Vegan Vibes by Chef Lianne Holt

Vegan: A person who does not eat or use animal products.

A vegan diet frowns upon the use of meat, dairy products and any bi-product in relation to the use of any animal or living creature. It is finally in the spotlight as an achievable option as a diet choice. I personally prefer to call it a lifestyle choice as there are many different aspects involved in maintaining a vegan diet.

There are many luxuries in day-to-day life that include the use of animals and or their bi-products. Leather products and certain make-up brands are two examples of non-edible items that vegans will not associate themselves with due to the use of animals and or animal abuse in the production.

In the last 10 years we have seen a steady increase in the number of people choosing a vegan lifestyle. The motivation for this stems from animal welfare, environmental concerns, religious reasons and quite a large factor is a 'healthy lifestyle'. The choice to be vegan can be defined by each individuals' personal intentions.

A vegan diet can of course be 100% healthy if managed correctly and attention is paid to getting all the necessary nutrients and vitamins your body requires. Ideally your vegan diet should be mostly plant-based whole foods. It should contain plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. Because vegan diets often rely heavily on these healthy ingredients, they tend to be higher in vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Healthy vegan diets are saturated with vitamins B1, C, and E, folic acid, magnesium, and iron while also being low in cholesterol and saturated fats.  

The possibility of the diet not necessarily providing you with the right nutrients is also very strong. It could result in being a high fat diet full of calorie dense food items which could cause an array of health issues. So, while you are eating no animal products, and pursuing a vegan diet/lifestyle, make sure you are in it with all the facts needed to fulfill your bodies' requirements.

Vegan junk food and vegan treats are on the rise and are a massive draw card for people who worry about veganism having 'no variety'. You can be vegan and still have a very poor diet. The ever popular Oreo cookie is a good example of a bad advertisement for vegan food. Vegan cheese is another example of a food item which is mass produced and thoroughly processed to achieve an authentic texture and mouth feel.

Vegan treats and junk foods are the calorie dense food options to be careful of. A vegan twix bar, for example, will contain high natural sugar and high fat – though none of it will be processed or would have harmed any animals in the production of ingredients.

A well-planned, prepared and balanced vegan diet is hugely beneficial for the body. A lazy vegan diet could be to the detriment of your health and well-being.

Interesting Vegan Facts:

  • Vegans spare the lives of approximately 30 animals each year
  • Being a vegan cuts your carbon footprint in half
  • Vegans save 1100 gallons of water each day
  • Vegans are less likely to die from heart disease