With each new year and the start of a miserable January, we all do our best to get our resolutions for the year off to a flying start. For many people, this comes in the form of Dry January, which seeks to give our livers a break after the merriment of the festive period. But in recent years, Veganuary has become increasingly popular.
If the concept of Vegnaury has left you confused, we are here to open your eyes to the many benefits of this exciting challenge!
So, what is Veganuay and what is all the fuss about? The term Veganuary is a mash-up of vegan and January and represents the month-long challenge of going meat and dairy-free (aka plant-based).
Veganuary is now popular, with thousands practising it in over 168 countries worldwide. But how much difference can living meat-free for just a month make?
Veganuary can benefit you and everyone on the planet.
Firstly, on a personal health note, there is strong evidence and countless studies that show a plant-based diet can significantly improve health with lower rates of diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Eating less meat has also been shown to reduce the risk of stroke, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The World Health Organisation (WHO) ranked the consumption of red and processed meat alongside smoking as a major cause of cancer.
You can find more information about red meat being classed as a probable cause of cancer from Cancer Research UK. This alone might be enough to convince you to give Veganuary a try.
Ground-breaking research published in 2019 also showed that ‘avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet’. This includes your impact on land use, water use, greenhouse gases and the mass extinction of wildlife. To put this into perspective, a staggering 83% of the world’s farmland is used for livestock.
It goes without saying that a meat-free and dairy-free diet is beneficial for animals. But you may question how much of a difference your single decision can make. The answer is a lot! PETA estimates that every vegan saves around 200 animals annually, which shows you can make a difference.
Excluding humans, 86% of the world’s land mammals are livestock. But labelling these sentient creatures as livestock disguises the fact that these animals have emotional relationships and feelings.
If you need an extra incentive to cut out meat or dairy throughout the month of January, there are more benefits you can look forward to. In fact, following Veganuary can increase success in other life improvements.
Research has shown that those on a vegan diet lose more weight than those on vegetarian, meat and fish diets. Around 75% of those who completed Veganuary, reported an average loss of 6lbs due to the month-long challenge. So, if one of your New Years’ resolutions is to become a healthier version of yourself, trying Veganuary might be the perfect way to get started!
What about if you are focusing on saving money this year? In the UK, the average UK family spends £15.70 a week on meat and dairy, according to government research. In comparison, we spend only £5.10 a week on vegetables. So, attempting Veganuary can help you get off to a great start on your money-saving pot.
For some of us Brits, giving up meat is a tough New Year’s resolution to keep. It’s a staple in our English food culture, from Sunday roasts, meat pies and the likes of steak, bangers and mash, and burgers. But we hope by now that you feel motivated to get started with the research to back up your lifestyle change.
Suppose you’re still concerned about the dietary change being slightly too drastic for your lifestyle. In that case, there are other ways you can implement a vegetarian or vegan diet. For example, Meat-free Mondays (also called Meatless Mondays) are gaining in popularity year-round. Don’t underestimate how this one little change can help you and the planet. By being a flexitarian (yes, that’s a real term), you can still eat meat occasionally and see the benefits to your health.
Similarly, even reducing your portions might make a difference to you and the animals. So, why not try having one sausage rather than two or replacing some meat on your plate with vegetables?
What if you have found this information well into the year and don’t want to wait for the next January to come around to try a month of eating meat or dairy free? In that case, you can do a Veg-Pledge. This is essentially the same as Veganuary and consists of a whole month of eating meat or dairy-free, but it can be done any month of the year.
If you have recently made a dietary lifestyle change, you are undoubtedly eager to see the results of your efforts. Most likely, you will feel better physically, but beyond this, you might be interested to know what’s going on inside your body.
You can browse approved home health tests for blood sugar and cholesterol if you’d like to test your health levels at home. We recommend taking one before you begin your lifestyle change and then again well into your journey to see the true effects and results.
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