5 things to know about vegan meat substitutes

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By now, even non-vegans have probably eaten some delicious and not-so-delicious meat substitutes. There are plenty of tasty options out there to satisfy any appetite, which is a definite plus.

Just because you’re eating vegan doesn’t mean that normal nutritional rules suddenly don’t apply. Deep-fried and breaded foods might taste good, but deep down, all of us know that they’re not very good for us — even if they’re entirely plant-based.

Here’s a rough guide to finding the vegan meat substitutes that are best for you, according to nutrition experts.

Vegan dietary concerns go beyond protein.

No matter how old you are, vegans need to make it a priority to get enough Calcium, Iron, Omega 3 fatty acids, Protein, and Vitamin B12.

From a young age, we’re taught that calcium helps us build strong bones. But from about age 35 — when our bodies stop building our bones up — we still need to get plenty of calcium in order to prevent osteoporosis. Soy is an excellent plant-based source of calcium — but there are others as well.

Plant-based sources of iron include soy-based products, peanut butter, dark green leafy vegetables, and whole grains including brown rice and whole oats, according to registered dietitian and nutritionist Jaime Rose Chambers of Eat Fit Food.

Omega-3s are found in great quantities in fatty fish — which you aren’t eating if you’re vegan. In the plant world, freshly ground flax-, lin-, and chia seeds contain omega-3s — as do walnuts.

What makes a protein “complete”

The one thing that animal proteins have over plant-based proteins is this: All of them contain all nine essential amino acids your body needs on a daily basis.

Plant proteins are healthy — but are mostly not complete. Buckwheat, quinoa, and soy are three complete plant protein exceptions.

Although you might have to work harder at it, getting your protein from plant-based sources has been linked to a 12% risk reduction in dying of heart disease, according to a Harvard Medical School study that took place over a 32-year period.

Hail seitan (and tofu, and legumes, and pulses) are great options.

Vegan dietary concerns are the same as those of meat eaters in at least one way: Less processing equals healthier food choices. Seitan, tempeh, tofu, legumes, pulses, nuts, and seeds are just a few of the healthiest vegan substitutions for the nutrients that are also found in animal products.

If you either don’t like to cook or don’t think you can cook, that can make things difficult. But it’s an essential skill if you want to control sodium and other additives in your food — no matter what you choose to eat. Here are some great vegan burger recipes to get you started.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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