Vegan Winter – If you haven’t been vegan for very long, then the approaching winter could be your first one on a plant-based diet.
As the temperature begins to drop, you will realize that there are a couple of issues that will be unique to your cruelty-free lifestyle. This includes the food you eat, the clothes you wear, and more.
Fortunately for you, you don’t need to muddle through this season by yourself. Below, you can find the top tips to make this winter – and every one after that – a total breeze for you. On this note, here is what you need to know:
Where to Look for Fresh Produce
During the summer, you are spoilt for choice. However, as the colder months approach, quite many fruit and vegetables disappear from stores. The good news is that you don’t have to give up hope entirely, as there are still a couple of options left.
To begin with, do some research on winter farmers’ markets. Yes, these exist during this time of year. In fact, you should be able to find at least one, even if you live in an incredibly cold region.
So, if you are willing to make an effort (and brave the cold), you should be able to stock up on plenty of fresh veggies and fruits.
Your other option would be to find and join a community-supported agriculture (CSA) network. This is where you can buy shares in a farm so that you are put in direct connection with their produce.
In short, you pay a subscription fee for your vegetables and fruits. Since many farms out there offer up winter produce, you can stay well-stocked all winter long.
Re-think Your Recipes
Of course, you may not always have the opportunity to shop at farmers’ markets or get fresh produce from winter farms. In this case, you will have to stick with your regular grocery store. As mentioned, though, you may not have as much variety as you would typically have.
Some of the most common – and healthiest – vegetables during the wintertime are kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, carrots, and rutabaga.
Now, some of these may not be veggies you are used to cooking with. You can also add potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, and beets to this list.
You may not be used to cooking with some of these vegetables. In this case, you need to overhaul your recipes a little. Don’t worry, though, there will be plenty to choose from. By making these veggies the stars of your meals, you can ensure that you will be eating fresh, wholesome food regularly.
Stock Up and Store Produce
If you are still finding fresh produce from summer and fall, you may want to stock up on these. You can then avoid going scrounging for them when they become scarcer later on in the year. So, why should you collect these fruits and veggies when you can?
Well, it’s because you can freeze them and use them later on. This is true for both fruits and vegetables. With fruits, the process is simple enough.
You just wash, peel, core, and chop up the veggies and freeze them in a layer on a tray. You can then transfer them to airtight containers and keep them for up to three months at a time.
Now, not all vegetables can be frozen. As a rule of thumb, you will have to skip out on any veggies that you generally eat raw. Keep in mind, all frozen vegetables will need to be cooked. This is because you need to blanch them first.
Rinse off your vegetables, then peel and chop them up. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and throw the veggies in for a few minutes. Then, remove the v and rinse them in cold water until they have cooled down as well. You can then freeze them.
Opt for Frozen Vegetables and Fruits
Most people don’t have the refrigerator space needed for prepping and stocking up on produce. Not to mention, this method can be pretty time-consuming as well. In this case, though, frozen fruits and vegetables in your grocery store will work fine.
Many are hesitant to buy frozen fruits and veggies because they believe them to be an unsuitable substitute for fresh produce. However, did you know that frozen produce may actually be healthier than fresh items?
See, fruits and vegetables are frozen shortly after they are picked. Due to this, they are able to retain most of their nutrients. When fresh produce is transported to you from far away, though, many nutrients can be lost during this time.
Typically, vegetables and fruits that are designated to be frozen are also allowed to ripen for a little longer. Due to this, they may naturally have a higher content of nutrients. Thus, it is a win-win situation when opting for frozen produce.
It is essential to read the label when shopping for frozen fruits and vegetables, nonetheless. Make sure that there are no unnatural additives included. You should also check that there aren’t any additional fats, sugars, or similar ingredients, either.
Bulk Up on Your Nutrients
Have you noticed that you are more likely to get the sniffles during wintertime? There are several explanations for this. Firstly, your immune system is more likely to be compromised in colder conditions.
Even worse is the fact that viruses last longer and are spread more quickly under these same conditions.
As you can imagine, it is important to fortify your system. For the most part, this can be done through your diet. It is essential to eat foods that are higher in vitamin A, C, and E. It is also a good idea to increase your intake of foods that contain selenium, zinc, and iron.
Now, you should definitely not forget about vitamin D. Since you are exposed to even less sun during the winter months, a deficiency is entirely possible. To avoid this, eat and drink vegan foods that have been fortified with this nutrient.
Shop for Cruelty-Free Winter Clothing
The problem with most winter clothing is that they rely heavily on animal-derived materials. This includes wool, down, suede, and sometimes even fur. Since all of these are fabrics that you can’t wear, it can often seem like options are somewhat limited for vegans.
Fortunately, there are now more winter and vegan-friendly materials than ever before. So, you will not have to look so hard. Typically, you will often find the warmest gear at stores that cater to outdoor adventurers. If you live somewhere that is really cold, you can begin your search here.
As a rule of thumb, look for shoes, jackets, hats, and gloves that are made from synthetic materials. In particular, look for jackets that are filled with polyester and not down. Not only is this material animal-friendly, but it is also a lot more waterproof than down as well!
It isn’t just your body that you have to keep warm, though; there are also your feet to think about. Look for water-resistant boots made from rubber and regular boots that are made from vegan leather. Instead of shearling interiors, opt for ones that are made from soft and cozy fleece instead.
Vegan winter boots aren’t all that easy to come by. So, it is a good idea to start looking online before winter hits. It may take you a while to find a pair that is within your budget range or in a style that you like. However, it will be well worth the effort.
Beware of Your Bedding
Like most people, you probably have to switch over to winter bedding as the temperatures drop. Before you do this, though, you may want to check the labels. Much of the bedding that is designed for winter contains materials that have been taken from animals. The most common culprit is down.
The good news is that the world is evolving and it isn’t impossible to find a suitable replacement. If you are shopping around for new bedding, these are synthetic names to look out for:
- TCS Down-Free
Usually, though, as long as the fabric and the filling is synthetic, you should be good. And, in case you are worried that it will not keep you as warm as down, don’t be. Modern technology has been hard at work to ensure that you will remain beautiful and toasty all night long.
There is no need for you to fear winter months as a vegan. You can take so many precautions from food to clothing to bedding during this period. Doing so will ensure that you remain cruelty-free all year long.
Of course, being vegan doesn’t mean that you have just to survive this time of year. So, go ahead and bake vegan cookies and cook up some vegan hot chocolate as well. You have earned it after all of your good deeds!
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