All animal-lovers and veggie fanatics rejoiced when meatless Monday became a trendy way to eat – and it’s a trend that stayed, nonetheless! The arguments in favour of veggieful dinners have arisen from a combination of factors, including the environmental sustainability of growing plants versus cultivating livestock for meat and the medical concerns linked to animal meat and its by-products on our health. Going full-on vegetarian or vegan may be a bit of a stretch for some of us, so it’s been simplified to dedicating one day a week to eating your way to wellness with an environmental conscience. Another perk thereof? Sidestepping the sometimes costly price of meat. Let us show you how.
By Jana du Plessis
First off, in order to gain the benefits of eating meatless meals, you would have to open up to the idea of only having veggies to eat for a whole day. As South Africans, we usually plan our meals around the protein and this sort of thinking can be a difficult habit to break. The trick is to learn about the plant-based protein sources out there. Beans and lentils are high in the muscle-building stuff, and they contain plenty of fibre to fill you up and keep you satisfied long after your meal has ended. Nuts and seeds also contain protein, but they are high in fat, so it’s best to reserve these for sprinkling and snacking.
You are probably worried that the texture of vegetables just wouldn’t stand up to that of meat, but don’t be too quick to judge. Mushrooms are wonderfully meaty and lentils mimic minced meat almost identically. If you’re really daring, try making your own baby marrow or brinjal bacon and the BLT will forever be taken to the next level of flavour! The main thing is to not focus on the lack of meat, but shifting perspective to the abundance of vegetables available.
When doing your Monday veggie shopping, you’ll soon find your basket overflowing with nutrient-dense food without your wallet shrinking. If you are still unsure as to what to buy or how to prepare it, we’ll set you off with some of our favourite meat-free meals to help you eat well, save money and care for the environment.
And here they are: