By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach
I was interested to read an article on ekko.world on veganism. Australia is the 3rd fastest growing vegan market in the world and if you don't know of a vegan this week, the chances are you will by next week.
Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet. The true vegan will also reject any commodity where animals have been involved in the making. Amongst other things this would include leather shoes and bags, make up and - I suppose but I'm not sure how they'd prove it - pharmaceutical drugs where animals were used in testing. There's lots of good to come from this, including some amazingly cool vegan bags made from pineapple leather and tree bark as seen on the Ekko.World article, but fashion aside, veganism (should) force people to eat lots more vegetables which is a great thing.
I'm not going to go into a lengthy discussion about the health benefits versus risks of a vegan diet although there are some definite pros and cons to it depending on how much time a person dedicates to the personal cause. One thing that should be noted is the huge rise in vegan food products that have appeared on the market. According to The Food Revolution Network (from the Mintel Food and Drink Report), vegan food products in Australia rose by 92 per cent between 2014 and 2016 which is a staggering amount.
And it's this which leads me to a few cautionary words. Potato chips flavoured with salt and vinegar and cooked in vegetable oil are vegan, so is bread with margarine with vegemite, and a vast array of other packaged foods on the market. When the packaged food industry gets wind of the popularity for veganism ( you could say it already has) beware. The word vegan will be stamped across the front of packaged foods like a badge of honour to fool unsuspecting shoppers into believing it is healthy. It happened with low fat, low carb, gluten free and sugar free so it doesn't take a futurist to predict the vegan writing is on the wall.
The point is this: veganism is a respected personal choice made because individuals care and want to protect the welfare of animals. Vegans should also care about themselves.
If one chooses to become a vegan, the bulk of the diet should come from fresh food. Vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, nut butter and nut milk, with wholegrains, pulses and legumes to provide plant protein. It does require more time in the kitchen and it may require some supplementation. If it is your choice to become a vegan consider how to do it healthily. Visit a natural health practitioner who can advise on which supplements you may or may not need and be very discerning when you are purchasing packaged foods.
It's got to be good for both you and the animals !