Is Plant-Based Meat Good for Our Eyes?

Impossible Burgers? Beyond Meat? Plant-based meat? What is that?

What is plant-based meat?

You’ve probably started noticing Impossible Burgers and Beyond Meat at fast food and chain restaurants lately. You may even be seeing the plant-based meat product section at local grocers, including Wal-Mart and Target! If you’re wondering more about these new menu items, I’m here to help!

Plant-based meats are exactly what they sound like they are. They’re meat substitutes made from plants - mostly beans, soy, peas, mushrooms, and wheat gluten. Plant-based meats are made to look and taste like the meat they are substituting.

There are burger patties, chicken, and even sausage options readily available.

Protein content

As part of keeping my mind and eyes as healthy as possible as a defense against my myopic macular degeneration, I pay close attention to the amount of protein I eat in my daily diet.

Not all protein is created equally. For example, lean proteins like turkey and fish are healthier than red meat proteins like beef and sausage. This is one reason why some people may want to try plant-based meats. Let’s say you love a delicious cheeseburger but need to steer clear of the cholesterol - Beyond Meat may be the perfect alternative for you.

Questions

As with anything new that we consider putting into our bodies, there will naturally be a lot of questions about it. Besides, ‘what does it taste like?’ I think I can help answer a lot of the questions you may have. In my experience, not all plant-based meats are created equally.

Some taste just like meat while others just Ummm... don’t. You’ll have to try them out for yourself to see what you think!

Are they ‘plant’ healthy or ‘meat’ healthy?

When I first learned about the plant-based craze, I wondered what the health benefits really were. I mean, it’s called plant-based, and it’s made to be like meat, so... Does it provide the health benefits of plants or meat?

Though each type and brand of plant-based meat is made using different ingredients, the answer isn’t as complicated as it may seem.

Basically, when you eat plant-based meats, you’re getting the benefits of meat-like nutrients. These nutrients include protein and fiber. The kind of plants used in making these meat substitutes are not the kind of plants that contain eye-healthy nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin.

If you’re looking for a meat substitute with more veggie-like nutrients, try a veggie burger! Those have been around for a little bit longer than their Impossible and Beyond counterparts.

How much does it cost?

What I’ve found is that plant-based meats, though not inexpensive, are getting cheaper.

Oftentimes, I can find a sale to get them cheaper than actual meat products at the store. Plant-based meat prices are steadily dropping while animal meat prices are steadily rising, so it’s definitely possible for a change in which one is more cost-effective in the future.

Who eats it?

You don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to want to change up your meat-eating habits. There are many reasons why people might try these meat alternatives. Whether it’s a nutritionally or ethically charged preference, it’s a good idea to at least know what plant-based meats are since it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

My decision to eat plant-based meats

I have to be honest, even though protein is an important part of my regimen, I’m not exactly a huge meat eater. There isn’t a clear reason why I feel this way, but I just don’t generally prefer to eat meat. Besides that, my boyfriend is very conscious of how much animal protein he eats for ethical reasons, so plant-based meats are a great alternative for my family’s meal planning.

Have you tried plant-based meats? If so, what are your favorites? If not, what’s holding you back? Let us know below!

Andrea Junge

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