vegan foods

We all know that the fresh start of a New Year inspires a great many of us to take stock of our health and lifestyle – and one hot topic which has taken off in a huge way this New Year is Veganuary – a new approach to diet and lifestyle which might reset the way you position yourself in the world.

But what exactly is Veganuary, and how might you take part?

The challenge is a charity event in which you sign up to follow a vegan lifestyle throughout the month of January – and raise money for animal rights and environmental campaigns.

Launched in 2014 Matthew Glover and Jane Land, the event has grown enormously from the humble home-office beginnings, and thousands of new members join every year to raise awareness of vegan lifestyles and the impact of the food industry on our environment.

Far more than simply changing your diet, according to organisers, the aim of Veganuary is to improve health, protect animals and the environment, and make people consume more consciously in every area of our lives. Following a vegan diet can be challenging, so there are starter kits, diet guides, advice for where and how to eat out and not have to compromise on choice and flavour, and a celebrity cookbook supported by famous names who are committed to their own veganism.

A vegan lifestyle means not consuming any animal products – which, according to organisers, means not only no meat and dairy, but expanding that to nothing which has animal proteins or products as an ingredient, so no gelatine (which rules out a lot of sweets and sauces) and to avoiding leather and other by-products of the meat industry – and many cosmetic products, which may also have been tested on animals.

Consumption doesn’t only mean eating or drinking – it applies to what we wear, what we allow and what we have in our homes, and the way in which we engage with the world – and veganism includes this conscious connection, as well as a change of diet.

Veganuary is an event which raises awareness of these extended choices and impact on animals, nature and industries which impact on those things, and the knowledge that every person who makes difference choices will have an impact on the world at large.

This starts with making the choice to follow a different diet – which, if done right, can not only improve your health and energy levels but can help you to be more in tune with your body and its needs. Those committed to veganism tell of the huge impact the dietary changes have had on their physical and mental wellbeing, and it is becoming more mainstream and easier with big name supermarkets and famous brand offering vegan alternatives to favourites.

There are a great many meat-free alternatives for ingredients – but many still found eating out a challenge. In recent years this has begun to change, with big names hitting headlines as they expand their offerings – from Pizza Hut’s vegan pizza choices to the Gregg’s vegan sausage roll which has sparked such debate!

Many have questioned whether this Veganuary project is just a fad, and whether following a vegan diet for ‘just a month’ can really make a difference: those running and committed to the project are sure that many will feel so good after making the change and learning more about the lifestyle that they want to continue after January – and even just a short period, and just one person, can impact the world in a positive way. Raising awareness and offering a positive experience of veganism – which is a lifestyle many seem critical of – is one of the greatest rewards of Veganuary.

One thing is certain; with record numbers of people signing up for the challenge, Veganuary is here to stay – and veganism is something which matters to a great many people, who simply want us all to be more aware of what we consume, and be more conscious of what and how we do so.

Have you been taking part in Veganuary? Let us know how you’re getting on!

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