Episode 35 – Why this list of foods and ingredients are essential for beginner vegans
So, you want to be a vegan hey?
While the vegan lifestyle has many benefits, it can seem quite daunting.
First off, you need to know what foods to eat (and which to avoid). Then you have to know where to source these foods and (within budget I might add). Next, is to make sure you’re hitting your daily energy and nutrient requirements. Moreover, you have to manage your time effectively as well without losing days and days in meal prep. This list should also include your taste preferences as well….Argh, a little overwhelming perhaps?!
Well, it’s not really.
When things look a little out of hand it’s important to simplify things.
So, how can you do all of this and still keep loyal to your vegan lifestyle?
A great way to begin your vegan lifestyle is to have a plan:
- Define your vegan lifestyle to match your belief system
- Do research on what food you can eat
- Identify some reputable stores that supply these foods – and economically.
- See a Dietitian about your fulfilling personal energy and nutrient requirements
- Have the essential foods readily available at home and at work.
While all of these are important, let’s focus in on the essentials list right now.
What are the essentials for vegans?
Here’s a quick list of essentials for vegans. This is a beginner list of some foundational, go-to foods to make life easier and the kitchen stress-free. These foods will help you to hit your energy requirements for the day as well as supply some much needed protein, good fats and micronutrients into your diet.
Let me know what you think!
There are a lot of great uses for this star ingredient.
In essence, aquafaba is basically the liquid chickpeas and legumes are soaked in when you rehydrate them or buy them canned. It works well in making vegan mayonnaise, meringues, ice cream and in baked goods. Aquafaba can also be used commonly as an egg white replacement and thickener. Just save the liquid from the can, it’s that easy.
- Nutritional yeast:
Nutritional yeast is packed with an array of nutrients.
It is a source of protein and an excellent source of vitamin B. It’s also fortified with vitamin B12, which is normally exclusive to animal products. This item is also an excellent thickener and a great substitute for parmesan cheese on pasta dishes and casseroles. At half the price of cheese it’s very affordable and tasty. This item can be found in all good health food shops and usually the herbs and spices section of the grocery store.
Tofu’s high protein content makes it an excellent meat substitute and provides many health benefits.
Also, known as bean curd, tofu comes in many varieties, depending on your cooking needs. The good thing about tofu is in it’s flavourlessness. Tofu can be marinated with any spices/sauces to suit your need and is particularly good for savoury or sweet dishes. The amazing texture of tofu also makes it super versatile. Readily available in most, if not all grocery stores in the refrigerated section.
Tahini is a very popular staple in some Middle Eastern and Asian cultures.
This food item is basically ground up sesame paste and comes high in calcium, protein and good fats. Tahini can be used as a spread or as a base for dips such as, hummus and baba ghanoush. You might have to go to some specialty stores for this one.
Need more essential vegan foods? Read on.
Flaxseed is an absolute must for your pantry.
Loaded with good fats and fibre, flaxseed is essential for a multitude of health benefits such as, heart health as well as brain and nerve functions. Simply sprinkle over your cereal, add to smoothies or use in baking. Store in the freezer for longevity. This item is available in most grocery stores if not, visit your local health store.
- Canned beans:
Beans are convenient, cheap and full of nutrients such as, protein and fibre.
There are over 30 varieties that you can choose from with many different textures, flavours and health benefits. Try using them in your favourite dishes such as, casseroles, dips and even roasted – super versatile ingredient. Beans are available almost everywhere from markets, grocery stores and even health food stores.
There are so many varieties of nuts to choose from!
And they all come loaded with vitamins, minerals, good fats and proteins. Aim to have one handful of nuts per day either as a snack or in salads and meals. Personally natural walnuts or roasted almonds are great.
Begin your new lifestyle!
The vegan lifestyle is easy once you have this list of essentials handy. Keep these options readily available and you’ll transform with ease.
-Zivile Arunas thank you for the photo
- Chek, P. (2009) How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!
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- Gropper, S., Smith, J., Groff, J. (2005) Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism (4th Ed.), Thomson Wadsworth
- Kausman, R. (2004). If not dieting, then what? Allen & Unwin
- Mahan, L. Escott-Stump, S. (2004) Krause’s Food, Nutrition & Diet Therapy (11th Ed.) Saunders
- McWilliams, M. (2001) Foods: Experimental Perspectives (4th Ed.) Prentice-Hall
Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness.
Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness. International Athlete, Elite Performance Manager for the Philippine Volcanoes rugby teams, qualified Dietitian / Nutritionist and qualified educator. Chris Everingham combines more than 10 years of experience and education together to deliver the best strategies to grow your mindset, rewire your habits and transform your life.