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Vegan Meat Alternatives

Vegan Meat Alternatives

For many people who are starting off adopting a vegan lifestyle, it can be difficult to find something to replace the meat they are used to consuming in their diet. For example, what do I have instead of a burger patty? What about something to put in spaghetti sauce or instead of chicken in a stir fry? Over time, as you get more used to consuming and making vegan food, it will become easier to find appropriate substitutes, but in the early stages, you can try out some of these popular options for meat replacement.

Seitan

Made from gluten grains, seitan starts as a grain-like ingredient, which is granular in texture, or ground fine like a flour, depending on the type you are using.  Combined with water, spices and different flavouring options, the mixture comes together to create a sticky product that can then be cut into the desired shape and size before steaming or baking. The result is a product that looks like sliced meat, and has a slightly chewy texture. It holds up well when cooked in things such as stews, stir-fries and sauces, making it an ideal solution to use in foods like these which are typically meat based.  It can also be ground up, to resemble ground meat for things such as tacos, or stay in a larger size for burgers.

Soy

While soy may get a bad rap from some, when consumed in moderation and from an organic, non-GMO source, it can offer a lot of health benefits for vegans, especially its content of calcium. Tofu is the most common soy option, while other products, such as textured vegetable protein, or imitation meats are also soy based. Opt for non-flavoured tofu when possible and stay away from pre-made meat alternatives, as they often are highly processed and contain unhealthy ingredients. To enjoy your tofu, marinade for a few hours, and then bake, BBQ, or sauté in a pan.  Enjoy in a Buddha bowl or add to any classic Asian dish!

Tempeh

A fermented product, tempeh is made from soy beans or other legumes, such as chickpeas. The beans are fermented for several months, before being pressed into molds and flattened into a square or rectangle shaped product that is one to two centimetres thick. The tempeh can be left as is or flavoured prior to sale. Once purchased, as part of your regular vegan meal kit, slice or cube the tempeh. If it has no flavour added already, marinade for a few hours prior to cooking and then bake in the oven or sauté. Tempeh is great for a protein source in bowls, to be added to sandwiches or wraps, or to use in stir-frys. You can also cook it on the BBQ for a delicious, smoky addition to your meal.

Don’t think that just because you aren’t eating meat, you can’t have foods typically associated with meat ingredients. Instead, you can just enjoy an even tastier version. Or better yet, have someone else make a tasty version for you and sign up to our vegan meal subscription service.

The Ethical Side of Veganism

The Ethical Side of Veganism

When it comes to adopting a vegan diet, there are many reasons why people choose to follow this set of food parameters. For some, it is for health and nutrition reasons, because more plants afford lower risk of diseases and increased cellular and systemic function within the body. For others, it is for particular health conditions, such as obesity or diabetes. For others still, it is ethically bound, where they feel strongly against the idea of killing animals or using their products for human consumption. While many people who adopt a vegan diet will come from their own place of why and perhaps have several underlying reasons, it is important to be educated on all aspects, including ethical views.

Animal Lifestyle and Living

One aspect of animal ethics to consider is the living conditions which the animals assume. Many people are vegan because they do not want to support the poor, inhumane housing conditions of animals, such as cows and chickens. In some factory farm arrangements, animals live in overcrowded conditions, forced onto a daily schedule of eating through the automatic deliverance of food and controlled lighting. When presented with food, the animals will eat – whether hungry or not – and as such, grow at an unhealthy rate, being forced to put on weight at a rapid pace. 

Consider as an example, that chickens will shrink their normal 10-year lifespan into 12 weeks.  This leads to physical degeneration, increased risk of disease and an overall undesirable lifestyle for the animal. 

Animal Slaughter and Killing

Another ethical component to address in animal consumption, isn’t simply how they live, but the fact that they don’t get to live. The choice to force-feed animals and then kill them for human consumption is met with disgust by many vegans, while others argue that they are there to be killed and grown for that purpose.  While those supporting the latter will find evidence to indicate it is true, there is also evidence to indicate the extreme burden on the environment and resources when animals are continually slaughtered and grown simply to be killed.

