Vegan Diet: What Is Veganism & Why You Should Try It
How to become vegan, and what to look out for...
More and more people are looking to try a vegan lifestyle, and there are many reasons why.
It’s a great way to ensure you’re doing your bit for the environment (mass farming and air freighting meat contribute massively to rising CO2 levels) and is of course ethically kinder to Mother Earth’s animals (industrially farmed animals have a terrible quality of life and their living conditions are poor). Did you know that livestock and their byproducts are accountable for 51% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions?
Also, the quality of meat is questionable as it can be pumped with additives, water, and chlorine. Eventually, poor diet and bad quality food start to take its toll on our skin, hair, and nails.
A lot of people are turning toward veganism for their general health too. Plant-based diets have been found to lower your risk of some cancers and can prevent type 2 diabetes from developing. Becoming vegan can absolutely contribute to bringing your bodyweight down, too. Vegans burn calories 16% quicker than the average meat-eater for the first few hours after meals! In addition, this kind of diet can help lower cholesterol and reduce high blood pressure.
The benefits of veganism are clear. So maybe we should all be giving it a try… But it can be a lot to get your head around. Changing your lifestyle drastically in this way can mean a lot of label reading and a lot more conscious thought, which can be off-putting. So below, you can find the 6 main things to think about if you’re looking to start introducing veganism into your day to day life.
First, Be A Flexitarian...
If you’re curious about trying a vegan diet, but have been a meat eater your entire life, it can be daunting at first! Why not try a slow introduction, and be flexible with it.
Start by trying different versions of milk (instead of dairy, try alternatives like oat, soya, rice, or coconut). Then try a meat substitute in a favourite recipe and serve to the whole family - make it a conversation about what differences there are. Or perhaps just aim for one completely vegan meal a day for a few weeks - even a little contribution to change like this can make a real difference!
Know Where To Find Protein
Firstly, becoming protein deficient is really rare in the western world. but it’s one of the first concerns for those considering a plant-based diet. It’s actually a myth that you can’t get protein from plants!
Beans, lentils, chickpeas, soy products, peanut butter, cashew nuts, pine nuts, and pumpkin seeds are all loaded with amino acids and protein, so just be sure to add them into your recipes.
Vitamin B12 & Calcium
If we don’t get enough of Vitamin B12, we can feel lethargic, exhausted and weak. Vitamin B12 typically comes from meat, eggs, and dairy which we’re having none of in a vegan diet.
The easiest way to make sure you’re getting your recommended daily allowance is by taking a supplement. If you’re taking a multivitamin tablet already, check the label as you’re probably already getting your B12 from these. Alternatively, Vitamin B12 is found in fortified foods (often clearly labeled on food packets) like breakfast cereals, dairy alternatives like dairy-free spreads and milk and yeast extract.
Calcium is also vital for our bone health, so it’s good to know where else in your diet you can keep up with calcium. What’s brilliant is that fortified plant milk contains the same amount of calcium as cow’s milk. Fortified dairy-free yogurt and calcium-set tofu are also rich in calcium too. Calcium can also be taken as a supplement if you’re concerned.
If your social circle isn’t sharing in your vegan curiosity, it can be hard to go and visit without them bending over backward to accommodate you - it can be uncomfortable being that guest when your pals see cooking vegan-friendly as an effort or a problem.
There also needs to be an element of trust that they’ll actually cook your option fully vegan too. Offer to bring a dish with you! Not only are you taking the stress away from them, but you’ll also be able to show the deliciousness of a vegan dish to everyone who isn’t. Always communicate clearly with anyone hosting you in advance of your dietary requirements, particularly if they're insistent on cooking for you.
It's OK To Slip Up
Humans make mistakes. We’re imperfect beings, and it’s OK to accidentally put regular milk in your coffee or eat something on offer at a party you assumed was vegan, but actually isn't…
Or in the early days, sometimes you might even forget! It’s OK. The important part of any lifestyle change is the intention – you want to try because you believe in the value of a vegan diet, so just try again and keep trying.
What About Your Make Up & Beauty Products?
Yep, sometimes your favourite beauty products have animal products in them… Or even worse, may have been tested on animals. This includes things like shampoo and conditioner and some mascaras can use beeswax or honey in them, which are classed as animal products.
At Cel, we can guarantee all of our products are cruelty-free. Our Microstem Hair Thickening Mask is verifiably vegan. So, take your first step into vegan curiosity today and start washing your hair with ethical confidence.