What is a vegan diet

January 15, 2020

Are you thinking about trying a vegan diet or transitioning to a more plant-based diet? Perhaps this transition is a bit overwhelming?

Even if you are a vegetarian, transitioning to a vegan diet might be a bit of a challenge.

Even though vegetarians do not eat meat, they do eat eggs and cheese, which is in many foods, and you may think difficult to substitute!

A vegan diet excludes the consumption of all animals and animal products. The term vegan was coined in 1940 by the vegan society, the definition is of veganism is:

“a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”

In our opinion, the most challenging part of transitioning to a vegan diet is finding replacement foods and avoiding all the vegan junk foods (which come at a health cost and a cost to the pocket).

We recommend taking it bit by bit, unless you are one of those all or nothing kind of people, then by all means – go for it!

Each week try something new. You can even start by adopting a flexitarian diet, which is eating mostly plant-based but allowing yourself to consume some meat and animal products.

vegan diet. buddha bowl

Here are some ways to transition week by week or month by month

1.) Cut out all meat

2.) Try milk substitutes

3.) Try cheese substitutes

4.) Switch butter for coconut oil

5.) Experiment with vegan baking and egg alternatives

Why all the vegan substitutes?

People are drawn to what is familiar, yet exciting. Thinking about substitutes is easier than creating a whole new meal idea. Think about your favourite meals and how you can make them vegan, or more vegan. For example, a burger patty can be replaced with a wide variety of vegan bean-based or vegetable-based patties that can be purchased or made yourself. Pro tip – make them in bulk and store in the freezer for a quick dinner or lunch.

We recommend (and prefer) whole food ‘substitutes’ for animal products than processed and refined animal product substitutes. Here are some of our suggestions:

Meaty alternatives: Mushrooms (the variety is huge: try shiitake; oyster; portobello or porcini) – add a great flavour and texture to stir-fries. Chop finely and add to lentils for a ‘mince’ type meal.

Aubergines/brinjals – also great in stir-fries and bakes.

Cheese alternatives

– Fried tofu – for a halloumi-like ‘cheese’

– Coconut oil-based / other shop alternatives (try and get the ones with the least
ingredients)

– Make your own – there are a lot moderately easy recipes online

Egg substitutes for baking

– Vinegar

– Ground Flaxseeds or chia seeds

– Pureed apple or banana

Scrambled egg – Tofu

almond milk. almond milk.
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Cream cheese – Cashew nuts blended

Milk – Plant-based milk – soy, rice, coconut, almond, walnut, etc (pro tip – to avoid vegan milk curdling in your coffee, gently heat up the milk)

Butter / spreads

– Hummus for spreading

– Coconut oil for baking or recipe for a vegan butter substitute

– Olive oil or coconut oil for frying

How to stay healthy being a vegan.

Just like any other diet, a vegan diet needs to be balanced.

Here are some tips for ensuring that you get all the nutrition you need without being overwhelmed

Eat the rainbow – many different essential phytonutrients are in the different colour fruit and vegetables that help us to stay youthful and healthy

GBOMBS – Greens. Beans. Onions. Mushrooms. Berries. Seeds.

– Check your iron and / or vitamin B levels if you feel tired, shortness of breath, dizziness or paleness

You may take supplements, but essentially you do want to get all your nourishment in from your diet.

vegan whole foods

Our top inspiration for vegan recipes and other lifestyle advice:

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