Plant-Based Living | 5 Easy Steps To Get You Started
At first, the idea of adopting a plant-based lifestyle can feel quite overwhelming for most people (especially for the steak-lovers out there). But the reality is you don't need to go 100% vegan overnight in order to enjoy the amazing health and environmental benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. There are so many ways you can incorporate more vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and grains into your diet and hundreds of delicious plant-based recipes to try at home that the whole family will love. It's all about taking small and simple steps in your day-to-day life, and we are here to break it down for you!
So, what is plant-based?
Plant-based is a lifestyle choice that focuses on plant sources across all aspects of your daily life - everything from the food you put on your plate, to the shampoo you use, to the clothes you choose to buy and wear. Not only can going plant-based have amazing benefits for your own health, but also for the health of our beautiful planet!
Types of plant-based diets:
There are many ways to adopt plant-based practices in your diet without having to go 100% vegan overnight. Every small step can have a positive environmental impact. Below are a few of the most popular plant-based diets that exist today:
- Vegan: growing in popularity, vegan diets are 100% plant-based and do not include any animal products, including dairy and eggs.
- Vegetarian: perhaps the most popular of the plant-based diets, vegetarians eat a vegetable based diet along with eggs and dairy, but no meat.
- Pescatarian: very similar to vegetarianism, a pescatarian diet does includes eggs and dairy and excludes meat and poultry. However, it does include fish and seafood.
- Flexitarian: also known as a semi-vegetarian diet, a flexitarian diet includes eggs, dairy foods, and occasionally meat, poultry, ﬁsh, and seafood.
Benefits of plant-based:
There are so many incredible benefits to going plant-based. Not only does it have impressive health benefits, but it also has incredibly positive environmental impacts that help improve the health of our planet and environment as a whole. Here are our top 5 reasons for giving plant-based living a go!
- Good for your gut - the increased fibre intake can help promote a healthy digestive system.
- Less saturated fats & refined sugars - many plant-based diets limit fat from animal sources as well as reducing oils, added sugars and processed foods, meaning that you are consuming mainly nutritious whole foods.
- Helps support immune health - plant rich diets may provide the body with a range vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which are beneficial for the immune system.
- Reduces inflammation - the nutrients found in certain fruits and vegetables have been shown to reduce inflammation.
- Helps reduce your carbon footprint - in general, plant-based proteins are less water intensive and have lower ecological impacts on farmland than livestock.
5 easy steps for going plant-based:
1. Swap out your dairy
A great way to get started on a plant-based diet is to swap out your dairy products for a plant-based alternative made from soy, rice, almond or hemp.
There are a range of non-dairy butters available that you can choose from like...
- Nut Butters which are rich in minerals and fibre! They are wonderfully versatile and can be used as a spread, in baking, breakfast bowls, smoothies and more! We have a range of nut butters to choose from like almond, peanut, hazelnut, cashew and ABC butter (almond, brazil, cashew). We even have our own bespoke chocolate hazelnut butter which we grind fresh instore (and it tastes exactly like Nutella).
- Tahini is another great butter alternative, with a mild nutty flavour that makes it the perfect addition to hummus, pesto, salad dressings, baked goods and even ice cream!
- Cacao Butter Wafers are an ideal butter alternative for your favourite desserts and sweet treats. They are a pure, stable fat that is pressed out of the cacao bean and are perfect for adding to smoothies, homemade ice creams, raw chocolates and tasty desserts.
Instead of starting your day with traditional dairy yoghurt, why not opt for a kefir, soy or coconut option?
There are so many amazing plant-based milks available now to suit a variety of tastes - whether you prefer oat, almond, pea or coconut milk, there is an option for everyone! Depending on where you live in the world, different plant-based milks are better for the environment than others, however, generally speaking oat milk has the lowest carbon footprint - which is why we have refillable oat milk on tap in all our stores!
2. Reduce your meat intake (don't worry you don't have to go cold turkey 😉)
Reducing your meat intake doesn't mean you have to give up your favourite Sunday roast. A great place to start is by simply choosing meats with a lower environmental impact and reducing the number of meat-based meals you have every week. Beef and lamb are traditionally the largest contributors to farmed animal emissions, and by simply choosing other protein options like chicken or eggs and introducing more vegetable based meals into your diet, you will have a huge impact on the planet!
