To celebrate World Vegan Day Kate Harrison, author of best-selling 5:2 diet book series including 5:2 Veggie and Vegan, tells us all about the benefits of veganism for both individuals and the world.
It’s good for the planet, great for your health – and a real adventure for your taste buds. And now, at long last, veganism has broken out of the health food store and made plant-based eating as desirable as it is life-giving.
This food trend is definitely not a flash in the pan.
I’ve been a vegetarian all my adult life – but it’s the rise in delicious vegan food that’s been one of the biggest, and nicest surprises, over the last five years. And if you’re a fan of 5:2 or intermittent fasting, it’s also one of the tastiest choices for your fast day.
OK, I am biased – and proud to be. I live in Brighton, which has always been a haven for vegans. Many of the pioneers in the new vegan wave come from here, and those innovative chefs, street food vendors and the craft producers also inspired the recipes in my book 5:2 Veggie and Vegan.
Plant-based food is that it has two huge in-built advantages if you want to feel better: first, we all know that eating more fresh produce is one of the keys to good health, thanks to the many micro-nutrients it contains. And second, vegetables and fruit are mostly low in calories, which means we can feel full without putting on weight.
A third factor is the high-fibre content – fibre might not be a buzzword today, but it’s due a renaissance, thanks to the fascinating new discoveries around gut health and the human microbiome. Vegans have been in on the secret for decades, with diets rich in gut-friendly veggies, grains and pulses.
But today’s vegan food doesn’t have to taste worthy – the #worldveganday celebrations showcase how so many cuisines offer great ideas for veggies, from the Latin-influenced Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chilli or the Fresh Corn Tacos, to the Asian flavours in the Miso Aubergine, and the Spicy Pho with herbs. Even France – not known for its vegan-friendliness, even now – inspired the delicious Tomato and Onion Tarte Tatin.
Veganism can still be contentious – and some care is needed on a wholly vegan diet to get the full range of nutrients. And if you’re freaking out about cheese, then try going vegan for one or two days a week – start with Fast Days and you’ll max out the flavour for minimum calories. As well as knowing that your meals have a lower impact on the environment, and the animals who share the planet with us.
Going green has never been so easy – or so yummy.
PS: my top vegan picks if you’re down my way in Brighton? Iydea on Kensington Gardens for the healthiest takeaway you’ll have all year, and Terre a Terre for gourmet food that shows plant-based cooking in all its glory. See my top 10 at http://kate-harrison.com/news/veggiebrighton
5:2 Veggie and Vegan is currently just 99p on Kindle, so it’s the perfect time to stock up on delicious and healthy vegan recipes!