So there has never been a better time to give a plant based diet a try, even if you do it on a flexitarian basis, eating vegan friendly food once or twice a week. Dabbling in animal-free alternatives by making a few swaps or by doing Meat-Free Mondays can really have an impact on our environment and can provide many health benefits, as well as giving us an opportunity to shake things up in the kitchen by adding some new healthy ideas to meal planning. As veganism becomes more mainstream, hopefully the stigma of being considered sanctimonious, preachy, self-righteous or just plain weird will disappear, and people will see those who choose to eat vegan food, either full or part time, as making a good choice.
My family are all vegetarian, but we tend to eat plant based meals about 4 or 5 times a week and we use a lot of alternatives to dairy products in our day to day diet. Since making the change, we have never looked back and we enjoy an incredibly varied and delicious array of food. There is literally nothing that we miss nor do we feel deprived because we don't eat meat. In fact, there are vegan alternatives to nearly every food I can think of. We can have mock 'duck', veggie 'bacon', burgers and sausages, even vegan 'fish' fingers. And they are all tasty too! They might replicate the taste and texture of animal products, but they are made using 100% plant based ingredients and no animal suffered for us to eat them, so it's all good. Some of the kids' favourite treats such as Original Hula Hoops, Oreos, BBQ Pringles and Party Rings happen to be vegan, so the little ones don't even have to miss out on their goodies. It is easier than ever to give it a try.
January provides a great opportunity for people around the world to give veganism a try as it is the month given over to Veganuary. This year over 50,000 people have signed up, pledging to give up meat and animal products for 31 days. It is a great start to the year, especially after the excesses of Christmas and participants have noted weight loss, better sleep habits and improved energy levels as positive effects from taking part. Flora have teamed up with Veganuary this year. With their 'Powered by Plants' campaign and their Flora Freedom dairy-free spread, they are a brand that is well placed to help families eat more plant based alternatives.
Here are some helpful tips from dietician and TV presenter Lucy Jones to demonstrate just how easy it can be to make the change towards a plant based diet, which incorporate switching to Flora Freedom.
7 Simple Tips to try this Veganuary
- Swap the milk in your tea, coffee and cereal to a plant-based alternatives such as soya, almond, cashew, coconut, oat and hemp. Many come fortified with key nutrients like calcium and B12.
- Tinned pulses are convenient and ready to use straight from the tin. They are a source of protein and fibre and are very filling. Add to soups, salads and veggie chilli.
- Make a delicious cottage pie using soya, quorn or lentils. Combine with chopped veggies, tinned tomatoes, herbs and spices and top with mashed root veg made using Flora Freedom. Perfect comfort food.
- Use the slow cooker to make a warming stew. Use tinned tomatoes, chopped vegetables, lentils, chickpeas or beans and add some barley or potato for a warm filling dinner. Serve in a bowl with crusty fresh bread spread with Flora Freedom.
- Try some vegan pancakes. Make your pancake mix using flour, a plant based alternative to milk, nut butter and mashed banana. Top with sugar and lemon, maple syrup or chopped fruits.
- Don’t miss out on dessert! You can make a delicious crumble topping using flour, oats, sugar and Flora Freedom to top some seasonal fruits. Serve with a soya or oat based custard or cream or some coconut or soya ice-cream.
- Nuts make a fantastic healthy vegan snack. Combine 30g of your favourite with some small chunks of rich 80% dark chocolate for an indulgent afternoon treat.
You can find some dairy-free and vegan recipes on the Flora website including one for some rather delicious vegan chocolate brownies! Being vegan does not have to be dull!
I'll be trying out one of the recipes using Flora Freedom for my blog soon, so watch this space!