A vegan diet can often make it difficult to add sweet and creamy sides or additions to a meal or coffee. However, soy milk and tempeh make great additions to coffee or tea and sides to any meal. Soy milk offers the same health benefits as regular milk, such as calcium, vitamin D, and protein. Even though most of us are done growing, calcium is still an essential component to a healthy diet and ensures good bone maintenance and development. Lack of calcium can lead to brittle bones later in life, which can lead to osteoporosis. In order to prevent brittle bones later, ample calcium in one’s diet is necessary, as our parents, teachers and coaches have told us since we were young. It is just as easy to get a cup of soy milk in every dining hall at Wellesley as it is to get a cup of regular or nonfat milk. It will also make even the most bitter cup of coffee sweeter and easier to chug before class.
Like soy milk, tempeh is derived from soybeans, which are often considered the go-to source of protein for vegans and vegetarians. Tempeh can act as an addition to a pasta or soup, and even as a side by itself. Because it is relatively bland tasting on its own, adding Tabasco or Sriracha on top of plain tempeh will make it delicious and filling. Though it has more calories than tofu, it is actually a better option for losing fat and building muscle because it is less processed and has more unsaturated fats, which are essential for cell and muscle growth. Also, a cup of tempeh has more potassium than a banana does, which will help any vegan or non-vegan get through the day with enough energy to stay awake in class. Another great way to mask the bland taste of tempeh is to use it as a substitute for bacon in a BLT sandwich. Tempeh is a great source of protein and “good fats,” and it should be an essential component to any vegan’s diet.