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Whether you're concerned about the environment, animal welfare or just want to try and lose a few pounds, going vegan could be the answer. With more and more people choosing to make the change - even for just a few nights a week - it's easier than ever to stick to tasty whole food without the animal input. This year, 100,000 people have taken the Veganuary pledge and gone vegan for January, with someone signing up every 6 seconds. And, with a huge variety of vegan foods and restaurants flooding the market in 2017, there's never been a better time to give it a go!
Eating vegan doesn't have to mean a neverending diet of lentils and quinoa (though both can be extremely tasty!) As the demand for vegan food skyrockets, there are increasing numbers of vegan alternatives to the products you would normally buy, like cheese, milk, burgers - even ice cream. Not only that, but there are plenty of super healthy recipes out there that don't compromise on taste either. Scroll down for a few of our favourites...
Well, eating an omnivore diet can also make you nutrient deficient. It's all about eating a healthy, balanced diet and educating yourself on how to fuel your body properly. This is true whether you eat animal products or not, but vegan food can provide a person with all the vitamins and nutrients needed for a healthy diet.
In fact, a vegan diet (provided it is low fat and whole food-based) is the only diet that has been shown to reverse life-threatening conditions like heart disease.
A common concern when adopting a vegan diet is vitamin B12 (or lack thereof!), and while many vegan foods, such as plant milks and cereals, will be fortified with the vitamin, often people find that a supplement is the most reliable way to ensure they get their daily dose.
All over the place! Here are just a few of the most protein-rich sources:
Calcium is a huge concern for older people thinking about a vegan diet, understandably. Calcium is found in our bones, and if we don't get enough calcium in our diets, guess where our bodies take it from instead? You guessed it - our bones.
However, the idea that we get the most (and best quality calcium) from milk is dubious. In fact, studies have shown that leafy green vegetables have excellent calcium absorbability compared to milk.
Plant milks and yoghurts are often fortified with calcium, or you can go direct to the source and get it from green, leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, and parsley; fruits such as oranges or dried figs; many types of beans; sweet potatoes, and butternut squash.
2017 heralded a new age of choice for vegans, with restaurants and supermarkets alike bringing out new and exciting vegan products. Fancy pizza? No problem. Need to grab a sandwich on the go? Easily done. Here are some chain restaurants catering to vegans across the country (and what's on offer there):
To stay up-to-date with new and exciting places to eat, check out the Fat Gay Vegan's website - he always has the lowdown on new products and dishes coming out.
1. Fry off the onions until soft and then add the carrot and beetroot. When they've all softened, take them off the heat and put to one side.
2. Whiz the rest of the ingredients up together in a food processor.
3. Mix in the vegetables and stir well, then form the mixture into patties (not too thick).
4. Chill them for a couple of hours and then fry for a few minutes on each side.
5. Serve in a bun with lettuce and pickle.
1. Preheat oven to 220°C/gas mark 7.
2. Dice, then roast all of the vegetables with the garlic, drizzling them with olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and any other flavourings you'd like to use.
3. When they're nice and brown, transfer the vegetables from the roasting tin to a deeper dish.
4. Add the tomatoes and chickpeas and simmer for a further 10 - 15 minutes (add more seasoning here, to taste).
1. Dissolve two teaspoons veg stock powder in about ½ pint hot water and cover the wheat in a large bowl.
2. Leave 20 minutes till all the stock is absorbed - if any liquid left, squeeze it out.
3. Add the herbs, onions, lemon juice and lemon zest, apricots if using, sundried tomatoes, drained and season well.
4. Mix gently but well and drizzle some olive oil.
5. Cover and chill until just before required then add the cucumber and peppers, drained. It should taste distinctly lemony and look quite 'green' so add more juice and mint if needed.
6. Garnish with cherry tomatoes.
1. Cook pasta then drain and rinse under cold water, toast pine nuts while waiting for pasta to cook.
2. Add little olive oil and lemon juice to the pasta and toss thoroughly to coat it. Add salt and pepper.
3. Add all other ingredients and serve.
1. Heat oil in frying pan and add the onion.
2. When softened, add quorn and stir. Add chopped tomatoes, kidney beans and water (about 1 tin or slightly more - do not allow to dry out) tomato puree, chilli powder and soy sauce.
3. Gently simmer until cooked, then serve with rice.
1. Wash the peppers and cut in half lengthways, remove all the seeds and place in an oven proof dish. Sprinkle over a little olive oil and place in a hot oven for 20-25 minutes.
2. Meanwhile in a small pan cook the rice in boling water (15-20 minutes).
3. Chop the onions and dice the courgette and mushrooms.
4. In a frying pan brown the onions and add the courgettes, mushroom and finely chopped herbs (about a teaspoon of each) and after about 10 minutes when all the veg are sofened add the diced tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes, then drain the rice and stir into the mixture and season to taste.
5. Remove the peppers from the oven and stuff with the mixture - return to the oven for 5-10 minutes, then serve.
1. Preheat oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Grease and flour a 22x33cm baking tin.
2. In a large bowl, mix together, oil, sugar and vanilla until well blended.
3. Combine flour, cocoa powder, bicarb and salt; stir into sugar mixture. Fold in courgette, carrot and walnuts.
4. Spread evenly in prepared tin. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, until brownies spring back when gently touched. Allow to cool before cutting into squares.
1. Put dates in saucepan with 150ml of water and cook till soft. Add squeeze of lemon juice.
2. Combine oats and flour, rub in margarine, add sugar.
3. Grease a 6 inch square tin and place half of crumble mix in the bottom, firm.
4. Add date mix and slice banana very small on top.
5. Add the rest of the crumble and firm down. Bake in oven 160°C. for 45 minutes. Cut into squares and serve warm or cold.
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