Going vegan and forswearing the world of the many convenient staple foods you have grown accustomed to may seem a little intimidating. But there are plenty of delicious alternative options that will more than supply you with all the nutrition and tastiness you could want. A few tips to get you started on a vegan diet will make sure you know that you can get adequate protein, calcium, B12, all those things people tell you to worry about. Mother nature has more than enough supply in her green leafy world!
Complete Plant Proteins
One of the main concerns for those considering veganism is getting in good quality protein. Protein is the building block of our bodies, rebuilding and growing new cells with various amino acids.
Good plant sources of protein are kale, quinoa, hempseed, amaranth, chia seeds, spirulina, peas and mushrooms. A classic combo to create a complete amino acid profile is combining pulses such as lentils or mung beans, with brown rice.
Stock up on nuts, seeds and nut butters such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, tahini and flaxseeds. When it comes to nuts and seeds, activating them makes sure you get maximum benefit of their living enzymes and nutrition. You can activate nuts by placing them in water and salt for a few hours and then gently drying them.
Nutritional yeast is another secret to the vegan protein arsenal. Not only does it contain a high amount of protein, it makes a great natural flavourant for that umami cheesy taste we just can’t do without. And speaking of that meaty flavor, miso is a complete protein too and is such a quick and convenient meal
05 Jun, 2015, By WBI love this stuff. Cheesy, nutty flavour is great. I sprinkle it on steamed brocolli with some olive oil and salt. It is completely mouthwatering. You can even make nut-based cheeses with this nutri yeast. An absolute must in any vegan household!
B12 And Folic Acid
If there is one supplement you should consider when it comes to veganism, it’s a B12 supplement. Vitamin B12 is necessary for your nervous system to function properly and a deficiency can lead to serious nervous system complications and anemia.You can get vitamin B12 from super nourishing seaweeds such as spirulina and nori, but the jury is out as to whether this is enough to cover the body’s need for this very important vitamin, so just to be safe a B12 supplement will fill in any gaps.
Folic acid is B12’s inseparable twin, they work together, but folic acid can mask a B12 deficiency. Plant foods such as dark leafy greens, beans and pulses and avocados can provide you with enough folic acid, so it’s the B12 you need to be really concerned about.
Omega 3’s And Healthy Fats
Healthy fats are essential for your body to function well. They also give you a feeling of fullness that fends off cravings and keeps your energy stable. Makes sure you still get healthy fats in now that you are no longer eating animal fats found in foods such as fish and dairy.
Spirulina, chia seeds, almonds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and dark green veggies, such as kale, collards, chard, parsley, and cereal grasses such as wheat and barley, are good sources. All chlorophyll-rich foods contain Omega 3 so the sea veggies chlorella and spirulina are also options. Raw nut butters are a great way to get in fat too. You’ll notice that there are a few foods that pop up all over the place – a sure sign they a good idea to stock in your grocery basket!
That creamy softness that we associate with dairy needn’t be a thing of the past. Nuts and seeds have plenty of their own plant creaminess to go around, and there are enough calcium-rich plant foods to take care of your calcium requirements.
Plant Foods High In Calcium
Almonds, sesame seeds, spinach, kale and broccoli are all very high in calcium. You can also consider a quality plant-based calcium supplement that contains all the co-factors you need to absorb calcium properly.
Milks And Cheeses
You may find that you prefer these delicious nut and seed milks so much that you no longer see them as substitutes, but simply as your daily plant dairy in its own right. Nut milks and butters can make for very creamy bases in sauces and there are a few tricks to creating nut cheeses that are to die for, including using nutritional yeast, lemons and even a capsule or two of your favourite probiotic..
Nut milks are great because they are also very nutritious and you can easily make them at home. Almond milk is especially high in calcium, and filled with good fats too. Both reasons we eat animal dairy in the first place! Homemade nut milk yoghurt is also a healthy treat that is easy to make.
Some “Plant’’ Milks
When it comes to baking, replacing eggs is one of the main concerns. The binding properties and texture of eggs can be mimicked using mashed banana, pureed fruit, or flax eggs. Flax eggs are a simple combo of ground flax seeds and water left to gel and create something that resembles egg whites.
Some Good Taste Combos
• Salty flavors like tamari and soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and ginger go well with broccoli, mushrooms and dark green leafy greens such as kale or bok choy
• Basil, oregano and marjoram are classic friends with tomato sauce
• Dill, onion powder, nutritional yeast and garlic mixed into some cashew cream makes a divine sauce for veggies or brown rice
• Thyme, parsley and bay leaves go well with mushrooms and mushroom sauces
• For a curry effect, go for cumin, coriander, ginger, turmeric and cayenne. These are yummy with chickpeas, sweet potato, apples and lime juice
• A touch of vinegar or lemon juice can add a tasty tang to your lentils. Adding a bay leaf when you cook your lentils also gives them more depth of flavor
• Chilli spices go well with tomatoes and kidney beans
• Mushrooms and zucchini taste great together
(adapted from: https://jlgoesvegan.com/vegan-101-how-to-use-seasoning-for-delicious-vegan-meals/)
Becoming vegan is a process you will have to explore and research. It’s a culinary adventure and you will soon find there is as much flavour and fun to be had in the world of pure plant nutrition!
We have a delish range of healthy vegan goodies from Leafy Greens to get you started on your vegan journey. Don’t forget to have a look at the Leafy Greens Recipe Book too. Mouthwatering vegan incentive!