Veganism has gone from a niche lifestyle choice to a mainstream diet in just a decade, with a 360 per cent spike in the UK since 2006.
But separate research suggests that those who choose a plant-based diet can struggle to commit, with one US-based study showing that 84 per cent turn back to meat. Despite its popularity, the vegan diet is understandably tricky to stick to in a world where practically everything seems like it is dripping in melted cheese (thanks, Facebook food videos). When faced with a plate of bland, badly-cooked tofu or a comfortable, failproof burger, it can be hard to stick to the plant-based diet you were once so set on.
Luckily, Chicago-based food writer Ashley Mellilo is here to help. A former meat-eater, she is now a committed vegan who recently released her book Blissful Basil.
While she went cold-turkey overnight to become a vegetarian in 2010, it took her six months to gradually reduce her dairy and egg consumption and turn vegan. Of course, she has the expected “veganism changed my life for the better” story, but she says it not only improved her physical health, but her mental well-being, too.
“Not only do I feel much more at peace, energised, and sharper than ever before, shifting my eating habits has also been instrumental in managing anxiety.
She adds: “Just as there isn’t a quick path or permanent route to happiness, there isn’t a quick fix or magical pill to dissolve anxiety. Rather, the solution has been an ongoing, ever-evolving process of shifting several of my habits and voting in favor of myself one small choice at a time.”