Locating Restaurants that Cater to Vegans

Locating Restaurants that Cater to Vegans

For the every day vegan, navigating restaurants can be tricky. I find that very few restaurants cater to vegans, unless you find yourself willing to grossly overpay for a simple meal in Sandton of course!

That being said, our local restaurants have come a long way and some exclusively-vegan spots are starting to pop-up everywhere. Some of my favorites are:

Spur steak ranches

Starter

  • Side of Greek salad – just remember to exclude the feta. Don’t be fooled by the crumbed mushrooms, they’re unfortunately basted in egg

Mains

  • Veggie Schnitzel
    The chicken-style schnitzel is super yum and it is excellently complimented by the sweet chilli sauce
  • Beyond burger
    If you’re willing to pay more for the “beyond meat” option, you won’t be disappointed. And you won’t feel left behind by your friends having their typical cheese burgers.

Spur doesn’t yet have any vegan-friendly desserts but hopefully, they’ll come to the party soon.

P.s. the salad dressing contains egg powder…

Kaylees Eatery

If you ever find yourself in Bedfordview, Kaylees is a terrific choice! They are 100% vegan and thus do not serve ANYTHING that isn’t vegan – well hello future!

Although there are so many super yum choices, here are some of my favorites:

Starter

  • Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Nuggets – You’ll thank me later

Mains

  • Warm Butternut & grain salad
  • Crispy quinoa, wild rice and bulgur wheat mixed with wilted spinach. Topped with roasted butternut and granola, za’atar roasted chickpeas, and tofu feta. Tossed in a lemon vinaigrette and served on a generous shmear of beet hummus.

Dessert

  • Kaylees have a giant variety of desserts that are all delicious but you cannot go wrong with their Traditional American Apple Pie. They fulfil all your deepest-sweetest desires.
  • Kaylees also has their own super market to browse after your meal that includes frozen meals made by their super talented chef.

Wood & fire

Admittedly, wouldn’t be my first choice but it is always important to know how to build a meal when you find yourself at a seemingly un-accommodating establishment.

Starter

  • Fruit salad or Avo toast – Always great choices

Mains

  • Aubergine (eggplant) and if you want a little extra, ask for a side of greens/ cauliflower.

Once again, you won’t find a vegan friendly dessert but you can find Paul’s homemade ice cream at some garages and hopefully some sorbet is still hiding in the fridges. If not, my guilty pleasure has always been some peanut brittle – and there’s no need to share because your friends probably filled up on the malva pudding at the restaurant.

What it means to be Vegan

What it means to be Vegan

What it means to be Vegan

Definition of veganism – https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vegan/definition-veganism

“Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”

However, being vegan does have its challenges. Most typical difficulties include:

  1. Planning your meals to ensure that you properly balance your daily macronutrients
  2. Supplementing important vitamins and minerals

Planning your meals to ensure that you properly balance your daily macronutrients

Being vegan has made me painfully aware of how little I knew about nutrition. I’ve had to become much more aware of what I put into my body and to focus on ensuring I get absolutely everything I need to give my body as much as it gives me in return.

Macronutrients, namely protein, Carbohydrates and fat provide us with energy when we consume them. It is important to identify your individual needs and adjust your diet accordingly.

A typical Macronutrient breakdown

Figure 1: A typical Macronutrient breakdown

Source: https://healthyeater.com/flexible-dieting-vegan-vegetarian 

Protein

Protein is the key ingredient in muscle repair, growth and strength development. Every cell in your body contains protein. Protein also assists the body to grow and develop, relay important messages throughout your body, fight infection, making hormones, repair cells/tissue and carrying oxygen. Your protein needs would be dependant on your health and activity level. Protein is also a good source of certain vitamins and minerals such as zinc and B vitamins. For a vegan, it is important to ensure these amino acids are included in your diet to provide optimum nutrition.

A “typical” adult, i.e. on average, should consume 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight. It is important to note that each individual has their own needs and should consult a dietitian for exact requirements.

Some High protein vegan foods

Food Protein content Other nutrients
Quinoa – 1 cup cooked (more typically a carbohydrate replacement) 8-9g Complex carbs, fiber, iron, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium
Lentils – 1 cup cooked 18g Folate, manganese, antioxidants and iron
Peas – 1 cup cooked +/- 9g Good source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and several other B vitamins
Chickpeas – 100g 7g Complex carbs, fiber, iron, folate, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, and several beneficial plant compounds
Beans: kidney, black, pinto, cannellini etc – 1 cup cooked +/- 15g
Tofu – 100g 10-20g Iron, calcium, and 12–20 grams of protein per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving
Hemp seeds – 30g 9g High levels of magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, and selenium. What’s more, they’re a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
Ground linseed – 1 tbsp 3g
Nuts, nut butters and other seeds – 28g 5-7g depending on the variety Great sources of fiber and healthy fats, along with iron, calcium, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin E, and certain B vitamins. They likewise contain antioxidants, among other beneficial plant compounds
Oats – 100g cooked 10g Oats also contain magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and folate
Nutritional yeast – 16g 8g Fortified nutritional yeast is also an excellent source of zinc, magnesium, copper, manganese, and all the B vitamins, including vitamin B12

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/functions-of-protein

https://www.vegansociety.com/resources/nutrition-and-health/nutrition-overview-0

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/best-sources-protein-vegans

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/protein-for-vegans-vegetarians#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2

Carbohydrates

Carbs provide key fuel for the brain, central nervous system and for muscular work. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and then stored as glycogen in your liver and muscles. Carbs are thus the body’s main source of energy. For instance, dietary fibre is a carbohydrate that aids in digestion, helps you feel full and regulates your blood cholesterol levels.

