Veganism is a lifestyle that has been “on trend” the past year with an increase in publicity on veganism as well as key advocates in the public eye. Veganism shouldn’t be seen as a lifestyle change in order to follow your favourite celebrity that recently turned, but it should be done for the correct reasons. However, even after following veganism the best way possible, not everyone’s body will agree, and therefore it is always good to keep in mind that not every food choice is right for you, both mentally and physically.
KNOW YOUR WHY
No-one has said going vegan is easy, especially if your diet history is animal based, and you went cold turkey straight to vegan. Believe me, it is do-able but it is hard to alter your dietary choices so quickly. But if you do decide to go vegan, make sure it is for the right reasons. There is a perception that you will “lose weight” and while there is evidence that supports this theory, there are other variables that come to play. Yes, through a vegan diet you are eliminating certain food groups such as dairy, which hold quite a high fat percentage, therefore when cutting this out, you may drop a few pounds but being mindful that your consumption of vegan foods can also play a factor in weight gain. Carbohydrates in excess when not needed are stored as fat, therefore if consumption is higher than your body needs, this could lead to excess fat being stored. If you want to know more about what to put on your plate, and what to watch out for, click here to read our recent blog post.
GOOD FOR MIND + BODY?
Veganism isn’t for everyone, some people crave meat, while other don’t. Neither being a vegan, or an omnivore should be ridiculed for their choice. But it should be noted, that not everyone’s body will respond the same way to going vegan. As mentioned in an earlier post, deficiencies can occur, and if you do not educate yourself on what plant-based foods need to be in your diet this can leave you with plenty of side effects, some more nasty than others.
Also worth noting, in a vegan diet there is little omega 3 available, especially eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) as these mainly come from animal based foods. Alpha linoleic acid (ALA) is found in plants, and luckily it can be converted into EPA and DHA, however research shows conversion is inefficient and limited. As it has been stated before, everyone is different and there have been cases where conversion in vegans is actually efficient, however worth considering getting a blood test to see how well your conversion is, and this can tell you whether you need to supplement or if going vegan is being detrimental to your health.
VEGANISM OR ELITISM?
Veganism can often look very trendy, but is that set to the “London Bubble?”. As you walk around London most restaurants will now do vegan options due to the increase in demand, but also because everywhere else is doing it – London that is. Veganism is catered highly in London, and you can go into most coffee shops and get dairy alternative milks for instance, or go to a specialised vegan restaurant; which are tasty, just so you know!
But does this accessibility slowly decline as we venture outside of the London postcode? Fact wise, yes it does. Kent for example, while you are surrounded by green grass fields containing beautiful sheep and cows, you will see little to none vegan restaurants or restaurants that cater for vegans. You will find options for vegetarians and maybe one options for vegans, but that will be it. Unlike London or cities, you can’t just stroll into a restaurant without doing some research into the food options. While this seems exaggerated, it is true, and it is a shame. You don’t want being vegan to become a hardship, but you also need to be mindful of how accessible it is, as we can often get swept into a bubble.
ONE STEP AT A TIME
There are plenty of other options out there that you can try, to either get a glimpse of what veganism entails, or you may be struggling with vegan 24/7. Firstly, please remember, you are not failing if you have tried and not succeeded, veganism is hard, it is not for everyone, but introducing more plant-based food products slowly can always make going vegan more achievable.
Being a flexitarian, for example is a great alternative, it includes plant-based days, but you are not set to a specific dietary choice, and it doesn’t eliminate all animal-based foods such as eggs, which are a common staple in most diets.
BE SMART ABOUT IT
There are plenty of reasons to why veganism could be great for your health, but it is always good to remember that not one person is the same, and what works for one individual may not work for you. Either way, if you want to go vegan or start as a flexitarian, both will bring positives in your life, but make a note to educate yourself on how to do it correctly, so it is right for you, and in the long run you reap the rewards and not bring harm to your body.