Season 9 Episode 1 

How on Earth do Vegans Stay Vegan?

We always enjoy a good in-depth chat about Veganism as it’s a very polarising topic! 10 years ago, the diet was incredibly rare. Now? It’s far more accepted. So seeing as it’s the end of Veganuary we talk about the ‘hows’ of the diet and what people eat to stay motivated and healthy. Please comment at the bottom of this page with your thoughts from the podcast. Have you or would you ever give a vegan challenge a go?

Best soundbite“During the height of chubby Mike, I had a Fitbit bought for me and it was in that moment I realised that things gotta change”. – Mike Huttlestone

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Something to make you think...
“Is it all about perspective? When you look at a vegan diet, you look at things you can’t eat rather than other things that you can eat, the interesting thing is that you try new food you’ve never had before and actually it’s a really positive experience.”
Ebbers' Stats!

(This week’s stats collated from The Vegan Society)

  • In 2018, the UK launched more vegan products than any nation.
  • In 2019, Brighton was found to be the easiest area to be vegan.
  • Waterstones have 9,030 book titles with the word ‘vegan’ in them available for sale (as of December 2019) compared to 944 in August 2018. (nearly 10x as many compared with 16 months before!)
  • Orders of vegan meals grew 388% between 2016 and 2018 and they are now the UK’s fastest growing takeaway choice.
  • The sign-ups for the Veganuary campaign – where people eat vegan for the month of January – nearly doubled in 2019, with a whopping 250,000 people signing up.
  • World Health Organization’s first step to healthy eating is: “Eat a nutritious diet based on a variety of foods originating mainly from plants, rather than animals”
  • The UK was the most popular country for veganism in 2019, according to Google Trends, followed by Australia and New Zealand.
Season 9 Improvements
We’ve made a few developments to Season 9 based on your valuable feedback. The main one being the decision to focus more on the audio quality of the podcast episodes as the vast majority of users are listening to them on-the-go. We know there have been some concerns with the sound volume in episodes. We’re now using a new studio and working towards improving this tenfold. Please continue to let us know if you’re experiencing issues by emailing in. This does, unfortunately, mean from this season onwards, we’re removing the video element of the podcasts in lieu of the above. We hate to disappoint, so if this does seriously affect your enjoyment of the podcasts please email us, where we can explain further. Don’t forget we’re available at
What would you like to feast your ears on?
If you want to contribute ideas or want to hear us discuss a particular topic then email us at


  1. shachi181819

    Realize I’m late to this convo, but is there any downside to all these foods being fortified? Like can you be getting too much of something? With any diet plan I always wonder if you’re cutting something out, are you overdoing it on something else?

  2. ThomasEdwards

    Shame about the video might drop the membership as that was really the only thing I used my membership for.

  3. Jermiyahu

    Not a vegan, not planning to become one.
    However, I’m currently on a pretty strict diet (gut biome related).
    Gluten and dairy free, intermittent fasting, no carbs for lunch and no protein for supper. Also I should avoid legumes.
    Yeah. Christmas sucked balls.
    That being said, having constraints forced me to explore new ways to cook and it has been an interesting journey.
    On principle, I refuse substitutes, like vegan cheese. I’d rather have the same ingredients prepared in a new and interesting way, instead of having half decent pseudo cheese.
    Also, I found it very interesting to see the evolution of my biology with such a drastic diet. Blood tests and such gave me an insight in how I process nutriments and the food nerd in me really enjoyed that.
    I’m fairly confident veganuary won’t affect anyone because a nutriment deficiency takes more time to set in. Unless you already have a deficiency, that is. Be smart, talk to a doctor. Don’t base life choices around something you read or heard on the internet.
    Finally, it turns out it’s possible to overeat even with a healthy diet. So I’m not out of the wood yet.


    Interesting that Ben didn’t comment on Brexit … starting to slowly suss out everyone’s places if Janice decided the next pass it on order was ‘Left to right wing’.

  5. Lgrbean351

    I’ve been trying lately to introduce a more vegetarian/vegan diet, but making sure I get my appropriate nutrients is actually a huge barrier for me. I have nut and sesame/flax seed allergies, so I have issues getting enough protein and fiber, let alone the appropriate micro-nutrient levels.

