It’s that time of year, new resolutions, new promises, beginnings. Many of us want to be healthier, happier versions of ourselves. Some people may even be considering starting 2017 with Veganuary; going Vegan for January.
I am a big believer in the reducitarian movement. The diet wars and “them and us” ideology is unhelpful. Reducing animal consumption makes a big difference whether you do it one day a week or seven days a week.
Veganuary is a helpful way to start thinking about living a more plant based lifestyle. The more we, as consumers, choose plant based foods, the more manufacturers and restaurants will try to offer plant based products thereby reducing the use of animals in the production of food. We can see this in menus which now often feature vegan options because people are asking for it. It’s the basic principle of supply and demand.
Following a plant based or vegan diet doesn’t have to be too difficult, you certainly don’t need to starve yourself in order to be healthy and ethical in your food choices. Believe me, I’m a foodie and I don’t do hungry.
While you will need to stock your pantry with some new staples, there are plenty of things that you can still eat! Fancy a sausage sandwich with crisps, go for it. One of my favourite comfort foods are Dee’s vegan sausages, featured above. They are an Irish product and are simply divine! I love them with a main meal or sandwiched between bread with relish or piccalilli. My mouth is watering as I write this.
I try to keep refined white sugar out of my diet as much as possible but I do have a sweet tooth and sometimes I really fancy a jelly. I used to be a fiend for pic’n’mix. Going vegan doesn’t mean that you have to say goodbye to jellies for good however (most contain animal gelatin). Jelly tots are totally vegan (yay) and Marks and Spencer also have a veggie jelly range. So it doesn’t have to be all dates and nut butters.
My favourite snack to eat while curled up on the sofa is popcorn mixed with chocolate. Don’t judge me until you have tried it. Most popcorn is vegan (Irish Manhattan popcorn is just maize, coconut oil and salt), and dark chocolate is often vegan, just read the ingredients to make sure that they haven’t added milk or whey.
But I couldn’t give up buttered toast! I hear you cry. Well butter is not vegan, but many spreads are plant based. I usually opt for Flora freedom which contains no animal products. There are also plenty of other plant based and nut based spreads.
Honey is a contentious issue but it is not vegan. I always have a bottle of maple syrup in the cupboard and love it’s woody/nutty/ caramel flavour.
Fruit and vegetables are 100% vegan. That is a huge amount of food, apples, bananas, berries, potatoes, carrots, broccoli.. this list is endless.
Rice, pasta, quinoa, couscous are all vegan.
Wait a minute, that’s a lot of food. Who said going vegan meant giving up everything?
So good luck with Veganuary or meat free Monday or going fully plant based. I have listed a few foods below that are vegan that might surprise you!
1) Plant based spreads: flora freedom
2) Roll out pastries (check if they contain butter)
3) Dark chocolate (if it has no added milk)
5) Jelly tots/ Marks and Spencer veggie jellies
6) Maple syrup
8) Many breads / bagels (check labels)
9) Coconut oil/olive oil/rapeseed oil/sunflower oil
10) Chips if cooked in vegetable oil
11) Many soups
12) Porridge (if cooked with water or non dairy milk)
Great Vegan cookbooks/websites:
– The Happy Pear cookbooks and Youtube channel
– Oh she glows (One of my favourites) cookbook by Angela Liddon
– Deliciously Ella cookbooks and Youtube channel