A vegan diet has always been easy for those who wish to eat a wholefoods diet, as they can eat every variety of fresh foods like legumes, fruits and vegetables.
Veganism has not always been easy for those who would like the choice of convenience foods and eating out at restaurants–but that has all changed recently. High Street restaurants now have vegan menus; coffee shops offer free plant milk; grocery stores have vegan ready meals–it is much easier to follow a plant-based diet than ever before.
Whether you are using Veganuary to read up on veganism for yourself or a loved one, this simple guide will hopefully clear things up for you regarding what vegans can eat!
Fruits and vegetables should make up a large portion of any diet! These plant foods are rich in various vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. We should all aim to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables each day at the very minimum–it’s much easier to achieve this goal on a plant-based diet. When adopting a plant-rich diet, you will find many more uses for fruits and vegetables, such as making cauliflower hot wings or making mushroom bacon.
Legumes are one of the best sources of plant protein. Chickpeas, lentils, butter beans are all fantastic, versatile ingredients that you can use in your everyday cooking. Beans, peas and lentils all work well in dishes like stews, soups, curries, veggie burgers, burrito bowls etc. You certainly won’t need to worry about your protein intake if you’re regularly consuming legumes.
Nuts and seeds can add texture and lots of nutrition to your meals. They’re easy to incorporate into breakfast cereals, porridges, and desserts like cakes and cookies. Nut butter and seed spreads are also great for baking or snacking.
Alternatives are often thought to be transition products for new vegans. However, I still incorporate them in my cooking, and I’ve been vegan for around seven years! Everyone can enjoy meat alternatives, even meat-eaters. They’re tasty, versatile, and can be high in nutrients like fibre and protein. You can create meat alternatives from scratch, which would involve using tofu, tempeh, seitan, jackfruit etc. Or you can buy them from the store to save time.
You might be surprised at how many vegan dairy alternatives there are. You can get yoghurts, milk, cheeses (including mozzarella and camembert), whipped cream, double cream etc. These products are often fortified with calcium and sometimes even vitamin B12. You can make your own dairy alternatives at home if you have the time. Some people prefer to make plant milk from scratch as it can work out cheaper than buying it in the store.
Vegan egg alternatives come in various forms, such as the CRACKD liquid egg that can be made into scrambled egg and used in baking. You can also make vegan egg alternatives from scratch, for example, dippy egg yolk!
A plant-based diet includes all grains, from pasta to bread. Many vegans consider grains a staple in their diet as they can make up a good base for almost any dish. Opt for whole grains such as barley, rye, and wholemeal bread for a healthier option with plenty of fibre.
Herbs and spices are a vegan’s best friend. They help us mimic our favourite flavours and bring out the best in plant foods. Herbs and spices can also have powerful health benefits; for example, turmeric lowers the risk of heart disease and may even prevent cancer.
Oils and vinegars derived from plants are vegan-friendly and add lots of flavour to dishes. Drizzle olive oil onto salads, use sesame oil for stir-fries, and distilled white vinegar for pickling vegetables!
Vegan-friendly condiments and sauces can take your dishes to the next level. They’re also great for providing your taste buds with nostalgic flavours. For example, if you’re making a vegan burger, using all of your usual favourite condiments like mustard and ketchup will help to realistically replicate the dish.
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