Are you vegan? Know somebody who is?
Most of us can probably answer yes to one of these because an estimated 2-3% of the UK population is now vegan. And while it’s a relatively recent dietary movement here in the West, for many cultures (Rastafarians, Jainists, certain Buddhist sects) avoiding animal produce has been practiced for hundreds of years.
But what about Veganuary? It comes but once a year…
here’s the what, when and why.
Q: what is Veganuary?
Answer: A mashup of veganism and January brings forth Veganuary. It’s a non-profit campaign that encourages people to go plant-based for the first month of the year.
Q: when is Veganuary?
Answer: It lasts throughout the month of January.
Q: is Veganuary good for you?
Answer: When a plant-based diet is done well, benefits include reduced risks of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, healthier body weights (and savings for your wallet).
Q: is Veganuary better for the planet?
Answer: Some find this unpalatable. But the truth remains that meat and dairy take up 83% of global farmland, yet deliver just 18% of our calories. If we stopped eating these foods, farmland would reduce by 75%, ecosystems could recover… and we’d STILL generate enough food to feed the world’s population.*
And whilst evolutionary biologists state that eating meat gave early humans the advantage to shift up a gear, with bigger brains and bodies included… now that we’re here - we can safely, nutritionally and biologically do without it.
dipping your toe in the water.
January always feels like a great time to make changes, so this month-long challenge could be a perfect match.
And with so many plant-based products now available in supermarkets, fast food chains and restaurants it’s probably easier than ever to try going vegan for 31 days. Certainly folk are finding it a great way to examine their dietary intakes.
The goal does not necessarily end with 100 committed vegans either. Even as a way to cut back on meat consumption and see just how your diet can evolve, Veganuary works well. One survey found that 85% of meat-eaters who took part in Veganuary have either reduced or ended their meat consumption.**
not just food.
But it’s not just food that uses animal ingredients.
Cleaning products can contain a variety of animal products that committed vegans would not wish to use. Common ingredients include beeswax, caprylic acid (from milk), glycerol, steric acid and tallow (animal fat), lanolin, lecithin (from eggs) and oleyl alcohols (from fish) to name a few.
So why not start the New Year with some sustainable swaps for your home and body! The next 31 days could be the start of a whole new you!
* Science Journal 2018 Poore & Nemecek
**Polling of 2,129 adults by YouGov for the Veganuary charity