Vegan Substitutes and Replacements

Why Should We Replace Meat and Dairy?

Why do we want to substitute meat, dairy and other animal by-products? Well, even though meat and dairy may taste great, think about what they are doing to us. Is it worth the diseases we are experiencing when, in all reality, we could safely replace meat and dairy, not sacrifice the flavor and avoid the risk of diseases, becoming vegan all at the same time?

                                          Photo courtesy of ellenm1 @

Recently, we have experienced an increase in mad cow disease, salmonella, bird flu, swine flu, E.coli, etc. We're ingesting hormones, steriods, antibiotics, pestisides. We suffer from obesity, cancer, digestive disorders, birth defects, skin diseases, nervous system disorders. The list just goes on and on.

Ok, so if we choose to no longer use animals products, how do we still create delicious vegan meals which usually call for them?

It can be a bit intimidating when you don't know how to go about it. So, here's the information you need so you will feel at ease when making the transition to becoming vegan. It's easier than you think and certainly a creative (and surprisingly), a delicious venture!

At first, my family and I cut all meat and dairy out of our diet. About 2 weeks later, when we started craving certain foods, we decided to try some substitutes on the market. We were afraid that they would not taste good, but we were desperate!!

OMG, we were pleasantly surprised how good they tasted. Now, I'm sure the reason they tasted so good is because our palettes were cleansed for 2 weeks. I also believe it was because our cravings were at their highest. Color and texture of the substitute was secondary to our cravings! Therefore, we were able to overlook some of the characteristics we were used to.

On the other hand, there are some substitutes which apparently taste and look good even to meat and dairy eaters. One such item is a veggie burger called Boca Burger.

So, even 2 years later, I would still suggest to someone who wants to transition to a vegan diet, to cut all meat and diary out for short while (approx. 2 weeks). Then add substitutes a little at a time. That way, you will be able to tell which you truly want to keep in your diet and which you just aren't going to like.

Vegan binder to replace each egg in a recipe (choose one):

Ener-G Egg Replacer (#1 choice, found in most health food stores)
1/4 cup soft tofu blended with any liquid in a recipe
1/4 cup applesauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot starch
1 small ripe mashed banana
1 tablespoon flax seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons water  blended together in a blender until smooth consistency

Vegan dairy substitutes:

Photo courtesy of juanstermons @

Soy milk (plain, vanilla and chocolate - yum!)
Rice milk
Almond milk
Cashew milk
Coconut milk
Buttermilk = 1 cup Soy Milk + 1 tablespoon white vinegar
Soy or rice cheeses (read the package, some soy cheeses contain casein, whey or rennet - dairy by-products)
Crumbled firm tofu in place of ricotta cheese for lazagna
Soy cream cheese
Soy parmesan
Soy butter or margarine (not the yuk kind with all the ingredients you can't even pronounce, the non-hydrogenated kind)
Vegan mayonaise - non-dairy, eggless and cholesterole-free (the most awesome mayo you will ever taste - Follow Your Heart)
Tahini - made from sesame seeds to help make recipes thick and creamy
Nutritional yeast flakes - has a cheesy flavor, takes great on pizza and in mac & cheese. It's also high in B Vitamins!

Vegan meat substitutes:

Vegan bacon
Soy hot dogs
Veggie burgers (Boca Burger is a favorite)
Seitan (pronounced: see-tan) - high-protein wheat gluten
Tempeh - high-protein fermented soybeans
Textured vegetable protein (TVP) - made from defatted soy flour made into chunks

Going Vegan!
Do Vegans Get Enough Nutrients?
Vegan Diet at-a-Glance 
The Vegan Pantry
Vegan Skin Care, Personal Care and Cosmetics