Leading a healthy lifestyle is something we all try to achieve, especially when it comes to our dietary choices.
Regardless of whether you’ve resolved to do a vegan trial or have decided to go plant-based full-time, it can sometimes be daunting to immerse yourself in a new diet. However, switching to plant-based cooking doesn’t have to be bland and boring, or difficult for that matter. Here are some top tips to make switching to a vegan diet as smooth as possible.
What are the benefits of transitioning to vegan and plant-based diets?
There are a number of health benefits linked to transitioning to vegan and plant-based diets, as well as sustainability benefits. These include:
- Reducing pain from arthritis, lowering blood sugar levels and risk of heart disease, and helping with loss of excess weight.
- Better animal welfare, with the reduced need for factory farming to provide meat, eggs, and other animal products.
- A better use of resources as a greater area of land is required to raise, breed, and feed animals.
What can you eat as a vegan and what do vegans not eat?
When transitioning to vegan and plant-based diets, it is important to understand you are not going to be short of choices. There are plenty of foods vegans can eat – it’s simply about avoiding food products derived from animals.
Foods to avoid on a vegan diet include the following:
- Milk and other dairy products, like butter or cream
That leaves lots of tasty food options to try on a vegan diet, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, lentils, pulses, potatoes, rice, cereal products like bulgur and couscous, and soya-based products like tofu. There are plenty of meat substitutes in the vegan sections of supermarkets these days, which may help during the transitional period, but it’s actually more fun to discover new recipes, flavours, and textures as part of your new diet.
Some delicious vegan dishes you can try are:
- Vegan butternut dahl
- Vegan risotto
- Vegan chocolate cake
- Vegan orange and ginger cupcakes
How to switch to a vegan diet
Starting your plant-based diet journey is easier than you think. There are a few important tips for switching to a vegan diet, however, to ensure you are still getting the nutritious and varied diet required to be healthy:
- Add extra plant-based products to your diet before removing other things like meat. For example, try incorporating more nuts and seeds to supplement the loss of meat proteins.
- Rather than asking yourself “what can vegans not eat?”, look at all the wonderful foods they can enjoy! There are plenty of plant-based alternatives, such as replacing cow’s milk with almond or soy milk.
- Look around your local supermarket for plant-based alternatives – many will now have a free-from section in store and there are some great brands offering vegan-friendly versions of their products.
- Familiarise yourself with easy go-to recipes for some of your favourite meals with plant-based replacements. You can still have your favourite apple tart or Thai curry without compromising on flavour.
- If you’re not sure an exclusively vegan lifestyle is for you, try moving to a vegetarian diet first.
It’s really that easy! You now know about the foods vegans can eat as well as the benefits of transitioning to vegan and plant-based diets, so why not give it a go? We are sure that switching to a vegan diet will be easy and delicious and even if you decide it’s not for you, it can help you shake up your cooking. Maybe you could even have a few meat-free days every week?