To reduce meat without running out of protein and iron, one must know how to compensate and adopt new reflexes to compose the dish differently.
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If prime rib is less popular, vegetarians and hardcore vegans represent only 2.5 % of the French population. On the other hand, the number of flexitarians is sky high.
Now, almost 23 million people (source: Xerfi cabinet) have reduced meat.
A phenomenon that is part of a much broader approach: nutricology, according to the term of Christian Remesy, a farmer-researcher and nutritionist.
This means less meat, but also less refined sugars, pesticides, processed foods… This reflects a profound change in our food choices.
Proceed in stages
When you eat Grandma’s veal blanquette, it’s not easy to set aside your family traditions. In order to commit, you have to establish a rule of conduct according to your consumption so that you do not feel frustrated.
For example: if you eat meat or meat by-products (ham, pate…) twice a day, you can start by reserving it for lunch and opt for fish, eggs or vegetables for dinner…
An effort that is already paying off at the digestive and cardiovascular levels!
If you are less addicted to chops, you can choose “one day without” during the week, why not on Monday (since you often eat well at the weekend) according to the “Monday without meat” movement, or you can eat meat every other day.
Balancing the proteins
A protein is said to be “balanced” when it provides the eight essential amino acids that the body cannot produce and must be provided by the diet.
This is the case of meat, fish, eggs… but also of quinoa and soy! To obtain your quota on “meatless” days, it is enough to combine at meals (or to consume separately during the day) legumes and whole grains because the lack of amino acids of some (in lysine) compensates the deficiency of others (in methionine).
Among the good duos to enjoy: brown rice / lentils, semolina / chickpeas, red beans / corn.
Furthermore, “it is also important for a balanced diet to diversify the intake of proteins, advises Véronique Beck, dietician-nutritionist and author of “Reducing Meat Consumption, Let’s Go!
So try, innovate, have fun! For example, incorporating hemp or lupine flour in your cakes”.
Adopting appropriate benchmarks
The average protein requirement is calculated according to weight: it counts as 1g per kilogram of body weight. Thus, a woman who weighs 60 kg needs 60g of protein per day. Typical alternatives for a day without meat are: .
- Breakfast: 1 hot drink + 2 slices of wholemeal bread + 40g Emmenthal + 20g unsalted almonds
- Lunch: raw vegetables + 100g of fish OR 100g of cooked shrimps OR 120g of soya fillet + cooked vegetables + 1 starchy food (rice, pasta, bulgur…) + 1 slice of wholemeal bread + 1 natural fromage blanc
- Dinner: 200g cooked lentils + 200g quinoa + 1 tablespoon sesame seeds OR 150g tofu OR 3 eggs + cooked vegetables + 1 seasonal fruit
According to Véronique Beck, if the iron in plants is less assimilated during digestion
There are however tricks to avoid the lack of iron, like having the sesame reflex (which are real little iron bombs!) to add it to raw vegetables or squeeze a lemon juice on fish and/or make a citrus fruit crunch for dessert, because the vitamin C multiplies by ten the absorption of this trace element.
But one tip: drink your tea, coffee or hot chocolate two hours before or after eating vegetables, otherwise these drinks undermine iron absorption.
Make your veggie burgers
Vegetable burgers available on the market are not always an alternative to meat because they are usually low in protein, except for those containing tofu, “which are however completed with a slice of cheese,” says Véronique Beck.
The expert’s good homemade recipe: a base of legumes (lentils, beans, chickpeas) to mix with boulghur or quinoa, as well as grated vegetables and an egg.
Don’t abuse soybeans
Some studies believe that soy has a protective effect against cancer, others advise against it because of its phytoestrogens, similar to female hormones, which may pose a risk in the case of breast or ovarian cancer treatment.
As a precautionary measure, Véronique Beck suggests varying the sources of vegetable proteins by alternating tofu or tempeh or miso… and legumes, cereals, oil seeds, seeds, and not exceeding two soy products once a week, such as 100g of tofu + 1 soy dessert.
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