01 Nov Vegan month: the down-low. Plus 3 top tips for newbie vegans and one of my fave recipes.
Happy World Vegan Day.. and Month! 🌽
November is World Vegan Month – it’s a time to celebrate all things vegan-y, from the formation of the Vegan Society in 1944 through to today. Find out more about what that means and how it came about here.
Veganism and adopting a more plant-based diet is probably the thing I’m asked about the most (in one way or another!). So, I’ve got together 4 blog posts for this month that look at vegan diets; the nutrition science bit behind the effect on your health and things you’d want to watch out for if you do swap over.
I’ve covered the questions I’m asked most – but feel free to let me know if you’ve got any more in the comments. Plus you can sign up for my newsletter here to make sure you don’t miss a post.
Hey, woah – aren’t you a non-diet RD..? isn’t veganism a diet?!
Nope – it’s a choice to not eat (or buy or use) animal products – usually mostly for moral reasons. Admittedly it’s also on the rise for a lot of people who’re touting the health benefits of eating more plants – and as knowledge about industrial farming methods are being explored out in the public domain. When I use the term ‘vegan diet’ in these posts, I’m using it to refer to this concept – not that it’s a weight-loss diet or a health diet 👍
That’s cool – there’s nowt wrong with eating more plants. I’d always stress though that you don’t have to go vegan to be healthy though, as always – there’s no one perfect diet and health is about way more than what you put in your mouth. These blogs are designed as a way to address the most common issues that I’ve had come up – and how they might affect you.
I also totally recognise that having the choice to be vegan is a privilege; one that’s not afforded to many people – but I still want to help out those who do choose to be vegan with information about their choices.
Yeah, so … the non-diet bit?
It’s completely possible to eat intuitively when you’re vegan; your choices are your own. Those animal products might not make you feel good – physically or mentally and so avoiding them is therefore a pretty intuitive choice.
Plus, as always – nutrition is still a big part of Intuitive Eating and there are definitely health benefits associated with eating more plants. A well-planned vegan diet can be balanced and have lots of variety.
Are you a would-be vegan? Total newbie vegan? As a quick intro – I’ve outlined 3 top tip to check out:
- Eating out: it’s sure-as-hell easier to eat out as a vegan thesedays. Long gone are the sad, wilted sundried tomato tarts and the ‘oh, but don’t vegans eat fish?’ when you’re served up a plate whiffing of fish sauce. Well, in most places (I do live in the vegan capital of the UK!) – it’s always worth planning ahead to make sure though. Tripadvisor have decent lists for places to eat out that are vegan near you and when on holiday – Brighton’s version is here.
- Meal planning: There are a bunch of key nutrients you don’t want to be missing out on that are tricky to get with a vegan diet. Check out my article here for the lowdown on some things you don’t want to miss out on and my article next week looking at meal planning for vegans.
- Cooking skills: going vegan usually means upping your cooking skills: I have to say that this book here is my fave vegan cooking book by Thug Kitchen * (affiliate link). Izy Hossack and Jack Monroe also have some awesome simple vegan recipes you can check out as well.
I’m going to add on a tried-and-tested vegan recipe with each blog as well. Today’s one is a staple of mine – and easy to chuck together on a damp November evening. I’d love to know if you enjoy them! 👌
Cheats Spanish Butter Bean and Tomato Stew:
Spanish?! – I came up with this stuck at an AirBnB in Barcelona with very limited cooking facilities and only a corner shop nearby…
(serves 4 – or 2 and 2 lunchbox leftovers)
400g Tin butter beans, drained and rinsed
1 red pepper (or yellow / green / whatever you have)
1/2 vegan veg stock cube or tsp bullion
1 big clove of garlic
Tbsp vegan pesto
½ jar black olives (~60g drained)
Tbsp rapeseed oil (usually just labelled as ‘vegetable oil’ in supermarkets) or olive oil
Handful torn basil – or tsp dried
Salt & pepper – to taste
Heat oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.
Finely dice the onion, mince the garlic and add to pan.
Leave to soften for 5 minutes (add a splash of water if it starts to stick) while you finely slice the pepper.
When onion and garlic are softened (about 10 mins), add sliced pepper, butter beans, crumbled stock cube, pesto and tinned tomatoes and stir together.
Leave to simmer on a medium heat for approximately 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper – to taste and stir in the basil before serving – with some more for garnish if you’re feeling fancy.
Serve up with your fave pasta (NB some fresh pasta contains egg – check the label)