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hey everyone, i know there is a wealth of information here but im having trouble finding what im looking for. i see people have given various brands that are available in stores but i have a slightly different question: are these substitutes healthy? im cautious of if they have too much added fake ingredients or chemicals, or whatever that they aren't real food and would be terrible to digest. i would like to use vegan options for butter and eggs for baking.(chia seeds for french toast?) i hope my question doesn't upset anyone. thank you!
 

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First you need to realize how unhealthy dairy is for humans. Mammals milk is produced specifically for their own infants. Not infants of other species, and not over the breastfeeding age.
The cows' milk in the dairy aisle is full of hormones, possibly antibiotics and growth hormones. Since cows confined for milking are purposefully bred to overproduce milk they often suffer from mastitis and exude pus.
Cow milk is fortified with vitamin D and A.

Rather than give specific sites, I'll just link to "is dairy healthy for humans" and you can choose.
https://www.google.com/webhp?source...espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=is dairy healthy for humans

My own experience is the relief of arthritis and less allergy symtoms and mucos production.

The non dairy milks vary quite a bit in content. Many of the refrigerated ones contain carageenan which give people digestive problems. Look for the ones with little added other than vitamin fortification, often B12 and D.
I make my own soy milk, full of protien, calcium and iron.
As for things like cheese-- ehh-- you decide. I like Daiya for the occasional grilled cheese but that's about it. I'd rather sub foods that have the same "feel" as cheese, which I feel is olives, mushrooms, grilled onion and artichokes. And nut chezes with lots of garlic. I'm not a big fan of nutritional yeast but some really love it as a cheesy taste.
 

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Vegan as f**k
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hey everyone, i know there is a wealth of information here but im having trouble finding what im looking for. i see people have given various brands that are available in stores but i have a slightly different question: are these substitutes healthy? im cautious of if they have too much added fake ingredients or chemicals, or whatever that they aren't real food and would be terrible to digest. i would like to use vegan options for butter and eggs for baking.(chia seeds for french toast?) i hope my question doesn't upset anyone. thank you!
Hi there!

Vegan alternatives are healthy and often fortified with vitamins and minerals...

Soya/ rice/ almond milks all exist (Alpro/ Ricedream) and vegan cheese does too (Cheezly by VBites)...There is a vegan equivalent of egg yolks called "the Vegg"...Oh and vegan "buttery" spreads exist (Pure/ Vitalite) :)

The animal product version will be loaded with fat and LDL cholesterol...
 

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Vegan margarine can be used as a substitute for butter. "Earth Balance" is a popular brand, and there are many others.

For replacing eggs in baking recipes, do a Google search for "egg replacer".

Don't every worry about upsetting anyone. In any forum, there will always be at least one person who gets upset (it's practically the law!). LOL don't worry.

If you're looking for substitutes for liquid milk (for drinking or cereal), you can try the various plants milks (almond, rice, soy, etc.). Many of these are fortified with calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D, which are good nutrients to get.

You can also buy calcium-fortified orange juice at any supermarket.

Other good sources of dietary calcium are:
Collard greens http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2411/2
Calcium-set tofu http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/legumes-and-legume-products/4468/2
Sesame seeds http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3071/1
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thanks everyone, that helps some and gives me a starting point to continue research my switch to vegan. i am still finding my way around as far as food goes since i haven't exactly been a healthy vegetarian.

silva - i have always hated milk taste/texture etc and have refused to drink it since i was a kid. even more so after learning about the hormones once i got older. and that their milk is only meant for cow babies. people are just silly :p
 

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Lovable misanthrope
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Yes we are silly and have a lot to learn when it comes to living in harmony with other species and nature
 

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The only dairy substitute I use is almond milk. I use the Lucerne brand from Safeway because it doesn't have carrageenan and tastes better than the Silk brand. You can make your own with just almonds and water, but the shelf life is only a few days, I don't drink it that fast.

