Let’s face it; most of us have a fascination for meat and we love it.  Some of us in this world are turning away from meat as part of a common diet and beginning to face a meat free life.  No matter what your reasons are for turning toward a vegetarian lifestyle it is common to miss the taste and smell of meat especially when you first start your walk as a vegetarian.  Before you read any further just know that you do not have to feel guilty or bad for loving meat.  After all, many of us were brought up eating pork, chicken, beef and other meats and our parents did not have vegetarian principles about meat consumption.

 The good news is that there are substitutes for meat and wonderful recipes you can use to cut meat from your daily diet.  These substitutes include products like Tempeh and Tofu, but we'll talk about those in a few minutes.

Did you know that studies have shown that vegetarian eating is healthier for your body than a diet where meat is the main ingredient?  The reason it makes you feel better is because meats like beef and pork have higher calorie and fat content.  These types of meats can also be harder for your body to digest and proper digestion is critical for optimal health.

One common ingredient in a vegetarians kitchen is Tofu.  Tofu is made of Soybeans which is all natural and a good fit to vegetarian meal planning.  Tofu has lots of protein and it's an easy ingredient for vegetarian recipes because it takes on the flavors of the other ingredients that you cook with.  Tofu works great with food that requires sauces.  Tofu also works well when grilling and baking.

As you begin building your library of vegetarian recipes, you will often find Tofu as one of the often used items.  Before using Tofu, take the time to dry it out by putting it on a towel and removing the excess moisture before using it.  It only takes a short time to dry a block of Tofu.  Simply place your Tofu inside a few paper towels, set a heavy object on top of it and let sit for about 15 minutes.

There are also ways to drop dairy products to help support a vegetarian diet.  Items such as soymilk, almond milk, goats milk, or cheese type products like Tofutti are common in the refrigerators of vegetarians.

As you begin to explore vegetarian cooking, there are a number of other meat replacements that do well.  Tempeh is one such replacement that is also a soy food that has been eaten in Asia for hundreds of years. Tempeh is made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans, similar to a very firm veggie burger.  Once prepared it can be fried in flower and served with a sauce for flavor.

One of the big challenges of making the change to a vegetarian lifestyle is learning ways to substitute healthy alternatives like Tofu and Tempeh while removing other meat products out of your diet.  It will take some time and learning but make it fun as you reinvent cooking and shopping to fit your new passion for healthy vegetarian eating.