Story by: Erin Wiedmar on September 20, 2019
Plant-based eating does not mean becoming a vegan or even a vegetarian. It just means that your meals focus more on plants than anything else. Dairy, meat and seafood are used as a garnish as opposed to the main entree.
We know that diets that include less meat and more produce reduce the risk of many preventable chronic diseases, including heart disease. High-meat diets, especially those low in fruits and vegetables, are associated with adverse health outcomes in addition to heart disease, such as cancer, obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Additionally, red meat and processed meat have been classified by the World Health Organization as “carcinogenic to humans,” based on evidence related to colorectal cancer.
As for the environment, reducing meat consumption just one day a week helps conserve water and energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Meat production accounts for nearly 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and livestock agriculture uses a disproportionate amount of the world’s fresh water, arable land and fossil fuel.
Not convinced? There’s more! Decreasing meat consumption can help your budget too. Meals that are built around vegetables, beans and grains tend to be cheaper than meals built around meat.
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So, help your heart, your environment and your wallet by working toward being a plant-based eater!
Celebrate World Heart Day with us Sept. 29 by starting off thinking plant-based with this amazing layered arugula salad.
4 cups of arugula
1 cup dry, whole-wheat, pearl couscous
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Pinch of salt
4 ounces feta cheese
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 ounces raisins
In a small container with a lid, marinate the tomatoes in balsamic vinegar and salt. Shake and place in the fridge. Marinate 30 minutes to 24 hours.
Cook couscous according to package directions. Drain and place in the fridge to cool.
Toss nuts and seeds in olive oil and salt. Broil on low for three to four minutes until toasted. Mix warm trail mix with raisins and set aside to cool.
In bowls or mason jars (if prepping for future meals) layer arugula, couscous, marinated tomatoes, feta cheese and trail mix. If serving immediately, include avocado. If not, pack avocado separately, dice and add to salad when ready to eat.
Serve with store-bought or homemade ranch dressing.
Erin Wiedmar, M.Ed., RDN, L.D., CDE, is a clinical nutritionist with Norton Healthcare.
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