Classed as ‘The Year of the Vegan’, veganism has really taken off in 2019. Some people tried veganuary as a first attempt to cut out animal-based products, while others adopted a completely vegan lifestyle.
The good news for us here at Root 66, is that being vegan has become part of the everyday, and that at whatever your age, you can always try to incorporate vegan meals into your diet. Increasingly, more people are willing to ‘go vegan’, trying meat and dairy free food and by starting small, adapting their current diet (whether they currently eat meat or are vegetarian) to learn more about what it takes to be vegan.
What is a vegan?
Being vegan means that you don’t eat any animal-based products in your diet. Dairy, meat, and even milk chocolate (I know!) is out of bounds but eating a vegan diet can also provide a lot of health benefits.
Is a vegan diet healthy?
Vegan diets are particularly healthy as these types of meals tend to be plant based. Complex carbohydrates and vegetables are your best friend as a vegan, so to make sure you have variety in your diet, you will benefit from cooking with as many different types of vegetables to create a tasty and nutritious meal.
Are vegans really healthier?
Vegans do tend to be healthier, but like non-vegans, there are some delicious, and more indulgent foods that vegans can enjoy, which can also contribute to poor health.
Since vegans don’t eat meat they tend to lack in vitamin B12, which can be found in all animal products, and so they rely on supplements to improve their intake. There are also some really tasty ways to cook vegan food, which can also involve frying; however just like any diet it’s about having balance, and making sure you have a range of food to eat based on how you cook it.
What are the benefits of a vegan diet?
Depending on how you cook your meals, a vegan diet tends to be low in saturated fat and high in nutrients. Many people think that a vegan diet is low in protein, however it’s easy to replace protein with plant-based food such as nuts, beans and pulses to ensure you get all the relevant nutrients into your body.
What can you eat as a vegan?
There are so many foods you can eat as a vegan, and it doesn’t have to just be about eating more fruit and vegetables. If you love cheese, there several dairy-free alternatives, or if you have a sweet tooth, you may be quite surprised by the number of vegan friendly cakes and chocolate ranges available on the high-street.
How to be vegan if you’re non-vegan
Start small. Changing everything at once can be a shock to the system, but over time you can slowly replace animal-based products and it will feel more natural. For example, simply switch your cow milk to almond milk, or swap scrambled egg and make tofu eggs instead!
Soon your proportion of vegan food vs animal-based will be larger and it won’t feel like a significant sacrifice in the long-run. Plus, being vegan means you’re doing so much more to help the environment, (but that’s a whole other subject!)
Our top tips for becoming a vegan
- Start small, vegans weren’t built in a day
- Look for vegan alternatives to meat products. Facon is a delicious alternative to bacon – give it a try!
- Dark chocolate is vegan friendly. It may seem bitter to being with, but it can be sweetened if you bake with it, meaning you don’t have to miss out on your favourite chocolate cake
- Try everything. You really don’t know until you try, and what with jackfruit burgers and nobab fries on the menu, vegan food really isn’t just about eating leaves.