    • aliya11935

      You should try incorporating more beans, legumes, lentils and tofu: if you like those foods. They are great plant-based protein sources. Check out Rhitrition on Instagram as she is a registered nutritionist who is a great source of information on plant-based diets.

  6. cgfetherston

    I have no desire to become vegan. I might possibly be willing to become a vegetarian but would have a hard time giving up dairy and eggs. However I do have a vegan in my immediate family and so for family dinners I am always looking for vegan dishes that I can make in order to accommodate her diet. The good thing about it is that for the rest of us in the family we are now eating a lot more vegetables and reducing the amount of dairy and fat in our diet.

    I have started developing a bit of a vegan repertoire. And now I have more than one dish that I can cook when she’s coming over. It’s good for her, it is good for me and we still eat delicious food.

  7. Eliziebear

    My few quick takeaways from this episode, I am mostly plant-based for the last 18months/2 years, so “vegan” 95% of the time, I eat the occasional egg and meat if I’m in a situation where there isn’t another option (like dinner parties and some resturants.
    1, B12 helps the body absorb iron so low iron and low B12 often go hand in hand. I have always struggled with my B12 and iron levels as a meat eater and now plant based while my levels still need topping up with a B12 Injection and iron supplements. However most interestingly my levels are far more stable without eating meat. I don’t understand why but my Doctor is really happy.
    2, Fortified foods are really helpful, for B12 and I think mainly Calcium
    3, I tend to try and make sure that every meal that I eat includes a rainbow of vege, nuts and legumes. Which generally means I’m getting enough of calcium, zinc, vitamins, omega 3 etc. I actually have found that I am more aware of my diet now. When I was eating meat, cooking tended to be meat and 3 vege, which meant that I wasn’t eating anywhere near the variety of vege, nuts and legumes. So my diet is far more nutritious than it was.
    4, My Partner is still a meat eater and he’s not ready to give meat up and he still misses it if he doesn’t cook any to go with the meals that I have made for a while, I feel better that he’s eating a really well-balanced diet and he’s feeling better for the better nutrition as well.
    5, I find the like of the streaming services scaremongering really isn’t helping anyone’s cause. There are issues with vegan diets and meat-based diets and spreading false information from either side really isn’t helping.

    • Sorted

      Thank you for your comment, we agree, there are issues with both diets. However doing what is right for you and your body is the way to go. Thanks for sharing your 95% Vegan story with us.

  8. Barton711

    Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation out there that then stokes the fire even when it is meant to help ‘the cause’. I am thinking specifically of ‘Game Changers’ on Netflix which is so cherry picked and littered with false nutritional assumptions and half truths it actually may make some meat eaters more militant and possibly discourage some nutritionally informed potential vegans. There just needs to be a lot more dialogue, unfortunately as Jamie pointed out this is almost a reflection of a wider world issue currently.

  9. JoRo

    Just FYI in the UK at least, Nutritionist isn’t a regulated title, anyone can call themselves a Nutritionist, where as Dietitian is regulated, they have to hold at least a bachelors degree in nutrition and be registered with the HPCP. Heard you mentioning Nutritionist a few times and having lived with a Dietitian started having flashbacks to her telling us the differences.

    • JoRo

      Meant the HCPC is the Health and Care Professions Council

    • Sorted

      That’s really interesting, thank you for the clarity between distinguishing the two.

  10. Rtdugan04

    Not a Vegan but I don’t like fish so I add hemp seeds/hearts for omega 3/6 to many of my meals or snacks. In the US supplements are not regulated the same way medicine is so we can’t ever guarantee the supplement.

    • Bebbrell

      Who and where you go to get supplements is always an interesting one. As you point out… it varies from country to country based on how its regulated. As a rule of thumb… who do you trust more… online suppliers from professionals, pharmacists, supermarkets and food brands to fortify foods? It’s a confusing world!

