As a Crohn’s sufferer I eat far more vegetables and fruit than the average person, but I know that some people may be eating far below what they should and may struggle to know how to include more in their diet.
Don’t cut out, add more
One of the most common things people say to me when I tell them I don’t eat meat is “oh, but I could never go vegan”, to which my response is always “I’m not saying you have to go vegan but maybe just increase your vegetable intake.” I know for some people this can be quite hard to comprehend since our society seems to be focused on the idea that no meal is complete without meat. For this reason, if cutting down is a struggle, instead plan your meal as you would normally but just add a few more greens on the side.
This will be great for so many reasons. Firstly, with more fibre in your meal it will keep you fuller longer, so you won’t find yourself reaching for the biccie tin after dinner. Secondly, vegetables, no matter what kind, add so many vitamins and minerals with all kinds of health benefits. You may even find that as you add more veggies your meat consumption starts to decrease on its own naturally. When it comes to breakfast, if you have oats or cereal or toast, whip on some berries, low in sugar and high in anti-oxidants. Such an easy way to get in more fruit! It is better to eat the whole fruit where possible rather than a juice as you get the fibre not just the natural fruit sugars, meaning that they’ll go into your blood stream slightly slower than if you just get a hit from the juice.
Variety is the spice of life
The more the diversity on your plate, the wider range of vitamins and minerals you are going to be consuming. In order to add a bit more variety in to your diet try picking up a new vegetable in the supermarket each week. Pick up something you’ve not tried before – maybe rainbow chard or Padron peppers. Then go home and find a recipe to make it into something even more glorious! This will help you to become more confident in the kitchen and you’ll find things that you do like and maybe also things that might not take a regular place on the shopping list! As they all say, the more colour on the plate, the more good stuff going in your body.
Ditch the Dairy
Plant milks can be confusing since now we are lucky enough to have a huge variety at the supermarkets. Some milks, like almond milk (unless it’s the barista version), don’t like going into hot drinks as they tend to separate with the heat. In hot drinks, I really like oat milk but it’s completely up to individual preference. Some plant milks have a stronger taste than others, like coconut milk, whereas some, like oat milk which is also really creamy, have pretty much no taste at all. I like to try a new milk each time I shop or every other time as different brands also vary not just different types of milks. Just keep trying different nut/oats/soy/hemp milks until you find one that you like, then your set! There are also an ever-increasing number of plant based yogurts available now too. Alpro do pots called ‘Go on!’ that are akin to Greek yogurt if you’re a fan of the thick stuff that’s not very sweet. Otherwise you can get yogurt made from almonds to coconuts to soy, so there’s definitely something out there to suit you. And don’t be fooled into thinking that they’re going to cost an arm and a leg! Even Tesco and Asda have their own dairy free alternatives of cheese, yogurts, milk and dairy-free alternatives of cream and crème fraiche, so there is something to suit your every need!
Good Luck and be sure to tag us on social media with #tribetucker to let us know how you’re getting on, showing us any piccies of any glorious veggie creations you come up with!