What are the benefits of reducing meat consumption?
Being a vegetarian is not the only option but it is the best.
Many people have proposed to stop eating meat with the beginning of the next year. But it is not always easy; that's why reducing your consumption little by little is a good idea.
In the United Kingdom, for example, there is an initiative known as "Veganuary" (mixture of vegan and january [January]), which consists of not eating meat during the first month of the year, and another called "Meat Free Mondays", by the which Mondays are meat-free days.
Another option is the "flexitarian" diet, which increasingly has more followers, such as the London writer Katie Teehan. It is not as strict as the vegetarian but it considerably reduces the consumption of animals: those who follow it only eat meat occasionally; for example, on weekends.
"I decided to drastically reduce my consumption of meat by a mixture of ethical, environmental and health reasons," says Katie Teehant "Now I am much more daring with what I cook, and it is super easy to prepare without meat. substituting 'for vegetables'.
This new diet has not only provided originality in the kitchen, but also more health. "The most positive thing is that I find it very easy to eat more than the five pieces of fruit and vegetables recommended, and most days I have eight or even ten," he admits.
In 2015, the consumption of certain meats was associated with cancer risk after the World Health Organization classified several processed meat products as "carcinogenic to humans", also describing red meat as "probably carcinogenic", mainly linked to cancer of colon. Nutrition advisor Charlotte Stirling-Reed cautions, however, that these data should be put into perspective.
"Eating too much red and processed meat may increase the risk of developing cancer, but this does not mean that you are going to develop cancer from eating these meats, or that eating a bacon sandwich is the end of the world."
In any case, reducing the consumption of meat can have a beneficial impact on health in the long term. This is mainly due to the fact that if you are a big consumer of meat and you start to replace it in your diet with other alternatives, you will surely increase the consumption of other beneficial foods, such as vegetables, vegetable proteins and whole grains.
According to Dominika Piasecka, of the Vegan Society organization. Adopting a more varied diet can not only improve your energy, but also your bank balance.
"Meat, dairy products and eggs are among the most expensive products on the market, while basic products such as rice, vegetables and pulses are among the most affordable categories," he says. "Plan a little before making the purchase, avoid already processed and processed products and control your spending habits can be very useful to ensure you do not spend too much on food."
Adisa Azapagic, professor of Sustainable Chemical Engineering at the University of Manchester, says that reducing meat consumption is also beneficial for the environment.
"Red meat, like veal and lamb, has a high carbon footprint, because cows and sheep emit methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming and climate change." "Therefore, eating less beef and less lamb can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and their consequences on climate change."
Professor Azapagic has created a very practical graph that compares the carbon footprint of different foods so that people can make informed decisions about their diet. It shows how many kilos of carbon dioxide emissions are generated per kilogram of food.
If you're considering reducing the amount of meat you eat, nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed reminds you to keep in mind how you're going to replace the nutrients in your diet.
"If you do not do it and trim the meat without thinking about where you are going to get iron, zinc, vitamin B and protein, you may have a deficit," he reasons. To avoid this, it is advisable to "increase the consumption of foods such as dairy products, lentils, beans, chickpeas, nuts, seeds and alternatives to meat, such as soybeans and tofu."
This article has been written based on an article by 'HuffPost' United Kingdom