Everyday Vegan Substitutes

Following a holiday with me droning on about the health benefits of a plant based diet (I feel sorry for anyone that spends that much time with me😂), my amazing sister in law is giving it a go for the next couple of weeks.

In an effort to make life easier I put together this brief list of some of the frequent foods I will choose as substitutes to general day to day foods that a non vegan might already eat.

I will continue to add to this list as time goes on. I still need to find a decent mince meat alternative amongst other things.

 

Cheese

I find that different cheese is better for different meals.

My favourites for pizza (melting) are

For sandwiches, burgers or other dishes I generally use the Sainsbury’s free from cheese, to date it is the best one I have found.

Dominos pizza in Israel did a consumer taste test for their vegan pizza (only available in Israel) and after many focus groups the winner was Vbites Cheezly, I have never tried it but could be worth a go.

https://www.veggiestuff.com/dairy-free-cheese/cheese-block/vbites-cheezly-vegan-cheese-mozzarella-190g

I believe that ZiZi and AskItalian also use Mozzarisella on their vegan pizza.

 

Chocolate

Most vegan milk alternative chocolate taste like cheap advent calendar chocolate, I personally like dark chocolate so it’s never an issue for me. Green & Blacks range with assorted flavours like mint are really good or if you prefer something not as bitter then you could even go with Bournville. There are also some incredible home made vegan chocolates available from people like https://www.facebook.com/TrufflePigVegan/

 

Burgers

There is so much choice for burgers, my absolute favourite is LindaMcCartney pulled pork burger.

https://groceries.asda.com/product/vegetarian-meals/linda-mccartney-meat-free-2-pulled-pork-14lb-burgers/910002376279

 

Followed by

Linda McCartney 1/4 lb burger

http://www.waitrose.com/shop/DisplayProductFlyout?productId=493130&source=sho_&utm_source=google%2Bshopping&utm_medium=organic%2Bgs&utm_campaign=google%2Bshopping&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI0dP85PGU1QIVpLvtCh1MrgoZEAQYASABEgKuffD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CIOHl-fxlNUCFQ0W0wodH8AALA

 

And

Sainsbury Meat Free Burger

http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/shop/gb/groceries/sainsburys-meat-free-burgers-x8-454g

 

And

Resembling a spicy chicken burger, I really like these Quorn spicy burgers

https://groceries.asda.com/product/vegetarian-meals/quorn-meat-free-vegan-4-hot-spicy-burgers/910002112311

 

Most rolls are vegan friendly, there are a few weirdo companies that add milk, but the majority of Asda bakery and other supermarket rolls are vegan friendly.

 

Generally I get the Warburtons https://groceries.asda.com/product/bread-rolls-buns/warburtons-white-sliced-rolls/36474

 

The size is really good for burgers and the buns are like that of a fast food restaurant.

 

Sausages

Linda McCartney does it again

https://groceries.asda.com/product/vegetarian-meals/linda-mccartney-meat-free-6-vegetarian-sausage/1000000479435

 

I remember a visit to Alton Towers last year when I asked for the vegan sausages, I had never tried these and when I took one bite I spat it out into a napkin and demanding to speak to the manager because I was FURIOUS that they had given me a meat sausage, much to my embarrassment he brought out the box and WOW!

 

Quorn Sausages

https://groceries.asda.com/product/vegetarian-meals/quorn-meat-free-6-low-fat-sausages/910001174619

These are not vegan as they have egg white in them, but I am told they are a v good substitute.

 

Chicken

Chicken Nugget from Quorn, a guilty pleasure!

https://groceries.asda.com/product/vegetarian-meals/quorn-vegan-nuggets/910002653183

 

Linda McCartney Pulled Chicken

Perfect for fajitas etc

https://groceries.asda.com/product/vegetarian-meals/linda-mccartney-vegetarian-pulled-chicken/910002634751

The Quorn chicken is just ok… I would highly recommend that if you use it that you add it to a curry or other dish with sauce to mask the taste and just focus on the texture.

