Once seen to be the territory of an alternative, sandal-wearing minority, veganism has now truly gone mainstream! The number of vegans in the UK has risen by 469% in the last 5 years*, with 3.5 million British people identifying as vegan, and more than 350,000 predicted to be taking part in ‘Veganuary 2020’ – including us! That’s why we’ve put together a cheat sheet, compiling everything we think you need to know about testing the plant-based waters.
Keen to eat a few more plants
Feeling a bit like a pig-in-blanket after too many over Christmas…
Looking to do your bit for the planet
Or just want to see if all those vegan documentaries on Netflix are onto something!
Veganuary is for you!
Health reasons or concerns about furry friends are great reasons to jump on the bandwagon, however arguably one of the biggest drivers is environmental concerns. As we become more aware of the how eating habits impact our planet, reducing meat and dairy intake is a seen to be the most effective way of reducing our diet’s carbon foodprint.
The meteoric rise of Veganism has seen many high street brands and supermarket chains launching plant-based alternatives to their products (which makes Veganuary more convenient than ever but also a bit of a minefield…).
While nothing is inherently wrong with Vegan Sausage Rolls and Quorn Nuggets in moderation, the ‘health halo’ that surrounds vegan products needs to be treated with caution as some are higher in fat and sodium than their meaty counterpart.
When you’re removing certain food groups from your diet, ensuring you’re still ticking nutritional boxes is important. We’ve enlisted our resident nutritionist, Will Cook, to advise on the nutrients you need to pay attention to this Veganuary….
The ultimate question: ‘Where do Vegans get their protein?’
Plant-based sources of protein include beans, lentils, chickpeas, nuts, nut butters, seeds, and tofu – throughout Veganuary, ensure that most of your meals contain these excellent sources of protein. Meat substitute items such as Quorn and soya products are also good sources of protein but as with any processed foods, can be high in fat and salt so moderation is key!
Calcium is vital for healthy bones – dairy foods are a rich source of calcium, but are obviously a ‘no-no’ for vegans. Make sure you get sufficient calcium from other foods such as nuts, dried fruit, sesame seeds, tofu, leafy green vegetables and red kidney beans.
Step away from the salmon! Plant-based sources of omega 3 include walnuts, linseed, chia seeds, soya beans and hemp seeds.
We all need vitamin D to keep our bones, teeth and muscles healthy and it is essential to help the body absorb calcium. Plant-based sources of vitamin D include sun-exposed mushrooms and fortified breakfast cereals, vegetable spreads and plant-based dairy alternatives (check the label that they have been fortified with vitamin D).
Small amounts of iodised salt or sea vegetables are vegan friendly sources of iodine. However, it is important to note that the iodine content of seaweed is variable and sometimes can be very high, guidance is to not consume sea vegetables more than once a week.
If this all has convinced you to go cold (no) turkey and participate in Veganuary, we salute you!
To kick off your meat-free month, why not try one of our favourite Vegan recipes:
The Korean Fried Cauliflower Burger
*SOURCE: Kantar, FMCG panel, Veganuary LinkQ – July 2019