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The Top 4 Nourishing Vegan Swaps For Non-Vegan Foods

vegan food swaps diet health

Essentially, going vegan is about making your side dishes your main dishes, but many people have trouble with this transition. The big foods to transition from include, meat, dairy, eggs and processed foods. Unloading these foods from your diet and swapping them out with vegan options can cause a positive shift in your overall health.


More: Here's Why We May All Eventually Go Vegan

What stumps many people about attempting a vegan diet is knowing what they're supposed to eat. Naturally, this involves making some swaps from some not so healthy, non-vegan favorites to new vegan favorites. If you’re thinking of going vegan and don’t know where to start, here are four easy vegan swaps for your non-vegan favorites.

1. Instead of Animal Protein, Eat Potatoes

Those who eat a high-protein diet during middle age are more likely to die of cancer than those who eat less protein, according to a recent study published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

In observing over 6,000 people ages 50 and older, and following them for 18 years, researchers found that those who were 50 to 65, and ate a diet rich in animal proteins during middle age were more than four times as likely to die of cancer than those who ate a low-protein diet.

The study also found that middle-age people who ate foods rich in animal proteins — that’s meat, milk and cheese — were 75 percent more likely to die of any cause than those who ate a low-protein diet within the study period.

With statistics like that, it’s time have a good hard look at potatoes, both white and sweet, as vegan alternatives for animal protein. Potatoes are a healing food, as well as anti-cancer foods that pack a big nutritional punch.

The sweet potato is a nourishing source of Vitamin C, as well as A, E, and D, plus beta=carotene, and minerals such as manganese and iron. Sweet potatoes are stress-calming foods since they work to relax the nervous system. What is more, a boiled sweet potato has a glycemic load of 11, compared to a Glycemic load of 42 for a baked sweet potato.

The white potato is high in fiber, potassium, B6 and is a good source of amino acids, particularly l-Lysine, which works to keep viruses at bay. Potatoes are a versatile addition to any meal, and are best eaten steamed, baked or broiled.

More: 8 Ways To Be A Happy Vegan

2. Instead of Cereal, Eat Fruit

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Cereal has become a breakfast staple in the U.S. thanks to J.H. Kellogg who sold us on it, as well as breakfast being the most important meal of the day. Studies have even claimed to have proven that cereal fiber is the best fiber for health. The not so good news is that their plan worked: between JH Kellogg and scientific studies, likely backed by cereal companies, we could never imagine a food ever being faster to prepare or more convenient than cereal.

If you timed the preparation of a bowl of cereal, versus the time it takes to peel a ripened banana you would find out two things: firstly, that banana would win by a landslide, and it would have twice the fiber, water, mineral content and anti-viral properties than the cereal. Secondly, the banana, alone would outshine both the cereal and the milk in digestion time and assimilability. Add to that an orange, a red apple or some grapes and you’ve got a fast food on-the-go breakfast with nutrition and fiber that cereal cannot rival. If you're diabetic you can enjoy more low glycemic index fruits liberally, such as berries, cucumbers, avocado and tomato. Starting your day with fruit, provides the muscles, brain and nervous system with the proper glucose they need function smoothly. These foods also have more than enough of the correct and natural fiber the body needs to keep the digestive process on track. So why aren’t you starting your day with more fruit?

3. Instead of Dairy, Eat Dates

The first reason people reach for dairy is because of calcium. The dairy industry has done a great job marketing milk as a bone protecting food, when this couldn't be further from the truth. According to T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, "most Chinese consume little if any dairy and ingest low amounts of calcium in general. As a result they appear to be at a much lower risk for Hip fractures, since hip fractures are only about one-fifth of what they are in the West – a striking difference."

While there are many concerns about eating dairy, you would be hard-pressed to find a food more nourishing than the date. Dates are an anti-inflammatory food high in fiber as well as bioavailable potassium, iron, calcium manganese, copper and vitamins A and B-complex. Eaten regularly, dates are effective in improving heart health by lowering blood pressure. What is more, dates can easily be made into a milk when combined with water in a high-speed blender, or into a delicious paste when ground in a food processor. Additionally, recent research on dates, published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, found they contain high levels of antioxidants which block free radicals in the body causing damage to cells that lead to cancer. You can't say that about dairy.

More: The Top 2 Vegan Food Home Remedies For Bleeding Gums And Bad Breath

4. Instead Of Eggs - Leafy Greens

There are many reasons people eat eggs but may believe it will improve their eye health. Although eggs have been sold to us as being incredible and edible, they have not been sold to us as being healthy. In fact, according to nutritionfacts.org, the Freedom of Information Act documents reveal that the U.S. Department of Agriculture warned the egg industry that saying eggs are nutritious or safe may violate rules against false and misleading advertising. So if eggs are not nutritious or safe what exactly are they? There are many theories. Until we find out for sure, it's best to swap out eggs in your diet with nourishing vegan foods such as leafy greens. Spinach, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, romaine lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, garden peas and Brussels sprouts boast more bioavailable nutrients than milk, with way less fat, especially if you looking to add more eye-supporting lutein into your life.

Change Isn’t Easy But It's Worth It

Swapping out foods that burden the body with foods that nourish the body is a good way to start your vegan journey. This can be done gradually over time, since every attempt toward health matters. You may also find working with a Certified Holistic Nutrition Practitioner to be helpful with moving forward on making your way toward a vegan lifestyle.