5 essential ingredients to include in your vegan diet this Veganuary

5 essential ingredients to include in your vegan diet this Veganuary

A vegan food dish served in an off-white bowl and laid on a striped white tablecloth.

For many, being vegan is a way of life. Whether you are looking for a more disciplined lifestyle, a way to become ethically aware by avoiding animal products or adhering to a strict diet for health reasons, adopting a plant-based diet has never been easier. 

It wasn’t until 1944 when six pioneers including Donald Watson (an English animal rights advocate) came together to actively found a new movement discussing non-dairy vegetarian diets and lifestyles. This movement later became known as The Vegan Society which today signs over 1000 people per month to their pledge here in the UK. 

But what does being vegan really mean?

According to The Vegan Society themselves, there has been evidence of people choosing to avoid animal products for over 2,000 years! Over time, the definition of veganism has taken shapes and forms but to this day The Vegan Society claim the following definition;

[…] 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 humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.

So instead of spending time looking up your favourite ‘vegan restaurants near me’ or pondering over whether you should try vegan cheese, we have listed five essential ingredients to include in your vegan diet this Veganuary! 👇🏼

  1. Breakfast: Who made tofu soy delicious?

Tofu is a food product made from curdling soy milk from soybeans. As far as vegan diets are concerned, some tofu may contain animal by-products making it more vegetarian than vegan, however most tofu is vegan-friendly!

Whilst there are many reasons to go vegan, tofu itself has a large number of health benefits that are worth bearing in mind. 

✔️ Tofu is extremely rich in protein and iron as well as containing no cholesterol and very little saturated fat 

✔️ Some studies have highlighted that soy products like tofu can help ease symptoms of menopause, such as hot flushes

✔️ Tofu provides around one-third of the average woman’s protein needs for the day

  1. Lunch: You make miso happy ☺️

One of the staple ingredients in Japanese cooking is miso. When defined, miso means ‘fermented beans’ giving away its key ingredient of fermented soya beans which are used to make miso paste. There are many varieties of miso, although the most common type is mixed with salt and kōji to help give the umami flavour to many Japanese dishes that we all know and love. 

For vegans, miso may be a strong contending ingredient found in many vegan recipes. So if you’re thinking of adding miso to your weekly shop, why not learn how to store miso and find out how long it really lasts from the founder of Miso Tasty, Bonnie Chung. 

  1. Dinner: Keep calm and carrot-on
Cartoon-style fruits and vegetables in various colours on a taupe background.

In 2021 Deliveroo unveiled that there were 15,000 vegan-friendly restaurants readily available on their platform. Fast-forward to 2023 and many of you will recognise many of these vegan-friendly restaurants as being some of our high-street favourites! With such a variety of restaurants to choose from, it seems only right for you to know which vegetables top the leader boards for most of these vegan menus. Some of the dominating vegetables include broccoli, brussels sprouts, sweet potato, spinach, garlic, kale, asparagus, peppers, carrots and beets to name but a few!

  1. Snack: You must be NUTS!!
Zoomed in image of a dark wooden spoon filled with a variety of nut types.

In recent years many will have noticed the ever-growing number of nut butters filling our supermarket shelves with brands such as Butternut, Pip & Nut, Meridian and Manilife. With most nut butters being free from animal products, it’s no surprise that they have now taken to being included in many vegan snack recipes. 

For those more traditional, taking inspiration from these nut butters has helped to highlight the types of nuts that most vegan diets would benefit from such as walnuts, peanuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts. For example, a study published by the scientific journal Nutrients found that “a handful of walnuts a day could help reduce stress”. 

  1. Drink: Vegan, wine-not?

What on Earth is vegan wine you say? Well, according to Waitrose;

Winemakers use fining agents (gelatin, egg white, milk protein) to clarify wines and catch particles. Vegan wines are made without animal products – particles are left to settle or natural agents are used, e.g. charcoal, pea protein or bentonite (a form of clay).

One company who takes their vegan-friendly winemaking to the next level is Proudly Vegan Wines, a proud registered member of The Vegan Society. This multi-award winning wine company ensures that they are 100% vegan-friendly…even the ink and glue they use on their labels are vegan-friendly! 

More information about vegan diet ingredients 

For further information on essential vegan diet ingredients to include this Veganuary check out Veganuary’s recipe page today, or to see some of our other blog articles, check out Twenty-Two’s blog page today.

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