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Would you go vegan?

Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,127

Scope community team

edited January 6 in Coffee lounge
This January is Veganuary, which is a campaign that challenges you to eat a vegan diet for the month of January.
Since 2014, Veganuary has inspired and supported more than one million people in 192 countries to try vegan for January – and beyond.
The Guardian have reported that Veganuary 2021 is the biggest yet:
A record 500,000 people have signed up to the Veganuary challenge to eat only plant-based foods for a month. The milestone is double the number who pledged to go vegan for January in 2019.
There are lots of reasons why you might like to try eating vegan for a month, from the reduced environmental impact of your diet (BBC) to the potential health benefits (BBC). It doesn't have to be difficult or expensive either, as you'll see below. I know we're already into our first week on January, but it's not too late to get started. 

Getting started

Veganuary have helpfully outlined some must-know tips to help you get started. I've picked out a selection and listed them below.

Plan

Plan your meals! Think about what meals you might like to eat, and what snacks you might like to have in, ahead of time so that you can buy anything you might need. 

Look out for 'accidentally vegan' foods you already have

If you take a look through your cupboard, you might find that many of the items you have in stock are already vegan. Keep your eye out for pasta, rice, peanut butter, most breads, tinned tomatoes, chickpeas and kidney beans, jam, curry pastes, baked beans, many crisps and biscuits, tea, and coffee.

Ease yourself in

There's no need to completely overhaul your diet if you don't want to. There are now more vegan alternatives on the market than ever, so you don't have to give up those familiar comforts. Fancy a sausage sandwich? Have on with vegan sausages. Hankering for some ice cream? Try one of the many dairy-free vegan alternatives.

Be persistent

You might try your first vegan meal or alternative and automatically think the diet isn't for you. The truth is that there's a huge variety of ingredients and recipes out there, so it's worth trying out lots of different foods and combinations to find what works for you.

vegan breakfast food including waffles on a kitchen table

Nutrition

Lots of people hold the view that it's difficult, or even impossible, to get the nutrients you need from a plant-based diet, but this doesn't have to be the case. Veganuary have addressed some of the concerns people have about vegan diets, and I've picked out two examples that you can read below. Of course if you're worried about your diet or think you might be deficient in something, you should speak to your GP.

Protein

...protein is in almost every single food we eat. Of course, there are better sources than others, but it is not difficult to reach the recommended daily intake as a vegan.  

Some of the best sources include tofu, tempeh, vegan sausages made from pea or soy protein such as Linda McCartney or Richmond Meat-Free; lentils, chickpeas, black beans, baked beans and edamame; seeds, nuts and nut butters; quinoa, oats, rice and grains. Even vegetables contain protein!  

A typical day’s food that exceeds protein requirement might be: 
Oatmeal with a sprinkle of almonds or seeds – 12g 
One hummus and falafel wrap with a three-bean salad – 24g 
Veggie sausages with potatoes, peas and broccoli -30g

Calcium

Just as meat does not have the monopoly on protein, milk does not have the monopoly on calcium! Beans and greens tend to be calcium-rich, so eat plenty, including black turtle beans, kidney beans, soya beans, kale, watercress, okra and broccoli. You’ll also find calcium in sweet potato, butternut squash and tofu, and if you snack on dried figs and almonds, you’ll be getting a calcium hit again. Plant milks, including milkshakes, and yogurts are often fortified with it, too.  

Recipes

Google 'vegan recipes' and you'll get loads of results! There are absolutely loads of vegan recipes out there catering to different tastes and budgets. I've picked out a few recipes from the Veganuary website that I think look tasty:

Read next

Our 'Veg Pledge' post.
Chloe's Red Lentil Dahl recipe.

