Going meatless: How to introduce a plant-based diet to your lifestyle
New to the plant-based diet? We take a look at the benefits of going meatless with tips on how to incorporate it to your daily life.
The plant-based diet has been gaining popularity in recent years and with the introduction of more meat-free food options in the market, it’s evident that the lifestyle is picking up and is here to stay. Ready to embark on your meat-free journey? Here’s a quick guide on how to introduce a plant-based diet to your lifestyle.
What’s a plant-based diet?
A meatless or vegetarian diet is one that comprises fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, legumes, and nuts. There are many types of vegetarians including vegans who avoid all animal products (and products from animals), and lacto vegetarians who avoid animal flesh and eggs but consume dairy products. While these branches of vegetarianism have slight differences, what’s common between them is that they all exclude meat, poultry, game, fish and shellfish in their diets.
What are the benefits of going meatless?
Removing or reducing your meat intake can make a big difference to your health and the environment.
Research shows that consuming less red and processed meat can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes. Remember being told to eat your greens? Well, since you will be substituting meat with plant-based food, you will be consuming more vegetables, beans, nuts, and fruits which can help improve your heart and kidney health and maintain a healthy weight. (Your mother will be proud!)
Animal agriculture has a significant contribution to climate change. Did you know that livestock creates more greenhouse gases than all the cars, trucks, planes and trains in the world combined? Livestock also takes up environmental resources such as land, water and energy. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reported that 26% of the world’s ice-free land is used for livestock grazing and 33% of croplands are used for livestock feed production. By cutting down or removing meat from your diet, you can help reduce these negative effects to the environment and help divert these resources to more important matters—every little counts!
How to go a plant-based diet
These days, it’s not as challenging as it may seem. Advances in food technology have come a long way and plant-based meat and food products are just as flavourful and nutritional as the real thing.
For example, Impossible Foods—the company behind the Impossible Burger—currently offers meatless patties in the market. The patties are done so well that vegetarians find it almost “too meatlike”. And yes, it tastes like beef and makes a good substitute for it. Just on 1 July, Starbucks Singapore introduced the Impossible Rendang Pie—the first of the chain’s plant-based food offerings in Singapore—as part of their limited-time Shiok Food Menu which celebrates local flavours. Elsewhere, local eateries like Park Bench Deli, Cut by Wolfgang Puck, Violet Oon Singapore Satay Bar & Grill, the Prive group, and PS. Cafe have dishes featuring Impossible meat on their menus. Beyond Meat is another company offering plant-based food products and can even be purchased from Cold Storage or Lazada Singapore.
You don’t have to worry about not getting your recommended daily protein intake as there are plenty of non-meat food products that can give you that. Some options include quinoa, tofu, buckwheat, hemp seeds, chia seeds, rice, and beans. As a rule of thumb, opt for products made from beans and peas, soy, nuts, seeds and eggs.
Cut down meat gradually
The best way to ease yourself into this new diet is to start slow. You can try going meatless once a week (check out the Meatless Monday campaign for tips and recipes) or if going without meat for a full day seems too daunting, you can also try having one meatless meal in a day and working your way from there.
Try a flexitarian diet
You can also adopt a flexitarian diet where you eat mostly plant-based foods with meat, poultry and fish in moderation. Aside from eating less meat and animal products, the flexitarian diet also encourages reduced intake of added sugars and sweets, processed meats, refined carbs and fast food. And when eating meat, try not to overindulge, your meat serving shouldn’t take up more than a quarter of your plate and fruits and vegetables should take up half of it.
Plan your meals ahead of time
Another way to ensure that you are mindful of what you are eating is to meal prep. Planning your meat-free meals sets you up for balanced meals through the week and can help you save time, keep within your budget and experience less stress over your meals. There are many helpful sites online offering a wide range of meat-free meal prep recipes that you can try out.
Check out these eateries offering plant-based food and beverages near your workplace!
Afterglow by Anglow 24 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089131
Fill A Pita 3 Pickering Street #01-29 Nankin Row, China Street, Singapore 048660
Greendot 1 Raffles Place #03-23/24, Singapore 048616
Jewel Coffee Various locations
Khansama Tandoori Village 87 Science Park Drive, Oasis Singapore Science Park 1, #02-01 Singapore 118260
Komala’s 30 Raffles Place, Chevron House B1-06, Singapore 048622
SaladStop! Various locations
Starbucks Various locations
Vegan Bowl 3 Pickering Street #01-39, Singapore 048660
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