Since 2014, more than half a million people in 178 countries have been inspired by the Veganuary movement; ditching dairy and meat in favour of plant-based foods. But how healthy is it to be a vegan
A UK non-profit organisation, Veganuary encourages people to go vegan for the month of January as a way of promoting and educating a vegan lifestyle. And with the provision of vegan food in shops and restaurants steadily increasing, it’s never been easier to opt for a vegan diet.
Last year, food-to-go retailer Greggs had phenomenal success with their Vegan Sausage Roll; in fact, they have recently rewarded all their employees with a £300 bonus in light of its success.
This year, they have launched their Vegan Steak Bake. It’s been designed to mirror some of the original Steak Bake’s classic features, including 96 layers of puff pastry and have teamed up with Quorn to wrap it around savoury mycoprotein pieces and diced onions in a rich gravy. The verdict so far? Only time will tell although there has been a thumbs up from many already –including non-vegans.
And they aren’t the only ones to launch new vegan products this year. So far, KFC has launched its first-ever Vegan Burger, Burger King has launched its Rebel Whopper, and McDonald’s has released its Veggie Dippers; with many more sure to follow suit.
Is a Vegan Diet Healthier?
With so much publicity on Veganuary, there has been plenty of debate as to whether a vegan diet is healthier, simply because it is plant based. While vegan food omits the use of meat and dairy products, the substitutes used in the preparation and cooking can mean that the calorie and fat content is higher. For example, Subway’s meatless marina contains 120 calories, and 7g more sugar, compared to the meat version.
However, Burger King’s Rebel Whopper bucks this trend, having less calories than its meat alternative. Therefore, this shows why it’s still important to ensure you make healthy choices when opting for vegan items.
Variety is Key!
The NHS advises you to eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day and base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates to ensure a healthy body. There is a plethora of dairy alternatives available, such as soya drinks and yoghurts – but remember to choose lower fat and lower sugar options.
It’s also recommended to include beans, pulses and other proteins, and to drink plenty of fluids. And if you do include foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt or sugar, try to have these less often.
Where Can I Find Out More?
There is a wide range of information available on the Internet; from advice, tips and menu plans/ recipes, so if you are considering going vegan, do your research so you can ensure you give your body – and mind – what it needs to function to its full potential.
Not quite ready to fully embrace all that a vegan diet entails? A great solution is to be a flexitarian; this means that you follow mainly a plant-based diet, with the occasional addition of meat and fish.
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