You Are What You Eat

As a guy, eating meat almost defines our masculinity. We ravish fattening burgers, wings, steaks, ribs, hot dogs. Meat is the GUY thing to eat. It’s protein used to build muscle, repair tissue and provide energy. But all that meat may not be good for our health. High meat consumption can be linked to health problems including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney problems and weight gain. Some studies have even shown high meat consumption can affect emotional well-being and lead to anxiety and depression.

Many men, including superstar athletes Tom Brady and Kyrie Irving, have at least eliminated some meat in their diets and replaced it with alternative protein sources. Brady’s famous “TB12” performance regimen is reportedly 80 percent meatless and NBA star Irving has gone completely meatless. You don’t have to go vegan all the way, but at least consider reducing your meat intake. A movement, “Meatless Mondays,” has taken hold where health-conscious people eliminate meat one day each week.

Here are some protein-rich meat alternatives:

  • Beans and legumes: Black beans, chickpeas, green peas, hummus, lentils, white beans
  • Dairy: Milk, cheese and yogurt. Go with plain Greek yogurt and sweeten it yourself with fruit or honey. Many flavored yogurts are loaded with sugar. Cottage cheese and skim ricotta cheese are the way to go.
  • Eggs: Cage-free eggs or pasture-raised eggs have been shown to contain more protein
  • Fruits and vegetables: Avocado, broccoli, dark leafy greens
  • Grains: Barley, brown rice, quinoa, oats, rye bread. Quinoa is quickly becoming one of the world’s most popular health foods. It’s gluten-free, high in fiber, contains all nine essential amino acids and many antioxidants. Also consider buckwheat pancakes and muffins.
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, cashews, chia, flax, pistachio, pumpkin, sunflower
  • Soy: Beans or nuts

Compared to meat, these protein sources mean cost-savings, lots of fiber (good for digestion), a wider variety of vitamins and minerals, less saturated fats (better for the heart) and less body inflammation. So, at least consider a great meal of black beans and brown rice instead of scarfing down that mega burger.