I'm a proud vegan. Not one of those vegan police types but a happy-to-answer-questions-if-you-ask type. And I'll cook you an awesome vegan curry. I've been vegan now over 7 years, and vegetarian almost 20. Wow that makes me feel old!
So I'm truly loving and embracing the Veganuary trend - where you pledge to go vegan for one month - and see where it leads. I went vegan for a bet, just to see if I could do it! I cheese and dairy binged the week before and felt very sick (not recommended) as I thought I'd miss it so much. As it turns out, not as hard as I thought - so I carried on and here I am 7 years later!
So why go vegan? As well as the awesome curry (and chilli, burgers, pasta, etc etc!) there's some awesome benefits for you, the animals, and the planet.
So lets start with the main reason people go vegan - #veganfortheanimals
It has been recognised that animals feel pain and emotions, just as we do. Animals are not our property and should not be used for our food clothing, research or entertainment (hence why vegans only do not eat animals or animal products, but do not use or buy items containing leather, wool or silk). When I first went vegan, it was pretty much accepted that a vegan meal in a restaurant would be a stuffed pepper, and maybe chips and salad if you're lucky. Now, if you want it, there are alternatives to everything - vegan steak, vegan haggis, and even vegan blood pudding!
The second biggest reason people go vegan is for their own health. A vegan diet contains no cholesterol, as cholesterol comes from animal products. Vegans are likely to have a lower and healthier range of blood pressure, improvement in energy levels and sleep, and are more likely to maintain a healthy weight. Animal protein has been linked to Alzheimers, and the World Health Organisation recognised that a high intake of processed meat is linked to types of Cancers.
Going vegan is one of the easiest (and best!) ways to be environmentally friendly. It takes around 6 times as much water to produce a finished package of meat then it would to have a plant based alternative. Animals need water for drinking, to wash, for cleaning their living spaces, and water is used to grow the crops used to feed them - so skip the middle man and eat the crops yourself!
As a vegan I've never felt healthier, happier and stronger. When I first went vegan I lost (a much needed) 2 stone, and my body fat percentage dropped. I can honestly say I will never eat meat ever again.
So, full veganism might seem a long way off for you, but how about trying it out for the rest of the month - or even Meat Free Mondays? Let me know if you have any questions, I'd be happy to help!