Tofu is a good replacement for chicken in curry etc, again it gives a texture of meat when in a sauce.

 

Milk

After lots of taste testing, my favourite is this Soya milk light

https://groceries.asda.com/product/milk-spreads-cream/alpro-soya-milk-light/11746541

 

Ice Cream

Hands down my go to treat is Booja Booja, with just a handful of ingredients, its bloody amazing!

http://www.waitrose.com/shop/DisplayProductFlyout?productId=336438

 

A close 2nd is Alpro

https://www.tesco.com/groceries/product/details/?id=293751320

 

Yoghurts

Alpro do a range of yoghurts

https://www.tesco.com/groceries/product/search/default.aspx?searchBox=alpro+yoghurts&newSort=true&search=Search

 

I have not tried any of the above, I personally like chocolate desserts and highly rate the dark chocolate soya dessert. They also do a smooth chocolate one.

https://www.tesco.com/groceries/product/details/?id=262697292

 

Protein Bars

D’s Naturals No Cow Bars

I warn you, only buy 1 or you will eat the whole box haha.

http://tidd.ly/ebfdc297

 

Lenny Larry Complete Cookie

Birthday cake is my favourite flavour

http://tidd.ly/de15f4fe

 

Protein Powder

I am a big fan of The Protein Works vegan range and use their Soy Isolate for overnight oats etc because of the amazing flavours they do.

http://tidd.ly/4f64be4a

 

For general post workout shakes etc I use Psycho Pea Protein which you can find on eBay. The reason I use this around a workout is to do with the absorption rate and how quickly the protein will digest.

 

Other

Vbites do a range of foods that are fantastic substitutes for anyone making the transition to a plant based lifestyle, I have eaten at their cafe in Brighton and the foods was great http://www.vbitesfoods.com/ you can purchase most of their food from Holland & Barrett.

 

Eating Out

ZiZis and ASKItalian offer vegan pizza, sides, starter, salad and dessert.

Pizza Express have a new vegan pizza with their own vegan cheese.

The Harvester has several surprisingly good vegan dishes and unlimited salad!

 

Recipes

For recipe ideas my favourite pages right now are

https://www.facebook.com/bosh.tv/

https://www.facebook.com/thebigmansworld/

When Did Eating Get so Complicated?

I just returned from a fantastic holiday in Greece (check out the hotel on my Facebook page if you want a great Vegan friendly hotel to visit) and one of the things that took me by surprise is the confusion and upset people still go through every day with their diet.

If you take a look at my profile pic on Facebook, this was taken a couple of weeks before holiday, I am by no means arrogant or think that my body is anything special, however I am realistic enough to know that having a lower body fat and a little bit of muscle does draw attention from some people and they would come and talk to me about what they eat. Ignoring the vegan lifestyle for now, which seemed to blow peoples minds that I had any muscle definition without eating meat, the biggest confusion appeared to be around the very basics of how to lose weight without wanting to bash your head against a brick wall!…so I wanted to just write this brief post to hopefully give you some peace of mind or take some of the stress away if you are someone that is struggling with a weight loss goal.

I believe that the biggest thing stopping you from losing weight is all the crap you are sold on a daily basis, it could be the latest diet trend on TV, sponsored ads on social media, the latest guru that lost weight eating just coconut oil all day or even your friends and family that swear by a certain diet that worked for them low carb, high fat, high carb, low fat, intermittent fasting etc etc it’s confusing AF!

We have to differentiate correlation and causation, just because your friend or the guru in the magazine lost weight not eating carbs does not mean that it was carbs that were the problem, by removing carbs likely restricted their food choices which meant that they ate less. Same with things like intermittent fasting, its not that you are intermittent fasting that magically makes you lose weight, its because you are spending less time eating and missing whole meals out that you eat less.

In the most simplistic form, the only factor you need to worry about if you are trying to lose weight is calories. I’m going to tell you exactly how you do it in just a few steps, however because media has shoved this and that diet down your throat for so long, complicating the shit out of everything you will think I am bonkers and that something this simple won’t work, here goes..

