November is world vegan month

November is World vegan month

Does Nottingham cater for vegans?

A number of high profile celebrities like Beyonce, Lewis Hamilton, Ellie Golding and Liam Hemsworth to name but a few have all decided to follow a vegan diet.  And they are not the only ones, it is estimated that over ½ million UK adults are now vegan; that’s a 360% increase over the last decade.

Concern for animals, taking better care of the earth’s resources and the environment or the health advantages of a plant-based diet are just some of the reasons for becoming vegan.

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For some people it’s none of the above but they have allergies to dairy products or are lactose intolerant, hence the increased popularity and availability of non-dairy alternatives

But generally being a vegan is more of a lifestyle choice and a philosophy than a diet.

You can now buy ethical clothing, shoes, toiletries and makeup. But for ‘World vegan month’ I’d like to focus on the food aspect of being vegan.

Baresca

In Nottingham over the last couple of years I have seen more vegan options in shops, supermarkets and eateries, an increase in wheat/gluten/dairy free cakes and goodies and special vegan events to raise awareness.

vegan food Nottingham

Did you know there is a vegan market in Sneinton on the first Saturday of every month?

vegan market

 

I regularly write veggie food reviews for the Nottingham Post and the West Bridgford Wire, sometimes it’s a 100% vegan/vegetarian eatery like cafe Roya in Beeston or the Peacock Pub on Mansfield Road, Nottingham which has a 100% vegan kitchen.

front-menu-peacock

Or a regular restaurant that has a good selection of vegan options like Zizzi, Chocks Away (at Nottingham City Airport),  Baresca, The Angel microbrewery, Annies burger shack, Oscar and Rosies, Suda (Wollaton), Horse and Plough (Bingham), wagamama, Alchelmilla; the list just keeps on growing

fav vegan restaurant?

 

 

courtesy of TeenVGN (Twitter)

courtesy of TeenVGN (Twitter)

Not to be outdone the main supermarkets have also increased their range of vegan options.  You can now buy vegan ready meals, Christmas selection boxes, non-dairy milk, yoghurt, ice-cream and cheese, pesto etc.  And the cheaper supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl also have some great choices too

In Nottingham we are also lucky to have a number of Asian and world food supermarkets and shops that have a plethora of vegan goodies like tofu, spices, noodles, lentils, nuts, Asian greens, sauerkraut, fresh herbs and pulses

 

 

For some the transition to being vegan is a staged process; they cut down on red meat and processed meat, then only eat fish, consider following the ‘Meat Free Monday’ campaign,  progress to becoming vegetarian then decide to take the plunge and go for a 100% plant-based diet.

vegan classes

If you are considering eating a more plant based diet but are concerned about nutrition then why not come to my vegan cookery classes.  More information can be obtained by following this link http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/blog/vegan-cookery-class-7nov/

cookery feedbackYou can make sweet potato falafels, tofu rice rolls, beetroot risotto, lasagne, tacos and much much more. Contact me for more details 07946 301338

For more advice about adopting a vegan diet visit the vegan society website

Vegan stir-fry

Vegan stir-fry – serves 2 or 3

This recipe makes a really quick and tasty light vegan lunch for three or a more substantial  stir-fry for two.  I think its worth the effort to bake and add in the tofu, but if you really are in a rush then stick with the peanuts/cashews and sesame seeds.  All three ingredients add protein and some useful minerals like iron, calcium and magnesium and all the veggies are bursting with vitamins, fibre and antioxidants.  The spiralised sweet potato is a lighter alternative than rice or noodles.

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1 sweet potato – spiralised into noodles (or ready bought if you haven’t got a gadget!)½  (100g) large onion – sliced2 (130g) carrots – cut into matchsticks1 x (130g) red pepper – sliced

80g spring greens, spinach or mange tout

20g fresh ginger, grated or 1 tsp ‘lazy’ ginger or 1 tsp ginger/garlic paste

¼ – ½ tsp dried chilli flakes

¼ jar of Sharwods black bean and pepper sauce – this has the lowest sugar content of all of the jarred sauces400g of sweetcorn (tinned or frozen)30g unsalted peanuts or cashews1 spring onion – sliced

½ tsp soy sauce or gluten free tamari

1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

For the baked tofu : ½ block extra-firm tofu (drained and pressed in a clean tea towel),, small drizzle of olive oil, 3 tsp light soy sauce, 1 – 1½ tsp gochugaru or sriracha spice

  • Preheat oven to 220C/ gas 7/425F.
  • Cut the tofu into into slices. Place it in a mixing bowl and add the olive oil, chilli sauce/paste and soy sauce. You may need to add a splash of water if it’s too thick. Gently mix to combine.
  • Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, remove your baking sheet from the oven and flip each piece of tofu. Drizzle the remaining marinade over the tofu and bake for another 10-12 minutes.
  • Once the tofu is crispy on the outside, remove from the oven. Let it cool before you cut it in to strips

