If you think a plant-based diet is bland, think again. The vegan community has adapted to needs and cravings by offering healthy plant-based meat alternatives in the same way food has adapted to our demands and taste. If it’s your first time hearing about this incredible innovation to health and sustainability, this is a quick guide for you.
5 Things You Should Know About Plant-Based Meat
Although it’s only recently making the rounds in social media platforms, plant-based meat has already been in existence since the late 1800s. The popular Kelloggs cereals created a peanut-based “meatless meat” called the Nuttose used in sanitariums. It is also worth noting that it was a religious choice that pushed Kelloggs to do this. The Seventh-day Adventists eventually found Loma Linda Foods and produced some of the world’s first soy and wheat-based “fake” but healthy plant-based meat alternatives. Now that we have a little history down, it’s time to look at some things relevant to the modern consumer.
1. Not all plant-based meat are made the same.
There are three things you should consume less of when looking at nutrition labels: saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars. Some plant-based meats have a higher sodium content and can be hazardous to your health when taken in large quantities. But some notable brands have a better nutritional profile. As a guide, here are some nutrients you should have:
- More complex carbohydrates
- Healthy and dietary fiber
2. Plant-based meat is not the same as whole foods.
A healthy plant-based meat product is a fun way to enjoy your plant-based lifestyle. For people who are transitioning, these alternatives are an excellent way to soften the blow of a drastic lifestyle change. And while the nutritional profile of plant-based meat is generally healthy, there are some ingredients that you should avoid. Chemical compounds like methylcellulose, zinc gluconate, and soy leghemoglobin are additives in plant-based meat that are not healthy. The key is still moderation.
Whole foods refer to unprocessed or minimally processed food. Health professionals still recommend whole foods when addressing health and weight. Plant-based meat is an excellent alternative for people who are on a strict vegan diet but should not be replaced as a whole food alternative.
3. Prepare plant-based meat like regular meat.
Plant-based meat is just like its regular counterpart. Some are available as ground meat, which you can easily prepare in many ways. These are some ideas:
- Meat for burrito bowls or wraps
- Meat for stuffed peppers
- Meat for chili sauce or dip
- Meat for burgers
4. Plant-based meat can be expensive.
Plant-based meat still costs a lot because of supply and demand. As the demand increases, we are optimistic that there will be a significant price reduction, especially since these are cheaper to produce and maintain than animal farms. The faster this trend catches on, the faster prices go down.
5. Balance is the key to plant-based meat consumption.
Removing meat from your diet completely can be strenuous, especially if you’ve been used to it for so long, but this is not an excuse to binge on healthy plant-based meat alternatives. The key to any consumption is still balance. Pair your meat with some fresh fruits and vegetables, so you have diverse sources of nutrients.
There are many reasons to switch to a plant-based diet, and the availability of healthy plant-based meat just added a few more to that list. Living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle doesn’t have to be boring. All you need is the right mindset and delicious motivation. Learn more healthy diet tips here.