There is a global trend toward eating less meat. People become vegetarians or flexitarians for a variety of reasons, including compassion for animals, but many others do so for health and other reasons. So, what are the reasons you should consider cutting back on meat and increasing your vegetable consumption?
Eating more vegetables has been shown to improve nutrition, aid in weight control, and lower the risk of chronic disease.
Environmental advantages: Meat production contributes significantly to global warming.
Financial advantages: Because meat can be expensive, cutting back can help you save money on your grocery bill.
For good health, the Australian dietary guidelines recommend that we consume five servings of vegetables per day. However, less than one out of every ten Australian adults consumes the recommended amount of vegetables each day. The rest of us are filling up on meat, grains, and dairy products. While red meat, fish, and poultry provide important protein and minerals that the body uses for cell repair, we still lack the vitamins, minerals, and fiber that only vegetables can provide.
When compared to other food types, vegetables have some of the highest amounts of vitamins and minerals. Vegetable nutrients and their associated health benefits include:
Vitamin C: aids in the repair of minor skin injuries and the maintenance of healthy teeth and gums.
Iron is required for red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the body.
Magnesium: Essential for bone health and lowering the risk of muscle cramps and high blood pressure.
Folic acid is essential for pregnant women because it lowers the risk of having a baby with a brain or spinal cord defect.
Vitamin A: for healthy eyes and skin, as well as infection protection.
Calcium is required for strong bones and teeth, as well as normal muscle, nerve, and gland function.
Fiber: lowers the risk of coronary heart disease and bowel cancer.
Potassium: aids in the maintenance of normal blood pressure.
Eating five servings of vegetables per day for one week can help you feel more energized due to lower blood sugar levels and an increase in vitamins and minerals.
Reduced Weight Gain
Over the course of a year, the average Australian adult gains 0.62 kg in weight. Just over half of the gain (0.32kg) occurs during the holiday season, and it cannot all be attributed to the 'Christmas Pud.' The ham, turkey, pork, and chicken we eat at Christmas lunch and as leftovers days later are to blame for some of the extra pounds we carry all year.
In theory, switching from meat to vegetables throughout the year should help you avoid gaining weight. The issue is that we do not eat vegetables on their own. The kilojoules are added by how we prepare the vegetables and what we eat with them. The hidden calories are in the au gratin sauce, cream in bakes, butter for mashing, oil for roasting, and salad dressings. You may believe that eating vegetables is the right thing to do, but in some cases, a lean piece of pork would be preferable to the creamy potato bake.
Consuming more vegetables will also help to reduce the likelihood of reaching for junk food. Keeping cut up carrot and cucumber sticks on your desk at work may prevent you from visiting the vending machine in the middle of the afternoon.
If you're trying to eat less meat to reduce your chances of gaining weight, pay attention to what you put in your salad or cooked vegetables. Try to eat as many vegetables raw as possible, and when you do use condiments and other ingredients, read the label for calories and ingredients. Many dressings contain hidden calories in the form of a lot of sugar.
Meat eaters are three times more likely to be obese than vegetarians and nine times more likely than vegans, so eating less meat and more vegetables may help you lose weight.
Consume more fresh vegetables and less red meat to aid weight loss.
Saturated fats raise blood cholesterol levels, and animal meat contains the majority of these fats. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association summarized 11 studies conducted around the world to determine whether a vegetarian diet affects cholesterol levels in people with heart disease or risk factors for heart disease.
The participants, who ranged in age from 28 to 54, followed a vegan or vegetarian diet as opposed to an omnivorous diet of plant and animal products. Researchers discovered that eating a vegetarian diet reduced total cholesterol by 13.9 mg, LDL (bad cholesterol) by 13.1 mg, and HDL (good cholesterol) by 3.9 mg. The study suggested a vegetarian diet combined with increased exercise to combat obesity. So, if you struggle to keep your cholesterol in check, eating less meat high in saturated fats could be a good place to start.
