10th January 2021
Every January since 2014, thousands have joined a New Year’s Revolution.
What began as a simple conception from a non-profit organisation, Veganuary has since morphed into a global movement inspiring individuals, brands, restaurants, and supermarkets to “move to a plant- based diet as a way of protecting the environment, preventing animal suffering, and improving the health of millions of people” (Veganuary, n.d.).
Although veganism incorporates more than just diet, giving up meat and dairy is one of its main, and most popular, components.
With the month of Veganuary well underway, we explore why going meat and dairy free might be better for your overall health and encourage you to give veganism a go.
Reduces the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
An extensive 2019 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association concluded that “diets higher in plant foods and lower in animal foods were associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in a general population” (Kim, Caulfield, Garcia-Larsen, et al, 2019).
Animal foods, in particular red and processed meat, were found to pose an elevated risk of resulting in cardiovascular disease and mortality. Whereas healthy plant foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes were not associated with the same risk.
It’s also important to note that plant-based diets in general are much lower in calorie intake than their meatier counterparts. This lowers the risk of obesity which itself is one of the major contributing factors for heart disease.
Richer in Certain Nutrients
The key to succeeding on a vegan diet is preparation. It’s true that plant-based foods often leave you missing out on essential nutrients found in meat and dairy. However, there are lots of substitutes which can provide you with those fatty acids, vitamin B12, iron, and calcium. The NHS recommends that good sources for these include, but are not limited to, tofu, broccoli, pulses, fortified cereals, flaxseed oil, and walnuts (NHS, 2018).
If you stick to nutrient-rich whole plants and fortified foods, studies have shown that vegan diets appear to be richer in potassium, magnesium, folate and vitamins A, C and E (Davey, Spencer, Appleby, et al, 2003).
It’s important to stay away from fast-food vegan options and rely solely on fresh and whole ingredients.
Helps to Burn Excess Weight
As mentioned above, those on a vegan diet generally consume fewer calories than non-vegans due to the low-calorific nature of their food choices. This is ideal for weight loss and can contribute to burning excess weight in a healthy and sustainable manner.
Several studies have focused on this, but one showed that “a vegan diet helped participants lose 9.3 lbs (4.2 kg) more than a control diet over an 18-week study period” (Mishra, Xu, Agarwal, et al, 2013).
May Protect Against Some Cancers
According to the World Health Organization, increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts, whilst reducing the intake of saturated fats and trans-fatty acids, can help to prevent cancer (WHO, n.d.).
Vegans generally adhere to this style of eating, which is why a recent review of 96 studies found that vegans might benefit from a 15% lower risk of developing or dying from cancer (Dinu, Abbate, Gensini, et al, 2017).
Popular plant-based ingredients
If you’re used to eating lots of meat and dairy, then it can seem overwhelming to spend 31 days without. However, the good thing about modern brands and restaurants is there’s plenty of plant-based alternatives on offer which often look, feel, and taste like the very thing you’re giving up.
Here at Peel, some of our vegan options include:
Coffee: made from Oat, Coconut, Almond, Soya, and Cashew Milk
Everyday Porridge: Dairy free and made with gluten free organic oats
Scrambled Tofu & Spinach
Middle Eastern Salad Base Box: Middle Eastern salad base with zatar roasted cauliflower, peeled orange slices, chargrilled red pepper, leaf mix, herb mix topped with omega 3 seed mix, tenderstem broccoli and pomegranate seeds ready to be topped with your choice of vegan toppings
Vegan Kebab: Khobez Wrap, Houmous, Leaf Mix, Cucumber, Sundried Tomatoes, Herb Mix, Vegan Kebab, Coconut Yoghurt, Red Chillies, Pomegranate
Butternut Lentil Spinach Soup: Wholesome, hearty vegetables and protein-rich pulses, gently cooked with coconut and lemongrass, and finished with a warming hint of Indian spices
Vegan Baguette: Tomato Chutney, Avocado Salsa, Vegan Kebab, Sundried Tomatoes, Vegan Cheese
Going vegan doesn’t have to be plain and boring. Check out our new in-store product for those with a slightly sweeter tooth:
Ultimate Carrot Cake: A moist lightly spiced vegan carrot and orange sponge, with sultanas, coconut, and large walnut pieces throughout. Topped with a creamy vegan cream cheese and madagascan vanilla frosting, sprinkled with blue cornflower petals, crushed candied hazelnuts, and pumpkin seeds.
All the options above are just as tasty as non-vegan choices. And once you get into the swing of things and figure out alternatives for the usual things you like, you might even continue Veganuary beyond the month of January.
Give it a go. We challenge you.
Davey, G. K., Spencer, E. A., Appleby, P. N. et al. (2003). EPIC-Oxford: lifestyle characteristics and nutrient intakes in a cohort of 33 833 meat-eaters and 31 546 non-meat eaters in the UK. Public Health Nutrition, 6(3). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12740075/
Dinu, M., Abbate, R., Gensini, G. F. et al. (2017). Vegetarian, vegan diets and multiple health outcomes: A systematic review with meta-analysis of observational studies. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 57(17). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26853923/
Kim, H., Caulfield, L. E., Garcia-Larsen, V. et al. (2019). Plant-based diets are associated with a lower risk of incident cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular disease mortality, and all-cause mortality in a general population of middle-aged adults. Journal of the American Heart Association, 8(16). https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.119.012865
Mishra, S., Xu, J., Agarwal, U., et al. (2013). A multicenter randomized controlled trial of a plant-based nutrition program to reduce body weight and cardiovascular risk in the corporate setting: the GEICO study. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 67(7). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23695207/
Preventing cancer: promoting a healthy diet and physical activity in childhood. World Health Organisation. https://www.who.int/cancer/prevention/children/en/
The vegan diet. (2018). NHS. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-vegan-diet/
What we do. (n.d.). Veganuary. https://veganuary.com/about/about-us/