Maintaining a vegan diet requires strict vigilance and a strong interest in understanding the origin of prepared and pre-packaged products. A healthy vegan takes and active and positive interest in reading and understand product packaging, in order to adhere to the vegan nutritional requirements. A healthy vegan knows which ubiquitous products are of animal origin, and which ingredients suffice to make a delicious substitute for animal product foods.
Some substitutes that are adequate for recipes are difficult to find. For example, gelatin is manufactured from animal tissue and animal products, usually animal skins and hides or fish bones, and is a protein. The vegan substitute for gelatin is often made from carrageenan and agar as gelling agents, and is a carbohydrate. The fact that most marshmallows are made from gelatin derived from animal products can make recipes using vegan marshmallows quite a bit different, and more often than not an unsatisfactory substitute for marshmallows in some of our favorite recipes.
A healthy vegan enjoys shopping for fresh produce, enjoys shopping for a variety of nut and syrup products, and has a healthy interest in adventurous eating. A healthy vegan holds an informed and educated opinion on the nutritional qualities in all kinds of produce and grain products. A healthy vegan takes an active interest in all the kitchen tasks from shopping, to cleaning, to cooking, and knows how the difference in preparation of different foods can affect flavor, consistency, quality, and culinary satisfaction.
Raw food restaurants sprouting up on the west coast of the United States are testament to the incredible array of quality vegan foods that are possible with the attention and care that a healthy vegan will take in preparation and quality of vegan foods. One particularly notable adaptation of preparation that mimics non-vegan foods that is very popular, and a testament to how preparation of vegan foods affects flavor and texture, is the appearance of “pasta” made from pumpkin or other calabash produce. The calabash squash is processed in a way that cuts the calabash into pasta-like strings, and then the food is served raw that way with fresh dressing and sauces. The texture mimics the satisfying heartiness of wheat or grain pasta, and is packed with fresh unadulterated nutrients. Healthy vegans everywhere know that the texture of foods is responsible for a significant portion of a satisfactory eating experience and thus the healthy vegan will pay significant attention to the processing of their foods in order to bring healthy and nutrient rich products to the dinner table.
A healthy vegan approaches food preparation with gusto, creativity, and innovation.