Vegetarian Substitutes
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Vegetarian Substitutes

You will be surprised at how easy it is to eliminate meat and dairy and substitute with something just as delicious. Sometimes the food will taste different, so you have to try different vegetable products to see what works best.

You will be surprised at how easy it is to eliminate meat and dairy and substitutes with something just as delicious. Sometimes the food will taste different, so you have to try different vegetable products to see what works best. You may even find that the taste of the food when vegetable sources are used is better than when animal sources are used. It takes getting used to, but the advantages for your health are worth the effort.

Using Several Foods for Animal Protein:

There are a number of vegetarian foods that can take the place of meat,depending on what you feel like eating. Baked portobello mushrooms can taste amazingly close to a steak with the same texture and juiciness. Tofu can replace chicken in lots of dishes, especially stir-fried food.Textured vegetable protein (TVP) is made from soy. It comes in small dry chunks that resemble dried vegetables. It cooks quickly, supplying vegetable protein without fat. You can use TVP to replace meat in soups and stews. It is available in large supermarkets and natural food stores.Eggplant and mushrooms are other vegetables that replace meat with ease,especially in the southern United States. Eggplant can be stuffed, roasted,marinated, grilled, even fried (not recommended). Combine it with tomato and onions and you have ratatouille.

Spilling the Beans:

You know that your muscles are made of protein, so naturally when you think of protein, you think of meat. The time has come to recognize that protein comes from many sources, however. Vegetables have proteins, too, and they don’t have the fat that meats provide.People have suggested that you can’t eat only vegetable protein sources because they lack some of the building blocks required for muscle growth, and that you can find those building blocks only in animal protein. As always,an exception breaks that rule: the soybean. Soybeans contain all the different building blocks you need to build your own protein.Even without soybeans, you can get all the building blocks you need by eating several different vegetable protein sources together, such as rice and beans or yogurt with chopped nuts.

The best nonmeat sources of protein are legumes like dried beans and peas.Other protein sources include nuts and seeds, but they contain quite a bit of fat, so the calorie count swells. The following vegetable protein sources provide the equivalent of an ounce of animal protein:

  • 1⁄4 cup of seeds (like sunflower seeds)
  • 1⁄3 cup of nuts (like pecans and peanuts)
  • 1⁄2 cup of cooked dry beans
  • 1⁄2 cup of baked beans
  • 1⁄2 cup of tofu

Avoiding Meat and Chicken Stock:

Soup recipes need a stock usually, and most of them call for meat or chicken stock. Vegetable stock will fill the bill very well, though you will get a change in taste. You’ll also probably get much less salt. But vegetable stock is not the only thing you can use. Garlic broth can be made to do the job.The ingredients for 8 cups of garlic broth are:

  • 3 small heads of garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Coarse salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 9 cups of water

You can also use water or wine with 1 to 2 tablespoons of soy sauce per cup of liquid. There is no need to use meat or chicken stock again.

Replacing Cheeses:If you want to go the vegan way and avoid dairy, there are lots of ways to replace the cheeses that you commonly use in recipes. Here are some suggestions:

  • There are vegan cheeses available in supermarkets that taste just like cheddar cheese, mozzarella, and Monterey jack.
  • Crumbled tofu can take the place of cottage cheese and ricotta cheese.
  • Tofu cream cheese can replace regular cream cheese.
  • They can be used on pizzas, in sauces, and anything that requires melting cheese.

Avoiding Cow’s Milk:

This is an easy one. Soy milk is an excellent replacement for cow’s milk. It is made by cleaning and soaking soy beans overnight, then puréeing them. The solids are strained out, and the liquid is boiled for ten minutes. You can buy soy milk right next to cow’s milk in the market. Some of the benefits include:

  • It has more protein and fiber than cow’s milk.
  • It has isoflavones, chemicals that are thought to prevent cancers, heart disease, and osteoporosis.
  • It has about 2 percent fat but no cholesterol.
  • Older women can use soy milk to reduce menopausal symptoms, especially hot flashes.

Choosing to Replace Milk Chocolate:

Dark chocolate has flavonols, which are antioxidants that may be protective against cancer, but milk chocolate does not have the same benefits because the proteins in the milk bind the flavonols so they are unavailable. Chocolate also has caffeine. Since cocoa, the basis for chocolate, is naturally bitter, high fructose corn syrup and refined sugar as well as fats are added to sweeten it. Carob is a naturally sweet, caffeine-free substitute. It comes from the fruit pods of carob trees found in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. The beans are dried, roasted, and ground to make carob powder. Carob powder is high in fiber, unlike chocolate. But don’t think that carob is for dieting. When it is used to make candies and so forth, it can contain just as manycalories as chocolate.

Avoiding Mayonnaise:

A tablespoon of mayonnaise has 49 kilocalories, most of which is fat, though not necessarily the bad saturated fat. People tend to put a lot of mayonnaise on sandwiches, adding 49 kilocalories for each tablespoon, so it doesn’t take long to add a lot of calories just from this condiment. Instead of standard mayonnaise, try tofu mayonnaise:

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 8 ounces tofu, drained
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Sea salt

    Blend together for 25 seconds until smooth. Makes 1 cup.Now you can enjoy the taste of mayonnaise with far fewer calories.

Banishing Eggs:

There are plenty of substitutes for eggs. The substitutes don’t have the fat found in the standard mayonnaise, but they can be used for baking. You can’t use the substitutes, however, for replacing more than 2 eggs in a recipe. It won’t work. Here are some substitutes you can use for 1 egg: 11⁄2 teaspoons commercial powdered egg replacer

  • 1 mashed small ripe banana
  • 1⁄4 cup blended soft tofu
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1⁄4 cup pureed prunes

You want to experiment a little and see how the substitute tastes compared with an egg. It may even be better in many recipes.

Avoiding Sour Cream:

Sour cream is only mildly sour but it is full of fats. It contains 14 grams of butterfat in a 4-ounce serving. That’s saturated fat (bad fat) we are talking about. If you are trying to stay vegetarian, you can’t use yogurt, which would make a low fat substitute. But you can use tofu sour cream. Here’s a fat free recipe that makes delicious tofu sour cream:

  • 10.5-ounce package of light firm tofu
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sweetener
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt

Process in a blender until creamy and smooth. You’ll get all the taste without the fat.

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Comments (1)
Ranked #2 in Wellness

This a very meaningful issue especially for vegetarians. Thanks Jo keep up the good work.

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