When done right, a vegan diet can be incredibly good for you. But for many of us, the prospect of cutting out meat, fish and dairy is more than a little daunting.
Now, in a bid to improve Londoners’ health and help them lose weight, a pair of London food campaigners are running vegan cookery classes – and they’re absolutely free.
The evidence-based, 10-class programme has been devised by the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, a national non-profit that promotes good nutrition and research, and encourages people to consider where their food comes from and how it’s cooked, grown and experienced.
Each two-hour class includes hands-on cookery tutorials within a group, as well as easy-to-grasp education on nutrition and healthy eating.
“We show people how to take complex scientific nutrition information and translate it into simple, delicious and affordable meals,” says Klaus Mitchell, one of the health campaigners behind the classes. “We all know that we need to eat more veggies and fruits, but most of us don’t know how to prepare them in an interesting and healthful way, and this is what we are teaching people effortlessly: all easy to make, saving time and money.”
Klaus and his colleague Farrah Rainfly also lead lunchtime cookery sessions in workplaces around London, bringing their portable kitchen – complete with table-top cookers – along to offices so that employees can learn healthy cooking techniques.
There’s substantial scientific evidence indicating that veganism is good for you. According to one study, “vegetarian and vegan diets are effective in treating several chronic diseases”, while another shows that going vegan can result in more weight loss than a calorie-counting (but meat-eating) diet. A plant-based diet has also been shown to significantly reduce the impact of type 2 diabetes, lower cholesterol levels, and reduce cancer rates.
Rainfly tells Stylist.co.uk that her team are on a mission to get the classes clinically commissioned by Public Health England, so that people can attend them on prescription.
“[We] are trying to garner as much support as possible to make this happen,” she says. “We already have a doctor interested in helping us with the commissioning process, and we hope that before the end of these current 10 classes to secure the next venue.”
Anyone can attend the weekly vegan cookery classes: spaces are allocated on a first come, first serve basis. Cheeringly, there are already plans to roll the classes out across London. Stay tuned.
Free Healthy Nutrition Cooking Classes take place at Allensbury Residents Room. Allensbury Place, Maiden Lane Estate, London, NW1 9YR, every Tuesday throughout August from 7.15-9.30pm. Learn more here.
Images: iStock, Food for Life