Of all diets favored by health experts these days, Veganism may seem the most intimidating of all. The name almost looks like a religion and the term is probably appropriate: many vegans justify with ethical reasons why they choose to eat only plant foods.
Leaving values aside, that lifestyle can be a very big commitment; Vegans do not eat any product derived from animals including meat, dairy and eggs. This rule extends even to foods processed with animal products such as refined sugar. All these restrictions in the diet result in a nutritional plan that only the most committed people can follow. It is precisely these reasons that scare people away from veganism.
What is the good news? You do not need to become a vegan with all the law to get many of the benefits of the diet. In fact, more and more health experts say that simply restricting meat and dairy for a few days can make you healthier.
One reason: removing animal products allows you to make space in your diet for fruits and vegetables, a goal that most people do not meet. According to the CDC, almost three out of four people eat fruits and vegetables in less than 5 a day, which is a pity because a study by the European Heart Journal found that with each portion of vegetable products that a person consumes, their risk of developing Ischemic heart disease decreases by 4%. Those who consumed eight servings a day of fruits and vegetables, reduced their risk of disease by a notorious 22%.
Stopping the use of animal products also helps you reduce your intake of saturated fat and cholesterol, according to Nicole Geurin, MPH, RD. This in turn helps increase your HDL (good) cholesterol levels and decrease your LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels, all this reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease.
If you are considering venturing into veganism, here are some simple ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Include them in your diet a few times a week and get their nutritional benefits.
Breakfast: Fruit smoothie and almond milk
Milk is almost synonymous with breakfast and for good reason: the nutritional protein and calcium pump it provides is a great way to start your day. To equalize the amount of nutrients in the milk, try to make a smoothie of spinach (rich in calcium), tofu and almond milk.
"When you eliminate dairy from your diet, you should eat more dark green leafy vegetables to compensate for calcium intake," according to Trish O'Keefe, RD, and author of Dishbytrish. com.
For a dairy-free smoothie, smooth 1 cup of soft tofu, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 cup of chopped mango, a splash of orange or pineapple juice, a splash of honey, 1 cup of tender spinach and enough almond milk to mix everything and obtain a silky consistency.
Breakfast: Tofu Burritos
Eggs are another breakfast classic. They are loaded with enough protein to keep you active until noon and are attached to the taste of almost anything you add. Fortunately, also the tofu; another great source of vegan protein, says Geurin.
To make an easy vegan burrito, heat a splash of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add a handful of chopped vegetables (a good option is to use leftovers from last night's dinner) and sauté them as soon as they are soft. Add 1/4 cup of firm tofu that was dried on paper towels. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, ground cumin and smoked paprika. Mix the vegetables and the tofu, once cooked, wrap the mixture in a hot integral tortilla.
Lunch: Rice and Chickpea Salad
One misconception about vegan diets is that to meet daily protein requirements you need mysterious meat substitutes. "Almost all vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds contain protein, "says O'Keefe. Combine enough of these foods and you will consume the proteins you require.
A good way to do it is to prepare a Moroccan-style rice and chickpea salad. Mix 1 cup of cooked brown rice, 1 cup of drained and washed chickpeas, 1 small red diced pepper, 1 tablespoon of raisins or dried currants, sliced almonds and 2 chopped onions. For the dressing, whisk lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil to taste; Add 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, coriander, cinnamon and black pepper. Season with salt to taste and refrigerate all night so that the flavors merge.
The combination of rice and chickpeas meets your protein requirements, while pepper, gooseberries and almonds provide fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Lunch: Carrot soup and white beans
Another easy idea for lunch is a carrot soup and white beans with a ginger flavor. Creamy and substantial but low in calories, this soup is filled with fiber and carrots provide a considerable amount of antioxidants such as vitamin A. "A diet high in fiber is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer, and antioxidants fight free radicals that can cause cancer "according to Geurin.
Combine 1 pound of chopped carrots, 1 small chopped onion and 1 tablespoon of chopped ginger in 3 cups of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil until the carrots are soft, add a can of white beans previously drained and washed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Carefully grind in the blender and serve hot with a few drops of extra virgin olive oil. Accompany it with pita chips to add a bit of crunch.
Dinner: Soba noodles with mushrooms and vegetables
Dinners are often based on a protein accompanied by some vegetable garnishes; but by turning the vegetables into the main dish, you can achieve an even healthier dish.For example, many people eat beef for dinner and although meat is a good source of iron, mushrooms and dark green leafy vegetables are even better sources of this mineral per calorie, according to O'Keefe. When combined with soba noodles made from buckwheat and rich in fiber (which can reduce the risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure), you will have a robust and nutritious dinner in a short time.
In a pan heat olive oil over high heat and add shiitake mushrooms, portobello and / or crimini chopped, mix and let cook until they begin to take a dark brown color. Reduce the heat to medium high and add a bunch of lacinato kale (also called Tuscany cabbage) chopped and season with salt. Cook until the cabbage withers. Meanwhile, cook the soba noodles in boiling water following the package instructions. Once cooked, drénalos and add them to the pan; Season with soy sauce, roasted sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds.
Dinner: Risotto Primavera
5 incredible vegan proteins
Meat is not the only source of protein. By incorporating these plant-based foods into your diet, you can reduce your consumption of saturated fats and meet daily protein requirements.
Tempeh - Made from germinated and fermented soybeans, tempeh has a texture similar to meat. It also has an earthy flavor, which makes it an ideal substitute for beef. Try it on tacos, stews and cake.
Tofu - It has a bad reputation for being tasteless and boring, but this rennet made from soy milk can take on the flavor of practically whatever you put on it. For those who are not fans of its smooth texture, try using extra firm tofu and press it between paper towels for an hour before using it.
Edamame - These soybean pods have become a frequent snack in sushi restaurants, but the shelled beans are also delicious as a garnish, for example the succotash. You can also make them in a rich puree with oil and herbs.
Beans - Bored with the common dishes of beans? Try mixing crushed black beans in brownie dough for an extra dose of fiber and protein. Or prepare a festive dip (and easy) by making a puree of black beans with a jar of sauce.
Lentils - Lentils are full of protein, folic acid, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium and zinc, which makes them a nutritional pump. Try sautéing the lentils with spinach, smoked paprika and potatoes cooked in cubes to have a complete and delicious meal.