Thursday, April 29, 2010

Food Rules #23

#23 Treat meat as a flavoring or a special occasion food.

While it's true that vegetarians are generally healthier than carnivores, that doesn't mean you need to eliminate meat from your diet if you like it. Meat, which humans have been eating and relishing for a very long time, is nourishing food, which is why I suggest "mostly" plants, not "only" plants." It turns out that near vegetarians, or "flexitarians"-people who eat meat a couple of times a week-are just as healthy as vegetarians. But the average American eats meat as part of two or even three meals a day-and there is evidence that the more meat there is in your diet, red meat in particular-the greater your risk of heart disease and cancer. Why? It could be it's saturated fat, or it's specific type of protein, or the simple fact that all that meat is pushing plants off the plate. Consider swapping the traditional portion sizes: Instead of an eight-ounce steak and a four-ounce portion of vegetables, serve four ounces of beef and eight ounces of veggies. Thomas Jefferson was probably onto something when he recommended a mostly plant-based diet that uses meat chiefly as a "flavor principle." -Michael Pollan, Food Rules

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