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  • In the meantime spiralises the sweet potato in to ‘noodles’ and blanche in boiling water for two minutes. Remove from the water

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  • Heat the wok until it is really hot and add 1 tsp of vegetable oil. Quickly add the sliced onion and keep them moving in the pan (with a large spoon or chopsticks). After 2 minutes at the carrots. Again move them about to stop them burning. If it looks too dry add a splash of water
  • After another 2 minutes add the pepper, greens, ginger /garlic and chili flakes and ¼ of a jar of sauce. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the veg softens slightly. Again add some water if it sticks

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  • Add the softened sweet potato ‘noodles’ to the wok and mix in. Add the peanuts or tofu, soy sauce, sweetcorn and spring onion and again stir to mix. Cook for a final minute

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Divide into 2 bowls for a generous evening meal serving or into 3 bowls for a lighter lunch or 5:2 fast diet meal. And sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds

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How to be a healthy vegan

How to be a healthy vegan

What a vegan diet should include (macro and micro nutrients)

 

People have very different reasons for choosing a plant-based diet and for some the transition can be daunting and fraught with complexity.

people-ask-if-being-vegan-is-hard

Hopefully I can help you navigate your way through and understand what food types, nutrients and minerals you should include in your diet and what if any supplements you should ask your GP about

 

Lets start with the biggie PROTEIN!

Protein, if you didn’t know is a “macronutrient,” meaning you need relatively large amounts of it to stay healthy. Different protein sources contains various amounts of amino acids that help build and repair muscles in our bodies

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The average UK adult should eat about 50g of protein a day. To be more precise, it’s about 0.75g per kilo of body weight. If you weigh 11 st (70kg) your daily protein intake should be 52.5g. For a vegan that’s about 2 palm-sized portions of tofu, nuts, vegan quorn etc or pulses and beans

Protein rich meal ideas

Carbohydrates

This is another macronutrient, and its fair to say we should and probably do obtain most of our carbs from eating wholegrains, fruits, veg and pulses. And as with any healthy diet the carbs from simple sugars (cakes, biscuits, pastries, processed food etc) should be limited, as they have little nutritional value.

pasta-portionIf you need to lose a kilo or two I would advise you to portion control your bread, rice, pasta and potatoes. A balanced portion of wholegrain pasta or rice is 75g uncooked or 125g cooked. A portion of potato is 80g, and a serving of wholemeal bread is one slice

 

 

Fats

This is the final macronutrient. Its role is to transport fat-soluble vitamins, as a secondary energy source, to keep us warm and to aid brain function. It is the most calorific food at 9 calories a gram compared with protein and carbs at 4 calories a gram. So moderation is the watchword!

Too much fat has been associated with heart disease, obesity and some forms of cancer. With that in mind I would suggest for general cooking, dressings etc you use olive oil or rapeseed oil. Coconut oil has a higher smoking temperature and can be used for deep fat frying and roasting. Be careful of processed, diet foods and ready meals as these can have high levels of fats

vegan-shoppingAs more and more supermarkets are stocking vegan versions of family favourites it is now easier than ever to find vegan cheese, milk, yoghurts and ice cream. But just take a look at the labels and check the fat content as you may be consuming more than the recommended daily amounts of saturated fat (20g for a woman and 30g for a man)

Other fats to incorporate are from avocados, nuts and seeds.  They contain good levels of omega 3 fatty acids

Now we get on to the micronutrients! The foods we need in smaller amounts

 

Vitamins

Many vegans will have been told that they will be lacking in vitamin B12 and D. This of course can be the case but it could also happen to a meat or fish eater. It really depends on the person’s ability to absorb nutrients and how varied and balanced their diet is. That said vegans do have to take more care as B12 especially, is only found naturally in a few foods and most of those are animal in origin

B12

 

Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin; in order to keep your levels topped up spend about 10 minutes a day outdoors without sun protection. If that isn’t possible some vegan foods are fortified with this vitamin i.e. soya milk, orange juice, cereals and breads. Just make sure your D3 is from vegan sources. There is some evidence that if mushrooms are placed in the sunlight they will synthesise the rays in the same way we do and produce vitamin D enriched mushrooms

 

Calcium

Ryvita hummus

 

This mineral works with vitamin D to produce strong bones and helps maintain the function of our heart, muscles and nerves.

Good vegan sources are green leafy veg like chard, cabbage, spinach, kale, sesame seeds (hummus and tahini), oranges, soya (beans, milk, tofu)

 

 

Iron

Another mineral that vegans may have difficulty consuming because it is found in large quantities in meat and offal. But it is possible to have healthy iron levels if your diet contains some of the following: fortified breakfast cereals, kale, broccoli, watercress, soya based foods, dried prunes, dried apricots, nuts and seeds, beans, pulses and fortified wholemeal bread.

Vitamin C rich foods help with the absorption of iron but tea and coffee can hinder it.

Vitamin C