Even as a vegan athlete you don’t just eat food to fuel your body. You eat food because it makes you happy.
And one of the most important things we look for in our food is texture.
Food texture: how important is it?
When you first adopt a vegan diet you’ll probably notice that everything you eat is gloopy and soft, just like when you where a baby.
This is a BIG problem!
There are three textures we crave: crispiness, creaminess and chewiness, and food with extra bite has become more popular in recent decades, as improvements in dental health means we keep our teeth longer.
We’ve got a deeply ingrained need to chew. Gnawing is a satisfying business. It's good for you as well; research shows that it increases blood flow to the brain, helping to prevent dementia.
We’re bought up to chew our food well before we swallow and now we’re faced with vegan food that can be sucked up. Sliminess is often greeted with suspicion and associated with decay, not health.
A chewy faux steak that turns to mush in your mouth isn’t what you want.
Which foods have the textures we want?
Of the three textures we crave, crispiness, creaminess and chewiness, It’s pretty easy to find the first two in your plant based diet.
Here’s a few examples of creamy foods:
Beans, rice, cooked vegetables, eggplant/ aubergine, avocado, tomato, hummus
Here’s a few examples of crispy foods:
Peppers, celery, apples, romain or coz lettuce, raw vegetables
But what about the most important texture of all? - Chewiness
And remember gluten plays a big part in making food chewy so this is an added problem for people with celiac disease.
Here’s my list of Vegan foods you can chew!
- Tofu (This can be made chewier by freezing overnight and then thawing)
- Chewy cookies and granola bars
- Chewy pizza
- Processed faux meat and burgers
- Jjol Myun noodles (have a bouncy texture though)
- Textured Soy /Textured Vegetable Protein (can have a spongy, bouncy texture)
- Beans roasted in the oven can get a chewy crust but will be mushy inside
- Soda bread and sourdough should have a chewy crust
- Flatbreads & tortillas
- Nuts and seeds are a bit chewy
- Dried tomatoes and other dried fruits
With a bit of planning you can easily get your chewy vegan fix. The problem is that it might cost you more as it comes mainly from processed foods where the chew is built in at the factory.