Tips for going Vegan this Summer
Everyone will have a different experience on the journey towards a plant-based lifestyle but that is what makes the experience worth it. Below are some easy steps to get you started on your journey.
1 – One step at a time
Nothing worth doing is considered easy so enjoy the challenges and use them as motivation for developing new habits. Becoming a “vegan” might seem like you are following some sort of recent trend or hashtag but in reality it is something so much more than this – what you are doing is choosing to be considerate of welfare of animals, caring to the environment and compassionate towards yourself living a healthier and more balanced life. Remember that we can get everything we need from mother nature and that educating ourselves is one of the best things we can do on this journey! Find a good book or documentary that you enjoy on plant-based health and nutrition and find ways to learn as much as you can to help yourself. Podcasts are also a great idea!
2 – Join the community
Finding an online community or a group of people who you can share everything with as you start a new lifestyle is important. Find a good group of people who can encourage you, share meals with you and encourage you daily with inspiration. There are several groups online that are all about going vegan on platforms such as Facebook. You can easily find vegan meal ideas and inspiration on Instagram, Pinterest and on numerous websites and blogs. Try meeting up for a meal with others who enjoy eating plant-based food and share your choices with your family and friends. You might be surprised that others are also already vegan or interested in becoming vegan too.
3 – Find alternatives you enjoy
Swapping animal products such as milk, butter, cheese and meat is not as difficult anymore due to many vegan products which are on the market.
- Dairy Milk - Almond, Cashew, Soy, Hemp, Coconut Milk all make amazing alternatives to cow’s milk.
- Butter – Coconut or vegetable-based butter alternatives are now available such as Olive Oil spread or Coconut Oil Spread which can also be used in cooking and baking.
- Cheese – Vegan cheese is amazing! You can find alternatives made from soy, coconut oil and other nuts like cashew cheese all taste different and have different uses so experiment and see which alternative you like the most. You can also find cream cheese, sour cream and grated vegan cheese.
- Meat – Tofu and Tempeh are the healthier forms of meat alternatives as are vegetables such as mushrooms that all have a good texture for replacing meat. Jackfruit is also popular in dishes such as curry to replace chicken or beef. Replacing meat can also be done by adding chickpeas and lentils to meals in place of meat or fish. The alternatives to meat are an increase in vegetables and grains so find which ones you like to eat the most and start incorporating those into your daily life. There are several meat-free frozen meals available or items such as burgers that are plant-based but do be careful to check their nutritional content and remember that nothing is as good for you as fresh produce.
- Egg – This is always one of the most difficult for vegans to replace due to people enjoying the breakfast and brunch culture. Thankfully you can now enjoy vegan breakfast by swapping eggs for avocado, mushrooms, potatoes or baked beans. You can enjoy smoothies, juices, acai bowls and other delicious and healthy vegan brunch items without having to eat egg. When it comes to baking you can also swap out the egg by using an egg-replacement such as chia or flaxseed egg replacer that you can purchase in most grocery or health food stores.
4 – Have a health check
A healthier lifestyle is usually one of the main reasons someone feels encouraged to reduce or remove meat and dairy from their diet. Driven largely by health concerns, many individuals now aim to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables and obtain their nutrition from organic and natural sources. If you are making a lot of dietary changes it is advisable to consult with a doctor, naturopath, dietician or someone who can ensure you are making good choices that support your personal wellness goals. Changing out meat, dairy and eggs will overall improve your health, giving you energy and making you feel vibrant though it is important not to substitute these items with unhealthy alternatives such as frozen vegan meals and vegan junk food.
5 – Go out for a vegan meal
Celebrate going plant-based by dining out and enjoying different types of food that you haven’t tried yet or share your favourite meals with friends and family. There are amazing health food, organic, vegan cafes offering affordable meals anytime of the day with salad bars and smoothie bowls always been a good option. Check out the daily specials or set menus and ask some of your usual eateries if they have a vegan option on their menu. My experience is that going vegan is often cheaper to eat out than meat (think about the cost of a steak or seafood dish) and the food is also healthy and delicious. If you are used to ordering your coffee with milk, try out a dairy alternative, such as creamy cashew nut milk or coconut milk in your latte. If you love Indian food, try their vegetarian set with chickpea curry or dahl instead of meat and if you like Thai food try a stir-fry with vegetables and tofu! Remember almost everything has a vegan alternative – you can even buy vegan ice cream!
Check out some of these vegan foodie ideas you can serve in your coconut bowl:
- Beans, rice and vegetables when creating Mexican meals
- Pasta dishes with tomatoes, garlic, onion, basil and vegan cheese
- Vegetable curry with coconut milk and spices like turmeric and cumin
- Vegetable burgers made from grated veggies and chickpeas served with salad
- Brown rice with vegetable stir-fry
- Vegan pizza with vegan cheese and lots of fresh vegetables and herbs
- Homemade salsa or hummus with corn chips
- Lentil Pie topped with mashed potatoes
- Potato Wedges with vegan sour cream and chilli sauce
- Trail Mix made with dried fruit and mixed nuts
- Oatmeal with fresh fruit and coconut milk
For more coconut bowl recipes click here!