The #1 best New Year’s diet resolution

ShrinkingSteakNo, it’s not “Lose weight in 2015”.

Are you a New Year’s Resolution list maker?  Or do you prefer making one resolution and sticking to it?  Earlier this year, I wrote about a woman who made one resolution last January: to cut out sugar.  She’s now almost 60 lbs lighter.  Perhaps having just one do-able and meaningful resolution is a good plan.  If that appeals to you, I’ve got another suggestion.  It works for everyone, not just people who want to lose weight.  It’s meaningful, healthful and also good for the planet:

Eat Less Meat

Note, I’m not saying give up meat.  Eating less meat, whether smaller portions, fewer servings per week or some combination of both, is a Win-Win resolution.

  1. If you eat less meat, you have to eat more of something else: plant foods.  Meat certainly contributes important nutrients, but a meat-centric diet can be lacking in dozens of other key nutrients unique to plant foods, like fiber, antioxidants, magnesium, potassium, B-vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C, etc.  Including more beans, grains, vegetables, nuts and dairy foods will balance out your nutrition.
  2. Eating less meat saves money.
  3. Livestock animals require enormous inputs of energy and water to produce meat, so you will be reducing the environmental impact of your diet.
  4. When you do eat meat, you can make the most of your money and buy higher quality cuts, such as local organic meat.  That also helps small producers.
  5. There’s entirely too much use of growth-stimulating chemicals in the meat industry right now.  Animals grow faster, which means the current demand for meat is met. But at what cost?  Increasing antibiotic resistance is one known result of this system.  Meat that’s raised according to organic regulations doesn’t contribute to that problem.

How you eat less meat is really up to you.  Here are some suggestions:

  • If you enjoy big steaks or burgers, enjoy them less frequently.  Once or twice a week is plenty.
  • Rather than serving pieces of meat as an entrée, use meat in casserole-type dishes to cut portions.
  • Investigate recipes for meatless meals.
  • Identify all the meatless meals you already eat; you may already be eating less meat and not realize it: spaghetti and marinara sauce, soup and salad, yogurt and fruit, cheese pizza with vegetables, bean/egg/potato burritos, etc.
  • Patronize restaurants that offer tasty and quality meatless entrées.

Added bonus: if you do want to lose weight, replacing meat with more whole plant foods can help.  People on a Mediterranean style diet (more plants, less meat) have a much easier time maintaining a normal weight.

For more ideas on meatless meals, check out the Meatless Monday website.  You can also find more information about the Mediterranean diet at Oldways.

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