By Iona Middleton
Day in and day out we are bombarded with new and different reasons to become vegan and there definitely are numerous motives for being vegan. With the recent shocking announcement that we have just twelve years to limit climate change, we are now seeing more people than ever ‘convert’ to veganism.
Animal agriculture produces an enormous amount of greenhouse gas emissions and uses gigantic volumes of water, therefore causing a lot of pollution. Another reason people may consider becoming vegan, and a big reason that changed my mind, is animal welfare. Often animals are treated inhumanely and cruelly. Alternatively, you may want to be vegan just because it is healthier for you. Various research has shown that vegan diets can result in lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Eating meat doesn’t seem so appealing when you realise it is just animal flesh.
Becoming vegan isn’t necessarily easy by any means, I know that I still find myself looking at a chocolate bar in the shop lovingly. It is also very important that you continue to eat a balanced diet and get the nutrients that you may usually get from dairy or meat elsewhere. Luckily, there are lots of recipes and tips to help anyone considering a vegan lifestyle. My guidance to converting would be starting slowly.
A great idea is having one vegan meal a day or ‘Meat-Free Monday’ once a week. This will introduce you to meals and help you to see what you need to eat a healthy diet still. Start slowly by cutting out the red meat, then all meat and fish, followed by eggs and dairy.
Take your time to find substitutes that you like and enjoy eating. To make sure you’re getting enough protein a good substitute are beans and lentils. Each average cooked cup contains about 10-20 grams of protein! Nuts and seeds are very versatile and an easy snack too, they contain antioxidants and are a great source of iron and fibre. Most importantly I think is to make dishes with fruit and vegetables. They are really versatile and easy to cook.
Whether you just cut down on your meat consumption or become a fully-fledged vegan, every little helps- both the planet and your health.