With so many delicious vegan and vegetarian recipes available it's never been easier to enjoy plant-based cooking at home. Try our easy Chickpea & Cashew Curry or Easy Vegan Parmesan Seashell Pasta for your next dinner (we promise you'll be going back for seconds!) Or for those with a sweet tooth, why not give our Hazelnut Butter Fudgy Brownies a go!
3. Make sure you get enough protein
One of the most common questions is "does a plant-based diet provide adequate protein intake?", and the answer is yes it can! There are a range of high protein plant-based alternatives available which can help you to meet daily requirements, even for those with an active lifestyle:
- Protein powders are a great, fuss-free way of increasing your protein intake. Simply mix the powder with water or milk for a quick shake, or add it to your morning porridge, smoothie bowls or even pancakes. We have a range of vegan protein powders which include nutritionally supportive ingredients like digestive enzymes and probiotics to help enhance digestion and absorption.
- Chickpeas are an excellent addition to tasty curry dishes and salads, and are also a great way to add structure and density to your home-made plant-based burger patties. Chickpeas contain 7.1 g protein per 100g and are naturally high in fibre making them a perfect plant-based alternative!
- Beans and pulses make excellent protein-rich alternatives for a number of cosy and comforting winter dishes. Home-made chilli’s, stews, curries and pies all benefit from a generous serving of legumes. The options are endless - choose from lentils, kidney beans, red split lentils, butter beans, pinto beans and more! We even have a premade legume soup mix which can be added to your favourite soups or salads for an added boost of protein!
- Soy flakes - these flakes of protein are a vegan's best friend! Quick, simple and delicious, these flakes can be used to make all kinds of sweet snacks or savoury meals. They have a rich nutty flavour and crunchy texture and do not have any added oil, fat, salt, or sugar - delicious and nutritious!
New to plant-based proteins? Check out our easy guide on soaking and cooking beans and grains at home!
3. Easy egg substitutesFor those who love baking or just enjoy a classic weekend fry up, there are a number of egg alternatives that you can try...
Psyllium husk is a wonderfully natural gluten-free and vegan baking alternative. It provides a bread-like texture when baking and is also a suitable option for those opting for a low-carbohydrate choice.
Chia Seeds can also be used as a substitute for eggs in baking. Simply stir a tablespoon of chia seeds in 2.5 tablespoons of water and leave for 5 minutes for the mixture to turn gelatinous, recreating an egg-like consistency. Simply replace one egg for one ‘chia egg’ in your baking recipes.
Aquafaba, made from the water leftover after boiling chickpeas, is growing as a popular alternative to egg whites and can be used in many recipes in place of eggs. This can make your recipes vegan friendly or suitable for those that may have egg allergies. Check out our easy recipe for how to make aquafaba at home!
5. Plant-based personal care
Although most people immediately think of food when it comes to a plant-based lifestyle, there are also lots of easy ways to choose plant-based in other areas of your life. It's all about taking a little bit of extra time when you shop to review those purchases and see if there are better options out there!
Make sure you look at the label and choose personal care products that are cruelty free and don't contain animal by-products. At the Source we have a range of refillable and packaging-free vegan personal care products to shop...
- Seaweed and Chamomile Lotion - made by a local Irish supplier on the west coast, this lotion is full of therapeutic vitamins and minerals chosen for their healing properties and is delicately fragranced with natural essential oils to leave your skin soft, supple and smelling amazing!
- Vegan Moisturising Bar- our 100% Vegan solid moisturiser bar is nourishing and calming for the skin, making a wonderful alternative to a liquid moisturiser. Made with conditioning shea butter, jasmine essential oils and nourishing sweet almond oil, this solid moisturiser is the perfect plant-based alternative to traditional lotions!
Lavender & Geranium Hand and Body Wash - this 100% vegan hand and body wash has a delightful geranium scent and has lavender essential oils to soothe the skin and create a sense of calm. It's also 99% naturally derived, does not contain parabens and is SLS free - how great is that!