The number of people following a vegetarian or vegan diet has sky-rocketed in recent years. A report by The Vegan Society named the ‘plant-based movement’ as one of the fastest-growing lifestyle trends in the UK, with the number of people following a vegan diet increasing by 360% over the past decade. On Instagram, the term #vegan has over a staggering 87 million posts associated with it and the number of individuals ‘taking the pledge’ for veganuary has been over half a million since 2014!
According to the Vegan Society, Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. People follow this way of living to varying degrees, but all vegans avoid food containing animal products, including meat, fish, dairy and eggs. Some take it one step further and avoid all animal derived products too, for example, leather, wax and wool as well as other products tested on animals.
The notion that a plant-based diet is restrictive and extreme is changing quickly. As the number of people eating in this way has increased, so has the number of people who accept it as a perfectly normal way to live. The market has accommodated for this shift and we now see more plant-based meal options in supermarkets, restaurants, trendy cafes, and of course our social media feeds!
Working professionals, the health conscious and athletes alike are all making the move towards a greener path, whether it be for health or ethical purposes, or a combination of both.
I have followed a fairly flexitarian dietary approach to date. I believe we could all benefit from reducing animal product consumption, and since there is no time like the present, I’ve now decided to take the full plunge! Whilst going cold turkey (pardon the pun) certainly is not for everyone, I want to see how my body will respond to the change in diet and I quite fancy the challenge!
Over the course of the next month, I will be documenting my experience throughout Veganuary. I will cover the challenges faced and how I overcame them, tips, thoughts and personal findings with close reference to things such as energy levels, performance, focus at work, mood and skin. I have also recently started training for my first marathon, so will also need to focus on fuelling training sessions, intra-workout nutrition (for longer runs) and recovery.
On the whole, a vegan diet / lifestyle has the potential to be nutritious and support your requirements, but there’s no doubt it does take more planning and forward thinking when it comes to ensuring you are consuming enough protein, as well as a healthy balance of all of the essential vitamins and minerals you need (or you can let us do the leg work for you).
If you are not yet a fully-fledged vegan, but are considering a transition to a more plant-based approach, for some it is best done slowly. Why not start with meat free Mondays? Then cut out fish, red, or white meat. Slowly replacing dairy products with plant-based alternatives can be an effective way to help your taste buds adjust. It is important to monitor energy levels and look out for any adverse health effects and seek medical advice if you have any concerns.
If you’re interested in making changes to your current plan, myself and our team of in-house nutritionists are on hand to help!
Keep an eye out for my weekly round-ups throughout the month of January!
Read about Week 2: https://blog.freshfitnessfood.com/blog/veganuary-week-2
Read about Week 3: https://blog.freshfitnessfood.com/blog/veganuary-week-3
Read about Week 4: https://blog.freshfitnessfood.com/blog/veganuary-i-made-it-to-the-end