A colourful plate mixed salad including cherry tomatoes, red cabbage, chick peas, lettuce and yellow peppers

Decoding Veganism

Decoding the vegan diet and addressing four main concerns around becoming plant based.

Being Vegan

Concerns About Going Vegan & The Big Impact

 

According to scientists behind the most comprehensive analysis of the damage farming does to the planet, avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact.

1. A plate without meat?

  1.  2. Protein
  2.  
  3.  3. Vitamin & Mineral deficiencies
  4.  
  5.  4. A lack of energy?
  6.  
  7.  5. Big impact

Concerns About Going Vegan & The Big Impact

1. A plate without meat?  

For much of the Western world it’s difficult to envisage a mealtime without meat.

Overcoming this culturally ingrained hurdle and finding tasty and convenient solutions is one of the toughest tests to becoming a vegan. Fear not, the world wide web has an infinite number of recipes for the novice to the master chef, as well as nutritional advice and FAQs.

Here are 3 of our favorite go to vegan websites; VeganHealth, VeganKitchen and HappyCow.

2. Protein

Being asked "Where do you get your protein?" is the bane of all vegetarians and vegans' lives.

In fact, compared to other mammals, humans are naturally adapted for a comparatively low protein intake, requiring just 10% of our daily calorie intake. This amasses to 50 – 60 grams for an average person, yet the UK’s National Diet and Nutritional Survey found we are eating considerably more at 75-100 grams.

A plate of sweet potato chips topped with sour cream and accompanied with a side dish of guacamole

1. A plate without meat?

 

For much of the Western world it’s difficult to envisage a mealtime without meat.

Overcoming this culturally ingrained hurdle and finding tasty and convenient solutions is one of the toughest tests to becoming a vegan. Fear not, the world wide web has an infinite number of recipes for the novice to the master chef, as well as nutritional advice and FAQs.

Here are 3 of our favorite go to vegan websites; VeganHealth, VeganKitchen and HappyCow.

 

2. Protein

Being asked "Where do you get your protein?" is the bane of all vegetarians and vegans' lives.

In fact, compared to other mammals, humans are naturally adapted for a comparatively low protein intake, requiring just 10% of our daily calorie intake. This amasses to 50 – 60 grams for an average person, yet the UK’s National Diet and Nutritional Survey found we are eating considerably more at 75-100 grams.

As a vegan, it’s very easy to source 60 grams of protein from oats, nuts, beans, wholegrains, lentils, chick peas, green peas, brown rice, quinoa and tofu to name just a few.

Two glass jars containing green lentils and kidney beans

3. Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies

A tray of card punnets each containing a selection of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and black berries

 

Vitamin B12 (essential for cell production), Selenium (an antioxidant to fight disease), Iodine (important for the metabolism and healthy functioning of the thyroid gland) and Zinc (vital for a strong immune system) are vitamins and minerals that vegans are more prone to be deficient in.

However, a regular intake of leafy greens, wholegrains (barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, rye, cous-cous, millet) and yeast extract for B12, will easily keep you in check. There are also some cool supplements out there designed specifically for vegans such as Athletic Greens, which is a daily all in one supplement with 75 proven, whole food sourced ingredients.

4. A lack of energy?

I regularly compete in ultra marathons, recently completing 170km mountain ultra eating just brown rice/nori balls and homemade flapjacks. A well-balanced vegan diet with daily wholegrains and legumes will not leave you feeling lethargic. In fact, many vegan athletes will say they have more energy since adopting a plant-based diet.

For more insight and inspiration, watch The Game Changers. It is a 2018 documentary film about the benefits of plant-based eating for athletes. The documentary follows former UFC fighter James Wilks who, while recovering from an injury, travels the world and talks with elite athletes who follow plant-based diets. Athletes include Novak Djokovic, Lewis Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan, Patrik Baboumian, and Dotsie Bausch.

 

As a vegan, it’s very easy to source 60 grams of protein from oats, nuts, beans, wholegrains, lentils, chick peas, green peas, brown rice, quinoa and tofu to name just a few.

3. Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies

Vitamin B12 (essential for cell production), Selenium (an antioxidant to fight disease), Iodine (important for the metabolism and healthy functioning of the thyroid gland) and Zinc (vital for a strong immune system) are vitamins and minerals that vegans are more prone to be deficient in.

However, a regular intake of leafy greens, wholegrains (barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, rye, cous-cous, millet) and yeast extract for B12, will easily keep you in check. There are also some cool supplements out there designed specifically for vegans such as Athletic Greens, which is a daily all in one supplement with 75 proven, whole food sourced ingredients.

4. A lack of energy?

I regularly compete in ultra marathons, recently completing 170km mountain ultra eating just brown rice/nori balls and homemade flapjacks. A well-balanced vegan diet with daily wholegrains and legumes will not leave you feeling lethargic. In fact, many vegan athletes will say they have more energy since adopting a plant-based diet.

For more insight and inspiration, watch The Game Changers. It is a 2018 documentary film about the benefits of plant-based eating for athletes. The documentary follows former UFC fighter James Wilks who, while recovering from an injury, travels the world and talks with elite athletes who follow plant-based diets. Athletes include Novak Djokovic, Lewis Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan, Patrik Baboumian, and Dotsie Bausch.

An ultra trail marathon runner passing over a grassy hill
A large digger deforesting an area of rainforest

5. A Big Impact

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and contributes to 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions. – The stats speak for themselves!

If you’re able to kick the habit by adopting a vegan diet, you’ll significantly lower your carbon footprint while helping preserve the environment.

 

 

5. A big impact

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and contributes to 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions. – The stats speak for themselves!

If you’re able to kick the habit by adopting a vegan diet, you’ll significantly lower your carbon footprint while helping preserve the environment.

Sources & further reading

✅ for peer reviewed research

  1. 1. “Evaluating the environmental impact of various dietary patterns combined with different food production systems” L Baroni, L Cenci, M Tettamanti & M Berati 2007, European Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, Nature Publishing Group – nature.com ✅
  2.  
  3. 2. “Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers”J. Poore, T. Nemecek 2018 – Science AAAS – sciencemag.org  ✅
  4.  
  5. 3. “Cowspiracy: The Sustainable Secret”cowspiracy.com
  6.  
  7. 4. “Livestock’s Long Shadow”Food and Agriculture Organization of The United Nations, 2006 – fao.org
  8.  
  9. 5. “Are you eating too much protein? Some sources aren’t as healthy as you think” – David Cox – The Guardian – theguardian.com
  10.  
  11. 6. “National Diet and Nutrition Survey”- Public Health England – gov.uk
  12.  

Sources & further reading

✅ for peer reviewed research

  1. 1. “Evaluating the environmental impact of various dietary patterns combined with different food production systems” L Baroni, L Cenci, M Tettamanti & M Berati 2007, European Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, Nature Publishing Group – nature.com ✅
  2.  
  3. 2. “Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers”J. Poore, T. Nemecek 2018 – Science AAAS – sciencemag.org  ✅
  4.  
  5. 3. “Cowspiracy: The Sustainable Secret”cowspiracy.com
  6.  
  7. 4. “Livestock’s Long Shadow”Food and Agriculture Organization of The United Nations, 2006 – fao.org
  8.  
  9. 5. “Are you eating too much protein? Some sources aren’t as healthy as you think” – David Cox – The Guardian – theguardian.com
  10.  
  11. 6. “National Diet and Nutrition Survey”- Public Health England – gov.uk
  12.