There’s no rule that says you have to be a meat eater to be an animal in bed. Ask any vegan, and they’ll tell you: Not only are vegan foods delicious, but they might even turn you on.
Considering that there are vegan swaps for most any animal product out there, it would only make sense that there are vegan alternatives to some of the sexiest aphrodisiacs too. Forget oysters or fancy French cheese — there are plenty of Mother Nature-approved foods that can get your blood pumping and get you in the mood.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, here are five of our favorite vegan aphrodisiacs:
1. Sesame seeds
For being so tiny, sesame seeds are pumped with the amino acid L-arginine, which can deliciously enhance circulation — and anything that improves blood flow through the body is a libido booster. Crust tofu with sesame seeds, sprinkle them over salads, or make a sweet tahini sauce to drizzle over a luscious scoop of vegan ice cream.
More: Steamed spinach with sesame seeds
2. Fresh ginger
A natural stimulant, ginger has long been considered an aphrodisiac. Mince ginger into a veggie stir-fry, steep ginger into a tea, or make a sexy cocktail using ginger vodka.
3. Dark chocolate
Without even trying, dark chocolate is a sensual vegan treat that releases a mood-lifting surge of endorphins and other feel-good chemicals. For the ultimate aphrodisiac experience, feed dark chocolate-dipped strawberries to each other, or make a dark chocolate sauce to moisten slices of vegan chocolate cake.
4. Chili peppers
Chilies contain the heat-producing oil capsaicin, which naturally stimulates circulation and endorphins. Think about it: When you eat hot peppers, you immediately feel a surge of adrenaline and even sweat while your heart rate and breathing rate increase. These lovely physical responses to chilies are similar to those you experience when you’re in love.
The key to garlic being a mood food is to make sure you and your mate eat it together. Steep garlic in oil, and use the oil to sauté vegetables, toss with pasta or to make a vinaigrette for a salad.
More: Vegan garlic mushrooms
Updated by Bethany Ramos on 2/11/16