Why Going Plant-Based (Part-Time) Is Easier Than You Think

You don’t have to be vegetarian to enjoy plant-based meals.

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Getting a little bored with your standard meat-based meal plan and curious about meatless alternatives? You don’t have to swing full vegan or vegetarian to bring more plant-based meals into your life. Instead, try the “flexitarian” approach and cheat on meat some of the time. It’s the one kind of cheating you can feel good about.

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Why should I cheat on meat?

There are two big reasons:

  • Your health: Canada’s Food Guide recommends eating a variety of protein foods each day—especially protein foods that come from plants. Why? Plant-based protein sources like beans, peas, lentils and soy tend to have more fibre and less saturated fat than animal proteins like meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy. The food guide doesn’t recommend avoiding meat entirely. It simply says that you should choose plant-based protein more of the time.

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  • The environment: Generally speaking, when meat eaters reduce their meat and dairy intake and transition to diets that contain more plant-based foods, they also reduce their carbon footprints. Why? Because the production of animal-based foods creates huge carbon emissions and uses up a lot of fresh water.

But what if I really love meat?

You don’t have to give it up! But you can find new options some of the time—and they’ll taste just as good if you do your research. Well-made meat alternatives (like the dozens of plant-based swaps from Canada’s #1 frozen meat alternative brand, Gardein)[i] taste great and have the same texture as their meat-based counterparts.

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How do I take the plunge?

Start slow. For one meal each week, replace your poultry, beef, pork or fish with a Gardein plant-based alternative. You might swap burger patties for Gardein Plant-Based Chick’n Patties, ground beef for Gardein Gluten-Free Beefless Ground or breaded haddock for Gardein Fishless Filets. Before you know it, you’ll be celebrating #MeatlessMonday and craving more plant-based foods like crabless cakes and meatless meatballs.

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What recipes should I make?

No matter your favourite dish, you can probably find a plant-based recipe to satisfy your craving. You might want to try:

 Visit gardein.ca to take the “Cheat on Meat!” quiz and find your meatless match and enter for your chance to win a year’s supply of Gardein plant-based products. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends May 31, 2021. See gardein.ca for Official Rules and details.

[1] Nielsen MarketTrack NATIONAL EXCL NFLD GB +DR +MM l Latest 52 Weeks | Period Ending WE November 28, 2020

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Originally Published in Best Health Canada