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5 reasons to try a plant-based diet

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By Will Godfrey

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Veganuary (that’s ‘vee-gan-uary’) works in a similar way to Stoptober, Dry January or Movember. But, instead of smoke-free, sober or mustachioed participants, those who take part commit to going vegan for a full month.

Since launching in 2014, it’s taken off like (incredibly ethical) wildfire – take a look at how Google has tracked the explosion in search interest for the word ‘Veganuary’ since its launch:

The Veganuary website says that “for most, a love of animals is the catalyst” to adopting a vegan diet. However, if you can’t see yourself limiting your love of animals to just the living ones any time soon, here are 5 other reasons you might want to give a plant-based diet a try.

1. There’s never been a better time

Veganuary becoming more popular is just the tip of the iceberg lettuce. At the end of 2017, chef Gizzi Erskine and nutritionist Rosemary Ferguson teamed up to launch vegan fast-food popup ‘Pure Filth’ at the Tate in London, and they’re set to launch at a permanent location in early 2018.

But it’s not just London’s trendiest who are adopting a vegan diet. Recent research from kitchen specialists, Magnet found that students across the UK today are six times more likely to be vegan or vegetarian than their parents. In short, the vegans are taking over – and if you can’t beat ‘em, why not join ‘em?

An even better reason why now is the time to give plant-based food a go is the ‘save the planet’ argument. Climate change is a more pressing threat than ever; in 2015 Obama said there was ‘no greater threat’ to the planet. You may be surprised to know – I definitely was – that livestock production makes “an even larger contribution than the transportation sector worldwide” to global warming, according to a 2006 United Nations report.

indian vegetarian population

2. The weight loss reason

Though delicious to many, meat is also exceptionally calorie dense, and usually high in fat, too. One of the only items of produce that is comparably calorific is the avocado (which, it turns out, is a fruit). However, these calories are largely made up of ‘good’ fats which, in moderation, can be beneficial and even lower cholesterol.

But put it even more simply – the majority of fast-food out there involves animal products. Hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, fried chicken – a plant-based means you cut most of these out, and the weight loss results can be impressive…. A 2009 study of the eating habits of thousands of Americans found that it was only those who followed a vegan diet that averaged a ‘normal and healthy’ BMI (Body Mass Index).

3. The “hearty” plant-based diet

You can’t really talk plant-based recipes without mentioning some of the pretty profound health benefits of a plant-based diet. While some people see this diet as a limitation, for others, it can help them live longer, happier, and healthier lives.

why go vegan?

There’s a great deal of evidence to show that a plant-based diet can have a positive impact on your heart, and even reduce the chance of cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases. Celebrities, from Bill Clinton to Usher, have adopted a vegan or plant-based diet specifically because of the benefits it can have on the heart.

4. You won’t be saying goodbye to every edible joy life has to offer.

Many people believe that giving up meat, dairy and eggs is a big sacrifice. But it really doesn’t need to be.

There are loads of delicious ingredients, products and meals that you probably already eat which are vegan. If a few of your favourite foods appear in the list below, then maybe going vegan wouldn’t be so bad after all…

Just a few vegan treats and snacks:

  • Chips
  • Starburst
  • Love Hearts
  • Bagels
  • Peanut butter
  • Marmite (debatably delicious, inarguably vegan)
  • Hummus
  • (Most) crisps
  • Skittles
  • Crispy seaweed (it’s actually crispy kale!)
  • Coca-cola
  • Falafel

5. Gousto makes cooking plant-based recipes easy

There are lots of people (and I’m one of them!) who have been prepared to try out a plant-based diet, but have ended up either never starting, or giving up after a few days or weeks.

Not because they miss meat, or they “don’t get enough protein” or they get bored of vegetables. It’s because of the effort: to find great tasting plant-based recipes, to find all the ingredients in the supermarket, to double check every label to make sure it’s vegan-friendly. Sound like hard work. Well, it used to…

In addition to our much-loved collection of vegetarian recipes, at the end of 2017 we launched a plant-based recipe collection on the Gousto menu.

Sticky Chinese Tofu & Aubergine Stir-Fry recipe
Sticky Chinese Tofu & Aubergine Stir-Fry

No – they’re not all salads.

No – they’re not meat and dairy recipes without the meat and dairy.

No – they’re not bland and basic.

They’re genuinely delicious, unique, tried-and-tested recipes. They’re easy (and – dare I say it – maybe even fun) to prepare. And they’re packed with plant-based goodness.

Harissa Hummus, Roasted Veg & Freekeh Salad recipe
Harissa Hummus, Roasted Veg & Freekeh Salad

You can try a plant-based recipe along with other recipes in a Gousto box, to see what you think – they’re a good way to discover new cooking techniques… like how to transform lentils into ‘meat’balls and lentil burgers.

Lentil Balls With Tomato & Aubergine Ragù recipe
Lentil Balls With Tomato & Aubergine Ragù /
Minty Lentil Burger, Harissa Ketchup & Fries

And if you just can’t imagine life without cheese, there’s always the vegetarian collection.

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