It’s true; we could all probably use more green on our plates. And not just for our bodies, but also for this big, beautiful, blue globe we’re all living on.
A global shift to a plant-based diet could reduce mortality and greenhouse gases caused by food production by 10% and 70%, respectively, by 2050, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
Plant-based diets have faced scrutiny before, with critics questioning the environmental impact of producing meat-mimicking foods. But there is a crucial fact that must be distinguished in the debate. Vegan and vegetarian diets do, in fact, contribute positively to causes such as farm animal welfare and sustainability. Where we need Sherlock Holmes is in examining the agricultural practices of the large companies who are primarily responsible for producing the consumer world’s fruits and vegetables. Businesses and farms that promote sustainable farming methods, such as urban agriculture or biodynamic farming, are not efforts to overlook. These practices promote a healthy ecosystem and reduce negative impacts on human and animal health. And not every plant-based farm is on board with helping out Mama Earth that way.
So, we should stay conscious about our plant-based foods as well, but let’s not forget the current state of affairs in our food system. According to the ASPCA®, the vast majority of animals raised for food in the U.S. live in cruel factory farms. Within these facilities, the animals are routinely confined indoors in spaces so small and barren they cannot freely roam or engage in natural behavior. Integrating more plant-based foods in your diet can decrease the number of animals raised on factory farms each year, ultimately reducing farm animal suffering. In fact, we know that if everyone stopped eating meat even one day a week, it would save billions of animals from being raised under the horrific conditions that are the reality of industrial factory farms.
Plus, incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet is a great way to help out the environment and your body. Research shows that vegan and vegetarian diets reduce the risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. But, if I do say so myself, these plant-based foods for your Meatless Monday dinner menu could fool even the most devout meat lover.
Whether you’re interested in putting my bold claim to the test (bring it on), incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet, or want to give the vegan and vegetarian lifestyle a go, start here. They may just plant a seed of new cravings.
The following plant-based products are included in the ASPCA®’s Shop With Your Heart program’
If you love sausage
Chorizo is known for its mouth-watering, spicy, and smoky flavor, which is something you most certainly do not have to sacrifice should you go the plant-based route. Abbot Butcher’s plant-based chorizo is made with pea protein, vegetables, herbs, spices, EVOO, and vinegar. The best part? You’ll recognize every ingredient on the label. How often does that happen?
If you don’t already know, Beyond Meat is slaying the game in the world of plant-based foods, so much so that their meat-less products have made it into restaurants throughout the U.S. A fan favorite? Plant-based dinner sausage. Pair it with your favorite Italian dish on Meatless Monday, and you’ll be surprised how much it tastes like the real thing. If you like spicy, they also offer a hot Italian sausage option which received over 4,000 rave reviews on Amazon.
If you love chicken
No, really, it actually tastes like chicken. If you love yourself a good chicken sandwich and want the vegan edition, you’re in (c)luck. This plant-based chicken patty satisfies your meat craving, all while promoting animal welfare and sustainability with its plant-based ingredients.
A good chicken nugget is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, and these plant-based chicken nuggets are just that.
If you love burgers
Ah, the burger. Arguably one of the biggest reasons why devout meat-eaters claim they can’t go vegan or vegetarian (well, at least that’s what my Midwest family says). The bar is no doubt high, but consumers have spoken, and Gardein’s vegan burgers deliver. These plant-based patties are made with beans, vegetables, and authentic chipotle seasoning. Pro tip: crumble them up, and they’re a perfect addition to tacos.
This veggie-packed burger makes getting all of your greens in for the day deliciously easy. The plant-based burgers are made with whole-grain millet, sweet potato, leafy greens, beets, and carrots, making them 100% vegan. Hilary’s “free-from” approach — no wheat, gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, corn, nuts, additives, or artificial ingredients — keeps their plant-powered products clean.
If you love deli meat
Can’t give up those artisan lunchtime subs? You don’t have to with these vegan deli slices. The taste and texture mimic that of real turkey and fool even the most devout meat-eaters.
If Reubens are regulars on your menu, you have a vegan alternative option. The vegan corned beef is made with beets, chickpeas, tomatoes, and a complex spice blend with no food colorings, additives, or preservatives. Unreal Deli was created by Shark Tank contestant Jenny Goldfarb, and her plant-based deli “meat” has gained popularity in groceries, delis, and sandwich chains.
Want to shop more plant-based products and discover how your dollar is making a difference? Get Consciously today!