The A-list seems to be in a vegan frenzy, diet food expert Gaby Tayler tells us why and how to get in on the act
Time Out Bahrain staff
The A-list seems to be in a vegan frenzy, diet food expert Gaby Tayler tells us why and how to get in on the act.
Beyoncé and hubby Jay-Z looked fantastic at the Grammys earlier this year and their new bodies and glowing skin are said to be the result of a 22-day vegan (plant based) and gluten free cleanse diet.
For your health: As a short-term cleansing diet, vegetarianism and veganism can be a good idea. A plant-based diet has been shown to increase the body’s metabolism causing calories to burn faster. Combine this with correctly portioned meals and more exercise (at least 30 minutes a day) and you should see beneficial results.
Additionally, several health conditions (eg gout) can be improved by a temporary reduction in animal products (and an increase in plant foods).
Studies have also shown that the higher amount of nuts and whole grains in a vegetarian diet may help to reduce the risk of diabetes.
For the environment: Research indicates that a varied vegan diet requires about a third of the land needed for conventional Western diets! And the expansion of agricultural land accounts for more than 60 percent of worldwide deforestation – most of which is used to graze beef cattle or to grow grains needed for animal feed.
My sister turned veggie a couple of years back for this very reason and it certainly helps her conscience!
If you are currently eating meat and/or fish every day, I would recommend you ease yourself in gently. Start by switching red meat for fish and pasta/potatoes for quinoa for the first week (this is what Beyoncé is said to have done at the start of her diet). Then take out all meat and substitute half with fish and the other half with vegetarian meals … and then remove the fish completely.
If you want to try and go vegan, follow the advice above but also cut out eggs and dairy. Supplement your diet with B12, iron and Omega 3.
Tips to ensure a healthy vegetarian diet: • Eat a rainbow – eat at least six portions of different fruit and vegetables each day. Make sure your shopping trolley is colourful at the checkout.
• Eat natural, unprocessed foods – opt for organic dairy and eggs. Don’t eat anything white – eg no white bread / pasta / rice. Choose brown complex carbs like quinoa (also high in protein), brown rice, spelt pasta, rye bread.
• Eat beans and lentils – great for the digestive system and rich in protein.
• Eat nuts and seeds – rich in essential fats and protein.
• Eat protein with each meal and snack.
• Think of portion control and balance. If you are eating eggs and dairy / cheese you need to be aware that they are relatively high in fat so combine with other vegetable protein foods like lentils.
Vegetable proteins • Pulses and legumes Such as lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, butterbeans, split peas, black-eyed beans, aduki beans, haricot beans
• Soya products (make sure you check they are GM free, and organic is preferable) Such as soya yoghurt, milk, tofu, tempeh, soya beans
• Nuts and seeds Such as almonds, cashews, pistachio, brazil, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts and sunflower, pumpkin, chia, linseeds, sesame seeds.
Animal protein (for the lacto-ovo vegetarian) • Dairy Such as feta / halloumi, yoghurt, milk, cows cheese
Recommended day plan
Breakfast: Chia Porridge Mix one cup of chia seeds with three cups of almond or coconut milk. Leave to soak for 15-20 minutes, stirring every five minutes to prevent clumping. Mix with a sliced banana, a handful of blueberries and cashew nuts, a pinch of cinnamon and one tbsp of maple syrup to taste.
Chia seeds keep you energised and fuller for longer, are rich in Omega 3 and are the highest plant-based sources of complete protein.
Snack: Hummus with raw cucumber / sugar snaps Snack on about three tablespoons of hummus with 100g of raw vegetables.
Lunch: Lentil, green bean and egg salad Put a handful of lentils, kidney beans, black eye beans (all cooked) in a bowl with a finely sliced spring onion, a roughly chopped up hard boiled egg, chopped parsley and blanched green beans – mix all together with some balsamic vinegar, mustard and black pepper.
Dinner: Herb and butter bean soup Finely chop an onion and two cloves of garlic. Sweat gently in some olive oil on a medium to low heat. Addsix6 handfuls of washed and roughly chopped spinach/chard, a handful of chopped parsley, coriander and half of handful of chopped mint to the pan. Cover with vegetable stock, add 1tsp dried mint and 1tsp grated nutmeg. Leave to simmer until the spinach is cooked – then add half a lemon’s worth of juice. Blend, return to the heat, add a couple of handfuls of cooked butter beans. If you fancy, mixing the soup with some yoghurt (can use soya yoghurt too) and some chopped feta is delicious.
Snack/pudding: Dark chocolate and avocado mousse Experiment with amounts! Melt 100g dark chocolate, put in a blender with one peeled and ripe avocado, 100g cocoa powder, 2 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tbsp almond or coconut milk. Blend until smooth. Refrigerate for up to three hours.
Organic Foods and Café in Seef Mall The best selection of organic dairy and soya products as well as the best dietary supplements (they even give recommendations) and they definitely have chia seeds.
Al-Jazira, Carrefour, Alosra supermarkets All have a small selection of organic nuts, seeds, quinoa and other grains, dairy free milks etc. Gaby’s expertise is healthy menu development, training chefs, and health food in general. Get in touch with her on 38895693 or firstname.lastname@example.org.