More and more people are adopting a vegan diet. Whether for ethical reasons, environmental ones or their health, there is a growing need for nutritious, delicious, and sustainable alternatives to everyday ingredients.
But what does it really mean to be vegan and what are the best vegan ingredient substitutes to ensure adequate nutrition?
What Is Veganism?
Veganism is the practice of eating zero animal-derived foods or wearing clothing created from animal by-products. In practice, this means a plant-based diet free of meat including shellfish, fish and insects, dairy eggs, and honey.
As per the Vegan Society:
"Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms, it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals."
Vegans also avoid products tested on animals or any entertainment involving animals such as circuses.
Benefits Of Veganism
While choosing a vegan lifestyle is a big commitment and means careful thought and planning, it also comes with a huge number of benefits.
A balanced vegan diet can be incredibly nutritious, full of vegetables, nuts, legumes, fruit, and other foods that are high in fiber and low in fat. Many vegans have better cholesterol and lower blood pressure thanks to their diet being much lower in saturated fats. Often a vegan diet can help overcome persistent skin issues also such as acne thanks to the elimination of hormones found in meat and dairy products.
A vegan diet can leave you low in essential vitamins and nutrients, such as Vitamin B12, calcium, iron, zinc and Omega-3s which are found in higher concentrations in animal products. Lack of these can lead to cognitive issues (including irreversible neurological damage), depression, osteoporosis, brittle skin, hair and nails and more.
These issues, however, can be overcome through the inclusion of plant derived supplements. It is recommended to seek the advice of a qualified nutritionist before pursuing a vegan diet and at regular intervals whilever you follow one.
Veganism also saves water, livestock is one of the largest consumers and polluters of water - using up a precious resource that so many of us take for granted.
Globally, livestock cause more air pollution than cars, ships, buses, planes, and other forms of transportation put together. Less livestock and more plants will mean cleaner air and a cooler atmosphere lower in greenhouse gases such as methane.
This one is easy to understand, choosing a plant-based diet means no animals suffer to produce food, cosmetics, clothing, and more for humanity.
Another ethical consideration is that around 700 million tonnes of food that is suitable for human consumption is fed to livestock each year. Redirecting the efforts to grow and produce this food for human consumption could help eliminate the massive issue of world hunger.
The Best Vegan Ingredient Swaps
The most common ingredient swaps you’re likely to face while following a vegan diet are the more obvious ones derived from animals. However it is always worth considering swapping out other products such as almond butter or all-purpose flour for a more nutritious option. This can help to ensure your vegan diet is balanced with added nutrients, more flavorful and more filling.
Nutritional yeast is a winning substitute for cheese, use it to make vegan parmesan or sprinkle on toast for added flavor. As an added bonus nutritional yeast is high in B vitamins like thiamine, folate, B6, and niacin which help you feel energized.
Flax eggs can be used in place of duck or hen eggs with great success. You can even use the liquid (aquafaba) found in cans of chickpeas to whip up a vegan meringue. As a bonus, both these options are entirely fat-free!
Try using avocado or seed butter in place of dairy-based butter. The range of 5 Seed Butters at Beyond The Equator offers a nutritionally dense profile free of added oils and free of the top 8 allergens. Making it ideal for vegans with allergies to peanuts, sesame, and tree nuts. There is even a vegan chocolate 5 Seed Butter for those wanting to indulge.
To learn more about the nutritional value of 5 Seed Butter and why you should choose it over other vegan butters, be sure to read our blog on the topic. Our blend uses seeds containing many of the vital nutrients mentioned earlier, it really is the ideal vegan friendly butter substitute.
While all-purpose flour is already vegan, try boosting the nutritional value of your food with nutrient-dense alternatives. These include options such as Sunflower Seed Flour, Watermelon Seed Flour, Pumpkin Seed Flour, and Chia Seed Flour. These flours are high in vitamins, minerals, and protein to help you feel fuller for longer.
Coconut cream can be swapped for whipped dairy cream for use on vegan pavlova, fruit, cakes, and more. Simply mix with powdered sugar until soft peaks form and enjoy the soft, creamy coconut goodness.
There are so many great vegan milk alternatives available such as oat milk, almond milk, soy milk, cashew milk, macadamia milk and more.
Vegan And Allergy Friendly - It’s What Beyond Is About
At Beyond The Equator our goal first and foremost is to create a range of products that are 100% allergy friendly, the fact this makes them Vegan just adds to their amazingness. All our products are free of the top 8 allergens as well as sesame, ensuring that should you be vegan and also struggle with tree nut or soy allergies, you need not miss out!
Our 5 Seed Butter ticks all the boxes for taste, health benefits, texture, absence of allergens and a vegan diet. Paired with our range of seed flours, you can create vegan friendly, allergen free meals that are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, high in protein and low in saturated fats.
Try 5 Seed Butter for yourself today, we guarantee you won’t look back.