Moving from an omnivorous diet, containing both dairy and meat as well as vegetables, to a vegetarian or fully plant-based diet can be daunting. It’s a major change, which is why many of us turn to the comfort of our old favourite foods, and simply substitute meat or dairy for something else.
This approach can be a great way to ingratiate yourself into your new diet and slowly change the way you eat, but it can also be bad for your health if you choose processed meat alternatives instead of natural ingredients.
Processed fake meats and dairy products can be tempting, as many of them are very realistic and resemble the real thing closely. It’s perhaps no wonder, then, that the plant-based meat market is growing rapidly and has become a key player in the UK’s food industry.
Still, just because something’s popular, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for you. We firmly believe that natural ingredients are better for your well-being than processed meat alternatives, which is why we’ve made a list of some of the main benefits in this blog post.
Know What’s In Your Food
The main benefit of making your own natural foods, rather than buying pre-made vegetarian products, is that you know exactly what’s in the foods you make. Even though the food industry has evolved when it comes to transparency, it can be difficult to read and understand labels and what all the additives and other terms mean. However, if you use natural products, like paneer cheese, vegetables, lentils or homemade items like cashew cheese, you’ll know exactly what you’re eating. You can add as much or as little salt and other flavourings as you want and will always know what you’re eating.
Reduce Food Intolerances
Heavily processed foods can lead to increased intolerances to some ingredients, which can cause serious discomfort. Many fake meat products are high in salt and unnatural additives, which can cause stomach problems and lead to intolerances, which can have a significant impact on your general health and relationship with food. If you think you might be intolerant to a particular ingredient, then you can get a food intolerance test from UK Food Intolerance. Try their ultimate test to find out what you’re intolerant to and improve your gut health. You can then start incorporating more natural foods into your diet that don’t irritate your stomach and will keep you feeling full and energised for longer.
Most processed meat-like products have little nutritional value, and instead are full of salt, sugar, artificial flavourings and preservatives to make them taste like the real thing. So, you’re effectively eating a lot of empty calories if you regularly include plant-based processed meat and dairy products in your diet. On the other hand, natural products like vegetables, beans and legumes have a lot of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, which can help your general health.
Processed fake meats and other ingredients can seem like a simple way to transition away from real animal by-products. In the long-term, however, they’re not great for your body, so it’s worth using natural substitutes instead. Try to ease processed meat alternatives out of your diet and replace them with whole foods to benefit your health and make your meals more interesting.