Recently, several of my friends asked me if I would talk to their husbands about switching their diets around to be more plant-based. One said hubby has gained a lot of weight recently, another has had a health scare and my friend wants to try to get him to eat less meat, and the other one has been diagnosed with cancer and she wants his treatments to be as successful as possible. All of them have said that they've tried to get their husbands to agree to try to eat more plant-based, but it's just not happening.
Here's the deal. Men are stubborn. No news flash. Just the facts. If your hubby is like mine, he needs stats, and the delivery must be brief to prevent early tune out. The stats I will put forth here are "well researched and published by well known doctor stats", not "I read 'em in Men's Fitness stats." It worked on my husband who is now almost fully plant based, and very happy to eat this way. Don't expect him to do it unless you are fully aboard though. One slip up and it will surely be held against you. Just like when you hit his car pulling into the garage that time. Geez.
We started with full on no more meat, but in retrospect baby steps might have been better. 2 days a week of meatless meals, then 3, then 4 etc. It is a huge adjustment if you are used to eating meat at all of your meals. Another way to go is meatless until dinner. Come up with yummy breakfasts that are meat free and then have a small amount of meat at dinner. I think that is the way to go, unless you are both on board and ready to make it happen. Then GO for it!!!
Here are some stats, facts and tips to help get your guy on board, and some links to studies that are hard to ignore....
1. Eating plant based can prevent and even reverse heart disease - Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. 1 out of every 4 deaths are due to heart disease. Here is the kicker. Heart disease is completely preventable and even reversible. The before and after pics of diseased arteries after following a very strict plant based, oil free diet are ASTOUNDING. Yes, the diet is extreme, but so is having your chest cracked open to put in new arteries.
2. We only need 8-10% of our calories from protein. Any more than that, especially if it is animal protein, is detrimental. Almost all plant based foods have at least 8-10% of their macronutrients made up of protein. If you eat a well rounded plant based diet, you get all the protein you need. Plant based athletes look damn good. We like that.
3. Plant based diets prevent erectile dysfunction. Do I have your attention yet? Mild and moderate erectile dysfunction affects approximately 10 percent of men per decade of life (i.e., 40% at 40, 50 percent of men in their 50s, 60 percent of men in their 60s).Yep, it's all about blood flow and as arteries get clogged, guess what stops working. Less meat equals more of the good stuff.
4. More than 1.6 million people are diagnosed with cancer in the United States each year. At least one-third of annual cancer deaths in the United States are due to dietary factors. There are too many studies to list that show a strong correlation between animal protein (includes red meat, processed meat, poultry, dairy etc) consumption and cancer. Most often these studies show that when more of these foods are eaten in certain parts of the world, cancer rates rise. Some have gone so far to label red meat and dairy as carcinogens. Why we all haven't heard this is twofold. First, we don't want to hear it because we like our burgers, and second, the meat and dairy industries are SO powerful!
5. Avoiding diabetes is actually easy on a plant based diet. Areas of the world, like Japan, that eat a plant-based diet see very little type II diabetes, despite the fact that they eat lots of rice and noodles. Many new studies are showing that meat heavy, and fatty diets cause insulin resistance, and that plant based diets aid in insulin sensitivity, weight loss and more controlled blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
6. Finally, Watch Forks Over Knives. This weekend. Stop putting it off. Nuff said
7. Caring for the environment and for animals is something we should be teaching our kids. Eating a plant based diet is a great way to show them you care. Most kids know from a young age that they don't want to eat dead things, but we convince them that they have to. It takes a week's worth of an average family's water use to make one 1/3 pound burger. Between growing all of the corn to feed the cows (GMO corn that cows shouldn't even be eating.. don't get me started), and processing the meat, etc, raising animals for food is more detrimental to the planet than all forms of transportation. Runoff of poop into waterways, fertilizer to grow what the animals eat, and methane from cow gas all confound the equation further. It's a mess. I wish the grass fed argument got me excited but it doesn't. Not enough room fro grazing on this earth and studies are showing the meat is no healthier.
8. Here's the best idea to get him on board... Lead by example. Being healthy is sexy. Watching someone scarf down dead animals has totally lost its appeal for me. Breathing like a wild beast after you have climbed a flight of stairs, not so sexy. Get moving and eat more plants and you just FEEL BETTER. I swear it. Tell your guy that if he jumps on board, for every day he goes PLANT based, he will get some of the good stuff. And I am not talking about Snapple.