In order to make the move towards a vegetarian/vegan diet, certain foods must be eliminated from the diet and other foods must be found to replace them. Luckily, this is easier than ever. Our Natural food stores have a huge array of meatless meats to replace hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, fish, and even steaks! Most restaurants now offer vegetarian selections, and even if they do not have a special section, chances are there are some vegetable-based entrees on their menu.
Eating vegetarian does not mean you have to sacrifice good taste or even learn all new recipes. Vegetarian ingredients can be substituted for meat in nearly all your favorite meat recipes. Here are some helpful tips on how to make the switch:
- Think of your favorite dishes and substitute the meat for vegetarian products.
Spaghetti and meatballs - Meatless meatballs can be made from tofu instead of ground beef Hamburger - Substitute the hamburger patty for a veggie burger Pizza - Use extra veggies and you won’t even miss the meat!
- Convenience foods are a great way to cut cooking time. Down to Earth stores stock a huge variety of instant soups and main-dish convenience items.
- Find vegetarian cookbooks at your local library or any of our natural living departments and experiment with new foods and recipes.
- Try our recipe and visit our recipe archive at http://vegylifestyle.blogspot.com/search/label/recipes for great time-tested vegetarian recipes.
- Textured vegetable protein (TVP) is fat-free, has a texture like ground beef, and is wonderful in tacos, chili, and sloppy joes. Look for it in our grocery and bulk department.
- Try imitation meat products. Down to Earth carries a wide variety of imitation meat products. (IE: veggie burgers, hot dogs, ham, bacon, etc.) Many taste surprisingly like the real thing!
- Read labels to make sure you are buying products that are healthy and humane. Crackers may contain lard, rice mixes may contain chicken fat, and other products include animal ingredients you will want to avoid, like gelatin (from animal skin, hooves, and bones). You will soon learn which brands are “safe,” and checking labels will become second nature.
- When dining at a restaurant with no vegetarian options, ask them if they can prepare a vegetarian entree. Most places will be happy to accommodate you.
- While attending a catered event, discreetly catch the server before your food has arrived and ask him or her to remove the meat from your plate and add an extra vegetable to it.
- When eating at a friend’s house, let them know in advance that you are vegetarian. Offer to bring a vegetarian dish.
- When traveling let the airline know ahead of time that you are vegetarian and they will supply you with a special meal.