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Health is Wealth: Vegan Alternatives for Meat, Dairy, and Eggs
Everyone has heard the maxim “Health is Wealth” — but Los Angeles lives and breathes a healthy lifestyle. You want to stand out, you need to get fit, and getting fit starts with a healthier diet.
Thankfully, Vegan is a word of encouragement in LA. “Do they have vegan options?” no longer gets a cock-eyed response, but, rather, a fist bump. The change of normalcy is great considering the positive effects eating vegan has on the environment and our bodies, but not everyone can cannonball into a dairy and or meat free diet. So, let’s look at some tasty vegan alternatives to help get you started on a healthier lifestyle.
You can find all kinds of vegan meats in the market these days. Burgers, hotdogs, bacon, deli slices and more — there is a meat substitute for just about any of your mealtime favorites. Most recently, plant-based burgers are getting a lot of attention because many fast food restaurants have jumped on the meatless bandwagon. Common ingredients include pea protein, soy protein, black beans, chickpeas, and even beets. Processed and combined with various seasonings to pack in the flavor, fried or grilled to perfection, dressed with your favorite condiments and other toppings like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and pickles — vegan burgers can taste just like meat based burgers.
There a variety of non-dairy milk substitutes on the market, many of which are packed with more protein and calcium than actual cow’s milk. If you’re just getting started, consider almond milk as your morning coffee creamer. Dairy lactates your intestines making absorption of nutrients much more difficult. Avoiding dairy in the morning is a great way to boost your metabolism and get you started on the right track. Almond milk is also great for those of us who are not big fans of soy, and with vanilla and chocolate flavorings, you can still get that sweet kick without the consequences of dairy.
Vegan butter is one of those things you try once and never go back to dairy based butter. Generally, vegan butter is infused with olive oil, an already delicious cooking ingredient most people are accustomed to and enjoy. Whether your dropping it into your pan before you cook ,or spreading it on a freshly toasted piece of bread, vegan butter gives you all the health benefits without sacrificing quality or taste.
Do you ever wonder why the thought of eating a whole bowl of mayonnaise makes you sick? Consider the amount of oil and eggs in traditional mayonnaise and it might start to make sense. Common ingredients found in vegan mayonnaise include chickpeas, lemon juice, yellow pea protein, avocado oil, and apple cider vinegar. The idea behind mayo alternatives is that you might still be making a turkey sandwich, but you’ve found a way to make a healthier food choice. Something as small as mayonnaise on a sandwich is perfect to go unnoticed by your taste buds, but felt by your gut.
Tofu (a replacement for meat, dairy, and eggs)
This four-letter word has carried a taboo with it since it first hit the market. The truth is, tofu has come a long way. Don’t believe us? Next time you’re getting Pad Thai, try substituting tofu in place of meat and see for yourself.
In fact, tofu can camouflage itself beautifully into many meals, but you want to make sure you get the right kind for your recipe. Most brands of tofu are available in soft or firm versions, so consider the texture depending on what you’re making. For instance, you can create some amazing deserts with soft tofu, including a wide variety of puddings, mousses, and cheesecakes.
On the other hand, firm tofu makes a great meat substitute in a stir-fry, or you might want to add it to a beloved spaghetti dish in place of meatballs. Firm tofu is also a great for eggless egg salad and scrambled eggs. Just be sure to press and drain as much liquid as possible from the block of tofu before you start cooking. To replace meat, cut the tofu into bite-sized cubes, and then sear in olive oil and garlic, about five minutes per side, until you have a nice browned exterior. For eggless recipes, cut the tofu into slightly smaller cubes for egg salad, or crumble into bite-sized pieces for scrambled eggs.
Don’t be afraid to try something new. Take small steps when it comes to vegan based dietary changes and see where they take you.
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