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Your Guide to Vegan Meat Substitutes

By Sara Butler

Even if you’re not following a vegan diet, you should consider adding a few vegan meat substitutes in. Eating less meat is better for your health, but with the variety of options available it can be difficult to find one that is right for you and your tastes. Here is a quick guide to vegan meat substitutes to help you get started.

Which One?

To find out which substitute may be best suited for you, think about what you’re looking for. Do you want something full of protein? Something flavorful? Something with a texture that’s not a turnoff?

You can easily determine which source of protein is right for you by looking at the label. If protein is on the top of your list, then look at the nutrition label to see how much protein it contains. It’s also important to look for sources of protein high in calcium, Vitamin B12, and iron -- nutrients that are often lacking for vegans and vegetarians.

Tofu

Tofu is probably one of the most commonly found non-meat sources of protein and has been a staple in meatless diets for decades. It’s easy to use because it often takes on the flavors of other ingredients it is cooked with, so it’s simple to incorporate into your favorite meals. It’s often high in calcium and Vitamin B12, but make sure you read the nutrition label for the particular product you’re buying for its profile.

Tempeh

Tempeh is a product made from fermented soy. It’s made from using a whole soybean, which is then cultured and formed into a cake. Tempeh often has more fiber, vitamins, and protein than tofu and because it’s fermented, it’s good for your gut too.

Texturized Vegetable Protein (TVT)

This highly processed vegan protein is made by taking soy flour and removing the fat with solvents. It’s often shaped into nuggets or chunks and is often found in frozen, processed vegetarian products. It’s flavorless by itself, but the texture is good in place of meat in dishes such as chili.

Seitan

This product is essentially wheat gluten -- the protein found in wheat. It has a chewy, dense texture and is found flavored often with marinades or soy sauce. It’s easily found in the refrigerated section of most stores in chunks or strips. It’s a great source of protein and iron.

It's not a bad idea to add some of these sources of protein to your diet, even if you're not vegan or vegetarian. Go ahead -- give them a try and see what you think!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Fontana, Calif.

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