Veganuary: The What, Why, How and More!
It’s that time again. Veganuary 2020 is upon us! 2019 had such a massive amount of pledges and really saw an explosive increase in vegan foods, brands and products. I thought I’d take the time to find all the essential information I could on the biggest time of the year for the plant based diet. So if you’re thinking about making the change or just wanting to know more, it’s all in this article for you.
- What does Veganuary mean?
- How to do Veganuary?
- Who started Veganuary?
- When did it start?
- Why do it?
- How many countries take part?
- Veganuary Tips
- Veganuary Guides
- Official Veganuary book
- Vegan Travel Handbook
- Easy recipes
- Veganuary benefits & side effects
- Veganuary memes
What does Veganuary mean?
Literally, ‘veganuary’ is a mash-up of Vegan and January. The name nicely sums up that January is about changing to or trying the vegan diet.
What is the purpose behind it? “Veganuary is a non-profit organisation that encourages people worldwide to try vegan for January and beyond” according to the official Veganuary website About us page.
How to do Veganuary?
The charity helps support others through converting to the plant based diet with eating guides, recipes, daily newsletters and other positive actions.
Find out more, or pledge to take part, through their official website: veganuary.com
Who started Veganuary?
The founder is former English teacher Jane Land, from York, UK.
When did it start?
An article from Vegan food and Living, with founder Jane Land says she came up with the idea in Autumn of 2013 after some ‘wine-fueled conversations’. The talks soon became reality as the brand name and website were launched “and 3,300 people from all around the world signed up to go vegan in January 2014”. The rest, as they say, is history!
Why do it?
Why not? It’s something to try, if only for a month. What have you got to lose? Apart from possibly a little bit of weight (which I’m sure most people would not be sad about). Nothing ventured, nothing gained!
There’s an excellent article from The Standard that outlines Six Reasons You Should Go Vegan. A couple of the reasons include that it’s the best way to help animals and may actually be beneficial to your health. I encourage anyone to fully read the article and consider the points that writer Georgia Chambers has put forward.
Give it a go and you may be surprised what new delicious taste sensations await. The amount of companies making products has grown massively, so there’s plenty of options out there. Check out this article from The Independent. It lists the biggest launches of Vegan products from 2019, including companies such as Greggs, Ben & Jerry’s and Costa Coffee.
There’s also a brilliant the blog article by vegan travel Blogger Simon Turkas, ‘4 Reasons You Should Definitely Switch to A Vegan Diet‘. It’s a very thoughtful and insightful piece on his thoughts about the impact veganism can have on peoples lives and the environment.
How many countries take part?
In 2017 people from 142 different countries took part. These included USA, Spain, Australia and South Africa. The most recent Veganuary in 2019 had a massive 250,000 people worldwide sign up and according to the Guardian’s article “The number of Veganuary pledges for 2019 exceeded those in the previous four years combined.” Overseas partnerships have been extended to countries such as India, Sweden, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, South Africa, Japan, Iceland and Russia.
Some of my own advice for anyone thinking about switching to a plant based diet:
- Transition slowly. Especially if you are currently eating meat, it may be harder to just completely change everything at once. It may also make sticking to the new diet harder. Easing into it, at your own pace may be a more successful approach.
- Supplements. Just to stress these are not replacements for nutritional food but to take alongside a healthy diet. The ones I currently take a Vitamin B complex and Iron (the vitamin B helps the body absorb the iron) and Boots Good Gut + Women’s Health Probiotics.
- Join a vegan group. Whether online, on social media, or any local groups, joining others going on the same journey and who show support will really help you stick to the new diet.
- “Doesn’t being woke mean going broke?” I’ve heard this a lot, that the vegan diet is expensive. Well, no. It’s not. If you buy fresh fruits and vegetables they are a considerably less expensive than branded and prepared foods. And this can be said of pretty much any diet. The fresher and cleaner you eat the cheaper it is.
There’s many resources out there to help you and these are just a few that I recommend:
- Veganuary.com: has loads of great information on every topic. Their guides include Veganuary essentials; food shopping and eating out. There’s even a special offers page which includes brand and restaurant offers and discounts throughout Veganuary. Las Iguanas, Brewdog and Upton’s Naturals are a few of the names on the list.
- The Vegan Society: Check out their Lifestyle section for loads on information on every facet of life. From fashion to food, shopping to social, they’ve covered it all.
