You might have learned in school that milk, meat and gluten were staples of a balanced diet, but many people today beg to differ. While you may not believe the food pyramid is pseudoscience, the prevalence of people staying healthy by ditching eggs, milk and meat may cause you to rethink your diet. Even if you love your cheeseburgers, you may have some guests at a summer pool party or barbecue with dietary restrictions. It is useful to develop quick, easy ways to give favorite foods the vegan treatment without fuss.
What Is a Vegan Diet?
Vegetarianism became all the rage in the 1960s and 1970s, and it was popular among budding mystics and adherents to the counterculture. It seemed to be a big deal at the time to eschew meat and chicken, given the meat and potatoes diet of the 1950s the hippies had been raised on. Many were partial vegetarians and ate fish occasionally, while it was pretty much assumed that they would eat dishes containing cheese and eggs.
The last two decades have seen the rise of veganism, which goes further than vegetarianism in distancing from animal products and excludes eggs and dairy. People who are vegans for ethical reasons argue that milk and eggs byproducts of animal slaughter, while others follow a vegan diet for the health benefits of eliminating animal fats, which contain cholesterol and saturated fats.
Making Replacements in Baking
If you are unaccustomed to vegan cuisine, it may be hard to imagine scrumptious chocolate chip cookies or succulent cakes without eggs or dairy products. You can make baked goods without anyone knowing they are egg and dairy free. You can try time-honored replacements used by housewives who were few eggs short of a dozen, such as extra oil, applesauce or mashed banana instead of an egg, but some of these add telltale flavors. There are a number of egg replacement products on the market that taste like the real thing. You can also replace cow’s milk in a recipe with rice milk.
Hampton Creek is a food company that specializes in traditional foods without the traditional egg and dairy ingredients. The company’s Just Cookies and Just Cookie Dough satisfies your sweet tooth without adding animal fats to your diet. You can even eat the cookie dough straight from the refrigerator because it contains no eggs.
Dips and Dressings
Hampton Creek became famous with its Just Mayo brand, which made conventional mayonnaise companies uneasy, because Hampton Creek dared to use the term “mayo” concerning a concoction that lacked eggs. Just Mayo is free of animal fats and is available in a variety of flavors, including garlic, chipotle, and low-fat versions. Use Just Mayo in a cool potato salad, or make a BLT with soy bacon and Just Mayo. Check out this Hampton Creek YouTube video for more ideas.
One way to go vegan at your next summer party is to venture south of the border with your menu items. It is relatively easy to avoid meat and dairy with southwestern selections, such as black bean and pinto bean dip, guacamole, salsa and chips. Give guests the option of making their own tacos and burritos with a bowl of regular cheese or soy cheese. You can also make chutneys, pesto and relishes that are made entirely of vegetables.
Like A Vegan
If you are considering taking the plunge and adopting a vegan lifestyle, it is best to do so in stages. It may be difficult to give up milk, meat and dairy all at once, so use a vegetable-based replacement for cheese or meat at least once a day and gradually increase the amount of vegan items you consume. You may decide to use vegan alternatives to reduce saturated fats rather than make a dramatic lifestyle change. Look for vegan recipes and products that make it easy to go meat, egg and dairy-free.
It’s Never Been Easier
Becoming vegetarian or vegan was once considered to be a huge sacrifice, but with the popularity of the lifestyle and the number of replacement products on the market, it has never been easier to go vegan. Hampton Creek and other brands provide delicious alternatives to your animal-based favorites, such as cakes, mayonnaise and chocolate chip cookies. You can even enjoy your breakfast omelet every day with egg replacements and enjoy a southwestern brunch without missing the meat or cheese. With some creativity and a few adjustments, it can be easy to make tasty vegan dishes.