Veganuary 2022: An Introduction To Plant-Based Living

Veganuary is upon us once again. In a month of new year’s resolutions, if the promise of cutting down on chocolate or your screen time seems a little outdated, why not try something different and give Veganuary a go.

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Veganuary is a portmanteau word made up of vegan and January and has been adopted for those who attempt to try veganism throughout this month. This means cutting out all food/ clothing etc, that is derived from animals. This could cover cosmetic products that contain things like beeswax, or clothing and furniture that is leather or fur. Although veganism is not necessarily restricted to this, avoiding products that are tested on animals is often embraced by those that are vegan.

With many options and varying degrees of veganism, Veganuary is thought of as a way to break into this lifestyle choice and work out what suits you best. Despite only starting in 2014, the UK non-profit organisation has grown tremendously over the last 6 years. Now celebrated worldwide, 2021 saw over 580,000 people participating in 209 different countries. This gain in popularity has meant that large chain restaurants such as Greggs and McDonald’s are now also advertising and accommodating to those who are vegan.

What are the benefits of becoming Vegan?

There are many reasons why people decide to transition to a vegan lifestyle, whether that be for the planet, for ethical reasons, or for their health. Whatever the initial attraction, a vegan diet can have many benefits for those who are trying to lead a healthier lifestyle.

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For starters, vegan diets tend to be very rich in nutrients as they include a high level of fruit, vegetables, pulses, and grains. These foods provide the body with vitamins and antioxidants, that contribute to a healthy functioning immune system and reduce our risks of cancer. Changing to a vegan diet can also help with skin problems like acne as animal products such as dairy are found to cause inflammation in the skin, due to the hormones within them.

Additionally, veganism can have huge environmental benefits. A study by the University of Oxford, published in The Independent revealed that our individual carbon footprint from food could be reduced by up to 73% by cutting out meat and dairy. This would therefore result in a significant drop in greenhouse gases and free up wild land that is used for agricultural purposes.

Switching to plant-based, if only for a few days a week, could help transform your life and the world we live in. However, it goes without saying that transitioning to a new lifestyle can be challenging. Knowing which avenues and options are available to you as a vegan is not the easiest, but there are a few ways to break into it.

The easy Veganuary introduction:

Firstly, one of the biggest pieces of advice for attempting any sort of new regime/ lifestyle choice is to try and make it as fun and enjoyable as possible. If attempting Veganuary ever starts to feel like a chore, it probably won’t last. Introducing the option of fruit and vegetable box deliveries to your regular food shopping and just experimenting with throwing things together is a great way to break the ice on vegan cooking. A box full of seasonal produce that you wouldn’t necessarily purchase in-store can inspire you to try out different recipes that you wouldn’t have once thought of.

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Fruit and veg boxes such as Oddbox are also great if you are attempting Veganuary for its environmental benefits. With so much food going to waste on a daily basis, Oddbox works to hand out the wonky fruits and veg that don’t quite make the cut for supermarket uniformity. Already they have worked to save over 23,500 tonnes of fruit and veg from going to waste.

Alternatively, finding blogs and videos to inspire you and get the ball rolling can also be a really useful trick. With a few recipes under your belt, keeping up with vegan cooking will ultimately become much easier.

However, if cooking isn’t quite your style at all then there are many options available for vegan meal prep delivery. For the busy individual with no time to cook, or if it just isn’t your thing, vegan meal prep delivery is a fast and efficient way to get delicious and relatively healthy meals straight to your door.

So, who’s taking part?

With Veganuary growing in popularity there is a multitude of large retailers and restaurants now taking part. This year the likes of Burger King, Babybel, and Aldi, to name just a few have all introduced new vegan options in celebration of Veganuary. Although, not typically vegan restaurants or food suppliers, these places have taken it upon themselves to branch out and experiment with vegan options due to its popularity. Seeing large businesses such as these embracing Veganuary within the mainstream, when not so long-ago veganism appeared a radical notion, is a testament to the power of consumer influence.

However, there are plenty of independent vegan restaurants and bakeries that embrace plant-based cooking wholeheartedly, which are equally worth trying. For inspiration on vegan places to try within London, take a look at ‘Conscious London’ where we offer round-ups of the best vegan pizzas, afternoon teas and bakeries to try.

However you choose to ease into Veganuary this year, making the conscious choice to try and make a change is commendable in itself. Whether it’s one meal a day, or one meal a week, every step we take towards plant-based living is a step towards a healthier planet. That is certainly something to celebrate.