Vegan fad sliced and diced

Once the whacky preserve of mung bean-munching hippies in ponchos, veganism is now becoming as glamorous as the glitzy charm exuded by the likes of former Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson, thanks to her new pop-up restaurant near St Tropez.

On 4 July, just days after she turns 50, the celebrity will open the meat, dairy and egg-free La Table du Marché by Pamela, in the southern French town of Ramatuelle. If you happen to be in the hood, you can make a reservation at the animal rights activist’s eatery!

Back in the land where evoking patriotism requires Advance Australia Fair to be sung while holding aloft a charred lamb chop, vegan restaurants are also sprouting in many places.

Even if you are an omnivore determined not to give up your rump steak for good, there is nothing unhealthy about sampling vegan dishes. They generally surprise with flavour, using tasty condiments to make up for the absence of meat and dairy. Even popular chef Jamie Oliver has been reported as saying he prefers his Vegan Shepherd’s Pie, cooked exclusively with veggies, to his Lamb Shepherd’s Pie.

Vegan food, which is harvested and prepared without involving cruelty to animals, is packed with ingredients documented to have great benefits … and not just for humans and animals, but also for the planet.

An enormous amount of water is needed to sustain the livestock industry’s production of meat. According to the Vegan Society of Australia, a day’s food for a meat-eater requires more than 15,000 litres of water. A vegetarian’s daily meals require 5000 litres and a vegan’s meals a measly 1500 litres.

Then there are the studies that show that eating too much meat carries health risks, such as the Harvard Medical School’s discovery of links to breast cancer.

Respected organisations such as the British Dietetic Association and the American Academy of Nutrition support the notion that a well-balanced vegan diet contains all the nutrition a body needs.

But not all health experts agree. Famous physician and guru to integrated medicine practitioners Dr Joseph Mercola blasted vegan diets in a report, saying their promoters were deceitful.

The claims haven’t seemed to worry the almost half a million Australians – that is one in 48 people – who say they do not eat any meat or produce derived from animals.

Regardless of whether you are a believer or not, the key is to ensure that your overall diet includes all the nutrition necessary for a healthy life, whether it is plant-based or not.

Those considering going vegan are well-advised to plan their meals carefully to ensure that there are no important vitamins missing from their daily diet.

Written by Olga Galacho

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