The 131 Method consists of three levels: Ignite, Nourish, and Renew
As you move through each of these levels, you are phasing your diet! Diet phasing is essential because it keeps your metabolism from adapting to one way of eating. It also helps you become intuitively aware of how different foods affect your body.
In the second phase of the 131 Method, Nourish, we focus on increasing micronutrients, amping up the servings of plant-based foods, and eating less meat.
In this post, we will discuss 5 ways to eat less meat while maintaining an optimal diet rich in micronutrients!
5 Steps to Eating Less Meat
1. Use Meat as a Condiment
In America, we’re accustomed to having meat as the main player in our meals. Restaurants sell massive hamburgers that offer almost a half-pound of meat in one meal! Typically, meat takes up the most space on our plate, and it’s the biggest grocery expense each week.
This will all change as you transition to the Nourish phase. In this phase, begin thinking of meat as a condiment. In doing this, meat should take up less than a quarter of your plate. The rest of the plate should be filled with mostly non-starchy vegetables and plant-based fats.
It may take some time to adopt the mindset of using meat as a condiment. So, take it slow and work on filling your plate with non-starchy veggies first, and then dish a small amount of meat, when applicable.
2. Eat Higher Quality Meat
As you start eating less meat, it becomes more feasible to purchase high-quality animal proteins.
Today, most of the animal products we eat are conventionally raised and fed inflammatory diets rich in corn, soy, and other grains. This is not a natural diet for these animals. As a result, conventional animal protein is higher in inflammatory omega-6 fats and lower in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats (1).
When animals are fed their natural diet, as nature intended, the result is an end product that is higher in healthy omega-3 fats, and other nutrients like vitamin A and vitamin E (2). Since the Nourish phase focuses on optimizing micronutrients, it’s essential to choose small amounts of high-quality animal protein when you DO eat meat!
To choose high-quality meat, look for the below labels in the grocery store:
- 100% Grass-Fed (for beef)
- Wild-Caught (for fish)
- Pasture-Raised (for poultry and eggs)
You may also choose to purchase organic meat. However, keep in mind that the organic label does not necessarily mean that the animal was pasture-raised. Rather, it means that the grain-based feed provided to the cow/chicken/pig was organic.
These high-quality proteins may be a bit more expensive than conventional products. But remember, you will be eating less meat overall, so it will last longer and stretch over a few meals.
3. Increase Non-Starchy Vegetables
By eating less meat, sometimes we naturally begin to eat more carbs. Carbs are not “bad.” However, eating too many carbs (especially refined carbs) causes blood sugar imbalances, fatigue, sugar cravings, and more.
When starting to eat less animal protein in the Nourish phase, begin to increase the amount of non-starchy vegetables in your meals. These are nutrient dense veggies that provide a micronutrient punch, high amounts of fiber, and lower amounts of carbohydrates.
Non-starchy veggies include:
- Leafy greens
- Cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage)
- Squash (zucchini and summer squash)
- Bell peppers
- And more!
In the Nourish phase, non-starchy vegetables should take up at least HALF of your plate for each meal. Include a diverse amount of non-starchy veggies each day to ensure you are getting a variety of micronutrients into your diet. As the common saying goes, eat a rainbow of colors!
4. Eat More Plant-Based Protein
As you begin to eat less animal meat, it’s best to then increase sources of plant-based protein in your meals.
Studies show that swapping animal protein for plant protein can improve health and lower your risk of certain diseases (3, 4). However, many plant-based protein sources are highly processed and barely resemble REAL food nowadays!
Choose real food sources of plant-based protein and try to limit the processed “fake meat.” What real food items contain plant-based protein? Let’s review.
The best plant-based protein sources include:
- Nuts or nut butter (any kind)
- Seeds (hemp, pumpkin, sunflower, ground flax, and chia seeds)
- Lentils/Legumes (if tolerated)
Some people may experience more digestive distress with certain plant-based proteins, like beans/legumes. So, use a symptom tracker (available inside the 131 Method) to intuitively track how certain plant-based proteins affect your body!
131 Recipes Rich in Plant-Based Protein:
If you’re already a 131 Member, jump inside your member platform to find way more delicious, plant-based recipes developed specifically for the Nourish phase. If you’re not yet a 131 member, what are you waiting for?! Join us for the next cycle to get started!
5. Increase Plant-Based Fats
When we eat less meat, we may naturally eat less protein overall. Protein, however, is one of the most satiating macronutrients (5). This means that protein keeps us full, for a longer period of time than other macronutrients, like carbohydrates.
When you begin to eat less meat during the Nourish phase, you may notice that your hunger levels will increase. This is not a bad thing! Rather, it’s a sign from your body. It’s a signal that requires intuition to recognize and honor your hunger. However, instead of binging on less nutrient dense food, consider increasing the amount of plant-based fats in your diet. This is essential because fats help to satisfy your appetite!
Nutrient-dense sources of plant-based fat include:
Try including a source of plant-based fat with each meal in order to satisfy your hunger while eating less meat.
Eating less meat is a process and may take time.
Start with a meatless meal once per day, and slowly transition to include more plants and less animal protein into your diet. Additionally, when you do include meat with your meals, make sure it is a high-quality product that nourishes your body!
The Nourish phase of the 131 Method does not require you to go completely vegan. Rather, it is an essential part of dietary phasing that helps to balance your hormones, optimize gut health, and replete any micronutrients lacking in your overall diet.
Remember, this is YOUR diet. So, pay attention to how you feel and make adjustments as you go! There are no rules here.
Questions? We have a team of 131 Registered Dietitians ready to guide you through this whole process. Join our next cycle to take back your health!