What The Cluck - Dispelling The Myths Around Plant-Based Diets

Updated: Jan 23


It’s Veganuary! See our 31 recommended vegan recipes below to help you on your way.


As a climate charity we’re keen to support strategies to help people cut their environmental impact. But there’s a lot of misinformation out there. And just like the fossil fuel industry’s decades-long attack on climate science, vested interests have waged war on plant-based diets.


The headline below is a real headline from a Times article this month. 80% of the UK’s mainstream media is owned by just 6 billionaires - rich old men ‘milking’ the status quo, and protecting the interests of other billionaires at all costs. 85% of the British public are concerned about the climate crisis, and want to do something about it, and nonsense like this headline causes people to get weighed down in confusion, and ultimately give up.


The Times: Shoving propoganda and growth hormone-fed meat down your throat since 1981


So we’re here to help set the record straight and address some of the myths about going plant-based:


Is going vegan the ‘single best thing you can do for the planet’.


Is eating soy more destructive to the planet than eating meat?


Will going vegan lower your sex drive?


Will you be lacking in protein and nutrients if you go plant-based?


Is going vegan worse for your health than eating meat?



The answer, to all of those questions, is 'no'. So let’s take an objective look at the advantages and disadvantages of going plant based.


Cutting meat out your diet will slash your food based carbon emissions by 60-70%


Going vegan can have a significant impact on your personal carbon footprint. Is a vegan diet the single best thing you can do for the planet? No. Quite obviously, there are several things that rank higher than veganism for tackling the climate crisis: not having children; flying only once every 3 years for short haul and 7 years for long haul; switching your private car for walking or a bike - maybe an electric bike with Guildford’s geography!


But a vegetarian diet reduces your food-based emissions by over 60%, rising to 70% when you go full vegan. This could equate to savings of 9.6 billion tons of the carbon budget annually, and save around 8 million lives in associated reductions in the severity of global heating.


It’s not even difficult to do these days with tons of options available both in restaurants and shops, it’ll save you a wad of cash when you cut meat out of your weekly shop, and there's some brilliant vegan recipes around to try at home. We've even listed some of our favourites out below for Veganuary.


A Vegan Diet is MUCH healthier - as long as you do it properly!


Vegans typically have lower blood cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure, adding up to a 32% lower risk of heart disease. People who adopt vegetarian diets typically see better protection against certain cancers, heart disease, and total mortality. Going ‘full vegan’ offers additional protection against obesity, diabetes, death from heart disease, and hypertension.


It’s a giant myth that you won’t get enough protein from a plant-based diet. Firstly we don’t need anywhere near as much protein as we think - 1g of protein per kg of body weight is about right, with a minimum of 0.8g. This is easily achievable when you consider that protein is in just about everything we eat, and anyone eating a balanced diet need not even think about whether they’re getting enough protein. In fact, cases of protein deficiency are effectively non-existent outside of people with caloric deficiencies. Simply put, if you’re eating enough to be healthy, you’re getting enough protein.


Some of the things humans ingest can be found only in meat - the most common deficiency in vegans being B12, which is taken in exclusively from animal products. Virtually everything else which can be found in animal products is either there because it’s added by manufacturers, for example D3 (vitamin D is gained from sun exposure), or again can be gained from a well balanced diet and a few tactical choices, eg. iron from nuts, beans, lentils - all delicious staples of a good vegan diet anyway - or iodine, which needs some tactical selections such as cranberries, potatoes, prunes, or seaweed!


You know your own body. If you feel tired or weak then maybe you're lacking in B12, and a supplement will sort you right out.


Now obviously, like everything in life, the proclaimed benefits of anything depend on how you do it. Red wine can help improve brain function, lower cardiovascular disease, and decrease stress and anxiety. Should you drink 2 bottles of it a night? Of course not. If your idea of a vegan diet is eating exclusively chips and plant burgers, then you're obviously not going to see improvements in your health! There is some delicious vegan junk food out there, and as with any diet if you aren’t putting proper nutrients into your body then you’re going to get less healthy! But claims that a well balanced vegan diet are less healthy than eating meat are disingenuous and ludicrous. Which leads us onto the unseen nasties you’re putting into your body with a meat-based diet…


Know What You’re Eating

  • Abscesses on chicken from pecking at each other in confined conditions - YUM

  • Fecal contamination during the slaughtering process - DELICIOUS

  • En masse dosing with antibiotics and growth hormone - GREAT FOR THE ABS

Who wouldn’t want a delicious plate of abscess, fecal matter, and antibiotics served up in a Michelin star restaurant? But it’s vegans & veggies who are the weird ones right?


In the US alone nearly 10 million kg worth of antibiotics are fed to factory farmed animals every year - and 97% of these are bought over the counter, without any prescription. Because of the squalid and cramped conditions many animals are kept in, antibiotics are needed to combat bacteria, as well as deal with scratches and pecks from other animals. As a result, 25% of bugs are now resistant to 3 or more antibiotics! Meaning the meat industry has pushed us toward the brink of a global crisis in which human conditions can no longer be treated by antibiotics.


Additionally, because of the destructive economic model we're all stuck in, profit is king. The pursuit of so called 'growth' outweighs human health and animal welfare. As a result, growth hormones are pumped into a majority of farmed animals to get them to slaughter quicker. Residue of growth hormone is detectable in almost all of the meat consumed by humans, and worse - put your food aside if you’re eating - in dairy cattle growth hormone causes mastitis, which cause blood and pus to be secreted into the milk.


Being Vegan Makes You Sexier!


Contrary to the myth that plant based diets decrease your sex drive, going vegan can actually have a hugely positive impact on your sex life!


Fruit and veg, as well as some nuts, can increase your serotonin levels, making you happier and less stressed, whilst fatty acids, specifically the arachidonic acid found in animal products, cause mood fluctuations.


