inflammatory properties.
Loss of Taste
Zinc, found often in red meat and oysters, is crucial for your senses of taste and hearing. A study from the Institute of Health Bioscience at the University of Tokushima in Japan found that taste impairment may be due to improper absorption of zinc. Joan Salge Blake, RD, clinical associate professor of nutrition at Boston University advises that plant eaters may need 50% more zinc than their meat-eating counterparts. Impairment may be due to improper absorption of zinc. Although vegetarians consume nuts, whole grains and beans, all zinc rich sources,the phytic acid found in seeds, whole grains, beans and legumes can actually get in the way of absorption of the mineral. Vegetarians may want to up their zinc intake form the RDA of 8mgs to 12mgs.
Slower Muscle Recovery
Protein is necessary for muscle building. While plant protein will do the trick, it may take a little longer to get to work. Health experts advise drinking a post workout protein smoothie since the body absorbs liquids better than solids. Try a smoothie with Greek yogurt or Trader Joe’s peanut butter, which has flax and chia seeds mixed in.
Is life livable without meat? We would love to hear about how your meatless week turned out. Please let us know how you managed to avoid the “In and Out” cravings.