The global livestock sector is responsible for 18 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions, many stemming from the resources required for slaughtering and transportation of slaughtered animals.  In addition, killing and manufacturing of animals also requires a great deal of water, and in 2000, agriculture accounted for 70 percent of water use. Each kilogram of meat that comes from killing an animal, requires 10 kilograms of grain. Indeed, the cost of killing, is greater than just the act itself.

 

 While this may all seem negative and disheartening, it is important to remember that not all animals live in overcrowded housing and not all animals are killed in the same way. It is possible to offer an animal a very happy life, slaughtering it in a humane way, and making it a kinder option for consumption for those who choose to eat it.

If you are happy to stay vegan, or want to try out being vegan, order our subscription meal delivery service, where no animals are every harmed en-route to your table!

 

 

11 Plants That Offer Natural Pain Relief

11 Plants That Offer Natural Pain Relief

Did you know that certain foods can ease aches and pains by fighting inflammation, blocking pain signals, and sometimes even helping to heal underlying conditions?

Eating a plant-based diet means you're consuming foods that may act as natural remedies and offer pain relief.

Did You Know That The Following Popular Ingredients Are Also Natural Pain Relievers?

Cayenne: Capsaicin, the active substance in cayenne, supports healthy immune function. Cayenne is also rich in Vitamin C, which fights and prevents colds and other infections.

Cinnamon: Add this spice to coffee before brewing, or make it into a tea (blend 1 teaspoon of cinnamon with 2 teaspoons of agave or other vegan sweetener (i.e. coconut nectar, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, etc.) and mix them in warm or hot water). A paste of the same two ingredients with a little water may also provide local arthritic pain relief.

Garlic: Garlic offers protection against many bacterial and viral infections. Remember, in order to activate disease fighting characteristics, fresh garlic must be crushed or chopped.

Ginger: Ginger is known as a digestive and immune-enhancer.  It helps prevent the build-up of toxins that may create infections. Ginger also helps to activate T-cells, which are vital to a healthy immune system and destroy viruses.

Green Tea: The plant compound found in green tea exerts antiviral and cancer-fighting effects. Numerous studies have been conducted evaluating the effects of green tea on certain types of cancer.

Mint:  The menthol in peppermint helps prevent muscle spasms, one of the reasons peppermint oil effectively treats irritable bowel syndrome. The oil is also useful for headache pain relief.

Oregano: Oregano has essential oils that contain fungicidal properties.

Turmeric: The active ingredient in turmeric is a potent immune enhancing substance, such as anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-cancer properties.

Other Foods That May Offer Pain Relief

Cherries: The combination of several different natural compounds found in cherries lead to pain relief, rather than just a single antioxidant. The best benefits are said to be reaped from tart or sour cherries.

Elderberry: Elderberries contain natural substances that may offer pain relief by reducing swelling, fighting inflammation, and boosting the immune system.

Elderberry may also ease flu-like symptoms such as fever, headaches, fatigue, sore throat, cough and body aches.

Lemon/Lime: Lemons and limes offer anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic potential. Additionally, they enhance the capacity of vitamin C and act as powerful anti­oxidants.

Prebiotics & Probiotics

Prebiotics: Prebiotics are like ‘food’ for probiotics. They promote the growth and/or activity of certain types of healthy bacteria. You can find them naturally in Jerusalem artichokes, chicory root, garlic, leeks, banana, onion, barley, wheat flour, rye, tomato, and asparagus root.

Probiotics: Probiotics help restore balance to the natural gut flora, which naturally stimulates the immune system. They are beneficial organisms, such as bacteria or yeast.  You can get probiotics naturally by consuming fermented foods such as kimchi, miso, tempeh, and kombucha.

How to Benefit From These Natural Remedies

The next time you’re headed to the medicine chest in search of pain relief, think about adding some of these natural remedies to your diet. Experiment with new recipes that incorporate these ingredients,and you might be pleasantly surprised! 

We, at Savor, believe food is the real medicine.  We use them all the time in our meals as we feel they are not only really healthy but they're also extremely tasty. 

(Photo: Gabriel Lima;/Flickr)