Being vegan doesn't mean that you have to eat wheatgrass and alfalfa sprouts. Most grocery stores carry an array of great-tasting
vegan options. Many products—veggie burgers, chicken-free patties, flavored soy milks, nondairy ice creams, and other
sensational soy-based snacks—are marketed to vegetarians and vegans. And mainstream food manufacturers make vegan chips,
dips, cookies, candies, frozen pies, soups, and other mouth-watering items.
But seriously, trying vegan really doesn’t mean you have to opt for a tossed salad or a piece of fruit! Eating better
is as easy as substituting marinara for meat sauce, opting for bean burritos instead of beef tacos, enjoying creamy soy or
rice milk in place of cow’s milk, and exploring all of the wonderful animal-free, earth-friendly, and healthy products
in our grocery stores.
Today, more than ever, vegetarians have a vast assortment of foods to choose from. You can generally shop for vegan foods
at natural food stores and co-ops, while nearly all major supermarkets feature delicious, earth-friendly fare.
Many people believe that eliminating all animal products will greatly narrow their menus. But according to most vegans,
quite the opposite happens. Once you start frequenting your local health/natural food stores and co-ops, perusing the dozens
of vegan cookbooks, or just following the suggestions here, you will soon become familiar with the wide variety of options
that weren’t a part of your previous diet. Over time, you will also discover that it is possible to follow almost any
recipe by substituting ingredients.
For those who prefer not to cook, there are a wide variety of packaged foods from which to choose: frozen dinners; canned
and dehydrated soups, stews, and chilies; items of all sorts for quick and easy sandwiches like vegan dogs and burgers, deli
slices, bacons, sausages, untuna and unchicken salads, and soy and rice cheeses; and delicious desserts including soy yogurts
and ice creams. The variety is growing every year. You may even find that your local health food store has its own deli counter,
stocked with prepared foods.
More and more supermarkets are starting to carry the same products that used to be found only in specialty stores.
Tasty vegan meals can be prepared with foods found at any supermarket. And for those of us without the time or inclination
to cook from scratch, there are a growing number of vegetarian convenience foods available. In fact, by becoming more conscious
of what they eat and by exploring new foods and recipes, many people find themselves with a more diverse diet after becoming
There’s a whole host of meat and dairy alternatives on the market — some quite different from their nonvegetarian
counterparts, some surprisingly similar. Mock meats, made with plant protein, come in a wide range of textures, shapes, and
styles: burgers, hot dogs, pepperoni, sausage, bacon, ground meat, meatballs, breaded cutlets, deli slices, “unchicken”
salad, and more!
Dairy alternatives are made from soy, rice, or nuts. You can buy or make vegan milk, cheese, butter, mayonnaise, sour
cream, frozen desserts — you name it!
And even apart from the animal aspect, this information is valuable for your health...
Check this out:
It is the position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada that appropriately planned vegetarian
diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.…
Well-planned vegan [pure vegetarian] and other types of vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle,
including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence.
Vegetarian diets offer a number of nutritional benefits, including lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal
protein as well as higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate, and antioxidants such as Vitamins
C and E and phytochemicals. Vegetarians have been reported to have lower body mass indices than nonvegetarians, as well as
lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; vegetarians also show lower blood cholesterol levels; lower blood pressure;
and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer.
High fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, several common cancers,
and other chronic diseases (such as macular degeneration and cataracts).
Legumes (e.g., beans, peas, lentils, and peanuts) are excellent sources of protein, fiber, and a variety of micronutrients
and phytochemicals that may protect against disease.
Regular consumption of nuts is linked with a lower risk for heart disease and lower mortality rates.
Whole-grain consumption is associated with a reduced risk for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and stomach
and colon cancers.
Please note: Simply avoiding animal products will not ensure optimal health. Like everyone, vegans should eat a balanced
diet. Protein, Vitamins B12 and D, omega-3 fats, calcium, and iodine are important.