1) Tomorrow morning step on the scales and take note of your weight.

2) For 1 week don’t change anything you are doing with diet or activity, log all the foods you eat on a daily basis on an app like MyFitnessPal, its really easy and takes seconds to log food, you can even scan barcodes directly in the app to log all the calories.

3) At the end of 1 week step on the scales and then take a look in the app to see what your average daily calorie intake was for the last week.

If your weight has stayed the same or increased and your goal is to lose weight then we need to decrease the daily average calories you are consuming until you start to lose weight.

It’s important to not make any knee jerk reactions, we don’t want to cut 50% of your food, remove chocolate, cake, chips etc etc (if thats what you like eating), just small changes with your calories week on week until the scales start to move in your favour.

Let’s say that on average you are eating 2,500 kcal a day and in the week you put on 1lb. I would suggest that for the next week you drop your daily calories to 2,350 for a whole week and see where you end up in a weeks time. If in a week your weight doesn’t change then nudge it down again for the next week 2,200 a day until your weight starts to drop.

For the average person looking to lose just a few lbs, I recommend a weight loss of 0.5lbs a week. It doesn’t sound like much I know but in 14 weeks thats half a stone…whilst eating all the foods you do now, no restrictions on what you can eat, only on the amount of food.

All you need to do is stick to the calories you have set yourself every day and weigh in each week at the same day/time…and because its your daily average across the week that we want to control, if you go over by a couple of hundred calories one day for a wedding or social occasion, then just eat a couple of hundred calories less the next day.

When you reach a weight you are happy with then just do the same in reverse until you stop losing weight. Nudge your calories up each week until your weight stays the same and hey presto, you are no longer dieting, its a lifestyle where you eat what you want and don’t gain weight. Just stick to the numbers.

You might also be wondering about meal timings, for someone who just wants to lose a few lbs or maintain their weight it really makes no difference if you eat 2 meals a day or 8 meals a day, the most important thing is what you enjoy and gives you the less stress in your daily life. The myth about eating more often to increase metabolism has been well and truly busted time and time again, don’t buy into the B.S. Pick a meal timing that suits your lifestyle.

So there you have it, 2 very simple things you can do to lose weight.
1) Eat when you want
2) Eat what you want

All you need to do is stick to your calories.

Please note that the above is for a typical person who perhaps does a couple of cardio session or is fairly active and just wants to maintain a healthy body or lose a little weight, if your goal is specifically to build as much muscle as possible or “tone up” I put “tone up” in speech marks because toning up basically means adding or maintaining muscle whilst reducing body fat to leave you with a toned look, then it requires a very small amount of additional effort which I will cover in another article v soon.

Any questions or comments please post below or feel free to drop me a message

Thanks

Mark

 

 

Where Do Vegan’s Get Their Protein?

Various vegetarian products, raw tofu, marinated tofu, ground and ball soy protein.
Various vegetarian products, raw tofu, marinated tofu, ground and ball soy protein.

Within 1 week of going vegan you will already be exhausted of this question, friends and family will look at you puzzled and ask “you’re vegan?!”…”but I thought you need protein to build muscle?!”

The immediate assumption is made that because you are vegan you won’t be getting enough protein to build muscle.

SPOILER ALERT: Protein is abundant in every plant based food on the planet 😉

Before we get into the various different protein sources for vegans, it’s important to consider that just because you are vegan, this doesn’t mean that the laws of biology suddenly change for you. I commonly witness people go vegan and jump on the 80/10/10 bandwagon, where 80% of your food is from carbs, 10% from protein and 10% from fats.

There is nothing wrong with this diet setup if general health and well being are your goal, the abundance of carbs from plant sources will ensure that you are getting more than your recommended 5 portions of fruit and/or veg per day and the protein/fat ratios will be enough to serve your body’s minimum requirements to function..

..HOWEVER..

..I am sure you frequent my page because you want to add some lean mass and build muscle right? You don’t just want to “get by” with the bare minimum, you want to give your body the best possible chance of packing on some lean mass and/or losing body fat.