I can't use earth balance "butter", it says "MSG free" but there are free glutamates in there somewhere, probably in the natural flavors, because I react to it like I do when I eat MSG. I use olive oil a lot.
 

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You can make your own plant milk, especially if you have a strong blender. I have made my own flaxseed milk (amazingly flax seeds and water can whip up into a nice creamy milky substance and I add dates and calcium powder and vegan D drops to it. Omega 3s are already in there lol). I have also made my own almond milk and coconut milk. Still haven't gotten around to making my own rice milk but I hear that is one of the easiest to make. Very little ingredients are needed for homemade plant milks. And it's all real food. :)

As others said, there are a variety of plant milks and some brands have less additives in them than others. For soymilk, if I drink that, I buy it organic with only a few ingredients and always with whole soybeans (some are made with soy flour). Some hemp milks are made with very few ingredients and without carageenan. Check out this list (scroll to middle of table for nondairy stuff) for plant based nondairy alternatives without carrageenan:
http://www.cornucopia.org/shopping-guide-to-avoiding-organic-foods-with-carrageenan/

I very rarely use margarine or Earth Balance or other butter substitutes. For baking sometimes I just use oil such as coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil. Coconut oil or coconut butter is somewhat of a solid too and can be used in place of butter for some stuff. So can nut butters or peanut butter or tahini. A few times a year I might use Earth Balance. On toast I often have homemade bean spreads or hummus, or applesauce, or salsa, or nut butter.

As a substitute for eggs in baking and leavening:
tofu, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, applesauce, pumpkin, tomato paste (for veggie burgers), chickpea flour (make great omelets), almond flour, cornstarch or potato/tapioca starches, agar flakes, plant milk and lemon juice or vinegar for "buttermilk", banana, avocado. Avocado works very well in place of egg for making mayonnaise and for making chocolate pudding (with maple syrup and cocoa powder it makes a very rich frosting or pudding).

Also, just so people are aware, many omnivore foods have carageenan in them. I have looked at food labels on omnivore foods such as mayonnaise, breads, crackers, margarines, and other processed foods and I have seen carageenan mentioned on them quite often. And guar gum, xanthm gum etc. Personally I don't think these particular additives are all that bad as far as health risk unless a person has an allergy or intolerance to them. Carageenan is simply a type of sea vegetable. I have been drinking plant milks for many years and have not developed any strange or unusual problems. Back when I consumed dairy I was sick all the time with digestive problems and sinus issues. My digestion is SO MUCH better as a vegan. I do keep processed prepackaged foods to a minimum though and concentrate more on dried beans, whole grains (millet, buckwheat groats, quinoa, brown and wild rice, bulgur and oats etc), fresh or frozen fruits and veggies, sometimes organic tofu and tempeh or chickpea flour and so on. Stuff like Cliff bars, vegan meats and cheeses, vegan breads etc are treats or occasional foods for me, not staples.

As far as cheese, I am not a huge fan of it and rarely consume the processed vegan cheeses. I might have Daiya two or three times a year. I do however use nutritional yeast once or twice a week and I suppose some would consider that processed. I use it with sweet potato or pumpkin and tofu to whip up a rich vegan "cheese" sauce to go over my baked potatoes or other dish, or add it with almonds or sunflower seeds to my blender and grind up some "Parmesan cheese" to sprinkle on stuff. That's the extent of my cheese usage lol. Once a year or so I like to make my own vegan nut cheese with almonds, nutritional yeast, agar flakes, plant milk, and spices to make a harder sliceable "cheese". I really don't miss cheese at all. I was not a fan of it as an omnivore and avoided it like the plague since 2003 as I would get terrible cramps, diarrhea and bloat. I have found so many other creative ways to make stuff like pizzas (white bean spread or hummus or other tahini based spread makes a great substitute for cheese on pizza), grilled sandwiches (think sliced avocado and tomato sandwiches grilled with just a hint of coconut or olive oil on the bread for grilling), ricotta for lasagna or manicotti filling using sweet potato or butternut squash, tofu, and nutritional yeast, alfredo sauce using ground almonds and plant milk etc.

