With the summer start of June 21st around the corner, we all start to think about firing up our grills. Coincidently, Father’s Day falls in June and so does Men’s Health Month.
Did you know, the two leading causes of death in men are heart disease and cancer, specifically prostate cancer? A healthy lifestyle and diet, more specifically PBE, have been associated with reductions in risk for some cancers and chronic diseases.
You may be asking, what is PBE? It’s not a new fad diet regimen but rather “Plant-Based Eating.” As a registered dietitian, I often get asked: what should I be eating? My response is very simple: “more fruits and vegetables, less processed foods, whole grains, and less red meat.” This can be applied for overall health, but also prevention of chronic disease and obesity.
I recently attended a conference through NYU School of Medicine titled “Dietary and Lifestyle Strategies for Cardiovascular Risk Reduction.” The speakers reviewed current literature and demonstrated that a plant-based diet has the greatest impact on preventing cardiovascular disease or improving ones’ risk factors. Some of the research presented demonstrated individuals who follow vegetarian diets have lower body mass indexes and blood pressure. Other studies have shown, following a vegan diet can lower C-reactive protein values, which is a blood inflammatory marker associated with poor outcomes.
Eating should be social, but also fun! I am going to share with you five ways to move beyond grilling animal protein this summer and incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet:
- Nuts and seeds with grilled romaine salad
- Add toasted almonds or pumpkin seeds on top of grilled romaine lettuce for a delicious crunch.
- Easy grilled tofu
- Drizzle with avocado oil and grill to perfection. No extra seasoning needed!
- Whole grains and grilled veggies
- Grilled red peppers, zucchini, onions, and eggplant. Mix with tricolor quinoa for a side dish or pile veggies on a whole grain artisan roll smeared with pesto.
- Beans and grilled corn
- Mix edamame, black beans, and grilled corn for a bean topping or side dish. Add some lime zest, garlic salt, and cayenne for a little punch.
- Grilled mushroom skewers
- Toss mushrooms with balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and fresh thyme before grilling.
For a spin on a traditional dessert, grill up some pineapple. Grilling fruit brings out the natural sweetness.
Another sweet treat idea: soak chia seeds overnight in low-fat coconut milk or almond milk. Top with any fruits you have on-hand!
We are all interested in feeling and looking better. You may be surprised at how you like the various textures and flavors you find! Finally, if you think skipping the beef or chicken is not manly enough, look to Patriot’s QB Tom Brady for PBE inspiration.