So along with all our News Resolutions of dieting, getting fit and going to the gym the latest campaign to hit the New Year headlines is Veganuary. For those people who are still unfamiliar with this new phenomenon it is the following of a vegan diet for the month of January. After the excesses of December, many people decide to do dry January but now they are also introducing a vegan diet.
We all know what a vegetarian diet is but what is a vegan diet? It is a plant-based diet high in vegetables but also large amounts of cereal grains (both refined and unrefined) and legumes, both of which are low in bio-available nutrients and high in anti-nutrients such as phytate.
The campaign is to encourage people to try a vegan diet for the month of January. Already well underway there is a record of over 50,000 people already signed up, with more adding to this number daily.
So how does it work and do we know if it is good for us to forgo meat, fish, dairy products, eggs and honey for the 31 days of January?
The campaign organisers say following a vegan diet can only bring benefits. A balanced vegan diet can provide the nutrition people need in harmony with health benefits at a time when people look to make up for festive excesses. The charity says the change can lessen obesity, cut blood pressure and lower the levels of type 2 diabetes. The impact on blood sugars is fairly immediate, cholesterol takes a few weeks and blood pressure takes longer, and comes with the weight loss.
We have to be cautious about what one can achieve, but having a month where you are eating more fruit, vegetables and nuts can’t be a bad thing. So if there are so many benefits what is stopping us from reverting to a vegan diet full time?
Unfortunately, or that is how you look at it, humans, have evolved to love meat. We know pound for pound meat provides so much more energy than any edible plants. It is also believed, by biologists that increased meat consumption in early humans play a key role in developing our large and powerful brains. Our brains require enormous amounts of energy and meat is an energy-rich food.
However, more than 75% of people who have tried going vegan for a month have reported not only an improvement in their health, but they have slept better and there is the added bonus of losing up to 6lbs! When people follow a restricted diet they think about what they are eating and plan their meals in advance, prepare and cook from scratch. Vegans tend to have more plant foods, beans, pulses, fruit and vegetables.
For those wishing to partake in Veganuary then Lucy Watson’s Feed me Vegan is packed with comforting, easy-to-make and totally delicious recipes, showing that you can be vegan and still have your cake (and mac and cheese, and lasagne, and pancakes) and eat it!