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Less Meat, Less Gas, More Health

Filed Under: Health Foods at 4:57 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
CattleThe most widely publicized ways to offset global warming generally involve driving a hybrid, buying energy-efficient appliances, walking or using public transportation and conserving water. We can now add “eating less meat” to that list. According to a report in The Lancet, cutting back on meat consumption by 10 percent will help stop global warming. How? Well, when the demand for meat lessens, so does the amount of livestock and, in turn, the amount of methane produced by animal flatulence. Currently, gas emissions from livestock account for ¼ of all emissions, worldwide, so reducing that, even by a little, could work wonders. But, it won’t be an easy task. Meat consumption is up; in China alone, it’s doubled in the past ten years. So for a little incentive, let’s look at your health. 

Eating meat has its good points. We’ve gone over them before. But, eating less meat isn’t without its benefits either. Numerous studies have shown that a more vegetarian diet can reduce the risk of heart disease and several cancers. In fact, it’s estimated that for every 100 grams of meat you cut from your diet, your risk of colorectal cancer decreases by one-third. When considering prostate cancer, a vegetarian diet not only reduces your risk but slows the growth of prostate tumors. On the other hand, meat, full of saturated fat, increases the disease’s progression.  And most recently it’s been shown that consuming cured meat – hot dogs, bacon, etc. – more than doubles the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  So, cutting back isn’t just a good idea earth-wise; it’s pretty nice health-wise too.

Now, I’m not forcing you to go completely vegetarian. I like a burger as much as the rest of you. I’m suggesting you find a few substitutions. Many non-meat products have the same nutrients with no animal. Think fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds (flaxseeds – and canola oil – have a glorious amount of Omega-3 fatty acids) and soy-based products. Have a salad, instead of a steak. Just have a little less, and we’ll have a little less all around – less gas, less disease, less worry.

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