What is Veganuary?

Each year the charity organization Veganuary launches it’s campaign asking people all over the world to take part in their one month challenge to be a vegan. 

The campaigns have been a resounding success over the last few years with hundreds of thousands of people making the pledge. In 2019, they received their highest ever number of sign-ups for Veganuary with a total of 250,000 people! 

2020 is set to be even higher with 200,000 people already signed up weeks before the New Year even starts. So, what’s all the fuss? Why are people signing up and how can you take part?

What is Veganuary?

Veganuary is not a resolution, it’s a challenge and part of a much bigger revolution. The challenge is simple, live like a vegan for the whole of January. That means you avoid eating all animal products. You can opt to take the pledge with friends or members of your family to make it easier and support each other.

The idea is to prove just how easy it is to be a vegan and hopefully feel some of the benefits. Veganuary is the largest vegan movement that has inspired and supported nearly half a million people in 178 countries to try vegan. 

Why Should I Sign Up?

There are a thousand different reasons to challenge yourself to go vegan. Here are the most popular reasons people sign up:

Animal Rights

Each year, we humans kill over 58 billion animals for food (excluding marine life). The vast majority of those animals are born into mega-farms or factory farms where their living conditions are cramped and dirty. Many animals in today’s animal agriculture never see the light of day and never get to act out their natural animal behaviours and instincts. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. We can live happy and healthy lives, thriving on a plant-based diet without having to treat animals like this. The vegan revolution is well on the way, seeking to remove the unnecessary exploitation of animals and you can join too! 

Health 

Due to veganism cutting out so many processed and high-fat foods such as beef burgers, hot dogs, chocolates, pastries, cheese and so on, the vegan diet is much healthier than the average omnivore diet. 

A well balanced plant-based diet has been proven to have many benefits to your health including lower risk of obesity and chronic diseases such as heart disease, type-2 diabetes, inflammation and cancer.

A diet rich in nutritious plant foods can give your health a real boost. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes and whole grains are all rich in nutrients and anti-oxidants.

Environment

The environment was a hot topic of 2019 with climate strikes taking place all across the world. Our need to protect the environment has become a pressing issue and has more attention now than ever before. Whilst veganism won’t save the planet it can be an integral part of the solution. 

A study conducted in 2018 concluded that veganism is ‘the single biggest way’ to reduce our impact on the planet. It found that cutting meat and dairy from your diet could reduce your personal carbon footprint by up to 73%. It also found that if everyone adopted a vegan diet we could reduce farmland by up to 75%, an area the size of Europe, freeing up wild land lost to agriculture. This would result in a significant drop in greenhouse gas emissions globally.

How Do I Sign Up?

Simple, visit the Veganuary homepage and click the ‘Take the Pledge’ button. Here you will need to add your email address to sign up. Veganuary will then send you emails throughout January packed full of guidance, delicious recipes, easy meal plans, and helpful tips.

Dolma’s Top Tips for Veganuary

Here at Dolma, we want to give you as much support as possible to try vegan. Here are our top 5 tips!

1. Keep it Simple

Take it easy with your cooking, you don’t need to emulate Jamie Oliver’s vegan masterpieces. Keep meals simple to allow yourself to gradually ease into it. Simple recipes might include stir fry’s, a pot of chilli, falafel burgers, Indian curries, soups, and one-pot stews. 

Use the recipes that Veganuary sends to your email but don’t be afraid to try BBC Good Food, Minimalist Baker and Jamie Oliver

2. Be Organised

Plan what you will eat for each week and shop accordingly. Do your research into vegan alternatives so you can find them in the supermarket. At first, it may be a little confusing but you will get the hang of it soon enough.

Meal planning is essential in your first month of veganism so that you know what to buy, what to cook and to ensure you never get caught out during the month.

3. Stock Your Cupboard

Make sure you have all the essential herbs and spices in your cupboard ready to take on any recipe. You may want to consider some other things such as miso paste, nutritional yeast, chilli sauce, mustard, olives, veggie stock, and soy sauce.

4. Check Labels

Whenever you buy anything in the supermarket give the label a quick read to check if it’s vegan. This is now much easier in the UK with many products having the official vegan label or the tagline ‘suitable for vegans’. 

Sneaky ingredients to look out for include milk solids, milk powder, gelatin, and egg. Be sure to check out the labels on any beer or wine as they sometimes include eggs in the ingredients.

5. Join the Community

The internet is packed with helpful vegans whether it’s on blogs, Facebook groups or Instagrammers. You will find tons of people asking eachother for help, advice and recipes. You will also see lots of discussions about vegan issues to help you learn more about the cause.  

Being part of an online community can help you stick to the challenge, inspire you and become more knowledgable about what you are doing and why.   

What Are You Waiting For?

Get over to the Veganuary website now and get signed up. If you are already a vegan, send the link to a friend or family member and see if they can take on the challenge! 

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