Food: Meat “Substitutes”
Updated: Oct 8
It seems that overnight, TV dinners and frozen pizzas have been pushed aside in the freezer section of our local grocery stores to make way for an increasing number of meat “substitutes”. I refer to these options as upgrades, rather than substitutes, not only because we are eliminating the harmful elements of our processed animal food sources, but we are replacing them with even greater nutritional boosts. And while I choose to refer to most of these options as upgrades, it’s difficult to recognize solely the nutritional value of consuming a Beyond burger every day in place of an organic, grass-fed beef patty.
Either way, the beef industry is fighting tooth and nail to have certain labels removed from the packaging and marketing of these products: “vegan pulled pork”, “plant-based bratwurst”, “synthetic veggie beef crumbles”; and I agree with them, to an extent. Their argument is that consumers may be tricked into purchasing a non-animal product… part of me wants to laugh and say “it’ll do them good!”, but another part of me wants nothing to do with these labels. Even “burger” they can have, so long as we’re ALL being honest about our food choices, their sources and how they effect us.
Never mind what happens to us when we eat a piece of meat that’s gone bad, versus a tomato or banana that’s past it’s prime; the synthetic food architects and scientists still need to make a dollar…or a billion. Regardless, if we’re choosing to remove meat from our diet, we need to add in more than just fake meat; we need to substitute real, raw food that grows out of the ground. Heck, even if we’re just cutting back on our meat intake, these additions to our diet will pay dividends to our health further down the road.
* I would not classify the following items as substitutes, nor would I classify them as upgrades. These are natural Super-Foods that can nourish us and save our lives:
- Jackfruit: Simply pour the jackfruit out into a skillet and cover; once it starts softening, flip the pieces and add all of your classic BBQ spices (cumin, coconut sugar, paprika, coriander, salt/pepper); cover it again for 10 minutes, then take two forks and pull the jackfruit apart until it’s all stringy; I like to keep it on until almost crispy. Once it’s fully cooked you’re ready to serve it with BBQ sauce upon sliders, tacos, nachos, tamales and more! Also click on our “Jackfruit Salad Sandwich” recipe.
- Lentils: In a saucepan, heat the lentils up w/ a dash of oil and the same BBQ spices that were used for the jackfruit; if adding onions & garlic, sauté these first before adding beans. Nachos, tacos, sliders or rice bowls. These beauties are a definitive boon to our wellness, particularly our gut, as they contain the “second-meal effect”: compounds that relax the stomach and slow the rate at which sugars are absorbed into our system.
- Purple Cabbage: Chop it all up and cook it in non-hydrogenated oil, just like the jackfruit, stirring instead of pulling. I’ve enjoyed adding some acid to it (fresh squeezed citrus fruits or vinegar), always making sure it cooks until it is tender. It can take up to 45 minutes in a pan and adds a versatile boost to any meal. Because of it’s vast nutritional quality and anti-oxidant units per dollar, I include it with nearly everything I cook for our family.
- Cauliflower: I like to trim the crown, place it stem-side down in a dutch oven, coat lightly with oil and a dash of liquid aminos. Once it’s become soft you can season it to suit any meal, whether it be a side-dish or a filling. Just like brussels sprouts, broccoli, and most other cruciferous vegetables, cauliflower contains sulforaphane, which is immensely beneficial to our overall health, increasing brain function, possessing cancer-fighting agents and…this food does not suffer upon procurement.