With veganism on the rise, what are the keys to staying fit and healthy if you’re cutting meat and dairy from your diet?
Being vegan is hot right now, as any glance at the news or social media will confirm. All over the world, people are abandoning their animal-eating ways and switching to a plant-only diet. Plant-based proteins are seeing huge growth and investment, and vegan-friendly options are popping up everywhere from the corner café to the supermarket aisle.
A huge driver of this is concern for animals and the environment. The EAT-Lancet report published earlier this year called for fundamental change to the global food system in order to keep the planet and its people sustained beyond the next 50 years. Chief among its recommendations was to significantly lower intakes of red meat and dairy. Given the ideal red meat intake, according to the report, is just 16 grams a day (the equivalent of one small steak a week), for many it’s just as easy to go meat-free.
But the other reason for people turning vegan is that it can be better for our health. Less meat and more plants in your diet lowers the risk of various lifestyle diseases, as well as several cancers, and may potentially help us live longer. Eating mostly plants is a consistent habit of most of the world’s healthiest populations.
Despite the pale and slightly sanctimonious stereotype, modern vegans are more savvy than their caricatured predecessors. They know that to perform at a high level – whether it’s in life or in sport – they need to pay attention to balanced nutrition. Get it right, and a vegan diet can keep you just as fit and active as a meat-based one, even if you’re training at a high level. It just needs planning and thought.