World Vegan Month: How to thrive as a vegan over 60

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Every November, World Vegan Month gives us the opportunity to celebrate vegans everywhere, as well as the people, campaigns, and products that have got us to where we are today. With over 65,000+ products certified by the Vegan Trademark, it’s clear to see how the landscape for vegans the world over has changed over the past century.

Through conversations with two of our members, Lynne and Georgina, combined with expert advice from our vegan dietician, we will hear how vegans over 60 can, and do, continue thriving through their diet, exercise routine and overall wellbeing. We will also talk about some of their favourite Vegan Trademarked kitchen and cosmetic staples.

image of two tea cups. Text reads: conversations with our members: thriving as vegans over 60.

The Vegan Society and the Vegan Trademark

Just shy of 80 years ago, The Vegan Society was founded to advocate for a lifestyle without the use of animal products and exploitation. From coining the term ‘Vegan’ in the 40s, to working with global brands to certify revolutionary vegan products in the present day, The Vegan Society has been an integral part of the vegan movement.

Thanks to the huge growth in popularity veganism has seen over the past decade, some people may consider veganism to be a ‘new trend’. However, vegans have been making lifestyle swaps for a very long time, well before the Vegan Trademark was established in 1990, to make finding vegan products on the shelves a whole lot easier. Yes, we’re talking about a time way before vegan options in every restaurant, cactus leather handbags, and the entire vegan beauty ranges we see today.

Since registering one of our first brands, Bio D, the Vegan Trademark team have certified nearly 70,000 products, with thorough checks to ensure they fit our strict standards. You can read more about the Vegan Trademark standards here.

“I just did it!” — Lynne, vegan 25+ years

One trailblazer who made the switch long before it was an easilybag of vegetables by front door accessible choice is Lynne, who went vegan in the late 90s, after having been vegetarian 5 years before that.

We chatted with her about how after reading information on how our food is made, the choice became obvious and the switch, for her, was overnight. She “just did it”, a testament to her willpower, as she acknowledges it was “very hard” to go vegan at the time.

“In my time, you made everything yourself because there wasn’t a lot of choice”, said Lynne. She went on to mention that eating out at restaurants was “not easy” and is a lot better now. However, she has encountered new challenges due to also moving to being gluten-free.

Before readily accessible protein swaps in the supermarket, many people had to make their own options at home. Pulses, beans and tofu were and continue to be great whole food staples for vegan protein, which is important for all life stages, but especially important as we get older. Did you know older adults need 30-60% more protein, in order to help prevent muscle mass loss? Read more nutritional guidance from our dieticians here.

Bio-D essentails cleaning productsWe asked about products registered with the Vegan Trademark, both long-standing favourites and new additions, and the cleaning range from Bio-D, our longest continual Trademark holder, came up as a firm favourite. Clearspring Tamari Soy Sauce and Booja-Booja ice creams and chocolates are also kitchen staples for Lynne.

As we all know, a vegan lifestyle isn’t just about what you eat – the Vegan Trademark registers items across a huge range of categories, one of which is cosmetics, which Lynne also mentioned in her interview, touting LUSH’s Eyes Right Mascara, as a must for her makeup bag, along with eyeshadows from Tropic.

Did you know the Vegan Trademark’s biggest category of products is cosmetics? Our standards certify that products do not contain any animal ingredients and that they have not been tested on animals at the initiative of the company or on its behalf, or by parties over whom the company has effective control.

The Vegan Society has a campaign, Vegan and Thriving that celebrates how you can have a nutritious and balanced vegan diet at all stages. We asked Lynne what thriving as a vegan means to her, and she said, “I’m 67, and I consider for my age, I do very well. I do lots of exercise every day… walking the dog, weights, yoga”. For her, a nutritious vegan diet and daily exercise are essential for her wellbeing, and are the key building blocks to thriving over 60.

As someone with a wealth of experience leading a vegan lifestyle, we also asked Lynne to share any advice for new vegans, or people interested in becoming vegan, and she highlighted the importance of knowing your facts about nutrition, as it is easy to become deficient in vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

“It makes me feel like I am part of something that I believe in. To belong to an all vegan organisation … it’s a community”

 — why being a member of The Vegan Society is important to Lynne.

Finally, as a cup of tea is a staple in most homes, I wanted to know what Lynne’s milk alternative of choice for her cuppa was … “Unfortunately I don’t drink tea”, was her response, but she does make her own almond milk! A treat for Lynne if out and about would be a hot chocolate made with coconut milk. You can find a guide to Vegan Trademark-registered vegan milk alternatives listed here.

