Photo: Fresh Salsa

by Manjari Fergusson

It’s a brand new year, and with that comes an opportunity for you to try and incorporate a more plant-based diet.

You don’t have to jump in all at once, and suddenly begin eating only plant-based foods. You may want to ease into it, and simply start increasing the amount of plant-based food in your diet, or have a certain day of the week be meatless. This can help you transition to a healthy new lifestyle without it being too difficult.

You might also want to try making your favorite foods, but replace the meat with plant-based substitutes, for instance a Portobello mushroom in place of a hamburger or add sautéed tofu to stews and sauces. And, of course, at Down to Earth you can find a wide variety of vegetarian meat substitutes for just about any dish. It's amazing how many new products are on the market now. They look and taste so great! Plant-based meat substitutes have come a long way in both taste and texture since the days of the first veggie burger, thanks to the growing popularity of vegetarian diets. They are healthy and filling and there's enough variety of products to replace meat in any recipe.

Plant-based meat, often called, vegetarian meat, is usually a store-bought frozen or refrigerated food made from soy, gluten, vegetables, or a combination of those three main ingredients. The vegetarian meat is shaped, prepared, spiced and colored to resemble and taste like a wide variety of meat, fish, and poultry. Although many vegetarian meats are vegan, some do contain egg and traces of dairy. Check the label if want to avoid these foods--including gluten--or need your vegetarian meat to be vegan as well.

But there's no need to incorporate vegetarian meats in your diet if you don't want to. There's plenty of protein in fruits, nuts legumes, grains, and vegetables to meet daily requirements. Those of you who worry about getting enough protein from a plant-based diet might like to check out an article on our website, "The Great Protein Myth," by Tandis Bishop, RD.

While it all may seem daunting, it’s actually much easier than you think – thanks to the internet! Down to Earth’s website has a huge library of over 500 recipes that you can refer to. Also check out our resources page for more help.

There are many other websites out there that have great recipes. Here’s a compilation of some of the best:

We hope you are able to find tantalizing recipes that will assist you on your journey of plant-based eating!