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One of the most important things in life is your health. You can’t properly look after the people in your family without being at the top of your game, you can’t set the right example you your children, plus, bad health can easily mean that they lose you long before they should. Being healthy can be tough in this day and age, where fast food joints are dotted about, and it’s so easy to get caught up with horrible habits like drinking and smoking. Even vegans have to make sure that our diets are full of the healthy choices; you can get vegan chocolate, cookies and cake y’know.

More than 9.5 million people in the UK smoke. With more people smoking in Scotland than anywhere else. The smoking ban in public places has gone a long way to reduce the number of smokers in this country, but it is still a huge issue. Cancer Research states that tobacco created cancer is the single more preventable death in the world. Cigarettes can cause cancer in the lungs, larynx, oesophagus, oral cavity and pharynx, bladder, pancreas, kidney, liver, stomach, bowel, cervix, leukaemia, and can be associated with ovarian cancers. The lung, kidney and ovaries are high-risk cancer areas anyway. So choosing to contribute to that risk is a stupid move no matter how you swing it.

But smoking is an addiction and a habit that is extremely hard to quit. It’s all about willpower and finding the right tricks for you. Dealing with the addiction comes down to the nicotine intake your body is so used to. There is always the nicorette patches and sprays, and you can try champix tablets for stopping smoking. Where these can help to curb your craving, the habit of lighting up is still there, and often the hardest part is dealing with not doing the familiar movements with your hands. Often, the routine of lighting a cigarette can be a comfort. So look into switching to a vape, and then cutting down the nicotine so that you’re vaping flavoured air, and then you can work on the habit. Staying busy and doing something with your hands is always going to be the best route. Take up a hobby - crafting or gardening, that takes up your concentration and makes you do something else with your hands.

Alcohol is a vice that is okay in moderation. One 101 year-old woman attributes her longevity to avoiding men and a glass of red wine a day. And where most doctors would disagree with that level of intake, as long as we stay within our unit levels, alcohol isn’t the worst thing in the world. But you do need to think about what it can do to your body. It doesn’t matter whether you buy the cheap or the expensive stuff either - alcohol is alcohol. A lot of alcoholic drinks can also cause you to put on weight. Red wine isn’t great in that area, nor are larger, ale and beer. You’re much better off switching to white wine and ciders. You will be happy to know that a G&T is quite low on the weight list.

If you want to cut out drinking all together, but find it hard when you go out with friends, just order virgin cocktails instead. A lot of the trouble in this area is your mindset. If you believe that you’re missing out or going to have less fun because you’re not drinking alcohol, then those things will be true. But only because you have put yourself there. If you know that you’re going to have just as much fun then that’s what will happen. Plus you won’t have a hangover, and your tab is going to be a lot cheaper than everyone else.

Looking at this from a vegan point of view, many non-vegans quite often think that you can do nothing but eat healthily. When that’s not always true. When you choose to go vegan you have to look at your diet and change it to incorporate all the vitamins and nutrients you’re not getting elsewhere. So that does mean more nuts, seeds and fruit. However, you can still make the wrong choices with your food. Just because you have to bake your bad snacks, or pay more for them, doesn’t mean that chocolate cake is any less tempting. When baking cookies, the big difference for vegans is that you replace the egg. So you still get the same level of sugar and butter (even if it is seed butter) and the same level of cocoa powder and even vegan or dark chocolate chunks. You still have fizzy pop options, and all the carbs.

Mostly, your food choices as a vegan are a lot healthier than non-vegans. But with McDonalds reportedly bringing out a vegan range, it’s going to get harder to make the right choices, but also easier for others to choose to become vegan. Bad food is fine in moderation. Just make sure that you are getting everything you need and are exercising regularly and you’ll be fine.

-This post contains paid for collaborative content-

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