With over half a million people choosing to follow a vegan diet in the UK, three times more than the previous decade, veganism is one of the fastest growing lifestyle movements in the United Kingdom. But what is the vegan diet and how can you go from meat-eater to fully-fledged vegan?
What Is The Vegan Diet?
The vegan diet eliminates the consumption of all animal-derived products, including; meat, eggs, dairy and honey. Many people refer to veganism as a ‘lifestyle choice’ as opposed to a ‘diet’, with many vegans opting to avoid all animal-derived ingredients in their every day life, such as avoiding clothing made with certain materials such as leather and wool and cosmetics containing animal-derived ingredients, such as carmine and beeswax.
What Can Vegans Eat?
Vegans can eat exactly the same foods as everybody else, with the exception of foods containing animal-derived ingredients, such as jelly, dairy ice cream and milk chocolate. This may sound like a huge compromise, but with so many vegan alternatives on the market, it’s never been easier to make vegan food swaps.
Vegan Protein Sources
It’s the question on every meat-eaters lips; ‘where do vegans get their protein from?’.
Yes, meat, fish, eggs and dairy are all good sources of protein, but there are plenty of plant-based protein sources for those who choose to follow a vegan diet, including:
Getting enough protein in a vegan diet is easy, however, the one vitamin which vegans do need to supplement with is vitamin B12, as this is generally only available from animal products, such as fish, eggs, meat and dairy. Many foods, such as cereals and plant-based milks are fortified with vitamin B12, but many vegans opt for a vitamin B12 supplement.
Why Do People Follow A Vegan Diet?
There are many different reasons for people following a vegan diet:
- Personal Tastes
- Religious Beliefs
- Health Reasons
- For The Environment
- Moral Reasons
How Can I Start A Vegan Diet?
If you’re looking to start following a vegan diet then make sure you take baby steps, start off by incorporating more fruit and vegetables into your diet, then try to have one vegan meal per day and slowly decrease your consumption of animal products from there. Some super-easy vegan swaps include:
Dairy Milk Plant Based Milk
Honey Agave Nectar
Ice Cream Booja Booja Ice Cream
Milk Chocolate Raw Chocolate
When starting out on a vegan diet, it’s also important to remember to not be too strict with yourself, or you might end up giving up all together. If you go out for a meal and there’s only a vegetarian option on the menu and you’re happy to opt for that, then go for it! Just remember to try your best and do what feels right for you- veganism is about being compassionate, not perfect!