If your new year is starting with thoughts of dieting or changing the way you eat, then look no further. With Veganuary attracting more and more people each year, it’s becoming a popular movement that many are sticking to for good.
You may be wondering whether or not there are any benefits to veganism and whether it would be worth overhauling your entire way of eating. So, if you’re thinking about how to start a vegan diet, we’ve got some top tips to help you on your way.
Simply put, a vegan diet contains only plants and foods made from plants. This means you’re unable to eat everything from meat and fish to dairy products and eggs. You may be wondering if only eating plant-based products can give you all of the nutrients you need but you can get most of them, as long as you eat a varied and balanced selection of produce.
If you don’t plan your diet properly and go into it without a good understanding of what makes up a healthy, balanced vegan diet, you could miss out on essential nutrients such as calcium, iron and vitamin B12. This is where you may need to introduce supplements to help give your body what it needs.
For a healthy vegan diet you need to be eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day and base your meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates. You’ll also need to pick some good dairy alternatives such as soya drinks and yoghurts.
Among some of the staples that should be in your shopping basket are beans, pulses and other proteins, as you won’t be consuming any animal products to get the protein that you need.
You’ll get the calcium to maintain healthy bones and teeth from the likes of green, leafy vegetables, rice and oat drinks, calcium-set tofu and brown and white bread. For your iron, which is essential for your production of red blood cells, you’ll get this from pulses and wholemeal bread, as well as breakfast cereals that have been fortified with iron and dark green, leafy vegetables.
As you won’t be consuming fish to get your omega-3, which helps to maintain a healthy heart, you’ll need to eat things like flaxseed oil, rapeseed oil and soya-based foods.
With so much to think about and remember, it’s important to do your research beforehand to ensure you’re consuming everything your body needs to function and be supported.
It’s often said that veganism is an expensive dietary option, especially if you’re buying from big brands or premium options. However, it’s really simple to keep the costs down by eating seasonal vegetables and vegan staples such as pulses, as these are among the cheapest ingredients available.
If you’re looking to keep your costs down, buying the likes of nuts and seeds, brown rice, quinoa, lentils, oats and dried beans in bigger bags will save you money in the long run, especially if you’re buying these over tinned goods. They’re often healthier too, as you’re able to control the level of salt content.
For a cost-effective meal option, soup is great and can be made with a wealth of vegan staples. You can even use whatever foods you have left in your fridge to make sure you’re not wasting ingredients. Match your vegetables with your beans or grains, followed by any spices to add flavour and voila! You’ve got your very own, nutrient-packed, soul-warming soup.
It can be difficult to know where to start when venturing on your vegan journey, especially if you’ve been a meat eater your whole life. Here are some of our top tips to help you get started.
Do your research – research is everything when it comes to starting a completely different diet. Finding out what you can and can’t eat, as well as what brands are vegan friendly, is crucial in making this transition as easy as possible.
Start small – if the thought of giving up meat straight away scares you or you’re worried about what you can and can’t cook, try experimenting and start small. Why not go vegan for two or three dinners a week – that way you can see whether or not it’s for you.
Source recipe inspiration – you may have never cooked or baked anything vegan in your life, so it’s likely that you wouldn’t know where to start when creating a dish. There are a wealth of recipe ideas online and in books for you to get your hands on.
Eat a wide variety of foods – being vegan doesn’t have to be boring or tasteless. In fact, thanks to the variety of spices we have at our fingertips, you can create tasty meals with little effort. Experiment with a range of different foods and don’t just stick to the same recipes.
Try it with your loved ones – if you’ve been wondering how to start a vegan diet, why not try it with your nearest and dearest first? That way you’ll be able to experiment with and try different recipes together, and also share all of the challenges and successes.
Making big changes? Discover your dream kitchen with Hammonds
Why not go all out with your resolution and start your vegan journey off right with a brand new kitchen from Hammonds? With so many storage options available as well as fixtures and finishings to suit your personal taste, you really are spoilt for choice.
Making the change to veganism will have never looked so good than in your brand new, bespoke kitchen. Whether you have existing ideas or need help designing your space, get in touch with our expert team to book a design visit. We’ll take you through all the different ranges we have available, including a wide variety of colours and materials.