31 Oct 2019
Heather Russell RD is dietitian at the Vegan Society. On World Vegan Day, she writes about the launch of the Vegan Society's "Vegan and Thriving" which has been produced with input from a number of dietitians to help those that choose to follow a vegan diet to plan it properly.
This World Vegan Day, I’m celebrating The Vegan Society’s 75th anniversary and the launch of our new health campaign – Vegan and Thriving.
Why launch a campaign about vegan health?
As you can probably guess, The Vegan Society is passionate about promoting the wide-ranging benefits of plant-based foods and healthy vegan living. When we looked at the findings of our Pathways to Veganism survey, we saw that over 52% of respondents had health concerns about becoming vegan. Clearly, there is work to be done! We want to increase everyone’s understanding of vegan nutrition and make more people aware that you can thrive on a diet that is good for animals, good for the planet and good for us.
How can dietitians help?
The Vegan Society is proud of its alliance with the British Dietetic Association. You may well have heard the message that we share: well-planned vegan diets can support healthy living in people of all ages, and during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
As dietitians, we can clarify exactly what ‘well-planned’ means, and help people to align their eating habits with their beliefs and values. In fact, we have a professional duty to respect vegan beliefs and practice in a way that promotes equality and diversity.
Our Pathways to Veganism findings suggest that health worries around switching to a vegan diet include concerns about nutrient deficiencies and pre-existing health conditions. Obviously, people expect The Vegan Society to say positive things about veganism, so independent, expert voices are invaluable to us.
Dietitians are in the best position to support people with complex dietary needs. You can get behind Vegan and Thriving by sharing reliable and helpful messages about vegan nutrition. At vegansociety.com/thriving, you’ll find handy content, including balanced recipes and stories from people who are thriving on a vegan diet.
Do I need to be pro-vegan?
You can get behind Vegan and Thriving simply by being helpful and respectful when communicating about vegan nutrition, which is common ground for all of us. Dietitians have an ideal toolkit for addressing the misconception that vegan diets are inherently unhealthy and sharing useful guidance. Let’s show our support for people who choose to make meaningful decisions around the way they eat, and help them to thrive.
A range of nutrition resources are available at vegansociety.com/nutrition, including guides for every stage of life.
The BDA also has a Food Fact Sheet on plant-based eating available to download, which highlights key nutrients that those considering a vegetarian or vegan diet will need to consider.