A: Our programs include an array of vegetarian choices and recipes. Cheeses of all varieties can top salads or vegetables and eggs make wonderful dairy alternatives.

Low-fat cheeses, egg whites and egg substitutes can also be used. Soy-based textured protein may be high in carbohydrates. Check the carb levels and choose appropriately for the meal in which it will be eaten.

Tofu (soy bean curd) is a good alternative to animal protein for all meals. It is wonderful stir-fried (especially if you drain the water first by placing a few plates on top of a block of tofu and allowing it to sit for an hour or so). We love tofu, thin-sliced and fried in a little olive oil (with garlic powder or real garlic). This makes a kind of tofu "jerky". For high-carb meals, tofu slices can be dipped in bread crumbs then fried in olive oil. Delicious!

Many vegetarians ask us about miso and where it fits in on the Program. Miso is a rich, salty condiment that characterizes the essence of Japanese cooking. Many Japanese begin their day with a fortifying bowl of miso soup. They also use miso to flavor a variety of foods in other meals throughout the day. Making miso is a household art in Asian countries, comparable to the American practice of canning foods. To make miso, soybeans, and sometimes a grain such as rice, are combined with salt and mold culture. The mixture is then aged in cedar vats for one to three years. Most miso made in western countries is produced in a similar manner. Quick miso is also available, but is generally inferior in taste to traditionally aged miso.

Miso is actually a group of condiments. The addition of different ingredients, and variations in the duration of aging produce different types of miso that vary greatly in flavor, texture, color, and aroma. In Japan, different types of miso are prepared and evaluated in much the same way Westerners judge fine wine and cheese.

By definition, miso is a natural source of free glutamates and may cause cravings and/or slow weight loss (see the MSG link on the Frequently Asked Questions page (FAQ). If you are not sensitive to naturally-occuring glutamates, miso may not interfere with your program but stay alert to its impact. In addition, during low-carb meals, choose miso that is made from soybean curd only. Miso made from grains may contain up to 9 grams of carbs per average serving, so check out the ingredients carefully.

If you are a vegan, our programs may not be appropriate for you. Always check with your physician before starting any new eating program.