One in two people in your life time will get cancer. To help the battle against cancer, Cancer Research UK are urging people to take a Veg Pledge this November to raise money for the cause by getting sponsorships from friends and family. Veg Pledge is a challenge for people to go vegetarian or vegan for November. As well as raising money for Cancer Research UK, your own health will benefit, as a plant based diet has been proven to cut the risk of various types of cancer.
A vegetarian or vegan diet will improve your health in multiple ways. A vegetarian diet is naturally low in saturated fats and cholesterol this reduces your risk of heart disease and obesity, meaning that vegetarians often live longer than their meat eating counterparts. A vegan diet means that you only eat plant based foods, cutting out dairy, eggs, meat and fish. Vegans have significantly lower oestrogen levels than non-vegans, due to reduced saturated fats in their diets. This means that their risk of getting breast cancer is remarkably lower than that of meat eaters as, excessive oestrogen has been identified as a cause of cancer.
Even just taking the veg pledge for one month can make a huge difference
As well as health benefits, being vegetarian or vegan has a positive environmental impact. As we all know, we have 12 years to limit climate change and a key way we can save the environment is by going vegetarian or vegan, because the meat and dairy industry is responsible for a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions. 51% of global greenhouse gases are attributed to livestock. Therefore, by cutting out meat and dairy, your carbon footprint will be reduced dramatically, contributing to a positive environmental change. Even just taking the veg pledge for one month can make a huge difference, and can show you how meat can be reduced in your diet all year round.
Going vegetarian or vegan can be a challenging experience at first if you don’t know how to get all the nutrients you need. Meat substitutes are a good way to ease you into the diet change, as they can be much cheaper and easier to cook. A word of caution however, these substitutes often contain a lot of sodium, so if vegetarianism becomes permanent you should aim to swap the meat substitutes for natural protein sources like nuts, soya beans, chickpeas, or lentils . Even meat eaters often do not get the nutrients their body needs, so it is advisable for vegetarians, vegans and meat eaters alike to take supplements, such as a multivitamin. If you’re feeling stuck for inspiration for vegetarian or vegan food you should follow #veganrecipes or #vegetarianrecipes on instagram, or you could download the ‘Tasty’ app, which provides lots of different recipes to try. So by taking part in Veg Pledge you will widen the variety of foods that you try, reduce your risk of cancer and help the environment, all whilst aiding the fight against cancer.
To sign up for, or get more information on Veg Pledge, visit: https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/get-involved/do-your-own-fundraising/veg-pledge?
Lucie Phipps and Tilly Judges