Vegetarian and Vegan society secretary, Jessica Morley, discusses the advantages of a vegan diet and some top tips to help you transition to veganism.
Veganism is so in fashion right now and as secretary of the university’s Vegetarian and Vegan society, I’d like to let you know more about our society and the concept of veganism. We are really welcoming, friendly and non-judgemental, and we encourage anyone to attend our events, regardless of whether you are vegan, vegetarian or just ‘veg-curious’! Don’t feel that you will be preached to or judged; our society is based around delicious food and making vegan food more accessible, less mysterious and helping people to find new great foods and restaurants.
So, what would going vegan mean for you personally? I won’t cover all of the benefits that veganism provides as they are so broad and varied, but obviously the most topical benefit right now is the fact that it is one of the most environmentally friendly diets. A vegan diet needs only one third of the land required to support an omnivorous diet. Again, for brevity I won’t go into too much scientific detail here, but essentially a vegan diet requires less land and resources because it cuts out the process of deforestation in order to raise, feed and transport animals. If you want to make a difference in your environmental impact, veganism is a great way to do just that.
The health benefits are seemingly endless, so this is not an exhaustive list. Naturally you’ll find yourself eating a lot more fruit and veg unintentionally, getting a lot more nutrients in than you would on a standard omnivorous diet. This will also help with weight maintenance or loss, as you will be eating less calorie dense foods without realising it. For the athletes amongst you, you may already be aware that veganism is fantastic for athletic performance. If you don’t believe me, the new documentary ‘Gamechangers’ on Netflix may convince you otherwise; many top athletes have now switched to vegan diets because it is so effective in improving athletic performance.
Then, there are the more serious health-based reasons; veganism has been shown to prevent certain types of cancer and heart disease.
Then how do you become and stay a vegan? Well, firstly, don’t feel that you have to dive straight into becoming fully vegan. A great way to start is by going vegetarian first, or by cutting out different foods gradually, for example eggs first, then milk, and so on. Relapsing in the first few months isn’t uncommon, and I actually did make a few mistakes in my first month or two of going vegan. Just remember that as with anything it gets easier the longer you do it – after the first six months you probably won’t even miss any of the foods you used to eat as you’ll be enjoying so many new tasty vegan foods! Also, make sure you are getting in certain nutrients, like iron, omega oils and calcium. This is easy enough when you know what you are doing but new vegans may not realise what foods are best for getting these nutrients. Kale, broccoli, lentils, nuts and seeds are great sources of these nutrients– but there are plenty more! B12 is the only vitamin you may need to supplement, or you should ensure that you eat a lot of fortified foods such as cereals.
I hope that this article has been informative – feel free to come along to our next event which will be the Great Vegan Bake Off at 5:30pm on the 14th November, or if you are interested in joining, membership is only £5 for the year and available on the LUU website.
Photo credit: LUU veg society -This is a photo from their wine and cheese evening last month.