I think there is a stereotype that vegan food is all processed substitutes of "real" food. Like omnivore food, there is vegan junk food too. But the meat and cheese processed alternatives are not generally vegan staples. I don't know too many people that could afford to eat them all the time. If you look into many vegan whole foods cookbooks and nutrition books you will find a wealth of plant food that is as natural as you can get. Fruits and vegetables and some nuts/seeds can be picked from a plant or tree and eaten as is. Can't say the same for meat and dairy, which has to be pasteurized, skinned, deboned, drained of blood, heated, filtered, and preserved in order to be safely edible. Often animals are fed antibiotics or cheap grains and their natural hormones are laced in the food they become as well. Though dairy milk can be consumed raw, there is a good reason why pasteurization was invented. And the environmental and ethical expense of producing that milk just isn't worth it.
 

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I am (just) a vegetarian, but I am trying to eat as little dairy/eggs as possible. I think the industries are cruel to the animals, and the foods that are produced are not the most nutritious.

Nutritious substitute for Children-milk- I think plain soymilk is the most complete substitute, so I would feel comfortable giving this to my children. I would personally avoid the sweetened/chocolate versions for daily drinking.

For an older child, any fortified plant milk would be acceptable, with a special nod to rice milk for kids with allergies/sensitive tummies.

Nutritious substitute for cheese- This sounds weird, but we do alot of hummus in place of cheese. I use it as a creamy sauce on pasta salad, a spread on sandwhiches, a dip with chips. We use nutritional yeast as parmesan on a variety of dishes, and it is well loved by both kids.

Nutritious substitute for butter- Plenty of trans-fat free margerines on the market nowadays. I look for varieties with less than 2g saturated fat per serving.

Nutritious substitute for eggs- In baking-, I use canned pumpkin puree in place of eggs and oil in cake mixes with really good results. I like that the canned pumpkin is high in vitamin A, and low in fat.
 

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melimomTARDIS, no one is "just" a vegetarian! You have accomplished so much by being veggie and should be proud :)
 

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So many great replies already!

Nuts are my go-to healthy dairy alternative. I like my vegan junkfood, but I also like that I can make my own vegan cheese out of something as simple as cashews with some water! In salads, I throw pinenuts in instead of cheese and it's delicious!
 

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Yes, vegan dairy and egg substitutes are as healthy as (or healthier than) the real thing. They don't actually contain "fake ingredients" like plastic, nails or rubber chickens, or any more "chemicals" than any other food (all foods are made of chemicals). Is there a particular ingredient that concerns you?

As far as baking, you can find lots of vegan recipes that don't really require a substitute, but if you are looking to replace eggs in a nonvegan recipe, you can google amounts of vegan substitutes like cornstarch, applesauce, ground flax, or ener-G egg replacer to use. In many recipes, you can use vegetable oil (olive oil or canola oil, for example) instead of butter. Coconut oil can be used if a solid fat is needed.
 

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The vegan option that I use for butter is Earth Balance. True, it's pretty highly processed but it's not so bad considering and I make sure I use small amounts of it when I do use it (like no more than a teaspoon). I look at it this way - since butter has dairy and saturated fat, anything vegan is going to be healthier than that.

As for egg substitutes, I find several things work. When I'm baking, I usually try to keep it lower in fat and so I go mostly for apple sauce. Ground flaxseeds and water also make a good substitute. I think if you do a search for "egg substitutes", you'll find a list of things you can use.

Djuna
 

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Hari Om!

We Hindus treat Cow as a Mother & drink her milk throughout our lives. I think it is the best gift of God to humanity. Cow milk is considered to be very nutritious (it is the only drink which contains maximum number of nutrients required by human body). So, it is very good to consume cow milk & its bi-products like butter, cheese, ghee, etc.
 
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