Back with you cashew crew!
More than half of UK adults are now adopting vegan-buying behaviours, according to a new report by The Vegan Society. Half of the participants surveyed revealed that they welcome the rise in plant-based foods available in shops, cafés, and restaurants – with one in ten saying they would like even more vegan options. Will this year see an even bigger rise in this nutritional choice? With more people opting for the vegan lifestyle every day, it has quickly become the word on the street. And with that has come a lot of misperception about what veganism actually is, so I feel it is my duty to clear up the facts.
The main question I feel gets asked when the word vegan is thrown around is: ‘what the hell do you eat?’ either that or ‘why?’. The answer is anything you want – it’s 2018 – there are vegan versions of everything! For many people veganism is still an unclear and misunderstood subject, so here is a 101 to clear up some of the most common confusions.
What is veganism
Believe it or not, veganism isn’t a new concept that has only been created by the yoga-loving millennials that have matcha tea in their bloodstream and are so instagrammable it hurts a little. In fact, the term “vegan” goes all the way back to 1944.
The Spruce defines vegans as:
Veganism is a type of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients. Many vegans also do not eat foods that are processed using animal products, such as refined white sugar and some wines.
Vegan refers to either a person who follows this way of eating or to the diet itself. That is, the word vegan can be an adjective used to describe a food item, as in, “This curry is vegan“, or, it can be used as a noun, as in, “Vegans like cookies, too.”
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a preach to convert every single living human to become vegan, it is simply just the main reason’s people opt for this nutritional lifestyle.
Ethical vegans strongly believe that all creatures have the right to life and freedom.
Brands love to throw around buzzwords like ‘organic’ ‘free-range’ or ‘cage-free’ on their products to assure customers that what they’re consuming has been produced in the most good-natured way possible. However, the truth behind these claims is often far from what meat eaters like to dream of. Without going into gory details, read this article on Free-Range and Organic Meat, Eggs, and Dairy Products: Conning Consumers? To gain an insight into the reality of what actually goes on.
Heart attacks, strokes, cancer, diabetes, and obesity are illnesses our bodies are at higher risk of when we eat meat. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that vegetarians and vegans enjoy a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease, lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes, and lower body mass indexes, as well as lower overall cancer rates.
So what’s the difference? What is it about the vegan diet that gives us this disease dodging superpower? Well-planned vegan diets provide us with all the nutrients that we would get from a normal diet, minus all the saturated fat, cholesterol, and contaminants found in animal flesh, eggs, and dairy “products”.
Being vegan will also bless your body with a stronger immune system than their meat-eating friends; this means that they are less susceptible to everyday illnesses such as the flu.
A great documentary to watch is What The Health (featured on Netflix) the film exposes the collusion and corruption in government and big business that is costing us trillions of healthcare dollars, and keeping us sick.
How to get started
Before you jump on the vegan wagon, there’s a series of things you’ll need to know.
You’ll need a B12 supplement
Vitamin B12 occurs naturally only in animal foods, so you’ll want to stock up. B12 keeps the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, so deficiencies can lead to tiredness, constipation, weight loss (the bad kind), nerve problems, and depression.
And most likely an iron supplement, too!
Iron comes in two forms: heme and non-heme. Heme, which makes up about 40% of the iron in animal foods, is easily absorbed by the body. Vegan diets contain only non-heme, which is less readily absorbed, so you may need to ingest more iron if you want to get the same benefit, says New York City nutritionist Christian Henderson, RD.
You’ll need to hunt out other protein sources
The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults get at least 0.8 grams of protein daily for every kilogram of body mass—that’s about 54 grams for a 150-pound woman. The best sources of vegan protein include natural soy, lentils, beans, quinoa, and seitan.
It’s honestly not all as daunting as it sounds, and to make it a little easier Tesco has recently unveiled its newest range of ready meals – a collection of vegan dishes from Wicked Kitchen, perfectly timed for Veganuary. The exclusive vegan range of dishes landed in stores and online earlier this week, and features 20 different ready meals and food to go items including BBQ Butternut Mac and Cauli, Bhaji and Coconut Rice. Items cost between £3 and £4 each. NICE!
So, whether it’s you that is tempted by this healthier way of living, or whether you just want to get clued up on the subject after a family member or friend has, I hope after reading this you are a little wiser than before. Here’s to impressing all your health buddies with your new-found knowledge!
Love, Evie x