A Guide to Going Vegan with Nourishing Amy and Romy London

So, we’ve given you vegan recipe inspiration from our community. We’ve told you all about the hardest foods to give up as a vegan and how to replace them. And now you need your vegan role models. Meet Nourishing Amy – your new favourite plant-based foodie and Romy London – the vegan blogger with the best eyebrows (and recipes). They are two of our favourite vegan bloggers and have made countless recipes from hemp – from Romy’s hemp bread and hemp pancakes to Amy’s hemp chia pudding and butternut squash soup. But this time, we decided to ask them to help us with Veganuary. Here they share the benefits of a vegan lifestyle, the plant-based brands they love and why they eat hemp.

 

Nourishing Amy

Why do you think people should try a plant-based diet (even if it’s just for January)?

I really haven’t found any negatives to a vegan lifestyle. Knowing you’re not causing harm to any living beings (humans and animals alike) feels amazing and it’s so important in protecting our planet and its inhabitants. A vegan diet uses less water (unlike the massive amount used for the meat industry), produces fewer methane gases and less waste. Personally, I’d urge people to try eating plants for a month to feel the impact on their health and wellbeing. I feel lighter and freer, with more energy and a renewed zest for life.

Why do you use hemp as a vegan?

There’s still talk that vegans don’t get enough protein, when in actual fact this could not be further from the truth. Vegetables, pulses, grains, nuts and seeds… these are all protein sources that I eat every day. I love hemp seeds sprinkled on salads or breakfast bowls because I like the flavour and the contrast in textures. Hemp oil is a great one to cook with, too, as an alternative to olive oil thanks to its neutral flavour, and I like to add a scoop of hemp protein to smoothies and porridge bowls to make them more filling. Hemp isn’t just for vegans, though, but it is a great source of protein that adds a boost to any diet.

What was the hardest thing for you to give up when you went vegan? How did you get through it?

I never ‘went vegan’, rather it was a very gradual process that started with me switching dairy for almond milk because it was trendy at the time. As I learnt more about food and nutrition, spent more time in the kitchen and tirelessly read food blogs, I was met with delicious looking recipes that happened to be plant-based. I no longer wanted to cook with chicken or fish as other dishes with pulses and vegetables seemed more interesting. Before I knew it, I was thriving off a vegan diet (minus my love for Greek yoghurt). As soon as I realised I did not consume any other animal products, I knew it had to go and made my way through the various yoghurts on the supermarket shelves. It was definitely trial and error, but there are some fantastic options and I have never looked back.

What is the food you think most people would miss? And what would be your vegan solution?

A lot of people I talk to say that they could not ‘go vegan’ because they’d miss a good old English breakfast or bacon sandwich too much. I’m very happy to say that you can replicate a fry up like-for-like with delicious results. Scrambled eggs can easily be swapped for scrambled tofu with a dash of black sea salt for the ‘egginess’, there is an array of vegan sausages that will leave meat-eaters struggling to find a difference in taste and texture, and all the vegetables that go along with a breakfast are vegan anyway – baked beans, tomatoes, mushrooms (just make sure you cook them in vegan butter or oil). There are also so many ways to make vegan bacon, too. From aubergine, to rice paper and coconut, the smoky flavour is easy to replicate. Hash browns and toast are usually vegan and serve with some vegan butter.

What would be your three tips for going vegan in January?

  1. Do your research – don’t suffer through the month hating the food you are eating. Read food blogs, cookbooks and ask for advice on social media.
  2. Go out to eat! There are so many amazing options for vegans on restaurant menus today – from the ‘beyond meat’ burger to vegan cheese pizzas or healthier vegan Asian cuisine. Google restaurants first and look at the happycow app for advice.
  3. Have an open mind. Don’t begin the month with a defeatist attitude that this will be difficult, you’ll feel gross and have no energy (or no protein!!) because there are millions of vegans flourishing by eating this way. Try not to be too hard on yourself if you slip up once, carry on and note it as a lesson learnt. Get your friends or family on board, too, so you can cook together and really get into a positive plant-based lifestyle.

What are some other plant-based brands that you use and love?

There are so many plant-based brands out there truly smashing it when it comes to opening our eyes to veganism. Coyo is a brand I love to use as their coconut yoghurts come in a variety of flavours and are certified organic and 100% natural. I am a nut butter addict and thankfully there are more and more brands popping up every day – from peanut to almond and macadamia to cacao halva spread, these are all vegan-friendly. I also could not live without chocolate! Most dark chocolates are accidentally vegan, while there are so many plant-based chocolate brands I love: Nucao, Ombar, Seed and Bean, Doisy and Dam, Raw Halo, OCTO, Booja Booja…

Romy London

Romy-London-Vegan-Pancake-RecipeWhy do you think people should try a plant-based diet (even if it’s just for January)?

I think in recent times we’ve become more conscious of the damage our lifestyles can do to our planet, and I believe the western civilisation going plant-based is the only effective solution to help ensure liveable conditions for future generations on our planet. Apart from being great for our environment I can also say from experience that a plant-based diet has massively increased my natural energy levels and I no longer feel sluggish all the time – making the change has been more than worth it just for this alone.

What was the hardest thing for you to give up when you went vegan? How did you get through it?

Probably the most common response to this question: cheese! I was super addicted to cheese before going vegan and would pretty much eat it on everything imaginable. When I finally made the switch in mindset though, it came around much easier than I thought – after a couple of weeks my taste buds had completely changed and I was no longer feeling the need to eat cheese at all (instead I loved allllll Asian foods!). I’ve only just started eating vegan cheese in the last two years – since some truly tasty options have appeared on the market.

What would be your tips for going vegan in January?

Try new cuisines! Finding my passion for cooking and experimenting in the kitchen is honestly what’s kept me going during the first few weeks of making the switch. Challenge yourself to create more home cooked dishes – and if you don’t have much time, meal prep (and make use of your freezer space)!

What’s your favourite vegan recipe that you want to share?

I think if I had to choose an all-time fave it would probably my peanut noodles. To me they’re simply the most delicious, creamy and comforting dish (and also super easy to create!). I’ve even managed to get a fair few friends addicted to the dish – both vegan & non vegan! The full recipe is available on my blog.

Why do you use hemp as a vegan?

Hemp is a great protein source and an important part of my diet as a vegan. It also provides me with healthy omega fats that are otherwise hard to come by in a plant-based diet.

What are some other plant-based brands that you use and love?

Some of my favourite products include those of Deliciously Ella, Oatly, Perkier and Pip & Nut.

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