If the idea of a month without milk, butter, eggs and meat leaves you in a cold sweat, don’t panic – we chatted to Dominika Piasecka from The Vegan Society to explain the basic food swaps to get you started.
1. Swap: Cow’s Milk For Plant Milk
Soya, almond, oat, coconut, hemp and hazelnut are just a few of the vegan milks you could use for your tea or cereal. And with so much choice out there, you’re bound to find something you like.
“Don’t be put off if you don’t like some of them – just move on to the next brand or a different type of milk,” says Piasecka. “They’re all available in the long life milk aisle as well as the refrigerated aisle at every supermarket. Their nutritional value is very close to, or better than, dairy products.”
2. Swap: Hen’s Eggs For Vegan Alternatives
Like cow’s milk, there are a lot of vegan alternatives to eggs, too – which one you choose depends on what you’re using it for. In baking, eggs are used as a binding product, rather than for flavour, so Piasecka recommends buying vegan powders that imitate egg, available in stores such as Holland & Barrett.
“If you’re after scrambled eggs, use firm tofu or Follow Your Heart egg powder,” she says.
3. Swap: Butter For Dairy-Free Spread
Vegan margarine is widely available and often contains less fat than its animal counterparts. Piasecka says to look out for Flora Dairy Free, Vitalite, Pure, and Naturli Organic Vegan Spreadable, which is said to taste exactly like Lurpak but healthier, cheaper and cruelty-free.
[Read More: 5 vegan cookbooks to see you through Veganuary]
4. Swap: Dairy Yoghurt For Coconut Yoghurt
If you’ve got a sweet tooth and your favourite treats are now off the menu, head to the refrigerated section in your local supermarket to hunt down some vegan yoghurt – top with fruit and you’ve got an instant dessert.
“There’s lots of choice out there, with Alpro yoghurts being the most popular,” says Piasecka. “Many of them are coconut-based, meaning they’re indulgent, slightly sour and very healthy.”
5. Swap: Meat For Meat Alternatives
Most major supermarkets now have a good selection of alternative meat products for those who like the taste of meat, but don’t eat it for ethical or health reasons.
“Check both the refrigerated and frozen sections,” says Piasecka. “Vegetarian and ‘free from’ sections will definitely contain some gems. There are alternatives to beef, chicken and even fish so make sure to check every corner of that freezer.”
6. Swap: Usual Baking Ingredients With Vegan Alternatives
Now you’ve got butter and eggs sorted, there really is nothing to stop you from enjoying baking, even on your new vegan diet.
“The ‘free from’ section is great not just for those suffering from allergies but also vegans,” says Piasecka. “You can find everything there from vegan-friendly decorations to baking ingredients.”