Everything you need to know, from cooking tips to shoe shopping — written by Talya Honebeek.
Did you know that a plant-based diet can help you lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, and your risk of heart disease and cancer? A healthy, animal product-free diet can improve your overall health, save more animals from slaughter, and reduce your environmental footprint.
With so many reasons to try out a plant-based lifestyle, you might be wondering how to get started. We’ve got you covered. From what you can eat to how to change your shopping habits, read on for our guide to going plant-based.
A plant-based diet is free from all animal products, as well as by-products and foods produced using methods that involve animals. This means no meat, poultry, dairy or fish. Instead, you can eat fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and seeds.
The first thing most people think about when considering going plant-based is what foods they will have to give up. Try looking at it another way and think of what you CAN have rather than what you can’t. See this as a chance for more creative meals and snacks, rather than being restrictive. The good news is that as an increasing number of people choose to ditch animal products in favour of a plant-based life, more and more new vegan food brands, recipes and restaurants are popping up to meet the growing demand.
Going plant-based has many health benefits, but you need to make sure you are still getting all your essential vitamins and minerals. Some common deficiencies are iron, vitamin D, vitamin B-12 and zinc. Taking some supplements can fill any nutritional gaps in your diet.
Better yet, you could also choose food sources that contain these naturally. Lentils, nuts and fermented foods like kimchi, miso, sauerkraut and seaweed can give you essential vitamins and minerals and will help improve your gut health. Try adding nutritional yeast to your diet to get your dose of vitamin B-12.
When following a plant-based diet, you need to be careful when shopping. Always read labels on packaged foods to see if there are any hidden animal products. Some common examples include lactose, whey, rennet and castoreum, which are used as proteins or thickeners but may not be immediately obvious to a new vegan.
Eating at restaurants is another thing that may require some forward planning. Check a restaurant’s website or give them a call before visiting to see what plant-based options they offer. Though many have separate vegetarian and vegan menus, some restaurants offer substitutes if you cannot eat some of the ingredients.
A plant-based lifestyle goes beyond your diet. The principles of veganism can be applied to clothing, cosmetics and any other products you use every day. When buying new clothes, some of the common animal-derived materials to avoid are wool, fur, leather, suede, silk, down (often found in coats) and cashmere. Be especially careful when buying shoes because linings, soles and even the glue used to hold the shoe together can be made from animals. If you’ve had a pair of leather shoes for years and they are still in good condition, you can still wear them. It would be wasteful to throw them out for the sake of it. Just don’t buy any more leather from now on.
There is a surprisingly large number of animal products found in everyday cleaning products. Whey powder, animal fats and tallow (rendered beef fat) can all be found in many big brands and products, so checking the label is essential to ensure you avoid them.
It is a myth that natural, vegan cleaning products aren’t as effective at removing tough stains and dirt. Green cleaning products are a way of making your home more eco-conscious without compromising on any of the quality.
When shopping for makeup and other essential cosmetics, you need to remember that cruelty-free doesn’t necessarily mean vegan. Cruelty-free means that the product was developed and manufactured without animal testing, while vegan means it doesn’t contain any ingredients derived from animals.
Look for natural and organic 100% vegan and cruelty-free brands and products. They tend to be clearly labelled and promoted, so they shouldn’t be hard to find. As demand increases, even more big beauty brands are introducing vegan and cruelty-free lines, so you can keep on top of your self-care while keeping a good conscience.
Benefits of Living a Plant-Based Life
Going plant-based isn’t as easy as you might think. You may choose to initially try following a plant-based diet, before going on to buy vegan makeup and clothing further down the line. Do your best, within reason, because whatever steps you take will benefit your health, as well as the wider environment.
A luxury break at Soneva means immersing yourself in our sustainable philosophy, with garden-to-table experiences that will delight any plant-based eater. Find out more about our resorts and book your break now for the experience of a lifetime.