Some of us not associated with a vegan diet are often left feeling unaware about what exactly a vegan diet entails. In part one, we try and answer some common questions that will hopefully shed some light on the fascinating world of being a vegan.
What is a Vegan and what do Vegans eat?
A vegan is someone who does not eat anything that is derived from an animal such as meat, poultry, and seafood (obviously) but also dairy products including cheese, milk and eggs are off the table. People adopt a vegan lifestyle for many different reasons to do with health and general wellbeing, moral reasons, the treatment of animals or simply because they just do not like the taste.
Whaaaaat, no meat, eggs or milk? Where do you get your protein from?
An absolute classic from the chamber of questions that vegans are most likely to be asked - at least once in their lifetime. It is true, eating meat can increase your protein intake, but there are hundreds of other foods vegans can eat that are often overlooked but also pack a protein punch. For example, eating half-cup of seitan (a plant-based protein derived from wheat gluten) contains 31.5 grams of protein which is far more than a chicken breast! There is an abundance of food items
For more protein packed vegan foods, check the list here.
Sounds boring, do you eat rice and lentils all day, everyday?
Quite the opposite. The growing popularity of a vegan diet and lifestyle has increased phenomenally over the past few years. Meat and dairy substitutes are commonly available and aim to mimic the taste, flavour and look of the animal based counterparts. For those wanting to become vegan but find it too difficult to look beyond meat and dairy, the following list could help bridge the gap one day:
Jackfruit – Often known as the vegan ‘pulled pork’ due to its fibre like texture. Jackfruit is not a sweet fruit so lends itself well to marinades and sauces.
Soy Milk – A plant based alternative to cows milk which has an almost identical amount of protein
Mycoprotein – Brands such as Quorn have created various meat free products, but not all suitable for vegans. Nevertheless, they still have a great range which is suitable for vegans and according to the website, will continue to grow.
Tofu – A versatile plant based substitute that is wonderful to use in curries and stir-fry’s for meats including pork, chicken and beef.
Tempeh – Excellent to use for seafood based dishes such as crab cakes or battered fish. Made from fermented soybeans, it is firmer than tofu and has a more grainy texture.
How long are you going to be vegan for?
*hurls a beetroot at the person asking the question*
Stay tuned for part 2 which will focus more on the choices and attitudes behind a vegan lifestyle!