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What to replace meat: recommendations for vegetarians and vegans

Than to replace meat:

The relatively high popularity of vegetarianism in recent years makes many people look for what can replace meat from which they refuse.Nutritionists, of course, do not recommend to exclude meat food completely, but in fact without it it is possible to live, if not forget about the main rule of healthy nutrition - the balance of nutrients.

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Benefits and harms of meat

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Benefits and harm of meat Contrary to popular belief, a person does not belong to either herbivorous or "fruit-eating" creatures.We are omnivorous, our body is adapted to consume any food, both vegetable and animal.That's why we need products of animal origin.

Meat contains a large amount of biologically valuable protein, in which there are all essential amino acids.In meat several times more vitamins of group B, it contains animal fat and cholesterol, which many are afraid of, but which is needed by the human body.Meat food is rich in extractives that can increase appetite, stimulate the digestive glands.Finally, it is in meat that the greatest amount of iron is contained, and in the form in which it is absorbed best.It is no coincidence that in the old days, people treated with anemia were given meat and liver.

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However, there are meat and flaws.Cholesterol in it really can be a lot, and because of this, the reception of animal food by people suffering from atherosclerosis, should be limited.Extractive substances - this is not what you need to be obese.It is more important for people to reduce their appetite, which is difficult to achieve with the help of meat.Red meat and by-products( liver, kidneys, heart, tongue, etc.) also increase the level of uric acid in the body.And this is a direct harm to health with gout.

Do not forget about the oncogeneity of red meat, especially in the form of sausages.A recent World Health Organization report directly "blames" these products in increasing the risk of colon cancer.Obviously, replacing meat with something safer is a reasonable step.But what is, if you exclude from the diet beef, pork, poultry?
Meat substitutes

"Animals" meat substitutes

If a vegetarian is not principled in his beliefs and refuses only meat, he has plenty of opportunities to replace meat with other animal products.

Milk and dairy products

The amino acid composition is the closest to meat made from whole milk curd.It contains 15% of a high-grade protein that fully meets the needs of the human body, as well as a large amount of calcium, phosphorus and B-group vitamins.In addition, curd has a number of substances( choline, methionine, etc.), interfering with the development of atherosclerosis.Low-fat cottage cheese( the so-called "lean" with a fat content of 0.5%) is even more useful, since an exceptionally small amount of saturated fatty acids in it is combined with a sufficiently high protein load.

Substitutes-meat1 A high concentration of nutrients is also found in cheeses.25% protein, 25-30% fat - this is an approximate qualitative composition of good cheese( unfortunately, recently it is quite difficult to meet this on the shelves of stores).

Any sour milk drink can serve, if not a full replacement for meat, then a good addition to vegetarian vegetarian diet( to be precise - lactovegetarian ).The missing amino acids can easily be obtained from a glass of milk, kefir, curdled milk, etc.


All nutritionists recognize the egg whites as ideal.It has all the necessary amino acids, it is 97-98% absorbed by the body, if you only use it - cholesterol does not enter the digestive system, as it is contained in the yolk.Protein omelets are an integral part of a variety of therapeutic diets.That's why eggs can be a great substitute for meat.

Fish and seafood

This category includes various representatives of the animal world that lives in water.The protein contained in the fish, in its composition is not inferior to meat.A serious advantage of fish is that it is better than meat, is absorbed due to the low content of poorly digested connective tissue.

The nutritional value of fish is also high due to the high content of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in many of its varieties.These substances are extremely important for the processes occurring in the body, have anti-inflammatory effect, suppress the growth of "bad" cholesterol.It is no accident that in countries with traditionally high fish consumption, the level of atherosclerosis is relatively low.

Fish is rich in microelements: potassium, magnesium, and most importantly - phosphorus, which is indispensable for maintaining bone strength.In addition, it contains many vitamins, especially group B, and in the liver of many fish - high content of vitamins A, D, E.

Vegetable meat substitutes

The above products were suitable for those who refuse only meat.However, there is a category of vegetarians who completely ignore any food of animal origin, regardless of whether the animal was killed for its receipt or not.Such people are called vegans or by the VITarians .It is somewhat more difficult for them to choose a full replacement for meat, as neither vegetables, nor fruits, nor cereals individually contain a full set of proteins.However, with the right selection of a diet, vegans can get everything they need from plants.

Vegetable Meat Replacements


This category of plants includes beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, soybeans, beans, and also mistakenly considered a peanut nut.They contain a lot of vegetable protein, which is well absorbed by the body.The majority of legumes is a fairly high content of carbohydrates, which cause bloating.Peanuts also contain a large amount of fat, and this should be taken into account in the case of combating obesity.Another disadvantage of legumes is the lack of methionine in them.

Separately, you should talk about soy.This plant is incredibly high in protein, in its composition as close as possible to the animal.Soy isolates, tofu, natto, miso, soy milk - all these products can become a valuable substitute for any meat product.

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In this category of plants, you can include all those products from which various cereals are made - rice, oats, barley, wheat, corn, buckwheat.The latter is considered an ideal cereal, since it contains the greatest amount of protein.Oatmeal is also very useful, but due to the relatively high content of fat in it, it should not be made the main cereal in the diet of a vegetarian.

The lack of essential amino acids makes cereals an inferior substitute for meat.The way out here can be cooking with the addition of soy milk enriched with vitamins - this will get a complete set of amino acids, as well as meet the need for calcium, which is also lacking in cereals.


Vegetarians consider nuts to be an exceptionally protein-rich product.However, even a superficial analysis of sites devoted to the abandonment of meat shows that their knowledge is limited.But despite the high protein content, nuts can not provide the body with all the necessary set of amino acids.They are too little tryptophan and lysine, and without these substances, normal metabolism is impossible.However, the combination of nuts with legumes and cereals solves this problem.

Cons for abandoning meat

In fact, there is practically no minus in meat refusal, unless you switch to pure vegetarianism.Eggs, fish, dairy products can fully provide a person with absolutely all the necessary substances, including proteins, macro and microelements.

Disadvantages of giving up meat Another thing is veganism.The main problem with vegans is the lack of vitamin B12 in plant foods.On some sites it is indicated that it can be obtained from sea kale, soybean and other plants.However, this is frankly false information.Vitamin is contained only in animal food, which includes meat products( liver, kidneys), fish, shellfish.In much smaller quantities, it is found in cheese, meat, eggs, lactic acid products.

The lack of vitamin B12 in plant foods makes it biologically inferior.However, in the West they produce special vegan products artificially enriched with this substance.In our country, we can recommend to the vegans an additional intake of vitamin complexes and food supplements containing vitamin B12.

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Vegetarian food is very useful.There is a lot of evidence that vegetarians are less likely to have cardiovascular and oncological diseases, live longer and feel better.However, all this - only provided a full-fledged diet, which will provide the body with all the necessary nutrients.Without meat, such a menu is made though difficult, but it is entirely within the power of everyone.

Bozbey Gennady Andreevich, ambulance doctor

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