It has long been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Why is this? It is the first meal that you have after waking up. The energy that your body receives from this meal will set the standard for the rest of the day. The traditional breakfast that many people think of, bacon or sausage, eggs, toast, fried potatoes, gravy, and a tall glass of cold milk will not work for people that have chosen the life of a vegan or a vegetarian.
This does not make the morning meal any less important. You still need the energy (which is calories, protein, and other nutrients) to kick start your body into meeting the day. If most of the menu is off limits, what can you do? Do not fear. There are many ways to get all the protein that your body needs with out eating meat (or meat products if you are a vegan).
In the old days (and even today to those that are uneducated in the dietary ways of vegetarians and vegans) the only way to replace the protein lost by eliminating meat was with peanut butter or beans. The meatless choices have come a long way since those “dark ages”. It is actually quite easy to enjoy a breakfast that is high in protein with out eating any kind of meat or animal products.
If you are a mild vegetarian (one who still eats dairy products), your breakfast is even easier. All you have to do is cook a few eggs, especially if they are in an omelet so you can add other ingredients to make it even healthier. If you have chosen not to eat any kind of dairy (especially if you are a vegan), there is a wonder food out there that will fit the bill perfectly. It is a form of the soy bean plant. Although it may not sound very tasty, and most people think of it as livestock feed, it is the source of many great foods that are completely allowed by the rules governing vegans and vegetarians.
The immediate one that comes to mind is tofu. It comes in many textures from soft and pudding like all the way to crispy fried. It is a soy based food and is full of protein. You can fry it like you would any kind of meat. It can be mixed with any ingredients that you like. The real beauty of it is the fact that it is more or less tasteless itself. It will absorb the flavor of whatever you are cooking it with. This includes spices. As a quick example, you can fry it with a combination of salt, pepper, and sage (hot peppers if you prefer) and you will have something very similar to sausage.
Another wonder food that is becoming very popular is Textured Vegetable Protein or TVP. It is sometimes called soy meat. It is in effect fake meat. Although it may sound like something that the space travelers out of 2001 A Space Odyssey might eat, it is actually very common in most major grocery chains. It comes in many different name brands, the most common is Soysage. Eggs have not been left out. You can get a soy version of eggs as well. They will not look like eggs, so over easy is out of the question, but scrambled or omelets will work just fine. Usually the egg substitute will come in a carton in liquid form.
So with a list of possible ingredients, what kind of breakfast can a vegan or vegetarian make that will fulfill their need for protein for the day without any kind of meat product?
Take the soy egg substitutes and prepare an omelet like you normally would. Use a quality vegetable oil to grease the pan. Pick any kind of vegetables that you like to put in the omelet. Fry up some finely cubed tofu with spices and add to the omelet. If you like potatoes, go ahead and make fried potatoes with the same type of vegetable oil. If this isn’t enough food for you, it is time to get creative.
Bake some biscuits. Check the label, if animal products are used, make them yourself, substituting animal oil with vegetable oil. Take some of the TVP in the form of Soysage (it is actually tastier than the real thing) and make some sausage (excuse me Soysage) gravy. If you don’t eat dairy, you will need to use soy milk instead of the regular cow’s milk. Although Grandma may flip out, use the run off from cooking the Soysage instead of grease from one of the meats. Soysage doesn’t have a high fat content so you may need to add additional vegetable oil. Other than these changes, make the gravy the same as always.
With a few minor changes, you have made a vegan/vegetarian friendly breakfast that includes a loaded omelet, fried potatoes, biscuits and Soysage gravy. This breakfast is very high in protein and contains no meat products. Will it require a little more work? Yes. Will it be a little more expensive to make? Yes.
Most importantly, have you had a protein packed, healthy breakfast that didn’t require you to alter your life choices about eating meat or meat products? Yes you did. Even if you are not a vegetarian, I recommend trying this breakfast. It will be much tastier and healthier than you probably think.