When you decide to change your eating habits to a more healthier lifestyle, like a vegan diet, you’re going to need know how to properly prepare your foods, and what foods to avoid. But just like anything new you attempt to do without the proper knowledge, mistakes are going to happen. If you’re changing your diet to a vegan diet here are some common mistakes that new vegans make and how to avoid them and even fix them.
Not using coconut oil the right way: When using coconut oil to cook with it, make sure it’s at room temperature to avoid it from turning into solid form. If you’re using cold ingredients, make sure they have a chance to reach room temperature first before adding your coconut oil.
Just because it says vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy: A common mistake among new vegans is loading up on processed vegan food. That’s not always a healthy choice though. Processed means just that, it’s processed with a lot of non nutritional benefits that goes against the whole concept of being healthy. Nothing beats whole, real and non processed foods.
Using the wrong egg substitutes: If you’re trying to adapt a recipe to a vegan one you may run into a bit of a problem here especially if you’re baking. Egg substitutes are going to make your dish drier than usually so you may need to not only add extra baking powder as well as chia and/or flax seeds for binding and applesauce or pureed bananas for extra moisture. When in doubt, search for a tried and true recipe versus a traditional non vegan one. Check out this cheat sheet for some of the best egg substitutes for baking.
Soaking your nuts: If you don’t properly soak your nuts, they won’t properly absorb the maximum moisture necessary. For nuts that you’re going to use for cheeses, milk or even baking, they need to be thoroughly soaked. Soaking them overnight will ensure that they provide a creamier consistency, more milk, enhances their flavors and are easier to digest.
Cravings will happen: When you change your diet, the cravings are going to hit. It takes at least three to four weeks for your body to get used it. If you start getting cravings, reassess your diet since your body may be telling you it’s missing some essential nutrients.
Don’t go vanilla soy milk crazy: Yes, it tastes good but unless the recipe specifically calls for vanilla skip it and use unflavored soy milk instead. Adding vanilla soy milk to a savory dish will probably ruin it so save it for sweet dishes and desserts.
Beware of lactose-free: The label may say lactose-free but that doesn’t mean it’s dairy free. Some products lactose-free products still contain dairy products so make sure you read the labels carefully. Words to look for include ghee, casein and quark among others. For two intensive lists of dairy ingredients visit Go Diary Free and Daiya.
Cook tofu at the correct temperature: When cooking tofu, make sure that your oil is hot enough to obtain the proper texture and color. When deep frying tofu, use a temperature of 360-375F to cook it quickly.
Speaking of tofu: Do you know how to properly prepare your tofu before cooking? If you’re a newbie, probably not. First thing you need to do is make sure that it is completely drained. The more moisture in it the more the flavors will be diluted and result in a watery texture no matter how hot your oil is. You can use paper towels to absorb the water but it’s best to use a tofu press. Also make sure that you cook it in a neutral flavored cooking oil like refined peanut, soybean, vegetable or canola oil that has a high smoking point.
Preparing quinoas: Considered the world’s most nutritious grain, quinoas is another vegan substitute for meat protein, but not if you’re preparing it wrong. Adding too much water will result in a unappetizing soggy mess. Instead don’t add a lot of water and cook with a lid on it for the correct amount of time stated to get the fluffy texture and the perfect little white curls that make quinoa absolutely delicious.
Don’t ruin your greens: Overcooking your greens will wilt them and ruin their texture making them chewy. To make sure your greens are cooked properly, turn off the heat while their still undercooked, then place in an ice bath to stop them from continuing to cook. For tips on how to cook greens and different ways to incorporate them into a vegan diet visit 7 Day Vegan.
Overly thick smoothies: Making smoothies is an easy way to get the nutrients that you need but make sure you’re making them right. Don’t make the mistake of using drier ingredients, By using drier ingredients you’ll end up with a chunkier unpleasantly tasting texture. If you do go with drier ingredients make sure you add water to it for a perfect blend. Lastly, when using bananas, make sure they’re ripe for a sweet addition.
Omitting essential ingredients: A recipe has a list of an ingredients for a reason and it’s because everything that is listed is needed. So when cooking, don”t omit anything, regardless of what it is. From seasonings to spices to special ingredients like liquid smoke or nutritional yeast, if the recipe calls for it; add it in!
With these tips, you’ll be able to avoid some of the mistakes that many people make when starting or continuing a vegan diet. To learn more about what being a vegan is all about is and how to transition to a vegan lifestyle visit http://www.vegan.com/.