January is certainly not the most joyful month of the year. It’s grey and drizzly, Christmas is but a distant memory and it feels like it’ll be ages before anything exciting happens again. So it’s no surprise most of us just want to stagnate on the sofa with the leftover festive chocolate. But this year, why not try something different?
Veganuary is an annual challenge that encourages people to go vegan for the month of January. It began in 2014 and has been slowly increasing in popularity since – in 2021, more than half a million people took part! The rules are simple: no animal-based products for 31 days. How strictly you decide to follow that is up to you – some people might give up leather products in addition to making changes to their diet, for example, while others might just focus on eliminating meat and dairy.
You don’t need to do it perfectly, either. Veganuary is all about increasing awareness of veganism and encouraging people to try something new, rather than completely overhauling your lifestyle overnight. And even if you don’t keep it up after the month is out, you’ll have picked up some great meal ideas that will help lessen your dietary impact into the future.
Not sure if it’s for you? Here’s five reasons you should consider giving it a try.
1. It’s easier than you think
One of the most common misconceptions about Veganuary is that it’s difficult, or involves major personal sacrifice. Once upon a time that might have been true, but it’s definitely no longer the case. Most restaurants and supermarkets in the UK today are really good at vegan labelling, so you can tell at a glance whether something is suitable, and there’s more choice in plant-based products than ever before. More than 825 vegan products and menus were launched for Veganuary 2021 alone!
You can also find ethy certified Vegan brands from clothing to food and beauty products on our app and website, when you filter by Vegan.
ethy certified Planty's Mac 'no' Cheese plant based vegan meal.
2. It’s good for the planet
Did you know that it can take up to 30 bathtubs of water just to produce one beef burger? Or that the average dairy cow requires more than 100 pounds of feed every day? Scientists widely agree that making changes to your diet is one of the best things you can do for the environment. Compared to a traditional diet involving meat and dairy, a vegan diet requires less water and energy to produce, results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions, contributes to better soil health and biodiversity, and helps to stabilise the oceans.
3. It’s good for your health
There’s a common stereotype that all vegans are sickly and anaemic – wrong! A good vegan diet is actually rich in nutrients, with fruit, veg, pulses, grains and nuts all great sources of fibre, antioxidants, magnesium and vitamins. Vegans often report having more energy and brighter moods than their meat and dairy-eating counterparts, and some studies have shown vegans are less likely to suffer from cancer and other diseases.
4. It’s a great way to discover new meals and snacks
It’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of cooking the same meals and ordering the same takeaways, so committing to a month-long dietary change is a good opportunity to expand your palate and try something new. If you sign up to Veganuary you’ll get loads of helpful resources, such as a celebrity cookbook, easy meal plans and nutrition guides to help you get started. And if cooking isn’t really your forte, don’t worry. You can substitute many regular ingredients with widely-available vegan alternatives, so you can stick to a business-as-usual dinner routine if you prefer!
5. You’ll be part of a thriving community
More than half a million people joined Veganuary last year – that’s a heck of a group to be part of! When it’s cold and dark outside and there’s not much going on in the way of socialising, the Veganuary community is there for conversation, ideas, tip swapping and of course the occasional rant. A sense of kinship with common purpose is a great way to start the year – and you’ll be able to say you’ve achieved something really great before everyone else has even taken down their fairy lights!
For inspiration on the vegan lifestyle options, see these ethy accredited vegan brands who offer options from vegan chewing gum to full plant-based meals delivered to your door carbon neutrally!
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