Are we on the verge of a vegan uprising? There is mounting evidence that suggests that it’s a definite possibility, but why go vegan? If you’re vegan according to advocates, not only are you saving the lives of animals, you’re improving your health and the health of the environment.
In the past, vegans were often considered hippy types who hugged trees and did yoga. More recently, that opinion has changed. Being a vegan or vegetarian has become hugely popular with many people now choosing this lifestyle.
Social media has allowed us to see graphic images and videos of extreme cruelty towards farm animals. These are being shared worldwide. Seeing a cow distressed and weeping at the loss of their calf is something that affects us all. The farming industry is no longer able hide the devastation of factory farming.
Another factor is Veganuary. This is the movement of going vegan in January for a month which encourages us all to avoid consumption of animal product. These month long campaigns are a popular way to create awareness and promote change.
Over the past few years we’ve seen others such as Stoptober and Movember with Veganuary being the latest.
The availability of vegan products has also increased the vegan uprising. Supermarkets including Tesco, M&S and Waitress promote their new vegan and vegetarian food ranges. This makes it easier to convert, but is this lifestyle for everyone?
As a vegetarian, my diet depends a lot on eggs and I couldn’t imagine life without cheese. The cruelty of the meat industry plays heavy on my mind which often results in me buying vegan products such as Vegenaise and dairy-free milk. However, taking the final step and becoming a vegan does not take precedence in my life right now.
My biggest hurdle?
Travel. Having spent three weeks in South Africa in 2017 – a predominately carnivore nation, I found myself living on cheese pizza and scrambled eggs. The one vegan in our group practically starved and unless she brought her own food when eating in a restaurant, she was stuck with a bread basket – no butter.
This inconvenience is not exclusive to travelling. When eating in local restaurants, the vegetarian option often seems like an afterthought and the vegan ones are nonexistent.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a city, a vegan has more choice. In recent years, there’s been a huge influx of vegan and vegetarian restaurants opening. Included in the list of the ten top cities to be vegan are: Brighton, Edinburgh, Berlin and Ghent in Belgium. If you don’t live close to them, you might need to start cooking.
Being organised and prepared is the vegan motto and cooking your own food is essential to being successful. Depending on the local sandwich shop having dairy free butter or mayonnaise, is too risky.
Worst news of all? Vegans can’t drink wine. Egg whites are used as clarifying agents so unless it’s vegan wine it’s off the table.
Regardless of these facts, the UK alone has seen a 360% increase in vegans in the last 10 years. There are now over half a million vegans in the UK – this a huge vegan uprising. The Vegan Society does offers help and encouragement as well as receipts and ideas for a vegan lifestyle. But ask yourself this: Could you go animal free, even for a month?