What’s The Difference Between Veganism & Plant Based Diets?
22 October, 2018
HOW TO START GOING VEGAN
Unless you’ve been living on the moon you can’t fail to notice the growing trend in favour of veganism & plant based diets? Are these the same thing..well yes & no.
Veganism is a plant based conscious lifestyle that considers the welfare of all living animals and involves not buying or supporting any food, products or by- products that involve the use ( vegans sub in the word ‘abuse’) of animals in any way. So honey is out, all meat, dairy, eggs, leather, wool too. The UK Vegan Society define veganism as follows :
”Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.There are many ways to embrace vegan living. Yet one thing all vegans have in common is a plant-based diet avoiding all animal foods such as meat (including fish, shellfish and insects), dairy, eggs and honey – as well as products like leather and any tested on animals.”https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vegan/definition-veganism
Veganism is primarily a way of life that has the welfare of animals & sustainability of our global & local food chains at the heart of day to day living. It’s ethos is ultimately caring for our planet & all living beings we humans share it with.
LIVING OFF a Plant Based diet on the other hand is eating pretty much the same way as vegans but the reasons for doing it may differ. A plant based diet may suit you because it’s considered to be more nutritionally beneficial and/or more sustainable for the planet if less meat is consumed.
Therefore eating a plant based diet means you may be quite happy to wear wool, invest in a new leather laptop bag or use self care products that have either been tested or contain animal derived ingredients.
Veganism is a conscious moral, choice, a lifestyle compared with Plant based eating which is merely a way of eating, a diet consisting of plants only, nothing more nothing less. Personally I also also like to think of veganism as living life in a more spiritually connected way..some may disagree.
OK, SO in a nutshell that’s what veganism & plant based diet is but how do you take those first steps in to transferring your diet from a typical Western diet full of animal products at every meal & snack to a purely plant based one? Like everything in life it’s a physical process so often accompanied with an emotional journey. For it to be sustainable here’s my top 8 tips to help you get started :
Think & connect with why you want to go vegan/plant based..what are your key reasons is it animal welfare, nutrition, environmental reasons, taste, health, worried about growth hormones & additives in meat & dairy, want to teach your kids about real food & where it comes from. For me it was all of the above!
Accept it’s going to take time, it’s a journey of transitioning practically & emotionally. Read some articles, blogs, join some vegan social media sites & get a sense of the vegan community out there globally & locally. Consider signing up to Veganuary in JANUARY…a great place for absolute beginners.
Be patient & compassionate with yourself! It’s a whole new way of living & being. You need to re-learn how to shop, read food labels ( in the UK look for allergy ‘bolding’ in the ingredients list as a quick search to see if eggs, milk etc is involved)
Build your store cupboard up over time otherwise you’ll end up buying stuff you’ll never use resulting in expensive food waste.
Find vegan recipe sites for beginners..once you know how it’s so easy to convert all your family traditional favourite meals in to plant based..honestly..stay tuned!
If you’re eating out start to look & choose off the vegan menus, this will give you lots of inspiration as usually the food is delicious & the range on offer is getting better all the time..long gone are the days of a dried out unappetising lentil & nut roast!
Start to look for vegan foods in your local shops & supermarkets..whilst you may still struggle at the bakery sections you will be surprised at the range of plant based options that’s now starting to crop up in the main stream aisles.
Choose 1 meal a day to start converting to plant based. Breakfast is an easy choice because you can still stick with the familiar toast ( check your bread though for animal ingredients, bread can have milk or honey added!) simply by converting to a plant based butter & watching your toppings eg no Nutella but using instead any of the plant based nut butters, eg almond, cashew, peanut butter. ( NB..Try to avoid palm oil as much as possible due the massive planting & harvesting causing devastating destruction of rain forests & disappearance of orangutans & other wildlife habitats), jams, marmalade’s are usually okthough, never assume,
..always best to double check because once you start to read the labels on everything you will be freaking shocked at just what’s in what!
Great Plant based breakfasts and also any non dairy yogurts ( watch the sugar!) porridge, smoothies, protein bowls & juices using any plant based milk Almond, Cashew, Hemp, Ideally I try to avoid Soy as much as possible due to the deforestation of the rain forests mainly in South America but some places particularly if you’re out & about may only have soy milk so it might just have to be ‘Hobson’s’ choice on these occasions.
You’re going to find at some point you will need a decent BLENDER if you’re going to make plant based day to day living work for you particularly if you want to avoid going down the ‘junk ready made’ vegan meal road. I use a Magimix 5200xl..definitely not the cheapest option starting around just under £300 – £400 mark but I use mine almost every day so it’s been well worth the investment. I read loads of reviews before I bought mine about 4 years ago & found this one at the time had one of the quietest noise decibel ratings which helped sell it to me as we have a big open plan kitchen in our home.
Once you get going, try to find or start up your own group of like minded souls to BULK BUY your whole foods. It’s so much cheaper if you can buy in bulk & split items between friends/neighbours/family. It’s also so much more convenient if you have your staples on tap rather than trying to think of everything you need & running out to the shops every day for just one or two items. I use Suma Wholefoods Cooperative here in the UK http://www.suma.coop/ & whilst not always necessary cheaper I have found it be a Godsend for convenience. It’s also less trips to the supermarket helping to decrease you carbon footprint.
If you’re thinking about going vegan/plant based but feel stuck & need some help then please get in touch in the comments box below or via any of my contact options. Let me know you’re worries, fears, practical problems like may be you’re worried about eating out at a non vegan friends house, you’re a runner & worried about your protein or just confused how to make it all simply happen & I’d be really happy to help & point you in the right direction.