JOEL CREASEY

THE TERM “FLEXITARIAN” COM­BINES FLEX­I­BLE AND VEG­E­TAR­IAN TO DESCRIBE A DIET THAT RE­DUCES MEAT IN­TAKE WITH­OUT EX­CLUD­ING IT AL­TO­GETHER. THE HEALTH AND WEIGHT LOSS AD­VAN­TAGES ARE SIG­NIF­I­CANT.

DNA Magazine - - CONTENT -

The Clown Prince Of Com­edy tells Matt My­ers about en­ter­tain­ing the troops and shar­ing his model boyfriend’s un­der­pants!

STUD­IES SHOW a strong con­nec­tion be­tween eat­ing less meat, eat­ing a plant-based diet and boost­ing your health and life ex­pectancy. It also makes sense that go­ing flexitarian helps weight man­age­ment be­cause it low­ers your car­bo­hy­drate in­take. A re­cent Har­vard study showed that swap­ping meat and full-fat dairy (sat­u­rated fat-rich foods) with plant based equiv­a­lents such as legumes, nuts and seeds (rich in polyun­sat­u­rated fats) can re­duce the risk of heart dis­ease by 19 per­cent.

A study over 26 years, pub­lished in 2006, showed that peo­ple eat­ing pro­cessed foods were 21 per­cent more likely to have car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, and 16 per­cent more prone to can­cer com­pared to those who didn’t con­sume pro­cessed meat. An es­ti­mate was made that if the study group had eaten half as much meat, deaths in the group would have de­clined by 9.3 per­cent among men and 7.6 per­cent among women. DO I EAT TOO MUCH MEAT? There are a few signs that sug­gest you may be eat­ing too much meat. These can in­clude bloat­ing, nau­sea and con­sti­pa­tion, and sub­tler symp­toms such as dark cir­cles un­der the eyes, fa­tigue and even bad breath and body odours. Con­sult your GP about your meat in­take as these symp­toms can vary. WHAT DO I EAT IN­STEAD OF MEAT? Re­mem­ber that you don’t have to cut out meat com­pletely, just re­duce your in­take. Tofu, although de­li­cious, is not the only meat sub­sti­tute you can eat to still get all the nu­tri­ents you would nor­mally get from an­i­mal prod­ucts. Mush­rooms, lentils, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds are just a few of the foods that can sub­sti­tute for your meat in­take. Not only will they help you eat your daily pro­tein re­quire­ments, they are low in fat and choles­terol and are packed with other nu­tri­ents.

There are sev­eral apps around that will help you work out ways to sub­sti­tute your meat in­take by com­par­ing the nu­tri­tional in­for­ma­tion of your nor­mal meat meal to a plant-based sub­sti­tute. You’ll be sur­prised how much you can re­duce your sat­u­rated fat and car­bo­hy­drate in­take. WHAT YOUR PLATE SHOULD LOOK LIKE y Half the plate should be fruits and/or

veg­eta­bles, not in­clud­ing pota­toes. Re­mem­ber to aim for your “two and five” each day; that’s two fruits and five veg­eta­bles.

One quar­ter of the plate should be whole grains like whole-wheat bread, whole-grain pasta or brown rice.

One quar­ter of the plate should be some type of pro­tein like fish, poul­try, beans.

In lim­it­ing your red meat in­take re­mem­ber that some non-meats, like beans, have high lev­els of pro­teins.

Aim for a diver­sity of colours on the plate. DON’T-GO-THERE FOODS! What are the foods that con­trib­ute the most to weight gain? First off, cut back on non-con­tribut­ing flu­ids other than wa­ter and, yes, that in­cludes al­co­hol. Most so­das and soft drinks, fruit juices, bot­tled iced teas and en­ergy drinks on the mar­ket are full of sugar and should be avoided at all costs. If you are strug­gling to lose weight, make wa­ter your only liq­uid in­take. A sen­si­ble food diet is es­sen­tial but many peo­ple are putting hid­den su­gars into their sys­tem through drinks they think are healthy. Read the con­tent la­bels!

Se­condly, avoid fried potato chips at all costs as the fat from the oil and the car­bo­hy­drate of the potato it­self are one of the great­est con­trib­u­tors to weight gain in a mod­ern Western fast diet. Pro­cessed red meats such as ba­con, hot dogs, sausages, salamis and pressed sand­wich meats should be avoided. They don’t con­trib­ute to weight gain as much as fried chips but if you’re try­ing to lose weight stick to leaner meat op­tion (fish, poul­try, lean red meats that are fresh not pro­cessed).

Lastly, avoid all pro­cessed foods: chips, pret­zels, pop­corn. A good rule of thumb is to imag­ine the source of the food and com­pare it to how it looks now. The less it re­sem­bles its source, the more pro­cessed it is and the less ben­e­fi­cial it is. Pret­zels, for ex­am­ple, are made of flour but look noth­ing like wheat. To re­duce hunger, reach for some­thing that gives your body more last­ing en­ergy, such as oat­meal or whole-wheat bread. SWEET SEA­SONAL SUM­MER TREATS While added su­gars should be avoided, you don’t have to forgo sweet things al­to­gether. Sum­mer brings a feast of de­li­cious sea­sonal treats in fruits: ba­nanas, black­ber­ries, blue­ber­ries, rasp­ber­ries, cher­ries, grapes, rock melon, wa­ter­melon, nec­tarines, peaches, navel or­anges, plums and straw­ber­ries. Tak­ing ad­van­tage of these through­out sum­mer can help those strug­gling with a sugar de­pleted diet, but try to eat more veg­etable va­ri­ety each day than fruit va­ri­ety; re­mem­ber, two fruits and five ve­g­ies. Your sum­mer ve­g­ies in­clude as­para­gus, beansprouts, beet­root, broc­coli, cab­bage, cap­sicum, car­rots, cau­li­flower, cel­ery, chill­ies, cu­cum­ber, egg­plant, leak, let­tuce, mush­room, pump­kin, rhubarb, snow peas, spinach, spring onions, sweet­corn, toma­toes, turnips and zuc­chini.

LIKE ANY sig­nif­i­cant change you’re think­ing of mak­ing to your diet, it is best to con­sult your GP first. As healthy as the flexitarian diet is, you may have spe­cific nu­tri­tional needs that you might not be meet­ing when de­cid­ing to lower your meat in­take. It’s im­por­tant to learn the nu­tri­tional value of the foods you are eat­ing to make sure you are hit­ting all your nu­tri­ent re­quire­ments, just like meat, not all fruits and veg­eta­bles are the same. MORE: Dr Zac Turner (MBBS RN Bsc) can be con­tacted at www.drzac.co

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