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Seeking Jess Vegan Nutrition Vegan Tips

10 Ways To Consume Less Sugar

Everyone loves the taste of something sweet, which in most cases is caused by added sugar.

First of all, let’s answer the question: What is sugar?

Sugar is a carbohydrate. Glucose is the most common carbohydrate and the most important and quickest source of energy.

Refined sugar in processed foods is the bad one as it has no vital substances or fiber. It has literally no use for the functions of our body. Overconsumption of sugar can be linked to several diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.

I personally try to limit my consumption of sugar as much as I can, but I do like to indulge in sweets once in a while.

A few other things that have helped me reduce my sugar consumption are:

  1. Substitute sugar with dried fruit like dates, dried figs and raisins
  2. Spice things up with cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.
  3. Substitute overripe bananas (e.g. add to oatmeal or as sweetener in many recipes)
  4. Try to not consume anything sweet for 2 weeks, your taste buds will adapt very quickly and you will crave it less
  5. Use dark chocolate or cocoa powder
  6. Drink herbal teas with a lot of flavour (especially fruit)
  7. Make healthy vegan desserts out of raw ingredients
  8. Try to eat more nuts (fat content can reduce sugar craving)
  9. Try to eat more fruit and don’t be scared of the sugar in it (check blogpost)
  10. Swap out the soda for flavoured water (cold water with orange, lemon, cucumber, strawberry slices)

Lastly, I would say that you should always make sure to check food labels, as there is sugar in almost anything! Check out this blogpost for the different names sugar can have.

With love,

Jess x

Categories
Seeking Jess Vegan Nutrition

Is Oil Healthy, and if So, Which One?

Is Oil Healthy and if So, Which One?

Fat make up one of the three macronutrients. While there is a lot of opinions on the internet about how much fat we should be consuming, most organisations recommend the fat content not to exceed the amount of 30% of a diet. And this is mainly healthy fats such as avocados, nuts and seeds. Oils should only make a small part of it, due to the fact that oil are very high in calories (9kcal/g) and low in their energy density.

There are some nutritional benefits such as vitamin A, D, E & K, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and saturated fats.

Most of us like oil due to its taste and aromas. And let’s be honest, oils make so many things taste better.

But first let’s answer the question: What are vegetable oils?

Vegetable oils are the isolated fat component and thus an extract of a high fat plant such as seeds or nuts. In this process the fat component is extracted and only a minimal part of the valuable ingredients is kept as most of the nutrients are lost. The energy value of the extracted oil is also much higher compared to the actual nut or seeds. That’s why daily consumption should be kept to a minimum. Usually oils are liquid at 20°C and fats are solid.

Which oils are the healthiest and best for cooking?

Firstly, it depends on the quality of oils:

  • Cold pressed virgin oils: can contain more valuable nutrients compared to refined oils
  • Organic oils: low pesticide content, which is better for us as a consumer and for the environment
  • Type of fat: Saturated fat (coconut oil) – not the healthiest; monounsaturated fat (olive oil) – little healthier due to oxidation stability; polyunsaturated fat (essential) – need to consume through food, not that stable, but are the healthiest

Which oils have a high smoking point?

A high smoking point means that these oils can be heated very high. These oils are coconut oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil and soybean oil.

What oil is best for salad dressings?

The best choice would be oils with polyunsaturated fatty acids such as flax oil, hemp oil or walnut (these should not be heated).

What can I do with olive oil?

You can moderately heat olive oil or also use it for salad dressings.

What else should you know?

You have to keep in mind that generally, speaking from a nutritional point of view, oils have less positive value than the product it has been extracted of. Hence, it is always better to use the food item in its whole form (flax seeds over flaxseed oil).

In case you have an underlying disease (such as cardiovascular disease), it would make sense to completely stay away from any type of oil.

Generally I would say that I personally try to avoid cooking with oil as much as I can, as I do not see that much nutritional value in it and I prefer the whole food over the refined one. But I try not to avoid it any cost, as for example most restaurants add oils to their dishes.

Categories
Vegan Nutrition

Is A Vegan Diet Healthy?

Is a vegan diet healthy?

Before becoming vegan myself, I remember thinking that all vegans ate were salads and vegetables. I had no clue. And I realised that today a lot of non-vegans still think the same way.

When I turned vegan in December 2017, I realised it was not at all the case. I actually couldn’t believe the amount of vegan options I could find everywhere, from vegan burgers, to pizzas, to doughnuts to ice cream. There was literally a vegan substitute for everything. I remember being so excited, that I started eating it all, regularly. I really felt like I wanted to try all of the different vegan options that existed on the market.

With time I started feeling really unwell in my body. Not only did I gain unhealthy weight, due to the amount of sugar and added fat I was eating, but I also felt really tired and without energy. I started questioning if the vegan diet was really for me. I couldn’t believe it. All of the vegans online were promoting all of the health benefits of a vegan diet and how amazing it has made them feel.

I realised that it doesn’t matter if you follow a vegan or omnivore diet. If your diet contains a lot of processed carbs, added sugar and unhealthy fat, you will be generally unhealthy and not feel great.

And so I turned it around. I wanted to become the healthiest I have every been. And I can proudly say my diet has never been healthier! The secret?

A whole food plant based diet!

This means that the focus of the diet is on unprocessed and real food.

What does this mean?

It is pretty simple! Just focus on covering these important food groups:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole Grains (Brown rice, buckwheat, oatmeal, whole-wheat bread,…)
  • Legumes (Beans, Lentils, Chickpeas,…)
  • Healthy Fats, such as Nuts, Seeds and Avocados

As you can see, vegetables and fruits should make up the base of our diet, followed my unrefined whole grains, legumes and high-fat whole foods.

The moment I have focused on these 5 food groups and have started cooking it all from scratch, I saw significant changes to my body, mood and energy. I have never felt better!

And don’t understand me wrong, I still do like to eat mock-meats or vegan ice cream. I just make it an exception and don’t make it the staple of my diet anymore, as I used to.

To make things easier, I like to stock up on staples such as whole grains and legumes, and I also like to precook my meals or make sure I always have a big pot of rice, lentils, beans, in my fridge. So all I have to do is add in some vegetables and healthy fats and I am good to go.

Don’t overcomplicate it. It is really so much simpler than most of us might think!

 

With love,

Jess x