The vegetarian or vegan diet has acquired a lot of popularity these days. Studies estimate that 18% of the total global population is vegetarian. The vegetarian diet abstains from eating poultry, meat, fish, bacon, etc.
Bacon is greasy and crisp; meat-eaters don’t stop praising it. The chocolate covering on bacon or bacon-infused with vodka are some delicacies that non-vegetarians can’t resist.
But bacon is not so famous on the list recommended by health experts. Any processed meat, i.e., treated for preservation, has been deemed as a carcinogen (cancer-causing) by the world health association. So check out some veggie alternatives to bacon.
Veggie Alternatives To Bacon
- Mushrooms- mushrooms soak up the flavour like a sponge. They have a texture that is perfect to match bacon. Mushrooms can be used in salads, soups or sandwiches.
- Tempeh- it’s a fermented product made from soya bean. It quickly takes the flavour of spices that you add to it. You can slice the tempeh block into thick stripes to get a chewy feel or cut it into thin strips for crispy one.
- Tofu- It is a healthy alternative to bacon. Being rich in proteins and essential amino acids, it is suitable for health. It is also a good source of iron and calcium.
- Nuts- Walnuts, almonds, cashews, chestnuts are an excellent source of vital nutrients. They are easy to carry and can boost your stamina anywhere, whether in the office or at home. A handful of nuts should be included in a daily diet.
- Fruits- Berries, apples, melons, bananas, peaches, oranges; these fruits will give you energy and that too, without any fat. Also, fruits contain many vitamins and add fibre to your diet. Some blackberries even help in relieving anxiety.
- Grains- Barley, Quinoa, Oats, Rice, Buckwheat
- Seeds- Hemp, Flaxseeds, Chia
- Legumes- peas, lentils, chickpeas, beans
A diet that is healthy and vegetarian should include a variety of above mentioned nutritious foods. Like grain, seeds, fruits, veggies, and also some healthy fats along with some plant-based protein. According to your needs and availability of food, you can choose any diet plan.
Some common types of diet include:
- Vegan diet- Eliminates eggs, meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products. Animal-derived products like honey are also prohibited.
- Lacto vegetarian diet- In this type of diet, meat, eggs, fish, and poultry are eliminated, but dairy products are allowed.
- Flexitarian diet- It is mostly a vegetarian diet but allows occasional inclusion of fish, meat, or poultry.
- Pescetarian diet- This diet doesn’t allow poultry and meat but provides flexibility in eating eggs and dairy-based products.
Veggie alternatives to bacon, meat, fish, or poultry are associated with numerous health benefits. Many studies and researches have proved that vegetarians have a better quality of diet as compared to the meat-eaters. Vegetarians get a higher intake of most essential nutrients like vitamin-C, E, fibre, and magnesium, to name a few.
On the other hand, people eating bacon or other meat products get protein and saturated fat only, which are not so good if consumed in higher amounts.
As vegetarians don’t eat bacon and other meat products, you need to be sure to pay very close attention to critical nutrients and plan your diet accordingly with a mix of healthy veggies and whole foods. This way, you can enjoy the enormous benefits of being vegetarian.
Negative Effects Of Bacon
Many people love bacon. Unfortunately, there are some adverse effects of this pretty piece of meat.
Bacon has lots of fat, which is of a lousy kind, i.e., saturated fat. It contains a considerable amount of cholesterol. Research has shown that eating food that has high amounts of saturated fat can pose higher risks of stroke, cancer, and developing heart diseases.
Bacon in processed form contains nitrates which, when consumed by the human body, gets converted into N-nitroso. This is a compound that can cause cancer and many pulmonary diseases.
Now, if you compare farmed pigs to free-range ones, pigs are intelligent, and farmed pigs usually live in cells without any outside interaction, so this can lead to stress development and illness. MRSA is a bacterium that is found in pig’s farms in Canada, and these bacteria are resistant to antibiotics.
It contains a lot of sodium too. And high amounts of sodium are a cause of high blood pressure. About four or five slices contain so much sodium that it is half the limit that can be consumed in a day.
Hotdogs, bacon, and hamburgers are associated with lower sperm count. Harvard school analyzed some samples of bacon eating and non-eating people; research revealed these foods could lead to lower sperm count. If you are planning to have a baby, keep your bacon cravings aside.
A massive amount of alternatives exist for those who want to go vegetarian. The reason may be any ethical, religious, or environmental. Try to bump out bacon from your diet and replace it with more healthy and environmentally friendly options.
Eating veggie alternatives is linked with so many health benefits, and you can easily go green. A vast amount of food variations are available that tastes excellent and are not hard to cook, providing you with lots of health benefits. Going meat-free is now easier than ever.