World Vegan Day is today, a time to celebrate and recognise how far the vegan movement has come.
The focus for The Vegan Society month this year is ‘live vegan for less’, a campaign showing cost-effective ways for vegan living.
People’s interest in a vegan diet certainly has grown. In 2019, the Vegan Society estimated about 600,000 people in the UK followed a vegan diet however other estimates put the number of vegans at around 1.5 million.
Another poll found that during 2020 many of us changed our diets to either vegetarian (people who still eat eggs and milk), pescatarian (people who eat fish, but not meat) or vegan, and this research supports the idea of there being over a million people eating a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Ethical motivations, and healthier living are the main reasons people are becoming vegan.
What are the nutritional benefits of a vegan diet?
Choosing to go vegan means you tend to eat more fruit and vegetables and enjoy meals higher in fibre and lower in saturated fat.
Limiting intake of foods with added salt, fat and sugar will help you with the quality of your diet however you do have to have an awareness of what might be missing from your diet.
The latest UK study monitored many thousands of people on different diets including 8000 vegans. The death rates of each group were compared with those of regular meat-eaters.
The studies suggested that vegans have, generally, excellent health, and lived about five years longer than the general population.
Choosing a vegan diet gives more opportunities for eating plant foods, whilst also cutting out carcinogens from meat with saturated fat and cholesterol.
The key nutrients you should have in your diet as a vegan are:
- Vitamin B12 – deficiency can cause anaemia and nervous system damage.
Where: supplements, added to some alternative milk products, vegan spreads, nutritional yeast flakes, yeast extracts and breakfast cereals.
- Protein – why: give muscles and bones structure. Fights infections, makes hormones and carries oxygen. Can be found in beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, soya alternatives to milk and yoghurt, peanuts.
- Omega-3 fats – why: immune system, brain, nerves and eye health.
Where: chai seeds, ground linseed, help seeds and walnuts, rapeseed oil.
- Calcium – why: bone health, nervous system, blood clotting and controlling your muscles.
Where: calcium-set tofu, calcium-fortified milk and yoghurt alternatives and soya. Kael, watercress, okra, tahini, dried figs, haricot beans and almonds.
- Vitamin D -why: helps keep bones and muscles healthy
Where: supplements – recommended by UK health between October and March, as we get little sun.
- Iodine – why: used by bodies to make thyroid hormones.
Where: supplements, or iodine-fortified plant milk
- Selenium – why: helps speed up reactions in our bodies.
Where: taking a supplement containing selenium is reliable way.
- Iron – why: if your body is low on iron, you become tired and anaemic
Where: same foods as Zinc, plus kale, dried apricots, figs, raisins, and fortified breakfast cereal.
- Zinc – why: a variety of functions, including speeding up reactions and fighting infection
Where: beans, chickpeas, lentils, tofu, walnuts, cashew nuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, wholemeal bread and quinoa.
- Vitamin K.-why: It plays an important role in blood clotting, bone health and kidney function. Where: Leafy green vegetables.
- Vitamin A – Why: important for eye health, and a normal functioning immune system.
Where: Your daily intake of fruit and vegetables.
Creative Nature’s support for vegans
We also sell a range of superfoods, including Chia Seeds, Hemp Protein powder, Organic Shelled Hemp Seeds, Barley Grass. and Spirulina Pacifica. All useful products to help supplement your vegan diet.
Our range of snacks are also vegan, which means we have a range of products perfect for anyone starting out on a vegan diet, when they are peckish and don’t know what to eat.
Why not consider going vegan during November, you might like it!