Veganuary is a charity that encourages people to try a vegan diet for the month of January. This year they have had a whopping 168,000 people from all over the world signed up to go vegan!
BUT WHAT IS VEGANISM?
The term vegan is used to describe a person who does not eat or use any animal products. Vegans do not eat animal flesh (meat, poultry, fish, seafood), dairy, eggs, honey or animal by-products (such as gelatine, animal-derived colouring and flavouring, rennet).
A vegetarian on the other hand will avoid meat, poultry and seafood but will still consume milk products, eggs and honey. There are many different types of vegetarianism, for example a pescetarian has no meat or poultry but eats fish, seafood, eggs and milk products.
Where as, lacto-ovo vegetarians will avoid all meat, poultry, fish and seafood but they do have milk products and eggs.
WHY DO PEOPLE GO VEGAN?
People often trial a vegan diet for three key reasons, to improve their health, for the environment or in protest of animal cruelty.
It is important to note that you do not need to be vegan to be healthy.
Lean meat, fish, seafood, dairy and eggs can all be part of a healthy balanced diet.
A VEGAN DIET ISN’T FOR EVEYONE
Dr Laura Thomas, a registered nutritionist and self-proclaimed vegan, provided a great list of reasons why not everyone should follow a vegan diet.
She states that being vegan should never be driven by fear, anxiety, guilt or other other negative emotions, nor should veganism come from a place of self-hate or not feeling good enough.
Additionally, if you have a history of disordered eating, are pregnant, breastfeeding or have any health or medical conditions it is best to talk to your GP or dietitian before committing to a vegan lifestyle.
MAKING A CHANGE?
If you are considering going vegan for January or long term, its important to note that it can be difficult to meet your daily requirements for iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, protein and vitamin B12 .
A vegan lifestyle for most, when done correctly can be well balanced and rewarding, you just have to be more aware of vegan sources of these nutrients and how to maximise their absorption.
DON’T WANT TO GO VEGAN?
There are other ways you can look after environment that doesn’t involve a restrictive diet.
- Use a reusable cup for takeaway tea and coffee.
- Keep a fold up grocery bag in your car or handbag instead of buying plastic bags.
- Use re-useable water bottles and cutlery rather than single-use plastic alternatives.
- Buy vegetables from the local grocer or markets and store them in re-useable bags rather then single use plastic bags.