While I am over the moon that veganism is everywhere and every supermarket is falling over themselves to show off their latest animal free offering (come on with the biodegradable plastic already). I however seem to just want to get back to basics. And I am not the only one.

I am lucky enough to be sent fantastic vegan delights to review for VeggieVision TV and I must be choosy as everything we have tried out food wise has always been delicious.

However some products I have picked up recently have been a little disappointing …. and some I feel would put sadly people off of vegan options!

And the more vegan fake meats I see makes me just want steamed vegetables, chickpeas with a little miso soup!

Now, I am an old school vegan – we grew up with V Bites (previously Redwoods)  and I was delighted to have a chat with Heather Mills recently and I told her that after perhaps 30 years V Bites is still my favourite vegan meat.

I also spoke to a good friend of mine the plant based chef Keith Squires and he specialises in wholefood vegan cooking. Keeping things simple, inexpensive and even cook once eat twice – now I love the sound of this! I do like eating my leftovers the next day.

So how would one start the day simply and wholefood vegan?

Keith suggests,

“Breakfast can range from a light option of fresh fruit and seeds, porridge with toppings, soaked muesli or a more exotic ayurvedic kitcheri (cooked lentils with rice). Plus fresh fruit and vegetable juices instead of carton ones.”

“A great mid morning booster is a glass of freshly pressed vegetable juice. So wipe down your old vegetable juicer and get going. Carrot, beetroot, celery, ginger and apple are my favourite.”

Keith is a big advocate of a slow cooker too – pop your food in while making breakfast and it is ready for you to enjoy later.

“If you load it up at breakfast you can have a hearty stew that is ready for lunch. Healthy things like lentils, rice dried beans which go a long way and bulk up as you cook them. One hundred grams of lentils for instance bulks up to three hundred when cooked. The main other ingredients are basic veggies that go a long way too.”

Keith has a free 7 day wholefood guide on his website and the recipes sound so good. I can not wait to try them all out. Turning your wholefood lunch into your dinner is such a time saving idea too.

“A while back I developed our magic meal plan. This was originally for nurses on shift work. We realised that with 12 hour rotating shifts. It meant that most nurses had no chance to cook properly from scratch. This is when we came up with the idea of using a slow cooker or crock pot. The idea being that you can load it up whenever you get home. Sleep and rest then a wonderful one pot meal is ready when you wake up. Then you can take it to work with you in a thermos instead of relying on takeaways and sweet snacks.”

A whole food vegan way of eating based on pulses, grains and vegetables is very cheap. Lentils, rice and split peas can cost as little as 50p or £1 a kilo. When cooked both expand and double or triple in mass making the real cost less than 50p. The other main ingredients are seasonal vegetables which are also great value at around £1 or £2 per kilo.

“We have designed the recipes in my free guide so you take your lunch to work and save buying a sandwich or take away. This soon adds up we can easily spend £5 on food plus £2.50 on hot drinks, with a snack later we can be spending £10 a day which really mounts up over a month – and years!”

Now I am not saying that I am never having a massive vegan burger again or I won’t try the new must have vegan thing hitting the news – however with the help of experts like Chef Keith Squires I feel for me the way forward is really going old school wholefood vegan!

Here is Keith fantastic 7 day plan – check out his website for more information…

Day 1 Lunch Mung Bean Stew – Dinner Mung Bean Curry

Day 2 Lunch Split Pea Stew – Dinner split pea coconut curry

Day 3 Lunch Miso Soup With Tofu – Dinner Stir Fry With Tofu

Day 4 Lunch Vegetable Soup With Quinoa – Dinner Thai Green Curry

Day 5 Lunch Lentil Soup – Dinner Indian Dhal

Day 6 Lunch Adzuki Bean Stew – Dinner Adzuki Cottage Pie

Day 7 Lunch Vegetable Minestrone – Dinner Vegetable Bolognese