What are meat alternatives?
So you’ve decided you want to try give vegetarianism or veganism a try. Whether it be for animal welfare, health or environmental concerns there’s a range of alternatives to using animal meat in your cooking.
Known as “mock meat”, “meat alternatives” or “meat analogues”, the demand for these products is set to become a $5.17 billion industry by 2020 (according to a report from Markets and Markets). The Asia Pacific market looking to have the most growth as people become more aware of the issues surrounding health and livestock farming. Mock meat is usually made from soya or a product called seitan which is made from wheat gluten. You can find alternatives for beef, pork, chicken, lamb, and seafood in a variety of shapes and sizes - sausages, burgers, nuggets, cutlets, fillets and even shaped as the products you enjoy if you want to make it as realistic as possible. In Sri Lanka there are many options if you wish to replace the meat with a plant based ones.
- Supersun - This brand makes a range of frozen products such as “fish” nuggets and hot dogs. Vegans will need to check the ingredients though, most of the products contain cows milk protein but there are vegan versions made with a soy milk protein. Just fry up with a little oil and use as you would the meat version.
- Packeted Soya Meat - Sri Lanka is fantastic for its diverse array of soya meat, which is made from TVP (textured vegetable protein, basically a dehydrated soy flour based product). The instructions are on the box but basically you rehydrate it in water or vegetable stock until it’s absorbed the liquid. You can then add the flavor sachet that comes with the product (these are usually full of nasty additives though) or instead you could cook with your own fresh herbs and spices such as roasted chilli, garlic and soya sauce.. Once you have the marinated soy meat you can then use it to make short eats, in sandwiches, pasta sauces, curries, noodles or eat with rice and a side of luna miris.
- Mili Mock Duck - There’s canned mock duck made out of seitan available in the international sections of the supermarket here in Sri Lanka. It’s great to use in a laksa or Chinese inspired dishes.
- Lentils - If you want to more away from such a processed food you can use regular lentils (or gram) in replace of meat in dishes, especially things like pasta. Soak the lentils and cook in a tomato based sauce with herbs and spices for a super healthy alternative.
What are the benefits of switching to a plant based options?
- It’s high in protein - The Lanka Soy Minced Mix is a 70 gram pack has about 33g of protein. According to Harvard Medical School, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is a 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For example, I weigh 50kg so I need roughly 40g a day which is easily achieved.
- It’s low in fat and doesn’t contain cholesterol.
- It’s cheaper! - You can find varieties starting at 35 rupees right up to 500 rupees depending on your budget.
- It’s better for the environment. Soya and wheat are easy crop to grow and use less water to produce than the farming of animals.
- You’ll save animals! - The average person eats roughly 10 animals (including sea animals) a month, by leaving them off the table in replace of a mock meat you’ll earn some good karma by leaving our furry friends off your plate.
There are so many delicious recipes online, why don’t you try a meat-free meal today?