People are often intimidated by vegan or plant-based diets. Here is why you shouldn't be.
Vegan or plant-based diets are in vogue right now and the trend towards these lifestyle changes is growing for many reasons. Maybe you just want to improve your general health or it’s never sat right with you to eat animals. Perhaps you hope to lose weight or you’re trying to live more consciously. Whatever your reason, when considering going plant-based or vegan, there are usually three main barriers that often get in your way: that it can be scary, pricey and stressful.
The idea of going plant-based can be intimidating. Suddenly, you need to find substitutes for common ingredients you’re used to using on a daily basis. Instead of mince, you need to learn how to cook soya mince or use some sort of vegetable to replace it and how on earth do you go about doing that and still make it taste good? The secret is in the layering of the flavours. Instead of going fancy, go classic. At Native Soul, we use traditional French-based techniques to bring the maximum flavour out of every element. For example, caramelizing your mushrooms, marinading your tofu or long slow simmering tomato-based sauces, all add essential layers of flavour, but are steps that often are left out due to lack of know-how.
There is a misconception that plant-based food is pricey. Yes, some of it can be. Buying organic, GMO-free foods does cost a bit more, but the key is to find the balance between organic and price. Instead of going all out at a fancy vegan store for even the basics, try to use things you can find on the shelf at your local supermarket. Dried pulses are really affordable and good for you. Add a nutritious sauce to them and you have a great dish. Tinned chickpeas and butter beans are good bases, fresh lemon can help elevate almost every dish, tomato paste adds depth of flavour, coconut cream can be used to make a quick curry or soup, and basic spices, soy sauce and a good quality peanut butter (with no added sugar, salt or oil) are essentials. Then you can splash out on a couple of the more expensive niche products because you’ve saved on the pantry staples.
Many of us have grown up with the stock-standard meat, veg and potato meal combination. Stepping out of this can be stressful, especially when you have a full-time job and maybe a family to feed. Do you really have time to be learning a whole new set of cooking techniques? And then there is the concern about whether you are getting enough protein from your new veggie-based diet. Our advice it to ease yourself into it and listen to your body. You don’t have to make the change overnight. Maybe start by doing a plant-based meal once or twice a week until you build your repertoire. Following chefs and programs like Anna Jones, BBC Good Food, or Jamie Oliver for easy and flavourful veggie and vegan dishes will help you learn flavour combinations and make veggies like eggplant seem a little less weird. You can then slowly add more plants into your diet.
Also, listen to your body and if you don’t have time or money for a nutritionist’s advice, reach out to a friend who is successfully managing to go vegan.
In a nutshell….
Plant-based cooking doesn’t need to be a hassle. At Native Soul, we want you to feel comfortable making yourself a quick and easy vegan dinner that is healthy, affordable and delicious. Check out our recipes for plant-based meals and our blogs for tips and tricks to make tasty vegan cooking a breeze.
To help you on your way, here is a recipe for a useful vegan base.
NOTE: If you are in the local area of Port Elizabeth, pop into our store in 25 Westbourne Road, order online or check your local Spar in the Eastern Cape and try one of our prepared delicious, nutritious, made-with-love plant-based frozen meals. You can view the menu here.