In 2017, especially if you live in a big city, it’s pretty great to be a vegan. Not only are there a plethora of restaurants that are completely plant-based, but even Nando’s is adding new vegan options, not to mention Wetherspoon’s small but mighty vegan menu.
So, now that veganism has hit the mainstream, is it something you should be considering for yourself? Is there even a need to eat meat, dairy and other animal produce anymore? Let’s take a look at the facts…
First things first; how do you define veganism?
According to The Vegan Society, “Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”
So, as well as adopting a plant-based diet free from meat, fish, dairy, eggs and honey, vegans don’t wear things like leather and they would only use vegan-friendly beauty products. That being said, a lot of people start by making the necessary changes to their diet, then the wardrobe and cosmetic adjustments follow later.
Who do I know that’s vegan?
Veganism is becoming more and more common, with the number of vegans in Britain rising by 360% in the 10 years from 2006 to 2016, probably due to the perceived health benefits and an increase in awareness.
Of course, plenty of celebs have gotten in on the action, with Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande and Lea Michele among those opting to follow a vegan diet.
What are the health benefits of being vegan?
Various studies have shown that vegans have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels than their non-vegan counterparts, with a lower risk of type-2 diabetes and certain cancers. They’re also less prone to obesity and tend to have increased energy levels when compared to non-vegans.
Are there any drawbacks?
Some restaurants still only have one vegan option and it might take you longer to prep your meals at home due to ingredient substitutes in recipes. But, convenience aside, are there any real negatives to maintaining a vegan diet?
Well, some nutrients are hard to get in foods other than meat and dairy, like vitamin B-12. Important for keeping your central nervous system running, B-12 is present in vegan-friendly tofu, but you may find yourself having to take supplements to meet your recommended daily intake.
Another issue with veganism? All those beans, lentils and chickpeas you’re using as a protein source can leave you a little… gassy. Most people find their body gets used to it after a while, but be prepared for an initial farty phase.
Where can I find out more about veganism?
As previously mentioned, The Vegan Society has loads of factual info, but YouTube can also be a great place to find out more about going vegan. Sweet Potato Soul posts tasty recipe videos, as does TV presenter Venetia Falconer, who also works with Tastemade on its vegan offering. And don’t even get us started on Instagram’s huge vegan community – just search #vegan if you want to lose a day scrolling through people’s stories and highly photogenic meal ideas.
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