Essential nutritional guidance and tips for vegan cooking- everything you need to know is right here.
Vegan cuisine is becoming more and more popular in the UK.
Meals prepared completely without the use of any animal products are now a must-have option in many restaurants and cafes. Those exploring the vegan diet for the first time are often pleasantly surprised by the variety of dishes available. Because of this, more and more people who usually do not follow a vegan lifestyle find themselves enjoying vegan cuisine from time to time without intending to. Continue reading to find out further information on this special diet – including a variety of recipes for tasty vegan treats!
The Vegan Diet
Though closely related, vegans and vegetarians are not the same. Veganism goes one step further. A vegan diet is completely void of animal products. This means no meat or fish of any kind as well as no eggs or dairy products. Cooking or baking vegan dishes must be done without eggs, milk, cream or butter. Also you may be surprised that even honey – a product produced by bees for raising the brood – is an animal product and so is not permitted in a vegan diet!
It may sound difficult, but thanks to the recent diversity in our supermarkets, it is possible to eat a vegan diet all year long without becoming bored. The most important thing to consider when preparing vegan food is to find ingredients that deliver sufficient quantities of all the nutrient our bodies require. Vegans are able to rely on a special toothpaste and/or dietary supplements to get their dose of vitamin B12!
Iodized salt has got plenty of iodine, though of course is a source of extra sodium in the diet, and the all-important vitamin D can be obtained by spending more time outdoors.
The Differences Between A Vegetarian And A Vegan Diet
The main difference is while vegetarians enjoy eggs, dairy and sometimes even seafood (if they are pescitarians), vegans do not consume any animal products whatsoever. Vegans shun animal products of any kind, including honey.
Vegan Diet: What Is Not On The Menu?
The vegan diet is completely devoid of animal products. Specifically, this means that vegans do not eat fish, poultry or any products from dead animals, such as meat and bone (including gelatine, and broth or stock made from meat bones). Vegans are also forbidden from eating:
- Milk and all dairy products (including cream, yogurt, ice cream, butter, etc.)
This also applies to all products where the above mentioned products are included as ingredients, for example, egg noodles or milk chocolate. Some of our best vegan recipes can be found here.
Why Choose A Vegan Diet?
There are several reasons why people opt for a vegan lifestyle.
Ethical reasons are one of the biggest pulls toward a vegan lifestyle. People living the full vegan lifestyle reject the way in which people use and treat animals in today’s world. They have compassion for animals used as test subjects and regard the line between what is labelled “human” and what is labelled “animal” as arbitrary. Many people also call for more rights for animals and a fair balance between the interests of humans and those of animals.
Another reason to go vegan is concern for the environment, especially the drawbacks and consequences of “factory” farming. Valuable forest areas are cleared to create pastures for cattle farms and a significant amount of water is used to maintain these farms.
How Can Vegans Get The Nutrients They Need?
Vegans need to ensure that their diet is varied and that they get enough of the essential nutrients found primarily in animal products, especially calcium, iron, B group vitamins and protein.
Vegans can acquire their calcium from calcium-rich mineral water, vegetables such as broccoli, as well as tofu and various nuts (for example, almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios).
Iron from plant sources is found mainly in legumes, nuts, dried fruits, and whole grains. It is more readily absorbed when vitamin C is consumed at the same time.
The B vitamins, especially vitamin B12, are more difficult to come by. Vegans should have their levels regularly checked and, if necessary, take a supplement.
Who Should Avoid A Vegan Diet?
Nutritionists suggest that a vegan diet is not ideal for pregnant women, infants and children because of the increased risk of nutrient deficiencies. If in doubt, ask your doctor whether a vegan diet is right for you.
Quick Vegan Recipes
Vegan cooking is truly just as varied as cooking with animal ingredients. There are intricate, complicated recipes as well as lots of quick and easy dishes from which to choose. No matter what you are craving right now – be it a crunchy salad, a delicious soup or a nutritious casserole – there is certainly a delicious vegan recipe to fit the bill. Even cakes and desserts can be prepared entirely without animal products, surprising hay?
If you commit to cooking vegan, you must then, of course, exclusively use vegan ingredients. Some vegans choose to only use organic quality products while others do not; that is entirely up to you. There are certain foods that are vegan by nature, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts. Then, there is a second group of vegan foods – those meant to “replace” milk, egg, and meat products. Examples include tofu, vegan cheese alternatives, soy yogurt, soy milk, egg-free noodles and even wine gums made with vegetable gum or pectin instead of gelatine.
Because more and more manufacturers are discovering the need for vegan food, there is now a surprisingly long and varied list of animal-free products on the market. See for yourself by paying a visit to a health food shop.
Here is a nice little surprise for many aspiring vegans: Flora Freedom is a completely dairy free and vegan spread, suitable for spreading, cooking and baking.
Living vegan requires a lot more than just cooking and eating vegan food. Strict vegans reject all forms of animal exploitation. They do not hunt or fish and also do not wear clothing made of leather, fur, wool or silk. They ensure that all cosmetic products – whether make-up, shower gel or hand soap – are made from animal-free ingredients and were not tested on animals. Down comforters or jackets are taboo, and most vegans also avoid events that put animals on display (for example: circuses, zoos and horse racing).
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