      • Rtdugan04

        To be honest, I have always appreciated fortified foods. I am really excited for the GMO research to potentially make foods even healthier. (Golden Rice with Vitamin A)

  11. ch88

    Really enjoyed this episode guys! I like Ebbers’ Stats, too – I hope you’ll keep doing these!

    Personally I would struggle entirely giving up animal produce, especially because I am worried that I would find it difficult to do all the research to ensure my body still receives enough nutrients. As you guys mentioned in this podcast, this conversation has become incredibly polarised and it’s easy to find to two seemingly reliable sources (dieticians, nutritionists) that completely contradict each other, which makes it difficult to know whether or not you’re making the right choices from a nutritional point of view. With so many specialists contradicting each other, it’s hard to make the right choices. So if anyone has any recommendations (books, articles, podcasts…) I’m all ears!

    Instead, I’ve decided to just make the effort to cut back my meat consumption to around three meals a week, and making sure that as much as possible, the meat and dairy that I buy are organic / grass-fed / free-range etc., although I will say that I’ve absolutely noticed a difference to my grocery bills, and so I will have to try to find a happy medium between budget and animal welfare, as harsh as that sounds. One step at a time, I guess! For now, being ‘flexitarian’ seems to be the way forward for me, and it has to be said that your packs are a great help with this 🙂

    • Rtdugan04

      We supplement meat with beans/lentils to cut back on meat. Example, if a recipe calls for two cups of cooked chicken. I would do 1 cup of chicken and 1 cup of beans. It’s a great way we found to ease our budget.

    • Bebbrell

      Doesn’t sound harsh… sounds like a reality! As for the contradictions I think it’s because there is no black and white solution. Both reliable sources could be 100% accurate and true for a particular person, even though on paper they contradict. What is right for you, quite possibly won’t be right for me… our bodies digest food differently, and the micronutrients we consume are bioavailable to different degrees.
      Glad you’re loving the packs… trying to balance meat/fish and veggie options.

    • Sorted

      Thanks! When it’s relevant, we’ll def provide Ebbers’ stats!

  12. Casolo

    So sad there is no video. I like watching the expressions and is why I normally watch via the web site than listen to the podcasts on the apps.

    • Sorted

      Hopefully you read the snippet on why we made this decision? We’re really hoping to improve the audio for everyone across the board!

  13. nosoytonta

    I listen on the go. The sound improvement is very noticeable and appreciated. I didn’t know we will lose the video, but, I’m ok with it.

    Loving Ben’s stats and the sections.

    I was a bit confused with the audio montage with quotes at the beginning. There was a moment in which I thought my iphone was acting up and I was ready to stop the app to find what was happening with it. LOL.

    On topic, would I be willing to become vegan for a month? No, because I’m not good at following trends.

    I, however, am very much willing to try vegan dishes any time of the year and incorporate them in my daily diet, provided it is tasty and easy to do.

    • Bebbrell

      So you’s go for little and often vegan moments, rather than vegan sections of life (like a month). As an omnivore… do you reckon you get all the micronutrients you need? Mike’s point about plenty of meat-eaters (himself included) who might be missing out is interesting.

      • nosoytonta

        As I see it, the more variety, the more opportunities to hit that nutritional target. I cross my fingers I gather the nutrients my body needs to keep going another day; on a deep level, however, who knows? The door is always open to education. In the meantime, I do my best, eat things that may – or may not- be nutritious, have some store bought multi vitamins for good measure, and carry on.

