Following a new, drastically different diet to the one you’re used to can mean getting accustomed to a whole new way of life. While it might feel daunting, exploring plant-based food is a great opportunity to truly indulge your taste buds and experience all of the wonderful benefits of a vegan diet. To help you enjoy your new lifestyle to the fullest, we’ve put together a guide on how to go vegan while continuing to enjoy all of your favorite comfort foods. 🍫
Sample vegan restaurants 👩🏽🍳👨🏽🍳
The best part about making the change to a vegan lifestyle is that you now have a whole world of new tastes and flavors to explore. This is an exciting time in which you get to sample lots of new restaurants that you perhaps wouldn’t have tried before. Heading out for a fancy dinner is a fun way to introduce yourself to your new way of eating, and it means that you get to have your very first vegan experiences with the help of a professional chef.
If you do choose to head out for a meal, you’ll of course want to keep in mind that the dishes you try may not be appropriate for everyday eating – maintaining a healthy, balanced vegan diet is key, and restaurant foods are likely to be more about the flavor than nutritional value. Despite this, they can be inspiring, and may even prompt you to recreate your versions at home.
There are plenty of countries and cultures around the world that eat largely plant-based diets. While India may be the most well-known for its numerous plant-based curries, Jamaican, Israeli, Ethiopian, and Eritrean cuisines are also very vegan-friendly. This is something to keep in mind if you’re a fan of Caribbean, East African, or Middle Eastern restaurants, or if you simply want to ensure that you’ll have lots of tasty vegan dishes available to you next time you set out on your travels.
Use plant-based alternatives 🍔
There are some foods you just can’t give up, and you shouldn’t have to just because you’ve chosen to follow a vegan diet. When it comes to fast food like burgers, tacos, or wings, it’s easy to swap the meat ingredient for a plant-based alternative. There are lots of vegan protein products that work very well in recreating these popular favorites – think seasoned seitan or tofu in place of chicken, soy for the perfect plant-based mince, and pulled jackfruit for delicious vegan burgers.
The beauty of plant-based meat substitutes is that they’re incredibly versatile and are easy to add to most dishes, from casseroles to curries, to pot pies. It’s worth noting that you don’t have to make your reimagined plant-based dishes unhealthy for them to taste good. Pay attention to product labels to ensure that your chosen produce is low in saturated fats, sugar, and salt, and opt for pan-frying and baking methods as opposed to deep frying in lots of oil.
Explore sauces and seasonings 🌿
It’s a common misconception that plant-based dishes are lacking in flavor. Vegan cuisines are incredibly delicious and wholesome, especially when properly prepared and seasoned.
For example, plain tofu is known to taste bland, but this just makes it incredibly versatile and provides the perfect blank canvas from which to create any dish that you fancy. By devoting a little time to adding a marinade, rub, or seasoning, you can ensure that every one of your plant-based meals is full of flavor and taste!
For a top tip, consider using the same herbs and spices that you would on a meat product on your plant-based alternative – most people find that when they use the same seasonings, there’s not much difference in taste. Don’t forget that beans, legumes, and other veggies can taste great with a little flavor too!
Refine your palate and deepen your knowledge of food 😋
Going vegan doesn’t mean that you have to give up the flavors that you love. If anything, your new diet can help to refine your palate and expand your gastronomical skills and knowledge. As with any diet, it’s important to be mindful of the nutritious value of different food items and to consume unhealthier comfort foods in moderation. As long as you commit yourself to cooking balanced plant-based meals, you’re sure to reap all the benefits of a vegan diet!