10 things you need to know about going vegan
Tempted to join the growing number of people eschewing animal products? Then read our guide here.
1. There are nearly half a million vegans in Britain, a 360% increase in the last decade. The Vegan Society has dubbed veganism one of the 'fastest growing lifestyle movements' in the UK.
2. Vegans don't eat any foods derived from animals. This obviously means no meat and no dairy, but they also cut out honey and many sweets (these often contain gelatine, which is made from animal products).
3. Nearly half of all vegans are in the 15-34 age category (42%), according to a survey carried out in 2016.
Image: From Shutterstock
4. The word 'vegan' was only coined in the 1940s, but bypassing eating animal products has been a practice for far longer. In 1849 a cookery book called Kitchen Philosophy For Vegetarians was published in the UK, which didn't include butter or eggs – so you could say it was the first vegan cookbook!
5. Set up by a husband and wife team in 2014, Veganuary is a global campaign to encourage people to go vegan for the first month of the year. Last year, more than 20,000 people signed up.
6. There are more famous vegans than you can shake a (celery) stick at. Brad Pitt, Bill Clinton, Pamela Anderson, James Cameron, Joaquin Phoenix, Sinead O'Connor and Michelle Pfeiffer have embraced veganism.
Image: Brad Pitt, from Shutterstock
7. Vegans often cite avoiding animal cruelty as their main incentive, but many are also concerned about the damaging effect of animal farming on the environment. In 2010, a United Nations report said that agriculture, particularly meat and dairy products, accounts for 70% of world freshwater consumption, 38% of total land use and 19% of greenhouse gas emissions.
8. A growing number of people now describe themselves as 'part-time' vegans, only eating animal products once or twice a week.
9. Vegans really miss cheese. When Sainsbury's launched its FreeFrom alternatives to cheese last year, vegans went crazy with excitement! Sales in the first month were 300% greater than expected.
10. A good vegan diet is low in saturated fat, high in fibre and packed with vitamins, minerals and nutrients from all that fruit and veg. However, vegans do have to make sure they consume enough protein and fat – nuts, oils, pulses and grains are all important sources.