With January fast approaching the lure of Veganuary can be a great time to think about switching to a plant-based diet. Even if just for the month! The numbers do not lie – Plant based eating has been rapidly on the rise and shows no sign of slowing down. There is no better time than now to give it a go!
According to the Waitrose Food and Drink Report
33.5% of the population are cutting down – or cutting out – meat with 3% of the British public identifying as vegan (about two million people), with 60% of vegans and 40% of vegetarians have adopted the lifestyle over the past five years. These days there is a plant based replacement or a substitute for everything which should help make the initial swich a little easier.
So, what is Plant based? A plant based avoids any foods that are derived from animals, including meat, dairy, eggs and for many people this also includes by-products such as honey.
People choose to adopt a plant based diet for many different reasons, 55% of those surveyed became vegetarian or vegan because of animal-welfare concerns, 45% because of health, 38% because of environmental concerns. * Link And often it can be a combination of more than one or all three.
Going plant based may seem a bit overwhelming at first! Here are a few tips if you’re thinking about taking the plunge…
Tip number 1: Understand the Food Plate.
Understanding Macro nutrients is important when considering a plant based diet. People will tell you ‘you’re not getting enough protein!’. So, knowing what you’re eating and how it forms part of a balanced diet is your greatest tool.
Do you remember the food plate taught back in school? Broken into the little sections. One fruit and veg, one bread and potatoes, one milk and cheese, meat and then sweets. People think that going plant-based means taking out 3 of those sections. A 1/3 of your food plate!!
However, let’s just rename those areas: Fruit and Veg, Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats and Sugars. By renaming you can see no aspect of the plate is missing by going plant based. You just need to find different sources for what you may have traditionally thought came under each one.
Fruit, Veg and Carbohydrates remain the same.
Proteins is a big one and we covered this in more detail in a previous blog [insert link]. When people say protein, everyone thinks meat. While meat does contain protein so does other things.
Like we said you can get replacements for most ‘meats’ you may have enjoyed but tofu also offers a great source of protein. The key is to get creative – tofu can be a great option as you can make it into everything and anything you want. From a Garlic Kiev to scrambled tofu. Talk about versatile!
Fats: This can be things like vegan butter or cheese. Or hummus and avocado.
Tip Number 2 – Start by making recipes you know and love.
Before you run off to buy a million ‘must have’ vegan ingredients. STOP. You don’t need them right away. Focus on cooking simple tasty food that you know you will love and recognise the flavour. For example, try adding crumbed tempeh or cubes of smoked tofu instead of mince to a nice comforting chilli.
Plant based is not a void of flavour is it an opportunity to INJECT flavour into everything!!
Once you have got comfortable with the slight shift in cooking style then go a little crazy with specialist ingredients if you want. But we promise you can make a mountain of tasty dishes that will make everyone go WOW without too much effort.
We even wrote a cookbook to help – Pre order here.
Tip Number 3 How to read the labels
How do you know if its vegan? You don’t have to remember which ingredients are vegan all the time, that’s what labels are for. But reading labels can be a pain. You don’t want to spend hours reading all the tiny fine print. A trick is allergens are in bold. Both Milk and Egg are allergens so 9/10 if you scan a label (and you know its veggie) and look out for the bold words, this can make deducing if something is plant based much quicker. Or, as more brands adopt it, look for the Vegan society logo!
Tip number 4
Follow accounts on Instagram! Knowledge is plant-based power and there are so many amazing accounts with great recipes and info to help you on your journey!
Some of our faves are :
@tofoo (that’s us!)
Make sure you go follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Tik Tok as we will be posting a mountain of recipes and info all through Jan (and beyond) to help anyone transitioning to a plant-based diet!
All changes to your diet should be made based on your personal choice or something you have discussed with a health professional.