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World Vegan Month

Tips—and recipes—to help you go vegan

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Coconut Yogurt

Ready to go vegan? These recipes include nutritious vegan versions of cheese and mayo that are easy to make yourself.

When I was introduced to the concept of a vegan diet, I had many questions. Why is honey eliminated from a vegan diet? Which whole foods are the most nutrient dense? You may have questions too. November, which is World Vegan Month, is the perfect time to get the answers and try some basic vegan recipes.

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Green in every sense

A vegan diet focuses on a variety of nutrient-dense plant foods. Vegans avoid foods of animal origin, including meat, dairy, eggs, and honey, as well as foods and other products made using animals for any part of the process. The practice of veganism is largely motivated by ethical concerns about industrialized farming and the impact it has on the environment and animal well-being.

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Surprisingly nutritious

Plant foods benefit our body by providing cells and tissues with an abundance of alkaline foods that contain a variety of potent antioxidants, along with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and insoluble and soluble fibre.

To ensure we digest and absorb optimal amounts of required nutrients, overnight soaking, draining, and thorough cooking of legumes and grains is advised. This helps rid these foods of antinutrients such as phytic acid. Nuts and seeds can also be soaked and/or sprouted to increase their digestibility.

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Easy vegan alternatives

A vegan diet provides the opportunity to get creative in the kitchen with new ingredients and cooking methods. Why not give it a try this month? There’s no need to be intimidated—the following dairy- and egg-free recipes are simple to make and are great staples to include as a part of your weekly meal prep.

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Recipes

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Vegan backup

If you’re considering going vegan, ask your health care practitioner about supplementation. A long-term vegan diet may result in deficiencies in specific vitamin and minerals. To mitigate this, some vegans supplement with

  • vitamin B12
  • riboflavin
  • vitamin D
  • calcium
  • zinc
  • alpha-linolenic acid
  • iron
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Top vegan foods

To maintain consistent energy levels, eliminate processed foods that are high in sugars in exchange for nature’s superfoods.

  • vegetables and fruits, especially dark leafy greens, avocados, and berries
  • sea vegetables
  • whole grains such as quinoa
  • legumes such as white beans and lentils
  • nuts and seeds such as chia, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts
  • oils: olive, avocado, coconut
  • herbs and spices such as turmeric and cinnamon
  • vinegars, tamari, and miso
  • mineral-rich sea salt
  • maple syrup and coconut syrup
  • vegan protein powders (ask at your health food store)
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A shrinking footprint

According to the Vegan Society, a plant-based diet requires about one-third of the land that’s needed to support a diet that also includes meat and dairy.

Better health and weight management?

Studies have shown that vegans tend to eat more fruits and veggies than omnivores do. A higher consumption of such produce is associated with lower risk of death from stroke and ischemic heart disease. A vegan diet may also have a leg up on a vegetarian diet. Vegans tend to be thinner, have lower “bad” cholesterol levels, and exhibit moderately lower blood pressure.

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