Cutting out red and processed meat

For a long time now I’ve been wanting to make changes to my diet and lifestyle, however being a new mum and moving into my new flat have already been huge changes that I’ve needed to adjust to first. Now I feel settled into motherhood and my flat, I’m ready to start making these changes.

My reasons for making this change:

Motherhood

Part of it has been spurred on by Archie getting close to weaning age and me becoming the super-neurotic mum that wants to make sure he gets the best, nutritious food. (I’m sure I will end up giving him nuggets at some point and will laugh back at this, but hopefully my intentions will come through)

Im very aware of the baby food industry using all sorts of preservatives and sugars in their jars and so I will be doing my utmost to ensure his food is all homemade.

On top of the baby food industry, the meat industry is just as bad for processing meat. There is also the high fat content and the amount of time it takes for us to digest red meat particularly that makes me not want to give it to my child.

He will be 5 months next week, he’s growing so much!

Environment

Another huge push for me wanting to change my diet was watching the Simon Amstel film Carnage, if you haven’t seen it it will honestly make you question the entire meat and dairy industry.

It really opened my eyes to not just the moral side to vegetarianism/ Veganism but also the environmental effects that the meat industry has on the planet. Farming has such an immense effect on the environment, and it’s all simply for us to eat, I just think it’s pretty absurd and is it really worth it?

As well as the farming side, there’s also the amount of plastic that is being used to package the meat to sell in supermarkets. I know that it’s not just meat that is packaged in plastic but me not buying meat will help with my own plastic consumption.

I know I’m just one relatively small human, but it’s amazing how much of a difference one person making a change to their lifestyle can make.

Health

Finally, the other reason I’m saying goodbye to red meat is for my health.

It’s well known that red meat consumption has links to heart problems and diabetes. My sister also told me about a theory that we should each eat a diet that benefits our blood type, which for me would mean cutting out red meat.

I’ve researched this further and it has been debunked by a lot of dieticians, however there is research to show that red meat can cause acidic imbalance in the stomach and it takes a long time for us to digest it compared to other protein sources. This causes bloating, low energy and can even affect your skin. These are all issues that I suffer with sometimes and so it will be interesting to see what a difference it makes.

Going forward

I plan to begin this change by initially cutting out red and processed meat: beef, lamb, sausages, bacon, ham etc.

I will continue to eat fish as it’s a great protein source and oily fish in particular has great health benefits. I’ll also occasionally eat white meat such as chicken/turkey but there’s a good chance I’ll cut this out too.

My dinner a few nights ago: salmon, egg and kale. All full of good stuff and super tasty!

Alternatives

While red meat is a known strong protein and iron source, I have been looking to see what foods I can substitute to ensure we still get the nutrients we need.

Some great plant based protein sources include: lentils, spinach, hemp seeds, quinoa, peas, peanut butter.

Making this change I need to ensure we’re also getting enough iron/ B vitamins that are found in red meat. Alternative foods that can give me these nutrients include: shellfish, soy products, eggs, pumpkin seeds, Brussel sprouts.

I’m looking forward to making meals incorporating these changes and will include recipes I get along the way.

One meal I made recently was a chickpea and spinach curry, it was delicious, vegan and nutritious!

Helpful links

I’ve summarised a lot of the information I’ve researched but if you’d like to read more on any of the points I’ve made, I’ve found the following pages really helpful:

https://www.rd.com/health/diet-weight-loss/stop-eating-red-meat/

https://www.rd.com/health/healthy-eating/plant-based-protein/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/why-processed-meat-is-bad

On a final note, I have created a new Instagram account solely for my blogging and foodie content. You can follow me on the new handle @mumboyandcat

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