Veganism is on the rise and shows no signs of stopping. In fact, this January, many people are pledging to go vegan for Veganuary. But what are the benefits?
Is it healthy to be a vegan?
In 2016, a survey found that over half a million people in the UK over the age of 15 are vegan. This has increased from only 150,000 ten years previously. A vegan diet omits any products derived from animals, including meat and dairy. There are various different levels of veganism as some people choose to adhere to it differently to others. Some vegans extend their philosophy into everyday life by refusing to wear fur and leather while others will only follow the diet. Depending on a person's reason for being vegan, it can be quite a varying lifestyle.
Many people follow a vegan diet purely for the health benefits. While it has been proven that eating meat can contribute to heart disease, a lot of vegan diets lack in protein and essential nutrients. In order to be a healthy vegan, you need to do your research first and make sure you are eating enough of the right nutrients while limiting your carbohydrate intake.
What are the benefits of a vegan diet?
Aside from the animal welfare and environmental benefits of following a vegan diet, it can be very beneficial for your health. Eating natural, whole foods is better for our digestion and blood sugar levels and can even improve your energy levels. By following a vegan diet, you are more likely to eat natural foods that are low in sugar and contain 'healthy' fats rather than hydrogenated oils.
How is veganism good for the environment?
Livestock globally contributes to a whopping 7.1 Gigatonnes of CO2 emissions each year. Sundried is an ethical activewear brand and as such we care deeply about the environment. Several of Sundried's brand ambassadors are proudly vegan and love sharing their vegan lifestyle and tips with others in order to help them live a healthier, more responsible life.
Farming livestock and producing animal products uses a lot of water and produces a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. By following a plant-based or vegan diet, you are helping the ecosystem to stay more natural and are contributing to a natural, healthy environment.
Tips for going vegan
Track your food intake
Tracking your food intake doesn't only mean making a note of everything you eat in a day, you can also use it to plan your meals and figure out what you need to eat each day in order to achieve your calorie and macronutrient goals. In order to be healthy, you should have at least a rough idea of how many calories you should be eating each day as well as how many grams of protein, fat, and carbs you need each day. You can use an app like myfitnesspal to track your food so that you know your diet is healthy. A vegan diet can be very high in carbohydrates so it's important to keep an eye on your ratios and make sure you're having enough fat and protein too.
Don't be afraid to try new foods
It's a complete myth that vegan diets have to be restrictive. There are endless exciting and delicious foods you can enjoy while following a vegan diet and you should never feel limited otherwise you won't be able to sustain it. If you are newly vegan, you may find that there are lots of new foods that you need to try, so don't be afraid! Go into this experience with an open mind and you will most certainly find a whole host of new foods that you never knew even existed.
Avoid processed vegan foods and fake foods
As previously mentioned, there are many different types of veganism. Those who follow a 'plant-based' diet eat only foods which are derived from plants, such as fruits and vegetables. it is very easy to get sucked into the fake vegan foods on offer, such as fake chicken and fake cheese. These vegan substitutes are often full of chemicals and are no healthier for you than a non-vegan diet. A vegan diet can be unhealthy! If you eat just chips, crisps, and fake vegan foods, you will not be healthy at all. it's definitely better to stick to a plant-based diet and don't try to recreate your old favourite omnivorous foods. As mentioned above, try new things and discover amazing flavours you haven't tried before. There are so many options, you don't need to be eating fake chicken and fake cheese just because you're vegan.