When I went hardcore vegan in 2004, I faked like it was my life: veggie burgers from soy protein isolate, chik'n nuggets from soy protein isolate, soy ice cream, follow your heart vegan cheese (just thinking about the nacho cheez makes me shudder now), whole soy yogurt...finding any new vegan processed food was cause for celebration: omg, it's a vegan cupcake! omg, it's a vegan pumpkin doughnut! omg, it's a vegan vanilla glazed donut!
is it any wonder that, when i started eating dairy again three years later, i couched it as 'real food'?
what it comes down to (two years later and re-veg*nized [mostly]) for me, is just that: 'real food'. food that makes me feel good, is good for animals, and doesn't cost an arm and a leg. i'm absolutely no puritan on 'fakery'--i've got a carton of TJ's Soy Creamy Mango and Vanilla softening on the counter for me as we speak. but...
what i love about isa and terry's books, what has changed my life is the emphasis on real food: beans, nuts, seitan, tofu, tempeh. though i started with just cooking main dishes from their approach, now, instead of having a clif bar for snack on a regular basis, i'll have pecans or almond butter with apples. or, instead of my beloved vegan sesame nuggets from the whole foods' hot bar, i'll have whatever new yummy tofu or edamame salad or....well, that's a lot of 'ors'. that's a lot of options.
if you're veg and you eat processed fakery on a regular basis, i challenge you to make your own meatballs (spaghetti and beanballs, veganomicon), your own sausage (italian sausage, vegan brunch), your own meat patties (chickpea cutlets, veganomicon), and your own veggie burgers (black bean burgers, veganomicon).
and, if you've found a really good soft cashew cheez recipe a la tofutti cream cheese, let me know.