About Time You Tried: Going Vegan in 2015By Susanna gillett
You’ll be in a good company. As more health claims emerge regarding the benefits of plant-based eating and more celebrities share their meat and dairy-free regimes, the vegan evolution is slowly taking over. There are plenty of great current resources available, including great websites, recipe books and vegan foodies on social media to follow.
More importantly, the vegan and ‘free-from’ market is growing at an impressive rate and exciting products are now available in local supermarkets, food halls and even in high street stores. This is your opportunity to join the vegan revolution in 2015 and make a delicious pledge to health, animals and the planet. Here’s how to get started:
GOING VEGAN: READ
A book that cannot be recommended enough to any beginner vegan is Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Not only does this book outline perfect pantry items, the more unfamiliar vegan ‘weirdo ingredients’ and the technique of tofu butchery, but Isa has made this the most practical and honest vegan bible that even includes ridiculously unavoidable dishes such as Jerk Sloppy Joe Burgers and Carrot Cake Pancakes.
Photo Credit – The PPK
Another worthwhile, and slightly less bulky, read for the more modest everyday vegan cook is The Vegan Pantry by Dunja Gulin. Think spicy burgers, lentil moussaka, seed falafel, pizzas, sushi and anything pleasantly perfect for pleasing family and friends.
GOING VEGAN: BUY
In order to complete the weekly food shop, it is essential to make a food plan. You must be willing to challenge your culinary creativeness and consider yourself a pro-health foodie snob from now on! By planning delicious meals or choosing recipes from your favourite cookbook, you can guarantee a varied and exciting vegan diet. Make sure all meals are balanced, providing a range of fresh vegetables (aim for at least 5 portions per day), sources of wholegrain complex carbohydrates (basmati rice, buckwheat, quinoa, sweet potatoes), sources of vegan-friendly protein (tofu, tempeh, soya, beans, lentils) and sources of calcium or dairy-free milk products fortified with calcium and vitamin B12.
Most animal and dairy products are easy to identify, however food labels sometimes lack vegan clarity, as there is no legal definition of ‘vegan’ in food labelling standards. If you are unsure and feel like you have been staring at multiple food packages far too long, there are some non-vegan ingredients you should be aware of, including carmine, casein, gelatin, honey, lanolin, lactose, rennet and whey. These are the basics:
Milk: Dairy-free milks include soya, almond, coconut, rice, hemp and flax. Most are very low calorie and are fortified with calcium, but everyone will find their own favourite.
Yoghurt: Coconut milk yoghurt is thick, creamy, full of gut-friendly pro-biotic cultures and is just as versatile as dairy yoghurt. Read 5 ways with Co Yo here.
Bread: Vegan breads include some bagels, most rye and pumpernickel breads. If in doubt check your favourite products here.
Nut butter: 100% nut butters contain no hidden nasties and can be enjoyed on toast or used as an egg replacement when baking cakes and pancakes. Try new Pip & Nut, an all-natural nut butter made without palm oil, in Selfridges this January.
Tofu: Plain or smoked, it absorbs any flavour. Scramble for breakfast, add slices to stir fry dishes or blend into smooth creamy desserts.
Pulses: Chickpeas are a high fibre protein source. Add these into curries, salads and make the homemade vegan staple: Hummus.
Chocolate: Raw cacao powder is a chocoholic’s essential for hot drinks, baking and no-cook desserts such as avocado chocolate mousse. Read our Top 5 vegan recipes here.
Snacks: Raw 100% fruit and nut snack bars provide slow-releasing energy when you are short of time but crave something satisfyingly sweet. Keep one in your handbag at all times. We also love oaty bars, such as Nom Raspberry and Cacao – see more of our favourite vegan sweet treats here.
GOING VEGAN: EAT
Out, about, people to see, places to go in London.
Breakfast: Almond milk porridge, fresh berries and an espresso courtesy of The Attendant. Despite being in an old Victorian public lavatory, the staff at The Attendant are great at making you feel welcomed with a healthy fuelling feast for your vegan breakfast.
Lunch: Try this epic Ayurvedic Super Salad, served at the Wild Food Café. This salad is a fusion of great raw ingredients including lamb lettuce, artichoke, avocado, pesto, mango salsa and marinated Shitake mushrooms. The Wild Food Café offers other irresistible daily specials and sharing dishes that can give you a fresh-tasting health boost. Read more about the Wild Food Cafe here.
Photo Credit – Wild Food Cafe
Treats: Drop the diet for 30 minutes and get ready to drool over peanut butter brownies and salted caramel thick shakes at Cookies and Scream Bakery. This bakery specialises in the most inappropriately indulgent vegan and gluten free treats, so make sure you wear an elasticated waist, and take something home for later.
Drinks: Unwind with friendly bar man Ben at Picture Restaurant as he shakes up a ‘That’s my Cu-cumber’ cocktail made from Hendrick’s gin, St. Germain Elderflower liqueur and cucumber. Your sober bestie participating in Dry January should be happily refreshed and hydrated with Picture’s homemade alcohol-free ginger beer with apple. Read more about Picture here.
GOING VEGAN: ATTEND
Look out for VegFest UK 2015 taking place in Brighton, Bristol and London. This is an enlightening showcase of new products, vegan-friendly food companies and knowledgeable vegan enthusiasts who can help you make healthier decisions for you and the planet. Check here for dates and tickets.