I guess you knew it would come at some time. My obligatory January blog advocating the advantages of adopting a more vegan lifestyle. Well here it is – Veganuary! I’ve not been watching much TV or listening to much radio, but vegan friends who have been tell me they are despairing over the mis-information that is spread by the media.
When I say vegan what I really mean is a whole food plant based diet, ie. mostly unprocessed home prepared fruit, vegetables, nuts and beans – yum! When I first became a vegan, that was all there was, except for Linda McCartney sausages and cheap junk foods that were accidentally vegan. Now there is lots of vegan junk food. Most coffee shops sell at least one vegan cake – we used to have to settle for a bag of nuts – and there is a proliferation of vegan beige food – sausage rolls, pasties, pies and pizzas – in our supermarket isles to tempt us.
There are three key reasons for adopting a more whole food plant based diet.
The first is human health. Many pundits in the media despair over the nutritional imbalance of a vegan diet, implying that most people on a so called ‘normal’ diet are eating in a nutritionally sound way – which if you just look around you – is manifestly not true! I follow (as best I can!) the evidence based nutritional advice of my nutrition hero Dr Gregor. Check out his website www.nutritianfacts.org and search for whichever medical ailment you have in your family history and look at the research evidence for lifestyle changes that might help.
Watch this video – it may just save your life or the life of a loved one!
While I do take vitamin B12 and vegan omega three supplements, there is no issue with eating enough protein or getting sufficient nutrition from a vegan diet. Vitamin B12 comes from dirt and as animals live in the countryside their meat contains it. As modern humans generally live in a dirt free environment, we need to supplement. I get omega three from flax seeds, but supplement – probably unnecessarily – to be on the safe side.
As with any diet it takes time to change and it takes attention to make sure the new diet is balanced, but it soon becomes a way of life. I recommend Dr Gregor’s excellent ‘How not to Die’ cook book, which gives an overview of his ‘daily dozen’ food group recommendations, and contains the best recipe for vegan Mac ‘n cheese ever! And it’s healthy! Another favourite recipe in this book is ‘nice cream’, my favourite desert. Frozen fruit (best with banana and berries) blended with nut butter to make a delicious ice cream alternative. Add a few dates for toffee like chewy chunks! Add raw cacao powder for chocolate flavour. What’s not to like? You can track your ‘daily dozen’ progress each day on Dr Gregor’s free app, just search for ‘Dr Gregor’s Daily Dozen’.
I feel a lot better on a vegan diet and my complexion glows as it never did before. Many minor health niggles have receded, as have peri-menopausal symptoms.
The second reason is animal welfare. This is all very grim. If you want to know the truth about animal agricultural practices within the UK, watch ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, but only if you have a strong stomach. Here are the facts: https://www.landofhopeandglory.org/facts many of which are shown in the movie https://www.landofhopeandglory.org/.
The third reason is concerns for the environment. On a personal level the biggest way to reduce our carbon foot print is to move to a whole food plant based diet. Watch the movie Cowspiracy (https://www.cowspiracy.com/facts) and George Mobiot’s recent Channel 4 documentary ‘Apocalypse Cow’ (https://www.channel4.com/programmes/apocalypse-cow-how-meat-killed-the-planet?fbclid=IwAR2L4PqbVpRymVd45AzFDga-FNx71CG-0aBRZ2Uv576mdyA9J7YnR5GUWkU).
For an overview of veganism within in the last year, watch the excellent and comprehensive ‘Vegan 2019’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AYOViszK_A).
Compassion, health and sustainability these are the reasons I eat a whole food plant based diet. I want to walk my talk. I investigate and follow the scientific evidence and make my own mind up. If you want to join me and are struggling and want some help or are thriving and want to celebrate, I am running a retreat in Scarborough at the end of June based on compassion based mindfulness practice as a foundation for moving towards a more vegan lifestyle.