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The Mindful Chef guide to a plant-based 2019

The Mindful Chef guide to a plant-based 2019

As official partners to Veganuary – the charity that’s encouraged over 185,000 Brits to adopt a vegan diet this month – we’re proud to offer 6 fully plant-based options on our menu each week. We were the first recipe box on the UK to cater for vegans and are still the only recipe box offering

As official partners to Veganuary – the charity that’s encouraged over 185,000 Brits to adopt a vegan diet this month – we’re proud to offer 6 fully plant-based options on our menu each week. We were the first recipe box on the UK to cater for vegans and are still the only recipe box offering this much variety. Read on to find out more about a plant-based diet, and why athletes, celebrities and thousands of our cusotmers can’t be wrong!

Thirteen percent of the UK is now vegetarian or vegan, up from 2% in 2012, with ⅓ of us overall wanting to reduce our meat and dairy intakes for our health and to fight climate change.

With any major lifestyle change, getting started can seem daunting, but the biggest hurdle is mindset. Eating shouldn’t be about sacrifice – that’s why diets so rarely work.

Eating plant-based food is a great way to be creative, discover new ingredients, experiment with flavours, and learn new cooking methods. Always remember variety and enjoyment are the cornerstones of any successful lifestyle.

The ten fundamentals for a successful switch

1) Understand why

Lifestyle changes are personal. To be successful, understand your motivations. Are you after a health overhaul? Concerned about animal welfare? Want to reduce your carbon footprint? Or are you simply up for Veganuary?

Whatever your reason, keep in mind you’re more likely to persevere by focusing on what you’re gaining over what you’re giving up.

2) Swap resolutions for routines

Even with the best of intentions, it can be tricky to stick to plan. Especially in urban environments, long working hours and crowded commutes lead to mental overload, and can trigger impulsive decision-making once you reach the supermarket. That, along with an “all or nothing” approach, is why resolutions so often fly out the window by the third week of January.

The quicker you create a plant-based routine, the easier you will find vegan eating. Habits, once ingrained, require little thought: that’s why bad habits are so insidious and hard to break and good habits, once established, are so automatic.

The best routines contain only a few steps and as little decision-making as possible, minimising the risk of slipping up. Draw up your shopping list when you’re not hungry, and order your groceries online. Keep some vegan snacks to hand when you’re out so you’re prepared when hunger strikes.
Recipe boxes like ours are also a good way to keep on track in the week when time and patience are in short supply. We’ve expanded our plant-based range to 6 meals a week so you can choose from an incredible variety of vegan proteins and gourmet cuisines.

3) Be prepared

Before starting, stock your cupboards with everything you need, from nut milk to non-dairy butters. Be realistic about your current eating habits and what you’ll need for a smooth transition.

There’s a panoply of plant-based options on the market today, so think about what animal products you use the most and how you’re going to make up for them. We love nutritional yeast flakes for a cheesy flavour and non-dairy cream by Oatly, but it really comes down to personal taste. If you don’t like tofu now, you probably won’t when you’re vegan.

4) Try something new

From liquid smoke to gochujang, Chef Louisa uses ingredients from around the world to add complexity and moreishness to our vegan dishes. Here are some bold flavours you may want to experiment with yourself!

  • Black garlic: Fresh garlic aged over low heat for 60 days slowly darkens to a charcoal colour and softens into jelly. It loses its bite and gains a sweet, subtle taste reminiscent of aged cheese. We use it in marinades to give a luxurious finish to vegan dishes. Try our Black garlic aubergine ‘steaks’ & truffle fries.
  • Matcha: This powdered green tea has been used for centuries in Japan. Its beautiful hue comes from chlorophyll and it’s packed with antioxidants. We love the gently bitter, earthy tone it gives to Asian dressings, or in baking. Our matcha comes from Teapigs and is mixed with lemongrass, ginger, tamari, maple syrup, lime juice and sesame oil to make a marinade in this Lemongrass tofu ‘Bun Cha’ recipe.

5) Have a backup plan

Although eating vegan is easier than ever before, it’s still easy to run into roadblocks. Eating out? Peruse the menu beforehand so you can call the restaurant for special accommodations if necessary.

Craving a comfort food? We’d also recommend you do some advance thinking about your favourite foods. If you research how to make them vegan, when a craving hits, you’ll be prepared. There’s loads of inspiration online and right here on the blog.

It may also be worth loading up the freezer with meals to have in a pinch, for times when you’d normally reach for a takeaway. Our frozen range is due to launch in coming weeks so stay tuned.

6) Cook simply – and aspirationally

Cooking needn’t (and shouldn’t) be hard work – make sure that feeding yourself vegan food is no different. Make sure you’ve mastered a few basic recipes that you actually enjoy, that you can come back to again and again.

But also push yourself: half the fun is experimenting. Don’t settle for the same Quorn recipes week after week: push yourself when you can, and make sure it’s enjoyable.

7) Make sure it’s healthy

Although vegan is often synonymous with health, it’s not inherently nourishing. In order to make sure you’re eating a balanced diet, remember to put vegetables centre-stage and that the general rule of thumb is the more colour you have on your plate, the better. From rainbow-coloured chard to the burgundy colour of beetroot and vivid citrus tones – these are the key to better health and mood.

All of our recipes are nutritionally-balanced and packed with wholesome nourishing ingredients to keep you full and feeling your best. Let someone do the hard work and order your first recipe box today with £20 off.

8) Take is easy on yourself

Any major change is bound to be challenging at times. Take it day at a time and forgive yourself for slipping up. There’s no point taking a boom or bust approach to something as woven into the fabric of our daily lives as the simple ritual of eating. Practice makes perfect.

Remember the small changes we make individually can make a huge collective difference. If everyone in the UK went meat-free once or twice a week, it would have a huge impact overall.

9) Remember the power of community

Get yourself online for inspiration, community and support on your journey. There are so many incredible vegan cooking and baking blogs for you to study up on. And don’t forget you’ve already got a whole community of vegans and flexitarians waiting to chat on the private Mindful Chef Facebook community!

10) Track the benefits

Keep a diary of your energy levels and mood as you progress. People often report that eating vegan leads to more energy, better immunity and clearer skin. If you have an eye on the good stuff you’ll be more likely to stay motivated. And, if all else fails, remember one huge benefit of veganism: you can eat all the peanut butter you want!

Conclusion

Of course, we won’t all be fully vegan next year. It’s not right for everyone. But at Mindful Chef, we look forward to more people experimenting with plant-based meals on a weekly basis. Let’s take care of ourselves and our planet, starting with how we eat.





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Susan E. Lopez
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