As you placed your feet on the ground for the first time this morning, did you remind yourself of how grateful you are for the journey that you are on towards wellness? It takes a lot of courage to change and you have begun the process, you are in it and there is no turning back.
For people that would call themselves carnivores, giving up eating meat might be a challenge. But here is a little more info on Animal products and the body.
Most people eat animal products because of the high protein. Proteins are the building blocks of life created by the linking of amino acids in sequences in every cell of your body. Protein is very important for many functions in the body and the body cannot live without protein. There is animal based protein and plant based protein. Animal protein weighs your body down. Your liver and kidneys have to work very hard to digest and assimilate animal protein into a form the body can use. Animal protein contains hormones and these hormones can exacerbate skin blemishes. For many people with arthritis, dairy products cause more pain in the body. 80% of milk protein comes from casein which is believed to aggravate arthritis. People with swollen joints and pain have reported immediate relief when they eliminated all dairy products.
There are even some issues with eating fish. The news about environmental pollutants found in fish is getting worse and worse, especially with the radiation from Fukushima spilling into the ocean for many years now. There has also been a lot of research about the high levels of Mercury found in fish. Mercury is known to cause problems in brain development in unborn children. It is a neurotoxin attacking the central nervous system. The effects of ingesting mercury are severe. Headaches, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, depression and memory loss, to name a few. Fish also can contain high levels of PCB’s, a chemical by-product. There are many harmful effects from PCB’s in the body including impaired neurological development in children and they are very hard for the liver to digest. Fish, unfortunately is not a safe alternative to meat anymore.
There are many reasons to begin cutting animal products out of your diet. Animal products are not an ideal source of protein for the body and the negative effects it has on the body can be debilitating. Also, you just don’t know what the animals are eating, their living conditions, the way they were killed, the chemicals that are put into the meat once it is processed, how long it’s been processed for etc.
I highly recommend if you continue to eat animal products to make absolutely sure that what you are eating is organic, free-range and antibiotic-free.
When you switch to a plant based diet, you may immediately notice that you have higher energy levels. You will have clearer skin and many chronic conditions will soon be alleviated.
Some questions you might ask:
Will I get enough protein or Iron if I don’t eat meat?
Protein is a ‘macronutrient’ which is required by the body in large quantities to, amongst a large number of other things, repair damage.
Iron is a ‘micronutrient’ which is required by the body in small amounts to, amongst a large number of other things, carry oxygen in red blood cells around the body.
Actually, the most healthy sources of protein which are most easily digested are in leafy greens and beans.
What are alternatives to eating meat?
You can eat tofu, tempeh, quinoa, spinach and many other veggies (only Organic and Non-GMO) . If you are allergic to soy then lentils and legumes are a good option.
Are you sure I will be getting enough protein?
Yes, it is much easier for the body to digest and absorb plant- based protein. There are also many more health, environmental and psychological benefits to eating plants with protein.
Breakfast: Yummy Detox Smoothie
Lunch: Veggie Burger with or without a gluten-free bun, wrap in lettuce
Dinner: Mediterranean Platter – falafel, hummus, cucumbers, baba ghanoush (mashed eggplant), flax or gluten-free crackers.
Ingredients: (all ingredients optional)
- Vegan protein powder
- Coconut water. regular water, rice milk, coconut milk, or almond milk
- 2 Tablespoons of flax seeds, chia seeds and/or hemp seeds
- 2 Tablespoons of Coconut oil
- A handful of almonds or walnuts
- 1 Banana
- 1 cup of Spinach
- handful of Blueberries and Strawberries
- 2 dates
- Throw all ingredients in a blender and blender until smooth
Quinoa and Bean Burgers (makes 8 patties)
- 1 cup dry red kidney beans
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1/4 cup chickpea flour, also known as besan or garbanzo bean flour
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 1 cup packed kale leaves, minced
- 4 leaves of sage, minced. (Sage adds a great smokiness, but you can also use coriander leaves here.)
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
- 1 tbsp tamari, or you can use regular soy sauce or aminos
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Himalayan Salt to taste
- 1 tsp vegetable oil, and an oil spray to cook the burgers
- To cook the quinoa, rinse under cold water and then place in a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Add salt to taste.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and let the quinoa cook until it has absorbed most of the water.
- Place a tight-fitting lid on the saucepan and continue to cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.
- To cook the beans, it is always better to soak them overnight but you can get away with no soaking if you have a pressure cooker or used canned beans.
- If you do, just follow your manufacturer’s instructions to get beans that are squishable but not falling apart.
- Otherwise, place the soaked beans in a large saucepan, cover with at least an inch of water, bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low and cook for about an hour until tender.
- Heat 1 tsp of oil in a large saucepan.
Add the carrot, onion, kale, sage, and garlic. Add the tamari ( amino, soy sauce). Saute on medium-high heat about 5-8 minutes or until the mixture is dry and doesn’t taste raw anymore.
- Stir in the tomato paste and saute for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the ground black pepper and cooked beans and mix well.
- Using a potato masher, squish some of the beans. You don’t want this mixture to be too smooth– your burger will benefit from some texture.
- Add the chickpea flour and stir for another couple of minutes. You want the bean mixture to be quite dry and without any visible moisture, or your patties won’t hold together.
- Add the quinoa and mix well. Check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Heat a griddle and spray with some oil. Moisten your hands in a water bath and form the patties. You can get about eight really big patties and 10 good-sized ones from this recipe.
- Place the patties on the skillet and cook on each side until browned.
- You can freeze these patties once they have cooled. Separate each patty with wax paper before freezing. When you are ready to grill, just throw the frozen patty on the grate and heat through.
I served these burgers on a bed of lettuce or gluten-free bun along with some greens, onions, avocado, and a dollop of Veganaise.