Have you been having some affectionate thoughts about vegetables lately? Perhaps you’ve been wondering about alternative sources of protein but you’re not quite ready to talk about it with your mates? Come along to Vegan Week at the Students’ Union to indulge in your curiosity, and learn a bit more about why vegan is the new black.
In the UK, over half a million people are completely vegan, almost two million are vegetarian, and new figures are showing that many more people are vegcurious and want to know more about this plant-based lifestyle. In the US, the figures are even higher, and a staggering 40 per cent of the population of India follow a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. Veganism is drifting into the mainstream as research is showing that it’s a win, win, win situation. Good for the animals, good for the planet, and good for us.
Animal welfare and ethicality is, of course, still a really important issue, however it’s no longer the most popular reason for going vegan. Veganism is becoming as much an environmental cause as it is an animal welfare cause. Agricultural studies show that rearing cattle for food is the main effector of deforestation and has the biggest impact on global warming. A common misconception is that soy bean plants are causing deforestation, however 85 per cent of these plants are used as feed for cattle and not human consumption, and therefore are also a part of the animal-product industry. Many of you will have heard the devastating news about the Great Barrier Reef last year caused by overfishing and global warming; moreover, the planets rapidly decreasing biodiversity is being dubbed by experts as the sixth extinction crisis. I think it’s time humans took responsibility for the harm we’ve caused, take a long hard look at the evidence, and realise that it is the production of animal products for food which is exerting the greatest damage in our environmental crises.
If you’re not much of an environmental activist, that’s fine. But surely you care about yourself? Your health? With the popularity of veganism growing, so has the demand for scientific studies identifying the effect of this diet on your body, and whether or not a plant-based diet is able to provide adequate nutrient acquisition. The results are astounding, and show that not only is a vegan diet adequate, but it also decreases your risks of getting various diseases including different forms of cancer, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and even osteoporosis. The risk of certain deficiencies are higher in vegans because most people were never taught how to eat a well-balanced, vegan diet and therefore miss out key macro and micronutrients, and it’s important to transition your body safely into this new lifestyle as it is quite a drastic change in diet if you’ve always been a meat eater.
That’s why MUVVS (Manchester University Vegetarian and Vegan Society) is presenting vegan week at the SU. The timetable is as follows:
Monday the 6th of March (11:00-15:00) Room 8 — free vegan food fair, come along for free chocolate, cheese, and other foods, as well as free vegan recipe booklets.
Tuesday the 7th of March (13:00-14:00) Room 8 — The Vegan Approach, 10 steps to going vegan workshop. Come along to find out how easy it is to be vegan.
Wednesday the 8th of March (12:30-14:00) Room 3 — Screening of ‘Forks over Knives’, the film that converted Russell Brand, Ozzy Osborne, and Ben Stiller to veganism.
Thursday the 9th of March (12:30-14:00) Room 2 — Screening of ‘Cowspiracy: The Sustainable Secret’, whose executive producer is Leonardo DiCaprio.
Friday the 10th of March (13:00-14:00) — Social event for new and existing members of MUVVS (still to be determined).
Join the MUVVS Facebook page for more information or to connect with some like-minded people. We’re all really nice, open to lots of conversation topics (vegan or otherwise) and we’re giving away free food. Why wouldn’t you come? You are a student.
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