In the United States, the number of consumers who identify as vegan is growing. It’s still a small percentage of the total number of consumers but the growth is significant enough to cause food production firms to sit up and take notice. In 2017, the sale of plant-based alternatives to animal-based foods grew 17% over 2016.
People turn to veganism for many reasons. Probably the best known of those reasons has to do with the concern about humane treatment of animals and the negative environmental impact that raising animals is having on the plant. It’s not a walk in the park and going vegan isn’t as easy as having fun with a Fair Go casino bonus, but the benefits are many, and include the following, among others:
Vegan diets are known to help people lose weight. There have been multiple studies that show that vegans have a lower body mass index (BMI) than non-vegans and are, on average, thinner. Vegan diets also seem to be more effective for weight loss than other diets. In addition, when compared to calorie-restricted diets, those following a vegan diet lost more weight even when they ate more.
Experts think that the reason is that vegan diets have a natural tendency to reduce calorie intake while giving the individual a feeling of fullness. They promote weight loss without actively focusing on cutting calories and don’t give the dieter a feeling of depravation.
Vegan diets can help keep your heart be healthy and can protect against certain cancers and Type 2 diabetes. Vegan diets appear to improve kidney function and lower blood sugar levels. Vegans tend to have higher insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels and up to a 50% – 78% lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Even when compared to diets from the American Diabetes Association, National Cholesterol Education Program and American Heart Association, vegan diets outperformed them all.
One study showed that 43% of participants who were following a vegan diet reduced their dosage of blood-sugar-lowering medication. That compared to 26% of participants who followed a diet prescribed by the American Diabetes Association. Similar studies point to increased kidney function among kidney patients when eating a vegan diet and lower incidences of heart disease in all ages.
There’s also evidence that a vegan diet may protect against some types of cancers. Those who eat less plant-based proteins tend to bulk up on other kinds of foods and many of them are believed to cause some types of cancers. For instance, eating legumes on a regular basis may reduce incidences of colorectal cancer and eating more fresh fruits and vegetables seems to act as a protection against cancer in general. Increased intake of soy may protect against breast cancer.
Rheumatologists are taking veganism serious as a lifestyle change that arthritis-suffers can undertake to reduce the pain from arthritis. In several studies, people suffering from arthritis who followed a vegan diet reported that they had more energy and were able to function more easily than those who continued eating a traditional omnivorous diet.
If you decide to follow a vegan diet, even on a part-time basis, you don’t have to resign yourself to bland, tasteless mealtimes. Some of the best vegan recipes have been adopted by non-vegans because they’re nutritious, innovative, attractive and delicious.
Some of the top vegan recipes that we’ve found include:
Macaroni and Cheese
Not only is this macaroni and cheese recipe delicious, thanks to the nutritional yeast that packs in the flavor, it’s delicious. The grated potato bulks the dish up and gives it additional color and flavor.
- 8 ounces whole-grain macaroni elbows
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 small chopped onion
- 1 cup grated potato
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
- ⅔ cup raw cashews, soaked for 4 hours before cooking
- At least 1 cup water
- ¼ cup fortified nutritional yeast
- 2 to 3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- Cook pasta
- In a large saucepan, heat the oil and saute the onion with a pinch of salt.
- Add in the grated potato, red pepper flakes, garlic, onion and garlic powders, salt and mustard.
- Add the grated potato, garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, salt and red pepper flakes. Stir.
- Add the cashews and water, Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring constantly
- Add nutritional yeast and 2 teaspoons vinegar and blend until smooth. Add water as needed to ensure a smooth blend.
- Add salt and remaining vinegar
- Stir into pasta.
Are you tired of munching on celery sticks at a barbque? You can make your own burgers easily and enjoy the “burgers” while watching out for your health.
- ½ cup dried red or black beans
- 2 carrots
- celery, 2 stalks
- 6 springs parsley
- 1 c. bread crumbs
- 4 tbsp. ground flax seeds
- ¼ c. water
- Soak beans overnight and then cook for an hour until they are soft
- Put beans, carrots, celery, parsley, onion, salt and pepper into a food processor. Pulse.
- Add bread crumbs
- Mix flax seed with water and wait until the mixture gels. Then add it to the bean mixture.
- Form paddies and bake.
The patties will probably not hold well together on a grill but you can bake them in the oven and enjoy them with ketchup, pickles and a hamburger bun.
Marinated and Fried Tofu
The trick to making tofu is to saute it first in a good olive or avocado oil and THEN fry it again in your preferred sauce.
- 1 pkg. sliced tofu, firm
- 2 Tbsps. olive or avocado oil
- 1/3 c. orange juice
- 1/6 c. date honey
- Place tofu slices on a double sheet of paper toweling. Place another double sheet of paper toweling over the tofu and then put a heavy pan on top of the paper toweling to allow the paper toweling to absorb the excess moisture from the tofu.
- Fry the tofu in the olive/avocado oil. Let it crisp a bit.
- Remove the tofu from the pan.
- Mix the orange juice and the date honey in a bowl and pour it over the tofu. Coat the tofu completely.
- Refry the tofu in the orange juice/date honey mixture. Allow it to brown before removing it from the pan.
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