Vegan Diet

It’s the time of year when many of us make changes, whether that’s trying to eat more healthily, stop smoking or even save more. But, it’s also the time of year where you might be considering adopting a vegan lifestyle, even if it’s just for a month.

Did you know, according to Veganuary health is the most common reason for participating in Veganuary. That’s why we’ve gathered all you need to know about going vegan, even if it’s just for a month.

What Does it Mean to Follow a Vegan Diet?

Vegans eat a plant-based diet, avoiding all animal based food. A vegan diet can include all kinds of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds, beans and pulses. So, all of your favourite dishes, from curries, pastas, and pizzas can be made vegan if they’re made from plant-based ingredients. Many supermarkets now offer a wide vegan range including products you might not expect including cheese, mayonnaise and chocolate.

Is a Vegan Diet Healthy?

According to the NHS, you can get most of the nutrients you need from eating a varied and balanced vegan diet. Your diet should try to include:

  • At least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
  • Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, or other starchy carbohydrates. It’s best to choose wholegrains where possible.
  • Have some dairy alternatives, such as soya drinks and yoghurts. Try to choose lower fat and lower sugar options.
  • Eat some beans, pulses and other proteins.
  • Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and eat in small amounts.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.

With good planning and understanding you can get all the nutrients your body needs. There are certain nutrients that are more difficult to get if you’re vegan, including calcium, iron and vitamin B12. Find out more in our blog on How to be Vegan: Essential Nutrients, Supplements and Medications.

How to Read Food Labels:

When you’re shopping, particularly when you first adopt a vegan diet, it’s best to get in the habit of reading food labels. Not all food labels will use the word vegan, so it’s important to check the ingredients. If you see any of the following, then the product isn’t vegan:  Casein, Lactose, Whey Gelatine/Gelatine, Lard/Tallow, Albumen/Alumin and Pepsin.

Where to find recipe ideas:

There’s plenty of cookbooks and places on the internet which are dedicated to vegan recipes. As a starting place, try:

  1. Veganuary
  2. The Vegan Society
  3. Vegan Life