January is a vegan month. Although a plant-based diet may be associated with an inferior diet that lacks a variety of flavors plant-based foods are very diverse, colorful, and also beneficial both for human health and the planet. However, those who want to switch to a plant-based diet often face various questions – what and how to eat, and how to get the necessary nutrients for the body. And most importantly, how can I make my favorite dishes vegan so I can continue to enjoy them?
We’re sharing some tips and tricks to help you make the transition to a plant-based diet easier.
When cooking, use various additives to give food an expressive taste. One of the simplest rules for making plant-based dishes rich in flavor is to use various spices, sauces, herbs, and other additives. Spices such as smoked paprika, onion or garlic powder, smoked sea salt, or black Himalayan salt will give dishes an expressive taste. Spices and sauces with a smoky flavor will work well with soy curd (tofu), tempeh, seitan, or other plant-based protein dishes. You can also use various meat and poultry seasonings and barbecue sauce to season plant-based dishes.
Repeat the taste of your favorite, already-known dishes. Think about your favorite foods and how you can make them differently. For example, have you ever wondered if you can use spices to replicate the taste of eggs, meat, and other animal products you love? You can use smoked paprika, tomato paste, garlic, onion, and soy sauce to get the characteristic taste of burgers. Black salt is perfect for imitating the taste of an egg, and if you want the dish to resemble meatballs, use oregano and fennel seeds.
Use plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy products. When switching to a plant-based diet, giving up your favorite meat or dairy dishes is often the most difficult task. However, meat can easily be replaced with plant-based alternatives, which are available in stores in a variety of forms, including plant-based meatballs, schnitzels, mince, burger patties, and more. Dairy products can also be substituted. For example, if you like ice cream, you can easily make it using bananas, avocados, walnuts, coconut milk, or plant-based cream made from soy or oats.
Cook simple plant-based dishes. If you spend an hour chopping vegetables every time you cook, you probably won’t want to continue eating like that after a few days. So we encourage you to think more simply – for example, choose Portobello mushroom instead of a hamburger patty, and choose beans instead of meat when making a chili stew. Also, sometimes it is enough to change only the cooking method, not the product itself. For example, vegetables can be not only fried or steamed but also stewed or caramelized. This allows you to enjoy a variety of flavors, but the preparation of dishes will not take much time.
It is important to ensure proper nutrition
Although people are mostly interested in a plant-based diet for health-related reasons, it is important to pay attention to what we eat even when eating vegan. We need to get sufficient amounts of the three main food groups – carbohydrates, proteins, and fats – every day so that we do not run out of essential substances and vitamins for the body. It is recommended to choose complex carbohydrates – they provide a lot of energy, a longer feeling of satiety, and a lot of fiber. You can choose from a variety of grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, while various seeds, nuts, avocados, and olives will replenish the body with healthy fats.
When it comes to protein, great plant-based sources of protein include tempeh, seitan, tofu, various meat substitutes, legumes, and protein powders. The latter is usually made from milk, so to replace it with a plant-based alternative, you can use dried fermented microalgae – Golden Chlorella. These microalgae are rich in not only protein but also amino and omega fatty acids, fiber, minerals, and vitamins B1, B2, and B6. In addition, microalgae can help compensate for iron and B vitamins deficiency, which is quite common when following a plant-based diet. Golden Chlorella powder is tasteless and odorless, making it perfect for flavoring various dishes, as well as smoothies and sauces. Another irreplaceable feature of algae is that they contain EPA and DHA Omega 3 acids, which are necessary for the human body – if we do not eat meat, we will not get them from any other plant product, except algae.