From Vegetarian to Vegan #2
If you have read my last article (Why I change from Vegetarian to Vegan #1), you may know that how effective it is for me to get a better-looking skin by not drinking milk (and other milk-related products). Of course, it might not be applicable to anyone, and it is true that it might because I am allergic to milk; however, it actually worth a try! Here I will talk about the changes after you changed your diet...
1. You have learnt how to read food labels
After you adapt a vegan diet, checking food labels is a must.
Some food addictive, like whey and some emulsifier, which come from milk, are present in many cereal bars, breads, and granolas. You will be surprised how many foods, that you think they are without the usage of dairy products actually is not suitable for you(as a vegan), anymore. Like your favourite pieces of chocolate, pasta and even bread. So, you will be alert of names like emulsifier, whey, casein etc... For Chinese food, ramen also contains eggs!
2. You will have less and less absorption of refined sugar.
Believe it or not, over 90% of bread and 98% of dessert in the market contains eggs and milk. Crepe cake? Cheesecake? Croissant? Sorry, they are all made with eggs and milk. Even some of the loaf bread contains milk (especially those you can find in chain bakery). In a result, you found that you cannot have a bite of most of the birthday day cakes, pancakes are no longer an option in your brunch list, and ice cream is no longer your "instant" mood-booster, too. However, you will find yourself being very energetic after stop absorbing sugars, you may start to lose weight, your skin will brighten and cleared... There are just so many studies reflect that sugar has a negative effect on human.
3. You may find it a little bit harder to eat with friends
Yes, when you going a step further switching from a Vegetarian to a Vegan, at first it might get harder when you want to eat out. It is actually quite difficult to order a vegan dish in most of the normal restaurants - 1) always cheese pizza, salad with cheese or hidden chicken or butter stock in Western food; 2) fried rice and ramen with eggs in Chinese food; 3) and beef broth & fish sauce are very common in Vietnam & Thai food. My suggestions are, going for a Vegetarian or Vegan restaurant (as most of the Vegetarian places will state clearly dishes are vegan or not). Or, look for independent restaurants and call them in advance to see if they can prepare vegan dishes for you.
4. You are more aware of nutrients
"Where do you get protein?" " Where do you get enough Iron?" The most frequent questions I've got.
As I have Thalassemia (地中海貧血) - which caused moderate Anemia, I often looked pale, easy to have fatigue and dizziness. Being able to get enough nutrients is really important, so I started to search for alternatives. No, don't listen to grandma, you actually don't have to eat red meat or seafood in order to absorb iron; instead, spinach, beetroot, and oatmeal etc are good sources to combat Anemia. My mother used to prepare Ginger and Red Date Tea for me - which is a powerful food for women (especially during period) as red dates are naturally rich in Iron. And it is perfect for winter days too! (And its sweetness is just so good...)
Besides, although people would think that eggs, dairy products and meat are the best sources of protein, there are actually much more vegan options! Ingredients like chia seeds, quinoa, beans, nuts and nut butter, or even leafy greens like Broccoli provides protein. My favourite ways to eat: Add chia seeds and nut butter into my morning smoothie, having quinoa for lunch as a rice/noodles substitute, and cooked broccoli for salad.
Afterall, you may find yourself have become a semi-professional nutritionist! Here I am going to share one of my recent favourite breakfast recipe, which is the signature Avocado Toast! (Come on... you have to admit that you saved around HKD $90 if you make it by yourself.) Besides, after being a Vegetarian for almost 3 years and a newbie in Vegan, I know how important it is to satisfy your stomach... If you don't want to keep snacking and over-eating all day, you need to pay attention on how to get good nutrients in every single meal!
Avocado with fresh Cherry Tomatoes
1 slice of Whole Wheat Toast
4-5 Cherry Tomatoes
1/2 Lemon Juice
Pinch of Pepper & Sea Salt
(As needed) Balsamic Vinegar to taste
1. Toast the slice of whole wheat bread.
2. Cut the cherry tomatoes into small dices.
3. Smash the avocado in a bowl, add cherry tomatoes and lemon juice, and mix them up.
4. Spread it evenly on the toast, and add pepper and sea salt to taste!
*I like to add some Balsamic Vinegar because I just love its sweetness taste bring to the tomatoes!
There you are - the super easy, fulfilling and delicious Vegan breakfast to start your day. The combination of healthy fats from the avocado and carbohydrates from whole wheat toast is great for nourishing your body. What is your favourite breakfast? Share with me in the comments below!