Sunday, October 24, 2010

Vegan Food - How To Buy Vegan Food


The Lebanese Recipes Kitchen (The home of delicious Lebanese Recipes and Middle Eastern food recipes) invites you to read about Vegan Food and How To Buy Vegan Food.

The ideals of veganism involve not eating or using any food or product that uses animal products. Given this concept, vegans will not eat meat, or anything that has been acquired from animals. However, if you are a newly-converted vegan, you might miss out on the tastes and textures you used to enjoy, such as hamburgers, eggs, milk, and pizza. Fret not. Most recipes have vegan versions that don’t use any products from animals. You will just need the right ingredients.

These can also help introduce non-vegans into the vegan way of life. People think that not eating any meat can be boring and unhealthy, but a vegan diet will prove otherwise.

Substitution

A vegan diet can include substitutes of popular meat and animal-derived foods. These will usually taste almost the same, and have a similar texture to their meat counterparts.
  • Eggs can be replaced with egg replacer, which is made from the starch of potato and tapioca flour. This comes in powder form and can be bought from most health food stores. Grocery stores sometimes carry egg replacer in their health food section. Aside from egg replacer, you can use bananas, applesauce, mashed potatoes, or tofu, depending on the application.
  • Mils can be replaced with soy milk, rice milk or almond milk. Most grocery stores carry soy milk in the milk section.
  • Butter and margarine can be replaced with soy-based margarine. These contain whey, and can be found in all health food stores. This product might be difficult to find in grocery stores, though.
  • Meats can be replaced with soy-based meat alternatives. These can be found in the frozen or cold section of a health food stores. you can find both prepared and ground versions of chicken, pork and beef. Most grocery stores also carry soy-based versions of meats, particularly vegan burgers. What’s important is for you to check whether these contain eggs.
  • Cheese can be replaced with alternatives, but this can be quite tricky, as cheese comes with unique tastes and textures that vegan cheese don’t have. Look for available options at  health food stores, and choose a brand you will like.
  • Mayonnaise has a vegan version. It might be difficult to find outside of a health food store, though.
Things to avoid

Apart from substitutes, there are also a few things you will need to avoid.
  • Whey is a by-product of making cheese.
  • Gelatin contains boiled bones, skin and tendons.
  • Casein is a milk protein.
  • Rennet comes from calf and lamb stomach.
  • Cochineal comes from ground beetles.
  • Shellac comes from an insect secretion, and is coated on fruits for added shine.
Most vegans will also shun honey, but some don’t have a problem with consuming honey.

Getting creative

Having an alternative diet will also involve being creative in what you eat. For example, you can try the following food items;
  • Nutritional yeast can be sprinkled into salads, pastas or anything that might require cheese.
  • Apple cider vinegar can be mixed with olive oil, and can be used as a dressing for salads and sandwiches.
  • Tahini is a paste derived from sesame seed, which can be used for soups, sauces, creams, and dips.
  • Miso comes from soybean paste, and can also be used for sauces and dressings.
  • Hummus comes from chickpeas, and can be eaten with crackers, vegetables and chips.
You can also mix and match. Combine ingredients to invent new tastes altogether. If a recipe calls for an ingredient that might include animal-derived products, you can research for a substitute, or you can make one from scratch.

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