  14. Anita

    Honest vegans try to persuade meat-eaters to go vegan (or at least more plant-based) based on ethical arguments (Unnatural Vegan has a few videos that make sense – I totally agree with her idea of not pushing people towards an entirely vegan diet because very few people will give up meat entirely, so it is wiser to try to persuade dedicated meat-eaters to eat less meat, it is easier to do, it will have a bigger impact on animal welfare, the environment, etc. than the intimidating expectation of full-on veganism). There’s not really any evidence that proves that a vegan diet is healthier than a whole-food-based, balanced non-vegan diet. I believe unprocessed, “whole-food” style vegan meals are great but it’s safe to say that processed vegan food is at least as bad as processed non-vegan food and meat imitations are just trying too hard and I’m not sure if my body needs all the additives and fillers that are in them. Also, there are people with medical conditions who don’t tolerate certain plant proteins very well, who cannot extract the nutrients from plant foods, in addition, you have touched upon this, one also has to consider the lower bioavailability of certain nutrients that are found in plant foods (omega 3 from chia seeds does not equal omega 3 from wild-caught salmon, the vitamin A of sweet potatoes are far less useful to our bodies than the vitamin A from liver). It’s not that a vegan diet cannot be done in a nutrient-dense way (and yes, as Mike said, meat-eaters often have nutrient deficiencies big time), you just have to be conscious about your choices and supplementation (make sure that those supplements/fortified products provide nutrients that are bioavailable because not all supplements are created equal) and listen to your body’s warning signals if something goes wrong. Maybe do it sooner than I did in the past 🙂

    I was a vegetarian for 10 years (a crappy one, I ate fish sometimes – so not entirely vegetarian – and towards the end of this period, I was eating a very carb-heavy diet, sleeping 5 hours a night, drank and stressed almost every day). Then my Hashimoto’s knocked me over (I set the stage nicely for an autoimmune condition), I had to change my lifestyle to regain control over my health, I couldn’t avoid changing my diet to ramp up the nutrients, started a restricted paleo. My health is getting better, my personality has also changed quite a bit – it’s amazing how everything interconnects. But I don’t always feel good on an ethical level (and it’s not healthy, either). I mean, I had been kinda vegetarian for a reason. Sure, after the first few months of my paleo journey, I started to decrease my meat consumption, eating only pastured, grass-fed, free-range (all the fancy marketing terms). Right now, I’m reintroducing plant protein sources (I never had problems with low-protein plants, I love eating every kind of greens, roots) and see if I can swap out the meat just a little more. I don’t want to go entirely vegan, I have no ethical problems with eating, for instance, “henstruation” (as one extremist fruit-eater Youtuber likes to disgustingly put it) from hens that happily range our backyard, but I definitely would like to quit eating meat – or at the very least minimize it – in the future but only if my health allows. So for me, the question is: How on earth do I continue eating meat? 😀

    My personal experience with supplementation and proper nutrition? As a meat-eater now with an adequate B12 consumption on paper, I still benefit from taking a B-complex with a staggering 400 mcg of methylated B12 to function like a normal person that my colleagues can actually work with, still need D3 and K2 for the winter, and Ca-Mg-Zn for the stressful periods, in forms that are as bioavailable as possible. Because it turns out, I’m not just what I eat, or even what I eat eats, I’m actually what I digest and utilize.

    Oh, I love this topic but I will stop now. Thanks for the mental image of Ebbers breastfeeding, btw…

    • nosoytonta

      Hello, Anita. Wishing your diet takes you on the healthiest path possible. I vaguely remember doctors recommending my mom some diets for my asthma (spoiler alert, they didn’t work).

      Did I read correctly your post and there is a correlation between a diet/nutrition and stress control? If so, tell me more!

      • Anita

        I’m by no means an expert but here’s what I understand from what I’ve learned so far 🙂

        Our stress response (whether it’s caused by an indeed life-threatening event or anything we perceive as something that triggers the very same response), how we handle this response and what it causes in our bodies are connected to diet in a few ways. For instance, out of control blood sugar can drain the adrenals (we need cortisol to counterbalance hypoglycemia that certain individuals experience when they eat foods that raise the blood sugar level too quickly, making it plummet soon afterward). Then, chronic inflammation, oftentimes caused by food intolerances, can also trigger this stress response.

        This shows us that what we eat affects our stress hormone levels, but it also works the other way around, stress can also influence which foods you want to grab (emotional eating was huge for me).

        In addition, poor adrenal function is linked to a number of nutrient deficiencies (e.g. B vitamins, zinc, vit D, Mg).

