Hi guys, today’s post is going to be nutrition based. Although the scheduling of this one is somewhat accidental, I think it’s coming at the perfect time. Those of you partaking this year, are you getting your healthy fats?
What are healthy fats?
Healthy fats are things like nuts, seeds and avocados. The things that provide you with your omegas, can help reduce the risk of heart disease and provide vitamins and minerals.
Why am I talking about healthy fats?
Depending on how you eat, it can be very easy to skip your fats on a vegan diet. A lot of main meal dishes rely heavily on carbs and protein to make up the bulk of the dish. Things like a hearty bean chilli or a bowl of veggie rice are all healthy, but they lack healthy fats. If you’re the kind of person who eats three square meals and not much else, fats are the easiest macronutrients to miss.
However, if you’re a snacker, you’re probably getting plenty. Vegan snacks are usually heavily nut based, from bars, grab bags to raw nuts, you’ll find some sort of nut in most vegan snack options. Unless you snack on dried fruits, then you’re likely to be in the first category…
Why do we need healthy fats?
Getting healthy fats is more important than a lot of people realise. The media sends a message that fats are bad a lot of the time, thanks to the rise in obesity. But some fats are essential. There are ‘bad’ fats like saturated fats and trans fats, but we need polyunsaturated fats. They’re the ones that our bodies can’t make on their own and they’re the good ones that help keep hearts healthy. Omegas 3 and 6 are both polyunsaturated fats.
Sources of healthy fats
- Nuts/ nut butter
- Vegetable oils, like olive oil
And salmon/ other oily fish but we don’t talk about things like that here, especially not during Veganuary.
Where do Indigo Herbs come in?
I mentioned in my introduction to Veganuary post that you’d be seeing Indigo Herbs pop up a few times on my blog this month, but I wanted to give them a mention here to introduce them properly. This isn’t an ad, they sent me the nut and seed butters to make and share recipes with, I’m featuring them here purely because I want to mention them.
For anyone focusing on nutrition, I highly recommend the Indigo Herbs products for their detailed labels. Not only do they have the standard fat and protein content, but they include the vitamins and minerals on their labels too. I was really pleasantly surprised by that when I first opened the box, tracking certain micronutrients can be hard and food labels here in the UK hardly ever contain information like that.
What did they send?
Last time I mentioned the brand I told you that they’d sent over nine nut and seed butters to make the recipes with. And although I’ll be talking about the nutritional value of the individual ones I feature in the recipes, I’m pretty sure I won’t have recipes including all nine this month so I thought I’d give each one a quick mention here and explain what you could use them for.
All of them are raw, organic and smooth in texture.
Almond Butter – Almonds are my number one and always will be, almond butter is no exception. But you all know how to use almond butter, so moving on…
Hazelnut Butter – I cheated and used this one in advance to make a hazelnut chocolate oats recipe which featured in my ebook (you can buy that here). You can use this exactly how you would use almond butter, to put on toast/ crackers, use as a dip with fruit, bake with it.. Eat chocolate oats with it…
Walnut Butter – I’d never seen walnut butter before this delivery arrived! I’m not going to talk about this now because this was my butter of choice for my first recipe post using these products. I’ll be talking in detail about this one on Sunday in a baking recipe post. If you can’t wait that long, use it as you would the other two…
I think seed butters are a little more interesting than nut butters. Nut butters are delicious, but the flavours of seed butters are more unique and their uses vary far more than nut butters do.
Sunflower Seed Butter – Sunflower seed butter is a common substitute for peanut butter for people with allergies as it has a very similar texture. High in vitamin E and several B vitamins
Hemp Seed Butter – Commonly used to thicken smoothies, as well as eaten as a spread. Contains the perfect ratio of omega 3 to 6 and very high amounts of vitamin D.
Pumpkin Seed Butter – Another good alternative to peanut butter, high in vitamin E and iron.
White Sesame Tahini – My first thought when I think of white tahini is hummus, it’s what gives it the creamy texture. Tahini can be an acquired taste, I’m not a fan of it alone, but it’s great on toast if you like it. High in several B vitamins.
Black Sesame Tahini – Black sesame is used for making halva and has a very similar vitamin content to white tahini.
Apricot Kernel Butter – This was exciting for me, I’ve never tried this one before. Like the fruit, it’s incredibly sweet so it’s mainly used in desserts. I imagine this one would be great to bake with too. Not as nutritionally dense as some of the others, but contains vitamin E.
What are your favourite sources of healthy fats? And which of these butters would you be most excited about? I have a couple of recipe posts using these planned, but if there’s one in particular you’d like to see me use, please let me know!
Until next time,