Meatless Means more than Vegan or Vegetarian Diet Plans

By Jermaine Rowley
Staff Writer

The phase “you are what you eat” can be a sore spot for meatless eaters.

One of the primary reasons people adopt a non-meat diet is because of the various health risk associated with meat. Eating meat, especially processed meat, is considered fattening, and often linked to heart disease and high cholesterol levels.

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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.

However, meat contains a necessary amino acid that we all need: protein.

Luckily, there are several mouthwatering non-meat options that can be substituted for meat to satisfy the body’s protein requirements, as well as meatless diet options that will ultimately fulfill all health needs.

One diets climbing the ranks of popularity is the Zone Diet. According to Medical News Today, “The Zone Diet aims for a nutritional balance of 40% carbohydrates, 30% fats, and 30% protein each time we eat. The focus is also on controlling insulin levels, which result in more successful weight loss and body weight control.”

The Zone Diet encourages followers to eat carbohydrates such as wheats and nuts, an excellent alternative for meat.  Sparkpeople.com reported that grains such as whole wheat bread and pastas can be great for nutritious meals. Nuts contain a great portion of protein and fiber which is excellent for a vegetarian diet.

The most common diet for non-meat eaters is the vegetarian diet. Medical News Today said a vegetarian diet has been found to lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

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A Maryland Food Co-op flier. Photo by Rebecca Torchia

Though there are many different types of vegetarians, one of the most common is lacto-ovo-vegetarians. Lacto-ovo-vegetarians do not consume meat but do eat animal products such as diary and eggs. According to healththaliciousness.com, eggs are one of the top ten highest protein foods. Eggs can easily be an excellent addition to your meals – they can be counted as breakfast, added onto your sandwich, or even hard boiled for a snack.

The vegan diet is a slightly stricter meatless diet. Not only is a vegan lifestyle healthy, but it is more beneficial for animal rights because all animal products are excluded from the diet.

Mushrooms can be a very nutritious and tasty addition to your vegan diet. Portobello mushrooms are a great substitution for meat. Goodhousekeeping.com gives recipes for Mushroom-Quinoa Burger and Supergreen Mushroom & Orzo Soup.

The Mediterranean Diet is a lesser-known diet that deserves the limelight. This diet comes from southern Europe and imitates the eating habits of Italians and Greeks. Eating an adequate number of legumes is central to this diet. Legumes includes peas, pulses and beans: into which you can easily make black bean burritos or dip. Pulses can be added to dishes such as pasta meals, salads and omelets.

 

These savory food substitutions should undoubtedly meet your non-meat needs!

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