As someone who has always been an advocate for animal rights, for me personally, it seems only natural that a plant-based diet is the way forward for myself. During my research into it however, I found out that in many ways a vegan diet can be great for the menopause.
For instance, a properly balanced began diet tends to have fewer calories and fat due to the lack of meat and dairy in comparison to fruits, vegetables and whole grains. This can help reduce menopause related weight gain, which I know so many of you have reached out to me about. By replacing dairy products with soy on a regular basis has actually been shown to improve menopause symptoms. This is because soy contains phytoestrogens which are key in reducing the severity of hot flushes. Soy products are also great at lowering cholesterol and helps fight off diseases such as osteoporosis and heart disease.
What I also didn’t realise before, a diet high in animal fats, dairy and sugar can actually disrupt our hormone balance. What we don’t realise is when we eat refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white pasta, cakes, chocolate bars, sugary drinks…etc can have a detrimental effect on our insulin production. These types of food produce a lot of glucose which make our insulin levels rise leading to sugar hangovers later in the day. By making healthy substitutes to your diet, you may find that your sugar levels become even more and your symptoms become more manageable.
Vegan Hot Cross Buns
- 350g strong bread flour / All Purpose Flour
- 1 ½ tsp ground mixed spice
- 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 7g sachet of yeast
- 25g caster sugar
- 100g currants or raisins
- 50g orange peel
- 75g vegan margarine, melted
- 175ml soya milk (warmed)
- 2 tbsp agave nectar
- 2 tbsp of freshly squeezed orange juice
- 50g plain flour
- 25g vegan margarine
- 1 – 2 tbsp water to bind
- Mix the yeast and sugar together in a small bowl and then gradually add the warm soya milk. Leave for approximately 5 minutes. It’s important not to pour in cold milk, so either warm it on the stove or microwave.
- Sift the flour, mixed spice, and cinnamon into a large bowl and make a little well in the centre. Add the yeast mixture into the well and stir until combined. Then add the raisins, orange peel and margarine and mix together well until a dough forms.
- Take the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes.
- Place the dough back into the large bowl and cover with a tea towel or some cling film. Place this in a warm place for approximately 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size. For anyone who watches Great British Bake-off, you might recognise this as proofing.
- Take the dough back out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and knead again for around 5 minutes.
- Split the dough into 12 equal pieces in the required shape, place onto a baking sheet and cover with a tea towel or cling film again, as it will need to be proofed twice. Put in a warm place for approximately 45 minutes to an hour.
- To make the crosses, place the margarine and flour into a bowl and rub the margarine into the flour until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add the water a little at a time to bind the pastry dough together. Roll out the pastry quite thinly and cut into even strips.
- Once the buns have risen, heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Place the pastry crosses onto the buns and lightly brush the surface with a little soya milk. Bake for 20 minutes.
- To make the orange glaze, put the agave nectar and orange juice into a pan and gently heat until you get gorgeous syrup. Brush onto the buns once cooked and serve. This will give the buns a gorgeous citrus finish.
Author: Erica Fraser