        And how our stress response undermines our digestion is also fascinating. When you’re under stress (remember, the stress response manifests in similar ways every time – tense muscles, increased heart rate, quick, shallow breathing, you’re basically getting ready to hit hard protecting yourself or run away as fast as you can – it doesn’t matter if your stress response is triggered by a saber-toothed tiger running towards you – the classic example – or stressing out about seeing your ex’s relationship status changed on Fb), your body getting into fight or flight mode directs its attention away from momentarily unimportant things such as cleaning up damaged cells, healing from virus infections, and digesting your food – this makes the extraction of nutrients more difficult, again, setting the stage for nutrient deficiencies and also chronic inflammation caused by food intolerances triggered and maintained by partially digested proteins. In some kind of vicious circle-y way.

        • nosoytonta

          It is only now that I have the opportunity to properly thank you for your thorough response, Annie. Belated, but very appreciated nonetheless.

          • Anita

            No problem, I’m glad you found it helpful. There are fascinating things happening in our bodies, we can always learn something new 😎

        • Sorted

          Thank you for your comment, so interesting to read, especially with our bodies natural response to the fight or flight mode.

    • Sorted

      Thanks for your comments- very interesting! It’ll be interesting to see if you can eventually cut out meat again! (And sorry about Ebbers breastfeeding ha!)

    • Bebbrell

      Always amazing to read your comments Anita… your knowledge seems vast. I hadn’t particularly thought about the difference between Vit A in a S. potato Vs liver as an example. Even though we discuss bioavailability… understanding what that really means is different again. Do I take from this that you personally keep chickens for eggs?

      • Anita

        My current job doesn’t need much brainpower so I have to read a lot and listen to clever podcasts if I don’t want to let my brain die, haha… Our plans for when we go home to Hungary (or move to somewhere else in Europe) do include chickens! (Circumstances are not in favor of livestock at the moment, to say the least.) Fun story: I bought eggs from 2 farms here in the US so far. I did fine with one batch (fully pasture-raised) but the eggs from the other farm where they supplemented the hens’ diet with grains gave me mild joint pain (something else might have caused it, too, but it was kinda suspicious). At home, I’ll be able to control what is in my eggs if I keep those chicks. Right? 😀 Chickens are great in many ways: they can help clean up the garden after the harvest while fertilizing it at the same time, they’re bug controllers, they can allegedly be trained using positive reinforcement just like dogs. Chances are we won’t serve those same chickens for dinner, though, but it’s alright 😀

        • Sorted

          Chickens are amazing animals! Exactly, if you grow or raise your own food, you know exactly what is in it.

  15. Wasif2.1

    One of the biggest barriers to vegan food to me is price. It doesn’t actually taste bad e.g. I’m a massive fan of vegan sausages. The problem is the price- they can get considerably more expensive than other options and even though it might be more sustainable, it’s also more costly.

    • Sorted

      Yes, it still seems it’s quite a privilege to make the decision to go vegan. As it becomes more popular will it become more mainstream?

  16. Annie1962

    Only audio? For this Aussie who because of geography, misses out on so many club priveleges, yet another blow. Hardly worth the money. Sorry guys. But no incentive to renew

  17. cathio

    Bummer, I always enjoyed watching the podcast videos. Wish you were on Spotify. Well, hopefully I’ll be able to actually hear Barry now. I do like the setup of this page with the expandable sections.

    • Sorted

      Thanks for the feedback- we may be able to bring video back one day- but we after listening to you guys we realised we seriously had to address the sound issues.

      • Barton711

        Never noticed any real issue with sound at all but the lack of video really puts me off renewing my membership as the extra episode that was the podcast was the only real reason I joined.

        • Sorted

          We’re really sorry to hear that this was one of the main reasons you joined the club. Video watchers feedback was they wanted more interaction with the camera. Sound listeners feedback was that they wanted better audio quality. We really couldn’t focus on both sadly, it was one or the other due to studio limitations. So we had to make the hard choice of going with how the majority of members are consuming the podcasts. Just 2% were watching the videos. Please email us – if you would like us to explain further.

      • Annie1962

        Ok so you had sound issues.. why does visual need to be sacrificed in order for better audio?
        Unless one has headphones on… it’s still quiet in my opinion

        • Sorted

          We increased the volume again for episode 2 so hopefully this helped. The new studio is very small as it focuses on the sound, therefore no room for cameras.

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