Here’s How to Eat Well if You Want to Cut Out Meat
If you have decided to cut out meat, it's best to do it gradually and with the help of a professional who can guide you through the process.
Both vegetarianism and veganism are social diet trends that cut out meat for various reasons, such as animal abuse and health issues. These diet trends also have a positive impact on the environment because when you cut out meat, you reduce the environmental impacts of animal feeding and watering.
Nutrition experts have suggested that a balanced diet should include all nutrients in moderation. In other words, the healthiest way to eat is a variety of different foods in the appropriate and recommended amounts.
If you have decided to cut out any food (meat for example), you should keep in mind some key aspects so your body doesn’t end up suffering.
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Cutting out meat: a growing trend
Let’s take, for example, the country of Spain. According to the ANIBES study carried out by the Spanish Nutrition Foundation, approximately 2% of the Spanish population has stopped eating meat daily.
Similarly, this study points out that 12% of this country’s population does not consume processed meat. Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that vegans (those who do not eat any animal products) make up only 1% of the Spanish population.
On the other hand, the results of another study show that a significant number of Spaniards have reduced their red meat consumption. In fact, 43% of Spaniards have cut down on red meat.
If you want to cut out meat in your diet or simply reduce it, make sure to read the following tips to prevent negative consequences to your health. In any case, you should know that every person is different and specific nutritional needs vary from individual to individual.
For this reason, the best thing to do is make gradual changes to your diet along with the help of a professional. A qualified nutritionist will be able to guide and accompany you through this process.
All over the world, the consumption of red meats and processed meats has decreased in recent years.
Consume other sources of protein if you cut out meat entirely
First of all, it’s important to keep in mind that you must continue to consume protein that comes from other food sources. For example, if you’re not vegan, eggs can be a great source of protein as well as healthy fats, which can replace other animal products.
The most recommended are 4 eggs per week or 2 egg whites per day. If you have the option, it’s always best to choose organic eggs from chickens that have not been mistreated.
Apart from eggs, there are plenty of other types of foods that can provide a good protein base. However, you should still visit a specialist to have them recommend the proper diet for your individual nutrition needs.
Some high proteins options include:
- Vegetables (soybeans, edamame, broccoli, asparagus, mung bean sprouts, and Brussel sprouts)
- Nuts (almonds, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, and hazelnuts)
- Grains (oats, quinoa, teff, wild rice, buckwheat, millet, and sorghum)
- Seeds (pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds)
- Legumes (lentils, peanuts, green peas, chickpeas, pinto beans, red beans, black turtle beans, and navy beans).
An important thing to keep in mind is that when you combine grains with legume protein, you consume higher-quality protein. A well-known example of this is lentils and rice. The quality and quantity of the protein are higher in this case than if you combined rice or lentils with sausage, for example.
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Don’t go overboard with the dairy products
It’s important to keep in mind that, especially when you’re not vegan, it’s not a good idea to go overboard with dairy products. This is because eating too much of them can increase your cholesterol levels.
Also, this habit can cause digestive problems.
Also, there are new options such as soy milk-, oat milk-, almond milk-, coconut milk-, and rice milk-based products that can be very healthy dairy replacements for people who have decided to cut out meat or go vegan.
Dairy products are ideal for supplementing your diet when you’re reducing your meat consumption. However, consume them in moderation.
Make sure you get enough vitamin B12
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin. It plays an essential role in red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function, and DNA replication.
If you have decided to cut out meat completely, you may likely have a deficit of this vitamin, even though your body can store many years worth of B12.
For this reason, it’s important that you have your B12 levels checked frequently and that you consume foods that provide you with enough B12, such as eggs, dairy, and spirulina, for example.
The top reasons to cut out meat
Four years ago, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an organization under the WHO (World Health Organization), warned of the possible health consequences of consuming large amounts of processed meat.
Mainly, they warned that excessive consumption could be associated with colorectal cancer. The conclusions regarding red meat consumption were not as clear but the IACR did associate it with a higher risk for developing certain diseases.
In addition to health reasons, many people decide to cut out meat due to animal abuse in the food industry.
Furthermore, mass meat production contributes to deforestation due to excessive cattle grazing.
Cut out meat the right way
If you want to cut out meat, you have to make sure that your new diet covers all your nutritional needs. For this, we recommend that you go to a nutrition specialist who can guide you in your healthy eating habits.