Metrolife: Campaign promotes meat-free May

Consuming legumes, nuts and seeds for protein is considered healthy during summer.

For those who thought fads occurred only in the fashion industry, think again. The latest food fad is going meat-free and consuming vegetarian options like legumes, nuts and seeds. Along with this comes a global campaign, ‘No Meat May’, which aims to end factory farming, improve one’s health and feed the world. 

With the temperatures soaring, fitness and health experts in the city say that it is a good idea to stay off meat and switch to vegetarian alternatives. Rajashri Agasthya, a food blogger and fitness freak, says, “From biryanis and elaborate meat preparations to chickpea salads and ‘paneer barbeque’, the switch has made me feel lighter and healthier. It is a quite a challenge to fight the craving and an ardent meat lover can feel that they are not satiated but replacing one’s dietary needs with the right amount of nuts, legumes and milk products will do the trick.” 

With a large section of Bengalureans eating out, and the packaging and treatment of meat preparations not being up to quality health standards often, medical experts like Dr Shalini Joshi, internal medicine consultant, Fortis Hospitals, opines that a diet switch will work well.

“We are a carbohydrate-eating country and such options work best for summer. A lot of stress is given to minerals and vitamins during summers as one doesn’t need a lot of calories during summer,” she says.

She adds, “Switching to only nuts, pulses and legumes could affect a meat-lover psychologically as he or she might not feel full. But if the diet is balanced, there will be no side-effects at all.”

Ranjani Raman, dietician and nutritionist, says, “Dairy products like paneer and vegetables like mushroom or broccoli are good replacements for proteins. Each of them needs to be added accordingly as they all have different levels of amino acids and a variety is important.”

Nut and seed replacements into diets are a good trend as they are more heart-friendly compared to meat protein. “They are healthy options and are high in minerals and fibre too. They have a high satiety value which makes one’s appetite come down. The only worry could be that they are high in calories thus they should be consumed in the right quantity,” she says. 

Dr Priyanka Rohatgi, chief clinical dietician, Apollo Hospitals, says that the dietary replacements should be equal to the body’s needs. “If one consumes 30 g of chicken (2 small pieces) for a meal, it can be replaced with 1 cup of cooked dal or 40 g of paneer or 2 eggs,” she adds.

Why is it better to skip meat for a while? “Whenever the temperature outside is more than 25 degrees, meat which is high in protein and fat takes a longer time to break down, which results in bloating,” she says.

Nut and seed lover? Here’s what you can eat
Want to replace your proteins and don’t know what all to consume. The different nuts which are high in protein are Hemp seeds, Squash and Pumpkin Seeds, Peanuts (dry roasted), Almonds, Pistachios (Dry Roasted), Sunflower Seeds, Flax Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Chia seeds, Cashews (Dry Roasted), Walnuts, Hazelnuts, Pine Nuts, Pecans and Macadamia Nuts.

What is ‘No Meat May’?
No Meat May is a campaign and registered charity that challenges people to eliminate meat from their diets for 31 days,

For 4 big reasons
They are health, environment, animals, and food security.

The campaign was launched in 2013 by Ryan Alexander and Guy James Whitworth, a couple of passionate creatives who wanted to do some good. The campaign started with thirty of their friends and since then the participants have grown my folds.

More vegetarian food lovers
With participation doubling year after year in the ‘No Meat May’ campaign, surveys have confirmed that 94% percent of people reduce or eliminate meat permanently after participating in it.

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