Published Jan 1st, 2021
Veganuary started as a campaign back in 2014, with the aim of supporting veganism throughout the world. Since then, over 1 million people have converted to a vegan lifestyle for the campaign whilst supporting this ever-growing mission.
Interestingly though, over 3 million UK residents took to a vegan diet in 2020, approximately 20% of the population!
The food industry worldwide has also taken part by creating new and tasty vegan products with a simple vision:
- To dispense with animal farms and slaughterhouses
- Stop the decimation of our natural forests
- Prevent pollution of our rivers and seas, caused by food production
- Exacerbate climate change
- Prevent the extinction of our wild animals
Of course, many people will ultimately believe that this is yet another ‘banner waving attempt’ from those who wish to impose their own thoughts on the subject of veganism, or only eating plant life. Well, it is not, it is based on solid facts and actions.
Everyone should have a choice in life and being a meat-eater, lacto-ovo vegetarian or a pescatarian, the choice is entirely up to you. Your dietary habits are yours and nobody else’s. Unfortunately, those that are stuck in the way they have always eaten, want to believe that veganism ‘is peculiar’, or that vegans try to take over your mind as well as your body! This is very narrow-minded, but nobody wants to feel the pressure of being told what to do. Make your own decisions and stick by them.
Is this a short-term campaign to try?
The challenge is to go vegan for the whole month of January, i.e., 31 days. Results published after the 2020 Veganuary Campaign showed the following statistics calculated by scientists at Harvard University:
- 103,840 tonnes of CO2eq saved, equivalent to driving around the world almost 15,000 times
- 405 tonnes of PO43-eq (eutrophication) saved, the same as 1,645 tonnes of sewage
- 6.2 million litres of water saved, the same as flushing the toilet almost half a million times
- Additionally, more than 3.4 million animals were saved according to the Vegan Society’s Veganalyser calculations.
It is entirely up to you whether you continue with a vegan lifestyle after Veganuary or revert to what suits you on a dietary basis. It is interesting whether 31 days will change your mind and your body, and whether you feel a ‘healthier you’.
The Vegan Society
The Vegan Society strongly backs the Veganuary Campaign and offers help on their website to those that are undecided whether to ‘go vegan’ or not. One of the key items they bring up (other than saving our planet), is the sociability of veganism.
Many people are a little afraid of giving it a try, particularly if in their social dimension, nobody is vegan. They fear questioning and to a certain extent, embarrassment. They suggest that you study the facts, the nutrition foundation and be prepared to respond. Veganism is particularly on the rise in the young (age group 15-35), which is probably the social group that would react the most – being a potential outsider in this age definition may be hard for some.
Study the facts, not the fiction
Studying the nutrition facts is the best way to work out whether you want to participate in Veganuary. There are so many myths and outright fiction surrounding veganism, which you need to dispel. If you think it will be too difficult for you, have the courage to stick by what you believe in. The vegan lifestyle is not for everyone, and certainly should not cause you anxiety – that then becomes a whole different problem. Here are just 6 of the classic myths spread about this way of life.
‘Vegans can’t be healthy’ – untrue – you are taking care of your body if you follow the right nutritional advice.
‘Vegans should be skinny’ – untrue – you are what you eat and no two people have the same metabolism or shape.
‘Vegans have to take supplements’ – again untrue. You only need supplements if you are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, which is not necessarily caused by your vegan diet.
‘Being vegan is expensive’ – no, it can be vastly cheaper than other diets.
‘I heard being vegan makes my bones brittle’ – again a nutrient issue. It should not make your bones brittle; you can get this condition whether you eat meat or not. Some of the top athletes in the world follow a vegan diet. Novak Djokovic has done well for himself in tennis!
Giving Veganuary a try in 2021 is not bowing to peer pressure, unless you let it be. Make your own choices carefully and see how you go with them!
Written by Bev Walton
Food Writer and Nutritionist, dietician
A chef of over 35 years with experience in all types of cuisine, dietary plans, recipe development, health and nutrition. I have been writing for over 10 years for both magazines, websites and ghostwriting for ebooks, Kindle and fully published books. I have a degree in nutrition and dietetics and work with restaurants and organisations within the healthcare profession. I am also able to take high quality photographs of recipes created. No writing task is too great, and whilst I specialise in the above, I am able to write about any topic you throw at me. Member of the Guild of food writers.