If you aren’t a vegetarian now and haven’t been one in
the past, you probably also haven’t eaten tofu many
times. In fact, the only time most people hear about tofu
it is in jokes aimed at vegetarians.
So why is it that vegetarians eat this stuff all the time?
Is is it simply because they have no other choice?
The answer is both yes and no.
Being a vegetarian doesn’t mean you have to eat tofu. In
fact, there are many vegetarians who never eat tofu or any
popular meat-replacement dishes--such as "veggie burgers"
or "tofurkey"--for that matter.
As long as they research and create meal plans, vegetarians
can maintain a healthy diet eating traditional meals or
Tofu is often cited as something exclusively vegetarian
because it is a versatile, highly-nutritional, and can
be used to replace meat dishes.
Not only can it be created in textures, consistencies, and
flavors that simulate a range of meats--from turkey to
hamburg--but it can also actually replace and far exceed
the nutritional value of similar meat dishes.
While vegetarians do not actually need to consume tofu,
doing so is often a wise dietary choice--and also the next
best thing to eating similar meat products (for those who
enjoyed meat dishes before they became vegetarians).
Tofu is a low-fat, low-cholesterol, low-calorie food made
out of steamed and compressed soy beans. Not only is it a
great source of protein--which many vegetarians lack--but
it is also heart-healthy and has been linked to a decreased
risk in cancer.
In addition to being served as a meat alternative, tofu is
also served in a number of spicy and ethnic dishes, which
were never intended to contain meat. Many ethnic Indian
dishes contain large amounts of tofu cooked and spiced
in different ways.
So here is my suggestion to you: If you aren’t already
a vegetarian, but want to become one, don’t let tofu
get in your way. You can maintain a healthy vegetarian
diet without ever eating it. However, if you already are
a vegetarian, but haven’t tried tofu, I highly suggest you
do. It is both nutritional and versatile - and it might not
taste as bad as you think.