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How Meatless Mondays Can Benefit Your Health

Monday, October 02, 2017 6:53 AM

You may have seen the hashtag #MeatlessMondays floating around on social media. While it may seem like a trendy thing, it actually has many health benefits. Adam Cohen-Lewe, DO, Family Medicine at NorthShore, practices a plant-based diet himself and recommends going meatless one day or more days a week.



If you cannot do it once a week, try one meal each day! Still a little wary? Dr. Cohen-Lewe shares his reasons to go plant-based:

  • Cancer-fighting. There have been studies that show consuming a lot of red meat can increase your chances for colorectal cancer. Even if you do not eat a lot of red meat, a diet rich in vegetables can decrease the risk for cancer as they are full of antioxidants and other nutrients.
  • A diet plus-up. Don’t think of meatless meals as something taken out of your diet, but rather a supplement with the extra vegetables. Vegetables are high in fiber, protein, zinc and iron, and low in total and saturated fat.
  • Heart-loving. Your heart loves vegetables! Diets that are full of vegetables and whole grains, and low in processed meat, can reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
  • Obesity-fighting. Eating less processed foods and more vegetables can help decrease your risk for obesity. Vegetables are full of nutrients including fiber, which contribute to feeling full while being low in calories.
  • Greens help you go green! Eating less meat helps contribute to reducing greenhouse emissions from production and transportation of livestock. It also cuts back on livestock water-use, which is significantly higher than it is for produce.

When planning your meatless meals, think of your favorite dishes that are typically meatless such as whole-wheat lasagna, pasta or soup and start there. For other meatless meals, you may substitute your meat foods such as beans, legumes or tofu.

Talk with your physician about how you can approach dietary changes in a safe way.

Do you partake in Meatless Mondays? What are your favorite meals to make?