KLERIFYING FACT: Americans eat three times more meat than the global average, and 1.5 times the amount of protein recommended by nutritionists. Not good, my friends. Not good.
Want to do better for the Earth and your health? One of the easiest ways is to eat less meat. The headlines don’t lie.
A recent study in Science shows that meat consumption enhances your risk of chronic health problems and has huge negative consequences for land and water use and environmental impacts. Beef is the worst for your health and for the environment; fish is better; plants are best. So no more squealing, Americans, let's stop being such pigs.
Don't get us wrong, some of my colleagues at Klerify still eat some meat, though only in serious moderation and produced in a way that respects the animals and the environment. We'll talk about moderate, ethical meat consumption in another blog. In the meantime, as a first step to a healthier lifestyle, we're cutting back on meat and cooking up some alternatives.
In our professional Klerify opinion, there are two types of people in the world: those who want their fake meat to look, feel, and taste like real meat. And those who gag at the sight of plant-based burgers that bleed.
Option 1: Meat-like but meat free
If you’re in the first group, the last few years have gotten easier, especially for summertime grilling. There are lots of brands that make bratwurst, sausage, “hamburger” patties, hot dogs, and even pulled “pork” that look like meat and (for the most part) taste pretty similar--and grill up much faster. The most common ingredients are wheat gluten, tempeh (soybeans), tofu (also soybeans), and most recently pea protein.
All of them require far fewer resources to make and ship than even the most environmentally friendly meat, they all are way better for your heart and overall health, and most have lots more protein than meat products. Avast, me meaties!
BBQ season is a great time to test a few of these. Add your regular condiments, grab some potato salad and a beer, and we promise you’ll happily munch away while Mother Earth and your doctor applaud in the background.
Option 2: No meat for you
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you’ve probably long lost the desire for things that look, taste, or even smell like meat. So you’ll most likely prefer the old-school style meat alternatives. This includes a whole host of veggie burgers made with mushrooms, rice, or beans to bind them together. And there's always the old standby: portabello mushrooms. (But your carnivore friends will make sad puppy eyes if you bring these to a BBQ.)
For the bratwurst and hot dog crowd, you’ll find lots of tofu or tofurkey and soy options. This works just fine if you’re not gluten intolerant. If you are, you’ll have to search a little harder; tempeh is generally the way to go.
Either way, you can almost always find some kind of veggie option for your BBQ in nearly every store in America, and often as an option in the burger section of otherwise not-very-veggie-friendly restaurant menus.
Option 3: DIY
Not into processed foods? Hurrah for you! Try one of these amazing veggie burger recipes, thanks to the nice folks at Delish.
Super ambitious? Make your own veggie brats.
Pro tip: don't google veggie dog recipes. Unless you're looking for actual vegetarian food to make for your woofer. Who'd be happy to eat it, obv.
So fire up the grill, and tell your friends you’re going meat free this summer!
Klerify Shopping Guide for Meat-Free Grilling
You know the drill: buy Organic, Regenerative Organic, and Fair Trade or other responsibly labelled food when you can.
Green brands: Organic Sunshine Burger, Hilary's
Yellow brands: Amy's, Lightlife
Red brands: Morningstar, Quorn, Beyond Meat, Gardein