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6 Vegan Habits Everyone Should Adopt
For those of us who love mean vegan might be an ugly word but there is one thing even omnivores must admit; vegan diets have a healthy as well as smart approach to eating. They fill their carts with tons of fresh, organic produce and they know exactly what they are eating. For those of us who are chowing down that boxed mac and cheese, can we say the same thing?
A vegan diet may seem too extreme for some of us, but there are some very sensible, not to mention healthy, vegan habits that everyone would benefit from emulating. No one is saying you need to dump that pork chop, but take these 6 healthy habits from vegans to heart.
1. Learn to Love Plant Based Protein
Just because you make room in your life for plant based proteins doesn’t mean you have to give up meat. Beans, for example, are not only high in protein and fiber, but they have been linked to a longer life and a reduced risk of developing many different diseases. Try going meat free once or twice a week and build a meal around a good dish of beans or lentils. By the way black beans are very beneficial.
2. Pile on the Veggies
Although vegans avoid meat and cheese, they sure do rely on eating tons of fresh, organic veggies as the base of many of their meals. It really doesn’t matter if there is turkey on your sandwich or not, you can still pile it high with a variety of colorful veggies. Vegetables will provide your boy with many essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, as well as fiber that simply will not get from any animal product. By adding two vegetable to every dish, such as avocado and tomatoes to that sandwich or cabbage and carrots to your burritos, or peas and corn to your rice dish, you will get tons of health benefits without sacrificing the meat you love.
3. Ditch the Mayo for Something Healthier
Since mayo is made with egg yolks, it’s something most vegans will avoid. That doesn’t mean you are limited to mustard and ketchup, however. This just means you need to be as creative as vegans are. Mash up a ripe avocado and use that in place of mayo. Or try some hummus made at home with tons of tahini. You can also try fresh pesto or balsamic vinegar. There are many different options you can use in place of high fat, high calorie mayonnaise.
4. Increase Your Spice Rack
Since vegans don’t eat butter or cheese, it becomes a little more complicated to spice up your dishes. This is where your spice rack can become your new BFF. Whether you are following a vegan diet or not, using herbs and spices is a great way to add the flavor you crave, the nutrition you need without adding more fat and calories. Don’t be afraid to experiment or check out the thousands of recipes that are online. Fennel seeds are great for digestion and add an unusual flavor. Cayenne pepper or fresh ginger both has anti-inflammatory properties while giving your food a hot punch, and there is nothing like the taste of fresh cilantro. Read more about benefits of turmeric.
5. Cook from Scratch
Generally speaking, vegans are more aware of the things they eat in order to avoid animal food or products as well as the overall wholesomeness of the food they consume. Many processed foods contain traces of animal products so in order to avoid checking every single label; they tend to cook things at home themselves. So it won’t matter if you are eating a chicken casserole or tofu, making your meals from scratch is a smart move and help you avoid eating unhealthy processed foods, fats, excessive sugars, and other unhealthy ingredients. Find out 17 tips for veggie cooking.
6. Eat More Fermented Foods
Lately it seems as if everyone is talking about the health benefits of fermented foods but vegans have been enjoying these zesty foods for years. Fermented foods aren’t new; they have been around for hundreds of years, as a means of preserving foods before refrigeration. So consider eating more foods like pickles, sauerkraut, kombucha, pickled veggies, kimchi and miso into your diet (read more about top fermented foods for your health). They are packed full of nutrients and probiotics, not to mention, flavor.