3 Easy, Healthy & Vegan Food Swaps You Need To Make Now!
Want to start incorporating more healthy and plant-based foods into your lifestyle but not sure where to start? Below are 3 common foods that most of us eat everyday and some simple and accessible vegan alternatives.
Why bother? Because we don’t know what healthy truly feels like until we get there and can compare it to how we once felt. Increased energy, more efficient digestion and stronger immunity are just some of the benefits of making these easy swaps.
Furthermore, a lot of us don’t know where our food really comes from and once we do, we have the power to make much kinder, healthier and more delicious choices.
Time to get lit!
1. Swap Dairy Milk for Plant-based Mylk
Dairy Milk is one of the most self-reported allergic substances in the world (1). Many people can’t digest casein and lactose, both of which are found in dairy products. Casein refers to the solid proteins present in dairy and lactose is a simple carbohydrate sometimes referred to as “milk sugar”.
Apart from the adverse reactions people can have from consuming dairy such as inflammation and congestion, the dairy industry necessitates poor treatment of cows. A lot of us want to picture free cows roaming lush paddocks simply choosing to have their teets squeezed for milk they happen to have an excess of.
But the reality is, just like other mammals, cows have to be pregnant to produce milk so the majority of industrial dairy producers artificially inseminate the cows. Their babies are then taken away from them shortly after birth and they mourn and cry out for them just as human mothers would. The male calves are often sent to slaughter before they can even walk, under horrendous conditions where the dairy supply chain allows calves to be off feed for 30 hours and in transport for 12 hours.
Try this instead:
- Nut mylks like almond mylk, cashew mylk & macadamia mylk are now readily available in most grocers.
- Seed mylks such as pumpkin seed mylk or hemp seed mylk.
- Common alternatives like coconut, rice, oat and soy mylks.
- You can also make mylks that are fully loaded with nutrients. Our faves are hemp mylk and brazil nut mylk! Try blending 1 cup of nuts/seeds with 750 ml of filtered water to make a delicious and creamy mylk. You can use a nut mylk bag to remove the solids or leave it in for extra fibre.
2. Swap Regular Sugar for Fruit & Natural Sugar-free Sweeteners
While the use of bone char in the refining process of sugar is banned in countries such as Australia, it can still make it’s way into your sugar if you don’t use a brand that’s made locally. What is bone char? It’s the bones of cattle heated at super high temperature to create a carbon that filters sugar in order to make it white.
If the idea of having your sweetener being filtered through the bones of dead animals doesn’t deter you, conventional sugar is highly processed and difficult for the body to digest. Too much added sugar in our diets is highly addictive and contributes to a whole host of issues from weight gain, to upsetting our gut flora, to leaky gut, to increasing risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers (2).
Try this instead:
- Whole fruits are your best bet and they also happen to be loaded with vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to thrive, with all the fibre we need to support efficient digestion and elimination processes.
- If you need to add a sweetener, stick to stevia which is low calorie, comes from a plant that looks very similar to mint and is about 40 times sweeter than sugar but doesn’t spike sugar levels because it isn’t actually sugar.
- Monk fruit is also a great choice; it’s zero calories and also doesn’t impact blood sugar levels. Monk fruit itself is a green gourd that resembles a melon and its fruit extract is at least 150 times sweeter than sugar!
- Lastly, Erythritol which is a sugar alcohol found naturally in fruits such as grapes, is also low calorie and doesn’t spike blood sugar or insulin levels. Sugar alcohols are not to be confused with artificial sweeteners as they occur naturally in plants such as fruits and vegetables. Just make sure to use one that is derived from non-GMO ingredients.
3. Swap Eggs for Black Salt, Chia or Flax & Aquafaba
There’s been a lot of conjecture about whether eggs are good for you or not. The fact is they do contain a significant amount of cholesterol though a lot of studies now show that cholesterol intake may not be so bad after all (3). Regardless of what you subscribe to, there are loads of plant-based foods readily available that provide the same nutrients that eggs do.
All that aside, eggs are chicken periods. This in itself may not be that disturbing to you, however much like cows and dairy, the industrial production of eggs necessitates a horrible life for most laying chickens and a definite demise for male chicks.
Like with most large industries, it’s a numbers games so chickens are often confined to horrific conditions. They’re in cages and are often diseased, deformed and suffering from living in their own waste amongst tens and thousands of other chickens.
“But I buy free range” I hear you say. The legal definition of free range in Australia is 10 000 hens per hectare which is about one hen per square metre but there is no guarantee the birds need to go outside. They merely need to be on land that can account for that density and have ‘meaningful & regular access to the outdoors” This means most chickens in the industry are still subject to abhorrent conditions for the majority of their lives, but with a door to an outside area.
Perhaps even more difficult to swallow is that any male chicks that are born are often grinded alive as “waste products” or simply discarded into huge waste bins where they die slowly.
Try this instead:
- The taste of eggs comes from sulphur. You can easily recreate that eggy taste on basically anything by using black salt. It’s also called Kala Namak and has been used in ayurvedic cooking for its perceived medicinal properties.
- As a binder you can use chia seed meal or flax seed meal. 1 tbsp of meal to 3 tbsp of water is the equivalent of 1 egg. This can be used any time you would ordinarily use eggs to bind ingredients together like in baking.
- For airy and fluffy whipped meringue look no further than aquafaba which is the water leftover from cooking chickpeas. Beat it in a standing mixer just like you would eggwhites and use it for the same applications. It’s magical!
These simple swaps are a great way to incorporate healthier foods into your lifestyle. The best part is you can also contribute meaningfully to the happiness and freedom of all beings. One delicious bite at a time.
For some epic vegan recipes, check out the recipe section of our website.
(1) 12 Frightening Facts About Milk
(2) Is Sugar Bad for You? Here’s How It Destroys Your Body
(3) Are Whole Eggs and Egg Yolks Bad For You, or Good?