My Toxic Romance

Processed meat is toxic. We don’t need to delve into the depths of research to establish this as fact. Let’s not argue about it. We know it is true, so let’s make a pact right now to operate under that same assumption, shall we? Ready…Break!
Unfortunately, this simple truth does not change the fact that the vast majority of Americans (and others around the world) continue to binge on the carnivore’s home made heart attack. Just in case you are not interested in reducing pollution, famine, or sparing animals cruelty, let’s review some of the more self-serving reasons to get over the hippie stigma and eschew meat for a few extra veggies in the diet.


If that isn’t reason enough I don’t know what is. Becoming a vegetarian doesn’t necessarily mean that by default a person will eat more vegetables. There are plenty of vegetarians who might easily consider that descriptive term a misnomer. But vegetables aside, most protein ‘substitutes’ for non-meat eaters come packed with fiber. For example, beans, lentils, and tofu are all great sources of protein that are also heavy in dietary fiber. Meat, on the other hand, does not contain fiber, and without sufficient fiber the body has a difficult time flushing out waste. Fiber is fabulous for promoting healthy intestinal action, preventing constipation, and moving waste through the digestive tract faster so that harmful substances (like toxins from processed foods) don’t have as much time to kick it and establish lasting relationships (replete with damaging future effects) with the intestinal walls.

Reduce risk for chronic disease:
As stated before (see regularity) the vegetarian label does not strictly refer to a person who only eats a plant-based diet. Vegetarians simply skip the meat, but French fries, rich fatty dairy products, alcohol, and other bad-for-your-health foods are all open game. Despite this, studies have shown that killing meat from a not-so-healthy diet, while making no additional healthful changes still reduces the risk for chronic degenerative diseases like obesity, coronary disease, and high blood pressure. So, even a not-so-healthy vegetarian is likely to be healthier than the average American carnivore because vegetarians consume less cholesterol and animal fat simply by skipping the meat.

Live longer:
Meat products are typically heavy in saturated fats. Saturated fats clog the arteries and put a strain on the immune system, sucking away at our precious stores of energy. A vegetarian diet can buy an extra 13 healthy years compared to the average American diet. Plus according to Dr. Michael Roizen, Oprah’s favorite health and diet guru and co-author of You: The Owner’s Manual, “meat eaters also experience accelerated cognitive and sexual dysfunction at a younger age” than vegetarians. I don’t personally know anyone who is excited to experience sexual dysfunction.

Save money:
Given the economy, only the filthy rich can afford not to cinch the belt a bit. Meat accounts for 10% of American’s food spending. The vegetarian option on the menu is virtually always less expensive than the meat option. Need I say more?

Granted cravings for apple wood smoked bacon or a juicy burger in the raw can be pretty powerful, but maybe that just means that an abrupt departure from carnivorous ways isn’t the most realistic approach. Baby steps can get you there as well. A little inventive searching for that vegetarian dish that serves as a personal gateway drug and you can’t go wrong. Anyone can kick the meat habit given the right approach.

—Ms. Skeptical

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