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Vegan toolkit: a guideline for all new or curious vegans

Veganism is an increasingly popular lifestyle, with over 250,000 sign-ups to Veganuary in 2019. With so many reasons to give up eating meat, whether it be for the environment, animals, or your health, this upsurge in popularity is hardly surprising. However, as with any diet, there are certain things to consider when making this lifestyle change.

Many recommend supplements to ensure that all the proper nutrients are being consumed, although, most nutrients can be found in your diet, as long as you eat the right things. Taking a multi-vitamin is a possibility, which provides the key nutrients that may be harder to find in a vegan diet. The Vegan Society website is an amazing resource to find out more about nutrition.

One of the major questions asked of a vegan diet concerns sources of protein. There is a misconception that protein can only be found in meat. However, there are lots of sources of plant-based protein, which include beans and pulses, nuts, seeds and tofu. Like many non-vegans, some swear by protein powders and shakes, especially post-workout, to get in enough protein but this is not essential.

Nutritional yeast is one of the best sources of B12 which can be difficult to get in a vegan diet. Sprinkle over pasta as a replacement for parmesan, or use it to make a ‘cheese’ sauce. A B12 supplement is highly recommended for a vegan diet, but different types of plant milks are often also fortified with vitamins, including B12.

Iron can be easily found in natural sources, such as leafy greens including kale, spinach and broccoli. However, supplements are often helpful in regards to iron, especially for those who experience periods. Iodine and vitamin D are harder to find in vegan diets. Iodine can be taken from sea vegetables like seaweed, but a supplement is often recommended.

There are some vegan pantry essentials that are most helpful when embarking on a vegan diet. These include beans, chickpeas and falafel. Keep a bag of spinach in the freezer to add iron and greens to your meal. Peanut butter is another

staple, to have on toast or add to porridge to help with feeling full. Oats are also really important to have in the cupboard, as they can be used every day for breakfast for meals like porridge, banana pancakes, and muesli. They can also be used to make amazing vegan oatmeal cookies! Plant milk is also an essential, to use in tea, cereal, or porridge. There are many online resources for vegan recipes. For example, vegan YouTubers give great advice – Madeleine Olivia, Deliciously Ella and BOSH! are some particularly useful ones, though as with all nutritional advice, what works for someone else may not suit you.

From chillies and curries, stir fry and veggie burgers, a student vegan diet can be easy and delicious! A vegan diet can mean greater experimentation in the kitchen, with the possibilities for new and exciting recipes being endless. Above all, remember to always listen to your body when it comes to your health.


Image: Sony LLCE-7RM2 via Max Pixel 

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