Have you ever heard of the term ‘Meatless Monday’? The initiative encourages people to eat no meat for one day of the week (note: it doesn’t have to be a Monday), and it’s been gaining some serious traction in Singapore. It all began in 2003 in the United States, before spreading to Australia and Belgium. Singapore then got on board as well, as more and more people became aware of the many benefits that eating less meat can have for your health and overall wellbeing. Institutions in Singapore are also hopping on board the bandwagon, with Kampung Senang, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital and Yale-NUS College all promoting their own meat-free eating initiatives.
So, what’s all the fuss about? Why are more and more people adopting a meat-free way of eating? As Singaporeans, we traditionally love our meat, with each person consuming an average of 71kg of meat each year or around 200 grams a day - much higher than the global averages.
With this in mind, let’s explore some of the benefits for lessening our consumption of meat and stocking up on alternative sources of protein, fruit and vegetables.
What are some of the benefits of eating meatless meals?
Reducing our meat intake as a society has many benefits for our bodies, our wallets and the environment.
A research paper by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in the US found that a vegetarian diet may provide health benefits including the prevention of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Not only is going vegetarian better for our health by reducing the risk of these illnesses, but removing meat from our diets has a massive global economic impact by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and minimising the use of land clearing for agriculture.
Singaporeans have been adding more vegetables and plant-based proteins to our diets for some time now, or simply reducing our daily or weekly intake of meat. Known as ‘reducetarians’, followers of this diet actively reduce their intake of meat, dairy and eggs at every meal; or even adopt a fully plant-based diet one day a week. This allows people to enjoy the meat they do have, whilst lowering carbon emissions and adopting a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. It is also an effective way to get used to switching to a vegetarian diet, before fully removing meat from your consumption.
Adopting a vegetarian diet also has weight-loss benefits, with many vegetarians reporting that they no longer need to monitor calories or watch what they eat due to the low fat, high protein offerings they tend to choose once removing meat from their diet. Animal proteins tend to have higher levels of saturated fat and are lower in fibre; making digestion sluggish and cholesterol levels higher than average. By replacing these proteins with vegetable proteins that have higher fibre contents, your metabolism gets an extra charge whilst you draw from the good, essential nutrients.
It may seem like eliminating meat for one meal a week won’t do much, but it actually does! Whilst you may not see immediate positive environmental changes; you’ll definitely see changes to your waistline.
What to put in a meatless meal?
To make up the bulk of necessary protein once meat has been removed from the meal, protein-filled vegetables such as spinach, or alternatives to meat protein like tofu, tempeh or falafel tend to make up the majority of vegetarian-based dishes.
Not only can meatless meals be just as healthy, but just as delicious too! It is a common qualm for those still on the fence about making the switch that giving up meat means giving up flavour, and this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Meat alternatives such as Quorn products offer similar texture and taste to their meat-filled counterparts, and with just a few adaptations to your usual recipes; you can easily go meatless without compromising on taste or feel like you’re missing something from your dinner plate. Quorn mince can be substituted for meat mince in dishes like stir fry, whilst Quorn fillets can be used to make delicious skewers and kebabs that taste even better than the real thing and come with all the aforementioned benefits.
Embracing vegetarianism for your health and the environment
If you’re ready to make the change to Meatless Mondays or make the switch to vegetarianism altogether; Quorn products are a delicious and easy way to start your transition. Vegetarians, flexitarians and reducetarians all over Singapore can rejoice at Quorn’s delicious meatless options, now available for a retailer near you.