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Go on a plant-based taste adventure with Veganuary

Go on a plant-based taste adventure with Veganuary | Sustainable Living with HarassedMom

Discover a world of new and exciting culinary possibilities

Bigfoot tells us all about what he’s doing to help combat climate chaos, and why he chose to participate in Veganuary.

Most of Mzansi shares a love for food and gatherings. We are a social nation known for our hospitality and mouth-watering cuisine.

Now Veganuary gives South Africans a chance to explore and put our unique culinary spin on plant-based dishes. Who said we can’t have a delicious plant-based shisa nyama or add our aromatic Cape Malay flavours to a vegan dish? A plant-based potjie, boerie roll, vetkoek, sosatie, and milktart are all equally delicious and even better for us, animals and the environment.

Veganuary, a month-long challenge in January to try vegan, offers you a supportive community, daily motivation, and lots of mouthwatering, affordable, and easy to make recipes.

With the wide variety of vegetables and legumes available and the increasing number of vegan and vegetarian products on the market, a plant-based diet can be deliciously satisfying. More and more recipes and cookbooks are also readily available, showing even the most novice home chef how to make a delectable, filling and nutritious plant-based meal.

Why choose a plant-based diet?

Chef Jay McNamara, founder of The Kind Kitchen, feels a plant-based diet is a culinary game-changer.

“Think about it for a moment! No other lifestyle allows you the same flexibility and creativity. Thanks to plants we’re able to turn soya beans into delicious plant-based dairy products like milk, cream cheese and yoghurt. Cashews into fermented cheese. Or delve deeper and we can amaze palates by smoking carrots into ‘salmon’. Beets into carpaccio. Mushrooms into any tasty meat alternative imaginable and peas into gluten-free, protein-rich powders or even textured mince for new age burgers. With so many mind-blowing, cruelty-free options available for you to enjoy, what’s your reason for not trying a plant-based lifestyle this Veganuary?”

According to ProVeg South Africa (ProVeg), there are many good reasons for eating a whole-food, plant-based diet: to reduce animal suffering, protect the environment and climate, promote food justice, and for the numerous health benefits. There is a vast selection of delicious plant-based foods available, including an ever-growing range of alternatives to animal products such as meat, eggs, and milk.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the consumption of animal products is a major contributor to numerous global problems. Since a plant-based diet provides a single solution to help resolve all of these problems, the move towards a diet and lifestyle free from animal products is rapidly gaining momentum.

Taste prejudices about plant-based diets

While a plant-based lifestyle comes with several benefits, for many people this is not necessarily sufficient motivation to choose a vegetarian or vegan diet – at least not if they have to sacrifice some of their favourite foods. Taste is an important factor in nutrition – during our lives, we all develop certain habits and taste preferences. When people think about changing their eating habits, often the first thing they fear is the loss of foods that they have grown fond of – it is very difficult to let go of something that we have become accustomed to. As such, taste is a driving force behind food choices.

A plant-based diet tastes good and offers a huge selection of delicious food

Although taste is one of the reasons why people are reluctant to move towards a plant-based diet, it is also one of the reasons cited for doing so. A 2018 study done by the Mintel Group has shown that taste is the main reason why American adults eat plant-based proteins. More than half (52%) of respondents said they prefer plant protein to animal protein for taste reasons.

Most of us probably eat a certain set of meals every week – recipes that are quick, easy and cheap to make, but is it offering you the variety your taste buds and body needs? Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and other plant foods are often seen as side dishes, and, as such, are seldom considered a healthy, delicious, and substantial meal on their own. Therefore, it is of particular importance to raise awareness about the diverse flavours and nutritional richness of plant-based foods.

A diet free from animal products is extremely versatile, while the transition towards more plant-based eating opens up a world of new and exciting culinary possibilities. Many people who have continued to eat meat and animal products after having tried the Veganuary challenge have reported that their repertoire of meals has exponentially diversified. They eat more balanced, more diverse and more nutritious meals and are relying less on animals for delicious meals.

Plant-based alternatives are growing in popularity

More and more consumers are questioning the consumption of meat, dairy, and eggs, and the effects that our diets have on animals, the environment, and our health. This is also reflected in the increasing demand for plant-based alternatives. Plant milk, for example, has been consumed for centuries in various cultures, but its popularity has skyrocketed over the past decade. Additionally, cruelty-free substitutes such as plant-based sausages and burgers are improving all the time and it is increasingly difficult to tell them apart from the ‘original’. In South Africa, brands like Beyond Meat, Fry’s, On the Green Side, and many others have made it increasingly easier to still enjoy the taste of meat without the coinciding harm it causes.

It has never been easier to cook delicious vegetable dishes

People who prefer to experiment in their kitchen instead of buying animal-free ready meals are finding an increasing selection of great recipes in cookbooks and on blogs. Whether it’s gourmet food lovers, fans of fast food, or chefs who like to experiment – the colourful variety of plant-based cuisine has something for everyone. And while people are often afraid of giving up their favourite dishes, many traditional meals can be easily veganised with a few tweaks.

Gather your taste experiences step by step

ProVeg supports people in making this sustainable and enjoyable lifestyle their own. To do so, one does not have to change overnight to living a life that is 100% plant-based – just get started. Incremental changes to diet should be as easy as possible, which is why ProVeg provides a great deal of information about the advantages of plant-based cooking, as well as tips for a change in diet.

ProVeg supports the availability of tasty plant-based alternatives

ProVeg is particularly committed to the theme of taste. On an individual level, we constantly show people new ways to enjoy plant-based food, point out healthy, cruelty-free alternatives, and support them in their implementation. Apart from raising awareness, we invest a lot of resources into creating a facilitating environment. On an institutional level, ProVeg vigorously promotes the development of great-tasting plant-based food by supporting and advising innovative companies that want to enrich the veggie market with their products. We work with caterers, chefs, businesses, and producers to improve the availability and quality of plant-based alternatives.

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