Sunday, 10 January 2016

YOU'RE VEGAN? SO, WHAT DO YOU EAT?

I am getting a tiny bit exasperated with the fact that every time someone finds out I am a vegan they instantly assume that I have a 'poor diet', 'don't eat proper food' or simply 'don't eat properly'. I can assure you I eat just fine, I am ok with the fact that I don't consider hormone infested, terrified, mistreated animal carcases to be 'proper food'. I don't usually inflict these opinions onto other people as it is not my job to do so. I also researched a vegan diet for a long time before I went completely vegan, I'm not a moron, I know where to find my vitamins and minerals just fine. Being rude and pushing my ideologies on others in order to be condescending and judge them would go against all I believe in too, I am after all vegan to show my compassion for others and I too have compassion for those people with different ideologies in my own species, however, I don't appreciate being attacked on a daily basis about my diet, so I have decided to write a blog post about all the things I CAN eat so I can send people this way in order to open up those minds slightly and to give them the opportunity to get a better understanding of my diet.

Firstly, My diet is mainly made up of fruit and vegetables. What the hell is wrong with that? I see people who have a supposedly 'healthy meat diet' stuffing their faces with pastries, pizza and pasta pots on a regular basis and I replace pasta with noodles made out of beans and pastries with proper wholesome meals full of vitamins and vital nutrients. I also make smoothies and juices every day. My favourite is fresh organic carrot juice, and my favourite smoothie combo is spinach, spirulina (for my calcium, b12, iron and protein), coconut water and a ripe banana.


So, you don't eat cheese/ drink milk/ eat yoghurt or use butter/cream?
No, I don't but I have much better (in my opinion), tastier and healthier alternatives all containing calcium and nice vitamins and minerals. If you actually knew what cow's milk did to your body, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't drink it. Instead of cow's milk, I drink almond milk in my tea and make mash and pasta sauces with soy milk. I like to mix it up so I also use coconut milk, rice milk, oat milk and hemp milk so there you go, there's actually far more choice in this area if you do become a vegan. Instead of butter on toast, I use olive oil with a bit of salt and black pepper. I use Soya cheeses (they have cream cheese, strips, and blocks of cheese) and yeast flakes to make up cheesy sauces. I also have soy or oat yoghurt with my fruit. A higher intake of soya has actually been proven to prevent such a bad menopause later on in life and I am all for that. Since upping the soya in my diet, I don't tend to suffer with menstrual cramps either anymore and I'm not certain, but I have an inkling it may be linked to this. I use soya cream to make the best coleslaw I've ever tasted too - recipe to follow soon! If you love cream with your desserts and/or strawberries, there's also a great oat cream you can buy! 

Where do you get your protein?
I have Tofurkey this Christmas and IT IS BEAUTIFUL. So juicy and flavoursome, so much so my best non-vegan friend loved it and gobbled it all up too. I love tofu due to the fact it is a great source of calcium also. I can also have grain-based faux meat products which generally aren't too processed and some can be remarkably tasty. As I said earlier, I add spirulina to my smoothies on a regular basis. I also add cacao powder quite often which adds a bitta' protein into the mix. I often eat tofu and tempeh, both derived from the soybean which is high in protein. I LOVE falafel. I am forever making curries and other dishes using chickpeas and beans too. I add seeds such as sesame, sunflower, poppy, pumpkin and chia to my porridge, soups and smoothies and they are all high in protein and healthy fats. I snack on nuts often which all have vital minerals and fats along with a burst of protein, another way to add nuts to your diet is to eat peanut butter in your porridge or on your toast. French toast is also a yummy vegan choice and jam and almond butter on toast is a great cherry Bakewell alternative. I also love cooking nuts in stir fry's and nut roasts. I have also bought some pea protein which I plan on mixing into my porridge and smoothies.

