The vegan lifestyle is becoming increasingly popular, particularly in the UK. According to surveys, there are now over 3.5 million vegans in the UK alone and this number is growing every day. The vegan diet is also said to be great for the environment, but how exactly does it benefit the planet and why are so many of us turning towards the plant-based way of life? We’re here with Northern Powergrid, who can help you with your electric connection charges, to find out:
It might sound surprising, but vegan energy is a viable energy option. Vegan energy is an electricity or gas product that hasn’t used any animals or animal by-products. This is different to green energy as, although green energy uses renewable sources in place of traditional fossil fuels, it is sometimes generated using anaerobic digestion or biomass – both of which can contain by-products of animal farming.
Vegan energy can help cut your carbon emissions as well as supporting ethical energy production.
Of course, the first thing that comes to mind for most people when they think of veganism is the food. This is what has been thrust in the public’s face more than any other vegan property.
Experts say that plant-based diets are one of the healthiest ways to eat. A vegan diet mainly consists of plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains. These foods tend to be higher in minerals, vitamins and fibre as well as being low in cholesterol and saturated fats. It is argued that eating foods loaded with animal fats is indeed killing the population via coronary heart disease linked to a meat-based diet. Switching to a plant-based diet can help prevent such cardiovascular diseases.
Some experts disagree on this, however. A vegan diet may lack protein and lead to that slow building of enzymes, hormones, haemoglobin and antibodies in our bodies. The vitamin B12 is one that we may struggle to get without a meat-based diet. Nutritionist Shona Wilkinson told The Express: “There are things we are getting less of by excluding animal foods. A longstanding B12 deficiency can lead to high levels of a substance called homocysteine in the body, which is associated with cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic conditions.”
So, how exactly does the vegan lifestyle benefit the environment? It’s claimed that the meat industry accounts for approximately 20 percent of greenhouse emissions in the UK. Gresham College professor, Carolyn Roberts, also believes that if all meat-eaters switched to a vegan diet, the total greenhouse gas emissions associated with food would be halved.
Additional research showed that the average meat-eater in the UK eats over 11,000 animals during their lifespan. Each of these require land, water and fuel before they reach our plates. This is causing our planet to overheat, while farming uses 70% of the water that is available to humans. Other arguments towards not eating meat to help the environment include the fact it’s draining the world’s oil and ruining the air. In the US, 37% of pesticide use comes from livestock and animal feed crops and this is producing unnecessary pollution.
So, what’s next for veganism and will the trend continue? There is certainly a debate to be had, but with so many turning to veganism, this definitely isn’t a ‘fad’ that will simply disappear into the abyss. After all, anything that might help maintain the world for future generations has to be a good thing, right?