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What is a vegan diet? Everything you need to know to get started

As people become increasingly aware of the impact, we are having on the planet, strategies to lessen our carbon footprint and be kinder to the earth are growing in popularity. From electric cars to renewable energy, the green revolution is sweeping across sectors. That too, is true of what people eat.


What is a vegan diet?

The vegan diet is not a new concept. Although the term ‘veganism’ was coined in 1944, there is evidence of people consciously choosing to avoid eating meat going back more than 2,000 years, with Greek philosopher Pythagoras being an early advocate.

Veganism is about far more than avoiding meat, though. A vegan diet is one that excludes any form of animal products, which also means foods such as eggs and cheese, extending beyond one’s diet to avoiding products tested on animals and everyday staples such as leather belts, clothing and cosmetics.  

Given this, a vegan diet is one that is exclusively plant-based.



In recent years, veganism has burst into the mainstream. The growth of social media, influencers and documentaries such as Game Changers have raised awareness, while supermarkets, high street stores and cafes have adjusted their shelves and menus to accommodate a higher percentage of vegan options.

According to The Vegan Society, in 2021 there are an estimated 1.5 million vegans in the UK, up from 150,000 in 2006. Research from Finder suggests that nearly half a million of these turned vegan in the last 12 months, with a further 2.8 million people intending to become vegetarian by the end of 2021.



The multiple benefits of a vegan diet

Those who opt for a clean and diverse vegan diet are likely to benefit from consuming less saturated fat and cholesterol, increased amounts dietary fibre and a wider variety of fruit and vegetables which is excellent for gut microbiome, control of blood sugar levels and longer term reduces the chance of developing diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cancer.

There are vast benefits for the planet, too. Research from the Oxford Martin School of Oxford University found that ‘if the world went vegan, it could save 8 million human lives by 2050, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture by two-thirds and lead to healthcare-related savings and avoided climate damages of $1.5 trillion.’



What can I eat on a vegan diet?

Plants offer an abundance of delicious natural diversity. Add to this the constantly growing innovations from chefs and companies seeking to cater to vegans means you really shouldn’t be stuck for choice.

Stuck for initial inspiration?

  • Breakfast: Oats made with your favourite milk alternative (oat, soy, coconut) topped with banana, agave nectar and chia seeds
  • Lunch: Sourdough toast with tofu scramble or smashed avocado drizzled with olive oil and chilli flakes
  • Snack: A snack from our tasty vegan range
  • Dinner: Tofu and chickpea korma curry



How Can I Start a Vegan Diet?

Before committing to a vegan diet, it’s important to know that careful planning is required to counteract the lack of essential vitamins in a vegan diet such as iron, calcium and B12. Learn the full facts at https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-vegan-diet/. It can also take some time to get to know vegan ingredients and recipes, but let's remember - the internet is full of amazing ideas!

If you believe the vegan diet is right for you, our Healthy Nibbles vegan snack boxes could be the perfect starting point. Containing a variety of sweet and savoury products from exciting, sustainable brands, there’s plenty for vegans and non-vegans alike to enjoy.