Today is the 18th January – that means EIGHTEEN whole days of being a vegan. My, how it has flown. It has been remarkably easy to adapt – not once have I found myself craving meat or dairy. Not once have I eaten a meal and thought: “this would be way better with some chicken/bacon/other meat”. In truth, the only thing I have really missed thus far is cheese. The sole vegan cheese we have purchased and tried was extremely disappointing (to put it kindly). But that is a matter for another day. Today, we are talking breakfasts…
My pre-vegan breakfast
I am a big believer in breakfast. My husband can go a couple of hours before eating breakfast, but I can barely converse or think straight before eating. My go-to breakfast has always been Alpen with milk and a glass of apple juice. Sometimes followed by a slice of toast with jam, peanut butter or chocolate spread. I sometimes had porridge, sometimes granola with natural yoghurt and banana, and on Sundays, pancakes with chocolate spread and banana were always the order of the day.
There are some obvious issues with most of these options – dairy. Alpen is out, as it contains skimmed milk powder and milk whey powder; lots of granolas are a no-go for vegans as they contain honey; and chocolate spread is obviously not a great option, unless it is vegan spread. The kids’ favourite pancakes need a bit of tweaking too…
So, what have I been breakfasting on since turning vegan on 1st January? And am I still a big fan of breakfast?
What do vegans eat for breakfast?
The good news is non-dairy milks are now so common and so varied, it is super easy to switch your cow’s milk for a vegan-friendly substitute. We go for oat milk in our house – it is easy to get hold of, good for you and has a low environmental impact, as this handy table from the BBC website shows:
As you can see, oat milk has the second-lowest greenhouse emissions, the fourth-lowest land use (although the difference between the four non-dairy milks is fairly negligible) and the second-lowest water use. We eat lots of tofu and tempeh, as well as soy yoghurt, and most meat substitutes are soy-based, so we figured it makes sense to opt for a different basis for our milk. Oat milk seems like the second-best choice to soy milk and it is great for making proper coffee with – vital in our household!
The BBC article featuring this graph also includes a tool which tells you the impact that your food choices have on the environment. Just out of interest, I did a comparison between dairy milk and oat milk. Here’s the results:
As you can see from this simple graphic, just by switching the milk that we have at breakfast, we are reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 164 kg each year – the equivalent of driving 417 miles in a petrol car – AND, and this is huge, reducing the number of litres of water used to make the milk by a whopping 42,221 litres per year.
People, if you do nothing else, make the simple switch from dairy milk to oat milk and cut your milk-related greenhouse gas emissions by over 70%!!!
Anyway, enough about milk… back to breakfast… Most cereal options, provided they don’t contain honey or milk, are vegan-friendly – just replace cow’s milk with non-dairy milk and you are good to go. Toast with jam and peanut butter are also completely fine, you just need to source a non-dairy spread and there are plenty to choose from.
We’ve found an amazingly delicious vegan granola, which we pair with coconut-based (non-dairy) natural yoghurt, a splash of oat milk and banana to create a delicious, filling breakfast.
It comes in a scrummy chocolate version too. The only thing I would say is it is quite high in sugar, so if you are trying to limit your sugar intake, it is probably best to have it as a treat breakfast rather than an everyday cereal.
So, what other options are there? Well, I can highly recommend the Bircher Muesli in the Deliciously Ella Every Day cookbook. You basically mix grated apple, porridge oats, raisins, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, non-dairy milk, maple syrup (we used normal syrup and it worked fine) and a handful of berries (optional), place it in a sealable contianer and stick it in the fridge overnight. Give it a good stir in the morning and add some non-dairy natural yoghurt and you have yourself a delicious, healthy, nutritious breakfast. Yum.
Another great option for a vegan breakfast is porridge, which brings me onto:
The BEST vegan breakfast!
Hands up if you’ve been watching Dirty Vegan on the BBC? It is the first ever vegan cookery show to be shown in the UK and it is amazing in so many ways.
The presenter, Mathew Pritchard, is a real character and watching him interact with the generally straight-laced experts and other people on the show is a joy to watch. But it is the recipe ideas and inspiration that really makes Dirty Vegan so good. And his Chocolate and Peanut Butter Porridge is the stuff of dreams:
Chocolate & Peanut Butter Porridge
1. Cook the porridge oats with your non-dairy milk as normal.
2. Stir in a spoonful of cocoa powder and brown sugar. Mix well.
3. Add a large spoonful of peanut butter and mix well.
4. Taste and add more cocoa, sugar or peanut butter as required.
Okay, so it may not look like the most appetising thing in the world but it is simple, quick to make and truly delicious – the perfect way to start your day. Porridge oats are super good for you, you also get the goodness from the non-dairy milk, and the peanut butter gives you a much needed protein hit to start your day and keep you feeling full for longer.
What’s not to love?