National Vegetarian Week
The 11-17 May 2020 is the UK’s National Vegetarian Week. The aim of the week is to increase the amount of people cooking and eating delicious plant-based foods at home.1
Although we are currently facing a lot of uncertainty, it is a great time for those who are less skilled in the kitchen to learn something new, and for those who enjoy cooking to get experimenting.
So… do you fancy living life on the veg?
The benefits of plant-based eating
Plant-based eating is growing in popularity and is recognised by many as being beneficial not only for your health but also the environment.
Globally, up to 30% of green-house gas emissions have been linked to agriculture and food production2 with most of these emissions coming from meat, particularly beef and other red meats; these foods also require large amounts of land and water use for their production.3,4 Therefore, cutting back on these products can improve planetary health. Additionally, reducing meat intake (especially red meat), lowering salt and increasing fibre in the diet can lead to a significantly decreased risk of various diseases including: colorectal cancer, obesity, type two diabetes and cardiovascular disease.2,5-7
Plant-based diets and the gut
Adopting a plant-based diet can also be good for your gut health – dietary meat, again specifically red meat, has been shown to increase the production of harmful products (known as trimethylamine N-oxide – TMAO) within our gut that are produced by the bacteria living there.8 These harmful products have been linked with having a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. Whereas, studies have shown that those following vegetarian and plant-based diets can increase the amount of beneficial bacteria in our gut, which can help maintain human health.9,10
Beyond National Vegetarian Week
During the week there is a focus on cutting out meat and following a vegetarian diet however, after this, adopting a more plant-based eating habit doesn’t mean you need to cut out all meat products from your diet; small amounts of meat and dairy can be incorporated into your meals whilst still achieving a sustainable and healthy diet.2
nationalvegetarianweek.org have re-vamped some meaty classics for your enjoyment, including burgers, kebabs and pies – to find out how to cook these meatless feasts visit nationalvegetarianweek.org/get-cooking/
If you are enjoying the veggie lifestyle then why not continue with your newfound love for plant-based eating by incorporating meatless Mondays into your weekly routine. Here are some gut friendly vegetarian recipes from Love Your Gut that you can try:
Love Your Gut recipes
- One pot pasta and pearl barley bake with preserved lemon, capers and olives
- Aubergine, quinoa, feta and fresh herbs
- Oriental tofu rice noodles
For more recipes to celebrate the UK’s National Vegetarian Week visit the Love Your Gut website
Even during these unprecedented times, you can still share National Vegetarian Week with your family and friends online using #NationalVegetarianWeek. For more ways to get involved visit nationalvegetarianweek.org/do-more/.
- National Vegetarian Week. (2020) Available from: https://www.nationalvegetarianweek.org/
- BDA (2018). Available from: https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/one-blue-dot.html
- Poore and Nemecek (2018) Science. 360(6329):987-992
- DEFRA, (2018). Available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/ uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/683972/future-farming-environment-evidence.pdf
- SACN, (2010) Available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/339309/SACN_Iron_and_Health_Report.pdf
- Cobiac et al. (2016) PLoS One 11(12):e0167859
- Biesbroek et al. (2017) Br J Nutr 118(1):69-80
- Wang et al. (2019) Eur Heart J 40(7):583-549
- Tomova et al. (2019) Front Nutr 6:47
- Filippis et al. (2016) Gut 65(11):1812-1821