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Why Not Try Vegan This Veganuary?

Joaquin Phoenix Veganuary 2020

Why not try vegan this Veganuary and join an expected 350,000 others in going plant-based this January?

Launched in 2014, Veganuary is focused on changing consumer behaviours and attitudes, while providing all the information and practical support required to make the transition to veganism as easy and as enjoyable as possible throughout the month.

Last year, the campaign generated more interest than ever before. Following their Veganuary experience, 47% of respondents surveyed said that they are committing to staying vegan while 77% of people said that while they wouldn’t stay vegan, they were “very likely” or “extremely likely” to try vegan again.

This year’s ambassadors include an impressive list of high profiles artists, environmentalists and athletes such as: Joaquin Phoenix, George Monbiot, Chris Packham, Alicia Silverstone, Peter Egan, Evanna Lynch, Mayim Bialik, Anthony Mullally, Jack Monroe, Kerry McCarthy MP, James Moore etc…

If you feel daunted by the idea of switching to a plant-based diet, Veganuary is an achievable and enjoyable way to try out going vegan. In fact 60% of the participants that Veganuary surveyed last year said that the Veganuary challenge was easier than they had anticipated and 51% of those who decided to stay vegan say this decision was influenced by the discovery of great tasting food.

Last year, more than 500 businesses took part in Veganuary, while more than 200 plant-based products and menus were launched including Gregg’s famous sausage roll, Pizza Hut’s jackfruit pizza, and Marks & Spencer’s Plant Kitchen range.

Jack Monroe Veganuary 2020

Intensively farmed meat, fish and dairy wreak havoc on the planet while being extremely cruel to animals. Veganuary is an opportunity for all of us to make a difference and work towards a fairer and more sustainable food system. With high red meat consumption being linked to a host of diet-related disease, this is also a chance to embrace a healthier lifestyle.

To sign up to Veganuary simply head to www.veganuary.com. Every participant will receive the Veganuary 2020 Celebrity Cookbook, filled with delicious recipes to try. You will join a like-minded community, receive regular emails to support you throughout the month and have access to a Facebook support group.

The Veganuary website is full of helpful resources, like recipes, a starter kit and meal plans. There is also the popular Eating Out section which received more than 1.3 million visitors last year.

To whet your appetite, Veganuary has kindly offered to share two recipes from its 2020 Celebrity Cookbook below:

 

NOT MEAT BALLS BY JACK MONROE

Not Meat Balls Veganuary 2020

This “Not Meat Balls” recipe was created by talented chef, writer, activist and Veganuary Ambassador Jack Monroe. She made her name, developing tasty budget meals that cost very little to prepare. Her plant-based recipes dispel the myth that vegan food is expensive, complicated and tasteless. This recipe uses hearty aubergines and storecupboard ingredients to make flavoursome plant-based meat balls than you can enjoy on their own, in a sandwich or with pasta.

INGREDIENTS
2 aubergines
2 red or white onions
2 cloves garlic
2 red chillis
2 tbsp black olives, finely
chopped
6 tbsp oil
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
2 slices bread – either fresh
or slightly stale
Handful fresh basil

METHOD
1. Cut the stems off the ends of the aubergines and halve lengthways. Dice the flesh into small pieces and pop into a medium non-stick saucepan or frying pan.
2. Peel and finely slice the onion and garlic, chop the chilli as finely as you can, and add these plus the olives to the aubergine in the pan, along with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Cook on a medium heat for about 10 minutes to brown and soften.
3. Grate over the lemon zest, squeeze in the lemon juice and, once the aubergines are soft, tip everything into a mixing bowl. Grate the bread over the top, finely chop the basil and mix in well. (If it does not mix, try blending and adding more breadcrumbs.)
4. Shape the mixture into tablespoon-sized balls with your hands. Put the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and carefully fry the aubergine balls in batches until browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve with extra lemon juice and torn basil to taste.

 

LEBANESE TABBOULEH

Tabouleh Joaquin Phoenix Veganuary 2020

This Lebanese Tabbouleh is a firm favourite of Hollywood actor and committed animal rights activist Joaquin Phoenix who has been vegan since the age of 3. Joaquin Phoenix has been named 2019 Person of the Year by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and uses his influence to champion the cause of animals.

INGREDIENTS
50g bulgur wheat
2 large, ripe vine tomatoes,
finely chopped
1 bunch flat leaf parsley,
finely chopped
1 bunch fresh mint, finely
chopped
1 small red onion, peeled
and finely chopped
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

METHOD
1. Cook the bulgur wheat as per the packet instructions.
2. Make a small cross at the base of each tomato and place them in a separate bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 30 seconds, then drain away the water.
3. When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skins. Cut the tomatoes into quarters, discard the seeds and dice the flesh. Transfer the diced tomatoes to a serving bowl.
4. Add the parsley, mint and onion to the tomatoes and mix well until combined.
5. Fluff up the cooked bulgur wheat with a fork until the grains are separated. Add it to the tomato mixture.
6. Drizzle over the lemon juice and olive oil and season to taste with salt. Mix well to coat the ingredients in the liquid.

 

Veganuary is such a positive way to start the year. The good news is that every step we take towards a more compassionate and sustainable diet does make a difference to our health, the environment and animal welfare. Individual actions do matter and help create change.

This year again, I have signed up to the campaign and while in the past I have not stayed vegan afterwards, it has helped me increase the amount of plant-based food in my diet over the years.

Do join me and take the Veganuary pledge by signing today at www.veganuary.com.

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