It’s a new year, new you, and a renewed chance to try a healthy, earth-friendly, and more ethical lifestyle. Happy Veganuary 2023! If it’s your first Veganuary, we’re here to guide you through the tastiest month of your life.
Each January, people from all over the world will take a tasty first step into plant-based living and eating. An estimated 629,000 people from 228 countries took the 30-day Veganuary challenge in 2022 alone!
While Veganuary has become a more formal way to sign up to try a more ethical and earth-friendly lifestyle, it has also become a loose theme for eating vegan food for January, with workplace and social group challenges gaining momentum. So, what exactly is Veganuary and how can you begin?
What is Veganuary?
Veganuary (Vegan January) is a global organisation that encourages people to try a vegan diet in January and hopefully beyond. By 2023, Veganuary will have exceeded two million participants since its inception back in 2014.
Veganism, in a nutshell, is a diet and lifestyle that avoids any animal-based products. Whereas vegetarians don’t eat animals but do eat some animal products, for example, dairy, eggs, and honey, vegans don't. As part of a vegan lifestyle, vegans also don’t wear animal products like fur, leather, wool, and silk.
Although Veganuary is a newer trend, veganism is certainly not. The Vegan Society for example was established in 1944 and helped coined the term bringing a plant-based diet into the mainstream.
Today, huge corporations and food chains have seen the advantages of including vegan options and have jumped on the Vegan trends. Companies such as McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Nando’s, Domino’s, and Pizza Express all have begun to incorporate more vegan options on their menus, with many vegan items staying on the menu all year-round thanks to their popularity.
Motivation for going plant-based
Why go vegan this January? With countless motivations driving people to take part in Veganuary, here are some of the most prominent ones.
- Animal welfare: Animal cruelty, suffering and exploitation are some of the common reasons why many people decide to go vegan.
- Environmental conservation: Vegan diets have less negative impact than animal agriculture and thus can help with conserving natural resources such as water and land.
- Health benefits: Plant-based diets are higher in fibre, vitamins, and minerals while being lower in fat than animal-based diets.
- Personal ethics: It's not just about what we eat (like animal-derived ingredients) but also what we wear, buy and use. A plant-based lifestyle consuming only vegan products enables us to be more mindful of our choices across the board for a better planet.
The benefits of Veganuary
Participating in Veganuary is beneficial for your health, even if it's just for a month. A vegan diet usually consists of fewer processed foods and more vegetables - naturally!
In addition, a diet rich in plant-based foods is more likely to provide more fibre, antioxidants, and beneficial plant and micronutrients, including potassium, magnesium, folate, and vitamins A, C, and E.
Other fringe benefits to going to the veggie side are:
- Having more energy
- It promotes weight loss
- It's climate-friendly
- Allows for more adventurous eating
- Glowing skin
- Can reduce inflammation
Is Veganuary hard?
Any major diet shift can be difficult. Veganism requires a dynamic change in all areas of eating, from the milk in your breakfast cereal to the main course at dinner. However, you can ease your way into Veganuary by following some of the tips and tricks below.
Tips and tricks for going Vegan
A failure to plan is a plan to fail - go into Veganuary with these trusty tips and tricks!
Involve friends, family and co-workers
Team up with accountability partners that will take the Veganuary challenge with you. Bonus points if they are adventurous foodies who will try new cafes and vegan food products with you. Take turns preparing and swapping meals with each other to make the Veganuary process easier.
Do your shopping, if possible, before January 1st to prevent yourself from slipping into meat-based eating habits. Meal plan ahead of time. Make sure you include vegan snacking into your new routine as well. Whole foods like nuts, nut butters, and fruits will be your new best friends.
The first step is the hardest! Don’t beat yourself up if you slip up by accident. If you're new to a plant-based diet, the best course of action is to simply begin with small steps and build your way up from there. There's no time like the present; just start!
It could be working up from one meal a day to a full day of vegan eating. By the end of the month, you will have created a habit that can be carried through the rest of the year, in full or at least in part, with the knowledge that foods like cheese and milk can be easily replaced by tasty plant-based alternatives.
Take a class
Knowledge is power and it is also going to help empower your plant-based eating. Learning to make your own meat and dairy alternatives will help Veganuary be less intimidating and expensive.
Why not take a Vegan and plant-based cheese course at KindAcademy? Learn how to make your own sauces, spreads, and hard cheeses to accompany classics like a Veganuary pizza.
What do vegans eat? | Quick and easy vegan recipes
Here are a few recipes to light the inspiration for Veganuary.
Smoked chilli cheese bagel
Did someone say lunch? Many people find a renewed eating inspiration a few days into Veganuary just by the sheer amount of tasty new ways to eat plant-based that are available. This Vegan Smoked Chili Cheese Bagel involves all plant-based ingredients and may need to be hidden in the office fridge if you don’t want to risk it going “missing.”
Three-cheese vegan lasagna
Pasta, the ultimate comfort food, can exist without traditional cheese! Vegan cheese, like our Mozzarellie is arguably even better than its predecessor and doesn’t impact animals or the earth like animal-based options.
This Three-Cheese Lasagna recipe with homemade plant-based ricotta is a great way to include company for dinner into your Veganuary challenge.
A vegan charcuterie board
A vegan charcuterie board is a great way to sample all the vegan cheeses and plant-based hard meats that are available in your office break room or your next house party. It’s a great conversation starter about Veganuary and who knows, maybe you’ll pick up a fellow friend or two to take the challenge with you!
What’s after Veganuary?
After February it’s time to decide whether you want to take your new, animal-friendly habits into the rest of the year. If this seems overwhelming, make an effort to consistently add vegan habits into your life instead.
Don’t be afraid to break for a month and start the next month again. Progress can be imperfect, but small habits can add up to a big impact. Good luck!