UK Doctors Urge Public to Go Vegan to Prevent Future Pandemics

Anna Starostinetskaya wrote . . . . . . . . .

This week, United Kingdom-based doctor Gemma Newman, MD—known as the “Plant Powered Doctor”—and non-profit organization Plant Based Health Professionals (PBHP) UK teamed up with campaign No Meat May to urge the public to go vegan in an effort to prevent future pandemics. While COVID-19 is thought to have originated in a wet animal market in Wuhan, China, the doctors point out that future zoonotic diseases could come from more traditional forms of animal agriculture. “Some politicians and commentators blame China for COVID-19, but they do not mention that all of the recent major disease outbreaks have been caused by tampering with animals and their habitats, or that our chicken salad and pepperoni pizza could be the next big health risk,” Newman said. “Our industrial scale factory farms are like a ticking time bomb—yet I can guarantee that lentils will not spark a viral pandemic anytime soon.”

PBHP UK Director Shireen Kassam, MD, a consultant haematologist, seconds Newman’s notion about viral infections and adds that factory farms are also contributing to doctors’ inability to treat patients with bacterial infections. “More than 90 percent of the meat we consume is produced in industrial scale factory farms, which provide the perfect conditions for the generation of novel infections with epidemic and pandemic potential,” Kassam said. “In addition, intensive farming of animals necessitates the widespread use of antibiotics, which has contributed to a dramatic rise in the number of antibiotic-resistant infections affecting humans. We have now entered an era where it is not uncommon for doctors to find themselves treating patients with bacterial infections for which there are no effective antibiotics.”

The doctors urge the public to participate in support programs such as No Meat May, which challenges participants to eliminate meat and other animal products from their diets for at least 31 days. This year, No Meat May saw a record number of 33,000 sign-ups—as compared to only 10,000 in 2019. “It’s hard to say what the COVID-19 effect is, but it’s clear that people are drawing the connection between intensive factory farms and public health concerns—as has been demonstrated by the record number of sign-ups to this year’s campaign,” No Meat May co-founder Ryan Alexander said.

No Meat May surveyed 2,500 of its 33,000 participants this year and found that 38 percent are opting to reduce their consumption of animal products due to concerns about the links between animal agriculture and diseases such as COVID-19. “There is more information about the meat industry causing diseases than ever before, and stronger links between the impacts on our health compared to a meat-free diet,” Hannah Bradshaw, a new No Meat May participant, said. “Although I have only given up meat at this stage and reduced my dairy intake, I will be continuing my journey after May with a view to going vegan in the future.”

Source: VegNews

Vegans Outperform Omnivores in Endurance Tests

Katelyn Thomas wrote . . . . . . . . .

Despite routine questions about where they get their protein from, a new study by Montreal researchers suggests vegans have higher endurance levels than omnivores.

In a world where many believe the consumption of animal products is synonymous with strength, researchers from l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) set off to find out if the vegan diet is as detrimental to muscle strength and endurance as society makes it seem.

“It’s a popular belief, and I don’t believe in this, and this is why we decided to do the study,” said Guy Hajj Boutros, a lecturer at UQAM and researcher at McGill University who co-authored the study, in an interview with CTV News. Hajj Boutros has a master’s degree in exercise physiology.

“We saw that there aren’t a lot of studies done on this topic,” Hajj Boutros said. “If there are, they’re done more on vegetarians. They didn’t focus on vegan diets.”

The researchers noted veganism’s recent rise in popularity, given the evidence of a decrease in cardiovascular diseases among vegan folks.

“Still, in the general population, there is a popular belief that a vegan diet may be associated with a lower exercise performance in vegan individuals due to the lack of certain nutrients such as protein, creatine, vitamin B12 and vitamin D,” reads the study, published in the Nature Research Journal at the beginning of April.

The study found that in young, physically-active women, being vegan is not detrimental to muscle strength or endurance – in fact, when it comes to the latter, it’s better.

