Living the vegan lifestyle and having a vegan diet is one of the latest trends to sweep the country. Many celebrities, fitness gurus and health conscious members of the population are switching from meat and dairy to a raw and plant based vegan diet.
Celebrities such as Ellie Goulding, Beyonce and Stella McCartney are all said to swear by a vegan diet and believe that it helps them feel better, look better and generally live a healthier lifestyle. There’s even a month dedicated to encouraging people to try the vegan lifestyle. Veganuary happens in the month of January and since 2014 has been encouraging people to try being vegan for a month to see if you can see a difference in your health and well-being.
But just what is it about the vegan diet that makes it good for your health? We’ve rounded up 8 of the key benefits of being Vegan.
1. Boost your energy levels
Vegan diets are said to improve your energy levels so that throughout the day you feel more engaged, awake and ready to take on the world.
2. Good for weight loss
Cutting out animal products is said to help you stay slim because you’re not having as much saturated fat that is normally associated with dairy and meat.
3. You easily get your 5 fruit and veg each day
General advice to the public is to eat your 5-a-day and recently health professionals have said this should be as many as 10! When you’re vegan eating that much fruit and veg is easy as it’s a staple at all of your mealtimes. This also means your diet will be high in nutrients naturally found in fruits and vegetables.
4. Vegans can be healthier
Some research shows that people who have a vegan or vegetarian diet have lower blood pressure, lower rates of type 2 diabetes, lower cholesterol and lower BMI. These are just some of the benefits that research has proved, meaning that you can live a perfectly healthy lifestyle without meat or dairy.
5. Going vegan can make you stronger and more athletic
When you think of a sports person or an athlete’s diet usually the first thing that comes to mind big portions of protein in the form of steak and chicken, but what you might not know is that quite a large number of athletes have a vegan diet. Carl Lewis and Steve Jurek are both vegan and have dominated in their chosen sports.
6. You will smell less!
No really! Studies have shown that removing red meat from your diet makes your body odour smell less, and generally, vegans also see a reduction in their bad breath.
7. It’s good for the environment
Producing meat and animal products are actually quite bad for the environment. From the crops, water and land required to breed and look after the animals to the production process and transport required to get it to your dinner table a lot of environmental resources are used up, or pollution created that is let back into the atmosphere. A vegan diet will reduce your overall impact on the environment.
8. Healthier hair, skin, and nails
A vegan diet is usually high in nutrient rich food such as fruit and vegetables. These foods are packed full with vitamins A-E which are the vitamins that your hair, skin, and nails love, meaning that a vegan diet can help you have strong nails, glowing skin and shiny hair, just look at Beyonce!
So, how do you become a vegan?
If you decide you want to be vegan then at first it’s going to seem like a big lifestyle change and there’s a lot to think about when you want to cut food groups out of your diet, however if you do decide to take the plunge then here are some tips that the Vegan Society suggests you take into consideration.
Take it slow – you don’t have to change everything at once! You might be someone who can make all the changes at once and overnight you’re totally at ease with your new lifestyle. For others it might take a little longer to get used to, the most important thing is to do what’s right for you. Start by changing a few small things, maybe making a few of your meals per week vegan and up the number each week until your diet is completely vegan. Given you’ll also likely have to change the type of stuff you shop for take some time too to visit your local stores and find out what’s on offer, you should be able to find an alternative for just about everything you’re currently eating, so you don’t have to completely ditch your favourite foods.
Do it properly – being vegan doesn’t automatically make you healthy, and if you’re only eating vegan junk food you definitely won’t see the benefits listed above. Make sure you’re getting all the essential nutrients you need and create a properly balanced diet, from protein, fat and carbohydrates to vitamins and minerals, make sure you include them all. Not sure how to do this? Look for inspiration online – there are a load of vegan bloggers such as “FullyRawChristina” and the “therawboy” who have hints and tips on vegan lifestyle and loads of recipes that you can try out for yourself.
Eat and try delicious new things – A new diet means new recipes to try and new flavours to discover, it’s a great time to let your creativity out in the kitchen and try new cuisines. You’ll actually be surprised at the variety of food and recipes you can lay your hands on. From a spring salad to a raw dessert such as pumpkin pie; FullyRawChristina has a great selection on her website that will kick start your vegan diet with lots of tasty treats.
If you want to eat out too then don’t worry, there’s loads of places that offer vegan options and the number of vegan restaurants across the UK is continuously growing.
Keep educating yourself – Your understanding of the vegan lifestyle won’t happen instantly and in a world where veganism is not the norm educating yourself on the principles and varieties of veganism that exist is important and will help you talk about it with others if they have questions about what you’re doing.
Don’t be afraid to look for help – There are loads of online forums, bloggers, Pinterest boards and YouTube vloggers that talk all about a vegan lifestyle, show you amazing recipes and will answer your questions to help you ease into your new lifestyle. Social media will be your friend for this, and who knows?! Along the way, you might make some new friends who are embracing the same change as you!
Don’t forget why you started and don’t quit – Being vegan will not always be easy and there may be days you think about quitting, but when you do just think back to why you chose to do it. Everyone’s reasons are different but whether it’s to improve your health or to be kinder to the environment, remember your reasons and remember how far you’ve come then decide if you really want to quit or not. Chances are you’re just having a tough day and thinking of your achievements so far will make you realize you don’t want to quit.
This article touches on just some of the benefits of a vegan diet and how you would introduce veganism into your lifestyle. There is much evidence out there that shows that veganism can improve your health and reduce the risk of disease, however before you start any new diet or exercise routine you should always consult your Doctor to ensure that you’re doing the right thing for your health and well-being.