Are you doing Veganuary?
Since 2014 Veganuary has inspired over a million people to try vegan for January (and beyond!). The idea for Veganuary came in 2013 from Jane Land and Matthew Glover, they wanted to spread the word about veganism and set a challenge for everyone, focusing on the month of January because it is a time of new beginnings and resolutions. Going vegan can be daunting for doing it for January is a great way to do it because it’s not a lifetime decision you can try it out and see how simple it can really be.
Why Go Vegan?
Going vegan is a personal choice for everyone and there are many different reasons to do it. For some people it is easier not to go fully vegan from the get go, but to introduce vegan alternatives gradually, some people may never go fully vegan but still enjoy cutting down on on meat or simply enjoying some of the healthy tasty vegan foods available now!
Preventing the exploitation and cruelty towards animals is often the primary reason people go vegan. Factory farming has grown dramatically in the last 50 years, with an ever present urge to get cheaper food to customers in supermarkets has pushed the industrialisation of farming which inevitably leads to greater suffering with animals being seen simply as a commodity in the process.
Animals are exploited not only as food but across other industries with products tested on animals, so going vegan isn’t just about eating vegan food, it’s about all of the products you buy whether that be beauty products, to everyday household cleaning.
For your health
There are many health benefits associated with going vegan. Switching to a vegan diet from a typical Western diet will eliminate meat and animal products form your diet and will inevitably lead you to rely more heavily on other foods. In the case of a whole-foods vegan diet, replacements take the form of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, nuts and seeds. Since these foods make up a larger proportion of a vegan diet than a typical Western diet and they can contribute to a higher daily intake of certain beneficial nutrients. Studies have reported that vegan diets tend to provide more fiber, antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds.
Going vegan is a brilliant opportunity to learn more about nutrition and cooking, and improve your diet. Getting your nutrients from plant foods allows more room in your diet for health-promoting options like whole grains, fruit, nuts, seeds and vegetables, which are packed full of beneficial fibre, vitamins and minerals. There is a misconception that a vegan diet can’t provide all of the nutrients and essential proteins you need, however this is simply not true, a balanced and varied vegan diet can provide anything you need, just ask athletes such as Olympic weightlifter Kendrick Farris, racing driver Lewis Hamilton or tennis champion Venus Williams who are all vegan and compete successfully at the highest level of their sports.
For the environment
A significant proportion of man-made pollution comes from the meat industry, putting factory farming ahead of transportation in contributing to the greenhouse effect. One of the most effective things an individual can do to lower their carbon footprint is to avoid all animal products. This goes way beyond the problem of cow flatulence! The production of meat and other animal products places a heavy burden on the environment – from crops and water required to feed the animals, to the transport and other processes involved from farm to fork. The vast amount of grain feed required for meat production is a significant contributor to deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction. Brazil has seen 5.6 million acres of land taken to grown soya beans to feed animals in Europe. This problem also means less land is being used to grow food for people, instead switching to cash crops.
Going vegan is easy, there are plenty of vegan alternatives
Many people see this as a tough one, how on earth could you get by without milk? Well very easily! There are a number of options for an alternative to cows milk such as oat milk, almond milk, rice milk even pea milk! We’ve written a blog on milk alternatives to help you find the best one for you.
There are great easy swaps for meat. Tofu has long been a popular alternative but there are now so many more options such as TVP (textured vegetable protein), Jackfruit, tempeh and seitan, we even stock an alternatives to tuna and duck! Check out our guide to meat alternatives.
There have been egg replacers to use in baking for a long time such as No Egg. Now we have the amazing VeganEgg! VeganEgg is a plant-based egg alternative that has the taste and texture of the real thing. That means you can enjoy delicious vegan omelettes, quiches and scrambled ‘eggs’.
Need some inspiration for vegan recipes? We have loads of vegan recipes to get you started on your vegan journey, have a look at our Vegan Kitchen recipes for more ideas, everything from chocolate orange stuffed cookie cups to jackfruit and spinach pie!