Whether you’re a Paleo or vegan proponent, what matters most is what works best for your body type. Some people may thrive on staples that include vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes and beans, while others function optimally with an animal protein source. You don’t need to shift your entire nutritional lifestyle to adapt some core vegan principles – cutting out meat 1-2 times a week is a wonderful start and will give your digestive system a much-needed break.
1. Embrace plant-based protein
On the days you don’t consume protein from an animal source, you can substitute for protein found in grains or legumes such as quinoa, rice, lentils, peas, beans and fermented soy products such as tempeh. You can also incorporate protein into your smoothies using brown rice protein powder, chia and spirulina and sprinkle with hemp seeds or pumpkin seeds. On average, men need 56g of protein per day, whereas women need 46g p/day.
2. Add more vegetables to your plate
Vegans rely on ample amounts of vegetables to bulk up their menu. There are endless recipes you can try that aren’t limited to traditional salads or steamed vegetables. Some ideas include roast cauliflower, cauliflower rice, gazpacho soup, tabouleh with quinoa and many more.
3. Try out new sauces, condiments and dips
These give sandwiches and dishes added flavor profiles so your taste buds never get bored. Try out walnut pesto, zucchini hummus, honey mustard dip, citrus almond butter or baba ghanouj (roasted eggplant dip).
4. Explore new herbs and spices
Expanding your culinary arsenal to herbs and spices from around the world will jazz up your meals. Try out dukka from India, gomashio from Japan, zatar from the Middle East, Cajun spice mix, Herbs de Provence or Grecian herb and spice blend, the combination potential is endless.
5. Seek out vegan restaurants
If you are strapped for time during the week, try out a vegan restaurant in place of your regular go-to eateries. Many menus are quite innovative and are fresh takes on traditional meals and just as delicious. Try out multiple side dishes or go for one of the many raw desserts on offer, you’ll be surprised at the wide array of flavor fusions that also do wonders for your health.
Photo credit: Deliciously Ella