If you are considering trying out veganism or Veganuary it is important to reflect on if this is the best choice for you.
What is Veganism?
Veganism is more than just a dietary choice; it’s a lifestyle that abstains from the consumption of animal products and by-products. In addition to excluding meat, dairy, and eggs, true vegans also avoid other animal-derived substances, such as honey and gelatin. The philosophy extends beyond the plate, encompassing the use of animal products in clothing, cosmetics, and other everyday items.
Difference between Vegan and Plant-Based
While the terms “vegan” and “plant-based” are often used interchangeably, there’s a difference. Being vegan goes beyond dietary choices, embracing an ethical stance that opposes the exploitation of animals. On the other hand, plant-based refers solely to a diet centred around plant-derived foods, without necessarily adopting the broader ethical considerations of veganism. Plant based diets have been linked to greater levels of disordered eating than a vegan lifestyle. Be wary of what you may read as health benefits of a plant based diet on social media as it can be restrictive and become a slippery slope to disordered eating.
Why Do Some People Choose to Be Vegan?
People tend to choose to be vegan due to ethical concerns about animal welfare and environmental sustainability.
Things to Consider – Culture and Relationship with Food
Before embracing veganism, consider how it aligns with your cultural background and lifestyle. It’s essential to navigate potential challenges such as time constraints and its impact on relationships, especially when shared meals play a significant role in social bonding and your experience of your personal culture. Reflect on your relationship with food and ensure that adopting a vegan lifestyle promotes a positive and nourishing experience and not a way of eating that could impose more rules or restrictions.
Ways to Be Vegan That Don’t Involve Food
Veganism extends beyond the kitchen. Consider alternative options such as trying out cruelty-free practices in your clothing choices, opting for alternatives to leather and fur. Also consider second hand shopping as this has a lesser impact on the environment. Explore vegan beauty, cruelty free beauty and household products, supporting brands that align with your ethical values. By making conscious choices in all aspects of life, you contribute to a more compassionate and sustainable world.
Incorporating veganism into your life doesn’t solely revolve around food. Consider the broader implications on your lifestyle and daily choices.
As a registered dietitian specialising in eating disorders, I encourage those with concerns about body image, disordered eating, or eating disorders to approach veganism with caution. It may be worth incorporating non-food aspects of veganism into your lifestyle and then re-considering the vegan diet when you have healed your relationship with food.
In conclusion, the decision to go vegan should be one that you have considered thoroughly. It’s a commitment to a compassionate lifestyle with implica
tions for your health, the environment, and personal values. If you’re contemplating this choice, consider the broader impact on your life, seek guidance from a registered dietitian, and prioritise your own physical and mental well-being.
I was recently invited to speak about this topic on the full of beans podcast.
Take the First Step
If you’re struggling with a disordered relationship with food and exercise, know that you don’t have to face it alone. Professional support is crucial for your journey towards recovery.
As a registered dietitian specialising in eating disorder recovery, I provide personalised guidance and support to help individuals like you establish a healthy relationship with food and exercise.
You can book a free call with me below or get in touch with me here.