Assist Your Skin
Every year, Australians spend millions of dollars on skin creams and beauty products in the pursuit of beautiful skin. If only they knew they could eat their way to a healthy glow.
A diet high in omega-3 fats, zinc, and vitamin E can help with skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, so eating fish rather than meat is preferable. If you have acne, some dermatologists recommend limiting your intake of saturated and hydrogenated fats, which are found in meat, processed foods, and margarine. Acne sufferers benefit from selenium-rich foods such as tuna, nuts, seeds, and whole meal bread.
A dermatologist recommends that acne sufferers consume 10 fist-sized servings of vegetables, particularly those with deep or bright colors, because they contain a variety of antioxidants that reduce free-radical damage and inflammation.
So, reducing your meat consumption in order to increase your vegetable intake can benefit your skin if you suffer from acne or other skin conditions.
Eating fresh vegetables provides antioxidants and aids in acne treatment.
Lower Your Risk of Chronic Disease
Many studies have been conducted on the health effects of consuming a high-meat diet. Overeating meat has been linked to cancer due to its high saturated fat content.
Processed meat, such as bacon, salami, and sausages, is classified as a group 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization, increasing your risk of colon and rectal cancer by 18%. Red meat, such as beef, lamb, and pork, was classified as group 2A and is thought to cause cancer.
According to a study conducted in Germany and England, vegetarians are 40% less likely to develop cancer than meat eaters.
A Harvard study published in 2014 discovered that eating red meat during adolescence was associated with a 22% increased risk of premenopausal breast cancer. Adults who ate one serving per day had a 13% increased risk of breast cancer.
Saturated fat has been linked to cancer as well as cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's and dementia.
It's Beneficial to the Environment
According to a 2006 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations report, animal production contributes on a "massive scale" to global warming, as well as land degradation, water and energy use, deforestation, and biodiversity loss.
Some people practice environmental vegetarianism, which involves eating a plant-based diet in order to reduce their carbon footprint, save water, and reduce the amount of land required for animal farming.
Ruminant animals, such as cows, sheep, goats, and camels, contribute to global warming by producing massive amounts of methane in their guts, which they then expel into the atmosphere. A dairy cow can produce 200 litres of methane per day, whereas a sheep can only produce 30 litres. Livestock is estimated to emit 100 million tonnes of methane per year, making it the second-largest man-made methane source after rice cultivation.
Animal production necessitates a massive amount of water. It is estimated that livestock production consumes 8% of the world's human water consumption. A kilo of wheat requires approximately 1,500 liters of water to produce, whereas a kilo of beef requires ten times the amount of water. A large portion of that water is used in the production of animal feed. Producing vegetables necessitates far less water.
It is better for the environment to eat more vegetables.
It's Beneficial to Your Hip Pocket
Purchasing meat for a nightly meal is costly. For many families, meat is the most expensive item on their grocery list. If you've ever been to a supermarket in Europe, you'll know that meat is even more expensive.
By switching one meat-based main meal a week to a vegetarian dish, you can save hundreds of dollars on your annual food budget, and thousands if you eliminate all meat completely.
The Mediterranean diet has long been thought to be the healthiest. Most blue zone residents eat some form of the Mediterranean diet (areas where a high percentage of the population lives to be 100 years old). A recent study in the United States found that you can eat a Mediterranean diet for less money than the United States Department of Agriculture's economic dietary recommendations. Using frozen vegetables can help you save money without sacrificing nutrient quality.
How to Increase Your Vegetable Consumption
If you aren't ready to give up meat but want to increase your vegetable intake, there are plenty of options.
Vegetable Juice: Begin your day with a vegetable-rich juice or green smoothie. You might even get your recommended daily vegetable intake before the morning tea cravings kick in.
Substitute Salad for Lunch Meat: For years, experts have warned us that processed deli meats are bad for our health. They may contain carcinogens, so instead of a ham sandwich for lunch every day, try roasted vegetables or salad fillings.
