February is American Heart month — and March is the month we celebrate the Great American Meatout!
There seems to be a theme and a message here. The message is we need to take care of our heart and our health.
American Heart month is sponsored by the American Heart Association to bring attention to the fact that heart disease is the #1 killer of adults, male and female alike, in this country.
The risk factors for heart disease include:
- Family history
- Excessive alcohol use
- Lack of physical activity
- Blood pressure
- Cholesterol levels
The last three risk factors can be directly related to diet.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and being overweight are largely due to what we choose to put in our mouth. Choosing a plant-based diet over a diet high in animal products can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels while helping to keep weight down.
This brings us to…
The Great American Meatout
The Great American Meatout is a campaign of FARM and has been around since 1985. Meatout’s goal is to educate the public about the benefits of a healthy plant-based diet and the vegetarian options available in the marketplace.
The campaign centers around the first day of spring, March 20th, as a turning point to look at a compassionate, healthy lifestyle. Participants are asked to give up meat for one day to experience how easy it can be to give up animal products.
The event is promoted through:
- Cooking demos
There are even cities and states that have proclaimed meat-out days.
- Connecticut, Michigan, New Hampshire
- Baltimore, Cleveland, Honolulu, Houston, Kansas City, Sacramento, San Antonio, and State College (PA)
It looks like the efforts being made to explore a plant-based diet are working.
The Daily Livestock Report tells us meat consumption has decreased every year for the past four years. This year it looks like we will consume approximately 12% less meat than we did in 2007. According to the Vegetarian Resource Group there are currently millions of vegetarians in the United States.
The American Dietetic Association
Mainstream groups like the American Dietetic Association support consuming a plant-based diet.
The American Dietetic Association’s position paper on vegetarianism advocates vegetarianism and veganism as healthy alternatives to a traditional diet. Many studies are cited in the paper supporting this position.
For more information regarding a plant-based diet and Meatout feel free to contact me .