Removing sources of animal protein from your diet is a big step towards healthy eating. Most people on a plant based diet consume a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains. Studies have shown this type of diet is extremely beneficial in overall health, maintenance of an ideal body weight, and reduced incidence of several chronic diseases including diabetes and heart disease. This diet is also endorsed by those that have an ethical stance against consuming animals and other sentient beings.
The recent rise in popularity of vegan and vegetarian diets has led to the development and marketing of meat and dairy substitutes by the food industry. Many people contemplating a change to a vegan or vegetarian diet struggle with the thought of removing some of their favorite and familiar foods. As an alternative, some will use meat and dairy replacements designed to mimic animal foods. Popular meat based recipes and food items can be replaced by many of these “meatless” alternatives. The internet is teeming with carnivorous recipes altered by substituting many of these products. Unfortunately, many of these substitutes are highly processed foods containing unhealthy oils, fats, sugars and other unnatural substances. Examples of vegetarian turkey, ground beef, burgers with artificial grill lines, hot dogs, and bacon are available to mention just a few. It is important to remember that these are fake foods created by the processed food industry. While the benefits of using these products is the removal of unhealthy animal proteins from your diet, consumption of highly processed foods is also an unhealthy way of eating. In fact, many of these artificial foods are even worse for your health than the animal foods that they replace.
In my own experience I have found that if one follows a true plant based diet consisting of natural foods that preferences and tastes will change over the first few weeks and the cravings for animal based foods and tastes will diminish. It is my opinion that using unnatural or manufactured meat substitutes will interfere with the natural changes in taste and preferences causing individuals to continue to suffer with yearnings for animal food products.
A diet rich in natural foods including fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains is the best plan for your health. Elimination of unhealthy oils, trans fats, and highly processed foods is essential to the healthy vegan diet. If one is only looking to replace animal foods for ethical reasons then these food alternatives may be satisfactory. However, if one is sincere about healthier eating then eliminating these artificial foods is essential. Only a diet using fresh and natural foods will change your health in meaningful ways.