Welcome! You made it through New Year? Congratulations!
January is now Veganuary, a time at which you can experiment with a vegan diet and lifestyle as part of your New Year’s Resolutions.
You will probably be doing a fair bit of stocking up on essentials for your new transition so to help you we are giving 10% off everything you buy from us in January, all you need to do is loudly proclaim something like ‘I’m a vegan newbie!’ or ‘I’m doing Veganuary!’ when you get to the till. We stock a wide range of vegan-friendly products, from chilled and frozen foods, wholefoods, snacks, cookbooks, supplements, skin and bodycare, and even cosmetics. And now you can read an article especially written by Jacqueline, long-term vegan and member of staff here at Hanover Healthfoods.
Veganism: A Plant Based Diet and Lifestyle
There has been a huge surge in people adopting a Vegan way of living in recent years. A far cry from 25 years ago when I strengthened my Vegetarian ethics and added dairy, eggs and honey to the meat and fish-free lifestyle I was leading. It wasn’t easy back then and I was the butt of many a joke about lettuce leaves and lentils and fading away to nothing. One of the questions I still get asked is where do you get your protein from. To which I reply…same place as elephants do – from plants! I would’ve said cows too but sadly we have often fed this vegetarian animal with other animal matter.
The truth is that we don’t need a whole lot of protein and it is easy to get plenty in a vegan diet. I love Tofu which is an excellent source of plant protein containing all 8 essential amino acids…the building blocks of protein. Tofu is very versatile and has no real taste so can be marinated or used in recipes where it will soak up the flavour of the dish being prepared. Bought ready marinated or smoked makes it easy to include in a meal. One of my favourite things to do is to cube a block of Tofu, marinate it in soy sauce, garlic and ginger and roll it in nutritional yeast and bake in the oven. Good in sandwiches and rice and noodle dishes. Smoked tofu is great in salads and sandwiches and if you fry it sliced till browned on each side is a bit like a bacon substitute for breakfast.
Pulses like chickpeas and kidney beans and also nuts are great sources of protein too and many recipes use them. Borlotti beans are good in soup. There are so many good vegan cookbooks to refer to nowadays so you will never be short of ideas. And if you are in a rush pasta or good old beans on toast with vegan sausage sliced through is always good!
As a Vegan Society Contact in Edinburgh I always advise anyone enquiring about veganism that supplementing any diet in our modern farming and processed food age with a multi vitamin and mineral is a good idea. This will contain Vitamins B12 and D which The Vegan Society advises Vegans to supplement with due to the particular difficulty in obtaining these with a vegan diet.
Bringing up four vegan children furthered my education on the health and environmental benefits of living animal products free. My eldest is nearly 21 now and happily and healthily vegan. He now sees many of his friends changing to a plant based diet. This is an upward trend that I feel is gaining momentum now. Especially as it is so easy to find tasty Vegan food to suit every palate.
Avoiding animal based ingredients in food and drink and choosing not to wear leather and wool was difficult at first for me as choices were quite limited back in the early 90’s. My life changed over time and I think it’s wise to remember this. Changing your diet is a process that takes different amounts of time for different people. First it’s the diet and then it’s a lifestyle. Enjoy the journey!
The steady growth of Veganism has ensured demand resulted in supply with new food brands appearing in health food stores and supermarkets alike. The ethical footwear and clothing sector is following suit. A change in public awareness is well underway.
Today the choices are many with Vegan cheese, meat substitutes and soy products like tofu, seitan and tempeh being readily available in most parts of the country. Whether you want to use the meat replacements or eat more pulse and nut dishes or experiment with the soya bean favourites there is a wealth of information on line or in well – presented recipe books making adopting a plant based diet easier than ever before.
There are many reasons people go Vegan. A feeling that other sentient creatures deserve, just as much as we do, to live out their natural lives, free of pain and suffering, naturally led to the Animal Rights Movement being born. In recent times social media in particular has ensured that more people than ever before are able to access information about how animals are raised for food and how overconsumption of meat and dairy and eggs has resulted in huge health and environmental problems in our world.
The health benefits of a plant based diet are well known and studies continue to shed light on this. Vegans have lower rates of the main diseases in this modern age like cancer and heart disease. For a lot of people they simply just feel so much better on a plant based diet.
I honestly believe the single best thing you can do for your own health, and all animals including human, and for our planet and the environment, is to go vegan. In this modern age growing plant protein to feed to animals, so humans can eat them for a protein source, is an inefficient use of limited resources, not to mention the horrific cruelty inherent in the factory farming system. Furthermore the immense amount of water and land required for this system cannot be sustained.
If you want to try a vegan diet you can find out more about what a plant based diet can do for you by taking the vegan pledge. This 30 day pledge can be started any time and when you sign up you receive information, recipes and support. You can start with just your diet and when the 30 days are up decide how you want to continue. It took me a year to become fully Vegan. There’s no pressure from any one. Only your own commitment to feeling and looking better. Not to mention contributing to making the world a better place for human and non- human animals and the Environment. Changing old habits and ways of eating isn’t always easy so make sure you do it in your own time. I promise you it will be worth it! Contact the Vegan Society for more information on Veganuary 2017 and for all the facts and sources on the issues I’ve touched on here.
You can also visit me in Hanover Healthfoods to see the range of Vegan Wholefoods we stock and the chilled and frozen Vegan favourites like Nutcrafter Cheese and Cheatin or Tofurkey deli slices, Fry’s frozen foods and Booja-Booja ice creams. We also stock some great Vegan cookbooks and are offering a 10% discount for customers taking the Vegan pledge in Veganuary!!
Hope to see you in store and happy to chat with and support you.