Anonymous said: I was just wondering if you have any suggestions as to vitamins (Brands and kinds) /super foods that should be in the bare bones of a vegan diet thank you
This will be a long post, apologies in advance…
The only supplement I’d specifically recommend is B12, and that is only if you actually have low/deficient levels highlighted in a blood test. B12 is extremely important and this is the only micronutrient that you can’t easily access in a whole-foods vegan diet. Plenty of non-veggos are B12 deficient though, so it’s not like it’s a vegan specific issue. Personally, I have been vegetarian for nearly 7 years and vegan for 3 of those and my B12 levels are so far fine. As long as you get a blood test once a year I wouldn’t stress too much. B12 is not easily absorbed this way, so injections or sublingual (under the tongue) dissolvable tablets can be the best way to go.
The same goes for iron or any other essential nutrient - if you are clinically deficient or have critically low stores, absolutely use a supplement till your levels are restored. At the same time however you should 100% be learning how to get the nutrients the way nature designed for us to do so, from the food you eat. Considering how much we still don’t know about the way nutrients work in our body, or the way different nutrients work together, it’s important to take a whole foods approach to nutrition and not focus on vitamins and minerals in isolation.
What I mean is that it’s more important to eat an orange which contains vitamin C but also fibre, folate, thiamin, carbohydrates, and thousands of compounds we haven’t even identified yet (literally, one of my lecturers pointed out that oranges contain over 20,000 different substances and currently we can only identify a tiny portion of them) than to eat a poor quality diet but take a vitamin C tablet.
This whole foods approach to nutrition is the latest, most up-to-date recommendation from the Australian Dietary Guidelines. Their website http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/ is insanely useful. You can download the most current Guidelines booklet from here, and although it’s obviously not specifically for vegans or vegetarians, there is a lot of useful information in there for us as well as reassurance that a whole-foods plant based diet is perfectly healthy at all stages of life.
Essentially if you eat a variety of delicious whole grains, pulses, beans, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruit, and minimal to no processed crappy, fatty, sugary, salty junk food you are generally going to be getting all the nutrients you need to make your body very happy, healthy and chronic disease resistant. Variety means eating from all these food groups and aiming for a variety of colours - different colours come from different vitamins and minerals.
TLDR: Seriously, my strongest advice would be to stress less about specific vitamins and think more about eating a variety of whole (unprocessed) foods. x
1 month ago
Anonymous said: Dear Little Vegan, Is bread a vegan foodstuff? How can you be sure eggs haven't been used as ingredients? PS: Love your work. Your cooking looks delish!
It sure is, or at least traditionally should be. Plenty of bread comes with an ingredients label, and many bakeries have lists of the ingredients for all their products. Either Brumby’s or Baker’s Delight (can’t remember which) even have a specific ‘vegan’ list on their tills (for staff reference) and on their website. Otherwise you can just ask the staff to find out for you… If you don’t really trust them to check properly, it sucks to have to play the allergy card but that way you know they’ll take you more seriously. Milk is also more commonly used in the more processed breads especially, and a lot of turkish bread contains yoghurt.
PS: Thank you! x
1 month ago
Easy Peasy Winter Comfort Food
- Steamed Broccoli, Rocket and Cherry Tomatoes
- Smashed Red Potatoes with ‘Butter’ and Rosemary
- Fried Swiss Brown Mushrooms with Garlic and Rosemary
Scrambled Tofu with Kale
- Red Onion
- Cumin, Turmeric & Paprika
- Vegetable Stock Powder
Made by my lovely housemate Stephanie.
"Fridge" Salad with Tahini Lime Dressing
- Thai basil
- Marinated tofu cubes (Woolworths Macro Thai Flavoured)
- Sliced fennel bulb
- Pomegranate seeds
- Lime juice
This is my go-to salad when I want something fresh but filling for lunch or dinner. The ingredients alter depending on what’s in my fridge at the time, but the creamy flavours and textures of the tofu, chickpea, avocado, and tahini compliment each other really well. Adding fresh herbs and lime is extra delicious, strawberries work really well, as do pumpkin seeds or cashews.
- Oven-baked Eggplant
- Brown Rice & Quinoa (organic mix) with Brown Lentils, Cashews, Sultanas and Cumin
- Home-made Mint & Tahini Dressing
- Roasted Pumpkin and Red Potato
- Tomato, Red Onion, Parsley and Lemon
Nuts and seeds are rich in energy (kilojoules) and nutrients, reflective of their biological role in nourishing plant embryos to develop into plants.
In addition to protein and dietary fibre, they contain significant levels of unsaturated fatty acids and are rich in polyphenols, phytosterols and micronutrients including folate, several valuable forms of vitamin E, selenium, magnesium and other minerals.
They are nutritious alternatives to meat, fish and eggs, and play an important role in plant-based, vegetarian and vegan meals and diets." -Eat For Health: Australian Dietary Guidelines (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2013)
Creamy Potato, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Leek & Pinenut Soup
- Red onion
- Massel’s vegetable powder
- Olive oil
- Olive or truffle oil to garnish
- Salt & pepper
- In a large pot, saute onion, garlic, and leek until soft.
- Add all other veggies (I essentially just used what I had in my fridge), vegetable powder (2-3 heaped tsp, or to taste), thyme, and enough water to cover your veggies. Simmer covered on medium/low until veggies are soft and falling apart.
- Blend soup and pinenuts into a smooth, creamy consistency.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with toasted crusty bread and nuttlex (or other vegan butter alternative).
- Garnish with olive or truffle oil for extra deliciousness.
Eat For Health: Australian Dietary Guidelines (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2013)
"Appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthy and nutritionally adequate. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the lifecycle.
