· If you are a “true”, strict vegan, it is worth planning your meals. Including your protein needs. Calculate your calorie intake so you don’t lose weight unexpectedly.
· A strict vegan does not consume not only meat, fish, poultry and seafood, but also refuses such animal products as milk, honey, eggs. Also, avoid cheeses made with animal rennet (derived from the stomachs of mammals) from your diet. Desserts, such as sweet jelly, are often made using natural gelatin, which, of course, is not taken from the garden. Many food additives with a letter index (E) are also products of the slaughter of living beings, for example, red food coloring E120 (cochineal, it is made from special bugs). In addition, many products labeled as vegetarian (not vegan) are made with eggs and milk – read the label carefully.
How to buy products? If you are a beginner vegan, the following tips will be extremely helpful:
- Check the composition of all foods that you use in cooking – especially if you use bouillon cubes, sauces, canned food for whey, casein and lactose. These are all dairy products, and they can cause allergies.
- Keep in mind that many wines and beers are made using animal products, these are not always vegan drinks!
- Most breads and biscuits contain butter, some contain milk.
- Manufacturers most often put animal gelatin in desserts and puddings, but you can find desserts with the addition of agar and veg gel – they are made from algae (which is preferable).
- Tofu and other soy products replace dairy and dairy-based desserts. It is useful to consume soy milk enriched with vitamins (including B12).
The vegan diet is very rich in healthy fiber, vitamin C and folate (thank you fruits and vegetables!), but sometimes poor in other vitamins and minerals. It is especially important to supplement with vitamin B12, which is not found in plant foods.
There are two options: either vitamin-fortified, including B12, breakfast cereals and/or B12-fortified soy milk, or taking a medicinal supplement with Methylcobalamin (this is the scientific name for vitamin B12). The recommended intake for B12 is just 10 mcg (micrograms) per day. Take this pill or eat foods fortified with vitamin B12 every day, and not occasionally.
B12 is important because it is involved in hematopoiesis (affects hemoglobin), as well as for the proper functioning of the nervous system. Meat-eaters consume it with beef liver, egg yolk, and in very small doses it is found in milk and cheese.
Another important vitamin for vegans is D. Residents of sunny regions get it from the sun, but you can consume soy products or soy milk fortified with this vitamin. This is especially important in winter when there is little sun. You also need to take 10 mcg.
What is there for breakfast?
Breakfast is the “start of the day”, and, as everyone knows, you should not skip it. Missing “past” breakfast means running your blood sugar on a “roller coaster” – it will jump all day, and if you do not have an iron will, then with a high probability “unbalanced” sugar will constantly push you to consume during the day not the healthiest foods: sugary carbonated drinks, snacks, etc. In fact, even if you are seriously losing weight, breakfast should not be neglected!
What exactly is for breakfast? For example, whole grain pancakes, fruit smoothies (add coconut and mango puree for nutrition).
A delicious and highly nutritious option: combine oatmeal with coconut or soy yogurt. Just soak your usual serving of oatmeal overnight, and mix in the morning with vegan yogurt or coconut cream, add 1-2 tbsp. chia seeds or ground flaxseed, as well as stevia syrup or maple syrup, fresh fruit. You can also sprinkle with nuts, add cinnamon, vanilla … Tasty and healthy!
Do not forget that pieces of fruit not only decorate oatmeal for breakfast, but also make it noticeably richer in vitamins.
Protein smoothies are a fashionable and healthy trend. Sometimes allow yourself such a “liquid” breakfast. Moreover, it can be “charged” with far no less protein, useful vitamins and minerals than in porridge.
Quinoa is a very healthy and easily digestible cereal, just perfect for breakfast. Of course, you can decorate it with fruit, sweetener syrup, add cinnamon, vanilla, a sprig of fresh mint – in general, improve the “plain” porridge to your taste so that it does not become boring.
Many people get enough calories by snacking on delicious, nutritious vegan foods several times a day. In the case of vegan athletes, the number of meals can be up to 14 per day. The main thing is to consume not just tasty, but really healthy snacks. Remember the rule that nutritionists never get tired of repeating: “At least 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day!”. Every day.
What to eat? For example, soy yogurt with fruit. Or a homemade, homemade protein bar. Or homemade granola.
What can replace butter? Coconut oil, avocado oil, nut (including, of course, peanut) butter, as well as (creative!) mashed vegetables and, of course, good quality vegan spreads (vegan margarine) will do.
What’s for lunch?
The vegan diet is very low in unhealthy saturated (saturated) fats, but low in heart-healthy omega-3s, also known as EPA and DHA. But contrary to the myth, they are not only found in fish oil! Just eat nuts regularly (it’s best to pre-soak them), various seeds and seed oils, in particular, walnut oil, linseed oil, hemp and rapeseed oil are very useful.
Also consume seaweed (sushi nori), it makes a delicious combination with rice. It is not even necessary to make sushi rolls, you can eat it as a bite or wrap hot rice in dried seaweed right “on the go”: a special palm-sized sushi nori format is ideal for this. In fact, the Japanese in everyday life often eat just such “instant” sushi with rice.
For lunch, you should choose dishes with a sufficient content of carbohydrates, for example, whole grain pasta and cereals (including quinoa, which is very useful), legumes. But do not deny yourself healthy treats, such as nuts, seeds, sprouts. The purpose of lunch is to gently and gradually raise and maintain normal blood sugar levels for a long time, so it is worth giving up foods with a high glycemic index, such as white bread and sweets.
Many people are accustomed to snacking between lunch and dinner. As a beginner vegan, you don’t have to give up this habit, just opt for healthy foods. For example, eat a mixture of dried fruits with unsalted nuts or seeds – and you will delight your taste buds and calm your nerves (it’s so nice to chew something!), And load your body with protein. Or a fail-safe option – smoothies with soy or coconut milk.
Vegan dinner does not have to be strictly ascetic. As a general rule, dinner should be half colorful vegetables and half legumes or tofu. You can add – for taste and benefit – nutritional yeast extract: it is not only healthy and nutritious, but also rich in vitamin B12. You can also sprinkle the hot dish with crushed flaxseed (the norm is 1-2 tablespoons per day), or fill it with linseed, rapeseed or hemp oil, or walnut oil.
Thus, the success of a novice vegan lies in the acquisition of a number of useful habits:
Buy food and eat not impulsively “what you want”, but deliberately. Gradually, the body itself will begin to “request” only healthy, easily digestible and nutritious food;
Count – at least approximately – calories. Within a week, you will know approximately when you need to “fit in” on calories, and when it’s enough. It is not necessary to count everything “in grams”;
Do not skip breakfast. Eat for breakfast nutritious, but not fatty and not heavy, but vitamins, protein and fiber;
Snacking not on “chemistry”, but on healthy foods, for example, fresh fruits or a mixture of nuts and seeds;
Consume the right vitamins, including B12 and D on a daily basis. In the long run, this is the key to your health and success as a strict, “true” vegan;
Cook more and buy less prepared foods.
· to be imaginative in order not to cook and eat the same thing for breakfast and other meals. Creativity in the kitchen will be an easy and enjoyable pastime and inspiration for you and the whole family!
If you follow these fairly simple tips, your transition to veganism will go smoothly and happily. You will give free rein to your imagination, charge your body with useful substances, please yourself and your loved ones with unusual and very tasty dishes, and in general you will feel great!