This year has seen a real huge growth in all things ‘vegan’ to the point that UK retailers and restaurant chains have taken note, stood up to the test and significantly increased their vegan offerings to the public.

This is such a positive step towards the vegan movement where all we want to do is promote better health that results in living in a better environment, better animal welfare and therefore a huge movement in climate change as a knock on effect.

Vegans were once known as hippies, punks and other types of weirdo’s dating back to the 60’s and 70’s, and associated with being spaced out on drugs and just wanting to live on a farm, in a community that lives and breathes all things ‘plant-based’ however we (myself including before becoming vegetarian then vegan) have all moved away from making these judgements and stereo typing what vegans ‘should’ look like and how they ‘should’ behave.

Fast forward a few decades and veganism is taking the mainstream by storm.

This year, 2019, the UK launched more vegan products than any other nation with other countries following suit.

Whilst only 3% are vegan, almost a third of this group are millennials therefore demanding a growth in vegan products in supermarkets and in mainstream chain restaurants and cafes.

We now see that most cafe’s offer a minimum of 3 plant based milks to go with their coffees as well as offering a delicious extensive range of vegan cakes, snacks and treats.

This year, 250,000 people signed up for the Veganuary campaign compared to 168,500 in 2018 and just 3,300 five years ago and this is only growing from strength to strength.

What is the reason for this?

More and more people are becoming health conscious – what with the increase of so many illnesses which are now becoming the norm (cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, to name but a few) people are really starting to take their own health into their own hands and through much research on information on the World Wide Web proving that by becoming vegetarian / vegan, reducing meat, fish and dairy intake at least by taking part in the popular #meatfreemonday madness, the media’s focus more and more on the environment and climate control, I think it has certainly come to a time in our life where we start to take back control and demand a better way of living resulting in more and more vegan products brought to market.

Cost of Veganism?

Price will also be a barrier for many consumers. Again, because supermarket ranges are still in their early days, a lot have come to market with incredibly high price points and vegan versions of meat-based meals are often more expensive.  However as supply increases, we can expect prices to decrease.

Health and Veganism?

As with anything, when we choose to eat foods that are ‘ready-made’ these foods are heavily processed in order to have a long shelf life and can include high fat, sugar & salt levels.

On many of my cooking classes and articles I write on social media, I often take a supermarket product (i.e. soups, sauces in a jar, ready made meals) and go through the nutrition values versus making exactly the same foods, home made, using whole ingredients, controlling exactly what goes in and the results being amazing in so much as much lower levels of fat (healthy fats) and salt and perhaps not even any sugar (processed un-refined sugars)!

Whilst all these ready made foods readily available to you in the supermarkets are better for animal welfare and better for the environment, not all vegan foods are healthier.  However this shouldn’t put you off because as I always inform my customers, we are in a truly wonderful place where veganism is now being taken serious, we have a huge range of choices and options and as long as we take all these things into balance (as you would even as a meat eater choosing to eat the occasional ready made meal versus cooking fresh at home).

Food Labelling

With food labelling being taken so seriously because of a vast number of us suffering with intolerances and allergies, this helps us identify what is good for us, what is ok and what should only be indulged in on occasion, (Greggs sausage roll for instance which is absolutely delicious for the occasional treat however coming in at a whopping 312 kcal, Fat ,19g 27% ,Saturates ,9.4g 47% ,Sugars 0.8g 1% ,Salt 1.9g 32%), this gives you an idea of what you are consuming!  There are other brands now that promote being more healthy by highlighting that no additional fats and sugars have been added, in bold, making it clear for us to make a healthy and educated decision on what to enjoy or not (I often see this in plant based milks).

This nutritional information can certainly help in our decision making.

Climate and Environmental Change

With everything from meat contamination scandals to concerns about agriculture’s climate change impact in the news these days, more and more people are turning to a vegan diet. But, there are other ways to eat in an environmentally-friendly way too. Free-range meat products are now commonplace for those still wishing to include meat in their diets.

The most essential measures towards reducing CO2  emissions must be taken by public policy and industry, but Greta Thunberg, the movement’s initiator, says that responsibility for the planet begins with personal decisions: no meat, no air travel, no plastic. But does the climate actually benefit from these honourable motives? If you truly care about the climate, you have to ask first: Where’s my food coming from?

Protecting the climate is a complex issue. Climate researchers continue to urge consumers to make discerning purchases and to opt out of meat. A study conducted by Oxford University indicates that one-fourth of global greenhouse gas emissions is caused by food production, and 80% of that results from animals.

So to conclude, 2020 is set to be a major year for Veganism.  According to www.plantbasednews.org, the UK Vegan Population is set to skyrocket by 327% in 2020 in the UK alone making this more than one in five Brits becoming meat-free.

With all this in mind, as a growing vegan business focusing on a ‘Healthy Body, Healthy Mind’ concept, teaching for it to become a reality, we continue to strive in creating a business that can nurture this ‘motto’ and make it a part of a healthy vegan way of life by offering a number of services.

Below you will find out more about what we do and offer that can assist in living a healthy vegan life or indeed transitioning from meat eat or vegetarian to vegan or simply by reducing your meat, fish and dairy intake regularly throughout the week (#meatfreemonday) or month.  Where ever you are on your journey, we can be there by your side.

https://virtuosofoods.com/

  • COOKING WORKSHOPS: hands on cooking classes giving you an introduction into eating vegan as well as highlighting all the nutritional benefits to more advanced classes, getting hands on in creating delicious and nutritious dishes that are both easy and quick to cook up as well tasty, maximising on flavour

 

  • RETREATS:  offering day, weekend and week long retreats focusing more on ‘living the vegan life’ whether you are already vegan or just starting out or simply curious, partnering this with some physical movement (yoga, walking & meditation) as well as working with mind-fullness to bring about a holistic balance for the whole being.

 

  • PRIVATE CATERING:  offering a wide variety of services to cater for you, your family & friends as well as in your business, offering a vegan cuisine that will tantalise your taste buds.

 

  • NUTRITIONAL COACHING:  ensuring we work with you 1 on 1 or in small groups to ensure how best to enjoy maximum nutrition on a vegan diet to suit many lifestyles and goals that you want to achieve (weight loss, weight gain, mum to be, post pregnancy, athlete, combating tiredness & fatigue plus many other areas).

 

  • BLOGS:  keeping up to date with the latest news whether it be industry related news or personal information I have come across that I feel will be of value to share with you.

 

  • RECIPES:  A vast variety of delicious, tried and tested recipes for you to try at home, all with FREE access.

 

 

 

Some useful documentaries to watch that I have found helpful along my journey:
–  What the Health:  https://www.whatthehealthfilm.com/
–  The Game Changers . https://gamechangersmovie.com/
–  Peaceful Kingdom (Netflix)
–  Fork Over Knives (Netflix)

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