Plant-based diets have become more popular in recent years for a variety of reasons. There is more of an emphasis today on taking responsibility for your own health and research has revealed the negative effects of the standard American diet on the body. Vegan foods don’t have to be boring, and you don’t have to be limited to salads and oatmeal if you’re planning on undertaking a vegan diet. Let’s take a look at some popular vegan foods.
Yes, you can have pasta if you’re vegan. Most dried pasta is vegan, but as always, be sure to read the ingredients on the package. Recently many different companies have begun to make dried pasta out of healthy ingredients like quinoa, brown rice and even beans. These are also great alternatives if you’re trying to avoid gluten. If you’re feeling adventurous you could even make your own fresh pasta at home.
Tofu sometimes gets a bad rap for being flavorless and bland. The truth is, tofu is like a blank canvas. You can add any sort of flavoring you like and use as a protein in a variety of different dishes. If you have a dehydrator, you can even make tofu jerky! The trick is to drain as much moisture as possible before cooking it. There are several different methods to doing this, but the easiest is to wrap a block of tofu in paper towels, top with a weight like a can of beans and let sit on your kitchen counter for several hours.
Beans are a great source of protein and fiber and are a staple in most vegan diets. Chickpeas in particular are extremely versatile and can be used in place of meat in several different main courses. They make a great protein for tacos and burritos and can even be smashed up and used as a replacement for tuna salad.
As always, the best vegan foods are fresh fruits and vegetables which make for easy grab and go snacks!
Drinking enough water throughout the day is essential for your health. The human body needs water to maintain overall fluid balance. Water transports nutrients throughout the body, helps regulate body temperature and aids in digestion, among many other necessary functions. So how much water should you drink? The old standby was “eight glasses a day”, but it really depends on your bodyweight and physical activity level. Some of us need much more than 64 ounces of water a day. So, how do you make sure you’re drinking enough water every day? Here are some tips and tricks to help you get into the habit of drinking enough water throughout your day.
Use the Same Container for Water Every Day
If you use the same cup or water bottle every day that you only use for water, you’ll know how much water you’re drinking by how often you’re refilling it. For example, if you have a 16 oz. water bottle, you can set a goal of refilling it 4-5 times a day.
Add Fruit to Your Water Bottle
If you’re used to drinking juice or soda during the day, switching to water can seem bland and boring. Adding fruit like lemon or lime slices, or even berries can make a huge difference in flavor and encourage you to drink more.
Combine Drinking Water with Regular Activities
Drinking a glass of water either before or after doing a regular activity that you do every day can really help develop habits. For example, try drinking a glass of water after making a bathroom trip, or before checking your email. The trick is to link water to one activity and stick to it. You’ll be surprised how quickly your habits will change.
There’s an App for That
If you’re still having trouble sticking to your new habits, download an app on your phone that allows you to track each glass you drink.
Try these tricks and you’ll be drinking enough water in no time!
Why Vegans Experience Consistent Weight Loss
Vegan weight loss is a bonus to people who are looking to switch to a plant based healthier lifestyle. Here are some reasons why people who eat a vegan diet experience consistent weight loss.
Every plant contains fiber, so eating a plant-based diet means you’re eating a high-fiber diet. Consuming a meal or a snack high in fiber fills you up and keeps you feeling full longer, which can help with preventing unnecessary snacking and binges. Fiber is also digested slowly, so it doesn’t cause spikes in your blood sugar which can cause you to crash or crave unhealthy foods.
When you eliminate meat and dairy from your diet, you’re also eliminating a large amount of fat. You’re still getting healthy fats from foods like avocados, nuts and beans but won’t be gaining weight from an abundance of animal fats.
Animal fats are stored in your muscle cells and can slow down your metabolism. Therefore, eliminating animal products from your diet can help your body operate more cleanly and efficiently resulting in consistent weight loss.
After you’ve been eating a vegan diet for an extended period of time, your tastes and cravings begin to change. Instead of craving sugary carbs or greasy fast food, your body begins to crave fresh greens or raw nuts. This makes a plant-based diet easy to stick to. When your body is happy, it wants to stay happy so you’ll begin to crave healthy foods instead of ones that lead to weight gain and illness.
Vegan weight loss is easy to maintain when you stick to a healthy plant-based diet. You can still treat yourself, but know that even your treats will be free from unhealthy animal fats that can weigh your body down and make you feel bloated and heavy.
Having good quality workout shoes is essential to healthy fitness. High-performance shoes not only support your feet through high impact or strenuous aerobic routines, but they also support your whole body and protect against injury and muscle fatigue. Let’s take a closer look at the importance of good workout shoes.
