It’s #Veganuary and for those of you who don’t know what that means (I didn’t) it’s a charity inspiring people to try vegan for January and throughout the rest of the year. I discussed with my Angels the pros and cons of becoming Vegan. Now I can remember it was around this time two years ago I tried to take in the Vegan way of life and lasted about a week!
My Social Media Angel Amy can also see the benefits but Editor Ayshea is dabbling and trying to make frequent ‘food swaps’. Paul McCartney has always championed ‘Meat Free Mondays’ but as a Caribbean Girl, I’ve been brought up to have leftovers on a Monday… so this doesn’t work for me! However, after making a wicked Pumpkin Soap and seeing some of Ayshea’s tips I must say… I could definitely try this again.
– Angie x
If you are not an animal lover, have never owned a pet and don’t watch documentaries about meat production why would you become a Vegan? This is a question I ask myself frequently as I look at my rice and peas with stew chicken… but honestly, my meat free days are my best days.
Adopting a vegan lifestyle has been a slow but very rewarding journey – many long-term vegans can attest to this. Two years ago I wrote about how it can help with weight loss, but I can also now say that my overall health has improved just by food swapping. If you are still wondering to yourself “Why should I go vegan?” and “How will it benefit me?” this article will help you with a few tips and some basic food swap recipes.
Tips & Help for Transitioning
- Note all of the benefits of embracing the vegan diet, and jot down or mentally note which ones you would like to achieve.
- What do vegans eat? You need to find this out in order to go vegan. Basically, the vegan diet consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole-grains, legumes, beans, tofu, meat-substitutes, avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, vegan smoothies, vegan treats (e.g.: muffins, brownies, cakes, slices), fresh juices, cooked salads, raw salads, baked vegetables etc etc. You will find that most of your favorite foods will have a “vegan clone” recipe nowadays. This is because of the increasing popularity of the vegan diet and most restaurants offer an alternative that doesn’t look like a bowl of leaves!
- Start off slowly. It can be daunting for many people to make such a major lifestyle change overnight. So why not start off by eating two or three vegan meals per week. When you are confident with this, make the transition to eating one vegan meals per day. Do plenty of research on “What do vegans eat” so that you know just what your vegan meals and recipes should consist of. You need to move at your own comfortable pace.
- Ditch your bad habits. Slowly cut back on concentrated and carbonated drinks as well as alcohol and caffeine. Try switching the meat in your favourite meals for vegetables like Mushrooms, Pumpkin and Aubergines. Small ‘food swaps’ are mentally much easier than throwing everything out, especially if you eat out a lot!
- Get some good recipes. Don’t be too afraid of making some meals and recipes without meat, cream, cheese or butter. There are so many mouth-watering vegan recipes nowadays that are robust in flavor and will often taste better than the non-vegan version! Take a look at my top 3
3 Easy Vegan Recipes
Angie’s Pumpkin Soup …a hug in a bowl
- 1 tablespoon margarine
- 1 onion, diced
- 1/2 a Pumpkin, diced (you can roast it first if you like)
- 1 1/3 cups vegetable broth
- 3 cups coconut milk (or another vegan milk substitute)
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large saucepan, cook the onion in the margarine for 3-5 minutes, until onion turns clear.
- Add remaining ingredients, stirring to combine.
- Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes longer or until the pumpkin is soft
- Puree to finish and garnish
Ayshea’s Sunday Red Curry …with a Caribbean twist
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp red curry paste
- 1 tbsp Jamaican Jerk seasoning (optional)
- 1 x 31g pack coriander, leaves and stalks chopped separately
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3cm chunks
- Mixed vegetable chunks (Aubergine, Courgette, Carrot, Mange Tout and Broccoli recommended)
- 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
- juice of ½ lime, plus wedges to serve
- 30g coconut flakes
- Finely chop the onion and coriander stalks and mix with the curry and jerk paste. Heat the oil in a wide sauté pan over a medium heat, add the onion purée and stir-fry for 5 minutes.
- Add the sweet potato chunks and vegetables and stir to coat. Then pour in the coconut milk, half fill the tin with cold water and add to the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the red pepper, cover with a lid and cook for a further 5 minutes. Stir in half the coriander leaves and squeeze in the juice of half a lime.
Serve the curry with rice and peas for an alternative Caribbean Sunday dinner.
Amy’s Chip Swap…health is wealth
- 3 large sweet potatoes
- 1 tbsp good quality olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin
- Cayenne pepper (optional, but adds a nice little kick)
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt or seasoned salt
- Thinly slice the sweet potato into ‘chip’ shape
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius or gas mark 6
- Place the sweet potato in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Then, sprinkle with all the seasonings: cumin, cayenne pepper, paprika and salt or seasoned salt. Gently toss together until the sweet potatoes are evenly coated with the oil and all the spices. You can add a little more or less oil and seasonings, if you’d like.
- Place the sweet potatoes on a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in the pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes, or until done, turning once or twice.
Serve instead of fries, chips or rice and also great for dipping!