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Livin' the Vegan Life: Why and How?

Why go vegan? Here are some simple ways to introduce yourself to a better, healthier lifestyle. Meanwhile, you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint by controlling the foods you eat – it really is that simple!

Ever thought about diving into the great wide world of veganism? Sure, it may sound like a big undertaking, but when you know what to eat and how to do it, it’s a lot easier than you think. Having years of veganism under my belt, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite easy recipes and hacks for the vegan novice.

Why go vegan?

 

Now, there are two main, undeniable reasons to go vegan:

1) For your health.

2) For the planet.

In regard to your health, cutting out dairy will influence your skin and body greatly. This is because it contains a lot of cholesterol, oestrogen, antibiotics (since cows are often given antibiotics) and lactose – all of which are no good. You can find your source of calcium elsewhere, trust me on that (i.e. broccoli, okra, soybean, tofu, sesame, tahini, figs, or other dried fruit). The same thing is applied to meat.

 

Meat itself is a known carcinogen in humans—a source of food that can cause cancer. The American Cancer Society website has an entire page dedicated to listing carcinogens. Under the category of “International Agency for Research on Cancer Group 1: Carcinogenic to humans” is processed meat and red meat. Included in the same ranking of carcinogens includes Asbestos, Arsenic, Tobacco, Radium, and countless chemicals. This is important to recognise because the majority of people are consuming such a carcinogen that is ranked against these other toxins.

A recent study, backed up by over 11,000 scientists, urges people to change their lifestyle too. This is due to Earth’s climate emergency, which is something that I am sure we are all aware of. According to an article by NBC, the study says: “People should eat mostly plant-based food, which will improve health and lower greenhouse gas emissions from livestock, and economies should prioritise carbon-free initiatives and sustaining ecosystems, rather than focusing on GDP growth and the pursuit of affluence.”

TRANSITIONING INTO A VEGAN LIFESTYLE DOES NOT NEED TO BE HARD, AND HERE ARE A FEW EASY WAYS TO IMPLEMENT A VEGAN LIFESTYLE:

Homemade Hummus

Serves:
2

Difficulty:
Easy

Cooking Time:
10 mins

Ingredients

1 can of garbanzo beans

Lemon juice (one or two slices of a lemon squeezed will do)

Splash of vegetable, avocado, or olive oil

Pinch of salt

Cumin and/or Cayenne spices

1 clove of garlic (add more if you want!)

Tablespoon of tahini (optional, but makes it taste amazing)

Method

Step 1

Prep all of your ingredients for the hummus. 

Step 2

Put everything together in a processor or blender until smooth. 

Step 3

Add to your meal of choice or enjoy as a snack with crackers and veg! 

Avo-Green Machine Smoothie

Serves:
1

Difficulty:
Easy

Cooking Time:
5/10 mins

Ingredients

1 scoop of vegan protein powder

1 banana

1/2 an avocado (wrap the other half in tinfoil and place in the fridge for your next shake)

Chia or hemp seeds (great for added protein)

Tablespoon of your favorite nut butter

1 small handful of spinach

½-1 cup of almond milk (or your preferred non-dairy milk alternative)

2-3 ice cubes

Method

Step 1

Prep and wash your fruit and vegetables.

Step 2

Place all the ingredients into a blender and enjoy!

EXTRA TIP

If you freeze your fruit, as well as your non-dairy milk into ice cubes, this adds a thicker texture to the smoothie without it tasting watered-down. This consistency is great if you want to make a smoothie bowl with granola and fruit on top.

Vegan Pancakes

Serves:
2

Difficulty:
Easy

Cooking Time:
30 mins

Ingredients

300g of self-raising flour 

1tsp baking powder 

1tsp vanilla extract  

1tbsp sugar  

Pinch of salt  

400ml plant mylk  

1tbsp of oil  

Method

Step 1

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl – flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. 

Step 2

Create a well in the middle and slowly pour in the liquid –milk and vanilla extract. Gently fold the mixture until the dry and wet ingredients have combined and there are no lumps.

Step 3

Heat 1tbsp of oil on a medium heat– you can use coconut, vegetable, olive oil or vegan butter if you prefer. A non-stick pan is an essential to ensure the pancakes are easily flipped!  

Step 4

Once the oil is hot, pour in 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture to make smaller, thicker pancakes. Once bubbles start to appear and the pancake can easily move around the pan, it’s time to flip! 

Step 5

Once the pancakes are golden on each side they are ready to serve! You can cook one or a few at a time depending on how large your pan is.  

Step 6

Personalise with your toppings of choice – honey, yogurt, berries, dark chocolate, peanut butter or jam, the flavour combinations are endless. Enjoy!

On a Budget? 

If you’re on a budget, you can’t go wrong with beans and rice. It might sound boring, but there are ways to make a meal look fancier. Choose brown rice or quinoa, with whatever bean of choice (black, garbanzo, pinto, lentil, etc.) — it gives you a complete protein packed meal. Add some hummus, avocado/guacamole (side note: avocado is also a wonderful substitute for mayonnaise on your veggie burger or sandwich), siracha, or tahini sauce. Add some fermented foods for your gut health, such as pickled cabbage or pepperoncini peppers. And, of course, if you can, add veggies — make it into a burrito or burrito bowl.

 

Grilling or baking vegetables is one of the easiest ways to cook a vegan meal. And surprise, vegetables have protein in them! Cut large slices of your preferred veggies (such as courgette and sweet potato), glaze them in oil (avocado, vegetable, coconut, olive oil) and place them on a greased pan or greased tin foil. Season them with salt and pepper, or whatever other seasoning you love. Put them in the oven at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Then, take them out and flip them over to cook for another 10-15 minutes. When done, add avocado and your homemade hummus. You will end up feeling like a vegan connoisseur by the end of it.

WRITTEN BY

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