Monthly Wellness Tip: Cutting Back on Red Meat

Now that summer is in full swing, there are certain traditions that come along with warmer weather. One of the biggest of these traditions is outdoor barbeques. We all grew up with that scent in the air of steaks, hamburgers, and other red meats grilling to juicy perfection with grill marks. Nothing tasted quite as good as that red meat sizzling on the barbeque grill. Even today, you probably still consider steak to be a special treat that you order in a fancy restaurant to celebrate a special anniversary or occasion.

Despite all of the “comfort food” associations that you may have with red meat, the truth is that numerous studies have shown that consumption of red meat is costly in ways other than just the price you pay at the supermarket. Temecula chiropractor Nathen Horst outlines the reasons why you should look at cutting back your intake of red meat, as well as easy ways that you can do so, while still enjoying all those backyard summer barbeques.

Why Should You Cut Back on Red Meat?

The main reason to cut your intake of red meat is that it is associated with a number of serious health issues, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cancer. If you still enjoy your steak or burger done on the barbeque, the charbroiling process can further increase your risk for cardiovascular disease or cancer. In fact, one study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that people who ate more red meat tended to die at a younger age, weigh more, exercise less, and drink more alcohol, compared to those who ate less red meat.

Furthermore, red meat is more expensive than other meats, such as chicken, turkey, fish, or pork, if you are looking at ways to stretch your food budget. In fact, beef prices have risen more sharply than those for chicken since 2012. If you are looking to substitute a vegetarian dish, you can save even more money, more than $1 per person, per meal.

Ways to Reduce Red Meat in Your Diet

Attempting to go “cold turkey” when it comes to taking red meat out of your and your family’s diet can come as shock, particularly if you are trying to please picky eaters. Dr. Horst suggests finding substitutes in meals that are family favorites, rather than eliminating red meat altogether or attempting completely new recipes for every meal.

  • Meatless Mondays: Here’s your chance to test out new vegetarian recipes that might get your family to rethink their assumptions about meatless meals. Legumes, such as peas, beans and lentils, are packed with a wide array of vitamins and minerals. In addition, legumes are full of protein, so you and your family won’t miss out on the benefits of protein that normally comes from animal-based sources.
  • Taco Tuesdays: This is your opportunity to substitute another meat for recipes that usually call for read meat. Tacos are a great way to do this. In fact, fish tacos are just as authentic as beef tacos. Substitute a white fish, such as tilapia or mahi mahi, and then add in some shredded cabbage and cilantro. Top it off with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and you have delicious tacos that are not only healthier than beef tacos, but are just as flavorful.
  • Don’t use meat substitutes: Many parents of picky eaters resort to vegetarian substitutes for meat items, such as veggie burgers or veggie dogs. You may find yourself tempted to do this after one too many fights over the content of your child’s dinner plate. Dr. Horst recommends not trying to pass off meat substitutes as the real thing. Instead, get those veggies out of hiding and ease your kids into seeing them more often by starting out with raw veggies as an appetizer or snack item.

Reducing the amount of red meat in your diet may seem daunting, but with a bit of skill and creative thinking, you can improve your health, and that of your family. Dr. Horst can help you along that path with meal planning and meat substitute suggestions.

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