A recent U.N. report and study confirmed the thought and opinion of millions that a plant-based diet is good for both, the environment as well as individual health. You can start replacing the meat portion of your plate with the plant-based foods and enjoy better health.
The slow and steady way is to replace 1, 2 or 3 days of week’s meat meals with the vegetarian and plant-based food sources. A recent initiative, by the communities, relevant here is the “Meatless Monday” food campaign. Swapping meat for veggies one day a week is a great to get started. Apart from thousands of individuals, celebrities such as Arianne Grande, Jay-Z and Beyonce have joined the ranks of veggie lovers and meatless Monday followers. The sevalife.net website has the recipes and resources for you to make your transition successful. Our resident vegan healthy cooking coach shares how to tips. One of the biggest challenges is getting enough protein in your daily diet when you go more veggie.
Healthy Plant-Based Protein Alternatives
If you want to fill in the protein gap (caused by the replacement of meat), foods like edamame beans, tempeh, seitan (or wheat gluten) and tofu will bring to you more proteins, fiber, and a likable texture as well. Go for the organic soy and natural/organic soy derivates/food products. You would not like to eat the genetically engineered commercial soybeans, which are produced for feeding the cows and cattle.
Food options: You can go for the soy products obtained after fermentation and should skip the soy nuggets that are frozen. Tempeh and tofu are some soy products that can well complement and assume any flavor that you give to them. These foods are much preferred in countries including Indonesia, and they can be marinated as well (just like fish). During marination, tofu and tempeh can absorb the flavours of ginger, tamari, sesame oil and other oils, spices and condiments, and the recipes are delicious and memorable.
Soup options: The paste of Miso is obtained after fermenting the soybeans and is much preferred for making a healthy soup. It also has the microorganisms that provide for a better digestive system, as the small living beings improve the intestinal microbiome. Miso is a great breakfast option during winters and is a proteinaceous, worthy, and delicious substitute of the chicken soup.
One of the best soy food options, in my opinion, is the “Smoky Strips of Tempeh“. 3 full slices do not exceed 100 calories and these can be easily included in the sandwiches, salads and other vegetarian delights.
Legumes are laden with protein, carbohydrates, and fibre and offer better satiety value. They balance the body energy, maintain the weight and are also good towards leveraging the blood sugar.
Food Options: Hummus is an extremely versatile food option. You can layer it with the cucumbers, spread on the toasts, and can also make food recipes by combining them with tomatoes, sprouts, and cucumbers. Search the nearest farmer market and look for mint and/or cilantro varieties. This way you will get more and fresher options than the supermarket has to offer. You can also make some of your own fresh edamame, nuts, red bell peppers and herbs.
Another popular and fresh food option is the French Lentils. These have good amounts of iron and protein and can be cooked rather easily. The “ready to be used and eat” version can be bought at Trader Joe. The pre-cooked lentil is delicious when eaten over the cherry tomatoes, greens, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Stirs and mash-ups
Smoothies have the proteins, fibre, healthy fats and the antioxidants that are capable to improve your health in multiple ways. The alternative is more health and heart-friendly in comparison to the burdening egg breakfasts. If you are searching for a vegan smoothie recipe that is rich in proteins, Brendan Brazier, the tri-athlete, has a recommendation for you.
The delicious smoothie is prepared by blending a ripe banana along with any fruit that you like. Add some apple juice and almond milk to the blender and also put in a handful of spinach/kale, a spoon of good-fat-laden almond butter and maple syrup. You can also add the dry dates. If you are looking for a high-quality-low-cost hemp protein option, search Trader Joe.
Be informed of meat sources and label information
Knowing your meat sources can be essential towards deducing their hygiene, safety, and edibility. The Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations or CAFOs are known to release methane and the industrial waste fluid runoffs that can pollute both environment and water of the surrounding water bodies. The animals are reared cruelly and antibiotics and hormones are also administered to them in high doses.
Choose the organic meat
The free-range and organic beef, chicken, eggs and the like are good for consumption. Another label information is that of “humanely raised” which shows that the animal has been well cared for during its raising. As a kindness gesture, you should support the restaurants that bring to you this kind of organic meat. Do not eat at the others.
Useful tip: Glaum has vegetarian-food-fed and humanely-raised chicken eggs. The cage-free eggs do not have a negative influence on the environment and the animal. Next time try these.
Fish: Make a wise decision
Fish is said to be a good source of the Omega-3 fats. But the production of Salmon and Tuna will not be able to catch up with the worldwide demand. The farmed fish that are sold widely undergo the chemical and other treatments and their consumption is not recommended. The mercury-rich Tuna should never be eaten more than 2 times during a month. Before buying your fish always try to know about its sources, and only choose the wish caught in the wild. While dining out, prefer the restaurants that detail the list of food sources they serve and source the seafood from more sustainable places.
Healthy fats can easily be consumed through the nuts and seeds. You need to consume a handful of them each day. Other good fat options include flax seeds, hemp, cashews, almonds, avocados, nut butter etc.
If you are dining out for the seafood, refer the sustainable food chart prepared by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which will help you to make better and wise decisions. The institution also has an iPhone App.
Choose wild caught salmon over farm raised.
It is good to eat at the low points of the food chain, for health benefits. Try the Sardines and the Anchovies as they can produce fats and are also low in mercury. They can bring in loads of omega-3 fats to your pasta, rice plate and to all kinds of salad.
Sushi is a treat that you will enjoy. Always support those sushi food joints that have the sustainable menus.
The bottom feeder shrimp is very high in the contaminants and hence the ocean food is to be avoided. Further, certain practices that relate to shrimping (such as trawling) destroy ocean life.
Plant-based diets are rich in fibre, antioxidants, and good fats and prevent a number of diseases such as diabetes, heart and blood circulation related diseases (such as atherosclerosis), cancer and others. Choosing organic meat options is also good for your digestive system and health. It is important to plan the meals in advance for better health and follow the diet regimen regularly to reap the rewards.
Make the switch: Want to add more veggies to your daily diet?
Join Our Veggie Challenge Now
Here’s what you get: Get a healthy start to eating more plant-based foods.Video chat with plant-based eating experts. Be a part of the ever-growing vegetarian community. Share your favourite recipes. Make more friends and enjoy your healthy eating change.