One of the most common concerns of those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet is that there may be a lack of protein. However, several nutritionists agree that, if you have a balanced diet, eating a diet of this type provides all the necessary nutrients.
In fact, there are certain plants and vegetables that can contain significantly more protein than some meats. And, as you know, a diet rich in protein promotes a strengthening of muscle mass, feeling of fullness and weight loss.
Taking a vegan or vegetarian diet is directly associated with health benefits, including low cholesterol, lower blood pressure and a lower body mass index. However, in the event that you are thinking about following a diet of this type, you will have to certify that you eat basic nutrients, such as vitamin B12, iron or omega 3.
Whatever the reason why you intend to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, you should be looking for food ideas to cook. Beyond the traditional vegetables and fruits, we have prepared a list with some substitutes for animal protein, which will make you forget the meat and taste equally delicious meals.
1. Eggplant: this vegetable offers a succulent texture and a natural flavor, and can be prepared in various ways, from cooked or grilled, to fried or stuffed.
2. Mushrooms: it is very common to substitute some types of steak for mushrooms, being a food with enormous potential. Cut, sliced or ground, they provide a succulent texture and a smoky flavor that turns out very well in the place of the meat.
3. Tofu: it is similar to chicken meat. This food, based on vegetarian soy with enough protein (85 grams contains 9 grams of protein), serves to shape dishes cooked throughout the year. If we try to use a more poetic term, tofu is like a blank canvas, prepared to give flavor to hundreds of other vegan or vegetarian foods.
4. Seitan: known as the white meat of vegetarianism, this wheat protein is an excellent choice and offers a sensation similar to chicken meat when you try it (in fact, in the market, many imitations of products with chicken are made with seitan). Currently, you can buy this food in most supermarkets.
5. Lentils: surprisingly, this legume has high levels of protein, possessing 9 grams per half glass. Its texture and flavor make it a good substitute for minced meat in many recipes. There are lentils of various colors, including red, brown, black and green, all cheaper than meat. You can eat them cooked or canned.
6. Beans: similar to lentils, beans are a good way to replace the steak in various recipes. For each half glass served, this food provides 8 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber, which may vary depending on the type of bean.
7. Tempeh: a fermented food with a “Rhizopus” type fungus, made from white soybean seeds from Indonesia, with a nutty aroma and a dense and slightly fleshy texture. This protein has all the essential amino acids and, as it is fermented, it has probiotics, that is, bacteria essential for the proper functioning of the intestinal flora.
8. Quinoa: this small seed is full of protein, it is easy to cook and very versatile. A glass of cooked quinoa contains 8 grams of protein. In addition, it is one of the few substitutes for meat that provides the nine essential amino acids that the human body produces and contains fiber, iron, magnesium and manganese.
What are the differences between vegetarianism and veganism?
Vegetarianism and veganism are two food options with similar bases. However, they diverge in terms of positioning, once vegetarians exclude meat and fish, but not products of animal origin. This group consumes, for example, eggs, dairy and honey. In a generic way:
● Ovo-lacto vegetarianism: they consume milk and eggs;
● Lactovegetarianism: they consume dairy products, but not eggs;
● Ovovegetarianism: consume eggs but not dairy;
● Veganism: they do not consume eggs, dairy products or other derivatives of animal origin.
For its part, veganism excludes everything that is of animal origin from its diet and also from clothing, hygiene products and detergents. If you opt for one of these lifestyles, you are contributing to less pollution and less natural resources.
The study The Green Revolution, prepared by the consultant Latern, reveals that 57% of vegetarians are for animalistic and ethical reasons, 21% for sustainability and 17% for health reasons.
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