If you haven’t heard of Veganuary. Seriously, where have you been?
It’s a force to be reckoned with. That’s for sure.
All over Insta and Pinterest, pages are filling up with incredibly gorgeous images of beautiful and colourful vegan dishes. All in the name of Veganuary.
That’s not to mention the posts regarding the incredibly persuasive moral standpoint of veganism.
Just to be really clear, to be vegan is to not eat, nor wear, any animal products.
Different from vegetarianism in that regard.
Veganism means no dairy, no eggs, no leather, no wool, no fish (which is deemed pescatarian, by the way).
As well as going the whole-hog (pun intended), there are also the newer, slightly softer categories of pre-vegan and/or flexitarian – that people can also choose to adopt.
These terms are very popular among the rising health/environment/animal-welfare-aware meat-eaters trying to do something to acknowledge those idealist aspects of veganism, and curious as to how the lifestyle and diet could work for them.
Why the trend?
Veganism has never been so popular.
According to a survey featured in The Guardian last week. More than 14,000 people signed up to the Veganuary movement on the last Sunday of 2018 alone.
Even amongst the carnivores, the trend is truly alive in that increasing amounts now choose to dip into lifestyle veganism; by the buying and incorporating of more plant-based products than ever before.
There’s many reasons why someone would choose to become vegan, or to at least explore the option.
There’s no doubt about it, being healthier and kinder to the animals and our planet feels good.
What are the downfalls?
Points to watch out for as a mother, particularly if one is a mum-to-be or breastfeeding, include the issue of hidden hunger: the potential of a serious lack of nutrients while on a vegan diet that hasn’t been properly considered.
The reasons as to why one would choose to be vegan warrant honest reflection. Just to make sure it really is about changing the planet/saving animals/potentially improving health, and that it’s not just to mindlessly follow a trend thats anything but being about kindness. More like self-righteousness.
Furthermore, there’s the issue of a mask for eating disorders; where it’s not uncommon to cut out entire food groups – Veganism, along with other dietary exclusions such as gluten-free, give ample permission to do just that.
Is it then not more to do with losing weight: whether for simple vanity at one end of the scale, or at worse related to psychological distress?
Furthermore, in terms of the environmental impact of veganism. There’s arguments for and against. When one considers the impact of farming foods like soya, for instance. It’s not exactly innocent.
One has to come to their own conclusions on all of this.
Making it your own
Any real and lasting positive impact of veganism depends entirely on the individual behaviours of each advocate.
For that, as with most things in life, it takes research and understanding.
As opposed to just blindly following a trend that could have devasting effects if done incorrectly. Achieving little more than lining the pockets of the savvy consumer brands who are queuing up to save our moral compass.
How to become vegan?
A good place to start is at a well-known organisation, such as Veganuary or The Vegan Society. These people all know their stuff. So it makes sense to seek out such valuable resources before embarking on a radical change.
After that, calling upon the knowledge of a nutritionist or a dietician is probably sensible. Particularly if the new vegan is responsible for the meals for growing children. One doesn’t want to simply consume vegan-based ready-meals and synthetically prepared products. Nor be so restrictive due to an ignorance about food combinations.
Assistance with good, healthy and well-balanced recipes for the health needs of the family can be a challenge. But many people manage it.
However, there are countless stories of, no doubt well-meaning, people whose children have reportedly developed rickets as a result of a limited vegan diet. Such as those featured in the press late last year.
It’s also good to ask any vegans that you may know about how they balance everything, and if they have any tips?
After that, being mindful of the other areas in life that bring these issues into focus.
There are many wider questions at the centre of veganism, so be prepared for that. It’s a huge area and one were contradictions are plenty.
Granted, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and so to be only doing a small bit doesn’t mean it’s pointless. Not at all.
With good intentions, it’s all about discovery. And people should have the right to do so at their own pace.
One thing is certain, however, doing a tiny bit wholeheartedly is going to be far better than doing anything just because everyone else is doing it.
After all, trends come and go.
Here at amamasmind.com we will be giving veganism something of a go. So do keep a look out for our upcoming piece about Being Vegan For A Day.
What do you think? Would you like to contribute to our piece?
We’d love to hear your thoughts on Veganism.
Have you signed up to Veganuary? How did you prepare for it? How are you finding it?
Are you a long-term vegan? What are the major benefits and challenges?
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