Avoid Sore and Blistered Feet
Cheap shoes or shoes that don’t fit correctly can lead to friction. When you’re running or doing a high impact cardio workout, constant friction from your shoes can lead to blisters and sores on your feet. When trying on shoes at a store, jog a few laps to make sure they feel good in action and keep these three things in mind:
- The heel should be snug but not tight.
- There should be 3/8′ to 1/2″ space between the tip of your big toe and the end of the shoe.
- Your foot should not slide out the back of the shoe when walking.
The more stable your lower body is, the less likely you are to strain or injure a muscle while you’re working out. Stability also makes for a clean workout, meaning you’re not wasting energy on compensating for weak shoes. You’ll burn more calories and build more muscle with strong structural support.
When to Change Your Workout Shoes
When you should change your workout shoes depends on your weight and activity level. But for someone of average size who works out consistently 3-5 days a week, you should be changing your shoes every six months. The glue with which athletic shoes are made from ages constantly. This essentially means your shoes have already been aging even before you bought them. Vigorous use, like exercise, causes them to age even faster. A shoe that is worn out will not offer as much support as a new shoe.
So be sure you’re wearing good quality shoes and take care of them to get the most out of your workout!
Best Protein Sources for Vegans
The average person needs about 40 grams of protein daily. According to the acclaimed documentary Forks Over Knives, vegans average around 70 grams of protein or about 70% more than what is needed on a daily basis. This proves that it’s entirely possible to get substantial amount of protein from a plant-based diet. Let’s look at some of the best sources of protein in a vegan diet.
Beans are an excellent source of protein and are also full of fiber and essential nutrients. They’re also a great meat substitute in dishes like tacos, dips and burgers.
Peas and Lentils
Lentils contain 18 grams of protein per cup and are delicious in dishes like soups, curries and salads. Green peas contain 9 grams of protein per cup. Mixing in a cup of peas to a vegetable medley or rice dish can give you a great boost of protein while remaining low fat and low calorie.
This favorite breakfast grain is chock full of protein at a whopping 12 grams per cup. Try adding some organic raw oats to homemade cookies or granola bars for a boost of filling protein and fiber.
Nuts and Nut Butters
Good old reliable peanut butter has long been a favorite source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. Try mixing it up with a little almond or cashew butter on your whole grain toast instead. Raw nuts make a great snack in the middle of the day and with 5-7 grams of protein per ounce, can help fill you up till dinnertime.
Tofu and Tempeh
Unless you’re avoiding soy, tofu and tempeh are an excellent source of protein, as well as calcium and iron, and work well in place of meat in a variety of dishes. Tofu works well with Asian flavors and is a staple in Thai cuisine. Tempeh, a product made from fermented soy, can be marinated and fried and is a favorite among vegans for its toothy bite.
Why Vegans Should Select Where to Eat
If you’re vegan you’ve most likely experienced this scenario – a group of friends or family want to go out to a restaurant but are baffled by your diet choice and aren’t sure how to handle it. Most likely they’ll give you the task of picking the location. This a great opportunity and it can lead to curiosity and understanding of your healthy plant-based diet. Let’s take a look at why vegans should select where to eat.
Understanding Your Lifestyle
Some people may be skeptical of your diet, not because they’re judgmental or mean, but because they haven’t had the opportunity to experience vegan cuisine firsthand. This is your chance to show your loved ones that a vegan diet doesn’t just consist of salad and crackers. Take them to that great new vegan restaurant that just opened up in town and show them how delicious plant-based food can be. Your friends might not realize that you can still be a foodie while being vegan. Vegan restaurants usually have some menu items that are meant to appeal to meat eaters for just this reason.
Look Beyond the Standard American Diet
There are so many delicious ethnic cuisines that don’t rely solely on animal products the way American cuisine tends to. Indian food, for example, is full of rich spices and sauces and the majority of its signature dishes are vegetarian and vegan. Have a meat and potato lover in your group? Have them try a masala dosa. A crispy pancake wrapped around a spicy potato and pea filling dipped in a tangy chutney might just convert that carnivore to the dark side. If an Indian restaurant isn’t an option, try Thai. Pad Thai or Pad See Ew with tofu is full of filling noodles and savory sauces that appeal to all types of diets.
Remember that your friends and family may be wary of your diet because they don’t understand it. Use this opportunity to explain what it’s done for you and your health, all while enjoying the best meal they’ve ever had.