Challenges of Plant-Based Living as a Student

So, it’s the New Year (just about…) and more and more of us are adapting our diets in a more plant-based direction, whether our incentives to do so are for the planet, for personal health, or for ethical reasons. The numbers of people participating in Veganuary grow every year, and there is an increasing variety of vegetarian and vegan options on restaurant menus. Scientific evidence showing the abundance of positives that can come from a more plant-based diet are mounting, and a look at our supermarket shelves show that the trend is moving into the consumer world too.

I’m Kirstie Brittain – a full-time Master’s student studying Environment, Politics and Society at University College London and a part-time model with Select. I try to use my website (kirstiebrittain.com) and my Instagram and Twitter accounts to discuss an array of environmental topics and I try to spread education, awareness and positive change when and where I can.

I struggled to get the right nutrients...

Not eating meat and being a typically lazy student when it comes to cooking, I often struggle to get in a good amount of protein in an average day. When I first went vegetarian I suffered with anaemia for the first 6-12 months because it took me a while to figure out what I needed to swap out and swap in to my diet to get the nutrients necessary (and I still am anaemic on and off when I neglect my health). I had the same issue with protein. Having eaten meat my entire life I saw meat as the best way to get protein into my diet. Now, having been vegetarian for four years, I know that there are loads of other plant proteins available such as tofu, lentils and chickpeas.

A plant-based diet as a student can be expensive…

I’m a passionate environmentalist, but as a student living in London, I sometimes find it difficult to find products that are plant-based and reasonably priced. When I’m at home, I’ll often try to plan ahead to save waste and save money, but its not always practical when I’m rushing out to University lectures, or to yoga, or even when I’m off climbing at the weekends. Trying to get my protein in whilst I’m on the move living a busy student lifestyle is always a challenge.

A cheap and easy way to top up my protein levels on-the-go…

I was recently introduced to the For Goodness Shakes Plant Protein range, and I have to say, they are absolutely wicked: they’re not over-priced like some protein brands can be, they taste good, and they’re plant-based. The fact they aren’t full of sugar and have added vitamins is a massive bonus, too. They have 20g protein, under 1g of sugar per carton (rare for a protein shake), and each one also has added Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid, especially useful given that some vegan and vegetarian diets can often lack in B12. 

Personally, an aisle of protein drinks in the shops can be a bit daunting. They all promise different things, with differing amounts of protein, sugar, fats, etc. As a fairly relaxed gym-goer, I’m far from an expert, and all the different options make it difficult to know which one would be best for me. Grabbing the first one with a high protein content is often the easiest option. But now I know that there’s a tasty, healthy vegan shake available at a good price, with very little sugar and a high level of protein! If I pair this with a meal that I prepped the night before (like a vegan stew packed with veggies and brown rice) then I have a good, balanced meal for the next day at university and I’ve saved money on lunch too.

If you do like buying on-the-go protein drinks, particularly ones that are plant-based and not packed with sugar and fat like many are, then For Goodness Shake’s plant-based range would be ideal for you.