This is going to be an overview on how to make healthy vegan recipes. Sorry friends, but no recipes today just a collection of rambling thoughts to help you think about making any recipe more healthy. Being vegan or going on a vegan diet as many of you know is certainly a step in the right direction. But like I say, veganism does not promise or give the elixir of health.
There are some of us who follow the most strict of vegan diets, eliminating even suspected by-products or the reduced chemicals that might have come from animals and yet we might not truly be considered healthy.
A diet consisting of potato chips, french fries, dark chocolate, twizzlers, vegan burgers, ketchup and pop is vegan. But it ain’t healthy.
I like to think of veganism and the vegan diet as the promise of good health for the kindness shown to animals and our living world, but it is not a guarantee.
The promise can be easily earned with just focusing on and choosing the right ingredients when you are making vegan food or eating out and choosing among the many vegan options.
Healthy vegan recipes can also be quick vegan recipes and as you’ve come to expect from this blog they can also be easy vegan recipes. I am often about quick and easy when it comes to cooking. Because veganism should be easy to follow and not laborious in the kitchen. Recently I shared some ideas on easy vegan meals that you can buy or make at home. And I’ve shared a few easy vegan Italian recipes that anyone can learn to make. Those articles and others offer some further information on my philosophies and approach to veganism and simple vegan recipes generally.
So let’s get to the nitty gritty. Let’s talk about some tips to making or choosing healthy recipes that are vegan:
1. Don’t let oil be your foil
I’m not super strict when it comes to oil. I believe that limiting oil is important as is limiting our fat intake generally. But I gotta say, I find food tastes better when cooked with just smidge of oil.
Perhaps we can attain optimum health by eliminating all processed fats and oils, but I think we can get to that summit even if we happen to enjoy a bit of oil in our cooking.
So what to do. Try and use the least amount of oil needed when frying up your food. If a recipe calls for 2 tablespoons see if you can’t do better with just 1 tablespoon.
In baking, use flax as a binder (1 tablespoon finely ground flax mixed with 2 tablespoons of hot water per egg replaced) and try and use half the amount of oil. The other half you can replace with apple sauce or concentrated apple juice. Perhaps even better yet, embrace prudence. Enjoy your baked goods like cakes and cookies etc, but make it the exception. My rule of thumb is no more than 1 cheat day a week. But it’s better yet if you can go a month or so between slices of cake or servings of cookie.
Life is meant to be enjoyed and not be a drudgery, but as you embrace a more whole foods plant based vegan diet you will lose much interest in sweets. This is a good thing. And prudence and discipline are beneficial in any enterprise especially food intake.
For sweets, try fresh fruit like berries or even cut up apples. They are satisfying and filling.
Above all else if you do need the odd serving of pop or french fries or vegan cupcakes, always downsize rather than go for the “normal” or large size.
2. There’s a pot of gold at the end of the vegan rainbow
The vegan rainbow when it comes to delicious vegan recipes I spoke about in my post proper nutrition for vegans.
The rainbow is the wonderful and abundant choices of colourful foods that are available on the vegan buffet.
Choose on a daily basis or weekly basis to the best of your ability foods representing all the colours of the rainbow. This is a quick rule of thumb and if you forget anything else about the vegan diet, remembering the vegan rainbow will keep you healthy.
That pot of gold is tremendous health and vitality by eating big chunks from the vegan rainbow as often as you can.
3. As it grew so shall ye chew
Forgive the corny rhymes but I hope it’ll help you remember some of these tips for creating vegan diet recipes.
A good healthy and cheap vegan diet is centred around whole foods from the 4 vegan food groups (legumes, veggies, fruits and grains).
It is always better to eat the food as close to its natural development as possible. Eating raw veggies and fruits should be done with abandon. Eating grains should be done in their whole state as much as possible. Brown rice, wholewheat bread and so on.
I eat refined pasta, but I make up with it by including generous servings of tomato sauce and veggies.
Legumes should be eating well cooked and/or sprouted.
The worst ways to eat your foods are deep fried and highly refined and processed. Whole white potatoes are good for you. French fries not so much.
My general idea is not to aim for perfection as we are flawed beings and as such I think we need a little bit of elbow room, some time for a donut or a glass of pop. The idea is to make the foundation of your diet a whole foods vegan one so that the few excursions to the land of sweets and fried food is both enjoyable and not harmful to our overall health.
4. Drink water clear – not so much the beer
Drinking calories is a terrible way to get optimum nutrition vegan or otherwise.
The only liquids that should be drunk are those that have none to few calories and are healthy. It is a short list. Water (the most important), black coffee, unadulterated teas both herbal and black/green/white. That’s it.
Alcohol should be drunk if at all (my preference is not at all) once a week or less as a glass of wine or bottle of beer. If you like the taste of wine or beer then indulge in the safer and less calorically dense non-alcoholic versions.
Plant milks and juices should also be limited in the quantity you drink.
It is easy to drink a couple of hundred calories in a glass of juice or glass of soy milk. This can make weight loss more difficult plus it isn’t as filling nor does it have the fiber that is found in whole foods.
The only exceptions are green smoothies and power smoothies for body builders. But again, I wouldn’t use them more than once a day unless you’re a serious competitive athlete. But a good smoothie can make a healthy addition to mix up your healthy vegan recipes with.
Those are some of my big ideas on cheap and health vegan recipes and meals. When eating out, think along the same lines. Order a salad or a pasta with tons of veggies. Restaurant portions are notoriously large so don’t eat it all. Split it with a friend or take it home for dinner. Drink water or a tea or coffee. Pass on dessert. Most mainstream restaurant desserts are not vegan anyway.
This is how you can enjoy the promise of the vegan diet and have the best health that is freely given to those who do the least harm and choose their foods wisely.