Veganuary – the nutrition tips you need to avoid bloating & fatigue

Veganuary – the nutrition tips you need to avoid bloating & fatigue

January 2019 is set to be the most popular Veganuary yet, with over 14,000 people pledging to stick to a vegan diet and lifestyle for the next month.

Whatever your reasons are for cutting out meat, fish, dairy, eggs, honey, and all other animal derived products, the sudden swap to a vegan diet can have a significant impact on your body, especially if you’re used to eating animal produce every day.  Digestion and energy levels are frequently affected: let’s explore why…

Digestion: a sudden increase in fibre and indigestible starch from vegan staples like pulses, beans, nuts and seeds can cause bloating and wind.  Our gut bacteria are influenced by what we eat, and it can take time for them to adapt to a different way of eating.  They thrive on fibre, fermenting it in our gut, which is why one of the side effects of a vegan diet can be uncomfortable wind and bloating!Lady's hands on her tummy, digestion

Bowel movements may also change: some people experience constipation whilst others find stools become loose and more frequent.  Again, this is down to the change in fibre intake.

  • If you’re suffering with wind and bloating try using a plant-based digestive enzyme formula to support the breakdown of tough plant fibres and starches.  Look for one containing alpha-galactosidase, an enzyme proven to reduce gas and bloating.

  • Soaking pulses before cooking and using fermented soya products like miso and tempeh can aid digestion.

  • Sprouting beans in a seed sprouter can make them easier to digest.

  • Soak nuts overnight then allow to dry before eating; this can aid digestability.

  • Be mindful of your fluid intake, especially if constipated.  Fibre soaks up fluid in the gut, so remember to drink more water throughout the day, and opt for hydrating foods like soups and stews that combine fibre-rich beans and pulses with fluids.

Energy levels: switching from being carnivore to vegan means your body has to adapt to different nutrient sources.  This can affect energy levels, particularly if you’re a pre-menopausal woman with regular periods as you are now reliant on plant-based or non-haem iron sources.

The main nutrients to consider are;

Iron: non-haem iron absorption is helped along by vitamin C so aim to combine these nutrients where possible:

Table of iron foods and vitamin C foods

Zinc: red meat, poultry, and seafood are packed with easily absorbed zinc, so your body has to adapt to deriving it from plant foods on a vegan diet.  Nuts and seeds – especially pumpkin seeds – are good sources, but they also contain phytic acid which can impair zinc absorption.  Soaking the nuts and seeds before eating helps to breakdown phytic acid and improve zinc bioavailability.

Vitamin B12: plant forms of B12 are not readily used by us humans.  You may have enough B12 stores in your system to manage Veganuary, but if veganism is a long-term plan, consider using a B12 supplement or B-Complex containing B12.

Protein: protein is present in varying amounts in foods, which is where the term protein quality comes from.  Eggs are an example of high quality or perfect protein as they contain the right ratio of amino acids (the building blocks of protein) to match our human needs.  On a vegan diet it is important to combine different protein sources at each meal so that over the course of the day you get all the amino acids you need.

Vegan protein sources include:

 – Nuts (whole or as nut butters)

 – Seeds

 – Pseudo-grains like quinoa and amaranth

 – Legumes and pulses

Omega-3 fats: the omega-3 oils found in oily fish are DHA (docosahexanoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).  We can use these straight away with no need for conversion: they help regulate inflammation and support heart health and mental wellbeing.

Plant foods contain ALA (alpha linolenic acid) which is the ‘parent’ of DHA and EPA.  It goes through several conversion pathways in the body to become EPA and DHA and we lose some of it along the way.  Because of these conversion losses, it’s important for vegans to include ALA sources everyday.

The richest concentrated source of ALA is flaxseed oil; this can be drizzled over cooked vegetables, salads, granola, coconut or soya yoghurt, included in smoothies – the ideas are endless!  I know a lady who adds it to her gravy!  It can be added to hot foods but don’t cook with it as high temperatures affect the oil structure.

Other sources of ALA include walnuts, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil, hemp oil, and chia seeds.

Plant-based diets can be as varied and nutritious as meaty-fishy ones, but they do require thoughtful planning, especially at the outset.  Browse these recipe blogs for meal inspiration and remember to join the Facebook group and follow me on Twitter where I share a #MeatfreeMonday recipe each week.

Minimalist Baker

Pickles & Honey

Happy Healthy Life

 

Behind the scenes at Nutty Health Almond Milk

Behind the scenes at Nutty Health Almond Milk

A couple of months ago I had the pleasure of meeting Kim Broderick, co-founder of Nutty Health almond milk, and learned the inside secrets behind their amazing products.

The story began when Kim received an unusual gift for Mothering Sunday last year: a bottle of homemade almond milk.

Her daughter-in-law was missing the rich nutty taste of New York almond milk, so decided to make her own – and Kim was more than impressed with the result.