- Vegan.com has ‘The Ultimate Vegan Guide‘. With extensive advice on topics such as ‘Supermarket survival’, ‘International Travel’ and ‘Health and Environment’.
- Go Vegan World have a downloadable guide covering all the basics on veganism. It’s main focuses are the what, why and how of veganism.
Official Veganuary book
The charity have launched an official book titled, “How To Go Vegan: The why, the how, and everything you need to make going vegan easy“. Within is content ranging from dining out and nutrition guides to dealing with possible negativity and reasons to stay vegan. You can order a copy here
Vegan Travel Handbook
If you’re planning on going abroad and worry about where to go that can cater to vegans then Lonely Planet have you covered. The Vegan Travel Handbook offers advice and expert tips on subjects such as restaurants, accommodation, cooking classes and wildlife watching tours.
Making a diet change can be a big deal so having a good range of recipes and ideas to hand is essential. Here are some of the best and easiest vegan concoctions for you to try:
- veganuary,com: Packed full of recipes from all walks of life there is even a Quick and Easy section to ease you into the world of vegan cooking.
- Jamie Oliver: Famous chef Jamie Oliver has become quite the advocate for vegan food and has his own Easy Vegan Recipes section for you to explore.
- BBC: There’s some very tasty and easy recipe offerings from BBC Food including sweet potato soup, vegan thai curry and vegan chocolate chip cookies!
- itdoesnttastelikechicken.com: Vegan blogger, Sam Turnbull, has put together a treasure trove of easy recipes for ‘newbie’ vegans. There’s an array of brilliant dishes to try here.
- Real Simple: Based around the (amazing) news that the 2020 Golden Globes will be serving a 100% vegan menu, there are 22 easy recipes for you to try whether you’re watching the awards or just chilling on the sofa.
- Buzzfeed: Yep even the popular ‘news’ publisher has got in on the vegan game and have their own ‘Easy Vegan Recipes to Try‘ article. I have to admit there’s some tasty looking dishes there I’m eager to try, including spicy buffalo chickpea warps and vegan snickers bars!
Veganuary benefits & side effects
As with everything in life there are pros and cons and, in fairness, these should be considered before any big changes in life. I have listed the main plus and minus points for veganism below.
- It’s a great way to help animal welfare.
- Veganism is a better diet for the environment.
- It’s good for you. In my case I discovered I’m lactose intolerant and have felt much better since I stopped consuming dairy.
- You could make new friends. Lots of vegan groups are online or host regular events. It’s a very supportive community.
- A plant based diet lowers the risk of heart disease and contracting certain cancers.
- It’s also rich in fibre, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, folate and vitamins A, C and E.
- High chance of losing excess weight.
- Acne reduction. Removing dairy from your diet can improve the appear of your skin. Myself, suffering from hormonal acne, I have seem a very visible reduction in the amount and size of spots I have had on my face.
- The amount of vegan food and drink in supermarkets, restaurants and cafes is growing all the time.
- Some may see a lack of certain nutrients such as essential fatty acids, vitamin B12, iron, calcium, iodine or zinc .
- You may need to take several supplements to help maintain energy levels. You’ll probably need more the older you are.
- Eating out and travelling can be a pain (but this is constantly improving).
- Others negative attitudes towards veganism.
- Public Health England recommends those in Northern Europe take extra vitamin D during winter months to avoid developing a deficiency.
- The transition can be quite tough for some, especially if going from an omnivore diet.
- A plant based diet can make one quite…gassy.
- No protein. No, not really. That’s a myth! 😛 Protein is available from lentils, chickpeas, tofu, beans, seeds, seitan, nuts…to name a few.
Basically, listen to your body. That is the most important thing. Obviously, it would be great if everyone could go vegan but all bodies are different. A vegan diet has a lot of big benefits but you need to do as your body wants. If ultimately you can only reduce the amount of meat and up the veggies that’s still progress.
For those doing the full transition then good luck to you, I’m excited to hear about your journey and hear your stories. Best of luck!
For fun – Veganuary hashtags & memes
Good hashtags to use with #veganuary:
#recycle #eco #bodhicity #organic #vegan #vegetarian #plantbased #veganuary #veganfoodshare #whatveganseat #foodporn #recycle #eco #bodhicity #organic #vegan #vegetarian #plantbased #veganuary #veganfoodshare #whatveganseat #foodporn #diet #fitness #healthy #model #fashion #beauty #eatclean #gym #gymlife #beach #sea #potd #qotd #quote #london #yoga #pilates #style #eggs