Byline: By Maria Croce
MORE people are giving up eating and wearing animal products by turning vegan.
In the UK alone, veganism has risen by 200 per cent in the past decade and there are now an estimated 300,000 people in Britain choosing the strict lifestyle.
It's thought more people are changing their diet because of wider consumer choice.
With more alternatives available in shops, it's easier for vegans to get a healthy, balanced diet.
Vegans opt for a plant-based diet free of all animal products - including milk, eggs and honey.
Most also choose not to wear leather, wool or silk.
Most cite the cruelty of modern farming methods as one of the main reasons for their decision, as well as the fear of perceived food dangers including salmonella in eggs, CJD - the human form of Mad Cow Disease - or the SARS bird flu.
Even non-vegans wishing to follow a healthier diet are opting for some aspects of the vegan regime, such as eating more vegetables, pulses and nuts.
To mark World Vegan Day tomorrow, here is a closer look at veganism.
Celebrity vegans include actors Alicia Silverstone, Woody Harrelson and Martin Shaw, singers Pink, Bryan Adams and Heather Small and designer Stella McCartney.
In addition to those following a vegan lifestyle, there are more than three million vegetarians in the UK, while 5.5 million avoid dairy products due to problems with lactose intolerance or allergies.
Even among non-vegans, the overall consumption of meat and dairy products has declined over the past 50 years, with milk and cream intake down by around 17 per cent.
Meat consumption peaked in 1979, when the average person ate in excess of 2.5lb of meat per week - equivalent to scoffing more than five 8oz steaks. By the year 2000 the figure was down to just 2.13 lb - just more than four steaks. We've also dropped three eggs per person per week since 1965.
According to studies, eating an appropriate vegan diet can reduce the risk of heart disease.
If you're going vegan, it's best to eat a wide variety of plant foods, including plenty of strongly-coloured vegetables and fruits. Each food has different strengths, so the fewer foods you eat the less likely it is that all your nutritional needs will be met. You may need to take a vitamin supplement.
Traditionally, animal products are seen as a key source of …