“If you feel you really want to make a difference, move to a vegan lifestyle, and go to The Vegan Society for information and support — ”Georgina, vegan 5+ years

We also spoke to Georgina, who has been vegetarian since she was 16, due to concern about animal welfare and an interest in health and wellbeing.Almond and coconut milk alternatives

“I wasn’t terribly keen on meat, and I certainly wasn’t keen on the idea of killing animals”, she says of her motivations to make that shift to a vegetarian diet. The increasing information available about veganism as the movement grew in the early 2000s pushed Georgina to make more swaps to dairy-free options, and the increasing accessibility for shifting to a vegan lifestyle more recently helped empower Georgina to eventually make the switch.

We chatted about a range of things, but perhaps the most crucial is knowing her opinion on milk alternatives — Alpro unsweetened soya drink is Georgina’s go-to for a cuppa, whereas she’ll opt for almond or oat drink in a coffee!

“Thriving means feeling healthy physically and mentally, so you have the energy you need to do day to day things, but also the energy, enthusiasm and vitality so you can engage with new things. It’s about mind, body and spirit — thriving in all of those elements, and veganism, knowing you’re contributing to the environment and welfare of animals, is what’s important to me, and what thriving means”

 – what thriving as a vegan means to Georgina

Georgina mentioned that as time has gone on, “there’s a greater choice” in vegan options, alpro yoghurt with muffins and fruitand also remarked that “the taste is much better in products available” now. Speaking of Vegan Trademark products, Georgina specifically mentioned that she is a “big fan” of Alpro yoghurts, labelling them her “go-to brand”. As well as Alpro, Violife cheese is also a regular staple in her shopping basket.

When we asked about her cosmetic favourites, Georgina said, “The Body Shop is great, I do buy a lot from there, both their toiletries and cosmetics”. Specifically, she likes the Vitamin E range. Georgina described how she loves a “natural look” with an SPF moisturiser (an excellent tip for all skin types — read our blog on vegan sun care here), facial tint, a little bit of bronzer, and mascara — which are all products she loves from The Body Shop.

As with Lynne, I wanted to know what made Georgina feel like she is thriving as a vegan over 60, and any choices she has made about her nutrition as she gets older.

“I am more conscious of the need to eat well”, said Georgina. “It’s very important to ensure you eat a wide range of food types, that you ensure you have adequate protein, fruit, vegetables, vitamins and minerals. I also do take a multivitamin.”

Going on to discuss mental wellbeing and your lifestyle’s alignment with your values, Georgina said, “it’s about mind, body and spirit — thriving in all of those elements, and veganism, knowing you’re contributing to the environment and welfare of animals, is what’s important to me, and what thriving means”.

“I want to support a society that’s actually campaigning and is an active voice for those who lead a vegan lifestyle. I also get a lot of information from The Vegan Society for Vegan products, nutritional advice and recipes”

— why being a member of The Vegan Society is important to Georgina.

Finally, I asked Georgina for her tips for any new vegans. Georgina said, “I would want to really make them feel welcome and part of a community. Go to The Vegan Society website as a first port of call to help guide your choices. I’d really emphasise the moral and ethical side of the lifestyle, as it makes such a difference. Even just me as an individual, I feel I have an impact on the environment and the broader welfare of all living creatures.”

Georgina also said: “If you feel you really want to make a difference, move to a vegan lifestyle, and go to The Vegan Society for information and support”.

Here are our 5 top tips for supporting a healthy lifestyle as you get older:

  1. Balanced nutrition. Ensure you’re getting essential nutrients that are harder to come by on a vegan diet such as B12, vitamin D, iodine and selenium through fortified foods or supplements. The Vegan Society’s multivitamin, VEG 1 is designed by vegans, for vegans and is available for purchase here. Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes in your diet for essential nutrients.

  2. Protein power. Don’t neglect plant-based protein at every meal, if possible. This helps to support muscle health and maintain energy levels. Some options available are tofu from Cauldron, Plant Based Fillets from Moving Mountains, and Smokey Sweet Potato Sausages from Gosh!

  3. Bone health. Make sure to include calcium-rich foods like fortified plant milk, tofu and leafy greens to support bone health.

  4. Joyful movement. Find movement that feels enjoyable and enriching for you to help support your physical and mental health.

  5. Community matters. Look after your mental health by engaging in social connections, whether that’s with family and friends, participating in community events, vegan meetups or group sports. The importance of emotional wellbeing cannot be overstated so lean into your support system.

happy older lady with curly grey hair on purple background

Whether you are a vegan over 60, who has been a longstanding trailblazer, or someone making that shift later in life, thanks to the increased visibility and accessibility of the vegan movement, a vegan lifestyle can be healthy and fulfilling at all stages. Thank you to our members who took part in this interview to share their experiences as vegans over 60, and Happy World Vegan Month to vegans across our entire community!

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By Vegan Society Brand Marketing Officer, Charis Collier

The views expressed by our bloggers are not necessarily the views of The Vegan Society.

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