Often when one embarks on a vegan diet they tend to try to recreate the food that they’re used to eating. Often that includes using meat and dairy substitutes. While sometimes it’s nice to eat something that looks like what others eat the truth is, meat and dairy substitutes aren’t needed for a healthy vegan diet. But, is there an argument to be made that they might be worth it?
To Help with Transition
For some people transitioning to a vegan diet is something that is very strange and hard. For people who had a high meat and dairy-based diet using these substitutes might help them get through it. Mostly because today, there are some very good substitutes such as those that come from the Beyond Meat brand, ad many nut milk, and nut milk-based yogurts.
The problem is, they are expensive and like their meat counterparts aren’t better for you than eating an unprocessed plant-based diet. Fat salt and sugar can be just as bad for you in vegan form as in its animal form. But, if you’re doing it for the animals more than your health they can be wonderful substitutes.
To Trick Non-Vegan Friends
Some of the substitutes today are so good that when used in a recipe most people, if not told, don’t know nor will they even notice. If you tell them they’ll claim to know and notice. But, if you cook a Beyond Meat Beyond Burger “hamburger” to your friends and family they really will not be able to tell. There are also some wonderful Italian “sausages” too that when cooked in a recipe no one can tell including the die-hard meat eater.
To Add Variety of Flavor to Your Diet
When someone goes vegan sometimes they miss the special flavors that come with meat and dairy. Using the substitutes can add variety into your diet that you are missing. But it doesn’t take much. A little bit of vegan bacon on your salad may make the difference between truly enjoying it and dreading it for some people especially those who are in transition.
To Recreate an Old Family Favorite
Since most people don’t start life as a vegan, if you’re one of those, you may really miss a family favorite. Today, there are so many clever cooks who are creating and recreating family favorites that people really love due to their knowledge of flavor and how to trick the taste buds into thinking it’s their old treat. This is more than worth it when you succeed.
As a Treat
Sometimes it’s fun to just have a treat. Maybe processed food isn’t really that good for you but sometimes you just want the flavor that only processed food provides. That’s okay on special days such as birthdays and holidays. If you really want some butter flavor popped corn what’s the big deal? And yes, it’s worth it.
Most substitutes aren’t healthy, and while many are starting to taste like the real thing they are still processed and packaged. You’re better off making your own tofu-based meal, your own nut or soy-based milk, and your own soy or almond milk-based yogurts, so that you can control the ingredients and make it healthier. It’s not even that hard to do. But for occasional use, meat and dairy substitutes are more than worth it today due to the good taste and the quickness of creating a great meal.