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Meatless Meals Benefit Your Health

A ''Flexitarian'' Diet Meets in the Middle

109 Comments


10/1/2009 2:29:50 PM

LEONALIONESS's SparkPage
To the poster asking about seitan, yup, it's made of wheat and is an EXCELLENT source of protein. It's made from wheat gluten which is the protein part of wheat. Low cal, low fat and nutrient dense. I think seitan is my favorite "meaty" food. I make my own (it's really easy - especially if you use a 'quick' recipe that uses gluten flour) and use it for stroganoff, 'roast' with carrots/potatoes/gravy and peas, in pot pies, stir fry ... really, you can use seitan anywhere you'd use meat.

For chili and things like stuffed peppers, I like using ground walnuts or bulgar wheat. I've made really delish "neatloafs" with ground walnuts as the meaty texture (plus mushrooms, rice, tons of veggies, etc.) and also made some fantastic walnut balls in a vegan bechamel sauce. Mmmm. For chili, I tend to just use bulgar. It's cheap, a good source of protein and fiber and adds a hearty texture to the chili.

Oh, and another poster mention textured vegetable protein. TVP is, in fact, soy based. It's delicious and I don't have any issues using it but for those intolerant to soy, give it a miss.

I've been vegan going on 7 years now (veg for about 4 before that) and I couldn't be happier. I didn't do it for my health, for me it was ethics, but the health benefits are a nice benefit. I'm happy to see so many willing to eat less meat. It's so much better for you, the environment AND the animals. Every bit helps. :)
10/1/2009 1:55:51 PM

MARINASHU's SparkPage
KRISTALSHYT, the wheat product you're probably thinking of is seitan, which is made from wheat gluten and has a solid, chewy texture. I'm not sure whether or not it's a good source of protein, but if tofu is too soft for you and you're craving something chewy this might be a good source!

I was a vegetarian for a few years (mostly for $$$ reasons--do you meat eaters not realize how expensive that stuff is??? You could get like ten pounds of rice for the cost of one pound of meat!) but now I eat chicken and fish occasionally, mostly when I'm eating out. One thing I never realized before going vegetarian was how FAST meat fills me up! If I eat more than six ounces, even if I'm not eating anything else, I feel so bloated. Especially beef--I'll have a hamburger a few times a year, but every time I just feel so icky afterwards it keeps me away.
SIRIRADHA
10/1/2009 12:47:08 PM

Yeah! Come and check out the Flexitarian Team!
10/1/2009 12:46:26 PM

ZAZABOOTY's SparkPage
I think a lot of people have the misconception that you can't get all of your nutrients without meat. Thank you for this article--it's helping to dispel some of those faulty beliefs. I'd also like to point out that eating a meatless diet is healthier for the environment as well!
10/1/2009 11:13:31 AM

KRISTALSHYT's SparkPage
My grandmother has been a vegetarian, except on holidays - she'll have turkey for Thanksgiving & Christmas, for pretty much her whole life. As a result I learned some great meatless recipes from her. And as a testament to the health benefits, she's in her early 90s & is amazingly fit for her age, though part of that is due to her physical activity level as well.

To the person who asked for non-soy protein options, there are tons. I'll admit it's too bad this article didn't delve into the possibilities. There is textured vegetable protein you can get - I'm not sure if it includes soy or not, but I think it doesn't. Also there are hempseed derived proteins you can get if you don't mind the flavor... & then there's my grandmother's favorite. It's derived from wheat somehow. I'm honestly not sure how it's done, but she makes wonderful "mock turkey" with gravy using it. I've also heard about rice derived protein options as well. It could help to go to your local health-food/organic market & ask about it. Usually when I do that I end up with some wonderful answers.
8/27/2009 10:03:57 AM

MOMMYSARA605's SparkPage
I'm definitely a flexitarian. I only eat meat maybe 3 or 4 times a month, and that includes fish. I prefer to fill up on vegetables and whole grains, sometimes a good tofu (which I'm still learning how to prepare myself), beans, and I keep my cheese to single servings of 1oz and try to not have it every day. It's a quick and easy protein, but I'm in a discovery mode to find as many quick vegetarian protein as I can for both meals and snacking.
8/27/2009 7:04:47 AM

KATELJM's SparkPage
Just remember, many of the older vegetarian cookbooks use lots of unhealthy fats.

On recipezaar.com, many of my biggest surprise hits were vegetarian dishes (in which we actually preferred the meatless version to the carnivore version). I love to discover vegetarian recipes that carnivores request as repeats.
8/15/2009 2:49:02 PM

CHOCOLATEJAZZE's SparkPage
Try it you all. I tried it and so far its only been a week, but I've lost four pounds. I eat seafood, crab burgers, shrimp, baked fish, etc. I really didn't crave any meat. My stomach hasn't hurt in the week. Before, I was an avid meat eater and would suffer physically. Now, I have more energy and my digestive system feels great.
5/6/2009 5:54:32 PM

FAYEBYNOE's SparkPage
I am a total meat lover but after reading this article im gonna have 2 meatless days in the week..I guess it wont hurt to try
5/4/2009 9:20:12 AM

TTAYLOR13's SparkPage
I found that after a couple of days of eating more healthily and just happening to not have any meat, I stopped wanting any. I've found that whereas before I'd look at a steak or a burger and really want it, now it just doesn't look appealing to me any more! I don't know why, but I just don't want to eat meat any more - it wasn't even a concious decision. I do still eat seafood though, so I'm not a complete vegetarian, and I still eat eggs and dairy products (no cheese though because I've just never really liked it) so I easily get my protein requirements. I feel healthier without meat, and I don't miss it at all!
4/2/2009 4:48:11 PM

MOTHEREARTH2278's SparkPage
We are not totaly vegan at our home but, for any meal that requires ground meat we use Loma Linda Vege-Burger. Chili, Taco's etc. etc., if you eat at my table its not meat!!! Funny no one notices the diffrence. :)
3/27/2009 1:45:12 PM

PHATDIVABBW's SparkPage
I'm going meatless at least one day out of the week.
MARYSIA86
3/16/2009 12:27:58 PM

I feel so much better after having given up meat. I also really try to limit my dairy by using almond or rice milk and skipping the cheese in many recipies. The funny thing is that in many meals, taking out the cheese either improved the meal or didn't make a difference. A few soy free meatless dinner ideas:

Pita bread with falafal, hummus and spring greens
Grilled Vegetables with brown rice
Vegetable Quiche
Polenta topped with tomato sauce
Spinach Omelet
Vegetable or Lentil Curries

A lot of soups can become vegetarian by substituting the chicken broth for vegetable broth. A book that I've really enjoyed using is How To Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. He is an omnivore but while writing this book he developed an appreciation for vegetarian fare.
EINHORN_13
8/30/2008 2:42:59 AM

Great article.

Take that "Skimp on cheese" thing to heart. The weight I am trying to lose right now is weight that I gained when I became a vegetarian, because I overcompensated with fatty cheeses. And that weight piled on quick.
8/8/2008 1:20:49 PM

JIBBIE49's SparkPage
Great article.

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