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Vegan Alternatives for Animal-Based Foods

Posted Mar 22 2011 12:00am
Healthy Eating

Eat healthy, when possible!

You are considering eating a vegan (plant-based) diet, but you are reluctant because you are not sure how you will pull it off.

You will not have animal products in your diet, therefore you need to have a plant-based alternative.

Do you realize that for every animal based food product, there is a plant-based alternative?

Gradually transitioning to a plant-based way of eating is what I recommend and I found that it works better for most people, than going cold-turkey.

Today, you will learn the plant-based foods you can substitute for the animal-based foods. I hope you do not think you will miss anything, because there are some very tasty vegan alternatives that will make your taste buds very happy.

Instead of:

  • 1 cup of cow’s milk
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 ounce cheese
  • 1 cup cottage cheese (in recipes)
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese (4 ounces)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (as in lasagna)
  • 1 cup ice cream
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  • 1 cup fortified soymilk, grain milk, nut or seed milk
  • 1 cup soy milk plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice or white vinegar
  • 1 cup soy or coconut yogurt
  • 1 ounce of casein-free soy cheese or soy-free cheese (rice)
  • 1 cup mashed tofu (firm works well)
  • 1 cup frozen soy, rice, or coconut dessert, vegan fruit sherbet or sorbet
  • 12 ounces firm silken tofu + 1/4 cup maple syrup + 1 tablespoon lemon juice + 1 teaspoon vanilla ( Cooking Vegetarian: Healthy, Delicious, and Easy Vegetarian Cuisine )
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, vegan margarine, soy spread, coconut butter, other nut or seed butters

Instead of:

Sometimes just leaving out 1 egg in a recipe makes very little difference. p.274
  • 1 egg


  • 2-4 tablespoon soft tofu
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoon water (chia seeds also thicken and make a gel-like consistency when added to water)
  • 1/4 cup mashed, very ripe banana or applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon EnerG “Egg Replacer” for baking
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder mixed with dry ingredients, to replace leavening action of 1 egg or egg white in baking

Instead of Meat:

  • 1 tablespoon gelatin
  • 1 cup meat or chicken stock
  • 1 serving meat, chicken, fish
  • 1 cup ground beef
  • 1 serving sausage or smoked meat


  • tablespoon agar flakes (thickens 1 cup liquid), 1/2 teaspoon powder (thickens 1 cup liquid)
  • 1 cup liquid vegetable stock or 1 cup water + vegetable stock cubes or powder, Bragg Liquid Aminos or tamari (to taste) mixed with water, Miso mixed with water (taste)
  • Equal weight or volume of meat substitutes, beans, tofu, marinated tofu, temple, gluten (seitan), gluten-based meats from Asian restaurants, Equal volume of Portobello mushrooms
  • 1 cup veggie ground round, 1/2 cup dry textured soy protein + (1/cup less 1 tablespoon) boiling stock or water, stirred and soaked for 10 minutes
  • equal weight or volume of meat substitutes, equal weight or volume of crumbled, seasoned tofu (season with sage, savory, thyme, parsley, garlic, fennel seeds, and liquid smoke)

Instead of Sugar*

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup honey


  • 2/3 to 1 cup dried cane juice granules
  • 1/4 cup black strap molasses plus 1/2 cup sweet molasses
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups barley malt syrup or rice syrup (or to taste; thee are less sweet)

*Cane sugar is sometimes whitened using animal bones

As you can see, you have many options for substituting the animal-based foods with plant-based foods in your diet.  And you will not get bored.

Note: If you do not want to eat soy products, you can always include more beans, nuts and seeds in your diet. There are alternatives for soy products too (ex. rice cheese instead of soy cheese), just make sure you read the labels.

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