Whilst the 80/10/10 diet is fine for the average Joe, i’m guessing you don’t want to be average and therefore we have to look at the real data to determine what it takes to actually build muscle?

How Much Protein do Vegans Need?

First it depends on your goal

If you’re in a calorie deficit then you should increase your protein intake to reduce the amount of muscle loss. Remember, we never just want to lose weight…we want to lose and target FAT. An increase in protein during a calorie deficit has been shown to prevent muscle loss, aim for 2-3g protein per kg of body weight. [1]

If you are at maintenance calories or surplus, then there is likely no benefit to eating more than 1.4-2g protein per kg of body weight, save your calories for something else. [2]

Protein Timing

Regardless of whether you are vegan or not, if we keep our body in an anabolic environment by maximally stimulating muscle protein synthesis across the day we will build muscle and prevent muscle protein breakdown. Your body goes through a cycle of anabolic (build up) and catabolic (breakdown) of muscle tissue many times throughout the day, what we want to do is tip the scales in our favour.

Research shows that eating a protein rich meal at least every 4-5 hours is probably enough to maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis. This puts the ideal amount of meals per day at 3-4, something like

  • 8am
  • Noon
  • 4pm
  • 8pm

When you eat enough protein containing the king of amino acid’s Leucine, your body flips the switch to start the anabolic process.

This will last for 2-4 hours (depending on what you ate), your body then returns to baseline at which point we want to hit it again with more Leucine rich protein to push protein synthesis up again.

Leucine is a key component to trigger muscle protein synthesis, therefore my choices of protein are based on their amino acid profile, ensuring that we provide our body with all the essential amino acids to build muscle.

Protein Sources For Vegans

My No1 protein source is Soy; Beans/Tofu/Shakes

Despite the misconception that Soy may give you moobs (look out for another article on this soon), Soy is one of the only plant based proteins that people would consider complete, meaning it has full amino acid profile, making it a great choice in your pursuit of building muscle.

  • Whole soy foods are also an excellent source of B vitamins, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • High quality protein with sufficient amounts of Leucine for muscle protein synthesis.
  • Low in saturated fat.
  • High in fiber.
  • There is increasing evidence that consumption of soy protein in place of animal protein lowers blood cholesterol levels and may provide other cardiovascular benefits.

The World Health Organization (WHO) calculated the countries where people live to full health the longest and Japan came out on top with 74.5 years.

Much of this is due to diet, they are the largest consumer of fish in the world and of whole soy!

That’s right, the healthiest people in the world eat soy..lots and lots of soy!

A typical serving of 200g of tofu provides 16g of protein, pair this up with some lentils or chickpeas (see below) and you have a nutrient dense, protein packed meal.

Quorn

Also known as Mycoprotein, Quorn is actually a protein-rich food made from an edible fungus. Similar to Soy, Quorn has a full amino acid profile, is used for many meat substitutes and if that doesn’t sound good enough…has almost enough fiber in 1 sitting to hit your entire recommended daily allowance!

1 bag of vegan Quorn pieces has 45g of protein.

Lentils

Lentils contain high levels of soluble fiber which has been shown to lower cholesterol, aid digestive health and stabalise blood sugar. They are also a great source of magnesium and folate which are good contributors to heart health.

A 240g serving of lentils has 10g protein, great to pair up with other protein sources like Tofu.

Chickpeas

Similar to lentils and soybeans, chickpeas are legumes, as such they contain similar benefits. High in soluble fiber, magnesium and folate, chickpeas also contain a much higher ratio of protein compared to lentils.

200g of chickpeas packs a whopping 38g of protein, perfect for a chickpea curry. Personally I find that the health benefits and protein content of chickpeas more than justifies my addiction to houmus 😉

These are just a few of my favourite protein sources for vegans, truth is, protein can be found in every plant based food there is, I recommend to mix and match your protein sources at each meal and rotate them across the week. This will give you a full amino acid profile at every meal and a delicious variety of combinations.

References

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19927027

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4022420/