LIFESTYLE
15/05/2014 09:16 BST | Updated 30/10/2014 07:59 GMT

National Vegan Day: How To Go Vegan ( And No, It Won't Suck The Joy Out Of Life)

Among non-vegetarians, vegans tend to get a bad rep because of the fairly fanatical response around consuming dairy and eggs.

But that doesn't mean the diet isn't worth considering because as health credentials go, it is pretty solid. (And for further proof, you HAVE to read about 78-year-old bodybuilder Jim Morris who is also a vegan).

At present, the British Dietetic Association is working with The Vegan Society to pull together a proper guide and fact sheet for dietitians, and recent press about celeb vegans such as JLo has helped the cause.

Speaking to New York radio station Z100, the singer and actress said she's giving up all animal products and would advise others to do the same.

"I do recommend the vegan diet because you wake up and feel great!" she said.

jennifer lopez

So where exactly has this new trend for veganism come from?

The term vegan was coined in 1944 by Donald Watson when he co-founded the Vegan Society in England. It is thought that "vegan" at first referred to a "non-dairy vegetarian" and later went to describe anyone living by a diet that did not exploit animals.

With an increasing number of celebrities backing the vegan diet over the past 20 years - including Natalie Portman and Gwyneth Paltrow - veganism has soared in popularity.

Vegans don’t use or consume any animals or animal products including flesh (land or sea animals), milk, eggs, or honey.

So what can you eat on the vegan diet?

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Foods You Can Eat On A Vegan Diet

Despite its many advocates, the vegan diet does have its downsides.

Writing about her week as a vegan for HuffPost UK Lifestyle, Emily Verdouw said she found the diet limiting and expensive: "The lowest point of the week was the realisation that dark chocolate is another vegan enemy. Little did I know that lecithins, which can be derived from egg yolk, is one of the binding ingredients.

"Unless I wanted to spend £5 on a vegan alternative, I had to scrap the dream of dark chocolate. So I ended up filling up on high energy Naked bars when the sugar cravings became too much."

SEE ALSO...

How to Go Vegan - In Seven Easy Steps

Why Everyone Is Falling in Love with Veganism

But CEO of The Vegan Society Jasmijn de Boo says now is a great time to consider becoming vegan: "Everyone is now free to embrace veganism, not only those who are already vegan, but those who are thinking about it and want to start bringing more plant-based dishes into their diet, or replace their leather shoes with vegan versions.

"Vegans can choose from a wide range of different food and products in supermarkets and online. It's never been easier, in fact."