A survey on sustainability in Portugal showed that more than half of Portuguese are willing to reduce meat consumption. In the midst of this transition, doubts arise about vegetarian meat, the properties of vegetarianism and many other issues.
Developed by researchers from the Institute of Social Sciences (ICS) of the University of Lisbon, the study shows that more than half (50.6%) of respondents expressed willingness to reduce meat consumption and to follow a plant-based diet (45.1%).
About half (46.6%) were available to pay more for meat from more sustainable production methods. But how is vegetarian meat? How to follow this healthier lifestyle. Continue reading and understand!
What is vegetarian meat or vegetable meat?
Vegetarian meat is a product made from plant proteins such as soy, pea, beetroot, chickpeas, among others. Most vegetable meat producers seek to mimic beef in appearance, texture and flavor, but it doesn’t always have to be that way.
At Cheeky Leeks, for example, we produce vegetarian meat in a handmade way. The texture and flavor are incomparable, delicious and do not even need to have the taste of meat. After all, it is possible to delight in a veggie burger without it even looking like a beef. Try new flavors and be a surprise!
However, there are those who like the taste of beef, but seek the plant-based option to lessen animal suffering. For these cases, it is possible to find options of vegetarian meats that “imitate” beef.
Is there a difference between animal and vegetable protein?
In nature, there are 20 types of amino acids that form proteins. Most of these amino acids, our body can produce, but 9 of them need to rely on the help of food.
Called essential amino acids, these 9 types can be found in fish, beef, poultry and dairy products such as milk and cheese.
You can also find the essential amino acids in vegetables, but the big difference is that you need to combine some vegetables to acquire all the necessary nutrients. Soy, quinoa and chickpeas, however, offer all essential amino acids, as well as meats of animal origin.
This means that it is a myth to state that the proteins that our body needs are only found in animal foods. There are vegetables capable of replacing meat and maintaining the necessary proteins, such as soy meat.
Benefits of Vegetarian Meat
Among the main benefits of vegetarian meat is the fact that it is a healthier option for your health. They do not have saturated fats that can raise cholesterol like beef, for example.
In addition, vegetable meat is also the best option for the environment since agriculture is one of the main causes of greenhouse gas emissions and water and energy consumption. That is, the less meat people consume, the better for the environment. Not to mention that fewer animals may suffer during the process.
Nevertheless, it is necessary to be aware of the origin of the vegetable hamburger. Some producers include dyes and fats to make vegetable meat more like animal meat. So run away from the industrialized. Prefer really healthy, manual and handcrafted options to consume a product that will really be beneficial to you.
Why did vegetable meat become so popular?
A study coordinated by researchers Luísa Schmidt and Mónica Truninger indicates that animal products (such as meat and fish) still occupy a central position in the main meals of the Portuguese.
These people believe that keeping animal meat in their meals is a way to keep them adequate.
On the other hand, it was possible to notice a predisposition to reduce meat consumption and adopt a plant-based diet.
Among the main reasons for a vegetarian diet, according to the researchers, are health, attention to food waste and the use of hormones in animals.
According to the survey, in fact, 5% of respondents already follow a plant-based diet – seven or more plant-based meals for lunch or dinner in a regular week for a total of 14 possible meals.
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