Umami”, anyone? It wouldn’t be the most daring wager to bet the majority of you have no idea what this is!

Unless you are a born and raised a bona-fide vegan/vegetarian, you’ve probably not experienced the feeling of Umami.

Umami is known as the 5th sensation of taste typically felt when we eat savoury meat or poultry. Meat, much like dairy and chocolate, releases opiate like chemicals into our bodies that are ultimately responsible for the undeniable desire for its satisfaction.

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However, the truth is people are eating more plant-based meals than before. The reasons being:

First – some plant-based foods provide sufficient amount of protein to properly maintain our body.

Secondly – plant-based foods are rich in nutrition goodies providing anti-inflammatory agents and antioxidants to protect us from some cancers and developing chronic illnesses such as diabetes or heart disease.

Plant-based food sources are an excellent source of fiber – keeping our digestive system regular, and helping control your appetite.

Eating a high plant-based diet help controls your appetite – making you feel full longer on less calories; ultimately leading to weight loss. As an extra bonus, plant-based foods are also affordable and versatile.

The fresh and innovative approach to crafting a believable meat-free dish is so fascinating! You can use starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes and eggplants to give you that ‘firmness’ like meat but with color. Or, when you are having that ‘umami moment’, simply add mushrooms to get that meaty taste!

Therefore, if you are looking for meat replacements and want to join meatless movement, here are are five everyday kitchen items to start with to help diminish that “umami” craving and try something new!

Seitan

Seitan is essentially cooked wheat gluten. Depending on how this protein is prepared its texture can mimic one that is similar to beef, chicken or even pork. Seitan can be seasoned with seasonings used for smoking or grilling to get an instant barbeque flavor.

Meat replacements_1Mushrooms

Of course, mushrooms are the go-to for that instant meaty-taste replacement. Not only mushrooms are a great source for meat-free dishes but they are also packed with Vitamin D and iron. Simply, slice up some shiitake mushroom for a great oven-baked parmesan or cap off a fresh portabella and make a blackened burger patty topped with veggies and spicy veganaise (vegan mayonnaise).

Options are seemingly endless with this friendly fungus!

Quinoa

Quinoa is so versatile in the food realm. Quinoa can be used as either a side dish, or added in a salad, or patted into a black burger using other lentils and vegetables. Remember, using the right amount of a good seasoning is the trick of making your meatless meals flavorful.

Tempeh

If you like seafood dishes, we recommend tempeh! Tempeh is a fish like vegetable-protein that is made from soybeans. Tempeh is best used to for fish-like soups, ceviches and seafood paella. Using traditional “Old Bay” seasoning or a fresh lemon caper butter sauce could enhance the flavor of tempeh in your dish. Unlike some seafood, tempeh is naturally lower in cholesterol – and that’s a good thing!

Jackfruit

Jackfruit is a “fruity vegetable.” Jackfruit is known to have an unusual smell or appearance but, if prepared correctly, it can be added to the meatless item list.

Unripe jackfruits are often used in meals as a meat substitution. Like other meatless foods, add the right seasonings such as cumen to jackfruits and you will get a perfect flavorful meatless dish. Most often, jackfruits are added to replace meat in enchiladas, tacos or stir-fry.

We also recommend you save jackfruit until its ripe and make a vegan dessert.

As you continue to make “meatless” choices, I recommend you to experiment with different foods, look for simple and healthy recipes from trusted resources, use your spice rack in your kitchen to enhance the flavor in foods, and always make your meatless plate colorful!

Connect here with Watchfit Expert Charmaine Jones

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