As the Avant-Garde Vegan, Gaz Oakley is well known for creating meat-free versions of popular dishes. Here he shares his tips for eating healthier and explains why he’s become an ambassador for AdeZ – our new, dairy-free fruit smoothie that’s made from a combination of seeds and fruits.
Why become an ambassador for AdeZ?
The main appeal for me is that it’s delicious and 100% suitable for vegans. I love that it's a tasty drink, which is making veganism more accessible for everyone. It's great to see! Especially as it's going to be in major stores like ASDA and Boots. It's great for the vegan community.
It's extremely flavoursome and unique on the market. But it's so creamy that you wouldn't expect it to be vegan – so I think it'll appeal to a wider audience. My hope is that people will choose this over a dairy-based drink.
I like that it's vegan, creamy and blended with fruit. It's like nothing I've had before. I like that there are three varieties: coconut, almond and oat. And that there’s no added sugar. My personal favourite is the Amazing Almond flavour – because I love all things tropical. Its ingredients are mango, passion fruit and almond, so it's right up my street.
Why are you so committed to veganism and plant-based food?
I'm committed to veganism and plant-based foods because I want to stop cruelty to animals, I want to help the environment and I want to feel healthier.
I've been a vegan for three years now and I've really noticed the difference in how I feel. It feels normal to me now, but at first I felt so much fresher, more vibrant and cleaner. Plus, I have a lot more energy which is great. I also don't have a guilty conscience anymore about eating animals and I’m doing my bit for the planet.
- Meal prep: Spending a bit of time working out what you're going to eat for the week can really help. This means you won't have to think too much during the week when you're tired and that you can make sure you're making healthy choices. You’ll also save money by creating a meal plan in advance and not end up in the supermarket just throwing things in the trolley.
Preparing healthy snacks in advance also means that you're not reaching for a bag of crisps or a chocolate bar when you're tired and hungry. Quite often the most convenient foods are the foods that are the least healthy, with the most amount of refined sugars and added salt.
- Eat a range of colours: There are so many different kinds of fruits and vegetables to try in all different colours: try challenging yourself to eat all the colours of the rainbow.
- Make sure to have lots of nuts and seeds: These are a great source of protein and magnesium, plus they’ll help to fill you up.
- Add something raw to your meal: I always try to add one raw ingredient to my meals. Whether that's a handful or spinach, kale or fresh berries. Not everything has to be cooked. And it really boosts the amount of vitamins and minerals you'll be absorbing.
- Include lots of beans and pulses in your diet: Chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans. They're really good for you and really tasty.
What tips would you give to someone who wants to go vegan?
You can make small changes initially. Like swapping out dairy-based milks for alternative milks, like soy, almond, cashew, rice, oat or hemp. There are so many different kinds of milk alternatives. If it’s hard for you to switch from regular milks to plant-based milks initially, then AdeZ is a great starting point.
Also make sure you have a good selection of dried herbs and spices in the kitchen. These are essential for adding flavour. And include a good range of leafy green vegetables: spinach, kale, broccoli. They’re so good for you and contain loads of iron.
But above all: Experiment! You need to try out new recipes and have fun with it. It’s exciting to try new ingredients and recipes and broaden your horizons.