You might be cringing at the thought of not having that big hunk of animal protein on your plate. How could you live with fried chicken, pork chops smothered in gravy, or a big juicy steak? I am not here to bully you into giving up foods you love, but today I would like to share with you five reasons you might consider lowering your meat consumption and instead consume more fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Whether you are prediabetic, Type 2 diabetic, or have a history of diabetes in your family, a plant-based diet could be the weapon you need to prevent or manage your diabetes successfully.
We know there is evidence that eating less meat is better for the planet and the animals themselves and us human animals. The CDC’s 2020 report estimates that 13% of the US population has been diagnosed with diabetes. The American Diabetes Association estimates the cost of treating diabetes to be around 327 billion dollars annually. “In addition to lowering the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, there is also evidence that plant-based diets, particularly vegan diets, can be effective in treating and managing type 2 diabetes by improving glycemic control, body weight, and cardiovascular risk factors.”
This week while you are planning your meals consider these benefits of limiting your meat consumption
Besides helping you to manage or prevent diabetes, a plant-based diet can also help you to:
- Lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Sadly, if you are diagnosed with diabetes, you are more likely to develop heart disease. In addition, high blood glucose can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart; this damage could lead to heart disease.
- Lower body weight. We are a nation that loves our processed foods and double-decker burgers but reducing the number of processed foods and meat in your diet increases your metabolism, which will help you to burn more calories and lower your body weight. This is great for your appearance and your health.
- You are more likely to lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. Meat is harder for your body to process and can raise your cholesterol and blood pressure. Both are bad for your blood vessels and can lead to heart attack and stroke.
Try to include the following in your meal prep this week:
A healthful plant-based diet contains vegetables. Including a variety of colorful vegetables provides a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
Root vegetables are a reliable source of carbohydrates and vitamins. They include:
- sweet potato
- butternut squash
Legumes are an excellent source of fiber and plant-based protein. People can include a wide variety in their diet, including:
Seeds are a great snack or an easy way to add extra nutrients into a salad or on top of a soup.
Sesame seeds contain calcium, and sunflower seeds are a good source of vitamin E. Other seeds include:
You don’t have to give up meat entirely but try an experiment. Cut your meat intake by half for the next two weeks and notice how you feel. Check your weight at the beginning and at the end. Then, decide for yourself if you want to go back to your normal portion of meat or if you want to cut back even further and run an additional experiment.
Remember that avoiding meat does not mean that chips, ice cream, and other processed carbohydrates are suddenly okay to eat. It does not help if you drop one unhealthy option for another. You already know which foods are healthy and unhealthy.
I hope you learn how to enjoy your meals and take the time to prepare healthy foods that make you smile and keep you healthy. Need help! Shoot me an email. Cutting back on meats is just one of the ways you can enhance mealtime and help you manage or prevent diabetes.
You can do this!
With Peace and Love,