Vegans have egg substitutes with no animal product at all, Ener-G Egg Replacer for one. There are many different types of soymilk and soy margarine products out there too. Tofu, (bean curd), and Tempeh, (fermented soybean) are substitutes for dairy products. TVP, (texturized vegetable protein) is used as a ground beef substitute and there’s also Seitan, a meat alternative. Other popular name brand meat alternatives for the vegan diet are Gardenburger, Light Life, Gimme Lean, and Turtle Island Foods. They also have Tahini, a paste made from ground hulled sesame seeds (used in place of mayo or salad dressing), Miso a vegan soy sauce and even a dairy free ice cream.
Most people think these products are only available at health/natural food vegan stores and that’s just not true. Vegan diet foods are found in health/natural food stores definitely, however, in most cities Walmart has quite the vegan diet selection, mostly found in the produce isle, but some products are right on the shelves next to the animal-made products. Vegan diet food products are also available online through several different mail order catalogs. Many vegan websites have links to these shopping time-savers; check out shopbydiet.com.
Scotland, Wales and England are way ahead of the United States in healthy eating. They’ve been catering to the vegan diet for years. There’s an extensive listing of restaurants that are completely vegan and more that are considered “vegetarian, yet vegan friendly.” Canada has a handful of vegan cafes and restaurants, as does Ohio. In Columbus they’ve even got a vegan deli. Of course California has always been ahead of the rest of the country in healthy eating, so it’s easy to find a vegan store out there.
But why eat a vegan diet? What are the benefits? There are many benefits. Vegans (and true vegetarians) have lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol and of course animal protein in their systems. They have a lower body mass index, and in this world with America’s problems regarding obesity, that’s a very good thing. Vegan dieters also have lower rates of death due to heart disease. They don’t have as many problems with cholesterol, high blood pressure, hypertension, type two diabetes, stomach, prostate or colon cancer, as do their meat and dairy eating counterparts.
But those eating a vegan diet have to remember that to get everything they need for a truly healthy balanced diet they need to make sure they’re getting enough protein, calcium, iodine and vitamins B12 and D. Which is a simple matter of stocking up on some Dr. approved vitamins.
That’s not why everyone eats a vegan diet though. Some of course eat healthy to be healthy. But there are many who eat vegan because they do not approve of the way animals are being used, tested, treated and consumed. They wonder why so many Americans will buy their cats and dogs Christmas presents this year, but those same generous pet lovers don’t care how pigs, cows, and chickens are treated, just to name a few.