Let's talk about veganism

Jess Henshall

October marks the Vegan Society's 30 day vegan challenge, or vegan October. More and more people are trying out veganism, but lots of people are still unsure exactly what it means or how easy it is. Today we're answering commonly asked questions about going vegan.

What's the difference between vegan and plant-based?
Lot's of health food bloggers are going plant-based, and one of the questions we are commonly asked is what's the difference between vegan and plant-based. Lots of people who want to eat a vegan diet, but still wear wool or leather may call themselves plant-based, as this indicates diet rather than lifestyle, however it can also be down to whether people choose to eat honey or not, as whilst it is derived from plants, bees are required for the process. Most commonly, however, those calling themselves "plant-based" choose to do so due to not wanting to be restricted by the vegan label. We believe that labels aren't important, as long as you're living a lifestyle that is suited to you, so you can be happy and healthy.

Is going vegan healthier?
Again, this is a very common question that we get asked. Fundamentally, veganism is about not eating any animal products, however it is also about eating a diet abundant with fruit, vegetables and whole foods. This, of course, leads to a nutrient rich diet, however with a rise in veganism there has been a rise in processed vegan foods. Obviously these make a nice treat or addition to a meal, however it is important not to eat these foods in excess as they're not particularly good for our health in large quantities due to being heavily processed. So, of course a vegan diet can be healthier if your diet mainly consists of whole foods, fruit and vegetables, but just because something is labeled as vegan (such as processed sugary foods) it doesn't mean that it is healthier. 

Can I still get all the essential vitamins from being vegan?
Yes! You can absolutely get all the vitamins and minerals you need from a vegan diet. One of the things you can't easily get, however, is B12, as this is found in meat and dairy, however we stock loads of different B12 supplements, so you can still get al your nutrients whilst being vegan. 

Can I still eat chocolate?
Absolutely you can! We're huge fans of chocolate, vegan and non-vegan, so we make sure we stock loads of different vegan chocolate. Some of our favourites are Vego bars, Divine dark chocolate, Ombar raw chocolate, Moo Free and vegan white chocolate. We're totally spoilt for choice with all the new vegan chocolate companies in production, so there's no worry of your chocolate needs being deprived.

Is being vegan better for the planet?
This is a complicated question, but in essence, yes. The amount of land required to produce one pound of animal protein vs. one pound of soy protein, is about 12 times as much, 13 times as much fossil fuel, and 15 times as much water. The difference in energy requirements is quite shocking, which sides with the argument that vegan is better for the environment. Despite this however, there is the argument that natural fibres such as wool is better for the planet than acrylic, due to less energy being required to produce it, and less unnatural products in the environment. 

Where do I start?
A simple answer to this is to start swapping out dairy products for non-dairy, such as milk for almond milk, and meat for more vegetables and vegan proteins, such as nuts, beans and pulses.

If you have any further questions, feel free to phone us or pop into one of our stores where our staff can help you.