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Rule 23 – Treat Meat as a Flavoring or Special Occasion Food.

“While it’s true,” says Pollan, “that vegetarians are generally healthier than carnivores, that doesn’t mean you need to eliminate meat from your diet if you like it. Meat, which humans have been eating and relishing for a very long time, is nourishing food, which is why I suggest “mostly” plants, not “only.” It turns out that near vegetarians, “flexitarians”–people who eat meat a couple of times a week–are just as healthy as vegetarians. But the average American eats meat as part of two or even three meals a day–more than half a pound per person per day–and there is evidence that the more meat there is in your diet–red meat in particular–the greater your risk of heart disease and cancer. Why? It could be its saturated fat, or its specific type of protein, or the simple fact that all that meat is pushing plants off the plate. Consider swapping the traditional portion sizes. Instead of an eight ounce steak and a four ounce portion of vegetables, serve four ounces of [grass fed] beef and eight ounces of veggies” (54).

I think it’s especially easy to do this in soups. Just shred a small portion of meat into tiny pieces so that it distributes throughout the entire soup, then load up the vegetables and whole grains, like barley. Lots of meat flavor with very little actual meat consumption! And so comforting on those cold, wintry days…

The tips are courtesy of Michael Pollan’s book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual. New York: Penguin, 2009.

Happy, Healthy Eating!

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