Diets high in fruit can provide more energy without the sugar crash. How might a banana improve your love life? (Not like that). Well potassium not only boosts energy but increases sex hormone production.


Both sexes benefit from a plant based diet. For females, a diet high in vegetables can increase natural lubrication, and for males it can help remove build up on arterial walls, increasing blood flow throughout the body - you see where we’re getting at.


Additionally, a diet high in vitamin C will give you silky smooth skin, by improving collagen metabolism and increasing the elasticity of your skin. Fruit and veg high in antioxidants regulate free radicals and counter inflammation, whilst heavy meat diets can cause acne and inflammation. So a vegan diet can even make you more youthful looking!



Is A Vegan Diet Better For The Planet?


This is a complete no brainer. Of course it is. The soy argument mentioned above is beyond ridiculous. 60% of soy grown on the planet goes to feeding cattle! We could literally solve world hunger by using that to directly feed human beings.


The majority of mammals on the planet are now bred for human consumption


And that’s before we even look at the destruction of wilderness and natural habitats caused by intensive farming and monocultures. We’re in a biodiversity crisis driven primarily by land clearance for intensive agriculture. The combination of human destruction of ecosystems coupled with breeding animals for human consumption has seen wild mammal biomass decline by 85% since civilisations began developing.


If we took a regenerative approach to agriculture it would immediately begin to reverse the extinction crisis we face. Well managed farming with crop cover and strategic introduction of species can produce thriving ecosystems along side food - but again, we arrive at an economy driven by the sole motivating factor of ‘growth’.


Currently, our agricultural systems produce 5 tonnes of manure per person fed! That is an enormous amount of waste being washed into the environment, poisoning ecosystems, killing wildlife, and causing environmental disasters. There is simply no supportable argument that plant based diets can be worse for the planet. But what they are worse for, is the pockets of billionaires, which is why we’re fed this drivel non stop.


It’s never been easier to make the switch. But by now, (by the 2nd Friday of January in fact, commonly known as 'Quitter's Day'), most people will have given up on their New Year’s resolutions because they tried to go cold turkey. But that's not how you change behaviour. It requires a gradual and ongoing shifting of your habits and your thought process. So start now, but strive for permanent change, by doing what you can, not beating yourself up if you fail once in a while, and concentrating on the long term benefits of the things you know will help promote human, planetary, and your own health.


To help you get started on a more plant based diet we have created a list of our favourite, tried and test recipes for you to enjoy - one for each day in January.



1st January
Vegan Mac and Cheese Powder
from 'It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken' by Samantha Turnbull



2nd January
Vegan Omelette
from 'Loving It Vegan' by Alison Andrews



3rd January
Golden Tempeh Nourish Bowl
from 'Pick Up Limes' by Sadia Badiei

4th January
Sticky Rice With Broccoli, Squash, Chilli and Ginger
from 'The Green Roasting Tin' by Rukmini Iyer

Recipe



5th January
Vegan Sunflower Seed Cheese
from 'It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken' by Sam Turnbull

Recipe

6th January
Yellow Split Pea Dhal
from 'Easy Peasy Foodie' by Eb Gargano


7th January
Vegan Chocolate Mouse
from BBC Saturday Kitchen by Anna Haugh

8th January
Chickpea and Beetroot Coconut Curry
from 'The Green Roasting Tin' by Rukmini Iyer

Recipe
9th January
Red Pesto
from 'Pick Up Limes' by Sadia Badiei

10th January
Beetroot Hummus
from 'Bosh' by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby


11th January
Parmegan - Vegan Parmesan
from 'It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken' by Sam Turnbull

Recipe

12th January

Red Thai Curry
from 'Pick Up Limes' by Sadia Badiei



13th January

Vegan Shepherds Pie
from 'The Minimalist Baker'


14th January

Sundried Tomato and Olive Muffins
from 'Pick Up Limes' by Sadia Badiei

15th January

Vegan Streaky Bacon
from 'Avant Garde Vegan' by Gaz Oakley

16th January

Best Damn Vegan Chilli
from 'Brand New Vegan' by Chuck Underwood


17th January

Katsu Curry
from 'Avant Garde Vegan' by Gaz Oakley



18th January

2 Minute Mug Cakes
from 'Pick Up Limes' by Sadia Badiei


19th January

Tofu Scramble
from the BBC's 'The Doctor's Kitchen' by Dr Rupy Aujla



20th January

Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites
from 'Pick Up Limes' by Sadia Badiei



21st January

Vegan Tuna
from Rachel Ama



22nd January

Mushroom Risotto
from 'Rainbow Plant Life' by Nisha Vora




23rd January

Crispy Tamarind Sprouts With Peanuts And Shallots
from The Green Roasting Tin by Rukmini Iyer (Square Peg)

Crispy tamarind sprouts with peanuts and shallots recipe

24th January

Vegan Banoffee Pie
from 'From Tinned Tomatoes' by Jacqueline Meldrum
(We topped this with condensed coconut milk which worked really well)



25th January

Vegan Deli Slices
from 'Veggie Rose' by Rose Alvisa


26th January

Vegan Pulled Jackfruit Burger
from 'Delish' by Karen Williams

Vegan Pulled Jackfruit Burger Recipe

27th January

Roasted Chickpeas
from 'It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken' by Sam Turnbull



28th January

Mushroom Stroganoff

by Bianca Zapatka





29th January

Vegan Sushi
from 'Jess Beautician'



30th January

Make Ahead Kimchi Noodle Jar
Sadia Badiei

31st January

Vegan Wellington
Get yourself ready for Christmas Day 2022 with this virtuosic vegan dish
from 'Avant Garde Vegan' by Gaz Oakley




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