Vegan diets are gaining popularity around the world. According to various data, more and more people try this plant-based diet every year. In the US, it is estimated that around 6% of the population is vegetarian, while in the UK, more than a third of the population are interested in going vegan in the near future.
There are many reasons to try veganism—some for your health, others to actively protect animal welfare and reduce their impact on the environment. Of course, veganism is also more accessible today than ever, with restaurants and supermarkets taking notice and launching an ever-expanding range of products for this fast-growing community.
Even McDonald’s, famous for its cheap, high-calorie fast food, has introduced the McPlant, a vegan burger made with a plant-based patty.
What does it mean to be vegetarian?
A vegan diet avoids all animal products. Meat, eggs and dairy products are the most obvious foods to avoid, while other animal products such as cheese, honey and gelatin (a substance obtained by boiling animal bones in water) can also be omitted.
Some vegans also avoid leather, silk, and wool, and avoid buying products that have been tested on animals.
Every January, many of us start the year with a renewed interest in healthier lifestyles. This is the time when weight loss ads and health clubs en masse promote themselves. Coincidentally, this is also the time when Veganuary, a UK-registered charity promoting vegetarianism, urges you and me to be vegetarian all month long.
Embracing a meat- and dairy-free diet can be intimidating for some, but for those who are ready for the change, the internet is full of tips that can help you navigate Vegan January with ease. and recipes.
One of the easiest ways to start a vegan diet is to make a few simple changes — substitute plant-based milk for cow’s milk, mayonnaise for hummus, and high-fiber lentils for meat in your meals. When you’re ready to add more vegan options, try tofu, tempeh, and jackfruit—the latter of which gained a global following after celebrity chefs and gourmet magazines launched a “pork” version of the jackfruit salad.
Opting to shop only in the fresh produce section of your local supermarket is another smart way to stay meat- and dairy-free, not to mention you’ll also save some money in the process. Broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, and their savory vegetable relatives are usually less expensive (by a lot) than chicken, pork, or beef.
If you’re worried about not getting enough nutrients from fresh vegetables, consider adding beans or even a sprinkle of nutritional yeast to your salad,which are golden flakes of goodness containing similar proteins found in most meat and dairy products.
The world’s largest medical library, the National Library of Medicine, has more than a thousand studies on the vegan diet, from its anti-inflammatory effects to whether the diet is detrimental to stamina and muscle strength in healthy young women — nothing Not included. In case you were wondering.
While the pros and cons of vegetarianism are still being researched and debate continues, medical experts generally agree that a vegan diet may reduce the risk of heart disease but may increase the risk of stroke because of a B12 deficiency.
To address this B12 deficiency, vegansociety.com has published an excellent article covering many aspects. According to them, the best vegetarian sources of B12 are B12-fortified foods (such as soy products) and B12 supplements.
save the earth
It cannot be denied that the food we eat has a direct and unsustainable impact on our planet. Humans have turned vast tracts of pristine land into intensive farms, growing crops to feed ourselves and the animals we will later slaughter and eat.
According to Our World in Data, a non-profit organization dedicated to making research and data accessible to all, half of the world’s habitable area today, or 51 million square kilometers, is used for agriculture. Of this unimaginably large number, only 23% of the land is used to grow crops for human consumption, while 77% is used to raise livestock (consider pasture and land used to grow crops for animal feed).
This unprecedented expansion of agriculture also has an impact on another precious resource – water. In a study by Beckett and Oltjen at the University of California Davis, they found that a pound of beef requires anywhere between 2,000 and 8,000 gallons of water to produce. In contrast, one pound of tofu only requires 302 gallons of water.