The end of year holidays are over and Veganuary has welcomed the new year to us! As we establish ourselves in January, we say hello to this vegan trend of being open minded and trying new things. What better time to do this than at the start of a new year? We decided that we wouldn’t be harsh on our minds and bodies over Christmas and continue to make sound choices for our wellbeing. Let’s continue this practice and self-love into the new year and treat our bodies with wholesome, vegan food.
What is Veganuary?
Veganuary is a simple vegan trend that we welcome every year, and it’s simply when January meets the vegan diet – Veganuary! People all over the world join in on this commitment to adopt the vegan lifestyle throughout the month of January. It’s run by a UK non-profit organisation and encourages people to consider being vegan only for a month in order to promote the lifestyle. It was created in 2014 and since then thousands of people have taken part from dedicated meat eaters to flexitarians. In 2020, there were 400,000 participants and last year nearly 600,000. What will Veganuary 2022 look like?
Why should I take part?
This is a just question – who wants to begin the year by restricting their diet? Why not enjoy the meals you already love? Why make the effort to change your diet? The truth is, being vegan is not about restrictions, it’s about nourishment and thriving and fuelling your body. It’s true that it takes some effort to transition to a vegan diet, this is why Veganuary exists in the first place! It makes it much easier to ‘give it a go’ without long-term commitments. The effort you put in is greatly appreciated by your body and it pays off. You can also enjoy the meals you already love! Chance is there are vegan alternatives to your favourites that taste even better, are even cheaper and are much better for your body! You just have to discover them and be open to trying them.
There are many benefits to a vegan diet, even ones that apply to being vegan for only a month. Here are some of the reasons which might encourage you to take part in Veganuary this year, both health related and not:
Generally increased nutrient intake
Increased fibre intake
Increased awareness of food sensitivities and food allergies (particularly with lactose)
Reduced saturated fat intake (from eating less red and processed meat)
Reduced carbon footprint
Less plastic waste (especially if you buy loose fruit and veggies)
Reduced risk of heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes
Reduced risk of certain cancers
Less likely to smoke and drink alcohol in excess
More likely to exercise
Support against animal cruelty and exploitation
Overall, more sustainable lifestyle
These are just some of the benefits you could reap from this challenge and there are plenty more, especially if you choose to be vegan for more than just January.
Is it worth it?
What is the long-term effect on taking part in Veganuary and is it worth it? Well, 98% of those who try Veganuary recommend the challenge to a friend. Even for one month of reaping the benefits, it’s worth it. Even if it encourages you to make just a few vegan meals a week from now on. It’s also not just about health, if it’s not worth it for your health alone, let it be worth it for the other benefits. Only 22% of 2021 participants chose health as their reason for participating. Most people, 46%, said their main reason was for the animals and 21% for the environment. For one month, not only will you be rewarding your body with enriched meals and nutrient-dense food choices and giving it a needed rest from processed meat and lactose, but you’ll not contribute to animal cruelty and exploitation for one month. You’ll also be committing to reduced carbon emissions, reduced forest deforestation and plastic use and waste for one month. As we said before, if it’s not worth it for the health benefits alone, let it be for the animals and the environment.
In terms of its difficulty, you’ll find that supermarkets and restaurants coincide with Veganuary by offering many new vegan options. So, you’ll have plenty of alternatives to choose from as well as not giving up those lovely restaurant meals. You’ll find that there are many more vegan options at restaurants than you maybe realised, just look out for that special V on the menu.
What does it involve?
As you already know, being vegan means no consumption of animal products or use of animal materials. This includes biproducts such as honey and eggs and as Veganuary promotes a vegan ‘lifestyle’, this also extends to things such as leather and gelatine. This also includes products which are tested on animals, such as cigarettes and likewise you should avoid companies which test on animals such as L’Oreal, Estee Lauder and A LOT of others. It’s easier to find vegan companies which DON’t test on animals and commit to their products. Lush, Aesop, bareMinerals, No7 and Superdrug are a few cruelty-free brands you might have heard of.
Once you sign up on the Veganuary website you’ll get some goodies to help you throughout your challenge. This includes a celebrity e-cookbook and a vegan starter kit which includes important nutrition information, meal plans and answers to some questions you might have. From there it’s up to you! Buddy this challenge with family or friends to make it more fun and motivating.
Is it too late to take part?
Although January has already begun, it’s not too late to take part. When signing up you can choose which date your email alerts will begin, which means you can do Veganuary any month of the year. The vegan diet has also been approved by the BDA to be suitable for people of all ages, so in terms of your age, it’s still not to late to start being vegan (or at least trying it!).
I hope that you will consider this exciting challenge and find food joy and body love through the process. It is a rewarding and wholesome challenge for everyone! For more information on a vegan diet check out some of the other posts on this blog. There are some useful links below, including a free vegan cookbook and special Veganuary offers from popular restaurants and brands.
Some useful links:
Written by Beth Mulholland for Christine Kenny Nutrition & Fitness Ltd.