Veganuary – Isn’t it time you lost your V plates?
Yes, Veganuary is an actual word. Well, it’s in the urban dictionary and frankly, that’s the only dictionary we care about. I’ll be honest, until this year I haven’t taken part. I don’t have strong views on meat-eating, I didn’t know much about the benefits of a vegan diet and it sounded like a lot of hard work. Then in rolled 2021, we’re back in COVID lockdown and the idea of a January challenge suddenly became pretty appealing.
If nothing else it’s a great opportunity to learn some new recipes, figure out if there’s something in your current diet that doesn’t agree with you or just give your body a little break from animal products. Veganuary isn’t a pledge to go vegan forever, it’s just a chance to try something new and see how your body benefits.
We want to address a few myths about going vegan:
- It’s impossible to get enough protein from a plant-based diet
One of the biggest misconceptions about veganism out there is that a vegetarian or vegan diet doesn’t provide you with enough protein, especially if you’re very active. Not true! A host of athletes such as Venus Williams, Lewis Hamilton and Jermain Defoe are vegan and praise the plant-based diet for improving their performance. The boxer David Haye is also vegan and claims ‘it’s a myth that you need meat for strength’. Have you seen him fight? We wouldn’t disagree with anything he says!
So, where do you get protein from in a vegan diet?
- Beans & Legumes - Lentils, Soybeans, Chickpeas, Kidney Beans & Black Beans.
- Tofu - Tempeh, Firm & Silken
- Vegetables – Avocado, Spinach, Mushrooms & Asparagus,
- Grains – Quinoa, Buckwheat, Spelt, Oats & Wild Rice
- Seeds - Linseed, Sesame, Pumpkin & Chia
- Textured Vegetable Protein (T.V.P) - Dried soya mince/protein
- Nuts - Hazelnuts, Cashews, Almonds, Brazil & Peanuts
- Seitan/Faux Meat - Wheat Protein & Commercial Faux Meat
Once you start cooking vegan recipes and using vegan alternative products, you’ll be amazed by how much protein you incorporate into meals without actively trying. If you do require extra protein in your normal diet due to your physical activity levels then there are lots of high protein vegan snacks and supplements available. You might be surprised though and find that a vegan diet actually provides a better source of protein for your body and that you no longer need that additional protein boost.
- It’s hard to make vegan recipes for the whole family
I kind of understand this one. Before doing any research, I’d have been terrified at the concept of cooking a vegan meal, I wouldn’t know where to start. In reality, it’s pretty simple. You can either continue making your usual meals but swap in vegan-friendly alternatives such as faux meat or vegan cheese, or you can learn some entirely new recipes.
If you’re looking for vegan alternatives to your diet staples then look no further…
Eggs - Orgran Easy Vegan Egg
Minced Beef/Pork - Clearspring Gluten Free Organic Soya Mince
Mayonnaise - Biona Organic Egg Free Mayonnaise
Parmesan Cheese - Cashew Parmesan
Ceaser Salad Dressing – Bonsan Organic Vegan Ceaser Dressing
Simply swapping in a vegan alternative takes very little effort and if you’re cooking for others then they might not even notice a difference.
If you fancy trying something totally new then Veganuary has a great website with an extensive collection of vegan recipes for you to check out. It also contains more information about the benefits of a vegan diet and how you can contribute to charity as part of Veganuary.
- You’ll have to cut out your favourite treats
I was guilty of believing that all vegan food was essentially fruit or veg and that sweet treats we’re allowed. Thankfully this one isn’t true at all and there are vegan alternatives for pretty much anything you want. Here are a few that sound pretty good to us:
Gummy Sweets - Biona Organic Fizzy Peaches
Biscuits - Doves Farm Organic Fruity Oat Biscuits
Chocolate Brownie - Pulsin Raw Choc Brownie
Chocolate Spread – Mr Organic Chocolate and Hazelnut Dairy Free Spread
Chocolate - Ombar Coco Almond Raw Chocolate
Chewing Gum - Peppersmith 100% Xylitol Chewing Gum
Yes, trying a vegan diet is a great opportunity to be super healthy this January but we all deserve a treat every now and again! Healthpharm has a massive selection of Vegan snacks to keep you motivated through your Veganuary challenge.
- Vegan-friendly products are expensive and hard to source
A few years ago, this one was probably true but it’s no longer the case. In reality, it couldn’t be simpler to go vegan these days, just click here for Healthpharm’s huge range of vegan products at prices that won’t make you spit out your tofu. You might even find that you save some money on your shopping bill because it’s easy to forget how expensive things like meat, cheese and eggs are in your normal diet.
Good luck with your vegan adventure and we wish you a happy and healthy start to this new year!
- Kim Wilson