Vegetarian Food Diet. What Do I Get to Eat?

When you switch to a vegetarian food diet, you'll want to eat something tasty to replace the meat you're used to eating.

You have so many choices. It's just a matter of education.

Early on you may want to do simple substitutions. Warning - Do not expect the meat alternatives to taste the same as meat. Just as beef, pork, poultry and fish have different flavors and textures, the same is true for plant based foods.

Your choices aren't tofu, tofu, and tofu. Although, tofu isn't just one product. There is soft, firm, extra firm, and silken to name a few.

With the ongoing news reports of the benefits of vegetarian, vegan, and even flexitarian diets, the food industry has gotten very busy providing the products we consumers are asking for.

I can't tell you how many types of burgers there are. Or bacon. Or sausage. Or chicken. And so on. You get the idea.

There are basic foods used to create the plant based meat substitutes. Look for these terms on the packaging. Some are familiar. There may be many more choices than you imagined!

Soy products. or beyond tofu. You'll need to decide whether genetic altering is an issue for you. If it doesn't specifically state on the package No GMO (genetically modified organisms),then you can conclude that the soy has most likely been genetically engineered. (It's not allowed in Europe. Their decision making folks say they don't believe it's safe.)

Textured vegetable protein (TVP)is another choice. Actually it is soy also, but is a by product of manufacturers producing oil from soybeans. Thus TVP is low fat.

Seitan, (pronounced say-tahn), is a high protein low fat wheat derivative. Wheat gluten is processed to create meat-like textures. This is probably my favorite meat substitute because I like the texture, but not everyone does.

Quorn is the brand name for a meat free, soy free protein made from fungus. It's referred as mycoprotein.

For more specific information on the products I've listed above, read labels at the market (Items may be found as canned, frozen, or refrigerated - often in the health foods section)

There's plenty to learn. If you decide to search online, just take it slowly and avoid overwhelm. Take a break and hit your local vegetarian eatery. You can learn quite a bit from most menus.

Also please be aware that a small percentage of people have allergies and may need to do additional research to ensure the safety of their choices.

Choices exist today with a vegetarian food diet that I never even dreamed of 25 years ago. And I'm sure, there's more variety coming.

All types of vegetarians, vegans, and flexitarians will have the opportunity to enjoy new culinary delights!

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