“We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.” ~ Adelle Davis
One of the main reasons I was hesitant to moderate my meat intake was that I felt I would give up a major source of protein. Many of us believe our only source of protein is from animal-based protein. And we have clung to this theory for so long that we won’t even consider alternatives.
As I continued my research on nutrition, I’ve learned that there are, in fact, many other sources. Sources that do not only provide the necessary protein for your cells and tissues to function but that also provide a number of additional health benefits that are not found in meat.
Although I’m not vegan, and wouldn’t quite label myself as vegetarian, I do strongly believe animal based protein is something we should all consider reducing from our diets. And while I’ll still order a meal with meat on occasion while out to dinner, at home we only cook vegetarian.
“At home I serve the kind of food I know the story behind.” ~ Michael Pollan
One question I frequently get asked when I tell people I no longer cook meat at home is “So what do you eat instead?”
There are plenty of other foods that provide the same benefits we believe only come from meat. And I have discovered many healthy alternatives through a plant-based diet.
Plant-Based Protein Can Be Found In:
- Portobello Mushrooms
- Beans & Lentils
Just to list a few…
Here are some of the recipes that I’ve been using to substitute meat.
I used to hate mushrooms, but I realized I never really gave them a fair shot. I played around with different recipes and found some great ways to make them more enjoyable.
- Grilled Mushrooms Recipe
- A personal recipe: Add coconut or olive oil to a pan and let heat for 4 minutes. Chop up garlic, zucchini, and broccoli and sauté for about 5-7 minutes, add chopped Portobello and stir for another 5-10 minutes. This recipe takes less than 30 minutes including prep time.
Spaghetti Squash and “Zughetti”
These are also a much healthier alternative to pasta. 😉
Beans and Lentils
Rice and beans are a staple side dish in my culture (Brazilian) used to accompany meat and poultry. It was quite a transition to have them as the main course these days with a side of veggies.
Of course, you can make all of these recipes your own by adding or eliminating any of the ingredients.
Start Changing Your Thoughts, and You’ll Soon Change Your Habits
Try adding just one of these to your weekly meal plan and begin training your mind to accept the fact that there isn’t a side of meat. We tend to center our meals around meat. When we make dinner plans, we think steak, chick or fish, and the sides are a secondary afterthought.
We are so used to eating a certain way that we have to now reprogram our minds to understand the health benefits of the other sources of protein available to us.
I was an avid meat eater for over 20 years and never thought I would be able to just eat mushrooms for dinner and be satisfied. But it’s all mental. You will feel a difference once you begin making the changes. At first you may feel you are lacking something, which is just your body adjusting to the new eating habits and processing the food differently now.
“Health is not simply the absence of sickness.” ~Hannah Green
Although I still occasionally eat meat, I have noticed significant differences in my health, skin and energy levels since drastically reducing animal-based protein in my diet. Health has become a major priority in my life and something I’m willing to invest in however I can. Of course, I will always encourage you to do your own research and to also look for the recipes that work best for you.
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