It's Veganuary: Could a Vegan Diet Help Your Mental Health?
From helping to mitigate climate change to improving physical health, people adopt a meat-free lifestyle for many different reasons. But are there any mental health benefits associated with being vegan? Read on to find out more.
What you put into your body is crucial in how your body behaves. If you feed it with unhealthy foods, you will feel sluggish and unmotivated. A vegan diet is essentially one which is higher in fresh fruit and vegetables, and your body will thank you for it. Having to think more carefully about what to eat helps you achieve mindfulness around food, giving you the opportunity to treat your body well. Try to avoid reaching for processed junk food—it is of course possible to fall into an unhealthy food trap, even as a vegan!
A whole-food plant-based (WFPB) diet is the best way to kickstart that Veganuary energy. When properly implemented, a plant-based diet is able to give you more vitamins and nutrients than an omnivore diet, which will help improve brain function, increasing motivation and energy. As plants are easier to digest than meat, you should feel brighter and less tired after eating.
Compassion and community
Veganism is a community underpinned by compassion. Thinking about how your choices can benefit animals and the planet offers a boost of positivity, and taking time to research and adopt a different way of thinking can increase your confidence. The robust community that surrounds veganism can help you feel less isolated in your choices, and many are more than happy to offer suggestions of alternative foods if you are struggling (particularly at big family events, such as Christmas). Many areas have their own vegan community, which is a great way of reaching out and meeting new, like-minded people.
As with any dramatic diet change, please seek advice if you are unsure how to meet nutritional requirements. NHS Eatwell has easy-to-follow guidance, and this app from Vegan Society Dietitian, Heather Russell, will help you make sure you hit all the nutritional criteria for a healthy lifestyle.