Simple Tips for Vegan Cooking

When it comes to leading an ethical vegan lifestyle, delicious plant-based cooking might only be the tip of the iceberg, but it’s also one of the most challenging aspects of being vegan. As a newbie, it can be frustrating to prepare the filling and nutritious meals that meet your daily nutritional requirements. Iron, vitamin b12, omega, protein can seem challenging to include profusely in your diet, but not if you know your way around vegan cooking.

Cook Your Fiber

If you’re new to vegan cooking, and you’re still making the dietary transition, you need to limit your intake of raw foods – at least for the first few months. While raw foods are rich in fiber, which helps your bowel movements, too much fiber without enough water intake can cause bloating, gastrointestinal discomfort, and cramps. Raw foods are more nutritious, but when you’re in transition, make sure to have no more than one bowl of salad a day. You can stir fry other vegetables for a few minutes so your body can more easily digest them.

Know Your Complete Proteins

So-called “high protein” vegan foods will not necessarily meet your daily protein requirements. Protein is a macronutrient compound comprising different amino acids, and not all sources of protein contain all the amino acids that your body needs. A complete source supplements your body with all 9 essential amino acids. While your body requires 20 different kinds of amino acids to function, only 9 of them are obtained through diet. Contrary to popular belief, meat is not the only complete protein source.

Soy proteins, such as tofu, tempeh, and edamame beans contain all the amino acids that your body needs, while grains such as quinoa are also a complete protein source. That said, you can still mix and match so you can consume your needed amino acid intake. For instance, most grains lack lysine, so you’ll need to complement your bowl of rice with lentils or beans, both of which are rich in this amino acid. Further, there are several grains known as “pseudo complete” protein sources, and these include amaranth and buckwheat.

Don’t Forget Your “Seafood”

One of the most common myths about vegan diets is that they lack essential omega fatty acids. But don’t hit that drug store for supplements just yet – omega-3 and omega-6 can be found profusely in several vegan foods. While the latter can be found in walnuts, vegetable oil, seeds, avocadoes, and tofu, omega-3, which is found in seafood is thought to be harder to come by. Luckily, you can indulge in vegan “seafood,” primarily algae and seaweed.

Wakame seaweed can be bought dried and added to a bowl of room temperature water. The vegan chef from  states that a delicious bowl of wakame salad 2 to 3 times a week can meet your omega-3 and iron requirements. If you don’t like the fishy taste of seaweed, you can opt for powdered spirulina and add a spoonful to your morning smoothie.

Recreate Non-Vegan Cuisine

When you’re transitioning, you’ll want to curb your mat and chicken cravings by recreating non-vegan dishes with plant-based alternatives. If you find yourself craving a juicy burger, the Beyond and Impossible burgers that you can purchase at your local grocery store are specially manufactured to smell, taste, and feel like real beef. There are also faux chicken strips, sausages, and ground meat alternatives that will keep your cravings satiated; it’s all about how you spice your food. Believe it or not, both meat and chicken are flavor carriers, so if you ever find yourself longing for crispy meaty goodies, spice your meat alternatives with smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and nutritional yeast for a similar taste. Make sure your nutritional yeast is fortified with vitamin b12, as it’s one of the few reliable vegan sources of that vitamin.

Load Up on Mushrooms

Load Up on Mushrooms

One of the handiest tips of vegan cooking is generously adding mushrooms to your vegan dishes. Not only are they delicious, but sun-dried mushrooms are also a rich vegan source of vitamin D, which when supplemented with sunbathing, can keep your vitamin D levels in check and thus keep fatigued, muscle pain, and bone loss at bay.

Not only that, but mushrooms are incredible flavor carriers and can mimic the taste of chicken or meat, depending on how you spice them. You can eat them raw or cooked, but try not to over-cook them so you can reap all of their nutritional benefits.

Vegan cooking can be simple if you know what to shop for and where to purchase your dairy and meat alternatives. Make sure to consume complete proteins, beans, leafy greens, and mushrooms, if you want to meet your nutritional requirements without compromising taste. When grocery shopping, always check the labels and opt for fortified plant-based foods to stay healthy.