Meat Free Monday: If you can't bear the thought of giving up meat for good, switch your evening meal to a vegetarian meal on Mondays. There are numerous vegetarian recipes to try until you find a half-dozen that you can rotate through.
Soups in the Winter: Throughout the winter, warm up with a vegetable-based soup for lunch or dinner. You can't go wrong with soup, which is packed with chunky or pureed vegetables.
Soup with winter squash and vegetables
Can you be a semi-vegetarian or a partial vegetarian?
A vegetarian diet has many advantages, but it does not have to be an all or nothing proposition. Some people eat a lot of vegetables and avoid certain types of meat, but they don't completely avoid meat.
A pescatarian diet consists of fish and other seafood but excludes meat.
A pollotarian diet consists of chicken, fish, eggs, and dairy products, but no red meat or land mammals.
A pollo-pescatarian diet consists of poultry, fish, and seafood but excludes red meat.
Lacto vegetarians eat dairy products but do not eat meat, poultry, fish, or dairy products.
Ovo vegetarians do not consume meat, poultry, fish, or dairy products, but do consume eggs.
A macrobiotic diet is primarily plant-based, with the exception of the occasional meal of fish or seafood.
Be adaptable and see what works best for you.
As you can see, there are numerous reasons to consume more vegetables and less meat. By substituting vegetables for meat, you will increase your vitamin and mineral intake, which has numerous health benefits. Swapping meat for vegetables has both financial and environmental advantages. However, there is no need to go cold turkey and try to become a strict vegetarian overnight. Slowly incorporate more vegetarian meals into your diet and observe how your body responds to the vegetable boost.
10 Vegetables That Can Replace Meat
The good news is that you're attempting to eat more vegetables! The bad news is that you're already thinking about how much you'll miss your old favorite foods. So, guess what? The good news is that going vegan does not require you to give up your favorite dishes. Almost anything you used to eat can now be made with plant-based ingredients, including hearty fare like burgers, meatballs, and Buffalo wings. It only takes a little imagination, creativity, and the assistance of some tips and guidelines to help you create delicious vegan versions of those recipes. Soon, you'll be making delicious, satisfying meals to satisfy your cravings, and before you know it, you won't miss the meat at all.
Use these ten vegetable substitutes to get your veg on:
- Tofu, Tempeh, Seitan, and TVP are all examples of plant-based proteins.
Tofu and tempeh are not considered vegetables, but they are plant-based and made from soybeans. Soy is also used to make TVP, or texturized vegetable protein. Seitan is a product made from wheat gluten. Any of these plant-based alternatives can be used in place of meat in any recipe. Tofu is an excellent substitute for chicken, whether it's Crispy Tofu Nuggets, Moroccan Cutlets in a Lemon-Olive Sauce, or chunks for Chinese dishes like Kung Pao Tofu. Tempeh's flaky texture makes it ideal for fish dishes. Use it to make "Crab" Cakes or Breaded "Fish" Fillets. It can also be ground up to substitute for ground beef in Tempeh Meatballs or tacos. TVP comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be used to replace any meat, including ground beef. Try it in this Chik'n Salad with Cranberries and Pistachios or in these Carne Asada Tacos. Seitan has the ability to be flavored to taste exactly like beef or pork. You won't believe the decadence of Balsamic BBQ Seitan Ribs or a thick, juicy Seitan Steak in Beurre Blanc Sauce.
Mushrooms are the way to go if you want that meaty flavor and umami. Cremini and Portobello mushrooms, in particular, have a rich, earthy, and meaty flavor. They are nutritious and filling, and can be used in place of meat in any recipe. Sautéing mushrooms in vegan butter with thyme, black pepper, and balsamic vinegar is my favorite way to eat them. Then I serve them over polenta, unless I'm making a French Dip sandwich and piling them on a crispy roll. Mushrooms can be used in this Mushroom Stroganoff or as a vegan "Lamb" Burger. Serve Stuffed Mushrooms with Pecans and Portobello Wellington to your dinner guests.
