The 2021 government-commissioned National Food Strategy recommends a weekly meat free day for public caterers, and a 30% overall reduction in the consumption of meat and ultra-processed food over the next decade.
Study after study supports the idea that a wholefood plant-based diet is optimal for health and well-being. The British Dietetic Association states that well-planned plant-based diets “can support healthy living at every age and life-stage”. The US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that “appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases”.
Is there enough protein in a meat free diet?
Yes there is. In Western countries, our problem is that we get too much protein, not too little, and this is causing health problems. Most Britons get at least twice as much protein as they need, and too much protein, especially animal protein, can increase the risk of osteoporosis and kidney disease. There is protein in whole wheat bread, nuts, oatmeal, beans, corn, peas, mushrooms, green leafy vegetables and vegetables like broccoli – almost every food. Unless you eat a great deal of processed, greasy fast food, it’s almost impossible to eat as many calories as you need for good health without getting enough protein.
What about calcium?
Plant-based food offers plenty of calcium – for example swede, okra, broccoli, dried figs, chia seeds, almonds and dark green leafy vegetables (especially kale, spinach, watercress and pak choi). Fortified soya milk and calcium set tofu and are also good sources of calcium.
Where can I get iron from?
Iron-rich foods include green leafy vegetables (for example, spinach, kale and cabbage), dried apricots, figs, dates, beans, lentils, tofu, millet, peas and pumpkin seeds.
Where can I get zinc from?
Zinc-rich foods include kidney beans, almonds, wholegrains, green leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, lentils and tofu.
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