From meat-free Mondays, to completely eliminating meat and dairy on an absolute scale, vegan lifestyles have gained immense consumer traction in recent years. But why choose vegan recipes over those which are not? Are vegan diets healthy, and how can you save the planet just by eating food?
Veganism has been scientifically proven to lower blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of heart disease and improve kidney function, to the extent where the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) have professionally recommended vegan diets to those suffering from type 2 diabetes and obesity. Vegan diets further help to protect against certain types of cancer and increase longevity overall.
As popularised by the Netflix documentary film ‘The Game Changers’, vegan diets have been proven to produce the optimum state for the human body to function: boosting energy levels and helping to maximise endurance, whilst also reducing blood cholesterol, internal inflammation and normalising blood pressure. For these reasons, many leading athletes- from sprinters to powerlifters- are increasingly becoming vegan, in order to gain a significant advantage over their omnivorous competitors.
Being vegan can save over 100 animal lives per year. Many of which are subject to intolerable, inhumane living conditions throughout their time on Earth: cooped up in confined spaces, being constantly pumped with artificial hormones with little access to natural light. Broken bones, osteoporosis and malignant tumours in farm animals are common, as are stress-induced abnormal behaviours as a result of improper treatment. In the case of egg farming, a lack of exercise can cause some hens’ bodies to degenerate, whereas over a third of British dairy cows suffer from mastitis, a painful udder infection known to elicit premature death. Even when animals are not exploited before slaughter, in the words of the Vegan Society ‘farming is always an abuse of power’, and prevents the animals from living a natural life.
The production of meat and dairy is intrinsically unsustainable. Currently accounting for 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions and 83% of farmland, the meat and dairy industry is set to become the biggest emitters of greenhouse gas on Earth. In light of our immanent climate crisis, change has become imperative.
A study by researchers at Oxford University revealed that cutting meat and dairy products from your diet could reduce an individual's carbon footprint from food by up to 73%, describing a vegan diet as the “single biggest way” to reduce your environmental impact on Earth. Indicating that choosing vegan recipes does not only do good for our own health, but good for the planet too.
‘BOSH! Healthy Vegan’ by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby
The Sunday Times’ #1 bestselling authors Henry Firth and Ian Theasby present ‘BOSH! Healthy Vegan’: an invaluable introductory guide to plant-based cooking. From Sunny Sri Lankan curry, to Jammin’ Jambalaya and salted caramel apple crumble and custard, ‘BOSH! Healthy Vegan’ is packed with 80 delicious recipes with less fat, less sugar yet more flavour than ever before. Deemed by the Daily Mail as the ‘Holy Bible of plant-based recipes’, BOSH! goes beyond tasty recipes to offer genuine lifestyle tips, aiming to benefit your health and happiness for lasting positive change overall.
Dirty Vegan: Another Bite by Matthew Pritchard
Former presenter of reckless British prank show ‘Dirty Sanchez’, Matt Pritchard brings us ‘Dirty Vegan: Another Bite’. From years of alcohol and drug addiction, Pritchard was in the clutches of deep depression and knew it was time to change. Turning to his passion for fitness and endurance tests, he began to recover brazenly, becoming vegan to optimise athletic performance, and fell in love with life again.
Today, this is Pritchard’s second rock-n-roll cookbook and has become popular worldwide. Avoiding fake meats and offering ‘proper plant based food’, ‘Dirty Vegan: Another Bite’ proves how cheap, quick and accessible vegan cooking can be, whilst also helping people to perform better in all aspects of their life.
Vegan One Pound Meals by Miguel Barclay
Part of Miguel Barclay's bestselling ‘One Pound Meals’ series, featuring the biggest debut cookbook in 2017 and a Sunday Times Manuals chart bestseller, ‘Vegan One Pound Meals’ proves you don’t have to compromise taste with price. With over 85 innovative recipes to choose from, including black bean meatballs and sweet potato katsu curry, nothing is expected to cost more than £1 per portion. Applying a philosophy of minimum fuss for maximum flavour, Barclay is determined to revolutionise the way we cook our food, including that which is vegan too.
But I Could Never Go Vegan! by Kristy Turner
Addressing every common excuses from on-the-fence flexitarians, omnivorous family members and vegan newbies, Kristy Turner’s cheeky recipe book ‘But I Could Never Go Vegan!’ proves that in fact, you can. No eggs and milk for baking? No problem! Try Turner’s salted caramel peanut bars, cheesecake bites or iced oatmeal cookies. Dinner party distress? Even your meat loving friends will be awed by this Carrot Cashew Pate, Portobello Carpaccio, and Gnocchi alia Vodka. Complete with colourful photographs and straightforward instructions, ‘But I Could Never Go Vegan!’ leaves every excuse at the door.
LEON Fast Vegan by Chantal Symons, John Vincent, and Rebecca Seal
Healthy fast food restaurant chain ‘LEON’ launched their very first vegan cookbook in 2018. Promoting delicious, nutrient dense food that just happens to be vegan too ‘LEON Fast Vegan’ features over 150 recipes. Divided into three sections: ‘Main Event’, ‘On The Side’ and ‘Sweet’, LEON has taken inspiration from the across world to offer a great variety of tempting dishes, perfect for every occasion.
+ Words: Stephanie Frank, Luxiders Magazine
London-based student and journalist Stephanie Frank has become dedicated to repurposing fashion as a force for good and is committed to writing about the interfaces between sustainability, fashion, lifestyle and culture.
Find her on Instagram (@stefra__)