If you like eating meat, the thought of not eating meat can be a hard one to swallow. What could possibly replace a Chicken Tikka takeaway on a Friday night, a tender fillet steak that’s cooked to perfection, or a home-cooked cottage pie on a cold wintery evening?
You may be surprised to hear that clients of mine who experiment with vegan meals often report that the food is not only delicious – it’s satisfying and leaves them feeling healthier than they’ve been in years.
The New Nordic Recommendations are a summary of the findings from the most comprehensive study on health and nutrition in Europe. A key suggestion they make is to balance your intake of protein from animal sources with plant sources. That’s because decreasing your intake of animal products is linked with a decreased risk of chronic disease and a greater ability to maintain a healthy weight into old age.
And guess what? You can enjoy a curry, burger or cottage pie and still be vegan! Healthy vegans enjoy a wide range of foods, many of which have a similar texture to meat and provide a good source of protein and other important nutrients too – like tofu, beans, tempeh and Quorn Vegan.
Just to give you a taste of some of the other kinds of health benefits you could expect, a recent review of soy products suggested that the isoflavones in soy may be helpful for managing symptoms of menopause, and may help to prevent against some forms of breast cancer and heart disease. Tempeh is a fermented and less processed form of soy, and offers even more protein and fibre which are associated with improved body composition and digestive health. Beans and lentils are a good source of soluble fibre, and a couple of servings a week are associated with healthier levels of cholesterol in your blood.
You don’t have to be completely vegan either – just a few meat-free meals a week can make a big difference. Have a quick look at this tasty Deconstruction Burger and this creamy Korma on Veganuary.com, and I’m sure you’ll be inspired to start today.
Fiona Campbell – www.fionacampbellnutrition.com
Fiona is a Registered Naturopath and Nutritionist, committed to taking the mystery out of healthy eating and staying young and fit for longer. A TV/Radio presenter and health writer, who is regularly featured on Sky News, Fiona has been learning and working in health since her first science project on vitamin C at the age of 11!