1. A change or variation.
2. The quality of being changeable.
One of the great joys in life is change; a sunrise as it changes the darkness into light, deciduous shrubs shedding their leaves, the lifecycle of amphibians, and ourselves as we grow and change. Allowing ourselves to be open to change can lead us to encounter new experiences and ideas. Most of us are not born vegetarian, so being open to the concept that vegetarianism is both valid and viable may lead us to discover a wonderful wide new world of plant foods.
The first step with any change begins first in the willingness to do so, which is then followed by a transitory stage. The change from fried chicken to teriyaki tofu need not be cold turkey, so to speak. It’s not necessary, or even recommended, for everyone to go full-fledged raw food vegan overnight (although those cheesyÂ raw kale chips give hot cheetos a serious run for their money). A simple change from chicken to vegetable broth can make for an easier initial transition at the dinner table.
There is a wide spectrum of vegetarian subtypes, illustrating the variety of choices one can make during the transition away from meat. We may choose to include eggs and dairy, or omit them completely. It’s up to each of us to choose which variation of the vegetarian bandwagon we want to climb aboard.
- Pesco Vegetarians include fish into their diets.
- Lacto Vegetarians include dairy products into their diet of plant food.
- Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians eat both eggs and dairy products.
- Vegetarians eat only plant food. They do not eat any animal foods, including fish, eggs, or dairy products.
- Vegans also eliminate all animal products from the rest of their life; they do not wear leather, wool, or silk.
- Raw Food Vegans eat only unprocessed vegan foods that have not been heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit, in order to preserve the enzymes inherent in raw food.
Which brings us to the point of this column. Visissitude includes change and variety. A varied diet, regardless of if it’s vegetarian, is a key component of optimal heath and wellness. Variability provides the broadest array of trace minerals, vitamins, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and proteins, all of which are essential for our function. Therefore, during the transitory stage, The Resident Veggie advocates the two key tenets to success: ease (i.e. no cold turkey) and variety. We’re going to get bored, deficient, and damp pretty quickly if we equate vegetarian food with tofu, more tofu, and then more tofu. Thanks to the vegetarian industrial powers that be, the following products are recommended for an easy transition onto your veggie sampler plate.
Tempeh is a fermented protein made from a combination of rices, millet, soy, and/or barley. The fermentation process increases digestibility and utilizes a koji starter of Aspergillus oryzae spores, which are also used to make miso and sake. The amino acid makeup of tempeh is very similar to meat.
Gardein Chick’n Scallopini and 7 Grain Crispy Tenders
Gardein stands for garden protein, and is used extensively by Oprah’s vegan chef Tal Ronnen. It’s a new generation of “meat” that uses a slow cooking method of blended quinoa, millet, kamut, amaranth, soy, and wheat to produce a hearty vegetarian protein. Gardein does contain gluten, so make sure to pop a gluten digestive enzyme as necessary.
Dr-cow tree nut cheeses and Daiya vegan cheese
For years the dairy-free cheese market was an embarrassment to the vegan world due to the uninspired, plasticized, rubbery, tasteless, and un-meltable “cheeses” that populated the supermarket aisles. Then, a few companies realized that cheese is cheese not really because of the milk, but because of the enzymes and bacteria. Brilliant! Subsequently, 2 spectacular vegan cheeses were born. Dr- Cow’s cheeses are made from organic nuts and seeds and aged with acidophilus. Daiya cheese is made with cassava, palm, and enzymes, and melts into strings that actually taste good.
Next up: “Where do you get your … ?”, everything you need to know regarding the nutritional biochemistry of a vegetarian diet.