Why Now Is The Time To Go Vegan | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Why Now Is The Time To Go Vegan

Toni Baker takes a look at why and how so many people have gone vegan, and why 2018 might be the year to make the change as veganism is easier than ever before

 

It’s 2018 and this is the time to go vegan.  We are only a matter of weeks into 2018 and, already, the range of vegan options are tastier and more plentiful than ever before!

Vegans ended last year on a high, with big-end restaurant brands such as Pizza Hut, Pizza Express and Zizzi offering innovative new menus and dishes for those choosing to eat cruelty-free.

New products entered supermarket shelves, including Ben and Jerry’s non-dairy ice cream and Bailey’s Almond Milk Liqueur, and chain eateries such as Pret A Manger and Leon extended their vegan ranges and options. Brands such as Quorn and Linda McCartney expanded their selections and the Quorn ‘fishless fingers’ were a particular hit - if you haven’t tried them yet, thank me later!

The vegan community is always keen to share new tips, tricks and products that are new on the agenda

Part of the surge in support for veganism can be attributed to documentaries such as EarthlingsWhat the Health and Forks Over Knives (all on Netflix) which shed light on the cruelty of the meat and dairy industries, as well as raising awareness of the health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Celebrity endorsements from those such as Miley Cyrus, Leonardo DiCaprio and Liam Hemsworth helped make veganism the buzzword of 2017, and challenged us to take a step back and examine the reality of the food on our plates and the process by which it arrived there. In my city, new cruelty-free restaurants and eateries popped up, offering extensive menus, including mock meats and cheeses and more nutritious options for the more health-minded people amongst us.

Friends of mine, myself, and many others took to social media to promote a vegan lifestyle. There are now thousands of Instagram pages alone dedicated to plant-based living and the community is always keen to share new tips, tricks and products that are new on the agenda.

Vegan trends

Flexitarianism was another phenomenon which swept the UK last year. A study carried out by The Vegan Society in 2017 found 1 in 3 Brits were choosing to buy vegan alternatives on a regular basis and attempting to cut down their meat and dairy consumption, opting instead to fill their trollies with mock-meats, dairy-free options and all the fruits and veggies.

1 in 3 Brits are choosing to buy vegan alternatives on a regular basis

Meatless Mondays were another trend born on social media, encouraging meat-eaters to swap their usual Monday meat-based meal for a plant-based alternative once a week. It is now estimated the number of vegans in the UK is nearing the half a million mark. With the “trend” of veganism set to expand ever further this year, it really does seem like 2018 will be the year of the vegan!

Veganuary is proving to be more successful than ever this year, with more than 115, 000 people already registered and even more expected to take part! Restaurants such as Las Iguanas are offering deals for those participating, encouraging vegans to eat and enjoy the plant-based options at their diner.

 

Supermarkets and branded ranges

 

One of the biggest successes already this year must be the launch of the new Tesco vegan range, Wicked Kitchen. Demand for greater vegan convenience options and the surge in the number of those choosing to eat plant-based has clearly been heard and this new line offers a number of products, including pizzas, wraps and sandwiches, to satisfy our cruelty-free desires.

Quorn have released a new deli range which promises to fill the sandwich-filling shaped hole

Another big supermarket brand, Ocado, have also extended their vegan selection and it now features over 90 different products, giving us vegans plenty to choose from! Aldi too have recognised the plant-based market and announced a new vegan range to enter shops shortly.

After the success of their vegan products last year, Quorn have released a new deli range which promises to fill the sandwich-filling shaped hole! And, to my great excitement, Ben and Jerry’s have announced new non-dairy ice-cream flavours including Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Chunky Monkey and Peanut Butter and Cookies and I, for one, cannot wait to try them!

Vegan events in 2018

There are plenty of exciting and ambitious vegan events planned for this year and they look set to attract more people than ever before! The London Viva! Vegan Festival takes place on Saturday the 17th and Sunday the 18th of March, promising to feature more than 140 stalls.

On June 2rd and 3rd, The Level in Brighton will host hundreds of stalls, live music, speakers and various workshops all outside in the (hopefully!) summer sun.

these events welcome anyone and everyone with any degree of interest in vegan living

The biggest vegan event of the year is set to be the Vegan Camp-Out 2018, held on August 17th-19th in Nottinghamshire. A number of talks, workshops, kid’s activities and stalls are planned, accompanied by live music from some big names! So, whether you’re a fully-fledged vegan, just dabbling in the plant-based universe or still enjoying a steak most nights, these events welcome anyone and everyone with any degree of interest in vegan living. Check them out and I hope to see you there!

 

Meera Sodha’s potato and cabbage curry

Vegan community and support

I would encourage you, too, to inform yourself of the reality of the food on your plate and the processes by which it arrived there.

There is growing awareness of the health benefits of a vegan diet and the cruelty behind the meat and dairy industries is becoming mainstream knowledge. People are realising the consumption of meat and dairy is unsustainable, unethical and cannot go on for much longer.

It seems people are taking real steps to change their eating habits and embrace a healthier, more compassionate way of life. I would encourage you, too, to inform yourself of the reality of the food on your plate and the processes by which it arrived there.

 

While at first becoming a vegan can seem daunting, there are plenty of websites and other sources of support to guide you through the initial transition. The PETA website provides plenty of advice for those just embarking on their vegan journey and even offers a free vegan starter kit to put newbie vegans on the right track.

Going vegan in 2018 is easier than it has ever been before

Challenge 22 is another great site which provides transitioning vegans with their own personal mentor to guide them through the first few weeks of veganism. They share recipes, tips for eating out and other guidance and advice to help prepare inexperienced vegans for their new way of life.

Going vegan in 2018 is easier than it has ever been before and there are ever-increasing vegan options in all the major supermarkets, restaurants and eateries. Personally, the decision to go vegan is one of the best I have ever made and I feel better in all aspects of my life because of my choice to refrain from meat and dairy. So, if you’re considering it, have a few doubts or have just stumbled upon this article, I urge you to give veganism a go!



Published

5th February 2018 at 9:00 am

Last Updated

5th February 2018 at 9:18 pm



Images from

Veganuary and Meera Sodha



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