Benefits of vegan diet on health
The vegan diet has exploded in the last few years and is the best example of how individual actions can accumulate into a worldwide movement to tackle climate change and force businesses to change. Even McDonalds now offers vegan options. This seemed impossible seven years ago.
Here at Spruce, our motto is, the planet's health equals people’s health. That’s why we have formulated our refillable cleaning products to be plastic-free, non toxic and vegan. Our sprays do not contain ingredients that are derived from animals and all of our ingredients are ethically sourced”
For us, not testing on animals and only using vegan ingredients is non-negotiable because it has many advantages for the health of humans, animals and the environment. We want to contribute to building a happier and healthier life for all of us on this earth.
Image by Emma Corin @tideupyourlife
Why go vegan this new year?
New Year is in full swing and we are getting ready for another season of ‘New Year New Me’ and the Veganuary month. More than 582,000 people around the world signed up for Veganuary 2021. They saved a record number of over two million animals in one month. While going vegan this January is a great way to get started on your sustainability and health journey, many people fail to keep up with their New Year resolutions and give up altogether by Valentine's Day.
Completely cutting out animal products cold turkey (pun intended) can be difficult, especially when it comes to food that you have eaten for so long. Here at Spruce, we believe any changes are better than none. So, if you are feeling overwhelmed, start small. Try Meatless Mondays or start by simply switching to plant-based milk in your coffee.
Here are the top reasons to get you motivated to try a vegan lifestyle:
Veganism and the environment
As many of you may know, our planet is in a crisis. The effects of climate change are showing up all around us, from wildfires to floods to sea-level rises. A famous study by Oxford University in 2018, found that the single biggest way we can reduce our environmental impact is by following a vegan diet. This includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions, water use, land use, global acidification and eutrophication. They found that if an individual cut out meat and dairy from their diet, they could reduce their carbon footprint from food by 73%. The production of meat and dairy is also responsible for 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Although these are alarming figures, we can all make changes in our daily lives to help make a difference. Other than your diet, you can also try out some eco-friendly and vegan products to improve your and the environment's health. Some products that are being sold in our supermarkets contain animal-derived ingredients. For example, some fabric conditioners may contain lanolin, which is sheep's wool. And we know that the animal agriculture industry is one of the biggest factors towards climate change. We aren’t saying throw away everything you own that may not be vegan or eco-friendly - no no no.
You can just make switches wherever you can to more earth-friendly alternatives. Look for green certifications like the Leaping Bunny, B Corp and Vegan Society. Ensure to research the company externally, websites such as Ethical Consumer are good for this information.
Long-term health effects of a vegan diet
A vegan lifestyle doesn’t just help our external world but also our physical health and inner wellbeing. We have grown up in a society where we are taught from a young age that meat and dairy products are the norm and make up a part of a healthy, balanced diet. However, in recent years, these foods have been linked to serious illnesses including cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Cutting back on these foods and adding a varying your diet with whole grains, veggies and fruit, can provide your body with a ton of amazing nutrients that it will thrive on in the long term.
Try to make easy transitions each week, such as switching the butter on your toast to dairy-free or trying out a vegan pancake recipe for breakfast. If you are wanting some tips, don’t hesitate to join vegan groups on Facebook. There will be people more than happy to answer your questions.
A vegan diet can open up people’s worlds to new foods and interesting ways to cook. However, we know that it can be difficult for people to beat those cravings. One that we all know can be a tough one to give up is cheese, and that’s okay. It's normal for your body to crave the foods it has eaten for such a long time and then isn’t getting any more. A lot of vegans don’t give up these foods because they don’t enjoy the taste of them, they do it for ethical reasons.
Our advice would be to not eat vegan cheese when you first go vegan for a few weeks. This gives your taste buds time to get used to not eating dairy, and it is more likely you will like some vegan cheeses when you try them. Do what is reasonable for your body, your budget and your current accessibility to Vegan alternatives.
Don't know where to start with Vegan cooking? Some great blogs to follow for some tasty and easy-to-cook recipes are; Max Lammana, Sweet Potato Soul, Deliciously Ella, The Foodie Takes Flight, Ela Vegan and Minimalist Baker.
There are lots of advantages to veganism, for the health of people and the planet. Don’t worry if you slip up every now and then, it’s all a part of the process. Becoming vegan isn’t about perfectionism, it’s about kindness and compassion. It's about realising that we as humans are not separate from this earth and the animals we share it with. We are here to live in harmony with each other and the planet. We believe that change starts from the home, one small step at a time.
Written by Zara Huxley