No meat, no dairy, no problem – not quite! Gone are the days when the mere mention of a vegan diet conjured up images of living off raw carrots and lettuce but that doesn’t mean deciding to become vegan is a walk in the park. So in honour of World Vegan Day on November 1st, we’ve enlisted the help of top nutrition consultant Karen Cumming-Palmer to give some guidance to making your diet a more plant-based one whether you’re going completely vegan or not.
“With so much conflicting advice out there the truth is rather pedestrian – balance is best for most people most of the time,” says Karen. “I’m also not a big fan of labels so embracing Vegan Day and celebrating the abundance of health giving vegan foods just makes sense for our personal and collective health, it should become part of our life, even if it is not, for many of us a way of life. Our skin, digestive system and our planet will all be better off if we eat more plants and less meat but that doesn’t mean we should all go cold, excuse the pun turkey.”
“Use this day to re-set your habits arounds shopping, cooking and eating,” Karen suggests. “Make vegetables the star of any dining show rather than an extra. Embrace more unusual vegetables like seaweed – high in anti-oxidants anti-inflammatory and rich in iodine and calcium this sea green packs a heavy nutritional punch.”
“Pulses are a great way of making sure you are getting a decent amount of protein which is vital for great hair skin nails and muscle tone,” says Karen. “High in magnesium, potassium and fibre pulses are incredibly versatile and can be used as both comforting sides like chick pea mash or edamame noodles or the main attraction. I love aduki beans that are very easy on the digestion and particularly high in skin enhancing copper. Try and find live, enzyme rich pulses to up the nutrient anti.”
“Quinoa, which acts like a grain but is actually a seed, is high in fibre, omega 3 and is a complete protein which makes it a super food essential for a plant based diet. It is best lightly toasted in a little oil and seasoned before adding liquid to bring out the flavour. Re-define porridge by grating a little fresh nutmeg in a small amount of butter and toast the quinoa for a few seconds before adding water and cook for about twelve minutes as with oats – sprinkle with some chia seeds and raisins for a deliciously nutritious breakfast.”
“When it comes to a plant based diet variety is essential and supplementation with a great formula like Lumity is key because Vegan food is more than a moment or a day but one essential part of a healthy lifestyle.”
If you found this helpful, why not try these three plant based recipes from top restaurant Stem & Glory. And, if you’re confused about how a vegan diet could include enough protein, we have separated fact from fiction thanks to an expert’s guidance.