The vegan lifestyle: a Feel Good Triber's view on plant-based diets
As some of you may know, today is World Vegan Day. The vegan lifestyle has been attracting a lot of attention in the press recently with high-profile vegans such as Jennifer Lopez and Deliciously Ella championing the lifestyle and its associated benefits. To find out more about what exactly a vegan diet entails, we asked our Feel Good Triber Izzy, why it is that she chooses to be a vegan.
Can you give us an outline on what a vegan diet and lifestyle is?
At a basic level, a vegan lifestyle is one in which no animals, (such as chickens and cows) or products from an animal (such as eggs or milk) are consumed. Some vegan people will also abstain from wearing clothes that are made from an animal. Some people choose to be vegan as a stand against commercial agriculture, for cultural, environmental, ethical and/or religious reasons as well as health reasons.
No animal protein?! But how do you manage on a day to day basis?
Easily! I think sometimes people overthink about preparing a meal; animal protein or by product does not have to be the main ingredient. There are so many incredibly tasty and nutrient rich, vegetables, grains and fruits available that make a Michelin star worthy meal. Eating vegan means that you are spoilt for choice on what to cook and eat; just check out the recipe content and ideas from some of the amazing vegan chefs out there - like Deliciously Ella and Naturally Sassy. The key to being vegan is being prepared; although many high street stores are increasing their range of healthy foods, many are still not geared towards a vegan looking for a lunch on the go! If possible, I always try to make a packed lunch (such as leftovers from the previous dinner or a salad) and always make sure I have lots of suitable snacks on me (such as the delicious Aduna Baobab bars!)
But what about eating out or going to a friend’s house for dinner? How do you cope then?
Often when I inform a host that I am vegan, I am met with the question of ‘I don’t know what I can cook you’. When I start listing what I can eat and not what I can’t, more often than not, people start devising delicious recipes on the spot. It is trickier eating out, but again, preparation is essential. Often I phone ahead to a restaurant and ask them to prepare a vegan meal for me, or if it is a spontaneous decision to eat out, I opt for a couple of veggie side dishes. I live in London, so I’m lucky because recently there have been the most amazing vegan friendly foodie places opening up all over the city. I’d recommend the Good Life Eatery, Tanya’s Café or The Wild Food Café. I’ve brought the most dedicated of carnivores to these haunts and each of them have loved their meals!
What are the health benefits of being vegan?
Where to start?! Honestly the mental and physical benefits of being vegan are numerous. Just some of the health benefits a vegan diet promotes are…. reduced chances of cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis, weight loss, increased energy, healthier skin, hair and nails, lowered cholesterol, a healthier digestive system and a reduction in allergies. And those are just some of the benefits! Obviously for each person, the vegan diet/mindset will work differently. I can’t recommend enough following in Beyonce’s footsteps and taking the 22 day vegan challenge. I am sure, like Beyonce, you will be amazed at how different you feel in just a short space of time!