Veganism is the new mantra of health among the fitness enthusiasts. This food culture was once known only by a few hippies who voiced against animal cruelty and killing an animal for food.
But now this it has come a long way, evolving into a full-fledged way of life. For many, vegan food would only mean a no-meat, no-dairy and no-egg diet.
However, there is more to know about this new trend currently hitting the millennial and fitness enthusiasts like a storm. If veganism is on your mind, here is all you need to know about vegan food and vegan lifestyle from MasterChef Nirali Sharma to help you weigh out your choices.
Nirali Sharma has around 14 years of experience in the catering and hospitality management industry and has worked with big brands like Celebrations Restaurant, Lalji’s Hotels and Restaurants, Bombay Bright Restaurant, and Diet Box. She is currently the Vice President of Shree Hari Hospitality, Surat.
So What Is Vegan Food?
We are all familiar with vegetarian food and lifestyle. In addition to abstaining from direct animal meat and eggs, if you also prohibit the consumption of dairy and dairy-related products, you are vegan.
Veganism is a culture which prohibits the use of animal and animal-related products like eggs, milk, honey, cheese, soaps and everything else derived out of them.
This culture was started to promote a more humane and caring world for ethical reasons. To make vegan food, we convert the dairy and dairy-related products like cheese and cream to vegan variants such as tofu and coconut milk
“Vegan food is just not a diet plan which you can follow; it is a way of life.”
Some of the most common substitutions one can find in vegan cooking are:
- Tofu in place of paneer
- Soya milk, rice milk or almond milk in place of dairy milk
- Soy-based, oats-based cream or coconut milk replacing the dairy cream
- Vegetable oils, cocoa butter or margarine in place of butter
- Vegan mayonnaise to replace the egg variant
- Using fresh fruits, brown sugar and jaggery in place of regular refined sugar
“There is a notion that vegan food is not tasty. However, this is not true and one can make tasty food by using vegan substitutes as well.”
Nutrition Level and Body
It is not true that eating vegan food depletes your body of some valuable and essential nutrition. You can get all the nutrients you require on a daily basis through vegan food without having to take a lot of supplements.
The main thing one must keep in mind while consuming vegan food is “variety”. You have to eat a varied and diverse diet in order to get all the nutrients.
While there are many vegan options for the necessary protein requirement in your diet, you would have to understand how to get certain vitamins and minerals from the plant and plant food.
You would find very less saturated fat and cholesterol in a vegan diet which makes it apt for patients with heart ailments and cancer. You need to know the right amount of calories you must consume in order to get the right amount of required nutrition in your everyday diet.
Talking to a dietician who specialises in vegan cooking will help you understand the health implications in following a vegan diet and understanding if you would require any additional supplements to fulfill your daily dose of vitamins and minerals.
In order to cook a wholesome and nutritious vegan meal, you must have an understanding of the vegan cooking methods. Superheated oil, too much of oil or extended cooking can deplete your food of the necessary vitamins.
“The trick to healthy cooking is in replacing the right ingredient in a dish with its healthy vegan substitute without affecting its taste to a great extent.”
Let’s take a look at the nutrient sources in Vegan Food
- Vitamin D from natural sunlight.
- Calcium from tofu, kale, almonds, okra, and broccoli
- Zinc from legumes grains and nuts
- Iron from dried beans, soybeans, and leafy vegetables
- Omega-3 fatty acids from walnuts, flaxseed oil, canola oil, and tofu
- Proteins from peanut, whole grains, nuts, legumes
- Vitamins from fresh fruits and vegetables
However, you need a B12 supplement as the vegan version of B12 is not easily absorbable by the human body. Talk to your medical practitioner or your dietician to know your options.
Conclusion- You Become What You Eat
Veganism is definitely a healthier diet plan and can help avoiding or managing a lot of diseases and health conditions. You would need some patience and a bit of experimentation to truly enjoy vegan food and make it interesting and delectable but it is definitely worth the efforts and time.