Why Choose Meatless Meals?

Meatless meals have been around since the dawn of civilization. And in the past, meatless meals were not a choice but a necessity. But, time marches on, as they say. We no longer have to forage for our dinner or spend the entire day tracking some animal so that we can eat tonight. The nearest grocery store does just fine, thank you. So eating meatless meals is now a choice for those of us in the Western world.

There are many reasons to follow a meatless lifestyle or to include meatless meals in your diet. Some people choose meatless for religious reasons, environmental reasons, for budgeting and convenience reasons, and even for food safety reasons. But the two primary motivators to eat meatless are respect for animals and health.  Respect for and ethical treatment of animals drives many to a meatless lifestyle. I am not going to go into industrial farming techniques as there are many other, more qualified voices, speaking out on this topic (see PETA et.al.). But choosing meatless meals for health reasons, I could go on all day!

Whether you choose to follow a meatless lifestyle, or just commit to eating more meatless meals each week, you are already on the road to improving your health. Meatless meals are usually lower in saturated fat, lower in sodium, and higher in fiber and vitamins than their traditional meat counterparts. I say usually because many new, full-time vegetarians fall into what I call the “french-fries and potato chips diet”, or a diet that replaces the meat protein with refined carbs and creamy sauces. But I digress.

Replacing meat protein with plant based proteins like beans, nuts, whole grains, and seeds helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels and reduces cancers of all types, especially colon, lung, kidney and pancreatic cancers. Why? Because plant based proteins have much less saturated (or bad) fat than meats, more unsaturated (or good) fat than meats, more fiber (which helps wash random cancer cells and nasty cholesterol from your system), and in several cases, more vitamins than meat.

On a personal note, I chose to follow a meatless lifestyle about 20 years ago for a couple of reasons; one – I never really liked meat and ate very little meat anyway, and two – my “bad genes”  provide me with a cholesterol level that is much higher than it should be. A meatless diet helps keep those levels in check. The products from our previous company, Wine Barrel Gourmet were meatless because it is so difficult to find soups that don’t include beef or chicken fat.  While it’s easy to add meat to soup mixes, it sure is difficult to remove what is already there!

So, next time I will give you some tips on how to boost the flavor in those meatless meals including adding more herbs, spices, aromatics, and you guessed it – wine!  We’ll also talk about smart meatless choices when eating out, vegan vs. vegetarian, teens and a vegetarian diet, etc. It could go on a while. What issues are most important to you?  The teacher in me has all kinds of useful info, and no pop quizzes!

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About the Author

Renee Pottle, an author and heart-healthy educator, loves to explore and write about the Mediterranean Diet. She blogs at SeedToPantry.com and HestiasKitchen.com.

Comments (4)

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  1. Nice blog post. Good job.

  2. As there are more initiatives by the state taken to address the concern of obesity as well as climate change, by reducing meat consumption in their diet, individuals can take part in both movements. And organizations that help facilitate this transition or commitment to change, like Wine Barrel Gourmet, and Meatless Monday, a non profit health initiative for which I intern, are essential in this process. Meatless Monday is a project of Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health and it encourages a reduction in meat consumption in order to reduce the risk of preventable diseases as well as decrease our carbon footprint. The Meatless Monday website has a myriad of meatless recipes to add to your delicious BBQ Lentils, as well as health news, cooking tips, and nutrition facts, that I think would be of interest to you: http://www.meatlessmonday.com!

  3. sunsetwave says:

    I a ‘full time’ vegetarian, and there is so many substitutes to meat it’s not funny! I’ve had meatless chicken nuggets, sausages and bacon…. and they taste GREAT! I really encourage Meatless Mondays, it’s so great for your health and for our world! I write about it on my blog, be sure to check it out!

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