Ever since I’ve been at home, I’ve been back to eating traditional South Indian dishes. I never really noticed this, but I eat way less meat at home in comparison to when I’m on campus. I would say that on average, I ate lean meat four to five times a week in college, whereas at home, I ate it maybe once a week. I realized that when I ate less meat, I was feeling healthier. In fact, I even dropped a couple of pounds! This got me thinking about the potential benefits of eating less meat.
- Less Risk of Disease
First, and most importantly, eating less meat reduces the risk of many diseases such as heart disease (the #1 killer every year), cancer, diabetes, etc. It is important to reduce red meat and processed meat consumption, as these are the types of meat more strongly associated with such diseases. Lean meats such as chicken and turkey, as well as fish (rich in omega-3 fatty acids), make wonderful additions to healthy meals and are not linked in the same way to these diseases. It is a scientific fact that in general, people who eat less meat consume fewer calories and eat less fat overall. Plant-based diets are also more rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins, which help with maintaining overall health. Even reducing meat (especially red meat) consumption by a couple of times per week will help to improve and maintain health.
- Saves Money
Another great reason to eat less meat is to save money. As college students, we’re looking to save money wherever we can. Reducing meat consumption may help out your bank account in addition to improving your overall health! Whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, etc. are extremely cheap when bought in bulk, especially in comparison to red meat and meat in general. By reducing meat intake and adding more of these foods to your diet, you will be able to save a lot of money in the long run while staying healthy!
- Better for the Environment
Last, but certainly not least, eating less meat is better for the environment. Although it is not practical to expect everybody to magically give up meat overnight, it is important to educate ourselves about the environmental impact our decisions cause. This can foster a more “meat-conscious” diet in many people, which can not only help our environment but also our health and bank accounts. Eating more plant-based foods will improve climate change, pollution, ocean dead zones, and many other issues our natural world is facing. Even a small change in our eating habits has the potential to change the world and not only help our health but the health of our planet!
I would like to emphasize that I am in no way trying to push some kind of vegan agenda. I love meat and truly don’t think I would like to give it up anytime soon. Meat is filled with protein, iron, and other nutrients, which helps to maintain good health. However, it is imperative that we all become more conscious and understanding regarding the implications of our decisions to consume meat. Whether it be reducing one meal a week with something plant-based, every small change will only help your health, your bank account and our earth!