Fast forward a few months to September 2017 and ‘Nutty Health’ launched themselves at the York Food & Drink Festival.  “I was full of doubts when we arrived at the Festival” says Kim, “but we sold out within hours.”

NuttyHealthI met Kim at Nutty Health HQ: her immaculate kitchen workshop in the beautiful South Yorkshire countryside.  As we chat, Kim dons her rubber gloves and gives me a demo of how the milks are made.

Unlike any of the standard supermarket milks which only contain 2% almonds, Nutty Health is made with 14% high quality Californian almonds – a difference which is immediately noticeable in the rich creamy taste.

The nuts are soaked in spring water for 11-20 hours, before being rinsed, blended, strained twice through a cheesecloth bag, then pressed through a custom made fruit press.  The only additive is a tiny amount of sunflower oil (1ml per 250ml bottle of milk) which acts as a natural preservative, giving the product an 8 day shelf life.

Kim now has the milk-making process down to a fine art; while listening to Ken Bruce on Radio 2 (of course!) she can now produce 200 bottles in just 4 hours!  That’s a lot of almond-milking!

No artificial sweeteners, sugars or thickeners are added – the milk is beautifully simple and pure, brimming with vitamin E antioxidant goodness.  And the almond pulp doesn’t go to waste – Kim uses this to make energy balls to sell at Festivals and shows alongside the milks.

The plain almond milk is accompanied by 3 flavoured varieties: cacao made with organic raw cacao; vanilla, and organic green matcha – a flavour which is surprisingly popular with male customers and cyclists!  Flavoured milks

Since launching last year, Nutty Health has blossomed and expanded into health stores and farm shops across our region (you can find a list of stockists here).  Kim offers a delivery service in Leeds and York, allowing customers to buy direct if the products aren’t available locally.

To find out more about the Nutty Health range, contact Kim at https://www.nuttyhealth.co.uk/

If you have any top tips for making dairy-free milks do share your thoughts in the comments below or come and join the conversation in the Facebook group 🙂

 

 

Elena’s Colourful Farinata

Elena’s Colourful Farinata

vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free

This recipe comes from Elena Holmes, a fellow nutrition consultant and superb vegan cook!  Based on a traditional dish from northern Italy, Elena has added more vegetables and spices to increase the taste, colour and nutritional quality.

Ingrediants

200g Gram flour (also sold as chickpea flour)Veg_snip

approximately 400ml water

1 medium leek

1 red onion

1 red pepper

1 large courgette

4-5 medium tomatoes

1 bunch fresh (or dried) sage

Optional spices: crushed chillies, turmeric, curry, smoked paprika – select according to taste

Olive oil to grease the tray and drizzle over the farinata

Pinch of salt

Carefully mix the flour, water and salt until it has the consistency of cream or gravy – use a whisk to avoid lumps.  Leave this mixture to rest for 40-60mins.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Dice the vegetables and sage.  Oil a standard sized baking tray and scatter the veg and sage evenly over it.  Add your chosen spices.  Pour the flour mixture over the vegetables, drizzle sparingly with olive oil and bake for 25-30mins until the vegetables are cooked andthe farinata has the consistency of soft flat bread.  Allow to cool for a few minutes then cut into pieces and serve.  Leftovers can be eaten cold the next day.

Elena can be contacted at www.elenahealthfood.com

Shakela’s Turmeric Quinoa

Shakela’s Turmeric Quinoa

gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan

This beautiful golden spice is gaining widespread popularity for its amazing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions.  As well as being a staple ingredient in so many curry dishes it can be added to warm milk for a ‘turmeric latte‘, mixed with hot water, ginger, raw honey and lemon for a soothing cold-fighting brew or simply blended in with other herbs and spices in casseroles and soups.turmeric_Ggle

Shakela Shan from www.nutrishan.com is a Nutritional Therapist with a special interest in weight management.  Her passion for creating new recipes really shines through and she has kindly shared this one for you!

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa

1.5 cup water

1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder

Salt and black pepper to taste

Dried cranberries

Chopped fresh coriander

Flaked almonds

Olive oil

Method:

1. In a pan add quinoa, water, salt, turmeric and black pepper and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on the pan. Turn the heat off and allow to stand for a further 10-15 minutes.

2. Finally add the cranberries, coriander, flaked almonds and a drizzle of olive oil. Stir in all the ingredients with a fork. Enjoy 🙂

Liz’s Carrot Crunch Breakfast

gluten-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, vegan

This bright nourishing breakfast dish was shared with me by my friend Liz who has a wealth of naturopathic knowledge.  It is a tasty, filling alternative to the usual breakfast cereals and you can add many different nuts and seeds to the basic recipe of carrot and raisins.

Soak a tablespoon of raisins and a tablespoon of any type of nut or seed (ground or whole) in a milk of your choice for at least 30mins (or overnight).  Add grated carrot and extra milk or yoghurt if desired, mix well and enjoy!