Humans have evolved to be omnivorous, eating both plants and animals for survival.
However, this evolutionary fact doesn’t mean that we have to eat meat to survive in modern times.
A meat substitute or meat alternative is a food that has a taste, texture, or appearance similar to meat but does not contain meat.
Let’s talk about meat alternatives and substitutes.
What Are Some Meat Alternatives?
Can You Survive Without Eating Any Meat?
Although eating meat provides certain nutrients that plants don’t, eating meat isn’t necessary for your survival or general health.
With appropriate planning, plant-based diets can provide all of the nutrients your body needs.
The Following Vegan Foods Are Good Sources of Protein:
- Soy milk.
- Soy burger.
- Pumpkin seeds.
- Seitan, or wheat gluten.
Is Eating No Meat Healthier?
People that don’t eat meat generally eat fewer calories and less fat, weigh less, and have a lower risk of heart disease than non-vegetarians do.
Even reducing our meat intake has a protective effect. (Source: www.mayoclinic.org)
How Can I Eat Healthy If I Don’t Like Meat?
There are plenty of plant-based sources of protein out there, including beans, lentils, peas, nuts and seeds, whole grains, tofu and tempeh.
With the exception of soyfoods, all of these foods offer incomplete protein meaning they have some, but not all, of the essential amino acids we need.
What Did Our Ancient Ancestors Eat?
Our ancestors in the palaeolithic period, which covers 2.5 million years ago to about 12,000 years ago, are believed to have had a diet based on vegetables, fruit, nuts, roots and meat.
Cereals, potatoes, bread and milk were not consumed at all.
Biologically, humans are capable of eating and digesting both meat and plants, although our bodies can’t digest certain plant parts.
We can’t digest these fibrous compounds because we lack the necessary enzyme cellulose, which is present in many herbivores. (Source: www.bbc.com)
What Happens If You Don’t Eat Meat For A Month?
If you avoid eating meat for a month, you may notice a decrease in your overall inflammatory issues.
This happens mainly due to the anti-inflammatory properties of plant-based foods that you are now consuming more of instead of meat.
Plant-based foods are rich in fibre and antioxidants and low in toxins and saturated fats. (Source: www.betterme.world)
How Much Protein Do I Need?
Most people in the United States are getting enough protein in their diets. The Daily Value for protein is listed at 50 grams based on a 2,000-calorie diet. (Source: www.mayoclinic.org)
Great plant sources of protein include soy products like tofu and tempeh, edamame, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, almonds, spirulina, quinoa, chia, hemp seeds, beans with rice, potatoes, among others.
Make Sure To Get Enough Iron
Iron is also really important for the proper functioning of our bodies and often appears in our menu in the form of red meat.
But there also are other sources of iron, which we can and should include in our diet.
These foods are white beans, dark chocolate, fortified plain dry cereal oats, spinach, lentils, tofu, chickpeas, tomatoes, potatoes, cashews, and seaweed.
Nuts, vegetables, fruit, and legumes form the basis of a healthy vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.
Vegan and vegetarian diets need to be properly planned to avoid nutrient deficiencies.
Some other nutrients that may be difficult to obtain on such diets include iodine, zinc, and calcium.
Eating or not eating meat can also be a vital aspect of some cultures. Following cultural norms surrounding dietary practices can be very important for some of us.
As we’ve discussed, although meat provides certain nutrients that most plants don’t, eating meat isn’t necessary for our health or survival.
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2 thoughts on “What Are Some Meat Alternatives?”
I really enjoy your articles. They are quick, to the point, and answer a lot of questions many people have about going vegetarian. I recently visited India, where the vast majority of people are vegetarian, and it was eye-opening to see how they have built a culture around not eating meat. I recently published an article about it, which I think you may like. If you have a minute, please read it and let me know what you think. http://www.jrbyoung.com
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Thanks a lot, I will visit and check it out .
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