Reduce meat, dairy products … we are more and more convinced of the merits of this approach for our health and that of the planet. But in practice, how do we do it? Explanations.
A little change in habit can make the difference! This is what Suzy Amis Cameron, the initiator of the movement “One Meal a Day”, whose objective is to promote a new relationship with food to boost health and do good, says. the planet. In her latest book “A vegan meal a day” (Marabout edition), she explains her philosophy while giving her advice on how to live the transition without frustration and find equivalences to meat and all products from the animal world. And finally, if we give ourselves the time, it’s within everyone’s reach!
Change at your own pace
- Prioritize your decisions depending on what has the most immediate impact. Any transition to vegetable protein at the expense of meat and dairy can make a huge difference. That’s why you don’t have to be 100% vegan to have an impact. As Brian Kateman of the Reducetarian Foundation points out, “Going from two servings of meat a day to one has as much impact as going from one to zero.”
- Approach meat like a cigarette. You can stop eating meat the same way some people quit smoking. Start with a meal when you don’t “really” need it, in the evening for example. And also avoid small nibbles like the aperitif sausage or the extra slice of cheese slipped into a sandwich.
- Find a partner : it’s easier to get in pairs or with your partner or friend to share recipes, brainstorm alternatives and stay motivated. If you’re solo, seek support on social media from people with the same mindset as you.
Gently adapt your palate
At the start, avoid transforming your favorite dishes or beware of frustration. If you love pizza for example, switching to the veggie and faux-mage version can be difficult as you may find that it’s not worth “the queen” or the “4 cheeses”. First try to restrict the minced meat because “it’s the easiest to imitate”, says Suzy Amis Cameron.
- Tips from the expert :“Add some chopped vegetables to chili, lasagna or tacos. To stop the beef gently, start by replacing a quarter of the meat in the recipe with a vegetable substitute, then half … before switching to the full version. Another option: reduce meats according to their environmental footprints. Beef is replaced with pork, then pork with chicken, chicken with egg, egg with salmon, salmon with tofu or dry beans. “Replacing beef with chicken cuts land use by 80% and greenhouse gas emissions by 90%. “ says Suzy Amis Cameron.
Focus on quality
Since vegan dishes don’t use butter, cheese … so many foods rich in flavor and texture, there are other ways to simmer. Suzy Amis Cameron offers to opt for quality ingredients: a good extra virgin olive oil, different vinegars for wine, cider, balsamic …, fleur de sel, freshly ground pepper … And buy “fresh “as often as possible by providing you with local producers, Amap … in order to have more tasty and vitamin-rich vegetables and fruits.
They are essential for health because they provide so-called “essential” amino acids because the body does not manufacture them. Meat, fish and eggs provide them all. Only certain plant products contain them all, such as soy products and quinoa. However, it takes a lot of quinoa (almost 500g) to obtain the same amount of total protein as 100g of meat. Other foods such as legumes and whole grains only partially provide these precious amino acids, so to cover the entire spectrum, they must be combined with meals (or eat them separately during the day) because the lack of amino acids of some (in lysine) compensates for the deficiency of others (in methionine). Good duets: semolina and chickpeas, red beans and corn, rice and lentils…
- And to boost protein, add 30 to 60g of edamame (soya beans), chickpeas, white beans to your mixed salads, spread hummus (5 tablespoons) in a sandwich, serve black bean chili with rice… And eat nuts. “It’s my secret weapon because almonds, pistachios, cashews, macadamia … are rich in protein and good fats, says Suzy Amis Cameron. They are excellent substitutes for animal products during the period of transition … but without abuse because they bring a lot of calories. ”
Forget the milk
Vegetable drinks, soy, rice, almonds are in fashion but do not hesitate to vary with new flavors. Those with hemp, pea proteins or cashews … can also be used in smoothies, latte and other hot drinks, in cooking, baking or added in coffee or cereals. To avoid lack of calcium, opt for vegetable drinks enriched with calcium.
Treat yourself to fresh vegetables
They will become the stars of your plates! Eliminating ingredients of animal origin is giving way to vegetables but also fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and cereals. “Vary the colors, the textures, the presentations”, recommend Suzy Amis Cameron. Among his tips: as a starter, start with a giant salad with small bowls of sauce: guacamole, hummus, vegan sauce … Or create a vegetable base, then garnish it with different flavors: cut a cooked sweet potato in half in water or in the oven, then add sauteed or grilled vegetables on top. Be creative!
As we can see, there is no shortage of ideas to reduce the consumption of animal products! It remains to take action. As with smoking cessation, decide on a “D” day and, if you fall in the way for a “real” steak, no need to feel guilty. Immediately resume your new eating resolutions. Again, as with cigarettes, the road can be fraught with pitfalls. Seek support and be sure you will get there eventually.
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