More and more people are exploring eating a plant based or vegan diet for ethical, environmental and health concerns.
There is a slight difference between being vegan and eating a plant based diet that we just want to address before we get into the good stuff.
Veganism is an ethical stance that seeks to exclude (as far as practical) animal products and animal use.
For example, using a medicine that may have been tested on animals because you need it to survive would still be considered vegan because we don't live in a vegan world (yet).
Eating a plant based diet is just that, eating a plant based diet! Now there are some people may include some minimal products in a plant based diet, but when we refer to a plant based diet (or plant based products) we are talking strictly plants only. NO ANIMAL PRODUCTS ALLOWED.
So What Do You Eat When You Go Vegan?
It may feel overwhelming when you first go vegan. Cheese, chocolate, yoghurt, meat, eggs are all off the table.
These days, there are vegan substitutes for most things though, and it can just be a matter of experimenting with what substitutes are best for you.
A word of warning though with this...
Even if something is labelled 'vegan cheese' it's not going to taste exactly the same as the cheeses you are used to. All cheeses have a distinct taste, including variations between brands of dairy cheese. So it would be crazy to think that a vegan cheese should taste exactly the same.
It's for this reason it can be good to take a break and not eat things like vegan cheese, or coconut yoghurts while your taste buds change and you get your head around your transition. Otherwise, you might be disappointed.
If you keep the focus of your meals on good quality, nutrient rich fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, grains and fermented foods you will find that not only will your transition be easier, you will feel better too.
But look, we aren't the healthy food police here so if you do feel like eating a vegan schnitty or a decadent fudge brownie (like the ones we have on our menu here) by all means go for it. Just don't expect them to taste exactly the same as the animal product versions.
You don't need to overthink it, and yes you can still enjoy chips, sausages and salad for dinner if that's what you are used to having. Just make it vegan.
On our Herbidoor menu we have tried to recreate some of our favourite homestyle meals from when we were growing up, along with those of our team, but just made vegan.
We wanted to take the guess work out of what to eat when you are transitioning.
We have old favourites like steak and mash, lasagna, mac and cheeze along with meals that are sure to become new favourites like tandoori chick'n.
The key is to experiment and not be deterred if you have one meal, or one item you don't like.
You're not going to love everything you try, but don't give up.
What Should Watch Out For When Going Vegan?
Before making any lifestyle changes it is important to first check with your GP. Being vegan is a totally healthy way of life, and getting adequate nutrition can be tricky no matter if you eat animals, or not.
But it is always good to have a baseline when it comes to making changes. Have a blood test and test active B12 and iron levels.
When it comes to supplementation it is always a good idea to take a B12 supplement. While food and water hygiene practices are great because we don't get sick, it also means we don't get access to B12 like we used to. Animal products general are supplemented via the animal to make it bioavailable when you consume meat.
Adopting a plant based diet can do wonders for your health, the environment and of course.... the animals.
We can help make it easier for you. Check out our menu here