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10 things you need to know about going vegan

by Leah Hyslop
10 things you need to know about going vegan
Image: Shutterstock

Tempted to join the growing number of people eschewing animal products? Here's what you need to know about being a vegan...

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, making up (42%), according to a survey carried out in 2016.

Image: Shutterstock
Image: 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. Veganuary was 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, including Brad Pitt, Bill Clinton, Pamela Anderson, James Cameron, Joaquin Phoenix, Sinead O'Connor and Michelle Pfeiffer have embraced veganism.

Image: Rex Features
Image: Rex Features

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. This usually means 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.

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