VEGETARIANISM
     ONE SMALL STEP

SO YOU WANT TO TRY BEING A VEGETARIAN!
 

Today more than ever, people are turning to a meatless diet!  Some choose it for health reasons.  Others are motivated by ethical concerns.  Whatever the reason, I would like to show you some shortcuts to eliminating meat in your diet.

 
Actually, there are some readily available products which can be used as nutritious and tasty replacements for meat in just about ANY recipe!  Start small.  Don't expect a meat substitute to taste exactly like the meat you are used to having.  It's not meat but it tastes good on its own.  You sort of have to re educate yourself and your taste buds but you do not have to disappoint them.  I would urge you to select a new recipe that sounds good and simply replace the meat item with a substitute.  Believe me, you will eventually treat these so called 'substitutes' simply as food items you enjoy and not 'replacements' for anything!  The Internet is a treasure trove of recipes from so many cultures.  Indian and other Asian recipes are often meatless. 
Worthington Foods Vegetarian Skallops
Don't let the name fool you.  The product is named as a replacement for scallops but it is a textured vegetable and wheat gluten product that is an excellent substitute for beef, pork and chicken.  the key to all cooking is in the seasoning and sauces.  Vegetarian cooking is no different.  As a meat substitute this product can be cut into strips or stew sized pieces and sautéed in garlic and onions.  when browned it has an excellent texture an absorbs the flavors of spices and sauces quite well.  The product adapts quite well to Indian and other Asian recipes as well as to things like stews, Stroganoffs and anything calling for small pieces of pork, beef or chicken.  We generally rise the skallops to remove the broth which we believe probably removes a lot of the sodium.  the broth is fine however we prefer creating our own presentations with our own spices.  We usually cut the product into thin strips and fry them in a spray such as Pam in order to get the best texture before introducing the item into our recipe.  One interesting way to prepare it (especially in Indian dishes) is to fry a chopped onion and some garlic and add the spices. Stir well adding a little water along with the pieces and coating them well.  I use these "skallops" as the meat substitute in Gyros, Tacos and other dishes.  I even use them in making  goetta!  (Hey, Mom was German.)  I thoroughly chop the skallops in a food processor or meat grinder and cook along with pinhead oatmeal.  The uses are endless.

If you have difficulty locating Worthington(R) Vegetable Skallops(R) in
your local grocery or health food store, you may wish to contact their
retail store to purchase the non-frozen Worthington(R), Loma Linda(R) and
Natural Touch(R) products.  Please call toll-free, 1-800-243-1810, Monday
through Thursday, 11:30a.m. to 5:30p.m., Eastern Time (ET) and Friday,
11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., ET.  Follow the instructions provided on the
prompt menu.

Caution, this is a soy and wheat product and contains msg.   Contact Worthington Foods

 


 
Oh no, not tofu...that white stuff is horrible and no one will eat it!  Wrong!  This is not your father's tofu anymore.  This is fried tofu and nothing like the gelatinous blocks of white soy bean curd you are used to seeing.  The texture of this product is great.  Here in the Sunny South I was able to find "my" tofu carried by a couple of Asian markets.  Your city probably has such a source.  Hinoichi makes this product in the US and is a helpful company to deal with in locating retail sources near you.   Hinoichi Company

I usually cut the tofu cutlets into thin strips and even julienne style strips before frying.  For health reasons I always fry or sauté in PAM style spray or sometimes a small amount of olive oil.  I almost always add fresh garlic and onions during or before the frying.  Fresh ginger also adds great flavor as will just about all spices.  Experiment, you'll discover some great tastes.  I use tofu as the "meat" item in stir fry dishes, Thai recipes and just about anything else calling for meat.  I have learned that this tofu can be fried and have it sprinkled with a little Balsamic Vinegar at the end.  This adds a delightful flavor as well as browning the tofu.  Add your favorite spices and sauces along with cut-up peppers, onions and other vegetables of your choice and you have the makings of a quick and healthy stir fry.  An inexpensive sauce is available in many Asian markets and regular supermarkets called Sweet Chili Sauce.  This will add a little spice to your stir fry.  Serve over Asian noodles, or regular spaghetti noodles or rice.  I often just add cooked regular spaghetti style noodles to the stir fry pan and finish the stir fry together.  This product has no sodium or cholesterol.


 
 
 

Sweet Chili Sauce--watch the calories!  Balsamic Vinegar...great for browning tofu!  Brown sauce...add a little flour or corn starch, water and soy sauce for an instant brown sauce!  Great in Chinese dishes!

There are other products that can help you replace meat in your diet.  Some people feel you should become a vegetarian by not substituting items for meat but develop a mindset where products such as tofu and other vegetable based items are presented 'on their own' and not as substitutes for anything.  That works for some people and you'll find it true that eventually you'll arrive at that point even if you start by eating 'meat substitutes.'  Others begin by searching for meat substitutes and slowly immerse themselves in vegetarianism.  That approach worked for me.  Here are a few great items:

Veggie 'burgers' that are excellent!
 

