Nutrition

Emma Kirke: Plant Based Foods Are Here To Stay!

EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT PLANT-BASED FOODS AND VEGAN DIETS, BUT WHAT DOES THAT ACTUALLY MEAN? BESTFIT’S NUTRITION EXPERT DR EMMA KIRKE EXPLAINS ALL… 

 

If you haven’t noticed the increase in popularity and consequent sales of non-dairy milks, vegan meat alternatives and the constant appearance of new start-ups, you have possibly been in hibernation. Veganuary was more popular than ever this year and I think it’s fairly safe to say that plant-based foods are going to be one of the hottest food trends for 2018.  

Whether you choose this lifestyle change due to your health or other motivations, or to save animals, you will need to become more inventive with your meals to keep things interesting and nutritionally balanced.  

For example, vegan desserts to curb those cravings may require you to get into the kitchen and create your own, however, you will note a substantial amount of choice in the supermarkets nowadays. From mainstream ice cream brands adding a vegan selection, to specialist companies creating delectable delights such as Freaks of Nature, you will undoubtedly not be short of choice. So, it may be prudent to ensure that exercise regimen is in place.  

Of course, vegans may need to supplement their protein intake with a protein powder. Pea, rice and hemp are very common but the taste can be challenging. Consequently, companies can add a lot of sugar to try to sweeten it up. Try to source ones with a high protein yield without vast quantities of sugar involved as well. If you’re considering your own meal plans or eating out, good old-fashioned meat substitutes such as tofu, tempeh, beans, whole grains and pulses all work, as well as seeds such as amaranth.  

As someone that has an allergy to cow’s milk I am perpetually seeking to fill my love of cheese with an excellent substitute. I recently discovered vegan cheeses at mainstream supermarkets that tasted like the cow’s milk versions I remembered. I believe that certain chains of pizza shops are also looking at introducing this to their menus following the success in the USA and Israel, so keep your eyes peeled.  

Have you ever heard of Jackfruit? I have yet to sample it myself, but the lowdown is that this food source will see sales spike as it will cook up with the texture of pulled pork and can be flavoured in many ways, as it will take on the flavour of anything it’s paired with. This means it is truly versatile and could be a great deal of fun.  

Gastropubs are jumping on the vegan trend and are even including vegan beer on their menus. Have you tried their interpretations of burgers, too? Very tasty, and they’re becoming ever more inventive and adventurous. If you sample a delicious vegan burger, we would love to see your pictures, so don’t forget to tag us on social media.  

Vegan cafes are popping up all over the place, too, and the food industry is offering vegan options in many more places including hospitals for both staff and patients alike.  

The vegan trend is definitely here to stay, although I am not entirely convinced by the vegan seafood trend, but let’s wait to see what the verdict is. 

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