Over to you

Are you a vegan? Would you go vegan for a month? Do you have any questions about veganism? Do you know any good vegan recipes? 
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Replies

  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 9,332 Disability Gamechanger
    Sorry not for me could go vegetarian but not vegan too much to think about and dont like enough of the alternatives 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Not for me either, sorry. I couldn't go vegetarian either, i like my meat too much.
    Proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice I have given to members here on the community.
  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,268 Disability Gamechanger
    Nope.  I don't eat much meat and could probably go vegetarian.  But vegan is too far for me personally.  It's also not as good for the environment as people may think unless you only eat things you've grown yourself.  Perishable fruit and veg get flown over from hot countries creating a huge carbon footprint.
  • 66Mustang66Mustang Community Co-Production Group Posts: 4,690 Disability Gamechanger
    edited January 6
    I would not dismiss it but would want to know more about it from a neutral source, not somebody who is an evangelistic vegan (which is how all the vegans I’ve come across have been - not saying this thread is, it was actually an interesting read) but nor someone who is a devoted meat eater, just somebody neutral.

    I wouldn’t do it for environmental reasons either as like @OverlyAnxious says I am uncertain it is really that good for the environment but again would need to read some kind of neutral source before making a judgement on that. 

    That said some of the vegan food looks and sounds really nice and I would eat it regardless of whether I was a vegan or not :yum:
  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 8,100 Disability Gamechanger
    I'm like OverlyAnxious, I don't eat much meat, & love vegetables. I was going to say I couldn't go vegan as I like cheese too much, but looking online now I see there's actually vegan cheese.
    Many years ago I tried a Linda McCartney meal. I hate wasting food, but that was so disgusting I haven't tried another since. :o
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,127

    Scope community team

    There are lots of articles on veganism and the environment if you give it a Google @OverlyAnxious @66Mustang, but I don't have time to read through all of them right now myself! 

    Here's an article, again from the BBC, that seems to start to cover your question about food miles of fruit versus the environmental impact of animal agriculture (in particular, cows). 

    There is no doubt that meat – beef in particular – makes an unsurpassable contribution to the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions. It also devours more land and water and causes more environmental damage than any other single food product. The recent rigorous report by the EAT-Lancet Commission recommends reducing our consumption of animal products to not only benefit human health, but the health of our planet. Even the “greenest” sources of meat still produce more greenhouse gases than plant-based proteins.
    “Nothing really compares to beef, lamb, pork, and dairy – these products are in a league of their own in the level of damage they typically do to the environment, on almost every environmental issue we track,” says Joseph Poore, a researcher at the University of Oxford who studies the environmental impacts of food. “But it’s essential to be mindful about everything we consume: air-transported fruit and veg can create more greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram than poultry meat, for example."
    What is clear is that while plant-based foods and meat substitutes can be far better for the environment than livestock production as a whole, if we really want to make a difference to the environment we need to take care about what we choose to replace meat with.
    Sticking to locally produced fruit and vegetables that are in season is the best approach, says Scazzina.

    “My general recommendations end up being, reduce meat consumption, and pay attention, if you can, to how foods are grown and transported,” adds Martin Heller, a sustainability researcher who led the University of Michigan study. “Try to avoid heated greenhouse grown fruit and veg, and stuff that may have been air freighted.”
    I'm not a vegan myself, so it would have been pretty rich for me to be evangelical about it @66Mustang :D I do think it's unfortunate that vegans do have that stereotype, as the vast majority of vegans I've met have been very relaxed and willing to have a reasonable and normal conversation about their diet and the reasons behind their choices.

    Just for fun: you can find out your diet's carboon footprint here.
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  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,127

    Scope community team

    edited January 6
    It's a shame you don't like the alternatives @janer1967. What kinds of things have you tried? I started using oat milk a few years ago just to try it out, and have never looked back! I far prefer it to dairy milk.
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  • 66Mustang66Mustang Community Co-Production Group Posts: 4,690 Disability Gamechanger
    @Tori_Scope thanks I will have a read :)

    Oddly, just by coincidence, I have just read an article about cars that satisfy vegan requirements (i.e. no leather or animal products used in the interior) and it was quite interesting. I have decided if I ever got a Range Rover I would tick the no cost vegan option because it actually looks nicer than the leather in my opinion.
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 9,332 Disability Gamechanger
    I don't like plant based products or other milk products also not jeen on pulses and beans 
  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 3,819 Disability Gamechanger
    Oddly enough we were talking about this earlier, I do understand why some people decide to go vegan or veggie but personally I'm a meat and two veg man 
    my advice is given freely and is correct to the best of my knowledge.
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,127

