Breakfasts are easy, lunches are manageable and dinners are a challenge.
This is just one of the lessons I’ve learnt in a fortnight of adopting a vegan diet and I know there are so many to learn as I continue on this journey. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but so far it’s been doable, especially as I know my boyfriend Nige is trying it out too up in Edinburgh, so I have someone to squeal in excitement at when I discover local sourdough vegan croissants are made round the corner from me!
Here’s 10 things I’ve also learnt so far –
- Tea as you know it will never taste the same without cows milk. As a regular Earl Grey tea addict and much experimentation, I can tell you that the only thing that comes close is the addition of fresh (not UHT) unsweetened soy milk.
- Bees make honey as their own food source, not ours, and when beekeepers take the honey for human consumption they replace it with a sugary substitute that is harmful to the bees. Vegans can replace honey with maple/date syrup, agave etc.
- Nut milks and fortified cereals are a good way to ensure sufficient levels of vitamin B12 in your diet, otherwise supplements may be necessary
- Building up a stock of store cupboard essentials – a variety of spices, nuts, seeds, nutritional yeast, dairy free alternatives – can be initially expensive but they will become part of your go-to items to transform meals from ordinary to heavenly
- Checking the ingredients listed in bold on most packaging can ensure it doesn’t contain allergens avoided in a vegan diet
- Beans are an incredibly easy and tasty way to add protein to your diet and there are so many options – chickpeas in homemade hummus, butter bean mash, black beans in salads with lots of freshly ground pepper and chopped herbs.
- You’ll realise a lot of convenience foods are accidentally vegan – pre bake croissants, Oreo cookies and even crumpets (not with lashings of butter though!)
- Grains have become more of a feature in my meals than they used to, so try to stick to wholegrain rather than refined white
- “Baking fun doesn’t have to end, just remember your new little friend” – replace 1 egg with 1tbs ground flaxseed mixed with 3tbs warm water
- Eating out doesn’t have to end – just check the restaurant for options ahead of time and make use of the Happy Cow app to find new places
I hope you can see from the photos that there’s a been a lot of colour on my plate more recently and that’s been another aim, to make rainbow dishes that are varied and interesting so that this change doesn’t mean I stop experimenting or enjoying cooking and food. From top to bottom they show – a recent farm shop haul post-Osterley parkrun – a pimped up Summer salad dish pimped with Heck foods green bites – two recipes from my new favourite blog, Oh She Glows (chocolate chip cookies and a sweet potato, squash and spinach curry) – miso aubergine and a very good alternative to carbonara recipe thanks to Deliciously Ella.
Let’s see what the next few weeks bring! I’m hoping more new recipes, colour and tasty treats! If you have any recommendations of foods, recipes, books, blogs, restaurants or shops I must try, leave a comment below!