9 things you didn't know about being vegan

From 'boring' meals to super-expensive food shops, forget your preconceptions and feast your eyes on these surprising facts about the vegan lifestyle – proving you can have your cake and eat it too.

With veganism on the rise in the UK and beyond, more and more people are becoming interested in the lifestyle, whether that be for animal, environmental or health issues.

In celebration of its vegan month in June 2018, SoGlos has teamed up with The Isbourne to find nine facts you might not have known about being vegan; covering everything from health to the treats that you can still indulge in…

For more information about The Isbourne and its vegan-centred programme, visit isbourne.org directly.


1. You don’t have to live on salad


Contrary to common beliefs – or stereotypes – a vegan diet doesn’t have to consist of vegetables alone. Even aside from the ever-increasing amount of non-meat and dairy-free alternatives, there’s a vast choice of naturally vegan-friendly foods out there.

From beige basics such as pasta, bread, and crisps; fridge fillers such as hummus, tofu, falafel; and cupboard staples including noodles, cereal, rice, even baked beans… don’t be fooled into believing that a vegan lifestyle is equal to living off rabbit food!


2. You can tuck into plenty of treats…

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Whether you’re talking about freshly-baked vegan cakes or ‘accidently’ vegan food, staying away from animal products doesn’t stop you from being able to indulge in sweet treats.

There’s plenty of surprisingly vegan-friendly foods, including Oreo cookies; Doritos; Skittles; Jelly Tots; Pringles (even the smokey bacon flavour); Chocolate Chip Hobnobs; Bourbon Biscuits; and a variety of Pot Noodle flavours, to name just a handful.


3. Eating out is still an option…

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Gone are the days when even a vegetarian option is hard to find on the menu; restaurants and cafés are becoming increasingly vegan-friendly, from creating dedicated menus to offering an option for each course – which is often marked clearly.

If there isn’t a vegan choice, there’s no need to stay at home; call up the restaurant before to mention your dietary needs or ask for an alteration to the dish when you make your order.


4. …And you can enjoy takeaway too!


As with eating at restaurants or cafés, there’s choice to be had when ordering takeaways – if you look for it. From pizza and curry to burgers, everyone from national chains to independents are beginning to cater for vegans.

Gloucestershire favourite, Fat Toni’s, is popular for its vegan pizza; Simpson’s Fish and Chips offers delights such as pea fritters; and Polo Culina offers entirely plant-based delivery – just a few of the local options, with plenty of other takeaway choices out there.


5. It doesn’t have to be expensive

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It’s a myth that living the vegan lifestyle has to be expensive. While there are pricey foods out there, it’s not all about quinoa, expensive nut butters, and fancy super foods; it’s doable to maintain a balanced diet without breaking the bank.

Beans; rice; pasta; vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and potatoes; bread; and oats are some of the cheapest foods around, while items such as plant-based milks, dairy-free cheese and veggie products aren’t too dissimilar from the meat, fish and dairy alternatives – which can be very expensive.


6. It’s not a ticket to health


Cutting out meat, fish and dairy from your diet isn’t an immediate solution for weight loss, glossy hair and glowing skin, no matter what social media may make you think. It’s harder to maintain a balanced diet and get everything your body needs, even if you do eat all the kale and avocado.

And as noted above, there are still plenty of unhealthy foods at your disposal; a vegan could live off chips, white bread, crisps and sugary sweets – as a vegan it’s as possible to gain weight and lose nutrients, as it is to lose weight and be healthy.


7. But you can get a balanced diet


Whether it’s through a carefully controlled diet or supplements, it’s possible for a vegan to get all the nutrition they need, as well as consuming those vital vitamins and minerals.

Talk to a doctor or nutritionist for some advice and get blood tests if you’re worried about being deficient. Done right, a plant-based lifestyle doesn’t have to be detrimental to your health.


8. Tasty tipples are allowed


Good news for anyone who enjoys a drink, as alcohol isn’t off limits on a vegan diet, whether you’re partial to a stiff G&T, fancy cocktail, pint of the cold stuff or glass of wine – you just have to double check the label first.

Whether you’re searching in a supermarket or scanning the menu at a bar, a quick check can tell you whether the drink’s vegan-friendly. As with food, there’s an ever increasing amount of information and options – there’s even a vegan Baileys to indulge in!


9. It’s nice!


Yes really, the vegan lifestyle doesn’t have to mean deprivation and boring food; you can have your cake and eat it – literally. From fresh baguettes and spicy stir-fries to falafel wraps and veggie burgers, there’s delicious choice out there if you choose to find it.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a keen cook or completely inexperienced in the kitchen; there’s endless inspiration out there for cooking up a plant-based storm, whether than be a plate of pasta or elaborate three-course meal.


For more information about The Isbourne and its vegan events visit isbourne.org directly.

© SoGlos
Wednesday 09 May 2018

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