“Yea I know I should eat better” I hear it all the time. I meet people on a regular basis that are curious about eating healthy, but don’t know exactly where to start. Introducing more plant based options in your diet is a great way to start. This can be as simple as having more greens everyday, to having a smoothie or fresh fruit for breakfast or as a snack durning the day. Eating a more healthy diet has both immediate and long term benefits. You’ll get to enjoy more energy and definitely eliminate you chances of developing certain diseases that seem to be prevalent in this present day.
You may have already heard the term vegan or plant based diet before. It is becoming more current as people are graining interest in this particular way of life. All it means is that you don’t eat any animal products: NO meat, NO diary, and NO eggs. It may sound intimidating but it is obtainable and enjoyable.
In my personal journey I went from a vegetarian diet to a vegan diet. I started my vegetarian diet 5 years ago, but last year I went vegan. I’ve been following this plant based diet for a little over a year now. Going vegan wasn’t as difficult for me being that I have a lactose intolerance (which a lot of people do, but they ignore it), but I was definitely inspired by my husband. He woke up one day and said, “I’m going vegan!” So we both started that same day. Although I was already making vegan meals at home, I would from time to time indulge in a few veggie pizza slices, and of course later suffer the consequences due to my choice of eating cheese. Which brings me to my next point. The number one reason many people don’t want to go vegan is due to their obsessive relationship to cheese. That was my dilemma. Thats why picking the vegetarian diet seemed more feasible. Ever since transitioning to a complete plant based diet I’ve been able to enjoy the abundance of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, and seeds.
I want to share a few items that you can swap out of your pantry or fridge with a plant based option. Some of these items are your everyday must haves. With these switches you’ll be able to transition smoothly to introducing more plant based options in your diet.
- Butter: a vegan butter that taste great is Earth Balance. You can use it on bread and in every recipe you would usually use butter.
- Mayo: Vegenaise a vegan mayo that goes great on your sandwich, potato salad,.. or whatever you like putting mayo in/on.
3. Milk: Any nut milk is great. Almond milk goes great with cereal, in oatmeal, or whatever recipe you would normally use cow’s milk in you can swap it for almond milk.
4. As a vegan you can become deficient in the B12 vitamin, because B12 is normally found in meat, so it is recommend that you supplement that by taking a daily vitamin of B12. Garden of Life is a brand I like to buy, I purchase the spray version.
5. Agave Nectar or Maple syrup are good alternatives for honey and sugar. These sweeteners can be used in place of sugar in cake recipes, or in place of syrup for your waffles and pancakes. The list goes on..
6. Nutritional yeast is a must have in a vegan pantry. It has a slight cheesy flavor, which makes it a great ingredient for a vegan “cheese” or cream sauce. It also has vitamin B12. Get your flavor and your vitamin at the same time!
7. Dressing: a great vegan brand for dressings is Follow Your Heart. They have a variety. And they’re delicious!
8. When it comes to vegan cheese there are several brands out there, but they all don’t taste the same. I always tell people before trying vegan cheese have an open mind. Don’t go in thinking of dairy cheese before trying vegan cheese. Vegan cheese is a whole new world. Doesn’t mean they aren’t tasty, but you may have to try a few brands before you find the one you like.
I hope you find these tips helpful to you. If you need a vegan option to anything feel free to leave your questions or comments below.