Plant-based meats are beginning to make an impact on the earth and for animal welfare. When people eat plant-based meats, they help significantly reduce the negative impacts on the environment that are attributed to livestock factory farming and they will not be supporting the mistreatment of animals. Vegan “meats” can be a great alternative to animal meat, and they are becoming more convincing for meat-eaters every year.
One of the companies at the forefront of the plant-based meat industry is Tara Haddad, the Founder and CEO of Modern Meat. The Canadian company produces a wide variety of plant-based meat products, including a ground crumble, gyoza appetizers, ‘crab’ cakes, Mediterranean-style meatballs, and burgers, as well as a line of vegan sauces.
Tara Haddad explores four healthy ingredients that are found in plant-based meats, explaining why each one is a great choice for every consumer.
1. Pea Protein
Pea protein is one of the major ingredients included in Modern Meat’s lineup of offerings. Pea protein is made of yellow peas and is typically used to increase protein content. It is great for any diet because it is hypoallergenic and vegan. It is also a great source of iron. It aids heart health, weight loss, and muscle growth. Compared to other plant-based proteins, pea protein is one of the most digestible.
Pea protein contains the nine essential amino acids that your body cannot make on its own and must consume as part of your diet. It is a good source of branched-chain amino acids, in particular arginine, which promotes excellent heart health and blood flow, and three amino acids that promote muscle growth: valine, isoleucine, and leucine.
Pea protein also contains high levels of iron. The protein contains about 30 to 40 percent of the pre-menopausal woman’s daily requirements and 60 to 90 percent of the requirements for postmenopausal women and men.
The iron in pea protein is harder to absorb than the iron found in animal products, but this is easily remedied by consuming vitamin C-rich foods like citrus along with the pea protein.
While seitan is not suitable for people with celiac or gluten sensitivities since it is made from wheat gluten, it is a great meat alternative for most people who want to cut down on their consumption of animal products.
Seitan is high in proteins and minerals. It is also low in fat and carbohydrates. The starch normally found in wheat flour is washed out during the process of making seitan. A 3-ounce portion of seitan contains as much protein as the same amount of chicken or beef.
Seitan is very high in protein, but it is missing one amino acid that keeps it from being a complete protein. Vegans and vegetarians can easily make up for this by eating foods that are high in lysine, such as beans.
3. Beet Juice
Beet juice is often used to produce a “meat-like” color in plant-based meat substitutes. The ingredient has many vital nutritional benefits that should not be overlooked. Beet juice may lower blood pressure. This is due to its natural nitrate content, helping to relax and widen blood vessels.
Beet juice may slow the progress of dementia, increasing blood flow in the brain. Beet juice is a great option for healthy drinks and smoothies because it can help to maintain a healthy weight. Beets are high in antioxidants, meaning that they can potentially protect people from certain types of cancer. Beets are an excellent source of potassium, other minerals, and folate. It also supports liver health.
4. Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast is commonly used as a flavoring agent in plant-based meats because it has the “umami” or savory flavor that many meat-eaters miss when they turn to a plant-based diet. Yeast extract also has many important health benefits.
Nutritional yeast, unlike baker’s yeast and brewer’s yeast, is specifically grown to be used in food products. It has a savory, nutty, or cheesy flavor.
Nutritional yeast is a complete protein, containing all nine basic amino acids. It is also a great source of B vitamins and trace minerals. In one tablespoon of nutritional years, there are 2 grams of protein and 30 to 180 percent of a person’s daily recommended intake of B vitamins. Nutritional yeast is also high in zinc, manganese, molybdenum, and selenium. These trace minerals are involved in immunity, growth, metabolism, and gene regulation.
Nutritional yeast is especially important for vegans, who are sometimes deficient in vitamin B12. Choosing a fortified type of nutritional yeast is best because it contains more B vitamins.
The Health Benefits of Plant-Based Meat
Plant-based meat is lower in fat than animal meat, and ounce for ounce, it contains just as much protein and nutrients. Modern Meat produces high-quality plant-based meat products that both vegans and meat-eaters can enjoy. Tara Haddad believes that the wave of the future is vegan meat, and her company will continue to expand its product line and bring healthy vegan meat products to the masses.