In partnership with The Co-op.
When talking about veganism a lot of people might jump to common myths and misconceptions. We asked young vegans what they wished other people knew and here are some of their top tips and insights.
Vegans don’t just eat dull salads
Salads are a great healthy meal but if you ate them every day you would get bored of them very quickly! There is a plant-based alternative for almost every non-vegan meal which means vegans have lots of options other than just salad!
You might already be halfway there
You might be pleasantly surprised by how many vegan products you already eat! For example, did you know Oreos, Chilli-Heatwave Doritos, and Mr Kipling Apple and Blackcurrant pies are vegan? You might already be halfway there!
Veganism and plant-based diets mean a lot of different things to different people
Being a vegan can mean your diet or it can mean your lifestyle. Some people consider veganism to impact more than their diet. For example, this may influence the clothes they buy and how they travel. For other people, it can be centred around reducing environmental impact, or they might just want to include more fruit and vegetables in their diet. It’s up to you which aspects of your life are vegan and what that means to you!
Following a plant-based diet doesn’t make you healthy
A lot of people assume plant-based diets are incredibly healthy but there is a lot of vegan junk food out there! There are substitutes for all your favourites; chicken nuggets, milkshakes, chocolate, ice cream, and sweets. Following a plant-based diet won’t automatically make you super healthy and you can be healthy not following a plant-based diet.
A plant-based diet isn’t an easy option for everyone
Committing to a plant-based diet or vegan lifestyle can be a huge change to some people and it might not be the easiest option. This depends on where they live, their accessibility to vegan products and if they have the time to plan to make these changes. Making small changes like doing meatless Monday can be enough for some people and that’s okay. All the small changes add up!
Having a plant-based diet doesn’t mean you need to take lots of supplements
If you do a lot of research and understand how to get all the nutrients you need then you don’t have to consider taking lots of vitamins or supplements. That goes for whether you’re on a plant-based diet or not. In fact, health care professionals recommend that every adult in the UK, regardless of diet, takes supplement Vitamin D during the winter months!
As no one is born an expert in nutrition, sometimes taking supplements and vitamins is easier than meticulously planning each meal – especially if you want to eat a delicious but not-so-healthy meal like meat free nuggets and chips for tea!
For example, people that eat a plant-based diet may miss out on essential nutrients such as calcium, iron and vitamin B12 as these often come from dairy, meat and fish. Make sure you're getting all the nutrients you need by visiting the NHS website for more information about what nutrients come from what food sources.
People offer their opinion, even if you don’t ask
Telling someone you’re a vegan or have switched to a plant-based diet is quite the conversation starter. A lot of people might feel the need to tell you what they think of that, ask lots of questions or may give you some unwanted advice. Often this comes from a caring place because they want to make sure you are not restricting your diet and staying healthy!
If you’re following a plant-based diet, then check the restaurant’s menu before you book
Some restaurants will not cater to your plant-based diet. Checking the menu before you book will prevent you from being disappointed!
No one is perfect, we are all just trying our best
There are many different reasons people follow a plant-based diet or are vegan. If you slip up and eat something non-vegan that’s okay. Small changes add up and every effort counts!
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For more information and tips about adopting a plant-based diet visit our Keep Your Plants On page.