Why are our recipes meat free?
When we began filming the show we made a decision early on to make all our recipes meat free. Why is that? Well for one thing – it matches our values – which are to provide options for people who usually miss out when it comes to cooking shows – and parties, to help make it easier for people to include more whole foods and veggies into their meals, and to help show people how to cook and eat foods which don’t have a negative impact on the environment.
A lot of times people will see a meat-less recipe and think – Oh I’m not vegetarian so that recipe isn’t for me.
Top tip! You don’t have to be vegetarian or vegan to include more plant-based foods in your diet. Eating more plant-based foods and meals isn’t going to hinder your health in fact it’s more likely to enhance it.
There are so many people cutting meat down or out of their diets nowadays and we’ll discuss some of these other reasons like animal welfare concerns or environmental concerns in the next post. But for this one, we thought we’d link to a few resources from some experts to help give you a better understanding why many experts (doctors, scientists, dieticians, nutrition professionals including naturopaths and environmentalists) are advocating for people to cut the meat down or out of their diets and supporting Meatless Mondays and Meat-free weeks for health-based reasons.
There are lots of resources out there but at the end of this post are a couple of our favourite.
Some of the health-based reasons that people promote a plant-based diet -or choose to eat a plant-based diet include research showing that plant-based diets can reduce the risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, obesity and hypertension (for a nice summary of this check out the book The Spectrum by Dr. Dean Ornish, a researcher and a medical doctor or the article from the Medical Journal of Australia – link below).
The main issue which comes up when people begin talking about plant-based diets are concerns about whether or not you can meet the recommended dietary intakes for certain nutrients like protein, iron, calcium, etc. when you aren’t eating animal products. The short answer is – yes you can meet your nutritional needs with a plant-based diet except for vitamin B12 – if you eat a pure plant-based diet – then it’s wiser to take a B12 supplement as food sources aren’t a reliable source of the vitamin. Other than B12, plant-foods are full of nutrients like minerals, vitamins and antioxidants and fibre. As well as protein, fats and carbohydrates (the main nutrients which give you energy and your body uses to build tissues and enzymes with).
Generally the research also shows people who follow plant-based diets to have a healthier body weight and generally the research shows that people who follow plant-based diets live longer than people who don’t. Although it is important to differentiate between a “whole food” plant based diet which includes a variety of whole grains, legumes, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruits and a “junk food” plant-based diet which contains.. hot chips for example;-).
So enjoy some of these resources. Up next …. the animal welfare based reasons people eat a plant-based diet.
One of my favourite books which summarises this is The Spectrum by Dr. Dean Ornish http://www.bookdepository.com/Spectrum-Dr-Dean-Ornish/9780345496317
Forks over Knives http://www.forksoverknives.com/
Some scientific medical research journal articles and reviews
From The Permanente Journal: Nutritional update for Physicians: Plant-based diets http://www.thepermanentejournal.org/issues/2013/spring/5117-nutrition.html
From The Lancet: Can Lifestyle changes reverse heart disease? The Lifestyle Heart Trial (results after 1 year)
From JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Society)
From the MJA (Medical Journal of Australia): Plant-based diets good for us and good for the planet.
Also from the MJA: Meeting Nutrient reference values in a vegeatarian diet.