If you’re curious about giving a vegetarian diet a try, one of the best ways to start easing into it is by substituting your current meat intake with meat-alternative products. Maybe do this once or twice a week to start if you aren’t too sure about it, or if you’re ready to go cold-turkey (pun intended), incorporating meat substitutes into your diet while you learn about other healthy vegetarian options is a good way to make sure you don’t relapse back to your carnivorous ways.
You don’t need to replace the meat portion of your diet with a meat-substitute in order to be healthy, but it does make it easier for meat lovers to make the transition. Our society has pretty much been brainwashed into thinking that we need meat in order to have a balanced diet, and without it, we won’t get enough protein. This is not true. There’s tons of protein in plants that is even better for your body than animal based protein.
There are some really amazing meat alternatives out there that are sure to fool even the most die hard carnivore. So whether you’re taking the first step down the vegetarian path or if you’ve been vegetarian and are looking for a few new options to spice things up, give these a try as they are sure to delight your taste buds and keep you on track for a healthy plant-based diet:
The Impossible Burger (By Impossible Foods)
When it comes to burgers it doesn’t get any better than The Impossible Burger. I’ve had several carnivores give it a try and say “I would eat that” or “that’s great!”.
What makes The Impossible Burger so great is that it tricks your mind into thinking you’re eating meat. How does it do this? With the taste of blood. One of reasons our bodies and minds react so strongly to meat is that it taps into the primal instinct of tasting blood. Well, the creators of The Impossible Burger spent five years studying and figuring out how to recreate this taste using plant-based elements.
When you take your first bite, this burger “bleeds”. It tastes like a burger, looks like a burger, but it’s made from plants! So that means that compared to a regular cow burger it:
- uses 95% less land
- uses 74% less water
- creates 87% less greenhouse gas emissions
There’s nothing not to like! The Impossible Burger is only available at select restaurant locations around the country (most commonly Umami Burger). Find them here
There are several great meat-alternative products created by Beyond Meat. The most well known being the Beyond Burger.
To my knowledge this burger did the “replicate the taste of blood” thing first, but personally I think the Impossible Burger does it better. However, one big thing going for this burger that the Impossible doesn’t have is that you can buy their products in stores! So if you’re cooking at home or going to a BBQ, you can pick up a Beyond Burger or the Beast Burger (made from pea protein) from your local Whole Foods.
Beyond Meat also has a line of chicken strips and of ground beef options that are also delicious. It’s really hard for meat-alternative products to do a good job of replicating chicken, mostly due to the texture, but I think that Beyond Meat does the best job of this of any plant-based food. Find out more about their available products and where you can get them here.
Most commonly used an alternative to pulled pork, Jackfruit can also be used as a steak alternative as well. The best thing about Jackfruit is the texture. It does a really great job of replicating pulled pork or steak strips – anything that’s a “soft meat”. Especially once its covered in BBQ sauce, it really looks like pulled pork and you can barely tell the difference.
Unlike the other options above, jackfruit isn’t engineered or made in a lab, it comes right off a tree! A Jackfruit is one of the biggest fruits on the planet with some growing up to 100bs! Its a great source of potassium, calcium, and iron, and can be used in a variety of dishes. The Jackfruit company sells a bunch of pre-packaged products that are edible almost out of the box and are a great way to replace the meat in your diet.
So there you have it! If you’re a new vegetarian or thinking about giving it a try, these meat replacements are a great way to start. You’ll feel and be healthier while helping to move towards a more sustainable planet and they taste great! There’s nothing not to love!