So you’re considering making the big switch. Nice work so far, but this is only the beginning. Going vegan these days is more than just a fad. It’s a lifestyle choice that has some pretty overwhelming health and environmental benefits.
But what does going vegan actually entail? Will it work for me? Is a vegan diet healthy?
Here’s your lowdown on the why, how, and what of going vegan.
Let’s dive in.
What is Veganism?
A vegan diet has meant a few different things over the years. Wind back a few decades, veganism was a term used to describe “non-dairy vegetarians”. However in the 21st century veganism in the true sense of the word has been updated by the vegan society to include any animal-based products - including cutting out
Oof. That’s a fair few things. And indeed, sticking to this regime can be difficult. But increasing numbers of people are choosing to give up eggs in the morning and forget the family barbecue for plant-based alternatives.
So should you? Here’s everything you need to know about going vegan.
What are the reasons to eat a plant-based diet?
There are several reasons people choose to give up steak and fish. Here are a couple of big drivers:
1. Animal cruelty reasons
A big argument behind going vegan is the moral argument around animal cruelty and exploitation. Chances are the steak you bought at your supermarket comes from a cow that hasn’t exactly lived a fruitful life, and has died in less than appealing conditions.
2. Environmental Reasons
Another major argument is that of the planet’s health. Oxford University has confirmed that the biggest impact soon can have on reducing climate change is by giving up meat and animal-based products. With environmental awareness on the rise - many are realising the link between what we eat and how this affects the planet.
3. Health Reasons
There are benefits of giving up animal products, some of which are discussed below. Choosing a healthier diet by eating whole foods and plenty of fruit and vegetables is a broader health trend that often complaints a vegan lifestyle.
Is a vegan diet healthy?
Many people’s first question when considering going vegan: is a vegan diet healthy? If you’ve been a meat-eater your whole life there are probably many more questions pumping through your brain at this point.
But let’s take it step by step.
The science is in and the data is pretty astounding. A recent study shows that people on a meat-free diet have a lower risk of heart disease, while other studies have demonstrated a strong link between going vegan and weight loss and lower obesity rates.
Do vegans get enough nutrients in their diet?
While some health experts would caution that vegan diets lack the right amount of vitamin B12 (which is only found in meats and animal products), others are quick to point out that getting the right amount of this vitamin can be done in a variety of other ways like including nutritional yeast and other supplements into one’s diet.
What to expect during the switch
If you’ve eaten meat and dairy every day, the shift can be gruelling to begin with. If you look in your fridge right now and decide to make something that contains zero animal products you could be hard-pressed to pull something together. Here are six common things to expect when diving into veganism:
- More trips to the bathroom (vegan foods are normally high in water content and will be digested far quicker than a heavy steak for example)
- Strong cravings for animal foods - especially meat. Walking past a sizzling barbecue can be absolute torture! (Think of the cows. Think of the cows)
- Changes in body weight - usually for the thinner side, but this can be both positive or negative if you’re trying to gain weight.
- More emotions. This can be a result of your hormones shifting and adjusting to your new diet android intake. This is natural and your body will adjust.
- Changes in sleep patterns. Changes in diet will always affect our sleep, and going vegan is no different. You may feel more active in the mornings and tired in the afternoons.
- The backlash from friends and family. This can be one of the hardest things to deal with, especially when Friday night is steak night with your family and now you’re the loser who has to eat lettuce (remember to stand up for yourself in these situations).
Food that you can eat to replace cravings for meat
For some, there’s no such thing as a replacement for a good steak, but luckily for those making the switch, there are some healthy and fun alternatives to get you into the mood. Creating your favourite meals except without the meat can be a good way of satisfying your soul and putting those cravings to rest. Here are some foods to get you started:
1. Use rich seasoning
Get some soy sauce, tamari, chilli sauce, red wine, (or whatever goes), and make it rain. These sauces can create a richer and meatier taste to meals and combining it with grilled vegetables and a good dose of protein-rich grain can really put you out of misery.
2. Use tofu (but do it right)
People are often scared of cooking with tofu. But you don’t need to be. Go to your local Asian grocery store and get a big, wet slab of the stuff and bake it up with a thin layer of corn starch. You’ll see.
3. Mushroom it all the way
Mushrooms are often cooked with meat in stews and can serve as a great alternative to meat-based products. For breakfast fry up some mushrooms in olive oil and serve as a side to smashed avo on toast. Bingo.
Want to combine vegan-friendly foods with good gut health?
Now you’re talking. Why not knock out two birds with one stone? Going vegan can be a difficult task but your gut will be one of the first to benefit from a meat-free diet. If you’re after a good source of vegan and organic food that can be delivered to your door, visit our online store for a wide range of vegan friendly products.
Here at Nourishme Organics, we stock a range of delicious vegan alternatives for all your favourite foods. From organic agar agar powder, vegan curry powder to important spices and vegan supplements like Spirulina.
Starting the vegan journey can be hard (at first). But there are a great many reasons why people go vegan, just make sure you’re prepared for the initial hurdles.Start your vegan diet with a healthy gut - visit our online store today.