I realize that two weeks ago I was ranting and raving about raw foodism and touting meat as the reason for human existence. Now, I’m writing about the health risks of eating too much meat. Next, I’ll be giving you guys a recipe for burgers… I probably should have thought about the order of these posts, but instead I’m going to go ahead and confuse the shit out of you guys. If you were starting to reevaluate your diets after my last post, scratch that because I’m going to throw a wrench into your plans. Hey, at least my opinions are informed by both sides, or so I’d like to think.
The inspiration behind this post, was this New York Times article I read the other day on the Meatless Mondays campaign. Meatless Monday is a national campaign that is headed by John Hopkins University School of Public Health. If you’re not going to read the article, which I highly recommend you do, let me break it down for you: as an attempt to lead healthier lifestyles, Aspen, CO residents began refraining from eating meat on Mondays. It wasn’t only health-conscious yogis and mothers who adopted the movement (though one could argue that everyone in Aspen is health-conscious and a yogi); public school officials and many of the city’s restaurants also went meatless on Mondays. For its efforts, Aspen has been named the nation’s first “Meatless Monday community”.
The article mainly focuses on the campaign from the restaurant owners’ perspectives, but I am more interested in the health implications of decreasing one’s meat consumption. Most people know that animal protein, especially red meat, contains high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol. Lowering your intake of these compounds lowers your risk of cardiovascular diseases and obesity. Decreasing your meat consumption can also lower your risk of developing certain cancers. This last benefit was a surprise to me until my mother’s doctor recommended she cut out beef and pork from her diet after she was diagnosed with breast cancer a year and a half ago.
Needless to say, my mother’s own diet changes affected my food choices the most. Although I love artery-clogging meat products as much as the next fatty does, I have for the most part stopped cooking it for myself. I’ll eat it if someone else makes it, but chicken and beef usually doesn’t make it onto the weekly grocery list. I also try to avoid ordering meat at restaurants, usually opting for fish or vegetarian dishes. Not only are veggie dishes healthier than meat, they’re cheaper! Living with two* vegetarians during the spring semester definitely made things easier, though both will tell you that I did indulge in pork and fish maybe once a week, alternating between the two. But I got better, and boy do I feel better! I also like to think that I look better, though that could be my eyes deceiving me or a result of increased physical activity.
I’m not preaching a doctrine of meatlessness; in no way am I a model citizen when it comes to staving off temptations and adopting strict diets. If I was, well then I’d be a vegetarian, and we all know that Apocalypse will come before that happens. However, I think Meatless Mondays is a practice to take seriously and a small step towards living healthier lives.
I apologize for the lack of pictures in this post and the awful one I used for the main image. It’s the best I could do on Paint. Wish I still had Adobe Photoshop!
*Just for clarification, Joy isn’t technically a vegetarian. She eats chicken, eggs, and fish among other things if I remember correctly. Around the apartment, however, she was basically a vegetarian.