Many people have some interest in pursuing a plant-based diet, but they may believe that it is too expensive or difficult to sustain. There is an unfortunate perception in our society that plant-based diets are for the privileged few and that eating meat is cheaper and more nutritious.
Tara Haddad, the Founder and CEO of Modern Meat, explains why a plant-based diet is more accessible than ever before and gives tips on how families can transition away from a meat- and dairy-based eating plan.
The Benefits Of Eating Plant-Based Diets
Plant-based diets have many significant advantages when compared to traditional meat and dairy-based diets. People who are vegetarian or vegan generally have a lower body mass index than people who eat meat. People who avoid eating meat have lower incidences of diabetes and high blood pressure. Eating a plant-based diet is also associated with longevity, with people who eat plant-based diets having 9 percent lower risk of death from all causes compared with meat-eaters.
Reducing the amount of meat that your family buys each week can also make a significant impact on the environment. The meat industry is a major contributor to environmental pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and global land use. Eating less meat will help to mitigate some of the meat industry’s damaging effects on the planet.
Why Eating A Plant-Based Diet Is Accessible
Many meat-eaters would be surprised to learn that the average weekly cost of groceries for a family eating a plant-based diet is significantly lower than a family buying meat and dairy products. While it is true that some substitutes like plant-based meats and almond milk are more expensive than their animal-sourced competitors, the overall lower cost of buying groceries needs to be figured in.
It may be difficult for people who live in food deserts and those who are struggling financially to adapt to a vegan or vegetarian diet. The stores in their area may not carry enough fresh products for them to build their diet accordingly. Also, meat products are more nutrient-dense by weight than fruits and vegetables. However, it is even possible for families from underserved communities to cut meat out of their diets at least one or two days a week, turning instead to economical dishes based on beans, rice, lentils, and vegetables.
Using Plant-Based Meats
Today, there are many affordable meat substitute products on the market. One of the leading examples of companies making quality, gourmet plant-based meat alternatives is Modern Meat, a Canadian company based in Vancouver. Using simple natural ingredients they have curated a line of products to replace the traditional center of the place meat proteins. They include Modern Crumble, Burgers, Meatballs, Gyozas and Crabless Cakes. Some companies have also begun to produce plant-based sausages and chicken. These products come fresh or frozen, and they are simple to cook and share with your family.
Planning Your Healthy Diet
When it comes to eating a plant-based diet, people need to be sure that they are getting enough protein, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to compensate for the lack of meat and dairy products in their diet. For the average sedentary man, that amounts to 56 grams of protein at an absolute minimum. A sedentary woman should eat 46 grams of protein per day.
Ideally, your plate should be focused on getting 45 to 65 percent of your daily calories from carbohydrates, 20 to 35 percent from healthy fats, and 10 to 35 percent from protein. Focus on whole grains and eliminate added sugars and heavily processed foods as much as possible. Most adults should eat between 1,700 and 2,000 calories per day, with fewer possible if they are trying to lose weight.
It is encouraged to try to get your protein from a variety of sources. Tofu, tempeh, and seitan are all great alternatives that are affordable and can be used in many different applications. Focus on eating a range of different proteins so that your body will get enough of the nine essential amino acids that it cannot produce on its own.
Treating Your Body And The Planet Well
When you switch to a plant-based diet, you may feel that you are more energetic. You may find that it is easier to keep control of your chronic conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. You may feel better about yourself since you are healthier. You will have the knowledge that you are doing your part to help your own health and your family’s health as well as preserving the environment.
Letting go of meat and dairy doesn’t have to be difficult, but many people choose to eliminate products in stages rather than all at once. You will find that there are many tasty and healthy substitutes on the market for products that contain meat and dairy products, including those produced by Modern Meat.
Tara wants readers to understand how great the benefits of a plant-based diet can be. Switching to a plant-based diet, even if it is only for a few days a week, can make a big difference in your grocery bill, your health, and the health of the planet.