Whilst the long-term impacts of a strict vegan diet on the environment and our health are often debated, the benefits of including more plants in our diet are beyond doubt. Research indicates that including at least 30 different sources of plant-based foods per week can have a beneficial effect on the diversity of our gut bacteria.
Veganuary is a great opportunity to experiment with veg-centric cooking, read our tips below to get started...
The average adult needs about 0.8g of protein per kilo of body weight per day. It's a common myth is that you can't get protein from plant foods. Good sources include beans, lentils, chickpeas, soya products, peanut butter, cashew nuts and pumpkin seeds.
2. Vitamins & Minerals
It is important to make sure you get enough vitamin B12 – commonly found in meat, eggs and fish. You can either opt for a B12 supplement which are available from most pharmacies or choose fortified foods such as cereal and spreads.
3.Choose Wholefoods for your gut
Just because something is vegan, it doesn't mean it's healthy. Plantbased alternatives to meat and dairy are becoming more commonly available, but these products are often highly processed and packed full of fillers and sodium. A diet high in ultra-processed foods can have a negative impact on your gut bacteria, so we prefer wholefood options instead. Some of our favourites:
Tiba Tempeh: fermented soy-based protein
Plenish: plantbased milks with minimal ingredients, no fillers or inflammatory seed oils
Kinda Co: nut-based fermented dairy-free cheese
Most vegetables are low in 'umami'. Umami is one of the five basic tastes, along with sweet, sour, salty and bitter. It's most commonly defined as “savoury”, but the characteristics of umami can also be described as “meaty”, “complex” or even just “deliciousness”. Try building plantbased umami sources into your recipes to ensure your meals are tasty and satisfying. Our favourites include:
- Fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut
- Soy products - miso
5. Remember you're only human!We all make mistakes; if you do end up eating some meat, take some time to think about what motivated you to start in the first place. Don't dwell and let yourself get too down about it, the important thing is that you keep trying.