Life at UCB through the eyes of our student bloggers

How and why go vegan?

How and why go vegan?

Hello again!

Being a vegan means excluding meat and any animal produce from your diet and daily use. Let’s start with why…

Contrary to popular belief, going vegan is not a fad. Many people choose to become vegan as they disagree with the unethical process and cruelty to animals when eating meat and animal produce. However, there are many other benefits of becoming vegan. To name a few, it will improve your health, help the environment, and reduce food poverty!

Close-up of Tree Against Sky

I am currently trying to eat more vegan food and hopefully one day soon this will be an everyday choice for me. I first tried a vegan diet when I was working in Tenerife as I was in communal living arrangements and most people there were vegan due to their passion for protecting the environment.

However, I began to find after a week or two, my body was beginning to struggle. Despite feeling full of energy most of the time and a lot lighter, I started feeling dizzy as if I was going to faint a few times because I wasn’t absorbing the nutrients from the vegan food. I was told that this is because my body needed to get used to absorbing protein from avocados, chickpeas, and other protein sources rather than absorbing it from meat. I was also getting cramps in my calves a lot which I think may have been due to the heat more than the fact that I’d changed my diet. Therefore, I decided to take multivitamin drinks every day, and honestly, it helped a LOT. I did find myself craving meat and I still crave meat now. However, it is becoming easier the more I eat vegan foods.

When I arrived back in the UK, I decided to watch the films A Life On Our Planet by David Attenborough and Seaspiracy. I feel like David Attenborough’s view of the planet matched my view at the time, and I was hoping to one day become vegan and was trying my best to cut down my meat intake. However, when I watched Seaspiracy, it really made me emotional and I started to stress a lot about what I was eating. I do really recommend watching both of these films as they explain how the fishing industry and other ways of life are destroying our planet and that we need to act fast. If you decide to watch these films and find yourself reacting in the same way as I did, I would really like to stress that it is really bad for your health to cut out meat and animal products from your diet without replacing that protein and calcium source! Luckily, I have been doing some research about this and would love to share with you some great alternatives!

Alternative sources of protein

Tofu, avocados, beans and lentils, seeds and nuts, soya products (e.g. milk and yogurt), wheat protein and tempeh, protein shakes and bars.

Be careful not to go overboard on your protein intake! According to The British Heart Foundation, most adults need around 0.75g of protein per kilo of body weight per day (for the average woman, this is 45g, or 55g for men). 

Alternative sources of Calcium

Broccoli, cabbage, okra, unsweetened soya, oat drinks, rice, calcium-set tofu, sesame seeds, UK brown and white bread (in the UK calcium is added to the flour in bread by law), raisins, dried prunes, dried figs, dried apricots and orange juice.

Closeup Photo of Four Brown Wooden Spatulas With Seds

You should check out the NHS website to find out how much vitamin D, iron and vitamin B12 you should be consuming each day. You can also find out which foods contain these on this website, just click here.

I know that all of this may be overwhelming and you might think there is a lot of food to change in your diet, but it is possible to do! I personally think the easiest way to do this is to try to replace one item with a vegan alternative each week. Or you could try to follow one vegan recipe per week and once you have got used to using that item, increase it to 2, then 3 then 4, etc.

My favorite vegan YouTube channels are:

Goodful and The ChicNatural

Please also remember to check your other everyday products as items such as shampoo, cosmetics, cleaning solutions, clothes and wine contain animal produce.

I hope this helps you!

Thanks for reading!

Charley x

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