Plant-based diets are becoming vastly more popular
Rapid rise in plant-based living in recent years
Supermarkets and Fast Food providers attempting to cater for this shift
Top Tips to transition to a plant based diet
Plant-based Vegan diets are on the rise as more and more people move toward a sustainable dietary future.
There are many reasons why increasing numbers of society are moving towards a plant-based Vegan diets. Whether it is health, weight management, the environment, or social conscience, making such radical changes to your life can be difficult, particularly if you have been eating a meat-based diet for your entire life up until this point.
According to Global Data, in the US alone the number of people who identify as Vegan grew from 1% to 6% of the population between 2014-2017 and in the UK in 2018, there were 600,000 more people identifying as vegans according to research conducted by the Vegan Society and estimates that that figure is a vast jump on the previous year where the results showed only 150,000 people.
As a result of this shift in public consciousness, supermarkets and all brand retailers have made a dramatic collective swing in recent years to ensure that they can keep up with the market trends.
In 2018 there was an estimated spend on vegan products of £740m with a collection 360,000 members of the public declaring themselves not only as vegan but a lifestyle vegan, meaning that they not only live off a meat-free plant-based diet but they also are fully committed to only purchasing animal-friendly products.
Even the fast-food chains are making a concerted attempt to accommodate for plant-based Vegan diets, although they are stumbling over some of the more basic principles meaning that, as yet they are not providing a full range of suitable options for people who identify as vegan over those that just want plant-based food.
Giles Quick, director at market researcher Kantar Worldpanel, said: “The vegan market has changed fundamentally in the last six or seven years – it’s now for everyone.”
He continued, “Social media has brought it to the forefront of customer’s minds, and the mainstream. It’s not seen any more as a choice for life, but as a choice for one meal, one moment, for one or two days a week.”
So, whatever their reasons, more and more people are committing to a vegan lifestyle, so here are our top tips to help you change your meat-based diet and succeed in sticking to it.
If you have been living a meat-based life for a long portion of your life, then you are unlikely to realise just how much animals are integral to the products that we buy. The best way to ensure you succeed in your vegan or vegetarian transfer is to plan ahead.
Compile a list of 10-20 vegan recipes that you will enjoy eating but also that you will enjoy making. Make sure they are relatively simple and within your culinary capabilities. The last thing you want to do is stumble at the first hurdle because you have picked a range of recipes that you are simply unable to prepare.
The joy of 21st century life and the explosion of the internet and social media is that it is relatively straight forward to find any recipe for any food in every ability level. Whether it’s a Google search, Pinterest, Facebook group, or just asking your friend, you will easily be able to compile a bespoke recipe list that will work for you.
Despite thinking that every dish you have chosen is perfect when reading it on the screen, it is less likely that they will all be suitable for you when you actually start cooking and trying them out.
Just as some people don’t like certain meat-based products, not all vegans like every vegetable or favour combination. Start by testing out the recipes you have compiled one by one. If you don’t like one, toss it out! It is pointless holding onto it, just in case, and you don’t want to continue to give yourself the impression that you don’t enjoy plant-based eating purely because you don’t like one or two recipes but are still looking at them every day.
By the time you have gone through all your initial recipes it is likely that you will actually have moved anywhere up to 50% of the original number… and that’s okay. At least you are starting to define your plant-based palate, and some will even take you by surprise by how much you enjoy them.
It is important to remember that if you toss out one recipe to go and find another one to replace it with until you have a list of 10-20 recipes that are tried and tested and that you really enjoy.
- Slow Transition
Now, although you have been compiling and trying recipes for your plant-based lifestyle, it is important to note that you shouldn’t have switch over to “being Vegan” just yet. Now that you have a full list of delicious recipes, select one meal per day that is going to be you plant-based only meal. Usually, your evening meal is the best option, but this will entirely depend on your lifestyle.
Going cold-turkey on meat and forcing yourself to move to a fully plant-based Vegan diet with no period of change will ultimately result in failure. However, commitment at this stage will set you up for success overall. For example, if you choose to be Vegan for your evening meal than it is important that, for every evening meal, it is always plant-based only. If you go out for your evening meal at a restaurant it is important to understand that you may crave steak, but if you have identified the evening meal as your Vegan one then it is important that you maintain this no matter what, otherwise you won’t change your habits, and that is the hardest part.
It will take will power to begin with and it is therefore important to acknowledge this and a further identification of why starting slow is the best approach. According to research produced by NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, physiological habits can take anywhere from 18-254 days to change, with the average being 66 days. Now, meat may not be a drug but the physiological effects of changing such a long-engrained habit are the same. Therefore, you should stick with the one Vegan meal approach for at least two weeks before increasing to more solely plant-based meals.
Remember though, there is no right or wrong timeline. The only timeline that matters is the one that works best for you.
- Increase Gradually
Once you are happy with the one meal a day, you should start to replace other meals in a manner that works for you. You could start doing Vegan only lunches at the weekend in addition to your evening meal for a few weeks and see how you feel. Or any other structure that will work for you but remember, this is a whole life change so a few months of gradual transition will set you in great stead for a future on a plant-based diet.
According to a survey of more than 1,000 adults in the UK by Mintel, approximately 49% of the population is interested I at least cutting down their meat consumption. Taking these simple but effective steps will help you be one of them.
Take it slow, and work towards success!
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“Plant-based Vegan diets and our Top Tips to change your habits”
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