Happy New Year everyone! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful festive period full of delicious food, friends and family! And now, as January has arrived, I wanted to take some time to talk about Vegananuary!

Vegananuary is where for the month of January you cut out all meat, eggs, dairy and any animal byproduct, and eat vegan for the month! It’s a great way to try something new and kick start your health for the year (75% of people trying vegananuary last year saw vast improvements to their health) and it also helps save billions of animals lives! and not to mention you can also do it for charity too!

I know it may sound tough but i’m here to show you that it isn’t! you don’t need to miss out on anything at all, it’s incredibly easy in this day and age to be vegan. More and more products are being sold in supermarkets, 2017 was a particularly good year for vegan food in supermarkets with Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s and Aldi all following suit and improving all their vegan ranges…not to mention Pizza Hut, Pizza Express and other fast food chains all released vegan food to their menu’s!

I will be posting recipes over the month as well as blog posts with helpful tips to help you on your vegananuary journey so keep your eyes peeled.

I thought i’d kick start my vegananuary blogs by my cupboard essentials! Of course fruit and vegetables are essentials for a vegan diet, but this goes without saying, but what else might you want to add to your cupboards?

First of all lets talk about milk substitutes. There’s loads of alternative “milk” drinks out there and in my opinion they all taste great in different things. For instance rice milk is sweet, creamy and tastes delicious with cereal, smoothies, hot chocolate or in baking. Soy and almond milk is great in tea (almond milk makes your tea taste like biscuits), oat milk tastes lovely in porridge and smoothies, and coconut milk tastes great with cereal, smoothies and baking! it’s all about trying to find your favourites so don’t be put off if you don’t like one or another, the flavour can also change dramatically depending on brand. There are tonnes of brands out there and you can buy both sweetened “milks” and unsweetened. It’s always worth noting to look out for fortified drinks, this means they’ve added calcium, B12 and/or vitamin D! perfect for being a healthy vegan!

 

SIDE NOTE: Cereals can also be a pain! A lot of cereals in supermarkets specifically cheaper cereals have either milk added in or milk protein! So just keep an eye out! There are tonnes of great vegan cereals, check out the free from section in supermarkets if you’re really stuck.

Of course if you don’t eat cereal you’ll want something to go on your toast in the morning! you can get vegan margarine from most supermarkets now! some such as Tesco’s or Sainsbury’s even have their own branded version other wise there are a lot of others. Brands to look out for are Pure and vitalite, although following suit you also have flora that have started doing their own version and some supermarkets such as Asda and Tesco do a coconut “spread” and avocado too. My personal favourite has to be Pure: olive oil spread though!

 

Nut butters are definitely one of my cupboard essentials! high protein and full of good fats! 🙂 I love adding them to my smoothies or porridge in the morning! (peanut butter porridge is delicious, just add a spoon of peanut butter in and slice some banana’s on top! adding seeds adds another protein boost and they’re packed with tonnes of nutrients!)
My favourite brand is Pip And Nuts, you can buy it in tubs this size or in 1kg tubs. They also sell almond butters (which are delicious, i’m going to do some brownies this month using almond butter! keep your eyes peeled!) and various different types of peanut butter for instance, peanut butter with maple syrup, coconut or agave! it’s available in Most supermarkets, Holland and Barrett’s or online.

 

Whilst we’re talking about proteins one of my favourite cupboard staples is Buckwheat! despite the name it’s gluten free and isn’t made from wheat at all. It’s actually a flowering plant and is related to rhubarb! it contains both protein and a healthy carbs making it great for a vegan diet. You can now buy buckwheat pasta in Sainsbury’s, It’s usually mixed in with the regular pasta’s in the supermarket and looks a dark purple/brown colour or you can find it health food shops. Buckwheat pasta is great with all your normal pasta dishes, it has a great texture and generally it’s just delicious! You can also buy buckwheat flour and crackers!

link to the sainsbury’s buckwheat pasta: buckwheat pasta

SIDE NOTE: also available in Sainsbury’s they sell Lentil and pea pasta! worth checking out, though the textures for me particularly pea pasta, takes some getting used to! I do however absolutely love Sweet potato noodles, butternut squash noodles and zucchini noodles all of which are great substitutes for pasta and you can find them in the fresh section in supermarkets!

 

Okay so I’m going to band these three together, unfortunately I do not have any photos of these as I’m currently away but they’re pretty straight forward.  These are definite staples in any vegans cupboards: Tofu, Lentils and chickpeas! all three are high in protein and perfect for vegan diets, they add essential nutrients, protein and help keep you fuller for longer.

TOFU: tofu is such a versatile tool! it’s a great egg and meat replacement in recipes. You can scramble it, fry it, bake it pretty much anything! I’ve used it as a scrambled egg replacement, I’ve used it to make frittata’s, quiche and flan! also suitable in sauces or you can also just added to a stir fry. There are two main different types of tofu found in supermarkets although there are quite a few different types. Soft/silken tofu is better as an egg replacement in  baking, where as firm tofu is best for frying and a meat substitute.

Lentils: Lentils are high in protein and low in carbohydrates, they’re also a great source of fiber and low in calories! Perfect in soups, chilli and casserole. You can also make lentil hummus! recipe coming soon!

Chickpeas: if you’re a fan of hummus then i’m sure you’re already fully aware of chickpeas and how delicious and wonderful they can be! they’re an essential in the cupboard too, add them to curries, soups or make your own hummus and be sure to save the liquid in the can because this makes a perfect egg replacement in baking.

 

Okay, now if you’re wondering how you’re going to get through without cheese and feeling a bit intimidated with the vegan “cheese” aka “gary” in the supermarkets, then take a deep breath and get experimental! what I will say is vegan “cheeses” do not taste like normal cheese and once you can push past this you’ll be able to accept the delicious nut, soy, rice and coconut blocks in their full glory. Like with the “milks” each of the different blocks are better for different things. Some brands will have their own versions of things you may or may not like, some brands you may not like at all. Some are better in sauces, melted, or just to eat with crackers. Honestly I could write an entire blog entry on my most favourite and least favourite vegan “cheese” blocks so all I can do is recommend that you experiment, both Sainsbury’s and Tesco have their own branded versions so make a great place to start as they’re both affordable and easily accessible, or the most commonly found brand is Violife. I love Violife! it’s a coconut based “cheese” and they do various types including melty, Parmesan, mild and strong. They even did a vegan “cheese” board this past Christmas. I buy violife slices on frequent basis as they’re perfect just to keep in the fridge for either crackers, sauces or just to chuck on top of a salad!

 

 

Lastly on my essentials list is this wonderful product called nutritional yeast. It’s essentially deactivated yeast which you add to food, it has an almost cheesy taste to it which makes it perfect to add to sauces, it’s also delicious in soups, or just sprinkled on top of salads or pasta. I’ve even used it as a sprinkling on top of baked mac and “cheese” to add a delicious crust top. I always make sure to buy the pot with added B12 in so that it adds a real nutrition boost to my food. You can buy it from Holland and Barrett’s, some supermarkets and health food stores.

 

So that’s all for my essential cupboard range, I will be adding lots more to these blogs including recipes, treat favourites and much, much more!

For now good luck on your adventure through vegananuary, whatever you’re reason behind starting. Let me know how you get on below in the comment sections.

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