Before you scamper away to tuck into your next burger, let me just say that we’re not advocating you take up a diet of 100% tofu or anything. Nor are we saying that meat is bad for you in any way, shape or form. Everything in moderation, after all.
Chucking a bit of meat into every meal out of habit is something that a lot of us do, but before you reach for that bacon or mince, stop and think. Do you really need it? Can you go without for just one day?
Of course you can, and it might even encourage you to be a bit more creative with your dinner. Many non-vegetarians baulk at the suggestion because they think that a meal consisting entirely of vegetables or pulses will not be filling or tasty enough.
Well, let me tell you there is a whole Indian sub-continent that does very well on a diet of delicious curried vegetables, lentils and pulses – if you ever try delicately-spiced potatoes and onions stuffed inside a lentil pancake with coconut chutney on the side, then believe me when I say you will be eating your meat-based words.
And then there’s the most important aspect of including a few more vegetables in your diet – the health benefits. Healthy eating isn’t just about shifting a few pounds. Start thinking long-term.
By reducing your intake of red meat, even if it’s just with one vegetarian meal a week, you can reduce your risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. Yes, red meat is an important source of protein, but we’re not talking about cutting it out all together here, just cutting back.
Think about how you consume your meat too – do you eat a lot of ready meals? By knocking one of these on the head every week, you will be culling a whole lot of hidden salt and sugar intake too.
So eating one vegetarian meal a day could effectively lengthen your life. That’s pretty big statement, but a fair one. And it needn’t be a punishment in bland lentil-form. Get inspired in the kitchen and chuck a bit of spice and flavour in that cooking pot – you never know, you might actually like it!