    Scope community team

    That's interesting @66Mustang! Was it a fake leather, or another material entirely? I'm mainly asking because a friend's big end-of-uni project was growing her own vegan leather in the lab. It was really cool, and not something I'd thought of before.
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  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,268 Disability Gamechanger
    Most cars with 'leather' actually have vegan leather now.  In older cars (mid 2000s Vauxhall comes to mind!) it was pretty obvious compared to real leather, didn't feel or wear in the same way and was more like vinyl.  :(

    I think the modern stuff, (such as Sensico in the latest Fords) should be better quality...  How far did your friend get @Tori_Scope ?  Synthetic plastic based material never will work in the same way as leather...but being grown should make it pretty much identical!  :)
     
    Regarding the food miles, there was an interesting TV programme on this last week...showing that something such as out of season asparagus had a much higher carbon footprint than chicken or bacon!  There was also another interesting point though...that the lowest carbon footprint from the meats they were comparing came from battery hens (around 1g/kg less than free range)...so of course there's more to think about than just the carbon side.  Beef was by far the worst product they tested, but I don't eat beef myself (just don't like it) and quite surprisingly chicken and bacon/ham were pretty low, cheddar was higher than both of those.  I do think we should be eating less meat overall, I just don't believe that eating a vegan diet is ideal personally.  :)

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    chiarieds said:
    I'm like OverlyAnxious, I don't eat much meat, & love vegetables. I was going to say I couldn't go vegan as I like cheese too much, but looking online now I see there's actually vegan cheese.
    Many years ago I tried a Linda McCartney meal. I hate wasting food, but that was so disgusting I haven't tried another since. :o

    I was also surprised when i found the vegan cheese when i was shopping with my younger daugher. She has a problem eating or drinking anything with dairy products in, although not medically diagnosed as lactose intolerant but eating them causes so many problems. She tried the cheese but didn't like it at all, i can't say i blame her because it was disgusting.

    She found some herbal tablets in the health food shop so now takes a couple of those when she eats cheese and they really do help a lot.  Although with milk, i buy her the lactose free but she will also drink almond milk.

    Proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice I have given to members here on the community.
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,127

    Scope community team

    Vegan cheese seems to be quite hit and miss I agree @poppy123456! I've only tried a few different brands from a vegan friend, so I couldn't really give a recommendation. I think it's likely dairy-free cheese will improve in quality over the next few years as the demand becomes higher.

    I love the Linda McCartney products I've tried @chiarieds! It obviously depends on your taste though. Can you remember what you had? 
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  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,127

    Scope community team

    I can't remember the full aim of her project now, but I know that she did successfully grow and weave some @OverlyAnxious. She's doing a Master's at the moment so maybe we'll be seeing it used in cars soon :D

    Interesting points about the food miles. I've seen quite a lot of people say that cutting out red meat is the biggest thing, if you're just thinking about the environmental impact. 
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  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 8,100 Disability Gamechanger
    Sorry, @Tori_Scope - as mentioned it was a long time ago, so can't remember which Linda McCartney meal it was. It's the only food I've bought that I couldn't eat; I'm sure they have likely improved tho, but it rather put me off them.
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,127

    Scope community team

    That's fair enough @chiarieds, and I can understand why it'd put you off. I only started eating them around 4 years ago, so I don't know what they were like before then. Their sausages are a staple food for me :D 

    There are lots of other brands now too, so I think it's just worth shopping around and trying new foods whenever you're feeling a little adventurous! 
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  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Member Posts: 3,895 Disability Gamechanger
    I dont each much of anything but I do know a vegan but the person I know has to have alot of supplements  so that they don't get poorly 

    From what I have seen of the person who I know I wouldn't go vegan  

    I dont eat slot of meat because I have no teeth due to my condition and no guns  so I think I would probably have trouble eating it and I cant eat fruit because I am doubled up in pain lol 

    I mainly survive on soft food and my forti  sips supplement  drinks with all my vitamins I need in it 


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