In general, I don't eat a lot of processed foods, preferring to fuel my body with real, natural foods. The bulk of my diet consists of veggies, whole grains, legumes and fruit, and I believe that to be the healthiest way to eat. However, I also enjoy soy or coconut-milk based creamer in my morning coffee, vegan butter and cream cheese substitutes for my bread & bagels, and a couple Tofurky deli slices on my sandwich. Veggie burgers and the like are convenient for the times when I don't feel like cooking completely from scratch, or when it's not convenient to do so. Bringing along my own "burger" to an omnivore's cookout, for example, is a much better option than relying on the raw veggie platter or questionable side dishes to fill me up. And, yes, when I'm craving something sweet, I'm grateful to have veg-friendly ice "cream" and other treats on hand!
This past week I've purchased more faux meat products than usual because 1) Chip is making his way toward a more plant-based diet, and these items are perfect for the transition and 2) my grocery store had them on sale. Here's an example of how I used meat substitutes to prepare some healthy, vegan meals. Remember, this is not a typical week, I wouldn't normally rely so much on these products, but this is a good example of how they can be incorporated into your vegan diet if you choose to do so. Please note: not all meat substitutes are vegan; many contain cassein and other dairy ingredients so be sure to read the labels carefully!
|Gardein Crispy Chick'n Filet over pasta w/marinara sauce|
|Gardein "Beef" Stew|
|Gardein Crispy Tenders over fresh green salad|