This week is all about meat. I’m not a big fan of meat, I haven’t been for a long time. If you would have asked me two years ago if I could ever completely give up meat, the answer would have been “absolutely not!” I loved bacon way too much.
After I began this clean eating journey, I started to notice how meat played into our daily meals. My husband and I were both raised to think that we needed a big slab of steak on our plate, paired with a large helping of starch and maybe a small helping of a green vegetable. THIS is where my meals were failing me.
I’m not saying that this is how everyone views meat or that you must follow this to perfection. There are many people who eat clean on a daily basis who still eat meat. And don’t get me wrong, I still eat meat on occasion. I will explain.
If I center my meals around meat, I find myself falling back into old habits. I do not want meat to be the center of my meal. I want my meal to be centered around fresh veggies (and fruits) and whole grains. I personally find this very difficult to do when meat is involved.
Eliminating (or drastically reducing) meat from my diet forces me to explore a broad range of vegetables. I have also started experimenting with different whole grains. (Have you tried bulgur?)
If you can’t completely give up meat, treat it more as a flavoring agent or a side dish. Make a hearty vegetable soup with a very small amount of beef or chicken. You will find that you are just as satisfied (if not more so) with the subtle flavor of beef, without having to eat a full on beef stew.
If you feel the need for a steak, have a 4oz steak, not a 16oz. The key to eating clean is balance. And while I don’t eat any meat the majority of the time, there are a few exceptions. I will snag a slice of bacon (just a slice!) now and then. I actually had a burger for dinner this week. It was not just any burger. It was a mixture of wagyu beef and bison. Tony cooked it up for me here at the house. I can’t tell you the last time I had a burger. It was good, but I’ve had my fix for a while.
With my burger, I had a spinach and quinoa salad filled with veggies and topped with this dressing. Again, it’s all about balance.
The second reason I’m not big into meat is because commercial meat is not raised in a way that I feel appropriate for my food (or any animal for that matter). We should have more access to humanly raised, healthy (grass-fed and maybe organic) meats here soon. (More about this in a bit.)
Another bonus reason to limit your meat consumption? You will save money at the grocery store. Who can complain about that?
Whether or not you choose to eat meat, explore your veggies. Fruits and veggies are the key to health. Have a diet full of both and you’ll surly succeed.
Next week we bridge into the fitness and exercise portion on this series!