Since ‘Veganuary’ launched in January 2014 the number of people trying veganism for the month of January has risen dramatically year on year. According to the Veganuary website, over 400,000 people took part in January 2020, with 98% of participants revealing they would recommend doing it to a friend.
Five reasons for going vegan:
For many, Veganuary is often undertaken for health reasons. The key health advantages of following a vegan diet include reducing your intake of saturated fats and a consequential reduction in the risk of heart disease and some cancers.
The welfare of animals is a major reason for the progression of veganism.
Not eating meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet. This is because farming animals requires massively more land and resources than growing and eating plants.
The world is facing a freshwater crisis. Studies reveal that it takes three times less water to feed a vegan than it does a meat eater, as it takes as much as 15,000 litres to produce a kilo of beef, whereas it takes less than 300 litres for 1kg of potatoes.
Over half of those who decided to stay vegan after last year’s Veganuary said they were influenced by the discovery of great new foods. Turning vegan also means being more aware of what you eat and its impact on your well-being.
Foods that can make it happen
With good planning and understanding of what makes up a healthy, balanced vegan diet you can get all the nutrients your body needs. However, there are a handful of nutrients that require special attention including Vitamin D – in Winter, it is recommended to take a supplement. Others include:•
• Calcium: vital for building bones and teeth. Adults need 700mg a day. Most green vegetables (excluding spinach) and fortified foods are key sources. For example, a handful of almonds (around 30g) has 88mg.
• Iron: essential for making red blood cells and helping create energy from food. Women under 50 require 14.8mg a day, whilst older women and men need 8.7mg. The NHS recommends eating green leafy vegetables, beans, nuts, dried fruit and wholegrains.
• Vitamin B12: helps make red blood cells and maintain the nervous system but it is not produced by plants. Adults needs 1.5 micrograms a day. Those who do not eat meat or dairy should look to supplements or fortified foods.
• Omega 3 fatty acids: are needed for the functioning of the brain and the control of heart disease and stroke. It is recommended that we eat at least two portions a week of oily fish which contains Omega 3. For non-fish eaters, linseed, chia seeds and walnuts are rated as excellent sources of Omega 3.
GrapeTree in Poplar Way remains open as an essential store in lockdown and has a broad selection of vegan products to keep you fuelled this Veganuary. Here, you can stock up on vegan supplements, wholefoods, confectionery, tea and beauty products in one place.
Did you know that Café Isabella in Drury Arcade has a dedicated vegan menu, as well as offering milk alternatives? Now available for call and collect on 0121 705 0164 and via Deliveroo, we would recommend the delicious Vegan Pretzel Baguette: Chewy 6″ pretzel baguette with a smashed avocado base, lemon seasoning, fresh tomato, grilled hash browns, sliced avocado. Finished with Café Isabella’s own special herb mix and some smoky paprika.
If you fancy something sweet then why not treat yourself to a mouth-watering vegan cake available from independent bakers and coffee shop, Vita?
Or if you are visiting Marks and Spencer for your weekly shop, then check out its delicious Plant Kitchen range. From fuss-free prepared meals to scratch-cooking ingredients and sweet treats, there’s something for everyone – pop into the Mell Square store to discover the whole range. Make sure you don’t miss Sainsbury’s Love Your Veg! range – there’s lots to discover.
If you participate in Veganuary this month, we’d love to know how you get on and what recipes you create – tag us in on social using @MellSquare_Uk.