I wrote in The Pursuit of Natural Beauty blog the increase of vegans in the UK has gone from 150k in 2006 to 550k in 2016. It’s apparent this increase is due to education of animal welfare and health benefits of veganism.
A plant-based diet for health reasons is influencing the trend as vegans have lower levels of cholesterol and lower blood pressure, a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. Many celebrities influence the trend by promoting their dietary lifestyle, especially to the younger market. This is seen in data that shows that nearly 50% of vegans in this country are aged 15 to 34. Not saying that 50% of the younger market is just in it for the celebrity trend. Most vegan converting people are aware of the sheer number of animals required to maintain dairy and meat consumption in this country. They are learning what really goes on in the meat and dairy industries and in some case the animal cruelty associated with production. I was pleased to hear recently that our government is introducing compulsory CCTV plans in slaughterhouses as part of a series of measure to strengthen animal welfare standards. It’s a start, as I have read many horrific stories about substandard slaughterhouses, especially those who apply religious ritual.
So what does veganism really mean? The definition of veganism is the practice of minimizing harm to all animals, which requires abstention from animal products, such as meat, fish, dairy, eggs, honey, gelatine, lanolin, wool, fur, silk, suede, and leather. Some call veganism a moral baseline for animal rights activists.
A vegan diet excludes meat, seafood and dairy, as well other foods produced using animals, such as honey and eggs. Any other food or drink that uses animal products is rejected too, that includes some wines and beer for this reason vegan’s become ardent label readers. A vegan diet is plant-based foods, such as grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. These ingredients are made into tasty creative dishes. It’s not all about salad!
Clothing choices for vegans have to be considered too. Clothing made from leather, wool, fur and silk is excluded. A few manufacturers have cottoned-on (excuse the pun) to growing veganism that there’s a market to tap into so they produce labelling clearly stating vegan friendly, or producing a whole range.
“It’s no longer an extreme lifestyle, it’s easy and accessible,” he says. “You can walk into any supermarket and be confronted by a huge range of dairy-free milks and other vegan-friendly products. “As consumers become more savvy about the reality of the farming industry, and the health implications of meat and dairy products, this boom will only continue.” Keith Coomber, Vegan Life Magazine.
Veganism is no longer stigmatised as food extremism as today many supermarkets stock vegan products, and some high street restaurants and cafes now offer vegan options. Pret A Manger launched its first pop-up vegan and vegetarian outlet in June 2016 and went on to open a second in March 2017. I have seen a small growth in the number of retailers and restaurants offering vegan food in my home town of Norwich. I am totally hooked on the burgers and sausages made by a local vegan food producer, the Tofurei and stock my freezer with these tasty vegan treats. However, I’m continuously finding it frustrating to find that the majority of restaurants have little care to cater for vegetarians let alone vegans. Slapping a vegetable tart or tasteless Gnochi on the menu appears to be as creative as some chef’s get, especially in Gastro pubs.
If you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or just someone who wants to cut back on eating meat and consuming dairy and would like to be more creative with your dishes, we have designed an introduction to vegan cookery course. First-steps to change is education, so these simple half-day workshops can ease you vegan cooking. It includes how two workshops. Four hour workshop – vegan pastry, savoury and sweet fillings for the pastry, vegan carrot cake, chocolate mousse. Two hour workshop- vegetable curry, chickpea and cauliflower flatbreads with avocado mash. Here’s the link to the course it’s part of our retreats package.