Vegetarian Secrets: Why Didn’t You Share These??

I have a bone to pick with Vegetarians. Vegans: you’re on notice.

Now, before anyone slams me with thousands of messages and emails about the above, let me explain myself and the Canadian-tempered outrage I’m feeling. Trust me, you’re going to want to keep reading.

To all Vegetarians and Vegans out there…

*deep breath*

WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL US HOW GOOD YOU HAVE IT??

Allow me to explain.

So about two months ago, my Mother and I decided that we were going to start consuming less meat, and not because of any ethical reasons or anything (not that there’s something wrong with that. Thats your choice of course.) but instead due to the fac that meat is pretty expensive now and because of the environmental impact that mass growing of livestock, poultry, etc have.

As I started exploring how I would be able to still have “hamburgers” and such without feeling like I was missing out, I discovered something magical and wonderful. Its called Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP). The problem that I initially thought I would have was not getting enough protein, as meat is a major source of that in my life up until now. I figured I would need to find something to replace my protein source with something as good or better.

So I started researching. A lot. Let me tell you, there are quite a few websites out there that promote their recipes and such but are so hard to follow with so many ingredients that I swear Alton Brown would throw his hands up in disgust and frustration and just go make some Mac n’ Cheese. Suffice it to say, it took quite awhile before I found some recipes that were not only easy to follow, but didn’t require $200 in groceries to do it.

I also discovered Tempeh. While based off of the same vegetable/legume as Tofu, they have completely different textures and uses. Tempeh is signficantly firmer and cuts very much like a firm cheddar. It also works fantastic in stirfrys, egg scrambles, tacos, or burgers. I’ve also experimented with Seitan (pronounced Sigh-Tan) which has the same consistencey as chicken/pork. All three of these things (TVP, Tempeh, Seitan) are essentially flavourless and absorb the essence of whatever you cook it with. Tofu ain’t the only game in town, baby!

With all of the vegetables, fruits, nuts, and these three Game Changers, I have not only been able to get all of the protein I need and more… but its given me the chance to expand my culinary horizons far past what I thought I knew I was able to do. I haven’t even mentioned the lentils, variety of beans, chickpeas (you glorious garbonzo bean!), and so much more. Everything is more exciting, flavourful, very hearty, filling, satisfying, and most all its super super healthy without honestly even trying.

Oh yeah, and no big deal… but I’ve lost 6 pounds in the past two weeks.

Going vegetarian was one of the best decisions of my life and I have to say, the bitterness of aaaaall of you other vegetarians and vegans out there for not sharing THIS part of the lifestyle with the rest of us will pass in time.

But for now: Veggie burger anyone?

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