Recession Forces Americans to Eat Less Meat… Have You?

The economic downturn may have a positive effect on the meat-heavy American diet??

Something exciting to hear by Louise McCready, in her gourmet.com article titled Recession Flexitarians.

According to the article, “Fifty-one percent of shoppers surveyed by the American Meat Institute say they have changed their meat purchasing relative to the economy. Despite the recent increase in home cooking, the average family only prepares 3.9 evening meals that include a meat item, down from 4.2 meals last year.

Andrew Gottschalk, an independent analyst at the agribusiness market-research website HedgersEdge.com, reports total beef demand is down 7 percent from the fourth quarter of 2007 to the fourth quarter of 2008—the equivalent of the entire metropolitan area of Atlanta becoming vegetarian. And farmers across the nation, anticipating continued low demand, are planning to cut their production of beef, pork, poultry, and milk, along with corn, wheat, rice, and peanuts.”

This is a great trend, in my opinion! Even though it might have been caused as a reaction to the recession, it’s great that average Americans finally are eating less meat, and now they know there are many other choices than meat, that are healthier and tastier, let alone cheaper.

As a native Japanese, I’ve noticed that typically people in the US eat twice as much meat, and half the amount of vegetables, compared with those in Japan. If you compare the same type of recipes, it’s quite obvious why.

Watch a cooking show – it’s all meat and carb dishes in the US, whereas in Japan, it’s mainly vegetable based dishes with a bit of meat (or of course, fish and rice).

That’s probably reflected in the obesity rates in the US vs. Japan. (30% vs. 3%). The good news is now Americans too are learning to "stretch meat" by adding minced veggies in burgers, etc., which force people to eat more plant-based food!  And by adding more flavors, people tend feel satisfied faster with less food, compared with just a large piece of meat with a single flavor.

This will be huge! I really believe those who change their eating habits to "less meat and a more plant-based diet" will be become healthier and thinner.

This shift is really important for baby-boomers. At least in the US, you can’t quite rely on Medical Insurance to take care of you when something happens, so each one of us need to be fully responsible to make the necessary changes to prevent any health crisis.

And the biggest benefit is for kids who start eating this way, thanks to the parents’ wise decision to change their eating habits so they will not have to worry about obesity.

I hope you will join this healthy trend, by tweaking your recipes to include more vegetables, and stretch your dollar and dinner, and extend your life span.

Have you joined this trend?  If so, how? 

No? Why?  Are you planning to in the future?

I’d love to hear your opinions. : )

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