Something I never thought I'd experience. And yet, here we are.
Some states are still in semi-lockdown while others are slowly opening backup, and a handful of states never locked down at all.
In Oregon, we received stay at home orders back in March and our family has been home ever since.
Our local restaurants have been offering takeout only, until a few weeks ago when many reopened for dine-in service. But if you're like us, you may not be comfortable with that yet.
Needless to say, it’s still a good time to be eating at home.
So why not try something vegan?
What is a vegan?
For those who may not know, vegans don’t eat any animal based products.
This rules out things like meat, fish, eggs, dairy, honey, and more. Basically if it comes from an animal in any way, vegans say "no thanks".
You may be wondering why someone adopts a vegan diet and lifestyle.
People go vegan for a variety of reasons: environmental, ethical, or health related. Vegan diets can help prevent a number of chronic illnesses and can result in numerous health benefits, including a slimmer waistline and improved blood sugar.
What can a vegan eat?
Adopting a vegan diet isn’t as hard as it sounds.
There are actually a lot of common dishes that are already accidentally vegan, and many others that can easily be modified to be. Follow us on Pinterest for vegan food inspiration.
Instead of a meat-based entree, you can generally swap it out with one of the following to make it vegan:
- Legumes - are food like beans, lentils and peas. They offer many nutrients and beneficial plant compounds.
- Tofu, Seitan, Tempeh - these options are versatile and protein-rich alternatives to meat, fish, poultry and eggs.
- Nuts and nut butters - they are good sources of iron, fiber, magnesium, zinc and selenium as well as vitamin E. The unblanched and unroasted varieties are the way to go.
- Seeds - hemp, chia and flax seeds are a good source of protein and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.
- Fruits and vegetables - these are what people usually think of when they think vegan eating. Leafy greens are especially important to help get your iron and calcium.
Why is Quarantine a good time to start vegan eating?
Quite simply - time.
If you’re working from home, chances are you have a little more time on your hands for meal prepping than you used to. Or at the very least you may be getting the itch to do something new and different.
With no more commute, you’ve got that time you can spend on other things.
Given that fruits and vegetables are a staple for vegan eating — you may even consider planting your own garden so you can grow your own healthy ingredients.
Vegan eating is also a great option if you are looking for ways to improve your health.
Vegan whole foods are packed full of vitamins and nutrients, and are completely void of cholesterol. One of the biggest benefits of vegan eating is better heart health.
A study posted in the Journal of American Heart Association in 2019, found that people who had lower intake of animal foods and higher intake of plant-based foods had a reduced risk of heart disease. And according to the Mayo Clinic, vegan eating may even lower cancer rates.
Vegan eating also generally results in less calories going into your body, which means it may help with weight loss as well.
Where to start?
Here are a few quick tips to get you started on your new vegan eating journey:
1. Try to make vegetables the main focus of your meals. Vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals that are good for us! They are also high in fiber so they will help you feel more satisfied.
2. Eat a variety of different foods. There are a lot of recipes out there for vegans, and some of them may be intimidating. So if you’re just starting out, keep it simple.
3. Know that there are substitutes. If you find it hard to cut out flavors like cheese and eggs, no worries! There are vegan substitutes you can use to replace those and more. You can even make your own vegan cheese!
We don’t know how long the lockdowns will last, so use this time to try new things.
Eating healthier doesn’t have to be a chore. And it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Consider trying a few new vegan options and see how you like them.
Follow along for our weekly meal plan updates HERE.