You may have noticed that more and more people are switching to a vegan diet. Perhaps you’re considering the switch yourself, or maybe a love one has adapted this lifestyle choice and you want to still be able to cook for them. Either way, the information below should help to familiarise you with veganism, what it is and how to switch to this diet easily.
What Is Veganism?
Put simply, veganism is a way of living that ultimately intends to exclude the use and consumption of any products that contain animals, animal matter, or is tested on animals. This means that vegans don’t eat:
- Other animal derived ingredients
Why Go Vegan?
There are so many different reasons that people go vegan and each person will have their own, individual reasons based on their own, individual beliefs, preferences and other personal factors. Here are some of the most common reasons that people tend to incorporate vegan meals into their diet!
- For health – as we are all aware, a healthy, balanced diet is essential for health and wellbeing. Believe it or not, a vegan diet can cut out a whole lot of foods that are bad for your body, such as red meats which are often packed with saturated fats. Many studies have shown that various animal products can be detrimental to your health and wellbeing and that cutting them out can be good for your heart health and can help to lower cholesterol. Remember though, just because a diet is vegan, doesn’t automatically make it healthy. There are lots of vegan junk foods out there, so you need to focus on choosing foods that provide your body with nutrients.
- For the animals – a lot of people also tend to go vegan for the animals. While we may not acknowledge it often, animal products have to be taken from an animal. Whether that’s by killing the animal or farming it and taking its resources. This has ethical issues attached and often, the day to day life of a farmed animal isn’t the best lifestyle it could live.
- For the environment – other vegans tend to make this lifestyle change for the sake of the environment and the plant. You may not be aware of this, but animal agriculture is, by far, the biggest producer of methane emissions in the world. Deforestation also takes place in order to free up land for the animals that we consume to live on. Plus, transport of these animals between farms, slaughterhouses and stores produces a whole lot of emissions too.
Making Sure You Get Your Nutrients
You need to make sure you’re replacing the nutrients of anything you cut out with plant based alternatives. This is generally easy. Just make sure you are getting your protein and B12 in particular. A vegan protein supplement can help with protein, while nutritional yeast can help with B12.
Taking a Phased Approach
Of course, veganism is extremely different to a standard diet that incorporates meat, fish, eggs, dairy and more. So, switching from one to the other all in one go can be pretty overwhelming. Instead, most people feel more comfortable taking a phased approach, where they slowly cut out individual products until they reach full veganism. Baby steps can get you used to cooking with alternative ingredients, getting to know vegan recipes and generally adapting yourself to the lifestyle. Many people like to start out with Meat Free Mondays. Some may then slowly cut out fish. Some may then slowly cut out specific products that contain egg, such as omelettes, fried eggs, then scrambled eggs, then poached eggs, then cakes that contain egg and so on. Take whatever approach is best for you!
Remember You Don’t Have to Fully and Strictly Switch
If going fully vegan isn’t your ideal end goal, it doesn’t have to be. Cutting out any animal products at all is better for you, the planet and animals. So settle wherever suits you best. Whether that’s reducing animal products or completely eliminating them from your diet is entirely up to you!
Of course, going vegan isn’t the simplest change. But it is possible – as thousands of people are proving on a daily basis! Just persevere, don’t scold yourself for mistakes or days where you don’t fully stick to the diet and pick up plenty of vegan recipes to maintain a fun, exciting and nutritionally dense diet! You may find yourself enjoying the change in no time!