At the start of each new year, millions of people make resolutions in an attempt to commit to lifestyle changes they would like to permanently adopt, while others offer themselves a challenge just for the month of January. There are many to choose from but, as an animal lover and vegan, Veganuary is the one I most highly recommend.
Veganuary is a worldwide nonprofit campaign that encourages people to go vegan for the month of January and, hopefully, beyond. The goal is to reduce, and eventually eliminate, the suffering of billions of animals.
This highly positive initiative aims to show participants that opting to go vegan means eating delicious, nutritious foods, saving the lives of animals, eradicating animal abuse, and helping the environment.
The Veganuary website has made the challenge easy, offering an incredible amount of information, including tasty foods that most people don’t realize are already vegan, nutrition advice, social media pages to follow, tips for eating out and cooking, and baking guides.
Last year, at least 60,000 people had signed up for the challenge by the start of the year. And this year, the Veganuary Facebook page confirms that every 12 seconds, someone new is signing up.
The organisers of the campaign explain how there is nothing to lose by trying a vegan diet, even for a short time, as 75 percent of participants stated they felt healthier than before and had a clearer conscience knowing they had not contributed to the suffering of animals.
A high percentage of those who tried the challenge lost an average of 6 lbs in body weight, which is an added benefit for those who are trying to lose a few extra pounds they may have gained during the holiday season.
Even those who didn’t stick to the vegan diet past January noticed that throughout the year their perception of food changed and they adopted healthier eating habits, such as consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables and including more nuts and seeds in their diet.
Some people naturally transition to a vegan lifestyle, while others find it a more difficult process. Each journey is different and it is impossible to compare one person’s capabilities to another’s, therefore, those who are willing to make the effort should try not to put any pressure on themselves, as even tiny changes accumulate to make a tremendous impact.
To make the change a little easier for those who would like to take on the Veganuary challenge, I have put together a list of links that offer some of the best tips, advice, information, and guidance:
>> Documentaries about the meat and dairy industry.
>> Four compelling reasons to go vegan.
Nowadays, it is easier to go vegan as most supermarkets are stocked with a huge variety of ready-made vegan and vegetarian options. The best part of being vegan, in my experience, is that it introduced me to new tastes and flavors that I may not have tried otherwise. From there, I learned to recreate my favorite meals with a vegan twist, and added or subtracted certain ingredients depending on whether I liked them or needed extra nutrition.
However, not everyone who tries a vegan diet stays with it. This is why I strongly advocate taking a gentle approach or a small break if it feels like too much in the beginning. It’s far more beneficial, both for animals and for the planet, to adopt a vegan lifestyle in the long run than to pile on too much pressure and quit before you’ve given yourself, and animals, any real chance.
Many vegans began their journey by first becoming vegetarian, so if going full-vegan in January is too difficult, start off small. Often, people find that cutting out one food group at a time helps. For example, you can cut chicken or cow’s milk to start. There are cruelty-free substitutes for pretty much anything, so check out vegan chicken products or the various milk alternatives, and discover which brands you prefer.
Good luck to those who try Veganuary, and feel free to fire any questions my way, or send them to the supportive local, national, and international vegan groups that are growing at an incredibly fast rate on Facebook and other social media sites.
By eliminating or reducing our meat and dairy consumption, making ethical, conscious decisions, and helping raise awareness, we will collectively make a dramatic difference to our health, the environment, the treatment of animals, and global poverty and hunger.
For the sake of the 21 million cows and 56 billion farmed animals slaughtered annually, please consider eliminating meat and dairy from your diet and lifestyle purchases and give Veganuary a try.
Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Copy Editor: Catherine Monkman
Social Editor: Emily Bartran