You'll never have beef with a vegan!
True veganism is more than a diet! It is a lifestyle change one chooses to adopt not just a fad ‘detox diet’. Start replacing your meat and dairy products with all the vegetables you can find in your local supermarket.
Think again if you believe our planet is being rescued by driving a fancy electric vehicle. With the grace of the population who have adopted veganism, our carbon footprint might just be on a downturn with the lack of animal and dairy products being consumed. Covid-19 has impacted our lives for good; changing the way we work, setting back our travel plans and how we socialise with family and friends. Considering supermarket shelves were left empty from all the panic buying, did you change the way you ate? Let’s first delve deeper into what veganism is and what good has come from this movement to our lives.
Roots of Veganism
The term ‘vegan’ derives from the word ‘vegetarian,’ dating back to the 1940s where Donald Watson formed his society choosing letters from the beginning and the end of vegetarian. The Vegetarian Society rejected his proposal to form a sub-group of non-dairy vegetarians, encouraging the start of his journey after causing a stir. Whilst social media instigated the explosion, supermarkets were quick to jump on the bandwagon to stock a range of tofu while restaurants incorporated vegan-friendly dishes on their menu overnight. Capitalising on the success, fast-food restaurant chains are now opening plant-based restaurants, selling faux meat and vegan cheese to replace your succulent hamburgers with an eco-friendly option. McDonald’s has successfully launched ‘McPlant’, a vegan burger made with a juicy plant-based patty, paired with vegan cheese and sauce.
Now you’re probably wondering, what kind of foods and drink options can I consume. We’ve done the research to get you started:
- Meat alternatives: Tofu, seitan and soya are great protein-rich alternatives for dishes that may contain eggs, poultry and fish
- Pulses: Lentils, peas, and beans are great sources of nutrients such as protein
- Dairy alternatives: Rice MLK, coconut milk, almond milk and soy milk, nut butter
- Nuts and seeds
With 40% of the Indian population being vegetarian, veganism historically was practiced in ancient Indian and Eastern Mediterranean societies, long before the term was derived. Sourcing local ingredients to maintain a healthy lifestyle was seen as a fundamental value. Celebrities are now endorsing a vegan lifestyle and products, positioning the United States of America at the top of the food chain for being the most vegan-friendly country. In 2021 alone, Statista found over 500 thousand people participated in Veganuary, a global campaign to promote a vegan diet in January. This compared to only 2,300 in 2016. Not only does this philosophy change your eating habits, but this also extends to the way you shop and what you buy to behave ethically responsible which becomes a way of life.
As time goes on, more vegan dishes are coming to light within the South-Asian community where traditional foods are being modified to cater for a vegan lifestyle. Traditionally in Malaysia, chicken and durian curry is served but now the national tropical fruit can appear in dishes such as durian massaman curry, salads and desserts such as crispy apam. Adobo is another traditional Filipino dish served with either chicken or pork but now made vegan with the substitution of tofu and long green beans. If pad thai is your go-to Thai dish, a vegan alternative can still hit the spot, replacing eggs and fish sauce with soy sauce and a mushroom infusion. If you’re a real foodie, vegans have your back!
Why become a vegan?
- Health: extensive research suggests vegan diets are known to include higher nutrients, relying on foods such as nuts, wholegrain and vegetables for your source of fibre. This lifestyle helps reduce your calorie intake, promoting weight loss if you maintain a balanced diet. If unsure whether this suits you, it is always recommended to speak with your doctor for additional health advice
- Moral belief: Most dairy and meat products are produced utilizing intensive farming methods. This often involves keeping animals in unhygienic conditions with untreated injuries, resulting in animal cruelty until killed. From a moral perspective, it is considered to be unacceptable to let animals go under harsh conditions only to then be slaughtered and land on your dinner plate
- Environment: Here is a fun fact you will be surprised to learn; Green Queen found for every 1kg of beef produced, 60kg of CO2 is emitted whilst seitan emits 0.46kg of CO2 for every 1kg produced. Now I want you to imagine the level of CO2 produced as a total from chicken, lamb, pork, and goat. Veganism contributes to reducing your carbon footprint in ways no other personal action can achieve. Certainly, gives you food for thought, doesn’t it?
In a nutshell (yes, you’re allowed to eat nuts), veganism offers a host of benefits if adopted with a balanced diet. Whilst there is a lot of research available to support the claims of fantastic health advantages, our environment also reaps the gains with the reduction of meat and dairy products being consumed. Embrace the journey of Veganism with Tilda’s vegan-friendly recipes, designed for you.
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