Over the last few years, the amount of people switching to a vegan diet has increased; it is estimated that it is more than 200% up on previous figures. So what has led to this massive shift, and what do all these fellow humans know that has taken vegan from hardly heard of totally trendy in such a short space of time?
Well, the reasons are many and varied and focus on three main areas: our health, the environment, and the animals.
When you switch to a plant-based diet, you are providing your body with a low fat, high nutrient source of fuel. Meat has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, and as with all things, the guidelines change but the problem seems to be red meat and processed meat. Vegan diets are linked to many health benefits, and the food you consume doesn’t link back to any cancer concerns.
The positive effects of a vegan diet include lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower incidence of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Plant-based foods, especially organically grown crops, are stacked full of the vitamins, minerals and fibres the body needs.
We are not just talking about methane from cows, the benefit to the environment when we do not have an active meat and dairy industry go much further. Firstly, we need to grow crops to feed the animals, and then they have to have a water supply, to meet demand they have to have chemicals in the form of medication to ensure they are healthy and growing quickly.
Providing the grain to feed the animals in the food chain is directly linked to deforestation, the loss of natural habitats and the knock-on effect of some species animals, those living in the wild, becoming extinct. When we look at growing crops, vegetables and fruit etc. for a vegan diet, the resource drain stops there. Once grown they are ready for consumption, not being moved onto developing, slaughtering and producing meat or supporting the dairy industry.
We left this until last because it is kind of a no-brainer but obviously here is a direct benefit to animals. With fewer people choosing to eat meat and animal products, there is an immediate drop in the number of animals born for a life in the food industry. Mass production has meant that gone are the days of a couple of cows in a big field or hens running around a yard.
Now supply and demand dictate that many of these sentient beings never see the light of day, are kept in cramped conditions and suffer greatly before being slaughtered anyway.
Where to Begin
If you have been wondering about switching to a vegan diet but are unsure as to where you start, there is loads of information out there to help. It is essential to make sure you get a balanced diet, and this is easy once you know how. If you would like help getting started check out our vegan vegan plan here.