Where do you get your B12?
Where do you get yours? Ha, psych I joke... I kid I kid, but really, where? You do know that animals don't produce B12, they're just given supplements (in the soil or their food) and then you eat them (after they've been tortured and murdered lol)... so anyway I cut out the violence and ill treatment of animals and just take the supplement myself. Also, nutritional yeast is high in B12 and great to use like parmesan cheese unlike Parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast is not high in sodium and saturated fat and not sourced from poorly treated cow's who are subjected to live miserable, unhappy lives.

Vegans can eat grains and potatoes you know.
Lots of people make up the bulk of their diet using grains and vegans can be no different should they choose. Vegans can eat rice, quinoa, oats, couscous, legume mix pastas, breads and tortillas. I also eat lots of potato and sweet potato which makes up a large portion of the traditionally British diet anyway.

So, you can't eat any junk food then?
Firstly, I dislike how questions surrounding this area of food are always said in such a manner that I am being made to feel bad despite the fact everyone on the face of the planet knows they should be cutting out junk food and nutritionally I am not missing out on much anyway. I have never really enjoyed sweets but I occasionally have marshmallows in my hot chocolate so I just used marshmallows made from agar agar instead of gelatin. I can still eat crisps and I get either dark chocolate or dairy free chocolate from Holland and Barrett. I make my hot chocolate from cocoa powder and coconut milk which is far more nutritious than the milk and sugar infused mainstream ones anyway. Oreos and jammy dodgers are vegan, along with a whole host of biscuits and sweet treats. You can get vegan 'nice'-cream which are usually coconut or almond based. Products free from cow's milk don't leave you with that mucousy aftermath either. 

Does it get boring?
No. In fact, quite the opposite, I can really get far more creative with my meals than your average conditioned person of habit and I have become much more pensive about my meals and where the food is sourced from. I have learned all the alternatives and I can say with confidence there is not one 'omnivore' meal I cannot recreate, to the same or even a tastier standard with ease now I know what I know. I can also say with ease that the meal I recreate will have a better nutritional value overall too.

What's your flava' - tell me what's your flavour?
I have become a pro at using a whole range of spices and herbs and coming up with tasty combinations. For me, a satisfying meal isn't sitting there bloated and feeling uncomfortably full afterwards, it's thinking 'wow, that was a delicious meal and it nourished my body in so many ways'. I love bringing together lots of herbs and spices that are both interesting and pleasing to the pallet. An added benefit is that they also have medicinal purposes and do wonders for your health also. I use vegetable stock and bouillon to add flavour to my meals and replace other gravies. I can still eat tomato paste guys, who would have guessed, it's also a great source of iron. I eat vegetable, bean and mushroom pate if I ever fancy it on oatcakes which have the added fibre. I eat lots of capers and olives for added texture to salads and sandwiches too.


Do you take any supplements?
Yes, but, no more than your average person, I take a VEGAN multivitamin from Holland and Barrett, B12 and I will soon be taking spirulina tablets as If we're all being honest; the powder tastes hideous! 

So, you can't eat cake?
Again, WHY is this portrayed as such a bad thing as if cake is the best thing for you? I can anyway for your information, but I just don't understand the attitudes behind certain questions sometimes. When baking, you can use an egg replacer, prunes, bananas and peanut butter to replace end but also to act as binders. I can use flax seeds, oats, chia seeds, vital wheat gluten, coconut flour, coconut oil, agave syrup, maple syrup, sugar, coconut sugar and vegan chocolate substitutes to bake so why would I not be able to whip up something just as beautiful? it'll probably have quadruple the nutritional value too if we are completely honest.

Would you like any condiments - can you even have any condiments/ do you miss mayonnaise?
NO. In short, no I don't because I buy vegan mayonnaise, I use hummus in my sandwiches and as a dip, and shockingly I can still have salt and black pepper. I also cook quite often with harissa and tahini paste. Vignettes, olive oil and coconut oil are also vegan. I am also an advocate for adding all the herbs I have to most dishes and in the words of Bob Marley 'herb is a plant... herbs are good for everyt'ing' 

So, to conclude, stop worrying about me, I am eating just fine. I AM HAPPY and I am not missing out on anything!

Peace out potatoes x
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