Being Vegan is no longer shrouded in secrecy or shame, instead it is an increasingly popular diet trend with its own celebratory month in January – ‘Veganuary’.
Whether it be for health, environmental or ethical reasons, Veganism uptake has soared, but of course with any trend rising in popularity, it is only a matter of time before a backlash ensues.
Followers of the regime claim their ailments have been reduced or cured, weight has been lost and mood lifted whilst some believe their body needs the huge amount of protein to function properly.
There have been various meat based diets over the years, with the Atkins diet paving the way in the low carb high protein arena. In 2003, it was reported that three million people in the UK had tried the diet and in the US, 1 in 11 were on it. Its popularity and media attention truly exploded when celebrity endorsers were revealed, including Jennifer Aniston, Demi Moore and Renee Zellweger.
Atkins of course had persistent critics who deemed cutting out a whole food group highly dangerous, but in the years that followed numerous variations of the diet launched with the basis endorsing the same high protein ethos. In 2017 however, U.S. orthopaedic surgeon Dr Shawn Baker took the ideology back to its roots and developed the Carnivore Diet Plan – a real make no bones about it title.
The food plan restricts food to meat, eggs, butter and cheese and have little else but water. Dailymail interviewee Jill Gardner, 44, wholeheartedly believes being a carnivore has boosted her energy levels and lets her glow from the inside out. She says:
‘I loved the easy discipline of just eating eggs and steak, so shopping and cooking was very easy. Although I didn’t feel great after a month, I reasoned that my gut function was so poor generally that I might as well carry on, and gradually started to notice that I was sleeping more easily and had more energy. [After the fourth month] I felt amazing and have done ever since. I eat twice a day; bacon and steak for breakfast and dinner and a few eggs. I also have bone broth, water and one coffee a day.’
Business owner Nicola Box, 30, from London also claims meat is one of the few foods she can consume without being in extreme discomfort. She now eats about 70 per cent meat daily which has reduced her symptoms from IBS.
Interior designer Fiona Davies, 43, claims switching to a meat diet stabilises her mental health:
‘I’d struggled for years and ate all the wrong things — masses of bread and high-sugar food. Then, four years ago, I came across the Paleo diet, based on meat, vegetables, nuts and berries. My mood and weight are much more stable now.’
To support this dietary decision, one can find plenty of personal accounts where the Carnivore diet has cured mystery aches and pains, but one must remember that there are no clinical studies. Medical professionals have long questioned the benefits of cutting out food groups or limiting your diet to one characteristic, be it high fat, high protein or low carb. With this particular fad, doctors warn consuming little green veg can lead to dangerous malnutrition and certainly will hinder regular bowel movements.
Unlike some other contributors to health, diet is not an exact science. Every individual that undertakes a new diet is effectively conducting their own personal pseudoscientific experiment in eating and undoubtedly the reaction will differ each time. There are countless opposing theories as to what is right or wrong which will continue to coexist in this forum, but at the end of the day, people will endorse whatever keeps them thin.
As long as their health is not compromised, we should allow everyone their own beliefs but if you are wondering where to start in overhauling your lifestyle, just remember the basics: everything in moderation.