Are you ready?
Curious to see how a meat-free diet will suit you, and your budget?
Ready to give your digestive system a rest after all the rich excesses of the Festive Season?
It's a bold step into the unknown for many, and not simply a case of giving up meat, eggs and dairy; have you considered the nutrients that you'll need to replace with plant based foods? Do you know where to find them?
I know someone who thought that eating a few more nuts would do the trick... sadly not the case!!
The food industry is geared up to profit from the increase in sales of vegan produce in January, and it's tempting to fall into the trap of relying on ready meals which do undoubtedly make life easier; but are you getting the nutrients you need from highly processed foods? Probably not.
I know the first time I went vegan I failed miserably. This was a long time ago and I didn't have the knowledge I have now. I felt tired, looked ill and returned to meat eating after just a couple of weeks. I now know this was probably due to a lack of iron, iodine and calcium; all sourced easily from meat and dairy, but some careful planning is required on a vegan diet to ensure all your nutritional needs are met.
Fortunately there are many sources of information out there these days; websites with recipes and blogs dedicated to a vegan lifestyle and some amazing cookbooks. My favourite so far is 'The Bosh Cookbook'. You don't even have to soak dried beans for days on end and boil them for hours anymore (often boiling the pan dry and turning an innocent pan of chick peas into a carbon glue.. stinking the house out in the process!) You can buy most legumes, your main source of protein, in cans and even convenient vacuum packed pouches. It is of course more expensive to use these ready to eat beans, but if time is an issue for you, they're still probably cheaper than a pack of factory farmed pork chops.
I have a few clients now who are embracing the vegan lifestyle and thriving, including athletes; you really can satisfy your protein needs on a plant based diet, as I said it just takes some monitoring until you get used to the quantities and number of servings required to meet your goals.
I think the most difficult aspect of a meat, dairy and egg-free diet to get used to, is learning how to create family-friendly meals. Simply replacing mince with brown lentils
in a Shepherds Pie isn't going to work! You have to get savvy with seasonings, textures and different ways of cooking things.
This is why I'm starting vegan cookery lessons and courses. Initially in the client's home, but ultimately want to find a venue I can reach more people at once and offer regular cookery 'school's', covering topics such as egg-free baking and dairy-free desserts, snacks and family meals.
If you would like to know more about 1-1 sessions, group lessons, parties etc. Please do drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks for reading and good luck if you're having a go a 'veganuary', you'll be surprised at how 'alive' you'll feel!
Vegan 'Stew' and 'Cheesy' Dumplings!
This was a triumph for me when a winter warmer with the 'comfort food' element was required. Not the best photo I'm afraid, you'll just have to trust me that it was delicious! I'll work on writing down the recipe and getting it onto the website before 'Veganuary' kicks off!