The researchers had 28 women who have been vegan for least two years and 28 omnivore women with similar body composition perform strength tests and endurance tests after asking them to log their meals for a period of three days.

Hajj Boutros said they decided to use these tests because they’re easy to perform and “can define strength and endurance, which is very important to measure performance in general.”

One of the endurance tests is designed to see how long the person can keep going before they have to stop.

“It’s a fatigue test,” Hajj Boutros said. “And the vegans actually performed better.”

The reason vegans performed better could be because of their intake of carbohydrates, Hajj Boutros said.

“When you eat more carbohydrates, you’re actually increasing the amount of sugar in the muscle. When you increase this, you have better endurance capacity.”

Hajj Boutros said that despite popular belief, vegans actually do get all the nutrients they need to be healthy – and protein intake isn’t a problem.

“You have to understand that you don’t need a lot of protein as everyone is saying,” he said, noting that while it is important, people tend to exaggerate. “In general, people eat a lot more protein than they need.”

When people ask for advice regarding their diets – like whether or not they should be vegan, or if they should be eating eggs – Hajj Boutros says the choice is ultimately theirs.

“Just do something that makes you feel better,” he said. “And if you try (being vegan) and it makes you feel better, then do it.”

Source: CTV

Vegan Society Reveals that 1 in 5 Brits Have Reduced Meat Consumption Since Coronavirus

A survey conducted by The Vegan Society has found that 1 in 5 consumers in the UK have reduced their meat intake during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey also reveals that 15% are consuming less dairy and egg products since the lockdown period began.

The figures related to consumption of animal products in the UK follow shortly after the Financial Times report which reveals that the pandemic is accelerating a global shift to plantbased, as well as a market report which predicts that COVID 19 will cause the plantbased meat market to increase significantly.

The Vegan Society UK, whose founder Donald Watson first coined the term vegan in 1944, says that many of the one in five respondents who enjoyed the new alternatives they have tried during this period have committed to continue buying them in the future. Half of those who have tried vegan meat alternatives such as vegan burgers and sausages have said they will keep on purchasing them after the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Vegan Society states that, of those who have reduced their meat or dairy consumption, 41% did so due to their preferred product not being available on the supermarket shelves, however 43% chose to reduce their meat consumption out of concern for reasons of health, environmental or animal rights.

The data shows that UK consumers who stated they are reducing their meat and dairy consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic have been sampling alternatives that are new to them, with the most popular being almond milk (42%), meat alternatives such as vegan sausages and burgers (38%), soya milk (36%) and pulses such as lentils and chickpeas (34%).

Plant milks are also proving to be popular, with 54% and 42% of those who have tried soy milk and almond milk respectively saying they will make them a regular purchase once the lockdown has been lifted.

Matt Turner, spokesperson for The Vegan Society, said: “After the unprecedented success of Veganuary and the swathes of new vegan products hitting the shelves in recent months, it’s no surprise that many consumers have made the switch to plant-based alternatives during the COVID-19 pandemic, whether that be for convenience, cost, or concern for their own wellbeing, the environment and the rights of animals.

Many Brits are trying these alternatives for the first time and enjoying them so much that they intend on keeping them in their shopping basket when we return to normal times. They are purchasing items that they wouldn’t have given a second look a few months ago, but are now seeing these brilliant vegan alternatives as the new normal.”

Source: Vegconomist

In Pictures: Home-cooked One-pot Vegan Meals

What’s for Lunch?

Vegan set lunch at Lotus Vegan Cafe in Japan

The Menu

  • Veggie Tonkatsu (Pork Cutlet)
  • Steamed Vegetables
  • Fried Yam with Plum Sauce
  • Chinese-style Soybean Sasami
  • Carrot and Onion with Orange Marinade
  • Pickled Seaweeds
  • Red Kidney Beans with Tahini Dressing
  • Soup with Spring Vegetables and Barley
  • Cooked Sprouted Brown Rice