Cooking vegan this December

Leozette Roode – blogger and vegan recipe developer

5 December 2016

DID YOU KNOW? This past month we celebrated World Vegan Month! Yes, in November 1994 the concept was created by the President of The Vegan Society as part of the society’s 50th birthday. Over the years this celebration grew tremendously and today, millions of people across the globe participate in World Vegan Month by swapping their milk, eggs and dairy for plant-based alternatives for 30 days.

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Although veganism is not nearly as unfamiliar as it was a few years ago, South Africans are still not aware of how easy (and delicious) plant-based meals can be. There is a slight misperception that vegans only munch on celery sticks and lettuce leaves. Well, I am happy to inform you that I’ve been vegan for three years and my favourite foods include burgers, brownies, ice cream and pizza – with (vegan) cheese!

Cutting out animal products from your diet is really not as difficult or extreme as it seems. The trick is simply to replace animal-derived products with substitutes that are not just yummy, but also much healthier for your body. Take Almond Breeze almond milk, for example, this dairy-free milk alternative is a favourite in my vegan pantry and with good reason:
Good for your health – When it comes to nutrition, almond milk is certainly superior to dairy! This is because almond milk lacks the saturated animal fat, cholesterol, and hormones found in cows’ milk. It is a fantastic alternative for people who suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol. Almond milk is high in antioxidants, Calcium and Vitamins A, D and E and is great for reducing inflammation. It may also suppress the growth of prostate cancer cells! Yes, a recent study found that cows’ milk stimulated the growth of human prostate cancer cells but in contrast, almond milk suppressed the growth of these cells by over 30 percent.

Good for the environment – Did you know that it requires 200% more water to produce cows’ milk than to produce a dairy-free milk? That is three times the amount of water! This is because of the massive quantities of water required to feed farm animals. With the current drought that South Africa is experiencing, it is super important to conserve and protect our precious water supply. You can save massive amounts of water by swapping your milk with a plant-based milk alternative.

Good for the animals – As a vegan I feel that slaughtering animals is cruel, but what about our adored milk, cheese and yoghurts? The sad truth is that cows and calves suffer on dairy farms.

Almond milk is super versatile and can be used in everything from breakfasts to decadent desserts. Here are a few examples of how I use almond milk daily:

  • Breakfast: I love cereal so breakfast is always pretty easy for me – a big bowl of Weetbix, muesli or overnight oats with Almond Breeze and fresh fruits and nuts.
  • Lunch: Since I’m always on the go, I usually sip on a smoothie for lunch. Currently, I am loving this creamy green smoothie made with 300ml Almond Breeze, 3 spinach leaves, 1 banana, 1 apple, 1/2 avocado, 1 tablespoon chia seeds and 1 tablespoon ground flax.
  • Dinner: By dissolving 1 tablespoon of corn starch in 1/2 a cup of cold almond milk, you can make a gorgeous thick sauce! Another great family meal is my vegan Mac & Cheese bake made with Almond Breeze.
  • Let’s not forget about the sweet treats! My go-to dessert recipe is this no-fail carrot cake recipe. It is one of the easiest and quickest recipes to whip up!

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World Vegan Month reminds us that a few small changes can make a massive positive difference – to your health, our environment and animals. I encourage you to start experimenting with alternatives and see (and feel) the difference yourself! Give it a try and join the Green Monday movement and start introducing vegan dishes to your diet one day a week.

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