A “typical” adult, i.e. on average, should get around 45% of their daily calories from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates contain four calories per gram, you should consume 225 to 325 grams of carbohydrates on a daily basis if you’re following a 2000-calorie diet. It is important to note that each individual has their own needs and should consult a dietitian for exact requirements.

Healthy carbohydrate-rich foods (containing 12 grams of carbohydrates or more per serving) include:

  • Whole grains: quinoa, amaranth, barley, brown rice, oatmeal, whole-grain pasta and whole-grain breakfast cereals
  • Fruits: berries, citrus fruits, melons, apples, pears, bananas and kiwifruit
  • Starchy vegetables: sweet potatoes, yams, corn. peas and carrots
  • Legumes: lentils, black beans, pinto beans, navy beans, chick peas and soybeans
  • Milk products: soy yogurt

Healthy foods lower in carbohydrates (less than 10 grams per serving) include:

  • Nonstarchy vegetables: leafy greens, spinach, cabbage, asparagus, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, cucumbers, peppers, zucchini and mushrooms
  • Nuts and seeds: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews, walnuts, peanuts and pistachios
  • Soy milk and tofu

Sources:

https://www.reidhealth.org/blog/carbohydrates-101-the-benefits-of-carbohydrates

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-healthy-high-carb-foods

https://www.onpoint-nutrition.com/blog/best-carbohydrates-vegan-diet

Fat

Fat is an essential nutrient for the body and brain. It makes up part of the structure of all cell membranes, brain tissue, bone marrow, nerve sheaths, acts as a cushion for your vital organs as well as insulation. Fats also play a key role in absorbing certain vitamins including A, D, E and K. Fat is the most energy dense nutrient and is the body’s second-best fuel source after carbohydrates.

Not all fats are bad for your health, and some can actually promote good health. While animal fats are associated with weight gain and health issues relating to obesity and heart problems, fats found in plants are generally considered as healthy.

A “typical” adult, i.e. on average, should get around 20-30% of their daily calories from fat. This is about 44-77g per day if you eat 2000 calories per day. It is important to note that each individual has their own needs and should consult a dietitian for exact requirements.

Healthy Vegan Fat sources

  • Almonds
  • Avocado – Despite having quite high levels of saturated fat, avocados are a great source of energy, good fats and have anti-inflammatory properties
  • Chia Seeds – Chia seeds are one of the best options as they are absolutely packed with omega-3 and also have a good ratio between omega-3 and omega-6
  • Flax seeds – Flax seeds also contain protein, fibre, iron, calcium and polyphenol antioxidants, too, making them a great nutritional all-rounder.
  • Olive oil in salad dressings & dips – Willow Creek has a great variety!
  • Soybeans – high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in saturated fat. Furthermore, they are also a good source of calcium, fibre and B vitamins
  • Tahini – a valuable source of iron and calcium

Sources:

https://allplants.com/blog/lifestyle/healthy-fats-for-vegans

https://vegsoc.org/info-hub/health-and-nutrition/fats-and-omegas/

Supplementing important vitamins and minerals

One thing I found out the hard way, was that there are certain vitamins and minerals you have to ensure to supplement so that you can be your best self. When you first convert, you don’t naturally think about supplementing all of what you are losing. But if my energy depraved, slightly loopy first six months have taught me anything, it is that good research is essential. The most important being:

  • Vitamin B-12: Vitamin B-12 is mainly present in animal products. It protects the nerves and red blood cells. Plant-based sources of this vitamin include fortified cereals and plant milks, nutritional yeast, and yeast spreads. Read more about vegan sources of vitamin B-12.
  • Iron: Iron is important for blood health. Beans and dark leafy greens are good sources. Find out more about iron-rich vegan foods.
  • Calcium: Calcium is crucial for bone health. Eating tofu, tahini, and leafy greens will help keep calcium levels up. Learn about calcium-rich plant-based foods.
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D protects against cancer and some chronic health conditions, and it helps strengthen the bones and teeth. Regularly eating vitamin D-fortified foods and spending time in the sun can boost vitamin D levels.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Important for heart, eye, and brain function, there are three types of omega-3 fatty acid: EPA, DHA, and ALA. Walnuts and flaxseeds are good sources of ALA, but seaweeds and algae are the only plant sources of EPA and DHA. Read about how to get omega-3 as a vegan.
  • Zinc: Zinc is important for the immune system and the repair of DNA damage. Beans, nutritional yeast, nuts, and oats are high in zinc. Read about zinc-rich vegan foods.
  • Iodine: Iodine is important for thyroid function. Plant-based sources include seaweeds and fortified foods.

I find that the easiest is to supplement with a vegan-friendly multivitamin. Trust me, I’ve fallen down the path of 10 pills for breakfast and it was NOT pretty. The multivitamins I have found contained most of what I needed, with the exception of calcium. But considering the choices, two pills every morning beats feeling like a pill-popping extremist.

Sources:

https://www.freshnlean.com/blog/vegan-b12-sources/

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