To be, or not to be… Vegan?

Living a meat-less, animal product free life certainly is not something which appeals to everyone, but it is a choice I made just over a year ago and have committed to ever since. My name is Eleanor, I am a student at Edge Hill University, and I am vegan! My experience has been an adventure and I have learned a lot on the way, so I thought it might be nice to share some of the things I have discovered with you…

Firstly, veganism is not about eating grass and lettuce! Huge shoutout to all the fast-food companies who have given us a vegan burger on their menu, supermarkets for their lovely meat-free aisles and Insta-inspiration for boosting my brain with recipe ideas too. Not only this, but also the ‘accidentally vegan snacks’ that I have stumbled across, I would be lying if I said these weren’t a lifesaver. I said I would share my findings with you so here are one or two animal-free snacks you can enjoy:

  1. Oreos!
  2. Jammy Dodgers
  3. Party Rings
  4. Prawn Cocktail Skips
  5. Most Ready Salted Crisps
  6. Popcorn

Sweet treats and salty snacks are always enticing, but fruit and veggies are also perfect to reach for if you’re after something tasty, nutritious, and naturally plant based. Frozen grapes are a brilliant sweet snack, carrots/cucumber to dip into a pot of hummus are perfect for sharing and an apple is a great go-to for on the go fuel!

‘What about protein?’ I hear you ask… Well, loads of veggies and pulses are packed with the protein our bodies need to thrive; beans, chickpeas, lentils, and nuts are just a few examples. Also, other nutrients can be sourced from animal-free foods too- such as potassium from bananas, vitamins A, B and K in spinach, and iron in tofu!

A photograph of an assortment of nuts.

So, there is a couple of perks of a vegan diet for you, but what about the wider impact? According to research, if everyone in the UK were to swap out one meaty meal to meatless each week, our nation’s Greenhouse Emissions would reduce by 8%… that is the same as removing 16 million cars off the road. Seems silly not to, eh!? I am not writing this post to try and convince everyone to be a strict vegan, more so to try a meat-less filling in their sandwiches or switching their bangers and mash to veggie sausages every once in a while! Speaking of sausages, here is some scrumptious vegan BBQ suggestions to enjoy this summer…

  1. Beyond Meat™ burger
  2. Cauliflower steak
  3. Morrison’s ‘Hot ‘n’ Spicy No-Prawns’
  4. Marinated tofu… (yes, tofu can be so good!)
  5. Vegetable kebabs

Also, if you don’t fancy your BBQ to be entirely plant based, why not pop some halloumi on your kebabs, or have a Linda McCartney mozzarella ¼ pounder in place of a beanburger!

A photograph of a barbeque and vegetable skewers.

For now I feel that’s enough of the animal-free replacements and suggestions, so let me tell you a little more about my experience as a vegan and where I am with it at the moment… Firstly, I am not perfect by any stretch! Accidentally eating something not wholly vegan is part of the trial and error of discovering a plant-based diet, milk powder and a bit of egg in the small print can be deceitful. At first, I worried, but then I soon came to realise that feeling guilty about trying your best helps no one, be kind to yourself and just give it your best shot. Also, veganism has boosted my confidence in trying new foods, being more adventurous with recipes and learning what I like! Not only this but getting a little more confident in the kitchen has refined my knowledge of what feels good going into my body and what foods will give me the nutrients I can feel that my body craves.

Most importantly for me, veganism has energised me. In the physical sense undoubtedly, but also in the way that I navigate through life with a consciousness of how my actions may impact others. Just knowing that small changes I have made can make such a big impact are comforting and invigorate my passion to care for this world, and the organisms which live upon it. And with that I urge you, make a small change and give a plant-based swap a go… you never know, you might like it!

A person standing in front of a waterfall

Now that we have come to the end of this chatty exploration of veganism, I thought some of you may be keen on a deeper insight into the plant-based world. On the Box of Broadcasts platform through Edge Hill University, there are countless short programmes and documentaries about veganism and making small changes to your diet for the greater good! Simply type in ‘Edge Hill University Box of Broadcasts’ into your browser and log in with your institution details, my personal favourites are: 

  • Jermaine Jenas: Football Going Vegan
  • Hayley goes… Vegan
  • Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast, with Ellie Goulding

So, sit down, tuck into a Jammie Dodger or two and enjoy!

By Eleanor Rowell (Student Intern)

Photograph of Eleanor.

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