Taking Part in Veganuary 2024

A table covered with lots of fruit and veg

The start of the New Year brings about motivation and inspiration to make a change for the better, which is why January is the perfect time to try out being vegan.

Veganuary is a 31-day challenge created by a UK non-profit organisation, with the hope of encouraging people to try eating vegan for the month of January. The aim of this is to promote a greener and more sustainable planet, with lower food bills, an increase in positive health (both physical and mental) and to reduce animal abuse (e.g. animal farms and slaughterhouses).

This challenge creates the perfect opportunity and incentive, as well as it being the start of a New Year, to incorporate vegan meals and recipes into your everyday life and perhaps find some new favourites to enjoy throughout the year. Even just continuing to eat vegan for several meals/days during the week (in 2024) will help reduce animal abuse by reducing the demand for animal products, which in turn reduces pollution caused by these methods. Although it may seem that one person may not make much of a difference, it is the aggregate of many participants and individuals that advocates for a positive and beneficial change.

Veganuary can also be completed along with friends and family, if you wish to make this a social experience, trying out new cuisine with others and creating fun memories. People are also encouraged to share their meals and participation on social media, to communicate how fun, simple and delicious being vegan can be and spread the word about the promising outcomes it leads to.

Veganuary was created in 2014, and has increased in popularity ever since, with 12,800 participants in 2015, and 706965 participants in 2023. To take part in the 31-day vegan challenge, simply sign up online to receive a “starter-kit” with restaurant guides, vegan recipes/celebrity cookbooks and daily coaching emails. Alternatively, you can simply just try eating vegan for every meal, or as many as you can (or wish to), as even a small change is significant – there aren’t really any rules as spreading the word and encouraging trying vegan options is a gradual step in a more environmentally conscious direction.

Many grocery stores also take part in Veganuary, and you may notice an increase in vegan options and marketing during January at your local store – which makes completing the challenge easier! You might even find that the vegan options are tastier than your regular items, and a refreshing change after the previous holiday period. In addition to this, some coffee shops and restaurants also provide more vegan options on their menu during this month, so there is no limit on the variety of new things to try.

Eating vegan also has many positive and beneficial outcomes for both mental and physical health, especially if you are more conscious and aware of what you are eating. It creates an opportunity to eat more nutrient-rich foods filled with vitamins and minerals, such as increasing your fruit/vegetable intake. There are plenty of healthy meat-substitutes such as beans/lentils, tofu, mushrooms etc. with a great source of healthy fats and protein coming from nuts and seeds. Animal products can increase risk of cholesterol/heart disease due to a high amount of saturated fat, and the production of these products also increases greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions which contributes to global warming. Finally, the increased intake of nutrient-rich foods and vitamins/minerals has been shown to lead to a more positive mood and better mental health – perfect for starting off the New Year.

After the previous holiday period and the start of 2024, Veganuary creates the perfect opportunity to try out some positive and new experiences. You may find you wish to maintain a vegan lifestyle throughout 2024 or incorporate some new-found favourite dishes into your every-day routine. With even celebrities such as Joaquin Phoenix and Billie Eilish being ambassadors of Veganuary, this increasingly popular challenge is an effective way to spread awareness of the growing issue of our current environmental concerns.

To sign up the challenge, visit the Veganuary website to learn more and receive a “starter-kit” containing restaurant guides, vegan recipes/cookbooks and daily coaching emails. If you don’t wish to do this, you can always try eating vegan for as many meals as you wish to or can during January, and maybe find some options you’d like to continue eating throughout the rest of the year.

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