Veganuary is a national campaign with one goal: to help people go vegan for 31 days. The goal of this challenge is to see how easy it is to make the switch, especially today, with so many vegan alternatives in the supermarket aisles.
Veganuary was created by York couple Jane Land and Matthew Glover, who came up with the idea over a bottle of wine back in 2014. They felt so passionate about it that they decided to plough their life savings into the idea. Despite running out of funds and having to live with Matthew’s mum for a bit, the couple persevered. The rest, as they say, is history.
In the first year, 3,300 people participated. To date, more than 500,000 people around the world have followed Veganuary. During this time, the number of vegans in the UK alone has quadrupled to around 600,000.
With January mere days away, Veganuary 2022 is about to get underway. For those willing to participate, we are on hand to help get you started and keep you on track. Let’s start with why veganism is good…
The benefits of going vegan
There are numerous reasons why people choose to go vegan. Some reasons are related to health, while others have to do with the environment or feelings of compassion for animals.
In just one month of switching to a plant-based diet, you can;
- Lose weight
- Improve your heart and vascular health.
- Improve your blood sugar control.
- Reduce any joint pain.
- Improve your bowel health and regularity.
- Reduce your risk of cancer
- Save around 30 animal lives,
- Save 620 pounds of harmful carbon dioxide emissions,
- Save 913 square feet of forest,
- Save 33,481 gallons of water.
Participating in Veganuary can be very rewarding and, for some, life-changing. Many decide to continue with their vegan lifestyle once realising they aren’t as deprived as they thought they would be.
How to do Veganuary
As with anything you intend to tackle that’s new to you, a little preparation is key.
Set the intention – Begin by setting a clear goal of what you intend to accomplish during the month-long challenge.
Define the why – Why do you want to do this? Is it for your health, for animal welfare, for the planet or just out of curiosity? It helps to have a reason, something that can help keep you on track.
Educate yourself -Watch some documentaries that will explain the truth about the meat and dairy industry. Believe us; they’re eye-opening and the reason many people have made the switch. here are five videos that will help your learning journey.
Foods to avoid – Don’t eat meat, dairy, honey or eggs – This is the most important step, and there’s no reason to sneak in any animal products. There can be hidden animal products in food, such as gelatin, whey, eggs and dairy products.
Stock up on some vegan essentials – Once you know what foods to avoid, it’s time to stock up on some vegan-friendly pantry staples. There are plenty of meat and dairy replacements on the market these days, but there are also a ton of recipes online for plant-based alternatives if you’re feeling adventurous. We recommend some ‘Nooch’ – nutritional yeast, hummus is a great vegan snack, nuts, fresh fruit and veg, lentils, rice, potatoes etc.
A meal plan helps – It can be tricky to know what to buy in the shopping. Try planning your meals for the first week and shop for those meals.
Set yourself a realistic goal – If you’re new to veganism, we recommend giving yourself an achievable weekly goal. Week one, stick to your meal plan; for example, in week two, try a vegan eating out option and so on.
Get social – Find like-minded people who are doing Veganuary. This can help you to find inspiration, ask questions and share your experiences. There’s a great Veganuary Facebook group that can help you get started, where people share advice and offer support if needed!
Great resources – It is always best to do some research before taking part in Veganuary so that you know what foods are suitable for vegans, which ones need substitutes etc. The vegan basics for beginners section on our website has a wealth of content to help.
Do your best – Remember, Veganuary is a challenge, not an elimination diet. If you fall off the wagon one day, it’s no biggie as long as you keep trying to make positive changes every day! Don’t be too hard on yourself and try to enjoy taking part in Veganuary as much as possible 🙂
Is Veganuary good for you?
Going vegan has been proven to be beneficial to health. It can lower your risk of heart disease, obesity and type two diabetes. After the excess of Christmas, Veganuary can be a great way to start your new year health kick. Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables are the key to Veganuary. These are, of course, good for you. Many people are worried about a lack of some nutrients on a vegan diet.
These include protein, calcium and iron. All of these can be obtained naturally on a vegan diet, but it can be challenging to grasp all this at once.
Here are some easy ways to get in your nutrients on a vegan diet.
- To get protein as a vegan, eat plenty of nuts, seeds and lentils. Quinoa is also a great source of protein too.
- To get calcium as a vegan, you can eat dark leafy greens, broccoli, almonds or tofu if it suits your diet.
- For iron, the best sources are beans, spinach and kale or dried fruit like raisins or apricots
- For B12, eat fortified cereals, yeast extract and nutritional yeast.
- To get omega-three fatty acids eat flax seeds or add ground flax to smoothies or salads.
- Vitamin D is easy if you spend time in the sun without sunscreen on a regular basis which can be difficult during winter months, but plenty of soy milk and mushrooms are another great source.
Check out our vegan food swaps article here for more inspiration. If you’re worried about lacking in anything while you learn the ropes, there are plenty of inexpensive vegan supplements to ensure you are getting everything you need.
Veganuary is a challenge, much like Stoptober or Dry January. There’s nothing forcing you to continue if it’s not for you, but the hope is that you’ll like the changes you see and perhaps make some more permanent.
As vegans, we would love for everyone to maintain their newfound vegan lifestyle but understand it may be unrealistic. The point of Veganuary is to prove that veganism isn’t tricky; vegans aren’t deprived and show that you, too, can do it.
We’ll be posting lots of advice and tips over the month to help anyone trying the challenge. Follow us on Instagram or Twitter to keep up to date. Sign up to the 2022 Veganuary challenge here. There are free recipes and an ebook when you sign up to help you reach your goals.