With veganism becoming a fast-growing lifestyle, it’s helpful to know more about a plant-based diet!
While organisation and studying are important for education, other aspects of life also play a part for a healthy life and better functioning. In Active-Class, while we help you have a better educational experience, we take other aspects of lifestyle seriously. Therefore, in these blog series (Active-Class blog page) we look at diet and the effects it may be having on you and your mind, beginning with a plant-based diet.
Typically, someone with a plant-based diet avoids animal products, such as meat, dairy, and eggs. If someone is vegan, they will adopt a plant-based diet, as well as try to avoid other products, such as make-up and clothes, which may contain animal derivatives.
Today, veganism is profound. With an estimated 600,000 vegans in the UK, the meat-free food market is worth £740m and is expected to continue rising1.
So, why are people transitioning their diet?
Your diet is a big part of creating a healthy lifestyle. The food you eat influences your mood, your activity levels, and your motivation, all which impact how well you can study. Having an awareness surrounding food choices can be the beginning of a healthy lifestyle, often transitioning into mindfulness and conscientiousness regarding other areas of your life, as well as your outlook on the world.
The food you consume is vital for your well-being, and a plant-based diet can have numerous health benefits. All the important nutrients can be found within a varied balanced plant-based diet3, potentially more so than a meat diet4. The nutritious and varied diet can allude to multiple physical health benefits, including an association with a lower risk of heart disease and cancer5. Currently, the research surrounding cognitive health benefits of veganism are limited6, so future research could investigate this.
In addition to health, another common reason for a plant-based diet, and my ultimate reason, was for the welfare of animals. The ethical side of veganism concerns the life of animals and becoming more passionate and aware of all life. I suffered with cognitive dissonance between my meat-eating diet and my morals surrounding animals. During my second year at university, I started to research vegetarianism and veganism, and began to change my diet.
Rarely do people decide to give up animal products due to dislike of taste, hence why a lot of companies merchandising vegan products like to mimic the taste, texture, and look of meat products, such as burgers, sausages, and bacon. With plant-based products becoming ever more popular, the choice is ever expanding, and products can be found in all supermarkets. This is making plant-based eating easier and even more tasty!
A plant-based diet can also be kinder for our planet. With a growing concern for climate change, it is important to consider how our diets are contributing. Food production is responsible for around one quarter of greenhouse gas emission and 60% biodiversity loss2. Moving away from a predominately meat diet and towards a whole food, fruit, and vegetable diet can reduce one’s ecological footprint. Meat alternatives such as soya, tofu, and tempeh require less water, land, and oil to produce compared to meat sources. Although, the transportation of fruit and vegetables can create a large amount of greenhouse gases. Therefore it is important to consume a variety of seasonal and local produce (and not waste the food you buy!)
To showcase how tasty, healthy, and versatile a plant-based diet can be I started a food blog. I use this platform to enlighten people how veganism can become a positive lifestyle choice, focusing on health and physical well-being, advocating animal rights, and environmental sustainability. Check out these vegan caramel blueberry waffles! Find the recipe on my blog.
Keep an eye out for my next post, transitioning to a plant-based diet: careful consideration of what to eat!
3. The vegan diet – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
4. Mann, S. E. (2014). More than just a diet: An inquiry into veganism. Free access link
5. Dinu, M., Abbate, R., Gensini, G. F., Casini, A., & Sofi, F. (2017). Vegetarian, vegan diets and multiple health outcomes: a systematic review with meta-analysis of observational studies. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 57(17), 3640-3649. Free access doi: 10.1080/10408398.2016.1138447
6. Medawar, E., Huhn, S., Villringer, A., & Witte, A. V. (2019). The effects of plant-based diets on the body and the brain: a systematic review. Translational psychiatry, 9(1), 1-17. Free access doi: 10.1038/s41398-019-0552-0