Health, Uncategorised

How to be healthy… ?

With a new year comes new resolutions, one of which may be to eat healthier or to go vegan!

Previously we talked about the downsides to veganism in this modern era but today we’re going to chat about why it’s likely to be the best decision of your life!

New year’s resolutions typically revolve around people wanting to lose weight, eat better, eat healthier and make the world a kinder place. All of which can be achieved by becoming a vegan. Going vegan has many positives in the world but when it comes to your own personal health switching to a plant-based diet has plenty of benefits. Benefits include protecting against cardiovascular disease, lowering your risk of certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, weight loss and weight management.

Now if the thought of transitioning to a vegan diet cold turkey scares you then I always suggest on making the shift slowly. Making a drastic decision to go full vegan all at once may be successful but most likely leads to a crash and burn scenario. I suggest just making a shift to a vegan meal just once or twice a week and gradually working up, so that by the end of a month or however long it takes you are at 100% vegan meals. Another way to start is to simply write down what animal products you eat, eliminate them, and find an alternative.

Protein is first and foremost the first macronutrient that needs to be replaced when going vegan.

Unless you’re an athlete then veganism does provide you with plenty of protein, you just must sort through the choices. Organic non-GMO tofu, fermented tempeh, raw nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes are packed full of sustaining energy as well as an abundance of other nutrients. These plant-based foods are real wholefoods that are not refined and not heavily processed.

And although the vegan diet offers an abundance of nutrients and unless you’re supplementing there’s always 3 main nutrients you’re most likely missing out from.

  • B12 is a nutrient that plays an important role in developing red blood cells. It also maintains the nerves and proper brain function and is exclusively found in animal-based foods. Vegans are very likely to have a deficiency in this nutrient thus often they need to supplement with a quality vitamin to avoid deficiency.
  • Vitamin D is available in both plants and animals, but they aren’t the same type. The one found in animal-based foods is Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and the one in plants it’s Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). Vitamin D3 is more efficiently absorbed in the blood than D2 so it is likely again a need for supplementation or some extra sunshine.
  • Omega 3 is an essential fat our bodies need but can’t produce therefore we need to source it from food. Predominantly sourced from fish, omega 3 in a vegan diet can be sourced from foods such as chia seeds (1 tbsp), ground flaxseeds (1 tbsp), hemp seeds (2 tbsp) and walnuts (6 halves)
As mentioned in part 1 of this blog, steering clear of prepackaged vegan ‘mock’ meats such as ‘chicken’ in a can or plant-based burgers and opting for wholefoods such as beans, legumes, organic non-GMO tofu and tempeh.

Being vegan is a way of living a healthy meaningful life. One that doesn’t exploit the consumption of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose!

Indeed, when going vegan you’re making a positive lifelong commitment in the community. And if you’re serious about making this choice but feeling a little uninspired when it comes to meal ideas, well social media has some amazing vegan bloggers that show how vegan meals can be delicious and easy.

One of the best tips I can give to make the transition easier is to meal prep! And I’m not talking about slaving in the kitchen for hours but to simply prepare a few staple items once a week so that you can whip together a meal in minutes.

  • Roast mixed vegetables in the oven. Be sure to use in season produce ie. Cauliflower, sweet potato, carrot, potato, broccoli, pumpkin, beetroot, eggplant, capsicum, onion
  • Cooked pre-soaked quinoa, rice, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, barley, bulgur wheat or any other starchy gluten free grain
  • Cooked pre-soaked beans, legumes/lentils or tinned
The ultimate throw together salad aka The Buddha Bowl

With summer in full swing one of my favourite go to meals is this quick and easy – made with those previously meal prepped ingredients. A light and refreshing meal thrown together in minutes.
You will need:

  • Roasted vegetables of choice
  • Cooked starch of choice (I love tricoloured quinoa for colour and brown rice)
  • Fresh greens of choice
  • Fresh mixed raw vegetables of choice
  • Fresh herbs of choice (Here I’ve chosen fresh basil and parsley from the garden)
  • Cooked or tinned beans or lentils
  • Avocado is a must
  • Hemp seeds are a fantastic omega 3 addition here

You can use your own dressing, but this is the true holy grail topping for any summer salad. This stores in the fridge for up to a week.
For the dressing you will need:

  • ¼ cup hulled tahini paste (can be purchased in Woolworths or Coles if you’re unsure)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp 100% pure maple syrup
  • ½ tbsp sesame oil
  • ¼ tsp Himalayan salt
  • 2 tbsp or more if needed to thin out the dressing to your desired consistency
  • 1 clove of garlic finely minced (optional)
  • Cracked black pepper to taste

Simple pack your favourite bowl or container with an assortment of salad ingredients then top with dressing to enjoy!