Despite best intentions, it’s not always easy to give up meat. After disproving society’s claims about the “nutrition” imperative to eating meat, there still remain the favorite delicious meaty foods we love.
We all know about the damaging effects of consuming too much animal protein, as well as the toxicity of the antibiotics and hormones used in many commercial farms. Reducing or eliminating meat from one’s diet has been shown to lower risks for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, digestion problems, inflammation, high cholesterol, and more.
Giving up animal products, however, is not an excuse for eating vegan garbage. Anything that replaces meat should be real food that supplies the body with essential proteins, vitamins, and minerals that maintain your energy levels and digestive system.
Here are some of the best foods you can use as meat replacements:
1. Plant-Based Proteins
The claim that a vegan diet cannot provide a person with sufficient protein is complete bunk. Anyone abstaining from eating meat should focus on at least eating 1-2 “complete” protein sources a day, then adding in additional sources throughout the rest of the day. “Complete” protein options include: tofu, tempeh, quinoa, chia, amaranth, buckwheat, spirulina, and whole soybeans (edamame).
2. Nutrient Rich Greens
Kale is much more than a trendy food of the moment. Along with less-trendy foods like spinach, its nutrient-rich leaves the body with tons of nourishment in easy doses. Furthermore, you can cook them, eat them raw, juice them, blend them, or stir-fry them with spices and herbs alongside rice or quinoa.
3. Hearty Vegetables
Hearty vegetables will keep you feeling full and provide lots of fiber to your system. Artichoke hearts, mushrooms, potatoes and sweet potatoes are some of the best. They’re rich in vitamins and fiber and provide the bulk that you need in a vegetarian meal.
Foods rich in minerals (like almonds, cashews, hemp seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, oats, walnuts, raisins, flax, kale, spinach, broccoli, beans, legumes, bananas, figs, dates, oranges, cacao, avocado, and coconut) will provide you with the necessary daily doses that you need of: magnesium, iron, calcium, manganese, copper, and more. Each mineral has a different benefit in your body, so be sure to vary your consumption every day.
5. Healthy Fats
Healthy fats have been shown to help regulate the body’s insulin levels, preventing sugar spikes in high carbohydrate and sugar foods. Be sure to choose the right type of fats from plant sources that offer anti-inflammatory properties to the body, like avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut, and olives (or olive oil).
6. Whole Foods
Try and change your way of life from one which includes processed packaged foods to one that only involves whole, natural foods from the earth and that are free of any processing. Sometimes the transition can be slow, as it requires abandoning many favorite snacks, restaurants and stores. The good news: your taste buds can and will adapt to whatever you choose to eat and cravings will slowly disappear. Before you know it, both you and the world will be better for it.