Vegan cooking is characterized by the absence of all animal products, including muscle (meat), organs, glandular secretions (milk, cheese, yogurt), unfertilized embryonic cells (eggs), body fat, and bone/hoof tissue (gelatin) and, in many cases, honey. In vegan cooking, meat is commonly replaced by bean curd (tofu), fermented bean curd (tempeh), wheat protein (seitan), or textured vegetable protein (TVP); milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream are replaced by soy, almond, rice, oat, hemp, or coconut milk versions; eggs are replaced with starch and baking powder, tofu, or flaxseeds; and bone/hoof material is replaced with starch or fruit pectin. Each replacement strategy requires some research and tinkering, typically; for example, replacing eggs with potato starch may require an increase in the amount of baking powder used, and while animal fat tends to be solid at room temperature, most vegetable fats tend to be liquid at room temperature, making coconut or palm "oil" a better substitute for animal fat than corn oil in many baked products.
Some might infer from much of the above that it is quite difficult to be vegan, when in fact, it can be easy, fun, and wonderfully life-changing. Many vegans are very well educated on nutrition, and they are able to meet their health needs with a well balanced diet of raw and cooked vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, and grains, with very limited supplements. In terms of health, Vegans with a well balanced diet are less likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Finally, while being vegan does require patience and strength, beyond that, it does not really require much more than creativity and a love of cooking.