If you haven't tried jackfruit yet, you should do so right away. Technically, jackfruit is a fruit, but it can be used in place of meat in savory dishes. You can buy it whole or cut up in a can. Jackfruit has a mildly sweet flavor, but not so much that it can't be used to make a decadent, filling Philly Cheesesteak. Jackfruit is ideal for barbecue sandwiches, stir-fries, and other dishes containing beef, chicken, or pork.
When it comes to going veg, eggplant is probably the first vegetable that comes to mind, but it can be used for so much more than just parmigiana. Eggplant has a rich, meaty flavor and is extremely versatile. If you don't like eggplant, try it in these Eggplant Burgers and you'll change your mind. Vegan Mozzarella-Stuffed Eggplant Meatballs, crispy Eggplant Fries with Marinara Dipping Sauce, and spiralized Eggplant Noodles are all delicious ways to eat eggplant.
Since the dawn of veganism, lentils have served as a meat substitute. Lentils are filling and can easily replace ground beef. Lentils are available in a variety of colors, including green, red, brown, and black. They cook quickly and cheaply, and a small amount goes a long way. Red Lentil Burgers with Kale Pesto, Lentil Meatballs, Double Decker Lentil Tacos, and South Indian Lentil Stew are all must-try recipes.
- Legumes and beans
Beans and legumes are fantastic. They are cheap, healthy, and filling, and there are many varieties to choose from, including black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, aduki beans, chickpeas, and black-eyed peas, to name a few. Beans can be used to make hearty soups, stews, and chilis. What about a White Bean and Kale Soup or a Tamale-Inspired Bean Bowl? Beans and legumes can be used in place of meat to create delicious dishes like Hoisin Black Bean Burgers, Black-Eyed Pea Italian Sausages, and Chickpea "Tuna" Salad.
I'm sure you're wondering, "How can cauliflower replace meat?" It's so white and uninteresting." Yes, it can. Cauliflower can be the star of any dish if properly seasoned and cooked. Cauliflower is a great substitute for chicken in Asian dishes like Cauliflower Manchurian and even Buffalo wings. Cauliflower Piccata can be made by slicing the cauliflower into steaks. Cauliflower can even be used to make a pizza crust. See? Cauliflower no longer seems so boring, does it?
Potatoes aren't just for spuds. They can be the star of a variety of dishes. Potatoes are a favorite whether they are roasted, boiled, baked, mashed, or fried. Begin with a Creamy Potato and Cauliflower Soup. Potato Samosas with Coconut-Mint Chutney are savoury and spicy. Potatoes can be added to burgers, as in this Moussaka Burger with Béchamel Cheese Sauce and this Spicy Potato Cauliflower Burger. When it comes to dessert, don't forget about potatoes – that's right. This Chocolate Potato Cake will astound you.
Beets are nature's sweet treat. They're sweet and delicious, and they're great in salads, but there's another side to them. Beets are earthy and work well in savory dishes, particularly when roasted, as in this Sesame Roasted Beets and Greens Dish. Impress your guests with a stunning platter of Beet Carpaccio, followed by Roasted Beet Burgers with Cumin-Scented Ketchup. Beetroot Chocolate Frosted Cupcakes round out the meal.
Although nuts are not technically vegetables, they can be used to make vegan cheese and to replace meat in your cooking. Nuts can be extremely "meaty," and they can be used to make a hearty and rich "meat" loaf for dinner. Nuts are frequently used to add "meatiness" to vegan burgers. Make these Kidney Bean – Walnut Burgers with Mississippi Comeback Sauce.
As you can see, the options for replacing meat in your meals are practically limitless. Stop thinking of vegetables as side dishes and start putting them in the center of your plate. There's no way you'll miss the meat with all the hearty, "meaty" recipes you can come up with.