This is completely not my idea, but I’m in love with it. I saw an article in Time this week by Dan Fastenberg that introduces the idea and I’ve got to tell you, I’m a fan. A big fan. Hey – weekends are meant to be breaks, right?
Since the book The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas M. Campbell II came out it seems like everyone has been scrambling to lower their intake of animal protein and beef up those veggies (pardon the pun, I couldn’t resist). The China Study, in a very small nutshell presents an overwhelming body of evidence that the more animal protein and animal based food you eat, the higher your risk is for just about every chronic disease out there. This includes heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, cancer, autoimmune diseases, every sort of inflammation, kidney disease, brain pathology and eye troubles.
In the China Study the Campbells, father and son, encourage us to avoid entirely meat, poultry, dairy and eggs. To minimize fish, refined carbs and added oils and to eat the heck out of fruits, veggies, nuts, beans and whole grains. While the evidence is overwhelmingly in their favor I have still found it difficult to face the thought of life without steak, or life without eggs (sunny side up with mushrooms and onions underneath) and bacon. The eggs and bacon with mushrooms and onions is my personal favorite comfort food and a life without that is just plain bleak.
I find, however, that the idea of a weekday vegetarian is sparking me with hope that I might indeed benefit from the brilliance of the China Study and also not have to give up my favorite foods. Surely being a vegetarian five out of seven days gives me 5/7 of the benefits of being a vegetarian 7/7 days, no?
This logic is working for me.
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I do want to caution against the common pitfall of becoming a carbatarian, or pasta-tarian if you prefer. It is all too easy to avoid meat and still not eat fruits and vegetables. This strategy, while technically still in the vegetarian category, will give you an ever-expanding waistline for your troubles. One key point is avoiding refined grains. It’s important to keep the veg in vegetarian, and add in some fruit too. Man cannot live by pasta alone, although I’ve had many a patient who has tried it. As a bonus, all that fruit and veggie food will actually get you your daily fiber intake – and that is a miracle in and of itself. Remember, animals don’t supply us with fiber, only plants.
If you’d like to take a look at the original Time article which I”m shamelessly stealing, it’s right here.