The tastiness of vegan meals
Despite our interest in all things Veganuary (throwback!), we aren’t actually vegans around here.
However, a long time ago we discovered that the best way to get tasty airline food was to choose the ‘vegetarian’ option. Why? Because meat is easy - a bit of seasoning, a staple side, and your meal is complete. Unimaginative, but complete.
Vegetarian meals, however, require a little more thought. The meals contained pulses for protein, interesting spices for flavour, and often a bit of crunch for texture. Delish!
Taking that one step further: a vegan food option can’t rely on a topping of melted cheese, or a boiled egg for extra oomph. Veg-heavy and flavourful, vegan meals have no choice but to plumb the depths of our spice racks, to utilise oft-forgotten pantry items, to open our minds!
So when a very good friend was coming to dinner and informed us that they were now vegan, we were very excited to break out our newest cookbook to prepare for what was sure to be a palate-expanding experience.
The first thing we learned was that people have many different reasons for being vegan.
What are the reasons for being a vegan?
Vegans can be grouped into four main categories: religious, health, ethical, and environmental. Let’s explore:
- Religion - Eastern religions that believe in ‘ahimsa’, or the practice of non-violence towards living things, will find themselves very often represented in the vegan community.
Jainism is a vegan religion, as you may not be surprised to learn when you realise that devout Jains carry a fan to brush off any bugs from a seat before they sit, or from a path before they walk.
Rastafarians eat what they call ‘ital’ food, which is also vegan! Even many Orthodox Christians who follow the strict fasting calendar often eat a largely plant-based diet, particularly in Ethiopia and Eritrea.
- Health - for many who wish to cut down cholesterol and animal fats, the easiest way is to cut a large swathe from a ‘typical’ diet by simply avoiding all animal-based products.
- Ethics - not contributing to the mistreatment of animals is a very common reason cited by people who have become vegan.
- Environment - with many studies pointing to animal husbandry and factory farming as leading causes of environmental breakdown, eating a vegan diet is some people’s way of fighting against unsustainable living.
What do vegans eat?
This is where the water becomes a little bit muddier. Because there are:
Different types of vegans!
While vegans become vegans for the four main reasons we just described, veganism itself is not a simple term - there are junk food vegans, whole food vegans, raw food vegans, beegans... the variety astounds!
So once you find out what style of veganism someone subscribes to, catering to them becomes easy.
We’ll help break it down for you.
Basically defined, a vegan is someone who doesn’t use any product in which animals may have been used or exploited along the way. This means food, with meat, dairy and eggs being very strictly avoided, but also things like honey. There are some vegans who refuse to eat almonds and avocados, as bees are usually shipped in containers in order to pollinate these trees.
This also means rejecting clothes made with wool, as well as the obvious leathers and suedes. Feathers, angora, fur, and silk are also on the ‘no’ list for a hardline vegan.
Cosmetics and products tested on animals? Big nope.
There are also many, many dietary vegans who find avoiding all animal products in daily life difficult or unnecessary, and they stick to avoiding only the foods, without worrying as much about the clothing and other products.
These also fall into categories (surprise, surprise), with a range of different health profiles.
For example, we all know the one vegan or vegetarian who seems to survive solely on crisps, chocolates and the processed foods that fit their vegan lifestyle.
On the other end of the spectrum from these Junk Food Vegans live the Whole Food Vegans, who cover all of the dietary bases from vitamins and minerals to macronutrients like fat and protein. These healthy eaters live on nuts, seeds, whole grains and fruits and veggies.
Raw Food Vegans can fall anywhere in the middle as long as their food isn’t heated to above 48C. And the list can really go on and on, and as specific as you care to get.
Vegans can eat much more than you think!
The important thing when cooking or shopping for the vegan in your life isn’t to think about what they can’t have, but what they can!
If the idea of having a vegan on your gift list leaves you a little overwhelmed or unsure, we here at Rare-Box have packed up the perfect idea - not only is it our signature puzzle-encrypted reusable wooden crate, but it is packed to the brim with guaranteed, certified, and absolutely delicious vegan snacks. With the nibbles comes a helpful and totally ingenious recipe book, for when inspiration fails.
This book is also a lifesaver (as we can attest) when someone has a vegan guest coming for dinner and needs to whip up a meal that can impress and satisfy.
Happily, we can report that our first vegan meal preparation went absolutely swimmingly and we have even made ourselves a few dishes for our own cozy nights alone.
If that was not enough, here you have a video from our friends at The SeriousFitness explaining The Vegan Diet.