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The best vegan substitutes for everyday vegan meals

With Veganuary ending today we just want to say a massive congratulations to everyone who took part. Whether you’ve cut all meat and dairy out of your diet or just cut down, your actions are making a difference to the planet and to animals. While January might be over, there are some easy substitutes that you might want to take forward for the rest of 2020.

It is estimated that Veganuary 2020 will save the equivalent C02 of 450,000 flights and over a million animals.

The simplest and most obvious substitute is milk which you’ve probably already tried 10 different versions of from 5 different brands! Dairy free milks include but are not limited to: soya, rice, almond, cashew, hazelnut, soy, hemp, oat and pea.

These milks react differently to cows milk depending on what you’re using them in. For tea you can use most of these substitutes, coffee however reacts differently to some dairy free milks so it’s often best to get the barista version which is made especially for tea and coffee. For baking it’s best to use the least flavoursome milk so soy, almond and oat work really well.

Margarine and butter are the next easiest substitutes as there are so many brands and versions. Most of them are versatile consisting of an olive oil, sunflower, or coconut oil base. With margarine not being the most flavoursome food it’s a really easy swap that tastes much the same as the dairy version. The Flora brand, which is available in most supermarkets, have recently made most of their spreads vegan just check the label.

For baking there are a few brands of vegan butter for baking. In the UK the best option is the Naturli vegan block while in the US Miyokos is to go to brand. They work in much the same way as dairy butter in the sense that they have a high fat content so work well in baking.

For a lot of people cheese is a deal breaker when considering veganism. While there are some substitutes out there not all taste that cheesy – it’s a little way behind dairy free milk and is still something in development.

We would recommend Violife grated cheddar style which melts well and is great if you don’t like the flavour of coconut because a fair amount of dairy free cheese is made with a coconut base. Alternatively another great melty cheese is Bute Island grated mozzarella style, it’s perfect for pizza and cheese on toast.

If you’re a fan of smoked cheese a great option is Violife smoked cheese. It carries a great flavour and is lovely in a sandwich. Another great option (and my favourite) is Applewood’s smoked dairy free cheese which tastes exactly the same as the original Applewood cheese. It isn’t sold everywhere however so you might have to hunt around a little for this one!

Honey is another ingredient that can easily be replicated by using maple syrup or agave nectar, both of which are from natural sources. If you’re a fan of honey as a spread try the brand Honea. Their honea but+er which is a well blended honey flavoured spread which is really addictive.

While going plant based can sometimes be challenging these small steps can help you to make a difference to your diet for the better. Now the question is what can you achieve for the environment and animals for the remainder of 2020?

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