A vegan diet is one that consists of only plant-derived foods. Vegans don’t use or consume any animals or animal products including flesh (land or sea animals), milk, eggs, or honey.
Eating vegan is affordable. The most nutritious and inexpensive vegan foods which can be found in any supermarket, are fresh produce, grains, legumes and nuts and seeds. These should make up the bulk of the diet for optimum health. There are more and more options of vegan processed foods such as soy hot dogs, vegan “cheeses,” desserts, which make transitioning to a vegan diet easy and fun!
Vegan food is anything but boring as Lauren Toyota and John Diemer demonstrate. Some popular vegan dishes include vegetable stir fry, pasta, rice and beans, chana masala, cucumber-avocado sushi, pad thai, quinoa, vegan pizza, pancakes, french toast, waffles, veggie burgers, chili, soups, tacos, burritos, casseroles, stew, sandwiches, cookies, non-dairy ice-cream, cakes, pies, and more.
Lauren Toyota and John Diemer aim to “break all misconceptions of what veganism is and open your eyes to the healthy, flavourful, and satisfying world of a plant-based diet” on their Hot For Food blog.
Plant-based milk can be derived from soy, rice, almonds, hemp, oat, etc. Nut- and bean-derived milk products are becoming exceedingly popular and making their way into more grocery stores. While soy milk is probably the most prevalent, some prefer rice milk for its naturally light and sweet flavor and almond milk for a boost of Vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, dietary fiber, and B vitamins.
Here are some quick tips for using vegan ingredients to replace eggs in your favorite recipes.
- Applesauce will give off a gas while being cooked, making your baked goods fluffy. It’s also doesn’t require adding as much liquid as powdered replacers. 1/4 cup applesauce = 1 egg
- Ground Flax Seed: When ground to a powder and liquified with water, ground flax seed creates a gooey texture great for binding. It’s also full of protein and omega-3s. 1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water = 1 egg.
- Banana: Like applesauce, bananas are naturally sweet. They also have strong binding properties when used baked goods. 1/2 banana = 1 egg
- Baking soda/powder: When you really need your dish fluffy without extra flavor, simple baking soda or baking powder does wonders. 1 tsp baking powder + 1 1/2 tbs water + 1 1/2 tbs oil or 1 tbs vinegar + 1 tsp baking soda = 1 egg.
Take The Vegan Challenge
We want to help you go vegan! Visit the Toronto Vegetarian Association (TVA) and take the seven day vegan challenge! They will send you recipes and other resources. The TVA has delicious vegan lunch ideas to try out. The famous TVA Veg Directory has a listing of veg restaurants and a map of veg restaurants.
You can also order a free Peta Vegan Starter Kit for an overview and to get started. The renowned Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine also has a Vegan Starter Kit you can view and download on-line.