Veganism: Dr Potter advises on switching to plant-based diet
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During Veganuary, those who are trying to tentatively move towards a plant-based diet commit to avoiding all meat and dairy products throughout January. Veganism appears to be an unstoppable trend in the UK, with many Britons citing environmental, animal welfare or health concerns as motives for switching their diets.
The number of vegans in the UK grew by a staggering 40 percent in 2020, according to Plant Based News.
An estimated 1.5 million people in the UK now follow an exclusively plant-based diet, this equates to some three percent of the entire population.
As more and more Brits make the switch to a plant-based diet, Verity Bowditch, Made in Chelsea star and co-founder of Clean Kitchen Club, dishes out her top tips to Express.co.uk for those taking their first steps towards veganism.
Have a clear motive for making the switch
Verity is very clear from the offset that making the switch to veganism won’t be easy.
Friends, family and colleagues will try to sway you from your path by offering up tempting treats saying “one bite won’t hurt” or “it’s only a bit of chocolate.”
She said: “First of all you’ve got to know that people are going to start questioning you.
“People are going to say why are you trying that, why are you eating that and I feel that you’ve got to really know why you are doing it.
“People are like, oh I’ll give it a go, but I feel like you need to know a solid reason behind it otherwise you’re going to give up straight away.”
Finding that motive and then keeping it front and centre of your thoughts this January will be crucial if you want to stay the course.
Verity recommends writing the reason on your wall or saving it as your phone background. This will serve as a constant reminder as to why you are taking on the challenge.
Verity stressed: “You can’t just go straight into Veganuary and go I’m just going to cut out all meat and dairy, you’ve actually got to think about it.
“You need to do a little bit of research and research could literally be just reading this article, but you’ve got to know where you can get your protein from because that’s the main thing that’s going to be cut out from your diet.”
She recommended stocking your fridge with plant-based milk and protein swaps that you know you’re going to love.
This will help you to avoid the temptation to “slip back into meat and dairy”.
Making sure you get enough nutrients and vitamins from your diet is crucial for everyone, but vegans may struggle to get enough B12, omegas and iron from plants alone.
Ahead of Veganuary, Verity recommends stocking up on good vegan multivitamins that include, iron, B12, omegas, calcium and vitamin D.
She said: “It’s all wrapped up in there and you just have to take one a day and it could be any brand just make sure that it’s got B12, omega and iron it.
“It could be a cheap one you don’t have to get the expensive ones. They really really help.”
Nutritional yeast is a great way to add a bit more B12 into your diet.
Verity recommended wannabe vegans sprinkle it like cheese onto their food, as it “tastes like cheese,” and so it can be a simple way to get more B12 into your diet.
Experiment – find alternatives you like
Verity admits some vegan alternatives, especially when it comes to vegan cheeses, are definitely “dodgy.”
Verity urged those trying plant-based alternatives not to be put off by these.
She said: “You’ve got to explore a bit and experiment, don’t be afraid to try new things and if you eat something that you don’t like don’t let that put you off everything.
“You’ve just got to have an alternative that’s going to satisfy you.”
Tips for those living with meat-eaters
It can be especially tricky for those embarking on Veganuary if they live in a household of staunch meat-eaters.
Verity admits that despite being a lifelong vegetarian her father still eats meat, so she has grown up around it.
She recommended: “If you are living with someone [who eats meat] get them to put their foods in a separate compartment.”
When takeaway o’clock strikes, instead of staring at your meat-eating friend’s order in envy, Verity recommended typing in “vegan”.
She said: “There are quite a few places now doing vegan junk food, so if you’re really craving a burger or mac and cheese there’s a lot of that on Deliveroo and other delivery platforms, so you just literally have to type in vegan and it all comes up and there’s a massive range as well.”
If you are taking part in Veganuary in a bid to boost your health, Verity recommended heading over to her own platform, Clean Kitchen Club, on Deliveroo, which offers healthier plant-based meals.
She said: “If Clean Kitchen is in your area honestly give it a go, it really helps people who are trying to cut down on their meat.
She added: “If you know the food you’re eating isn’t bad for you and is going to fill you up then it’s going to help you tackle your vegan journey.”
Anyone with concerns about their diet or lifestyle should speak to a medical professional.
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