Those following a strict vegetarian or vegan diet can meet nutrient requirements as long as energy needs are met and an appropriate variety of plant foods are eaten throughout the day.” (p35)
- 3 bunches (stalks) english spinach
- 1 banana
- 1 passionfruit
- 5 strawberries
- 2 ice cubes
- small handful mint leaves
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup soy or other plant milk (optional)
- 1/4 cup cold water
Pineapple, coconut water, kale, baby spinach, celery and blueberries also work really well in green smoothies. As long as you have banana and a good quality blender you’re pretty much guaranteed a deliciously creamy smooth drink that does not taste ‘green’.
Green smoothies are an excellent way to get easy serves of fruit, vegetables, water and/or milk alternatives into your diet. Smoothies are also better for you than juices because you don’t lose anything, like all the fibre lost when pulp is extracted in juicers.
Green Edge Foodgasms
- Salad Bowl with Mango Chutney and Guacamole. I requested Deep Fried Tofu as an extra (this is not usually included) and luckily Cale said they could do that because it made the whole meal absolutely perfect. $10
- Mushroom, Walnut, and Spinach Risotto. The risotto also has red onion, coconut milk, and truffle oil, and is honestly the most delicious risotto I have ever tasted. $16
- Deep Fried Ice Cream! Definitely big enough to share between two or three people. My friend and I had just been to the Kelvin Grove Markets so we supplied our own strawberries. $10
Iron Boost Stir Fry
- 100g tofu = 7.9mg
- 1 cup bok choy and 1/2 cup broccoli = 1.1mg
- 12g or approx. 6 cashews = 0.6mg
- 1 cup cooked brown rice = 1.0mg
- ginger (fresh or powdered), soy sauce, and sesame oil to taste
Total iron content = 10.6mg
*RDI for adult males is 8mg, and 18mg for adult (premenopausal) women. Please note: quantities in image are not all equal to those listed.
- The Medical Journal of Australia. 2012. Is a vegetarian diet adequate? Concepts and controversies in plant-based nutrition 1(2): 13-14.
- nutritiondata.self.com. 2014.
"Globalized industrialized food is not cheap: it is too costly for the Earth, for the farmers, for our health. The Earth can no longer carry the burden of groundwater mining, pesticide pollution, disappearance of species and destabilization of the climate. Farmers can no longer carry the burden of debt, which is inevitable in industrial farming with its high costs of production. It is incapable of producing safe, culturally appropriate, tasty, quality food. And it is incapable of producing enough food for all because it is wasteful of land, water and energy. Industrial agriculture uses ten times more energy than it produces. It is thus ten times less efficient."-
Support organic, sustainable, planet friendly agriculture as often as you can. It is an investment in your own well being, the well being of the planet, the well being of the farmer, the well being of the bees. It is an investment in our collective future.
Pumpkin, Sage & Mushroom Risotto
Basic risotto ingredients:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp nuttelex
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed and diced
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 leek, halved lengthwise and sliced
- 1 tsp lemon rind, 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 5 cups (1L) vegetable stock
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 3-4 sage leaves
- 2-3 cups rocket/baby spinach
- 1 cup sauteed swiss brown mushroom
- 1-2 cups sage roasted pumpkin
- 1-2 handfuls roasted cashews (or pinenuts)
- Turn on the rice cooker and set it to ‘cook’ – you might have to hold the bowl down a bit to stop it flicking up to ‘warm’ until there are enough ingredients weighing it down.
- Put olive oil and nuttelex in the rice cooker and leave until the butter melts.
- Add the garlic and red onion, saute till soft. Add chopped leeks, saute till soft.
- Add lemon rind and juice, sage, arborio rice and vege stock. Mix well then close the lid. Stir once during cooking.
- Once cooked (rice cooker will flick up to the ‘warm’ setting) stir through cashews, baby spinach, rocket and nutritional yeast. Then stir through the pumpkin and mushroom, leaving some pieces to garnish on top.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
Sage Roasted Pumpkin, Potato & Beetroot with Maple Glazed Parsnips
- butternut pumpkin
- baby potatoes
- olive oil (optional)
- sea salt (optional)
- garlic (optional)
- maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 180 - 200 C (depending on the reliability of your oven’s heat).
- Wash and dry all vegetables, leaving the skin on all of them.
- Halve beetroots and cut pumpkin into medium size chunks.
- Place beetroot, pumpkin and sage on a lined baking tray. Top each with a small quantity of olive oil and sea salt. This is optional, as they will still roast nicely without any oil.
- Roast beetroot and pumpkin for 30 mins.
- On a second tray place halved potatoes cut side down (this will ensure you get they go crispy and golden), as well as thick cut lengths of parsnip. (If you want to roast parsnip whole, place them in oven at the same time as your first tray).
- Top parsnip and potato with a small amount of olive oil, sea salt, optional garlic and extra sage leaves.
- When the beetroot and pumpkin have been roasting for 30 minutes add the tray of parsnip and potato. Roast for another 60 minutes or until vegetables are cooked as desired.
- Remove trays from oven and combine cooked parsnips with 1-2 tbsp of maple syrup (100% maple syrup is best). You can coat them in maple syrup before roasting but taste-wise this works just as well. As well as parsnips this is delicious with carrots and/or sweet potato. Add a handful of chopped hazelnuts and walnuts for extra deliciousness.
- Serve roast veggies with a lemon dill butter - simply mix nuttelex (or other plant-based butter alternative) with lemon and fresh dill leaves.
Also picture in the bottom photo is the delicious eggplant and zucchini parmigiana my friend Alex made. I will have to ask her for the recipe so that I can share it on here as it is absolutely delicious.