A common sentence I have noticed I say to clients is ‘now I am not trying to make you become vegetarian, but…’
Why am I saying this to clients? Does anti-inflammatory eating mean being vegetarian?
It is well established most Australians eat in excess of recommended meat portions; some people easily consume a week’s worth of meat in a sitting. Excessive meat consumption has been linked to increased risk of bowel cancer, heart disease and in some cases, rheumatoid arthritis is better managed with reduced consumption of meat.
Does this mean becoming vegetarian, or vegan though?
No, it doesn’t. Reduced intake doesn’t mean no intake. Mediterranean diet guidelines suggest aiming for ~350-450g/month, whilst the AGHE suggests ~500g per week. Increasing consumption of well prepared legumes, and other sources of plant based protein, such as nuts, seeds, and tofu can have an excellent anti-inflammatory effect. Research indicates including four cups of legumes over a week can help reduce inflammation, whilst regular inclusion of nuts and seeds provides the aforementioned plant protein, along with a variety of healthy fats, also excellent for helping manage inflammation.
What about if you want to be vegetarian or vegan?
By all means, there is nothing wrong with adhering to this style of diet. Keep in mind though that just because something is meat free, it doesn’t automatically mean it is healthier; as per gluten free diets, deep fried food, is still deep fried food.
If you want to go vegetarian or vegan, no worries, just do it in a healthy manner, and ensure you are not missing out on any important nutrients… if you don’t want to, that is also ok, but same deal goes; do your best to make the healthiest choices you can, as often as you can, and do your best to not over do the meat.