Thoughts on eating a vegan diet

January 18th, 2023 Posted In: Recipes, Wellbeing

Many people decide to use the month of January to give being vegan a try.  There are many benefits from cutting out meat, both for our health and the good of the planet. But trying to prepare interesting and tasty vegan dishes can be a challenge.

Jane Clark from Country Practice gives us her thoughts on eating and preparing vegan food.

Thoughts on eating a vegan diet

I have several friends who are vegans, and I have to say they are extremely healthy with bounding energy.  However, it would not suit me as I enjoy some meat, fish and bi-products from animals such as eggs, fish, honey and butter.  I only have meat maybe three times a week, as two of my household are vegetarians. I have come to really enjoy cooking and eating vegetarian meals as they are so colourful and tasty.

Be careful changing your diet

January has become a month for promoting different health matters, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  However, I do have reservations when it comes to food and our diet, as suddenly changing it can cause problems.  So keep an eye on how you feel, if you decide to change what you eat.

There are many reasons to eat certain diets, for example religious beliefs or certain health conditions.  Choice and conscience surrounding farming practices, animal welfare or the sheer love of animals also sway people towards their preferred diet.

So, what should we be eating? Definitely a balanced diet that includes protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables, whether following vegan, vegetarian or a meat-based diet.

Recipe suggestion

The thing that I have discovered when preparing any vegan or vegetarian food is that a good food processor will become essential.

To help you with some vegan meal suggestions, here are my hints and tips on sweet potato jackets.

I always used ordinary potatoes as jackets, until I discovered the joys of sweet potato jackets.

They cook very quickly, typically 40-45 minutes, but obviously this depends on the size of the potato so keep checking.  They are juicy and delicious.  They also make great potato wedges, and when used like this, unlike ordinary potatoes, no pre-boiling is required.  If you are an air fryer convert, check your settings but be assured, sweet potato will behave beautifully in your fryer.

As with the humble spud, these jackets can be filled with all sorts of interesting things.

  • Aubergine can be cut in half, placed flesh side down on a baking tray and baked in a medium oven until, when pressing the skin, the aubergine is soft. Allow to cool for a few minutes then scoop the inside out and place in a bowl.  Mix with chopped nuts of your choice, cheese of your choice, raisins and chopped garlic.  Add salt and pepper to your liking, marjoram and thyme (just a sprinkling).  Mix together in a bowl then place back in the skins and return to the oven for approximately 15 minutes.
  • Quorn mince or meat mince can be used to make a simple chili by adding a tin of chopped tomatoes to your mince, and gently heating on the hob. Add thinly sliced onions, a clove or two of finely chopped or grated garlic, half your thumb of grated ginger, a tin of red kidney beans and a teaspoon of chili flakes.  Stir over a gentle heat.
  • By replacing mince with chickpeas, you can completely change the dynamic of this chili, and it is truly divine. Chickpeas take on the flavour of the food you are cooking and that plus their natural nutty taste creates a wonderful tease for the taste buds.

Other sources of inspiration

Cookbooks a packed full of information and recipe ideas and the internet has become a valuable source of inspiration.  Use the recipes as a basis for your own likes and dislikes, play and attempt things that perhaps you might not have done not so long ago.

By letting go of one or two old favourites and introducing a few fresh ideas, the kitchen will become your happy place and mealtimes an adventure.