Alternative diets are now so common it’s hard to be able to call them alternative any more.
Paleo and Vegan diets are some of the more well known. Eating vegan, for example, is now so common you can almost expect at least one, if not more than one, vegan options at any cafe or restaurant you decide to eat at.
The reasons to adopt a certain diet can be as numerous as there are types of food. Very often, the decision is based on a desire to live a healthier, fuller life. To live with energy and vivacity – to experience the richness that life has to offer. It naturally follows that you would want to eat the most nutritious life-giving foods available.
Sometimes, however it is illness that drives people to change their diet. Auto-immune diseases, for example, can be crippling for the person who has them, and very often eliminating or adding certain foods can radically change someone’s quality of life.
Other times, changing a diet can be for more ethical or environmental reasons. Seeing the negative impact that industrial scale agriculture, for example, is having on the environment, as well as compassion for the lives of animals pushes some to seek ways of eating that are nutritious but in line with their beliefs.
The decision to adopt an alternative diet could be any mix of these reasons. What is common amongst all these reasons is the need for so called “substitute” foods.
Making and cooking food has a rich history for us human beings. (A great documentary on how this has evolved is available on Netflix https://www.netflix.com/title/80022456). We have developed such intricate and delicate methods of cooking using a wide array of ingredients that is so complex and yet which we take for granted almost every day.
Who would have ever thought the egg, for example, could be so versatile?
It’s easy to assume that just because we’ve always done something a certain way then it is the only way to do something. But that is not really the case. In fact, human history has had a phenomenal ability to integrate new technologies and new knowledge into more sophisticated ways of doing things across the board.
Henry Ford who developed the modern motor vehicle as we know it famously said “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Perhaps someone in the future will again radically transform how we perceive modern transport.
The same could be said of food. What to our modern mind may seem unusual – say the use of Aquafaba in replacement for egg whites, might simply be because we are unfamiliar with it. As these “substitutes” become more and more common what may emerge is a whole new diversity in cooking techniques. These alternatives may become the norm, and what we now consider staples could become outdated.
Let’s explore some of the most common substitute ingredients, and give you a couple of great recipes you can experiment with for both Vegan and Paleo diets.
Grains are a common nuisance for a lot of people. The Paleo diet understands this best and needs to utilise a bunch of grain alternatives. Buckwheat flour, or blanched almond meal provide fantastic grain substitutes. We’ve got a delicious Ginger Cake Recipe here using these amongst other ingredients.
Gluten is another no-no for Paleo’s which is troubling news if your favourite food is the same as everyone else’s in the world: bread. Thankfully there are more and more delicious alternatives. We’ve got a simple mix that you can bake at home. Add some fresh grass fed butter and you’ll be in comfort food heaven.
Nuts are a vegan’s best friend. These versatile little fruits (in the culinary world they are also known as seeds of legumes depending on what type) can be used everywhere from snacks, to making milk or butter. Activated nuts are all the more beneficial: you can order and find out more here.
One thing for sure is that you’ll probably start hearing about products like Aquafaba more and more.