A great replacement for hamburger!

Look, world hunger could be eliminated if everyone became a vegetarian.  The cruelty of the meat industry would also be stopped.  Vegetarianism is believed by many authorities to be a healthier approach to eating.  I can't imagine that we need to convince anyone of these points any  longer.  They are almost self evident truths.  Please lead by example.  There is little to be gained by proselytizing about vegetarianism.  The topic shakes the confidence of some people and they will react bitterly.  Their deeply hidden guilt will force them to harden their attitude toward meat.  You know in your heart and soul what is correct.  Avoid the temptation to preach at your critics with the same venom they direct at you on this issue.  Do you want to do good or get even?  Remember, the way you live your life is still the best sermon.  Now I'm done preaching.  Go to a search engine such as Google and type in some terms such as vegetarian diet, vegetarian recipes, Indian vegetarian recipes etc..
 


A SPECIAL WORD TO KIDS OF ALL AGES:
Be prepared for some criticism and ridicule when  people find you have become interested in vegetarianism.  You can simply announce you are pursuing the health benefits of a better diet and ignore the lecture you will hear about the healthiness of a meal made from the flesh of dead creatures.

Be prepared for a more cruel, thoughtless and even mean spirited response if it is announced you are a vegetarian because you have concern for animals.  For some reason, certain people are threatened by vegetarianism.  This type of person will find it necessary to go into details about killing and devouring other creatures.  They will often feign humor, but if you listen closely, you'll realize they are upset about your ethical decision.  If you ever wondered about your choice of vegetarianism, contact with these cruel critics should assure you there is something powerful about your ethical and spiritual beliefs.  They fear you.  It's not easy to be a rebel or an individualist, but it is rewarding.  You'll be a better person and if you're better, the world is better.

Young people will often encounter opposition from adults.  Males will especially be prone to adopting a macho stance about vegetarianism.  Relatives, friends and even teachers may express comments that may even border on cruelty about killing and eating animals. Some will hurt your feelings with cruel remarks even as they tell you hunting, fishing and butchering are not cruel.  Most are merely trying to impress you with their manliness.  Some are simply sick.

Some Buddhist and Hindu believers avoid meat.  However, if you lived in mountainous Tibet, eating meat would be necessary for survival.  Many Buddhists would eat meat if it were prepared and offered by error and would be wasted otherwise.  Some very spiritual people will eat as little meat as possible.  When unavoidable, they will pray for the animal before eating.  They will ask for forgiveness and pray that the animal has gone to its next life and is not suffering.  They will vow to do righteous things with the energy they receive from the food.  It is believed that certain Native Americans would express sorrow and ask for forgiveness before hunting.

Now this will invite controversy:  Some people believe Jesus was a vegetarian.  They base this on the gentle nature of his teachings and his respect for life.  Other than a story about a miracle where a multitude was fed by just a few loaves and fishes, there is no mention of Jesus and his followers eating animal flesh.  Some of his disciples were fishermen, but they left this practice to follow him and become "Fishers of men."   It could be that "Loaves and fishes" was a figure of speech much in the same way as some pray "Give us this day our daily bread."  It could also be a mis translation.  It could also be a parable, used to teach a lesson.  You will find people who will tell you that you must take the Bible literally in every instance.  They begin to tap dance around this demand when you quote to them passages in the Bible that say it is easier for a camel to pass through an eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven.  They'll give you a song and dance that this passage refers to a door into the walled city that was so narrow it was nicknamed "The Needle" or "the Eye of the Needle."  However, if you're using this literal approach, the passage should have read: The Eye of The Needle.  They can't have it both ways...no wait, yes they can.  These may be some of the people who responded to seeing a billboard that proclimed Jesus to be a vegetarian.  They put up their own sign that said they would begin torturing and killing cats every day until the Jesus sign was removed!  Which side do you belong on?
One laughable argument posed by some carnivores surrounds a comparison with killing animals and killing plants.  They will tell you that so-called 'studies' proved plants feel pain.  Their reasoning is that it is just as wrong to eat plant material as it is to eat animals.  These sad and desperate people ignore one very key fact.  We generally only eat the SEEDS and FRUIT of plants.  God (or nature...or both)  created a system where the plants need us to eat their fruit and seeds to help spread them and guarantee the survival of their kind.  When we animals eat plant products we often have them pass through our systems and get deposited in areas where they may take root and grow.  Even plants we eat mostly whole are at the very  END of their life cycle when we eat them.  We don't eat trees that will someday be 300 years old.  We eat the fruit and seeds of plants as they reach the end of their life cycles.  For example, plants such as corn are basically dead as we harvest what we eat from them.  We do not kill trees when we harvest the fruit and nuts from them.

Fortunately, most of your family and real friends will support your life style choice and really respect what you're doing.


EMail Bill Stockland at: billstockland@cox.net 

 

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