Could you give up meat and dairy products for a month? It’s a question many people have asked themselves as part of their New Year’s resolutions and it’s one that increasing numbers have answered that they would be willing to give it a shot. Veganuary is a concept born out of encouraging people to sample a vegan diet for a four-week cycle.
There are many reasons why people are choosing to adopt veganism as a lifestyle choice. It might be that they want to minimise the number of animals used in food production. Some might want a healthier body and mind in 2018, while others may want to reduce their carbon footprint on the wider world. For those teetering on the brink of going vegan, Veganuary is the ideal opportunity to test the waters and discover a new world of tastes and flavours in 2018.
Recent research has shown that striving for a healthier lifestyle is the second biggest reason people go vegan. Some of the scientifically proven health benefits of eating a plant-based diet include reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol levels – great for mitigating the risk of coronary heart disease – and faster weight loss – ideal for those suffering from type 2 diabetes or obesity issues.
Another significant motivating factor for people to go vegan or try Veganuary is the danger of overusing antibiotics in modern-day farming and food production. In the UK, it is thought that almost half of all antibiotics given to humans are also used in animal agriculture. That figure is thought to be even higher in the United States at around 70%. This significant overuse of antibiotics in farmed animals, which is done so to guard against the spread of crippling disease, could result in increased human resistance to antibiotics and failure to treat illness and disease. A plant-based diet reduces human consumption of antibiotics fed to animals.
Eating a vegan diet is said to have a more positive individual impact on the wider environment than giving up your road vehicle. A plant-based diet can reduce your carbon footprint by half, saving wild animals from extinction in the process. In a 2014 study comparing the dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans, it was found that vegans generate just 2.9kg of CO2 per person daily. That’s almost half the amount of an individual considered to have a ‘medium meat-eating’ diet.
Fortunately, there are many continental restaurant chains that now provide a vegan-friendly menu, allowing those participating in Veganuary or considering going vegan full-time to enjoy the same comfort foods and flavours that meat and fish-eaters can. Asian-inspired restaurant chain Wagamama offer vegan-friendly ramens featuring shichimi-coated tofu. Hawaiian poke bowls are likely to be a hipster food trend in 2018 and although they are historically raw fish-based, many eateries swap out the seafood for alternatives such as flavourful mushrooms and kale.
If you’re interested in getting involved in Veganuary, or you just want to see what all the fuss is about, visit the official Veganuary website to digest their Vegan Starter Kit. This includes meal plans, guides for grocery shopping and nutritional facts about vegan food.