It’s a new year full of new opportunities and expectations. Many people respond to this fresh start with resolutions to diet, exercise, and lose the extra pounds that leave them feeling lethargic and unhealthy. Unfortunately, many of the means by which people try to accomplish this cause burnout long before the positive effects can begin. Crash dieting never works and fad workouts rarely last. In order to make real lifestyle changes, we need to make long-lasting changes to our habits.
Don’t be discouraged! These lifestyle changes are often much easier than any crash diet. Let’s explore one simple change that can make a huge difference for both your health and the planet as a whole: Eat less meat.
Before you panic and begin hoarding steaks and cheeseburgers, let me explain. Eating meat has two separate, but equally important, effects. The first effect is environmental. The meat industry is not sustainable at this point. Beef especially has a huge environmental footprint and we will eventually be unable to sustain meat production with the natural resources we have. There is also an ethical question of the living conditions and slaughtering practices used in the meat industry. It is unquestionably difficult to justify the conditions under which we produce the massive amount of meat we consume as a nation.
Aside from the environmental and ethical concerns, there are health concerns. Many believe our bodies were never meant to consume meat. Others believe we need to consume less. Regardless of your stance, it is widely accepted that we need far less meat than we currently consume. Meat (and vegetables) is often polluted with pesticides, hormones, and other harmful chemicals known to cause cancer and a variety of other health problems.
Not ready to go vegetarian? A great way to cut down on your meat intake is to become a weekday vegetarian. As Graham Hill, founder of TreeHugger.com, pointed out in his 2010 Ted Talk, becoming a weekday vegetarian reduces your meat consumption by 70%. That’s a huge difference! Not only will you notice physical changes as you begin to incorporate lighter proteins and more easily digested plant-based foods, you will also become part of the solution to a huge problem: sustainability of food sources.
When you do consume meat, you can make a difference by purchasing organic, locally sourced, ethically produced options. There are undoubtedly farmers and ranchers in your area who are committed to producing food in a way that is environmentally responsible. Support them! In doing do, you help reinforce the changes that need to be made both for your health and the environment. You can use the Eat Well Guide to help you find healthy, responsible food wherever you are!
Want to make some changes to your habits that will help you be happier and healthier in 2016? I would love to help! Contact me today!