As was told before, I came up with ways to beat meat habit and cravings without falling off the raw vegan diet, with one exception.
If you remember, in the preceding article I was talking about the reasons you may want meat as a raw vegan or vegetarian in general. Just to freshen them in your head. You may feel like meat either very often or once in a while. If desire for meat attacks you everyday or near that, then you didn’t conquer your meat-eating habit. If seldom, then it is a craving. Roughly speaking, there are three types of cravings: you want a plain piece of meat, you want any meat or you want a specific meat dish. First indicates nutrient deficiency, second indicates your thirst for joy, third, you want your old days back. I just stated them in order of probability someone can experience them. Thus, there is a higher chance of you wanting meat because you were eating it everyday in the past not because you want your time with grandma back.
All right, let’s go ahead and explore them in that same order.
It’s a habit
It is the hardest to tackle. Although animal flesh hasn’t landed in my mouth for a long time, tastes get to stick for the rest of life. The following trick my tastebuds to think it is animal or fish meat they got a hold of.
- Raw dulse and nori. Both are seaweeds. Unsoaked, they stand close to meat and fish taste. Dulse somewhat taste like soft salty beef jerky or dried salmon. A few caviar notes are there as well. Nori is similar to soft dried fish. I usually get dulse produced by Maine Coast Sea Vegetables. As for raw nori, those carried by RawNori worth trying
- Fresh or dried mushrooms. In case of dried mushroom, both soaked and unsoaked and any kinds resemble various meat flavours and feels. In case of fresh mushrooms, the huge Portabella is meaty, in terms of taste and texture. Mushrooms in conventional stores are not sun-dried, so dry them yourself in a dehydrator if you want to be a perfect raw vegan 🙂
- Sun-dried tomatoes. Soak and mix them with olive oil. I would say they have a meat texture but only a hint of meat flavour
- Sun-dried olives. Someone on a raw food forum wrote that for them it is the closest thing to meat. I didn’t bite into them myself yet. Sun-dried olives are not easy to find but Matt Monarch has them. He and his wife Angela own the world’s largest online raw food and superfood store. I have been subscribed to their newsletter for over four years. Check out their sun-dried olives here
Needless to say, the tastes vary depending where the foods are coming from, how they are grown, harvested, dried and the like. Say, dulse and mushrooms flavors vary a lot depending on their moisture content.
One way to trick your tongue and brain is to season the above goodies with spices designed specifically for chicken, pork, beef or fish dishes. Such spices are usually made exclusively of vegetables, so perfectly fine to add. Double check the ingredients to be sure though.
On top of that, another idea for you. Bring the meat barbecue flavour back by smoking these foods over fire. Simply cut seaweed, mushrooms, tomatoes or olives into small chunks, put on a skewer and hold over fire smoke. Watch how close you hold them to fire heat though. Keep a distance so that they actually stay raw. The point it to make foods just absorb smoke. Do this once in a while as even clean smoke is not fabulous for health at all. Of course, remember not to throw plastic or man-made things in there when making fire!
It’s a craving
1. A plain piece of cooked meat – lack a nutrient
It is the easiest to tackle.
Lack of protein
It is rare to see someone falling short on protein. Including vegans. That’s because it is found in many foods and you don’t need a lot of it. If at least 7-10% of your calories is coming from protein, then you are up to speed. Anyways, raw vegan foods are homes to loads of protein. Here how you can catch up on it as a raw vegan:
- Sprouts. Alfafa and broccoli sprouts contains as much as 35% of protein. Lentils, mung beans, peas, garbanzo beans have at least 20% of it
- Leafy greens. Spinach, kale, broccoli are at least 45% protein. Lettuce and Chinese cabbage are also high
- Algae. Spirulina is composed of 70% complete protein. Complete protein means it contains all nine essential amino acids
Compare the above to beef, which is only 22% protein. As you can see, a popular question that inevitably every vegetarian or vegan gets asked “Where do you get your protein” doesn’t have any solid ground whatsoever.
Lack of iron
If you constantly ignore greens and green vegetables, then iron may be your weak point. Some greens harboring large portions of iron are fennel, broccoli and zucchini. Other excellent sources are sesame seeds and cashews. Plus two interesting ones – sauerkraut and cacao beans.
2. Any kind of meat – need joy
No problem to fix as well. As brought up earlier the release of joy-producing dopamine is triggered by any protein, not just animal flesh. In this regard, serotonin and endorphins are your saviors as well. To a different degree, they also wake up the “bliss zones” of the brain as well. All three rise with exercise!
- Any good sources of vegan protein (see above)
- Any exercise
Endorphins. They also numb pain, both physical and emotional.
- Spicy foods. Dried cayenne pepper and raw jalapeno peppers, for example, induce a rush of pleasurable feelings without doubt
- Rhodiola and ginseng. Both are roots and both are popular Russia
- High intensity exercise. Sprinting, weights, push-ups
Serotonin. Also provides the overall feeling of calmness.
- Foods that contain tryptophan, amino acid. That is a compound from which serotonin is made. Some vegan sources are mushrooms, pineapple, spinach, sea vegetables, nuts and seeds
- Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates help travel tryptophan from blood into your brain. Both complex and simple carbohydrates, including starches. So, many fruits, some grains and tuber vegetables. Examples of raw vegan foods. Basically, all sweet fruits. Grains: soaked/sprouted teff, brown rice, buckwheat and kaniwa. Starchy vegetables: raw/dehydrated sweet potatoes, regular potato, pumpkin, all types of squash, sweet corn, tigernuts. Kaniwa is a close relative of quinoa but without the bitterness, tastes like peanut butter and chocolate to me. Tigernuts are sweet tuber vegetables and are somewhere close to toffee candies, no joking. I will devote more time to both later
- Low intensity exercise. Jogging, swimming, biking
- The yellow disk. Vitamin D generated with the help of sunshine in turn aids in creation of serotonin
3. A concrete meat dish – want your past
Because you yearn for a specific meat dish it is tough if not impossible to satisfy the craving without falling off the diet. The good news is this type of craving is uncommon. It usually strikes when you are physically in places where you spent your past days in. The only suggestion, I agree a failing suggestion, is to take a small bite. Then shake off the innocent guilt, put on the smile and proceed with life!