Guilty of eating too much steak?

Try the weekly ‘Meatless Monday’

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Eating steak—and other kinds of meat—especially when cooked to perfection is plain and simply appetizing. Whether grilled, pan-fried, turned into a stew or boiled as the Filipino favorite nilagang baka, it’s difficult to pass up a delicious meat-filled dish.

Those whose cholesterol and metabolism aren’t as good as they used to be, know however, that too much meat can pose problems on one’s health. Then again, these are the very people who know all too well that staying away from meat is difficult to do.

This article proposes a small step in the direction of healthier eating habits, by bringing up the “Meatless Monday” campaign. Because it might help.

Meatless Monday is originally a nonprofit initiative of The Monday Campaigns, which was developed in association with the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Maryland, USA. It became a growing global advocacy that eventually made its way to the Philippines in 2011.


This year, the latest Filipino company to join the advocacy is Fly Ace Corporation’s canned fruits and vegetable brand Jolly, which wasted no time in designing its own Meatless Monday effort.

“Our brand has always advocated healthy eating. We believe that cooking should be a platform to revive the interest and fundamental aspects of eating right and healthy, as well as promote the knowledgeable use of choice ingredients and creative ways of cooking,” said Fly Ace Corporation Group Product Manager for Canned Fruits and Vegetables Marilou Acuna.

“Monday, being the first day, dictates the flow of the entire week. Symbolically, it connotes a fresh start or a reset. Jolly wants to be at the forefront of promoting a positive mindset and attitude towards healthy eating habits,” added Acuna.

Promising benefits

The Nutritionist-Dietitians’ Association of the Philippines (NDAP) underscored the health benefits of a once-a-week meatless diet in a position paper to support the Meatless Monday Motivational Campaign of House Bill 6311. Signed by NDAP 2011 to 2012 president and doctor Celeste C. Tanchoco, the agency cited that, should the bill be passed into law, it will “…lessen the risks to non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, cancer and obesity.”
Further research cited by NDAP noted that about three in 10 Filipino adults have hypertension, which cases have significantly increased from 22.5 to 25.3 percent between 2003 and 2008. Blood pressure increase was noted as well among children (overall mean diastolic BP from 61.6 mm Hg in 2003 to 64.1 mm Hg in 2008) particularly among 10 to 12 and 13 to 19-year olds.
“As stated by research figures, imagine the many health wonders that we can reap simply by making a small change in our weekly diet,” said Acuna.

Right substitutes

Kickstarting a healthier meat-free diet can be achieved easily, as there are many simple and hearty ways to incorporate non-meat options in your weekly meal plan.

One particular ingredient that can easily be incorporated in any dish is mushrooms, whether canned or fresh. Though already used for centuries for their powerful healing properties, mushrooms’ many benefits were proven by recent scientific studies. Touted as one of the world’s “superfood,” mushrooms are a rich source of L-Ergothioneine, a powerful antioxidant, which can protect the body cells from within, thus boosting one’s immune system and helping prevent future diseases such as cancers.

“Per tests of SGS [a leading inspection, testing and certification company]Jolly mushrooms contain an impressive 14 mf of L-ergothioneine in each 400 g can,” Acuna informed. “We have more information like this available to the public through our official online portal on Facebook, JollyEats. Home cooks, moms and those passionate in cooking can easily find a variety of easy-to-do and healthy recipes there as well, and learn straight from professional chefs via ‘The Jolly Show,’ an interactive Facebook live cooking show that features well-loved classic Pinoy dishes with a twist on a monthly thematic basis.”

To round up the official launch of the brand’s Meatless Monday campaign, Jolly shares two simple recipes for dish substitutes.

Garlic mushrooms can easily and tastefully substitute meat-laden dishes

Garlic Mushrooms

Ingredients
1 can whole mushrooms 400g,
drained
1 tablespoon palm oil
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 head garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce (may use
liquid seasoning or oyster sauce)
parsley, chopped

Procedure
Heat pan over low heat. Add oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add garlic and then sauté until fragrant. Add whole mushrooms and soy sauce. Toss until mushrooms are coated with butter and garlic. Sprinkle with parsley.

Another healthy alternative is Filipino classic chopsuey

Chopsuey

Ingredients:
1 400g can whole mushroom,
drained
1 425g can whole kernel corn
drained
1 10.5oz can mushrooms soup
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium red onion, chopped
12 small quail eggs, boiled
2 medium carrots, diagonally sliced
2 stalks celery, diagonally sliced
1 cup cauliflower/ broccoli, drained
and sliced
½ cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 small sayote, chopped
sitsaro
salt and pepper, to taste

Procedure
Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Sauté garlic and onion until fragrant. Stir in carrots, celery, cauliflower and broccoli, whole mushrooms and kernel corn for about three more minutes and serve.

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