What Do Vegetarians Eat?
What do vegetarians eat? Well, that depends on the
type of vegetarian
. One thing's for sure, a vegetarian doesn't eat meat, chicken or fish. But what about anchovies on pizza? Is the cheese on pizza okay? Is there such a thing as a cheeseless pizza?
Anchovies - not okay. Cheese - maybe okay. Cheeseless pizza - yes, there is such a thing and you can find some that are really good! Just don't expect it to taste like any pizza you've ever eaten before.
Back to the basic question - What do vegetarians eat?
Most, but not all vegetarians eat meat substitutes. These foods generally have a soy, textured protein, or seitan base. All of them taste good although you'll find your favorites. I generally prefer textured protein because of the texture as well as the flavor.
You can find most of these meat alternatives in the grocery store where you shop. Health food stores may have a broader selection so you'll have more choices. That can be a good or bad thing depending on your point of view.
There are packaged, frozen, and canned forms of meat substitutes. These days there are even prepared meals, either prepackaged or frozen. But many vegetarians prefer fresh, whole foods to complement their entre.
Remember the goal for all of us, vegetarian or not, is to eat 3-5 servings of vegetables, and 2-4 servings of fruit every day. Some committed vegetarians may not follow the guidelines for a
...just as some omnivores neglect to provide the nutrients to support their health.
Many newcomers to
think all vegetarians eat tofu, tofu and more tofu. While tofu is an important source of protein and other nutrients for many
vegetarians and vegans
, a meat-free diet is generally far more rich in variety of all types of foods (with the obvious exception of meat, chicken, and fish.)
A caution re tofu. It's available in many forms. If you're following a recipe, be sure to get the type of tofu listed in the ingredients portion of the recipe.
Vegetarian diets are plant-based. A healthy diet includes recommended servings of fruits and vegetables, grains, seeds, and nuts. Milk and milk products are optional. There are several good tasting alternatives to milk that provide the nutrients without the animal and environmental impact generated by the milk industry.
The typical American diet is not necessarily healthy. Nor does it follow that eating a vegetarian diet is healthy. There are many ways to eat an
unhealthy vegetarian diet
Vegetarians aren't all alike and neither are their diets. Often what a vegetarian eats is dependent on why the choice to eat a meat-free diet was decided upon. Each person's values determine their decision. Health? Weight loss? Love of animals? Planetary impact? Social issues? Humanitarian concerns?
So to answer the question "What do vegetarians eat?" is just the beginning.
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