Are you a new vegan or are you thinking of going vegan January? Whether inspired for environmental reasons or by celebrities such as Ellen, Brad Pitt and Beyoncé, going vegan can be mind-field if not thought through.
Many of us here at Goodness Direct are vegans and we have created a list of products we think all vegans must have (apart from a vast array of fruit and veg!) in their fridges and cupboards.
- Vitamin B12 – This is found naturally in meat and eggs and is also produced in our gut. Without this in our diet we quickly become tired and fatigued. All vegans should supplement with a good source of vegan B12 to keep their energy levels high, and the nerves healthy.
- Whole grains – We always recommend the ancient grains, like Quinoa, which is a complete protein, versatile and can be compared to couscous.
- Beans – these little soldiers of energy are very versatile, even the juices left over in the tins have culinary uses eg chickpea meringue. When paired with rice they make an excellent plant based protein.
- Legumes – When it comes to pulses you simply must have at least some lentils in your cupboard. These are wonderful natural substitutes for meat in dishes like shepherd’s pie, bolognaise, curries and salads.
- Nutritional yeast– this is the wonderful product that makes food taste like cheese again! Also you can get this fortified with B12 if you are not in supplementation.
- Seeds – hemp, chia, pumpkin seeds. These are rich sources of vegan omega 3 found in fish, and omega 6. If you are not keen on the old seeds, supplementing with a good vegan omega oil is highly recommended.
- Nut butters – what a great source of protein, not to mention flavour! These can be used in breakfasts, drinks/smoothies, snacks, and main dishes. If you cannot have nuts seed butters are equally as good.
- Fermented foods to be honest these are good for everyone, but are especially good if you have been vegan for some time and find you eat the same foods week in week out, or are constantly fighting off colds. Fermented foods contain natural probiotics that boost your gut flora and in doing so boost your immune system.
- Tofu/tempeh – Tofu is so versatile! It can be used in both sweet and savoury dish. Tempeh holds like meat making it a practical meat alternative for most dishes.
- Plant and nut milk and yogurts– Sometimes black tea just won’t cut it and fortunately there are now loads of tasty different dairy free milks out there to choose from. Some are great for hot drinks, some ideal for cereals and others perfect to bake with. Look for ones that are fortified, especially if you are not supplementing with vegan supplements.
- Dairy free cheese – fortunately if you can’t say no to cheese, vegan cheese is on the up! So many new flavours to try, and so many suppliers swapping out palm oil for coconut oil instead.
- Seaweed – this may sound random, but seaweed is something that we could all benefit snacking on. It is a fantastic vegan source of iodine, vital for healthy thyroid function and boosting energy. Iodine is especially important for women who are pregnant/nursing. It is also important for teenage girls on a vegan diet with irregular periods as it may help to settle disrupted hormones. It is also great to add to dishes if you simply miss the taste of fish!