Monday, March 14, 2011

Meatless Mondays


The trend for Meatless Mondays is a growing one.  Originally started as a way to raise the awareness of how consuming meat the way we Americans consume meat (to the tune of 200 lbs for each man, woman and child every single year) impacts our environment, it has become a way to experiment with "doing without" for a whole host of reasons.

Most other cultures use meat as an accompaniment to a meal heavy in vegetables and whole grains, or even as a flavoring for vegetable and grain dishes, and that is not even on an everyday basis.  Instead they get the majority of their protein from non-meat sources.  Lots of Americans insists that consuming sizable portions of meat at every meal is not only "healthy", it's a necessity (not to mention that to fail to do so might be considered down right unAmerican!).  But like other foods that have found their way into the standard American diet (or SAD), there is probably more to this notion than meets the eye.

Some 50+ years ago, only the "rich" could afford to eat meat at every meal.  Only the "rich" could afford the luxury of foods that cut corners for us (ie:  processed foods).  Eating vegetables out of one's own garden and vegetable-sources of protein was something that the "poor" had to do in order to survive.  Our parents and grandparents shaped the way many of us view foods - even as adults, and we find ourlseves stuck in this mode of out-dated image-maintenance left over from the 1950's, only today we argue that it's too expensive to eat anything that strays too far from the standard American diet (SAD).  Local vegetables?  Too much trouble.  Cooking REAL food (ie:  a carrot that still looks like a carrot when you bring it home, spinach that still looks like the leaves of a plant when they are placed into your refrigerator)?  Too time consuming.  Non-meat sources of protein (ie:  nuts, seeds, beans and legumes)?  Too "low-class"!

The reality is that a diet based on more simple foods - foods prepared in your own home, foods that don't contain ingredient but rather ARE ingredients; vegetable sources of protein (did you know that beans are great sources of protein AND fiber while containing absolutely NO saturated fats, growth hormones or e coli?) that rarely cause a recall; and meals that are prepared in places where people do not have to wear surgical caps bring you a bigger variety of nutrients (both macro and micronutrients) than your standard meat-and-potato meal ever will.

When you examine your reasons for eating what you eat, you may be surprised to see how controlled you are by familial customs that have very little to do with nutrition or particular foods themselves, and much more to do with your family's food-culture.  Today, try being a little more mindful in your eating.  Consider skipping meat today for a whole host of reasons, not the least of which is that it is just plain good for you.  You just might like it!

For more information on eating meat-free, check out my e-book, 7 Days of REAL Food, available on my website www.elementalfit.com as an eBook, or through Amazon in Kindle format.  If you'd like information on how you can improve your overall health through personal health coaching, contact me (elly@elementalfit.com).

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