(Good News: You Don't have to Give Up Everything You Love!)
"Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants." - Michael Pollan
It's good advice, because a plant-based diet has been shown in many studies to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers - most notably colon cancer.
But what if you really like meat?
The good news: You don't need to make a stark either/or choice. In fact, eating more healthy foods may be more important than trying to completely avoid unhealthy ones.
If you don't want to become a full fledged vegetarian, consider eating a mainly plant-based diet, with minimal amounts of meat, fish, dairy, eggs. This diet, often called "flexitarian," also offers significant health benefits, most notably cardiovascular health.
If you have decided to make the leap into flexitarian eating, here is some advice:
1. Pump up the produce! The simplest way may be to just eat more fruits and vegetables, even if you do not cut back on meat much at all. The key is to include fruits and veggies at every meal and snack. Breakfast counts too!
2. Make meat a side show. Make vegetables the stars of your meals!
3. Go whole hog. Your meats should be whole just like the rest of your food. So keep the chicken breasts, New York steak, pork chops if you love them. But cut out the processed stuff - hot dogs, bacon, sausages and lunch meat.
4. Savor salmon. Eat more fatty fish which is high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
5. Get with the program. Some people take semi-vegetarian literally, with the institution of Meatless Mondays.
The bottom line is that you do not have to completely overhaul your diet to improve your health. One simple change can have a BIG impact!