Plant-Based Diets: Are they Worth It?

Many are sceptical about a plant-based diets true impact on the environment, especially as it is expensive ad requires high maintenance.

Veganism worldwide has had a 350% increase within the last ten years and its popularity continues to rise, with many students especially considering a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, perhaps unsurprisingly, as the environmental impact of a plant-based diet is immense.

Scientific research proves that 15% to 24% of current greenhouse gases produced derive from the meat industry. This is due to deforestation required for grazing and the processes used in underdeveloped countries to make the animals live longer. Even within Western countries, in the most efficient meat production systems, 1kg of beef requires 14.8kg of CO2, highlighting how one Kilogram of beef produced has a similar impact on the environment as driving one hundred and sixty miles in an average mid-size car. 

Of course, these figures do display a great environmental impact by switching to a plant-based diet, yet it is definitely easier said than done for most people, especially as a student who doesn’t want to spend hundreds a week on food shopping. 

As a long term vegetarian moving to university, I found that vegetarian food can be surprisingly cheaper and easy to find. Aldi and Lidl have both produced a vegetarian and vegan range, for easy options to simply throw in the oven. A few of my go to quick meals include:

  • Quorn nuggets (a 300g bag of the southern fried are only £1.59 at Tesco)
  • Plant Menu Spicy Bean Burgers (£1.15 for 4 at Aldi)
  • Quorn Chicken Style Pieces (300g bag for £1.59 at Tesco)

If you fancy cooking and experimenting with food, BBC food has an amazing plant-based section with options that can cost in the pennies per serving. The fruit and vegetable market located in the Shambles Market is also an amazing spot for cheap and fresh produce. 

Vegetarian and vegan restaurants is also a worry I held in the past, but we’re very lucky in the UK that most places offer a great amount of plant-based options. My favourite places for the best food and drinks include:

  • Gron (The vegan pancakes are outstanding and the sweet potato hash)
  • Cosy Time (They offer cute toasties and sandwiches)
  • Bills (I recommend their halloumi and avocado burger)
  • Cosy Club (For the best vegan and vegetarian brunch)

Veganism and Vegetarianism does take some adjusting too, and doesn’t have to be a permanent change, but just a few nights a week of meatless dinners can have a huge impact. I go fully vegan most of the week but I still allow myself to have the odd piece of cheese or chocolate. You don’t have to fully restrict yourself to the label, every little change helps.