The debate around food, especially protein, has been growing at an exponential rate in recent years. While vegetarianism has been around for centuries, the concept of veganism sprang up in the mid-twentieth century and has gained immense popularity since the 2010s. Often labelled as dietary ‘requirements’ or ‘preferences’, vegetarianism and veganism are much more than just that. They are philosophies, ardently followed by millions of people around the world.
Statistics reveal that more and more young people are making conscious changes in their diets to support food production that is sustainable and ethical. This stems from a number of factors – the collective responsibility to leave behind a better world for our future generations, the desire to reduce our carbon footprint, the right to know exactly what we are consuming, and a guilty conscience about the way humans treat other species.
The advantages of an animal-free diet are plenty – decreased risks of heart disease, obesity, and high blood pressure, to name a few. There are also directly visible benefits such as healthier skin and a leaner physique. Often the negative discourse surrounding vegetarianism and, in particular, veganism, takes away from its merits. This summer, challenge yourself to try a new diet and give a shot to a new lifestyle.
TRY IT YOURSELF
With the ever-increasing supply of products that are organic and animal-friendly, it is now easier than ever to take on the challenge of becoming (even if temporarily) vegetarian or vegan. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Set a target – If you eat meat or dairy on a daily basis, you probably will not turn into a passionate veggie-lover overnight. Set yourself a realistic goal – try going a week without meat, then a month, and so on, or decide that you will have meat only on weekends or on special occasions. Either way, keep it balanced.
- Find a partner – If you are the only one at the party eating paneer while everyone else digs into chicken tikka, you will probably be miserable (and regretting your decision to listen to me). Instead, find a friend or a sibling to join you. You can motivate each other when it gets difficult, but if you’re still miserable, at least you’ll have company. It’s a win-win!
- Plan a budget – Restricting your diet often takes a toll on your wallet in unexpected ways. From substituting regular milk for soy or almond milk, or finding your favorite gelatine-free candy, veganism can be expensive. Make sure you put some money aside each month to satisfy your vegan cravings.
- Time it right – Finally, be aware of upcoming dates and events in which you will be tempted to consume animal products. Don’t try your hand at vegetarianism if you are traveling to an exotic country, where a restricted diet will greatly limit your food choices. Instead, pick a period in which you are in a comfortable and familiar place so you have a chance to fully explore your options and make the best of the available resources. Good luck!
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