Neither too much nor too little, the recipe for resilience

Maintenance work – Reduce your meat consumption without giving up… What is the advantage of a so-called flexible diet over vegetarians? Insights from Dr. Arno Kukul, Dietitian.

Why slow down your meat consumption?

We now know that excess meat can harm health, that livestock farming has a disastrous environmental impact, and that production and slaughter conditions are often unbearable. Moreover, as many of my patients attest, frequent scandals, those of Romanian horse meat found in industrial lasagna, for example, have affected people’s minds and damaged confidence in the industry. So it makes sense that more and more people are staying away from meat. Some choose a strict vegetarian diet, without meat or fish, but most are content with limiting their diet to meat. They embrace “comfortable vegetarianism”. Concretely, they eat meat from time to time by reducing portions and repeating according to circumstances. They are what we call homosexuals. To help anyone who would like to follow this path, I recently co-wrote a book on veganism. The goal is to correct misconceptions about meat and avoid deficiencies by explaining how to substitute it.

What are your recommendations?

First you must rest assured: there is a way to reduce or even eliminate meat from the diet and to be perfectly balanced in all respects, whether in terms of proteins, vitamins or minerals. For proteins, eggs, dairy, fish or even just a mixture of legumes (lentils, peas, beans) and grains make good alternatives. Thus we get all the essential amino acids for our body.

Read also – What is the value of vegetable proteins?

Providing vitamin B12 is more difficult because so few plant foods allow it to be absorbed. Vegetarians, who eat eggs and dairy, have no problems, but vegans, who deprive themselves of all animal sources, may have a deficiency. This type of radical diet requires the support of a dietitian or dietitian.

Strict veganism or flexibility, which one to choose?

A vegetarian diet is a nutritionally balanced diet. Several observational epidemiological studies show an association between this dietary pattern and indicators of good health. But as Claude Lévi-Strauss notes, food has not only a physiological function, but also a recreational and symbolic role. I find it a shame to give up meat. It is “food that has taste”, a fun food whose sharing is often associated with festive moments. This is why many new vegetarians retain a craving for meat. In addition, the richness of the French butcher’s heritage allows us to diversify our meals. Those who say diversification say the balance of food and pleasure. In other words, it is much easier to become a resilient person than to switch to a strict vegetarian regimen. The numbers show it’s a common path: according to a 2018 Crédoc study, 25 to 35% of French people can be considered resilient to varying degrees, while only 2.3% of the general population say they never consume meat products and 1.7% never. Eat meat or fish.

How do you become flexible?

First you have to control the quantities. Stay below the values ​​recommended by health agencies, in other words don’t exceed 500g per week for butcher’s meat (beef, lamb, pork). Beyond that, it harms our health. Personally, I am satisfied with the 350g. Practically speaking, this corresponds to two or three meals a week with steak or other meat dish, preferably a noble cut, avoiding XXL, the 120g average is a good average. If you are a fan of Charcuterie, you can vary from 2 to 3 slices of pork a week, but not more than 150 grams in total.

It’s best to get your protein in eggs, fish, or legumes associated with grains and lentils with rice, for example.

Read also – A quarter of the French are “resilient”

Flexibility is also an opportunity to reconnect with meat quality by reducing quantities. You can buy more expensive meat while keeping your budget. By preferring quality, we acquire taste and enjoyment, while preserving its health: an animal raised in good conditions, well fed, well cared for, better processed, gives tastier, more tender meat, with good texture and resistance to cooking. It also contains less saturated fatty acids, sources of disease, and “toxins” from the stress of farm animals.

How to prepare and accompany good meat to get the best results from it?

Already, do not systematically associate it with french fries or french fries, it is better to marry it with green vegetables. Thus, it reduces the intake of bad fats and takes advantage of the protective effect of plant fibers that reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and the onset of cancer. It is then necessary to give preference to gentle cooking.

In particular, charred meats on barbecue should be avoided. Covered in a kind of tar, it’s a real poison. On the other hand, marinade with lemon and aromatic herbs is a good recipe that boosts meat with antioxidants while enhancing its flavour.


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