Poppy Noor and read­ers an­swer your ques­tions

Ev­ery­one says we need to cut out meat to save the planet, but on what scale? In­dus­trial? In­di­vid­ual? Cor­po­rate? Also, there is di­a­betes in my fam­ily, so I’m very con­scious about health ef­fects. I worry about my pro­tein in­take and how I will ac­cess the nut

The Guardian - G2 - - News - In it to­gether

It’s nat­u­ral to doubt your im­pact as one small fish in a big pond of multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions pro­duc­ing meat on a colos­sal scale ev­ery day. But you are more pow­er­ful than you think: a huge study this year by Ox­ford Univer­sity found that avoid­ing eat­ing meat and dairy is the sin­gle most ef­fec­tive way to re­duce your im­pact on the earth.

I spoke to Ce­cilia Gor­gon, cre­ator of a great In­sta­gram story thread on go­ing ve­gan. On get­ting the right foods, she says: “Peo­ple never ask about pro­tein or vi­ta­min con­sump­tion un­til you go ve­gan. Do you hit those tar­gets now? It’s not a given that you do be­cause you eat meat.” Pill-pop­ping may also not be so bad. The Na­tional Academy of Sciences rec­om­mends that any­one over 50, in­clud­ing meat-eaters, should take a B12 sup­ple­ment be­cause we have dif­fi­culty ex­tract­ing it from food.

Gor­gon makes the nor­mal rec­om­men­da­tions for pro­tein: lentils, chick­peas, hum­mus – co­in­ci­den­tally, some of the cheap­est foods. She rec­om­mends batch­cook­ing and ig­nor­ing su­per­food fads: “Peo­ple don’t need to eat chia seed pud­ding ev­ery day. You can be ve­gan in as many dif­fer­ent ways as you can be a meat eater.” There is a wealth of use­ful re­sources on­line for find­ing ve­gan adap­ta­tions for meals, too.

Will you save the planet this way? Per­haps not, but at least it’s some­thing you can con­trol. “One per­son go­ing ve­gan won’t change the world,” says Gor­gon. “But peo­ple around you see you mak­ing a big life de­ci­sion and may in turn start to think about their own be­hav­iour. That, for me, is one of the big­gest im­pacts you can have.” soya food such as tofu and soya milk. Stock up on sta­ples such as len­til pasta (more pro­tein than reg­u­lar), beans, dried mush­rooms, sauces, rice, plant milk and nuts. Buy fresh and frozen veg­eta­bles and fruits. I ac­tu­ally pre­fer frozen berries to fresh, be­cause I mainly use them in fruit-veg­etable smooth­ies. mit­suko Step up slowly

There’s no need to make an abrupt change to your diet. Start with two or three days a week where you don’t con­sume an­i­mal prod­ucts and slowly step up as your body adapts. I know plenty of peo­ple who limit them­selves to 500g of meat, two pints of milk and four eggs a week, which is ar­guably sus­tain­able while still guar­an­tee­ing min­i­mum stan­dards of care for the an­i­mals in­volved. At those vol­umes, or­ganic foods be­come com­pletely af­ford­able. toad­y­blegh Look on­line for recipes

Go for it, you won’t re­gret it. There are loads of great ve­gan cook­books and help­ful recipes on­line. I’ve been ve­gan for 18 years and my three fit and healthy sons have been ve­gan from birth. They all eat a bal­anced diet with home-cooked food and rarely have any junk food or pro­cessed food. We don’t take sup­ple­ments ex­cept maybe Flo­radix mul­ti­vi­ta­min in the win­ter. mikeleitrim No need to ag­o­nise over it

Choose what you want to eat and try to re­duce your im­pact, but don’t get into a knot about “be­ing” a ve­gan. A ve­gan diet is sim­ply a di­etary choice, not a re­li­gion or an iden­tity (al­though some peo­ple make it this). If you are fol­low­ing a ve­gan diet and have the oc­ca­sional fish and chips to top up your B12 you won’t go to hell and you are still fol­low­ing a ve­gan diet. No one “is” a ve­gan. Homo sapi­ens, like other apes, is an op­por­tunist om­ni­vore and our gut and den­ti­tion re­flect this. cu­lo­mo­jada See a di­eti­tian

In­ter­spers­ing ve­gan with vege­tar­ian days and tak­ing a mul­ti­vi­ta­min are sen­si­ble ways to ease into it, but it would also not hurt to talk to a di­eti­tian who has ex­pe­ri­ence with ve­g­ans. Thomas1178

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