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Considering making the transition and going vegan? Have a read of our beginner’s guide first.
Veganism is still a relatively new concept here in Ireland. A few years ago you would have struggled to get a single vegan option on a restaurant menu. These days, however, vegans are well catered for across the board. From an abundance of vegan cookbooks and blogs for recipe inspiration to vegan restaurants and takeaways brought to you by our partners Just Eat, veganism has become a lot easier than it used to be. If you’re keen to explore this diet, here are a few tips to get you started.
A vegan is someone who not only chooses to have an animal-free diet, they also choose to live their life free of animal products
in their day-to-day lives. In addition to cutting meat, fish, eggs and dairy from their diets, they also refrain from using clothing, beauty, hygiene and household items that contain animal products.
Like any diet, it really depends on what you are eating. A diet without meat or dairy products is likely to contain less saturated fat and more cereals, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. However, you do need to be wary about eliminating food groups from your diet as you run the risk of being low in calcium, vitamin D, iron, vitamin B12, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.
It is really important, therefore, to make sure you get the above nutrients from vegan foods and bear in mind that you may even have to take supplements. If you are completely new to the concept of a vegan diet, it might be worthwhile visiting a nutritionist who can help to ensure that you are consuming enough of the right foods. This is especially important if you are doing high volumes of exercise.
Trying to go vegan with a negative or sceptical mind is a sure way to fail. If you feel that going vegan is some kind of punishment or that you won’t be able to do it, then you probably won’t.
It is important to go at your own pace. While some people can go cold turkey overnight, for others, a more gradual approach might make more sense. Making small changes to your everyday meals and increasing the amount of plant-based foods in your diet is often a successful route to take. You might try removing meat one week, dairy the next and go from there.
Be prepared to find food preparation a little tricky at first. Veganism will require a little more planning as you figure out what you need and how to put various dishes together.
A lot of vegan convenience food from supermarkets doesn’t taste great
and is often packed with e-numbers and sugars. It is easy to trick yourself into thinking that if you are eating something marketed as ‘vegan’, it must be healthy but that’s often not the case; there are vegan versions of almost every junk food that you can think of. It is really important not to miss out on essential nutrients that you may have been previously getting from animal products. If you eat a wide range of fresh plant foods, you should be able to pack in all of the vitamins and nutrients you need. If you don’t always have time for the additional meal preparation time, don’t worry, there are a host of good options available via Just Eat.
Gerard Prendergast: What I Eat in a Week
Healthy vegan snacks can be hard to come by if you rely on service stations or corner shops. Keep emergency rations with you at all times in case you get hungry. Protein balls and trail mix are great for on the go. And check out page 22 where we’ve listed Just Eat restaurants and food providers that provide good vegan options.
A whopping 3.3 million results appear when you Google ‘going vegan’. There is an abundance of great resources out there to help you make the switch to a vegan diet. So get reading!
You are going to have to be prepared to step out of your comfort zone if you are going to convert to a fully vegan diet. It’s a great opportunity to treat your taste buds to new foods and flavours. There are thousands of vegan recipes and cuisines out there from all corners of the globe.
Simply search via your location on the Just Eat app to see if these restaurants deliver to you.
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By Orla O'Muiri
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