The start of the year is often seen as an opportunity to reflect and explore ways to better ourselves, so we’re more motivated to make changes that can last long term. If you’ve been thinking about adding more plant-based foods to your diet or shaking up your vegan routine, what better time to start than Veganuary!
Step 1: Start slow
While you may want to go all in from the start or overhaul your old routine, there’s benefit in taking the time to establish purpose, whether emotional or ethical. Start with replacing just some of your regular ingredients with plant-based foods and gradually introducing new elements into your meals over time.
Step 2: Incorporate plant-based proteins and fats
While animal protein is considered to be a complete source of all essential amino acids, eating a variety of plant-based proteins like seitan (the most protein-dense alternative), tofu, tempeh, lentils, beans, grains, nuts, and spelt can help you get the required nine essentials.
Vegan fats are another healthy swap you can look forward to. While our bodies need fat for energy and proper functioning, not all fats are good for you. Healthy fats that mainly come from plant-based products like chia seeds, flaxseeds, nut butters, avocados, olives, cocoa, coconut, and walnuts should be part of your daily intake.
Step 3: Healthy swaps and alternatives for meat and dairy
Ingredients like jackfruit, seitan, and tempeh can be used as meat substitutes. Aquafaba makes an excellent replacement for egg whites and flax and chia seeds work well for baking in place of an egg. Most alternative milks also make great substitutes in cooking and baking and as plant-based cheeses, creams, and yogurts.
Step 4: Supplemental support
Even a well-rounded plant-based diet may fall a little short of the daily nutritional requirements. Upon consultation with a health care professional, consider the following supplements to balance your plant-based diet:
- algal oil
- vitamin B12
- vitamin D
- vitamin K2
This article was originally published in the January 2024 issue of delicious living magazine.