Do you have a vegan bestie? Are they always raving about how amazing they feel and how gorgeous their skin is, oh and how great they are being towards the planet? Their sunny outlook and general mastery of life can really be awe-inspiring, as well as a bit jealousy-inducing. So maybe you have been curious about eating vegan but didn’t necessarily want to commit full-time? Vegan before 6 to the rescue! This way of eating offers all the amazing health benefits of eating a vegan diet but with the freedom to eat animal-based products later in the day, so there’s no need to give up your beloved cheese or scoop of chocolate ice cream, especially when the rest of your diet is plant-based and brimming with nutrients.
Where’d it come from?
Vegan before 6 is a term coined by journalist and cookbook author Mark Bittman. After ending up overweight, prediabetic and with high cholesterol Bittman knew he had to change the way he ate or suffer the consequences. Bittman’s vegan before 6 diet was the perfect solution, a way to eat without deprivation and with the added health benefits of a vegan diet.
What eat before 6?
Basically your daytime dietary choices will be largely non-processed and plant-focused, think tons of veggies, leafy greens and all the fruit you’d like. Beans, lentils, grains and pasta can all play parts as well, making up the base of most of your meals. Tofu, seitan, and tempeh are all amazing vegan sources of plant-based protein and can be prepared and adapted to fit almost any recipe. Nuts, seeds, avocados, and heart-healthy oils are all encouraged to add flavour and fat to your daily vegan diet. Vegan before 6 means trying to eat the best you can without striving for total perfection and the time is flexible, ideally your vegan eating time should cover the times during which you eat the most.
What’s the good word?
Eating a balanced vegan diet has been shown to have positive effects on blood pressure, weight loss and maintenance, as well as lowering bad cholesterol levels, and risk of heart disease. Eating plenty of complex carbohydrates including fruits, veggies, and grains guarantees you’ll be hitting recommended daily fiber requirements as well as your daily vitamin and nutrient goals. Eating vegan is also good for the planet, as the strain raising livestock has an enormous drain on the earth’s natural resources.
Ready. Set. Go!
Is your curiosity piqued? Your transition to vegan eating doesn’t have to be done all at once. Small changes like swapping out meat and dairy for their vegan counterparts can make the transition a lot easier to get used to. If the thought of eating a tofu burger in place of a beef burger sounds less than appealing, think outside the box when meal-planning. Get inspired by cookbooks from cultures that have plenty of naturally vegan meals to offer. Look to vegan curry recipes from India, or Middle Eastern salads and vegetable-based dishes for ideas. The internet and your local library are incredible sources for new vegan recipes. Start by eating vegan before 6 a few days of the week and remember that planning and prepping will make any changes you’re making that much easier.