Updated: Mar 20
An amazing plant-based, vegan-friendly, soy-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free Homemade Walnut Meat recipe that makes approximately 4 servings and takes about 30 minutes to prepare, with an additional 10 minutes for cook time.
I wasn't a red meat eater, even before I went plant-based. I guess that's a good thing considering meat consumption is consistently associated with diabetes risk, as are other animal by-products such as dairy consumption. Meat consumption is a risk factor for diabetes and isn't just limited to red meat consumption, as most think (1). According to U.S. News & World Report, the worst cancer-causing foods are red meats such as beef, veal, pork, lamb, and goat and processed meats such as hot dogs, luncheon meats, ham, and bacon (2). Processed meats have been linked to chronic diseases such as high blood pressure (hypertension), heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (3). Research also suggests that highly processed foods are tied to higher cancer risks. Breast cancer, in particular, was associated with greater consumption of mass-produced, ultra-processed foods because these foods may often be loaded with sugar, salt, and fat while lacking vitamins, fiber, and other nutritional value (4).
Plant-based alternatives for milk and meat are tasty, but it's essential to understand that not all plant-based options are created equally. For instance, although soybeans do have some health benefits, we must remember that most non-organic soy products are brimming with GMOs, causing less nutritional value and more toxic effects due to the chemicals involved in the genetic modification process. Soybeans contain compounds like phytate, which may interfere with the body's ability to absorb vitamins and minerals crucial for vegan and plant-based dietary demands. These same anti-nutrient compounds may also cause digestive issues due to a reduction in the gut's barrier functions resulting in inflammation that causes these digestive problems. To learn more regarding The Truth About Soy Products, click here.
Plant-based alternatives such as Beyond, but much like Impossible, are brimming with not-so-great ingredients such as methylcellulose, a food gum derivative of cellulose that is a non-digestible fiber and supposedly non-allergenic (5). Methylcellulose is also a bulk-forming laxative that increases the amount of water in your stools to help make them softer and easier to pass. Methylcellulose may cause severe stomach cramps, rectal bleeding, or no bowel movements (6). According to WebMD:
"This product must be taken with at least a full glass of water or other liquid (8 ounces/240 milliliters) so that it will not swell in the throat, causing choking. Seek immediate medical attention if after taking this product you have symptoms of choking such as: chest pain, vomiting, difficulty swallowing/breathing (7)."
I typically recommend Lightlife as a meat alternative; it's soy-free with decent ingredients, especially compared to Beyond and Impossible. But even those ingredients aren't perfect, hence why when I am not pressed for time, I much prefer to make my own meat alternative out of walnuts.
Walnuts are an incredible source of many vitamins, minerals, and fiber while being a decent source of protein. Additionally, walnuts are an excellent source of vitamin E, antioxidants, and omega-3. Walnuts may help decrease inflammation, promote gut health, reduce the risk of some cancers, and support weight control. They may also support healthy aging, support good brain functionality and support male reproductive health. Walnuts can help improve blood fats, help lower blood pressure, lower your risk and manage symptoms of type 2 diabetes (8). Furthermore, walnuts are naturally dairy-free, soy-free, and gluten-free.
When I started my 66 food elimination journey, I wasn't left with many alternatives, especially since pea protein was one of my food eliminations. One day, I was craving tacos like crazy and figured I could make a pea protein-free version after looking over several recipes online; that's how this recipe became a favorite in my home. I am allergic to soy and have adopted a plant-based lifestyle (no meat or dairy), so this recipe is vegan-friendly, plant-based, soy-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free.
This recipe and a few of my other recipes were featured in Earthley's free Simplify Natural Living guide, which I co-wrote and designed.