How cutting back ounces on your plate will lead to fewer pounds around your waste.
Trade-offs have been with us ever since the late unpleasantness in the Garden of Eden. — Thomas Sowell
EDITORIAL DISCLAIMER: Any advice or recommendation given in my writing is what works for ME and may not be the best regimen for you based on your psychological or physiological makeup and stability. Please consult a doctor when making decisions about your health.
Mind you that the title reads “less” meat and not NO meat for a reason.
I’ve tried to subscribe to a lifestyle of eating only lentils and beans in the past and have comes to a realization that it makes it harder rather than easier to stay in shape for a few reasons.
- You have to put way more thought into each of your meals to ensure that you get all the nutrients and vitamins your body naturally gets from meat.
- It takes way more time to food prep because of all the different types of food that you now have to consume to get said nutrients.
For me, the benefits that one may realize from eating no meat don’t quite outweigh the extra amount of work that it takes to maintain such a lifestyle.
I like to keep things simple, which is why I eat the same thing pretty much ALL the time, and the variety of foods that you must consume to eat no meat is a bit much for me.
However, if one is willing to just take an inventory of one’s current meat intake and reduce it by half or even a third, there are many significant benefits for an individual’s long-term health and weight control journey.
Less meat leads to fewer calories per meal
This one is probably the most obvious, as meat is a sizable source of caloric intake in most diets.
Americans probably consume way more calories than they realize, as in a fairly recent study in 2017, the average American consumed more than 3600 calories daily.
It is hard to determine exactly, but based on a family household consumption study done in 2018, the average American eats about 0.6 lbs per day.
This can vary widely depending on the type of meat, but it can be guessed that the average number of calories in a typical portion of meat can range anywhere from 200–400 calories.
If one was to cut this in half or reduce it by 1/3, they could see anywhere from a 100 to 200 calorie reduction per meal or 1400–2100 calories per week, depending on how many times meat is added to a meal daily.
A 1400–2100 calorie reduction isn’t anything to sneeze at when the average number of calories needed to lose a pound falls in the 3500–4500 range.
Since most people are looking for any kind of cheat code they can get, this is a great strategy that can help one decrease caloric intake without feeling that they are making too much of a sacrifice, as the smaller meat consumption should become easier with time.
Less meat increases the chances you will eat more fruits and vegetables
Of course, once you make the decision to eat less meat, you will have to replace this with something to ensure you are full when the meal is over.
To make up for this, most people will hopefully begin to consume more fruits and vegetables, a decision that typically leads to a better overall diet for most.
Eating more fruits and vegetables should increase one’s chances of getting more of the various nutrients our bodies need to stay thriving and healthy. Various nutrients such as Vitamin A, C, and E, as well as magnesium, zinc, and folic acid are all predominantly procured through vegetables or fruits.
Fruit and vegetables are also a great source of fiber to help with gut health, while also being low in sodium and cholesterol to reduce the chances of developing high blood pressure or heart disease that we see with high levels of some meat consumption.
Lastly, fruits and vegetables are known to help reduce the risk of stroke as well as prevent various types of cancer.
Less meat will reduce your chances of dying prematurely
While it is starting to becoming widely accepted that eating various red and processed meats greatly increases one’s chance of developing cancer, that doesn’t mean that the other forms of meat should be ignored.
There are other meats that could cause various cancers of which we should be wary, and as shared in a previous article, the concept of eating fewer calories as we age should help to extend one’s life.
Previous studies have calculated that the maximum life span for a human being can be anywhere from 120–150 years with the longest recording living person to be a French woman named Jeanne Calment who lived up to 122 years.
While she was apparently famous for smoking and her love of port and chocolate, I thought it would be wiser to be on the side of following the trends for things that typically will extend one’s life rather than shorten it.
With that in mind, when I stumbled upon a book titled The Okinawa Program, I was instantly fascinated to understand how these individuals were able to extend their average life span 11 years longer than the world’s average — 83.7 to 72.6 respectively.
There were a number of different things they did, and I would highly encourage anyone interested to read the book, but one of the main things that stood out to me was their almost complete lack of meat consumption.
As shared earlier, the average American eats about 0.6 lbs per day.
Compare this to the average Okinawan consumption of only 100 grams per day, and you have almost a 66% reduction in meat consumption daily.
Extrapolate this over many years, and you are talking about a major reduction in calories over a lifespan.
Couple this with the scientific understanding of the creation of free radicals and how consuming more food increases the chances that one of these radicals goes rogue and becomes cancerous, and one can see the connection between meat reduction and increasing the chances of extending one’s life.
I used to love meat.
I would eat meat at every meal and it would typically be a decent portion size of 6–8 oz.
Once I was made aware of how harmful this was to my body and long-term health, I knew this was not a lifestyle that I could continue to live any longer.
And while I still allow myself to enjoy the occasional steak or cheeseburger on special occasions (usually once a quarter), I have been pleasantly surprised at how vegetables and fruits have not only allowed me to live a healthier lifestyle, but they are pretty damn good as well.