Why you should go vegan this January
As the new year starts, so do people’s new year’s resolutions. There have always been trends when it comes to new years resolutions, and perhaps the most recent is Veganuary.
Named after the charity of the same name, this trend consists of adopting going vegan for the month of January. It’s a fun way to experiment with a vegan diet, alongside the thousands of others who try it out during the first month of the year. It could lead to you becoming a fully-fledged vegan, but if not you will finish the month with a newfound awareness of veganism.
Since its conception in 2014, Veganuary has consistently gathered more and more followers, with the number of pledges on their website reportedly doubling every year. This reflects the number of vegans in the UK, estimated at 542, 000 in 2018. Here’s why you should go vegan this January.
There are plenty of benefits to going vegan. Perhaps the most obvious is the effect it will have in your health. One month is the perfect amount of time to allow your body and mind to really feel the difference. In the short term, going vegan will help to cut out cholesterol and lower your blood pressure.
Research has also demonstrated that vegan diets typically contain more fibre, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium and vitamin A, C and E.
In the long term, if you stick to veganism for longer than just the month of January, it can reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Accessibility & cost
Another common myth is that finding vegan food is difficult. Surveys show that in recent years, especially since the creation of Veganuary in in 2014, supermarkets have felt pressure to provide vegan food. This pressure has yielded results, as 2018 saw supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s and Waitrose release new lines of vegan food. With the range that now exists, vegans are not doomed to a limited diet, as many believe.
Going vegan can also be wonderful for your wallet, contrary to popular belief. Meat is expensive and if you’re eating it several times a week, it makes up a considerable chunk of your food shop. If you avoid meat substitutes (which are often full of chemicals) and stick to vegetables, the price of your food shop will decrease dramatically.
Every little helps
Veganuary might lead you to discover a lifestyle that you hadn’t seriously considered. You might find that veganism is perfect for you, and stick to it. But if the lifestyle change is simply too much for you, that’s OK. Even as short a time as one month can make a difference.
If you would like to cut down on meat still, without being vegan, it might prompt you to become vegetarian or pescetarian instead, or switch cows milk with an alternative.
Part of the beauty of this trend is that there is no pressure to extend it beyond the one-month mark. And it is fine not to stick to the lifestyle religiously during the month. Rich Hardy, head of campaigns at Veganuary, himself said “If you fall off the wagon, you fall off the wagon. Just pick yourself up, remind yourself why you signed up to the pledge in the first place and start afresh. It is meant to be fun and enjoyable.”
It’s important to stay aware of the lifestyle, and reading can be a great way of doing this. Aside from the wide breadth of cookbooks available, there exists an array of literature on veganism. A good one to go for if you’re interested in Veganuary is the charity’s very own book, How To Go Vegan: The why, the how, and everything you need to make going vegan easy (2017). For a broader reading list, the charity also has a page on books and films related to veganism.
Adopting a vegan lifestyle is a great change to make in the new year. It will make a difference not only to you, but also to the world around you, and in 2019, it is the easiest it has ever been! Veganuary is the perfect opportunity to try this out, without the commitment of making the change permanent.
See our related blog on 5 ways to go vegan whilst working an office job.