by Kelly Hills
We are a nation obsessed with health and diet and Veganism is on the rise!
I haven’t become vegan through my belief in animal rights or welfare, and in fact I’m not actually vegan at all however my dietary requirements have changed over the past few months and I find myself asking for vegan options at steak restaurants, only to correct myself and ask the server if there is any egg or dairy in the dish.
My main reason for cutting out egg and dairy was due to visiting a food intolerance specialist a year ago after a 15 year battle with problematic skin, (countless antibiotics, topical lotions, specialised facial treatments). He recognised that egg and dairy were my ‘intolerances’ and since eradicating them from my diet I no longer have any issues with my skin- to say I am pleased with the result is an understatement.
This lead me on to experimenting with alternative foods that I hadn’t really used before, I now use a lot of coconut products in my cooking as a subsitute for dairy, coconut yoghurt, milk, oil, cream. When you can have a coconut and turmeric latte as good as this you don’t feel you’re missing out!
And look at this- Vegan ice cream! Yummy!
I decided if I could manage this drastic change to my diet, (I was a huge lover of butter, mayo, cheese and all things creamy), I would try and cut down on my meat and fish intake and it seems I am not alone. New figures show that 1 out of 4 meals cooked in the UK are meat and fish free.
Whilst my main reasons for diet change were initially skin related I am now much more conscious of everything I eat and how able my body is at processing and digesting certain foods. I do one day a week completely vegan, it encourages me to try new recipes and just proves to myself that you don’t need meat or fish in your diet everyday.
With the rise in social media and TV documentaries focusing on food ‘(What The Health’ on Netflix is a good one) we are much more educated now with what is in our food and where it comes from. I am in no hurry to give up meat and fish entirely, I still enjoy both but I treat them more as a luxury than a daily requirement.
Social media has really helped Veganism go mainstream and trends such as ‘Veganuary’ (going vegan for January) have really taken off and more of us are experimenting out of interest. Once you realise you can eat a healthy balanced diet and don’t fall into the old stereotypes of all vegans being carrot crunching hippies it actually becomes quite appealing.
More and more restaurants are offering vegan options on their menus. A popular brand of vegan snack food is ‘Deliciously Ella’ and if you are veg-curious then a visit to her deli in central London for brunch is a must. This is what you could be treating yourself to- sweetcorn fritters followed by banana and chocolate pancakes! (For me brunch is always two courses)…
Another great find is the Broadway Vegan Food Market. It sits alongside Broadway market which also caters to carnivores! But the vegan section is really worth a visit if you’re dipping your toe in the water. So many subsitutes, some so convincing you question how they can be vegan, I’d definitely recommend the chicken wings on the Filthy Junk Food stall and the Mikate box donut balls! Food for thought…