Here are a few things I’ve learned along this journey, little things that can help to make a big difference.
1 Checking the fibre
On a loaf of bread (or any carb high food), take the 100g reading for carbs and divide it by the amount of fibre. You want it to be 5 or less. This adds fibre to your diet without you having to physically add it or even think about it!
For those of you in the UK, I’d like to add that on a recent trip to Lidl (they had offers on their ground flaxseeds and chia seeds), I checked out their bread section and found both their white and brown seeded loaves were under 5, while in Sainsbury’s, the closest I can find is still 5 and a bit, and in Morrisons, 6 and a bit.
2 Porridge is brilliant
I enjoy porridge most mornings with soya milk, because with added flaxseeds (I don’t like chia seeds in this as it feels too gel like) and my small bowl of fruit before, according to Chronometer, I wrack up over 1/4 of my daily nutrients and vitamins before the day even begins.
3 Using a spoon to measure
Rather than just tipping, use a teaspoon or tablespoon to measure, just so you know in your head how much you are using. It’s so easy to overtip, especially something like oil, which is a fat we don’t want too much of in our diet. By measuring, I’ve been able to cut down on excess where it wasn’t needed, freeing up more calories to make sure I get the good fats like nuts, seeds and avocados.
4 Cook extra
Whenever I put the oven on, I think what else I could put in there that would be good for the next day. Cold baked potatoes are delicious, though I always reheat sweet potato, not keen on it cold. Potato, onion and vegan mayo make a quick additional salad that you can add seeds, raisins, chopped apricot, all sorts to. If you like pasta, cook extra and make a little salad with that for the next day. Lentil loaf is lovely cold with salad. This way, you’re saving energy and getting food prep underway in advance.
5 Don’t be afraid of supplements, be savvy
If you are on a plant based diet, you need to take a B12 supplement….at least. And if you get hassle about it from meat eating friends, then inform them that because the land has been drained of so much of its goodness by intensive farming, often to feed animals, the vegetables we eat don’t contain the same nutrient content as they used to. Most of us also get our water from the water companies, whereas well water has a good B12 content. At the moment, that’s all I’m taking. I cook most of our meals from scratch with very little processed additions, and most days, I get close to or if not hit my Daily Dozen, but my eldest son, who’s a pilot and often finds plant based food a challenge in Norway at eleven o’clock at night, takes a multi vitamin.
6 Eat what you enjoy
Confession time…I don’t like sushi and I’m not keen on quinoa, but you know what? It really doesn’t matter. I love beans, lentils, tofu, mushrooms, chickpeas, sweet potatoes….I could go on, but you get the idea. We have brown rice, and I’m working on perfecting a whole grain but wheat free bread recipe. I struggle to digest green pepper, especially raw, but orange and red are fine, so we eat lots of them instead. Making your plate colourful with veg is the most important thing.
Add sauces, either homemade or pre-prepared if necessary. We started making our own, but having a pot of vegan mayo in the fridge when you’ve forgotten to soak your cashews and you have no white beans to use is really useful!
I buy hummus. I’ve tried two different recipes and neither quite hit the spot, so we end up wasting it. I beat myself up for months about the little plastic containers, but now I use them to freeze individual portions of food, perfect to go in a cool box or for me to eat when my partner is working away. They make great ‘tasters’ for friends too, introducing them to delicious plant based food.
I hope you found the above useful….do comment and let me know, especially if you’d like me to cover another topic on plant based cooking and eating. Happy eating!