Rise of the vegan

It seems everybody and their aunt is going vegan these days. The lifestyle choice has risen in popularity in recent years, and has become the latest food trend. Perhaps thanks to the influence of celebrities or influencers across social media, but for whatever reason, the label “vegan” no longer carries the same hippie connotations that it used to. Even Greggs jumped on the bandwagon with their vegan sausage roll earlier this year, which became a popular hit with shoppers after Piers Morgan criticised its existence. But what does it actually mean to go vegan and why do people choose to do it?

A lifestyle choice

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Veganism is basically not eating animals or animal products. People choose to go vegan for a variety of goals; some for health reasons, but most choose to be vegan because of the ethical issues. Instead of topping up your tea with some milk or helping yourself to that trusty cheese sandwich, vegans opt for plant-based alternatives. 

Veganism has changed dramatically over the last few years as more options have become available, making it easier to dine out, or grab a ready meal to cook in minutes. Once upon a time you could never have found a pre-prepared vegan sandwich or salad in the supermarket. Now, however, there are ample vegan cheeses and meats available, which means it’s never been easy to give a vegan diet a try.

Why do it?

If you’ve been paying attention to the news recently, you’ll have heard of activists like Greta Thunberg, or the group Extinction Rebellion. There is a conscious effort at the moment to be more aware of our impact on the planet – and going vegetarian or vegan is just one of the ways that you can limit your carbon footprint. Even just reducing the amount of red meat that you eat on a regular basis will go a long way, as evidence proves that methane produced by cattle is worse for the environment than the CO₂ produced by cars.

How to get started

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Throwing yourself headfirst into a vegan lifestyle may be a bit daunting, especially if you’re used to eating a variety of animal products, but there’s no need to despair. The best way to go vegan is to just dip your toes in the foodie water; try taking out one thing at a time from your diet until you feel confident or comfortable that you can survive without your beloved cheese or chocolate. Or even just limiting your intake of meat-based products will have a positive impact on the planet overall! 

Why not try going vegan for a week and see how you get on? Or if you’re feeling more adventurous, January has been christened “Veganuary” for those wanting to eat healthier in the post-Christmas period, or even just celebrate everything vegan. It’s easier to go vegan now than it’s ever been, so why not give it a try?

Before you go…

Have you ever thought about going vegan? Or perhaps you are vegan already; what are your favourite vegan treats? Let us know over on our Facebook page!

Lead image: sveta_zarzamora via Getty images.